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PUBLISHING TRENDS: MASH-UPS

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 10, 2010

What is a mash-up? I hadn’t heard the term until I read about it in RT BookReviews magazine in the February issue. No, it’s not a type of mashed potatoes. We’re referring to literature here.

A mash-up in publishing is essentially a cross-genre blend. In other words, it’s a combination of genres, such as classic romance and horror in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter blends the vampire craze with history. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and Shakespeare Undead are other examples of classic lit twisted with fantasy or supernatural elements.         zombie

So why is the mash-up so hot in the literary marketplace today? Perhaps because literary mash-ups are taking the spotlight, mixing classics with the paranormal phenomena so popular right now . Even agent Lucienne Diver states in an online interview that she’d love to see a mash-up of history and the paranormal.

This mini-trend isn’t new to the romance genre which has mixed romance with mystery and sci fi and fantasy through the years. Just because books are termed paranormal or mash-ups or steampunk doesn’t mean this concept is virgin.

Speaking of steampunk, has that trend already lost its steam? The latest Sherlock Holmes film brings to mind the historical atmosphere blended with the gears and wheels of old-fashioned technology. How many more Wild Wild West type stories will we see before this trend dives? For more on this subject, visit mystery author Vicki Lane’s recent blog: http://tinyurl.com/yhgxxt7                 steampunk

And what is paranormal, since we’re on the subject? It’s anything to do with extraordinary abilities: i.e. magic, supernatural, or psychic powers. So why is a paranormal mystery, i.e. a mystery story with a ghost or witch, for example, not called a mash-up? Or is it? What about sci fi romance? Or a historical with mythological beings? It all seems to be a matter of terminology.

Keep in mind these are my loose definitions of the terms. As a writer, it’s more important to blend something old with something new to create what Hollywood calls the High Concept.

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6 Responses to “PUBLISHING TRENDS: MASH-UPS”

  1. traci said

    Great nancy! I had no clue what a mash up was, lol – thanks for keeping us in the know!

  2. Interesting information Nancy. One wonders if it’s worth the time and effort to try and write steampunk. Who knows? I have never heard of a mash up, either I am old and uninformed or just out of the loop.
    Thanks for the blog! I like to learn something when I read them.

  3. I forgot to mention that Warehouse 13 on TV is a good example of steampunk. It uses old looking but suped up technology in a modern setting.

  4. […] NancyJCohen –  Publishing Trends: Mash-Ups […]

  5. Vicki Lane said

    Thanks for the mention, Nancy! I am totally intrigued by steampunk but am resisting doing anything about it. 😉

  6. Katie MacAlister has a new paranormal romance book out called “Steamed.” It looks cute.

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