Does Paranormal Romance Rate its own sub-sub-genres?

July 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm (General, Lori Devoti) (, , )

Two or three years ago (or so) I remember going to RWA National and hearing everywhere…Paranormal is hot! Vampires are hot! BUT don’t write them…vampires that is…because publishers are overloaded. The speech would then go on to include the bit you hear a lot, that what you are seeing on shelves now was probably sold two years earlier and while vampires were dominating the shelves editors didn’t really want to see them anymore. Or, if they were still interested, they were being so selective the chances of your vampire making it to print were about the same as him surviving a bath in holy water in full noon day sun.

So, yeah, by now vampires should be dead, right?

But just like the heroes we love, dead or not, they are still going strong. (And not just in romance. Have you shopped for urban fantasy? There is a category that is seriously dominated by vampires–half-blood, full-blood, dhamphir, they are all there.)

Which is making me wonder….is paranormal romance becoming mature enough that it can support its own sub-sub-genres? Are there enough readers who search out vampires that they at least qualify as their own sub-category of paranormal romance? And most importantly, are they here to stay?

Historicals have Regencies, Scottish, Medievals, and Westerns. Contemporaries have Romantic Suspense, and Romantic Comedy. Can we now talk about paranormals the same way? If so, what would those sub-subs be? Vampires, werewolves…???

I say paranormal lovers should rise up and claim our place among the big two–contemp and historical. We deserve our sub-subs too! Who’s with me? And what should they be?


  1. estella42 said,

    I think we deserve sub genres—-vampires, shifters, and demons.

  2. smokinhotbooks said,


    What a great question, as an avid PNR reader I would love if PNR had sub genres: Shape Shifter, Vampire, Futristic etc. Maybe I’ve been reading too much erotic romance…(I just can’t seem to help myself), which displays pretty much everything under the sun. Start the PNR sub-genre revolution!!!!


  3. Kait Nolan said,

    I was actually in a used bookstore just yesterday that had vampire books separated out into their own section. The rest of the paranormals were on a lonely section of shelves elsewhere and the pickings were kinda slim. But the vampire section was full and healthy.

  4. Lori Devoti said,

    I think Vampire is almost its own genre now–pulling from urban fantasy, horror and romance. Stores will group all of those together if they have vamps in them. Which I find interesting. I know vamps have some very dedicated readers. I wonder if vampire becomes the umbrella in that case and those readers will read any type of book with a vamp in it. My guess is that might be true for dark vamps, but not light. I would see someone who was a dedicated dark vamp lover being annoyed by light vamps…
    Futuristic is a lot of times separated out too. Almost as if it isn’t under the paranormal romance umbrella…interesting.

  5. Cathy said,

    I think Paranormal Romance is strong enough to support sub genre. Unfortunately stores would rather put all Vampires or werewolf together and I spend time looking at books of horror (not my style) and Urban fantasy (which I am greatly tiring of, no romance!) to get to the good stuff.
    At Paranormal Romance Releases, the genres are separated and you can easily find what your looking for. I really wish it was that easy in the stores!
    There is even a Erotica, Debut and Young Adult section under “Paranormal Romance”.
    We are a well established readership going back at least 30 years. We should be recognized in stores. My local Walmart has a 4′ x 6′ section now of just Paranormal Romance and my favorite USB has a 6′ x 8′ section. Barnes & Nobles and Borders has all romance by Authors still. At least I can find the books I want that way!

  6. Lori Devoti said,

    I do think used bookstores do a much better job breaking out the subgenres and I agree, I love having them broken out! I would think small independent new stores would do a good job too…I just don’t know of any around here that carry that much romance unfortunately.

  7. Romancing the Novel Carnival #4 said,

    […] Speaking of hot and not… Does Paranormal Romance Rate its own sub-sub-genre? […]

  8. Teresa D'Amario said,

    On that same note, I’m thinking in the awards in places of PNR and FF&P, where their specialty is paranormal, I think they should not only start subcategories of Paranormal for their awards, but they should also have one for Urban Fantasy.

    I can’t count the number of UF’s who took ROMANCE awards in the last few years. UF is great. It’s awesome. It’s got action, adventure, and horror all mixed in. But it’s not Romance, even if it has romantic elements.

    You’re right though, Shifter books are nothing like Demons, and the Demons are nothing like Vampires. And Time Travel, holy smokes that can be anything from 20 years back to ancient times.

    You’re right, Cathy, the PNR site does have them broken down quite nicely for new releases. That’s an awesome page. 🙂 But when it comes to the awards, they don’t do it the same way (unless this year is planned to be different, which just means I’m ahead of the game). LOL.

    So that’s my humble opinion. 🙂

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