Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wednesday Wanderings

In some respects, this may be the best time (so far) to be a fantasy (science fiction / speculative fiction) writer.  The genre has entered the public consciousness as it never has before, bringing in new readers and making the general public more accepting of the stretches of imagination that fantasy needs from its readers.  

As a lover and consumer of fantasy, I can turn on my television and take my pick from shows with fantastic themes, and I'm noticing the worldbuilding is wider and deeper.  (I am particularly taken with the little social behavior "digs" in the recent Minority Report series.)  I will admit, after the Lord of the Rings movies came out, we had a string of almost exclusively contemporary / urban YA adaptations, which concerned me ... but then such efforts as Game of Thrones came to the fore.  So now I can say that I write fantasy and *not* receive blank looks or awkward questions about erotica.  Grant, now the question is likely to be, "Oh, so like Twilight?" or "Oh, so like Game of Thrones?" ... and I really ought to come up with some snarky answers for that.  "Yes, exactly like Game of Thrones, but with more characters," ought to be suitably terrifying ... 

On the other hand, there are some trends that take the field away from an author's dream, or at least the dream that I've always had, of being able to go into the bookstore, take one of *my* books off the shelf, and hold it in my hands.  Bookstores are floundering and failing, with major chains going under in the recent past.  The big publishing houses that regularly deal with bookstores have become increasingly difficult to penetrate for new writers.

On the other hand, a host of small and medium-sized publishers have flourished, putting out great new material into the world, and giving many authors a chance to have their dream ... or more prosaically, just make money.  The downside for me is that many of these smaller houses don't / can't put books on the shelves, and some of them don't offer print options, but to some, that is a minor issue ... and a more than fair trade-off for being able to deal on a more personal level with their publishers.

Personally, I love the fact that Double Dragon offers their books print on demand, so I've had the opportunity to hold Flow in my hands, even to autograph it.  Still, that novel with a major house is my ultimate goal.

Another result of this proliferation of publications is the maddening variety of choices ... and suddenly, marketing becomes much more important.  An author has to find a way to make their voices compelling in a social media tidbit or advertisement, which is quite a different skill from writing a good novel!  It's one more hurdle to jump to success.

So for a fantasy writer, it's harder and easier all at once - more for some of us, less for others.  It's all about what we want out of the process, and finding the right way to trick the world into giving it to us ...

No comments: