Monday, April 8, 2013

The problem with epic fantasy and indie writers

Reposted from Kindleboards:

Romance. I can't really see it losing its crown. The Queen has been ruling for a while now.

More women read than men (I feel so anyway, no research done Tongue), and a lot of women like romance,
so romance should always be dominant, no matter what spice is flavouring it (historical/vamps/etc.).

Epic fantasy does well, but its dominated by a few big names. Indie authors don't really try to write
fantasy on the same scope and size as the trade published authors (Dalglish's books are half the size).
I am going to self publish a 250k novel at the end of this year, the first of a long series, I think I may be
one of the first doing this as an indie. Self publishing this book will cost me over 3000 bucks (the price is
why I don't think many indies bother with epic fantasy).

The problem with epic fantasy from an indie standpoint (and I speak from considerable experience) is the sheer amount of work involved. Writing a 250K word epic is very much a labor of love that can consume years of your life. From what I can ell about the indie writing business model, there is a premium on speed of production. Writers who can churn out multiple short novels (or even novellas) over a year or two (or who have an extensive backlist built before they publish) have an advantage over someone slaving away on a massive 1000 page monster - from Amazon or Smashword's point of view one writer has more titles up than another, which is more for the algorithms to work with, more opportunity for prospective buyers to stumble across their names.

The downside of this is quality - we end up with a lot of boilerplate stories featuring the same stock characters and plots. I think that's a reason why so many PNR stories feature broody vampires and all the rest, or why so many indie fantasies are variations of the standard coming-of-age stories that come across as rehashed Dungeons and Dragons sessions turned to fiction. They're easy to write, there's a template to follow.

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