Please welcome the fabulous Jennifer Estep to the SFF Seven! I loved her fantasy (with an awesome slow-burn romance) KILL THE QUEEN, and now the sequel, PROTECT THE PRINCE has released and hit the USAT bestseller list! Highly recommend you check this series out.
Jennifer is guest-posting this week's theme: Genre predictions – where is SFF headed?
Hello! First of all, I want to thank Jeffe for inviting me to guest blog. Thanks, Jeffe! J
Where are the science-fiction and fantasy genres headed? Ah, that’s the million-dollar question, especially if you write science-fiction and/or fantasy books.
My first book, Karma Girl, a paranormal romance, was published in 2007. Back then, paranormal romance was *the* hot genre. Everybody was writing about vampires, werewolves, witches, and more.
But like many things, publishing is cyclical. When a genre suddenly becomes popular, publishers want to buy books in that genre. But as more and more books in a particular genre hit shelves, the genre quickly gets oversaturated. It becomes harder and harder for new/debut and even established authors to stand out, and sales of that genre often start to wane as readers turn to other books. Then another genre will suddenly become “hot,” and the cycle will start all over again.
It happened with paranormal romance. These days, you would probably have a much harder time selling a paranormal romance than you would have 10 years ago when the genre was hot.
I’ve seen several genres come and go over the years. After paranormal romance, urban fantasy was hugely popular for several years. Then it was young-adult books. Then new-adult books. In more recent years, thrillers/psychological suspense books have been extremely popular, and 2019 seems to be the year of the rom-com.
So what does that mean for SFF authors? It’s hard to say. There will always be a market for science-fiction and epic-fantasy books, especially since those are the two mainstays and cornerstones of the SFF genre. As for what other SFF subgenres might rise in popularity, well, that is anyone’s guess. We won’t know until it happens.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see other genres/tropes start to mix in more with SFF books, especially epic-fantasy books. For example, I think we could see a melding of urban fantasy and epic fantasy. Kill the Queen and Protect the Prince in my Crown of Shards series both feature a first-person, urban-fantasy-type voice, but in an epic-fantasy world/setting. I certainly hope those kinds of books become more popular. Fingers crossed! LOL.
But I could see other genres merging with SFF – like a whodunit murder mystery set in a castle, or a heist book set in space. Or a dozen other different genre combinations. I also think that SFF romance will become more popular – books that give readers all the action, adventure, and world building of a traditional science-fiction or epic-fantasy book, but with more romance/relationships and happier endings for the characters.
And it’s not to say that these kinds of books don’t already exist – they do. I know several authors, including Jeffe, who write fantasy romance, among other things. But I think publishers will be looking for more and more unique and interesting twists on the SFF genre and that readers will be searching for books that give them more than one sort of story/reading experience – again, something like an epic-fantasy mystery or a sci-fi heist book.
There are no guarantees in publishing, and trying to predict trends is a tricky business, at best. The only thing that is certain is that trends come and go, and that a genre that seems dead right now will probably rise from the ashes like a phoenix a few years down the road.
All it takes is one book to start a trend, so I say write the SFF book that *you* want to write. Who knows, maybe your book will be the trendsetter that ushers in a new wave of popularity for SFF books.
Happy writing and reading! J
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Protect the Prince, book #2, was released on July 2.
Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter,
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)
Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/
Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2QeDW4j