Two interesting links this week:
I found this post by Carrie Vaughn quite thought-provoking. In The Great Urban Fantasy Crash, she writes:
So the word around writing and publishing circles over the last couple of years is: urban fantasy isn’t selling anymore. Publishers aren’t buying it. What was hugely popular five years ago is now done. That ship has sailed.
I’ve seen some commentary about this being some big publisher conspiracy to kill the genre — just as I also saw commentary that the popularity of the genre was a publishing conspiracy in the first place. But I’m here to tell you, as an urban fantasy author and someone who worked in a bookstore twenty years ago, publishers are highly reactive and not very good at manufacturing any kind of popularity. They react to sales numbers, and they’re usually chasing trends rather than creating them. (One of my favorite statements ever about publishing trends: everyone was looking for the next Harry Potter, which turned out to be Twilight, then everyone was looking for the next Twilight, which turned out to be The Hunger Games. They’re still looking for the next Hunger Games…)
However it happened, the results have been increasingly clear: authors are having a harder time selling urban fantasy, and readers have had a harder time finding a good series to follow.
In the comments, she writes this:
A lot of authors moved to Kindle after getting dropped by publishers. A lot of UF readers figured out there’s a lot more stuff on Kindle. There’s some speculation that e-pub is replacing that niche once filled by mass market paperbacks. It seems to me there are several vicious circles fueling each other in this whole scenario.
I have some thoughts about Kindle and the Amazon ecosystem, but they’re not yet fully formed. I’m a bit worried, from the authors’ side, but I’m also seeing stuff, like this post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, about how traditional publishers are screwing over authors (more so than usual).
One last point: this is all academic if one doesn’t have a book to sell! Here’s Chuck Wendig: Here’s How To Finish That Fucking Book, You Monster