by Suzanne Johnson
So here’s what happened, or at least my interpretation of it.
About 2013-2014, the market for urban fantasy and paranormal romance went into freefall. Except for a few small companies, no publisher would touch either genre not written by a proven author. After several years of strong sales fed by the success of series like Twilight and Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires (aka Sookie), the market just died, seemingly overnight.
Well, the whole publishing world was turned on its ear by the rapid growth of self-publishing, aka indie publishing. Instead of 50 urban fantasy books coming out each year, 5,000 (actually, more like 50,000) came out. Same with paranormal romance, except in larger numbers. Authors, tired of banging on the door of big publishers and getting said door slammed in their faces, simply put out their own books and set their own prices for readers.
That was a whole lot of books for the same number of readers. While the number of books have ballooned, there has not been a corresponding growth in the number of readers. Faced with tons of choices, urban fantasy readers picked the less-expensive options, which were not those coming from the big publishers. So the publishers, for the most part, picked up their toys and went home, saying “no more urban fantasy.”
I was lucky in that I began my Sentinels of New Orleans series a couple of years before the big changes happened. Since then, however, if you aren’t already a proven best-selling author, the big publishers don’t want to know you.
Until now. Slowly, we’re beginning to see new urban fantasy creep in from the bigger publishers. Why?
For one thing, I think they realize the market is big enough that it can support more books. I can’t speak for other readers, but I read urban fantasy as well as write it because it tickles my imagination. I love the idea that there might be “others” living among us. That my former boss on my day job turned into a slobbering ghoul every night (oh, wait, that might be real).
To me, urban fantasy brings together the best of real-world suspense fiction and the elements of fantasy in one setting. It brings fantasy to life by setting it in a world we know, and making a plethora of creatures just human enough that we can identify with them, cheer them on, or wish them dead.
So after a couple of years spent thinking of genres other than urban fantasy, I’m encouraged enough to look beyond the Sentinels series and think of new worlds and new ideas to pursue.
In the meantime, I’m still happily immersed in the Sentinels world, and looking forward to the release of book five, BELLE CHASSE, tomorrow. This will be the penultimate book in this series, although the undead pirate Jean Lafitte is clamoring for his own spinoff book. (Oui?)
Long live urban fantasy! Now, if we can just get paranormal romance off that respirator….
What are your thoughts about the revival of urban fantasy and paranormal romance? Are you burned out, or ready for more vamps and shifters, faeries and elves? And, of course for me, more wizards and members of the historical undead.
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Suzanne's Newest Urban Fantasy: Belle Chasse
With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.
It's time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.
Available Here: Amazon | BN | Book Depository | Books-a-Million | Indie Bound