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Old 22nd March 2012, 11:43 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

It is the sci-fi I like the most so was wondering if there was a higher proportion of female readers on space opera as compared to hard sf.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 11:35 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

The Space Opera is not over until the fat alien lady sings.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 01:23 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

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It is the sci-fi I like the most so was wondering if there was a higher proportion of female readers on space opera as compared to hard sf.
Not sure about sub-genres, but sci-fi in general I think balances out 50/50. Other genres are known to have more female readers compared to male though.

I'd imagine Space Opera is more accessible, so would likely have more female readers, compared to hard sci-fi, but don't have any stats to compare that to, so just what I'd suspect is the case.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 01:37 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

Okay, so lately I've been corresponding a bit with Alastair Reynolds!!! (Such a nice guy!!!)

Anyway, his suggestions to me, in terms of breaking into SF, were basically along the lines of: persistence, joining groups, going to conventions, and maybe trying some short story submissions. I.e., that's how he did it.

He also said:

There is a perceived bias against new writers but I can state categorically that it's not the case; all the editors I know are fanatical SF fans and are *always* looking for the next big thing. The big splash around Finnish author Hannu Rajaniemi is a case in point, and he is anything but an obvious commercial talent. (Although he *has* turned out to sell very well.)

Encouraging, isn't it. Sure, we need to do our part (write and keep going until we're writing amazingly well), but there's hope if we do.

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Old 23rd March 2012, 06:57 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

In response to Coragems opening post, I would say the most important things to have are.

a) Belief - You need to have an ironclad 100% belief in your work, write the best stories that you can, but also believe in them.

b) Patience - Only the very rare few ever write a novel that became a bestseller overnight, When I first published my first novel E.D.F chronicles : The Krenaran massacre. It took six months to acquire the kind of momentum it did, to attract readers, who, in turn talked about the novel with their friends, people who would be interested and so on. In the U.S. this is how it took off, not so much by blogging, or tweeting, but by simple word of mouth. It has grown to such an extent now, that it is in effect, doing its own marketing for me.

The popularity it has had in the U.S. has slowed a little due to spring break, but that popularity is now transferring into U.K. sales, and has seen my books shoot up the charts on amazon this month.

c) A willingness to be inventive - Try to break new ground, I know its a bit of a cliche' but don't be a sheep and simply write what everyone else is writing. Try to write something new, fresh, and different, and the readers will eventually respond. Don't do what a lot of other authors do, and write for the market, because the market is constantly shifting, write for yourself and enjoy what you write and it will show through in your work and ultimately in the reviews and sales you get.

I started out self published, my work has now made the top 100 lists in both U.S. and U.K. I am coming close to my first 1,000 downloads, which to some maybe not that many, to me though it is a huge achievement, especially without the resources other authors take for granted. Even still, I am only half way through my series.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 08:09 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

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a) Belief - You need to have an ironclad 100% belief in your work, write the best stories that you can, but also believe in them.
Well, yes, and no. I had so much belief in my first novel that I worked on it, on and off, for about fifteen years. In the end it became like the Vietnam War -- I had so much invested in it, I couldn't afford to pull out. Then reality kicked me out anyway. I now realise that everything after the first three years would have been better spent writing something else.

I think it helps to believe that writing is what you "should" be doing (however you care to define that). But believing 100% in any individual work is perhaps not so helpful.
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Old 24th March 2012, 12:19 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

OMG 15 year's!

I have had a nice dose of realism on here, but its not managed to shake my self belief. I know I can tell a good yarn. The rest, well who knows - but I'm having fun challenging myself in the processes...
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Old 8th April 2012, 10:43 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

There's no doubt in my mind that SF is a hard sell, but especially if you are repped with it and it goes out to the big houses. Planet Janitor really got the editing overhaul from my agent, and a name-author--they both polished, edited, proof-read right along with me the entire six-month way. As tough as the prospect of selling it was, my agent believed he could unload it. Well, after a year we had no takers (16 submissions), so it was left up to me to send it out to some of the smaller houses.

I don't know why, but the reception from the small press was phenomenal. I even got a small advance from the first offering house. But they soon went under. The next house offered on it, but gave me a really poor contract. The third house was relatively new, but SF was all they published, and I would be their debut author. The third house's contract was a vast improvement over the others, and they added clauses specifically for me.

The book just released not too long ago (in e-book format) and is certainly holding its own on Amazon Kindle. But I have to say that promoting/marketing a SF space opera really takes some intuitive and unique skills and ideas. I knew I was missing out on the vast reading audience (gals), and tried to come up with some ideas on how to reach them. Then I remembered that I had three solid romance subplots in the storyline, and tried to emphasize and explain that to the female audience.

Writing the book was a cake-walk, compared to selling it and getting the buzz out. We went above and beyond the call of duty as far as production. The publisher went hardback first, with a wrap-around lithograph cover that was rendered from oil and canvas--an expensive artist solicitation. They added 28 illustrations, chapter heads, table of contents, and unique front and back matter content and formatting. The hardback alone retails for $30.00, but we only sold about three or four of those. The e-book took off only after staggering the price points and free trial periods, in addition to adding prequel short stories that linked to the book

Would I do it again with a smaller independent? No. Because I know that my up-and-coming werewolf thriller, with a heavy romance element, will blow its doors off sales wise. Honestly, I would only try another SF book again if my present agent really got behind it and sent it out until hell wouldn't have it. I think SF really needs solid distribution and book store placement to do well in today's reading climate.

Chris
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Old 9th April 2012, 08:53 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

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Writing the book was a cake-walk, compared to selling it and getting the buzz out.

Chris
Ain't that the truth.
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Old 15th April 2012, 02:06 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

Hi,

I write both sci fi and fantasy, and honestly I can't tell from one month to the next which books are going to rise and which will fall. The one thing I can be sure of though, is that angels are doing a nose dive, which is a damned shame since that's my current work in progress. But hey, I write because I like it, not to sell, - that's just the icing on the cake.

Cheers, Greg.
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Old 15th April 2012, 02:27 AM   #41 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

I didn't have any trouble selling two urban fantasies. But epic or grand road fantasies would be a real challenge for me. Those require some unique, well thought out world-building chops, and when I look out there and see the truly wonderful world-fantasy stories, particularly the series, I hang my head in shame and move my fingers off the keyboard.

Chris
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Old 15th April 2012, 06:24 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

Hey, don't knock yourself.

I like urban fantasy and big world fantasy and lots and lots of other things.

If you write something well, and find it relatively easy (that's a very big relatively) then do that. Doing something that you find very, very difficult just because it is very, very difficult for you ... well, maybe the folks writing the big world building fantasies would find writing urban fantasy difficult - they could have no ideas for it.

I like reading urban fantasy but I've never had a single idea for one.
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Old 15th April 2012, 06:39 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

Agreed, Montero. It all seems to boil down to the writer's "passion", which is the element that drives us on. I find getting ideas for urban fantasy is extraordinarily easy for me--a huge pool of mythology from which to pull out ideas and concepts.

chris
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Old 29th April 2012, 05:47 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

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It's certainly sad to see the lack of attention sci-fi gets. I can go into a local bookstore and struggle to find science fiction novels on the shelves, whereas the 'science fiction and fantasy' section is overrun with fantasy.

One of the big things is that science fiction movies have not recently had a major effect on the industry, unlike Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Chronicles of Narnia. All hugely successful fantasy IPs. And of course ahem... Twilight...

We had Star Wars back in the day, and it fuelled a huge series of novels that used to be all over bookshelves, but that trend has died off and nothing has come back to refuel it.

Another factor is that more women read books then men, yet science fiction has predominantly a male audience -of course there are women who read sci-fi, and write it, just not many. Statistics show that women prefer literary and general fiction, and fantasy.


It's sad because there are some great sci-fi writers out there, like Alistair Reynolds and Orson Scott Card. But those authors are doing very well, to this day, so it's not all doom and gloom for sci-fi. I'm sure more successful authors can come along and join in with them.
Avatar is a sci-fi movie that has had significant impact, and 2009 is fairly recent.
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Old 29th April 2012, 06:11 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Re: Breaking into Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

I do have to give credit to Avatar (Cameron) in some measure. It was a out-all-attempt to put SF back on the map. It succeeded in a visual capacity, not so well in the storyline. I think it basically served its purpose.

chris
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