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What Are Your Thoughts on the Future of Fantasy Writing?

I agree with the length comments above.

Already, we're seeing short stories make a huge resurgence. The almost dead novella is back with a vengeance, and novels in the 40-60k word range are suddenly common, where just three years ago they were rare.

Part of this is that freedom to write stories to whatever length you want. But part of this is simple economics:

It takes longer to write one 150k doorstopper (can we CALL a novel that now, with over half of the fiction sold in the US this month expected to be ebook formats?) than it does to create three 50k novels. The shorter works are just simpler to create. But readers (right now anyway) are happy to pay novel prices for a 50k word book, but are unwilling to pay 3x that for a 150k word book by the same writer.

In other words, if you're a writer with a fanbase willing to pay $5 for your latest 50k work, you're unlikely to sell many copies of a 150k word for $15.

So that 150k book is more than three times as hard, but you'll get much less than three time as much income from it. AND, you'll produce less books per year - but there's very clear evidence that the more titles an author produces per year, the better all those works will sell (assuming all are good, well written, well edited, well produced stories).

So more books means more sales per book, and more books means more books to sell. Shorter works means more books per year, which means more income for the writer AND more visibility for all those works.

Added up, it means there is going to be a very strong economic force pushing book length down.
 
It takes longer to write one 150k doorstopper (can we CALL a novel that now, with over half of the fiction sold in the US this month expected to be ebook formats?) than it does to create three 50k novels. The shorter works are just simpler to create. But readers (right now anyway) are happy to pay novel prices for a 50k word book, but are unwilling to pay 3x that for a 150k word book by the same writer.

In other words, if you're a writer with a fanbase willing to pay $5 for your latest 50k work, you're unlikely to sell many copies of a 150k word for $15.

Hm. My NIP is... well, I'm not sure how long it is now, but it's probably going to be 160-170k once it's finished and edited, but I was planning on selling it for $3.99. Now I'm beginning to consider splitting it into multiple parts, although, again, I have zero experience with marketing. Maybe it would be worth it to split it into parts of about 50k (or less?), sort of serializing it...

Bah. Cart, horse. I need to finish the damn thing first. :) On the other hand, maybe I don't? I'm not a big fan of series that go on forever -- I want to tell a story, and have it end, and be done with it so I can move on to something else. Maybe it would make sense to release it in smaller parts for $1.99 or $2.99 apiece (that's the 70% royalty level on Amazon so I kind of wouldn't want to go below that). I could always release an omnibus edition later on for $6 or $7 that combines all the parts. The story isn't really structured to be split that way... although there are some cliffhanger points it could be split at... Hm.

Augh. All so confusing. :)
 
The first two books of the trilogy I'm currently working on are 80k and 100k, respectively. The third book should come in at around 90k, from what I can sort of predict from my outlining. I released the first book as a stand-alone on Amazon (where I can't decide if 99 cents or 2.99 is a better price), and will do the same for the second in a few weeks here. I have another story planned , set about 500 years after the events of the first but in the same world, that I intend to split into three books as well. Regardless of recent trends, serialization is an excellent way to tell an episodic story, which mine happens to be.

At the same time, I'm not writing for our age, specifically. The issue of e-readers and their impact on literature isn't that big a deal to me. I don't plan on writing much in the way of fantasy outside my two trilogies and a mini starter-story. I am definitely writing with the idea that the end result will be one cohesive work, and exactly how that comes to fruition is of little consequence to me. I could happily wait five years or so to finish all seven books and then release the whole shabang as one giant tome, but I like sharing my story with my friends as I write it, so I have broken down the work into easily digestible bits.
 
Bah. Cart, horse. I need to finish the damn thing first. :)

To quote the old guy from the Karate Kid movies... "Hit nail on head." ;)

Hey, keep one eye on what's going on, so you won't be lost when you're done. But focus on getting the writing done first. If you finish six months from now, EVERYTHING might be different. If it takes you another year, everything WILL be different. The only guarantee right now in publishing is that it's changing with stunning speed right now, and what was true six months prior is unlikely to be reliable.

But a finished novel is still a work completed, ready to utilize in whatever manner is best at that point in time.
 

pmmg

Vala
:zombie:

I think this question takes on new relevance everyday. And I wish I had my fingers on the pulse so I could say without question it will go this direction or not, but who can say really. But I have some thoughts to share...

I think the world is just waiting for the next big thing. re-makes and re-boots of old classics is just the result of a dearth of something better. The current powers behind creative mediums seem to believe that 'woke' is what the cry is for, and they are giving it in droves. I think they are missing that there is rising a strong rejection to that. And I think they are setting themselves up for replacement.

I think traditional fantasy will find a resurgence in developing attitudes, and writers of more traditional fantasy will start to get more notice. I would not be surprised if the next big 'next' is something along this vein.

At the same time, I think the world is split. Consumers can now choose which world view they wish to live in and immerse themselves completely in it, and that but for few exceptions, can shield themselves forever from that which doesn't fit it. So, even in a market that favors one or the other, there still should still be an audience for all.

With the arrival of the many ways to self publish, I would expect that many things will arrive that would never have made it past gate keepers before, and from that I expect to see a wider array of ideas that has the potential to be something never seen before. But I suspect even there, only a small amount of it will rise from the slush to become widely known.

I fear however, that writing is moving on to become not just a thing of the past, but a thing of the pasts past. When new creative types come of age, and look to create, what medium do they pick? Well, I think it will be less the big screen as time goes on, and even less the written word. Quick media and video games seem to be the near future to me, and book readers will likely shrink to a smaller percentage of the population (course population grows, so many actual numbers may not change). And of course, I don't even need 1% to be a top seller so...

I often feel like the cost/benefit is not here for marketability. It takes a lot of effort to write these things, and the return vs the effort is few and far between. While I do intend to enter the market, I would do so knowing that mostly its for my own purposes, and not likely to have much return.

But...I still feel compelled to write it, for my own reasons if not for any other. If I was playing the market though, I would bet on traditional fantasy, but what do I know? Nothin'
 
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I fear however, that writing is moving on to become not just a thing of the past, but a thing of the pasts past. When new creative types come of age, and look to create, what medium do they pick? Well, I think it will be less the big screen as time goes on, and even less the written word. Quick media and video games seem to be the near future to me, and book readers will likely shrink to a smaller percentage of the population (course population grows, so many actual numbers may not change). And of course, I don't even need 1% to be a top seller so...
Numbers very much seem to disagree with this. Numbers of books sold, and money spent on books is still rising. Yes, it's not as high as some other mediums like games or movies. But we're still spending more money on books than ever before in history.

I often feel like the cost/benefit is not here for marketability. It takes a lot of effort to write these things, and the return vs the effort is few and far between. While I do intend to enter the market, I would do so knowing that mostly its for my own purposes, and not likely to have much return.
I disagree here. Books have a relatively high up-front cost. But once you've got the book done, creating a single copy is free. Given that copyright protection lasts for life of the author + 70 years, and that books age a lot better than either video games or movies, there is a lot of room for making money. All you need to figure out is how you can get people to buy your book. With ads it might cost $5-$10 to move a copy. Which sounds like a lot, until you figure out that if you write a series people might just read 5 or 10 of your books, and you suddenly make $10-$20 for each book 1 you sell.

Yes, it's hard to make a living from a single book. Or to even sell a single book. But with multiple books out there, written intelligently, it's possible.

But...I still feel compelled to write it, for my own reasons if not for any other. If I was playing the market though, I would bet on traditional fantasy, but what do I know? Nothin'
I have a feeling the market is currently exploring what is out there and possible in terms of fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is pushing the epic fantasy boundaries in terms of more traditional fantasy. And there are also tales like The Green Bone Saga, which are completely different. I think fantasy is becoming more diverse and growing beyond its Tolkien roots.
 
Hi,

I think the future of the genre as always depends on what breaks out next. Because JKR puts out Harry Potter and suddenly every second fantasy out there is magic schools and teenagers. GRRM put out Ice and Fire and grimdark is everywhere. Who knows what the next big thing to capture people's imaginations will be. Sadly I'm just going to keep writing what I like which mostly seems to be heroic fantasy and steampunk - with a healthy dose of space opera!

Cheers, Greg.
 
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