- Karen Frost
Tough Times in the Fantasy Genre
Well guys, the literally worst case scenario has happened. Ylva rejected the manuscript for my fifth book, "The Lady Adventurers Club." The "Destiny and Darkness" series sold so poorly that Ylva wants to move away from fantasy as a genre entirely and keep with more lucrative genres like contemporary romance. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't devastating. LAC is a fantastic book that I know everyone is going to love. But that's the nature of publishing. No one wants to publish books that are guaranteed to lose money, and right now, fantasy is a money loser for the lesbian publishing industry. What that means for me is that I've now got to find a new home for LAC.
Whether I go with another small publisher (I sent off a query to one last night), try to get a literary agent to take it to one of the major publishers, or self-publish, I find myself back in the same situation I was before Ylva took my first manuscript. It's not ideal, but it is what it is. And maybe it will end up being a great opportunity to get a second chance at reaching the fantasy reading community. There's definitely a silver lining here!
I say it a lot on Twitter, but I'll repeat it here as well: if you find a queer-themed book you love in a non-contemporary romance genre, shout about it from the rooftops. Get your friends to read it. Write reviews everywhere. Get every library in your state to order a copy. Never assume that just because you like a book, a publisher will continue to produce that kind of content indefinitely. The truth is, the book may only have sold 30 copies, a death knell. When it comes to content, authors need the readers to help keep the ship sailing.
When I signed with Ylva two years ago, I was told, "It's hard to sell fantasy to the LGBT community. Your books will likely sell very poorly." And that ended up being 100% correct. And every book in the series sells worse than the one before it. That's just the nature of a series. So the "Destiny and Darkness" series is pretty much done forever, apart from a little novella I'm halfway through that will go up here and probably on Wattpad. At least I had the chance to finish it. Not every author gets that chance.
But guys, if you anyone know who might be looking to publish a rocking low fantasy action-adventure set in 1923 Egypt with four kick-ass protagonists including two lesbians, a WOC, and a woman with Asperger’s, let me know. I promise it's good.