(And yes, there's a giveaway today---read on!)
Urban fantasy and paranormal fiction has been the darling of publishing for the last few years, but a conversation with my agent earlier this week made me start wondering if the UF bubble has begun to deflate. As a writer of urban fantasy and paranormal romance this is Bad News. Of course, a writer never writes to the market but you can't ignore it (especially if the number of adult authors flocking to ride the YA bandwagon is any indication).
So, like any self-respecting nerd looking for ways to procrastinate, I did a study of the genre fiction sales this past year, using data from Publisher's Marketplace. I only looked at genre fiction, and discounted anthologies, reprints of books by dead authors, and small limited-run editions such as those put out by Subterranean Press (however much I adore their books).
Here's what I found in books sold between Dec. 15, 2009, and Dec. 15, 2010 (counting multiple-book deals as one sale):
Young Adult: 432
Romance/Women's Fiction: 371
Urban Fantasy: 76
Science Fiction/Steampunk: 36
Traditional Fantasy: 13
I'd have to do an analysis of the previous year to see trending, but overall throughout the year, there seemed to be a drop in urban fantasy while steampunk gave sci-fi a shot in the arm.
(The Young Adult numbers are mind-boggling to me. I've read some really good YA, but I've also read lots more that I just couldn't identify with, being far-removed from the angst of teenhood. When will that bubble burst, already? Surely saturation must be near at hand.)
Within Urban Fantasy, here's the breakdown:
*Complex-worlds with multiple paranormal species: 24 sales (with NAL, Ace, Berkley, Prime and Night Shade most active)
*Angels/Demons: 18 sales (Tor, Pocket, Rock and Kensington most active)
*Werewolves/Shapeshifters: 11 sales (NAL most active)
*Witches/Wizards: 10 sales (Berkley and Pocket most active)
*Vampires: 7 sales (NAL most active)
*Ghosts: 6 sales (Tor most active)
Most active publishers buying in Steampunk (Tor, HarperCollins Voyager and Ace)
Most active publishers buying Sci-Fi other than Steampunk (Tor, Baen, Daw, Roc and Del Rey)
Most active publishers buying traditional fantasy/romantic fantasy (Tor and Orbit)
What can we draw from all this? Probably not much, except that zombies might finally be dying, angels and demons are still hot, and vampires' fangs are slipping. Complex worlds with those species are more seem to be doing best.
And now for the giveaway! To win a $15 Amazon e-giftcard for a book of your choice, just leave a comment!