The verdict is in from The Hollywood Reporter: Summer 2014 box office earnings haven’t been so low since 1997. “The studios failed to connect with audiences,” THR laments.

This is a polite way of saying the summer movies stank. Several extremely expensive “big” movies tanked, including a piece by the makers of The Matrix Trilogy entitled (I think) “Jupiter Ascending,” which sank without a trace (or maybe the scheduled release has been moved up), and the second installment of the new Planet of the Apes franchise.

The two YA urban fantasy hopefuls, which I reviewed here earlier this summer, “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”, and ‘Beautiful Creatures” stumbled badly, suggesting viewers are weary of the genre. Neither film had an appealing young heroine or hero, and hopes for a trilogy for either have been dashed. Both were based on very good but very long books, and the scripts meandered and couldn’t focus on the core story.

Which supports the notion that a short story (like “Tomorrow’s Child”) or a short book like the Hunger Games provides a better basis for a film.

“Divergent,” the first in a proposed trilogy based on the YA dystopian novels, did moderately well by Hollywood standards ($250 million worldwide) but was damaged by reviews that the film seemed a lackluster derivative of Hunger Games. On the basis of reviews I’ve read, this viewer is going to skip it. Fans of the film and books will be happy to hear the producers at Lionsgate are proceeding with a second film.

The late summer “surprise quirky hit” is “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which has earned over $500 million worldwide in its second or third weekend. This is a cartoon movie based on minor characters in a Marvel Comic. The reviews I’ve read have called it “an irritatingly juvenile, derivative ‘Star Wars’”, which is setting the bar pretty low. We’re still considering whether to see it. I’ll review it here if we do.

And the verdict is in from Publishers Weekly: Summer 2014 book sales earnings were down twenty percent from last summer.

There just wasn’t any book that emerged as an exciting Must-Read except perhaps for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which sold some 600,000 thirty-five dollar hardcover books. I’ve read Tartt’s first book, The Secret History. While I admire her writing, her subject matter and underlying consciousness just aren’t for this reader, let alone a 1,000-page book.

Similarly, Diana Gabaldon’s eighth volume in her Voyager series got a boost from a miniseries on Starz, debuting at Number One on the New York Times bestseller list. But within a few weeks, the book dropped off the list, suggesting the author has a solid core of fans, but hasn’t expanded beyond, in spite of the television exposure. I similarly have read an earlier volume in the series and admire the author’s writing, but her subject matter and underlying consciousness just aren’t for this reader, let alone a 1,000-page book.

Stephen King published a book that came and went; J.K. Rowling writing under a pen name published another murder mystery in her new series. Deborah Harkness wrapped up her All Souls Trilogy; her book appeared on the list, but has pretty much since wilted. If Laurell K. Hamilton published another volume in her long-running Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, I missed it.

So what were people doing this summer for their entertainment needs if they’re not reading or going to the movies? I’m guessing they’re watching television, playing games, and hanging out on the Internet. What did you do this summer?

So there you have it, my friends. I see the trends changing. Urban fantasy on the adult level continues to sell, especially among the latest volumes of multi-book series, but appears to have died out on the YA level. An author like Charlaine Harris has ended the Sooki Stackhouse series (the basis for True Blood on television) and has not presented anything new that’s compelling. Vampires are way, way passe. (I include minor vampire characters in The Garden of Abracadabra as objects of ridicule and scorn. They are comic relief, hardly the focus of the book or series.)

The genre trope of zombies (an image I personally dislike and will never write about) has succeeded in print in a limited number of books, notably Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series for the YA reader. But most people are getting their fill of zombies on The Walking Dead on television. I don’t see a huge expanding market for this unappealing genre.

So what’s new? What exciting or lurid new book or series has leapt to the top of the lists and claimed a gigantic readership out of thin air like The Hunger Games?

It’s not happening.

Which, in fact, is great news. Editors, publishers, and especially readers are searching for something new. That’s where writers like you and me may step up to the plate. The time has never been better to forge out there with a concept that’s fresh and original. Go for it!

Previous Blogs in this Series:

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 1: Introduction https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/03/18/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-1-introduction-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 2: Who’s Reading? https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/07/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-2-whos-reading-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 3: The Shady Case of Fifty Shades https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/04/17/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-3-the-shady-case-of-fifty-shades-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond Part 4: The Comet and the Long Tail Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-4-the-comet-and-the-long-tail-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 5: Authors’ Market Share Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/02/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-5-authors-market-share-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 6: Ebooks Versus Print Books Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/07/19/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-6-ebooks-versus-print-books-lisa-mason-sfwapro

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 7: Unlimited or Not Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/08/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-7-unlimited-or-not-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 8: Print Books in 2013 Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/13/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-8-print-books-in-2013-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 9: Amazon Vs Hatchett Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/16/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-9-amazon-vs-hatchett-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 10: Conversations with Author Elle Emerson Lisa Mason #SFWApro https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/20/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-10-conversations-with-author-elle-emerson-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

State of the Biz: Publishing in 2014 and Beyond, Part 11: In Praise of Copyeditors https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2014/08/21/state-of-the-biz-publishing-in-2014-and-beyond-part-11-in-praise-of-copyeditors-lisa-mason-sfwapro/

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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