The marketing of books created many, many sub-genres for genres fiction in general, and for literary Fantasy especially.
I recently went back to a old fantasy novel draft (I’m trying hard to make it a stand alone; very hard…) and, as I now do before working on a novel, try to sell it first.
I hit a problem: the many sub-genres of literary Fantasy.
Suddenly, I was not writing a Fantasy novel anymore. I was writing… what exactly?
I was at lost. Ends a bit of research on the topic.
Evergreen genre, Fantasy novels ?
Sure, writing a Fantasy novel is pretty « safe » bet. It is always in demand.
Every bookstore has a bookshelf dedicated to Fantasy novels. The same goes for Science-Fiction and Horror (a often renamed for marketing purposes genre) by the way, but you certainly already know that.
But from a book marketing point of view, simply selling a Fantasy novel won’t do anymore.
There is way, way too many of them now (which is good, not a problem, just a fact).
Fantasy novels simply evolved, in many different directions.
With the help search engine and SEO and etc, the Fantasy genre tree got many new branches (sorry for the obvious metaphor, I honestly cannot think of something original to illustrate what I mean- its just one those days, I guess).
The self-publishing world created many Fantasy sub-genres.
A lot of indie authors write within the basic parameters of what defines the Fantasy genre. But to stand out from the very crowded book market, they need to pimp up their games.
The Book Marketing side of writing a Fantasy novel needs to target a specific audience of readers, with a specific description of what they can expect from THAT very special, classic or unique Fantasy novel.
What is a Fantasy novel this days?
Here, I’m gonna have to go academic on you all. Just a little. With the help of the good people from MasterClass – I am NOT affiliated with MasterClass, I just like what they came up with to describe the Fantasy genre and sub-genres.
Fantasy genre is…:
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Fantasy is a genre of literature that features magical and supernatural elements that do not exist in the real world. Although some writers juxtapose a real-world setting with fantastical elements, many create entirely imaginary universes with their own physical laws and logic and populations of imaginary races and creatures. Speculative in nature, fantasy is not tied to reality or scientific fact.MasterClass team. For the whole post on Fantasy genre.
Where to go from there? Into the belly of the beast. The Fantasy sub-genres!
I will go over the 3 evergreen major Fantasy sub-genres, the ones I love the most and in which I write.
But if you want to learn about every Fantasy sub-genres, here’s the links I used to do my research:
– Thoughts of Fantasy
– Worlds Without End
– Writer’s Edit
Three evergreen Fantasy sub-genres
Epic / High Fantasy
The story takes place in a fictional world, completely independent of the reader’s day-to-day reality.
Written for adult readers, Epic Fantasy novels have complex characters and complex plots. They feature magic elements, such as dragons, and are « clean », meaning there is no potentially offensive content for readers (graphic violence, erotica, etc).
« The Lord of the Rings » novel is the ultimate example.
Set in the real world, or a world very close to the reader’s world, a Low Fantasy novel included inexplicable events of magic, supernatural or mythical nature that goe against the character’s primary beliefs or views of their own world.
« The ocean at the end of the lane » comes to mind.
A child is the protagonist in a children’s fantasy novel.
Confronted with magical or supernatural events, or in order to find happiness or free itself from a terrible situation, the protagonist will go on a quest and always, always prevailed.
« The Chronicles of Narnia » rings a bell.
I hope this post will help you figure out which Fantasy sub-genres is best for your writing and your book marketing plan.
Dear writer friends, until next time!