11.21.2005

Good news for the dragon riders amongst us

Stolen from Publishers Lunch today with absolutely no shame and remorse is this tidbit of news that will make you fantasy writers hap hap happy!

Fantasy Rises
Genre fiction of all kinds has flourished in recent years, and fantasy has been particularly strong--helped by Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but much deeper, too, evidenced most recently by strong anticipation and sales for new books by George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Christopher Paolini.

BN buyer James Killen tells USA Today, "Fantasy makes up roughly half the sales in the science-fiction/fantasy section of Barnes & Noble, and the lion's share of that is 'epic' or 'heroic' fantasy - adventures of huge scale told over numerous volumes. On average, we've seen annual increases over the last few years in the area of 10% to 15%." And Borders'sci-fi and fantasy buyer Micha Hershman adds, "We have seen a double-digit increase in sales this year over the same period last year."
USA Today

16 comments:

Harry Connolly said...

Hooray!

In fact, fantasy has been branching out in lots of interesting ways lately. A lot of new readers are trying it.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I was just at a weeklong retreat for literary writers, and I was the single genre writer there. I got worried that I'd be scoffed, but quite the opposite. They (well, except for the poets) were fascinated by my books. They openly questioned how they could apply genre rules and ideas to their work, and I, in turn, got plenty of ideas on how to "elevate" my own stories. Beneficial all around. Sound, compelling writing is sound, compelling writing, no matter the genre. They also taught me not to mumble "fantasy" when people ask me what I write.

Rowan said...

Happy dance time! As a long time reader of SF/F, this trend to me proves that, as sex said above, a compelling story is a compelling story. I find that the ability to resculpt the world actually helps make situations that would be ridiculous in our world seem real and dramatic in the fantasy realm. Yay for sword & sorcery!
(Of course, the fact that it helps increase my chances of eventual publication is even better.)

Christine said...

Woo Hoo! I hope the buyers from B&N, Borders and Target all remember that when they get my small press media kit and ARC. :P

I wish the agents I queried would remember it too.

Rick said...

I'm actually a bit surprised that "only" about of SF/F sales are fantasy - I see a lot of unhappy campers on the science fiction side of things, complaining that fantasy is taking over the bookshelves. (Happily for me, the novel my agent is shopping is fantasy, and so naturally is the sequel I should be working on instead of posting here. :)

kmfrontain said...

Whoo hoo! Good news for me!

The Late Mitchell Warren said...

Why are sci-fi and fantasy writers always trying to "escape"?

Sure Stephen King and JK Rowling sleep on top of piles of cash, but how can they sleep at night knowing they'll never measure up to the likes of Fitzgerald, Melville, or Woolf in terms of serious writing?

I guess civilization just gets dumber as time goes on. The man of the twentieth century, the woman, the writer, all had less and so strived to be more. Today's man, woman and writer all have quick access to the TV and web and so are already in heaven.

Bah humbug, no one will care about Harry Potter in the year 2055.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

To the late Mitchell Warren...that's the same comment they made about Jules Verne!

Ric said...

Good comeback, Bonnie.

King never tried to be serious - he was writing for the common man or woman, telling stories.

Harry Potter may never be compared to Woolf, but Peter Pan isn't bad company either.

lady t said...

Hey,Late Warren Mitchell-these grapes are sour,are they yours? Perhaps if J K Rowling decided to walk into a river with rocks in her pocket,you would take her seriously then.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Regardless, it's good news even for those whose works are not with large publishers and are mostly with small epublishers since trends tend to be echoed throughout the industry. Now if I can only get enough of the series out before the trend changes. ;)

Rick said...

Oh, criminy. Most fiction is escape for the readers - that's why they read it instead of a how-to book or their bank statement. How many of Melville's readers had ever been aboard a whaling ship? How many of Jane Austen's original readership (largely, I imagine, women from similar circumstances as her characters) managed to end up with Darcy instead of Mr Collins?

Bah, humbug! indeed. The Late Mitchell Warren must have an irony deficit, or he might have reflected on the character (from a then-bestselling author, too!) with whom we chiefly associate that expression.

Harry Connolly said...

Hmm. Literary fiction isn't selling as well as it used to. I wonder what could cause that?

I guess civilization just gets dumber as time goes on.

Naw, that couldn't be it.

In truth, the lack of respectability of fantastic fiction is a relatively recent thing. Victorian Social Realism gave it a push into the kiddie section of the bookstore, and the social effects of WWI kept it there. It's taken decades for stories stories that aren't strict realism to be taken seriously again, and it's about time.

The resurgence of fantasy seems like a market correction to me.

Catja (green_knight) said...

Sound good to me...

What sounds even better to me is that my fellow writers worry about the quality of their writing - it's a highly competitive field, and one that is getting a lot of exposure, so writing reasonble stories with weird details and fast-paced adventures isn't enough - the bar is pretty high, and all readers will profit from _that_.

Bernita said...

The late Michael reflects a typical reactionary mind-set.
The past is the Golden Age, when there were REAL writers.
The present is, of course, filled with teen-age mall writers, superficial, disrespectful, while the world goes to hell in a handbag.
I suppose he had to walk miles to school too...

bordermoon said...

...in the snow. Uphill. Both ways...

Who was it that said that, the way people sigh over the past, the Golden Age must have been the Age of Dinosaurs? (I can't remember whether it was Simon Templar in one of the Saint short stories or Robert A. Heinlein somewhere else.)

I can't understand why anyone would complain about people reading, oh, say, Harry Potter. There are kids reading 800-page books now because of Harry Potter. I don't care if it's the only book they read. They're learning that reading is FUN. Same for the Oprah picks. So most people who buy the Oprah picks don't go on to read other books -- that still means (when her club's on the one-a-month-schedule) that someone who didn't read any books at all is now reading twelve a year.

Oh, for all you Janeites, there's a darling new book: FLIRTING WITH PRIDE & PREJUDICE, in which various authors discuss the book and its various incarnations.

I'll admit Colin Firth is okay -- but he's no Laurence Olivier...
nostalgic sigh...