I love epic fantasy. I first read LOTR in ninth grade. There's weren't many other choices back in those days but some great authors have stepped up to the plate. When I decided to turn my hand to writing, I wanted to write fantasy. But the only writers' group I was aware of in the area was a branch of RWA, Romance Writers of America. I went to a few meetings, joined, attended a conference, and wrote some romance novels.
Since then I've been sold manuscripts to two different romance publishers and have seven romance novels on the market. I'm proud of them and they're doing okay out here under my pen name, Susan Kelley. But I still love epic fantasy best.
But every time I talked to an agent or an editor, or read what they were looking for, they all said 'no epic fantasy.' 'It won't sell.' 'There's no market for it.'
Then LOTR hit the big screen and I knew the tide had turned back to my favorite. I sold my first fantasy novel to a mid-sized publisher and dreamed of Peter Jackson making it into a movie. I'll pause here for laughter. My publisher contracted three novels and published the first two before deciding they were turning their interests to zombies and self-help nonfiction. I took my rights back and went the self pub route since it's very difficult to sell a novel that has already been published to a new publisher. My dreams withered.
Then HBO came out with their epic fantasy series, The Game of Thrones. I had read and loved the books, couldn't wait to see it, and they didn't disappoint. But it revitalized my dreams. I'm trying to sell my second epic fantasy series to a publisher. I'm looking at smaller presses this round, hoping for a relationship where a publisher will work with me to build my career as well as their business rather than blindside me like the last one did.
While researching what publishers I should submit to, I noticed EDGE science fiction and fantasy publishers said in their 'want to see' list, NO EPIC FANTASY.
So is epic fantasy a vital part of the market or must a tiny niche? Will readers every tire of werewolves and vampires and return to caring about an epic battle of good versus evil to save the world?