I’ve lived through enough boom-and-bust cycles in this industry to have read plenty of “science fiction is doomed’ prophecies over the decades. It usually happens at the start of a bust cycle, as the publishing industry contracts and readers see steep cutbacks. Funny enough, I almost never see the opposite — astute readers pointing out the signs of a boom. Joel Cunningham at Barnes & Noble seems to be the exception. Have a look as he catalogs many of the signs of an ongoing explosion in SF & Fantasy publishing.
Hachette Book Group today announced an ambitious expansion of its sci-fi/fantasy imprint Orbit… Beginning in the fall of 2016, Orbit will grow its list by 50 percent, publishing approximately 90 titles a year—and they’re hiring new editors, marketers, and book packagers to do it.
Nothing proves belief in a market like investment, and across the board, publishers are investing in SF/F. Just this year, we’ve welcomed to the fold Saga Press, the dedicated genre imprint from Simon & Schuster that has developed a roster of launch titles unparalleled in the industry (the debut novel from award-winning short story author Ken Liu, anyone?).
Tor.com Publishing has emerged out of Tor Books, the largest player in the genre space, with a new business model that focuses on digital-first novellas, allowing for a faster-moving, more innovative strategy that brings you, the reader, the kinds of books you might never have been able to read before…
Why is this happening? It’s because of all of us. We readers are a passionate bunch, and we’ve voted with our time, attention, and most of all, our dollars, propelling big-money, book-first franchises like Game of Thrones and the Marvel and DC superhero universes to the forefront of the cultural conversation. There’s no stigma about being a genre reader these days, because genre touches everyone — just try getting through December without hearing about Star Wars on the regular (spoiler alert: it isn’t going to happen).