Publishers, and who is big!

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Keyoke, May 7, 2000.

  1. Keyoke

    Keyoke King of the Lurkers.

    Nov 3, 1999
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    Well, this is just a observation, but, TOR seems to be the big boys in the Fantasy field. They seem to have a huge selection of Fantasy Authors, and we're talking big ones..

    Jordan, Modesitt, Goodkind, Haydon, etc.. BUT, you know, I tend to find most TOR books to be rather blech. I dont like Goodkind, Haydon's book I didnt really enjoy (See Review)..

    But, Bantam Spectra..Now, they have some wonderful series going.. Robin Hobb, and George R. R. Martin.. John Marco, etc.. Do you folks watch this at all? I am noticing more publishers myself these days.

    And, who is the big boy of the Fantasy writers? I mean, we have Jordan, but, to be honest, I think he is losing Fan support fast.. Goodkind, who, while I dont like, seems rather large, but, even Fans seeem to find his stories to similiar to each preceeding novel?

    Any comments? I felt like posting something. =)
  2. bookfreak13

    bookfreak13 New Member

    Nov 3, 1999
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    Personally I think that there are two publishers that are the big, big ones for fantasy. Tor, as you mentioned, and Del Rey. Sure, Del Rey is an imprint of Ballantine, but it is one of the bigger publishers of fantasy. There are also all the smaller ones, but who are still considerable: DAW, Avon, the imprint that Harper Collins has, Bantam Spectra like you again mentioned, and many many more.
    As to the "big boy" of fantasy, I don't really know. sure, all the ones who would be considered are the ones that everyone knows, such as :
    -McCaffery(I know I spelled it wrong)
    and doubtless countless others. I think that many would probably consider it to be Tolkien, because he did the LotR series back in the sixties, but I don't really think that he would be my choice. I wonder what everyone's would be?
  3. Cellandros

    Cellandros New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
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    Great topic, Keyoke, I think there's some interesting discussion here. At least, for the past few years, I've for some reason, been paying alot of attention to the publishing/imprint houses.

    As far as the publishers go, as with almost everything, its very cyclic.

    Ten to five years ago, Bantam-Spectre was the big boy publisher. Practically every author I read was signed with B-Spectre. Then a few authors left because they wanted to do different style stories that Bantam didn't want to do, and Bantam went with the 'flat-fee' for their Star Wars line, and some authors left fearing that the flat-fee might become standard for all Bantam books. Suddenly, *poof* Bantam and its unbeatable stable was gone. There was a period when I didn't buy any books from Bantam.

    During Bantam's hey-dey, Tor made a powerplay, with the WoT phenomenon and Jordan. Based on its success, Tor pretty much paid no attention to what was going on in the fantasy field and simply went after writers who could crank out 'fat-fantasy' WoT like novels, (thus the rise of Goodkind, who I love, Dave Farland (aka Dave Wolverton), etc)). For a while they were very successful, and were (probably still are) the kings of fat-fantasy publishing. But like you pointed out, Jordan's loosing his fans (due to a couple of sub-par performances); and lots of people aren't as satisfied with alot of the current fat-fantasy (due mainly to what I think are Tor's poor decision to flood the market with it...I simply don't have the money to shell out $30 bucks a pop for each new fat fantasy novel they throw out).

    Meanwhile, while B-Spectre was falling like a rock, Del-Rey's stock was rising as if it were propelled to the heavens by rocket power. Basically, Del-Rey went for middle-of-the-road fantasy, with a good mix of authors (some talent that they got on their own, and some were refugees from bantam). Yet, for some reason now, I get the feeling that Del-Rey peaked maybe a year or two ago. I think they are getting ready to plummet.

    Bantam-Spectre, or what's left of it, looks set to make a power-play based on a small stable. But hey, Martin and Hobb are hot commodities (Hobb is probably my fav author right now, I'm certainly counting the days till fall when I can get her new book).

    So, to sum it up, I see it as the following:

    Tor--in a little trouble, needs help in the way of an awesome showing out of Jordan's WoT #9. But even with that, I think Tor needs to try to expand a bit from the WoT formulae and break something new on us. I currently rate them as tied for the 2 spot.

    Bantam Spectre-stream-lined now, needs to get 2 more 'superstar' author/series and they'd take the top spot. Currently tied with Tor.

    Del-Rey. King of the Hill right now, due to their huge stable of authors. But a huge bulls-eye has been drawn on their chest. Things to note: Del-Rey really seems to be zoning in on sci-fi, but I think if you dropped their SW line, they might be in a bit of trouble. If DR is going to stay on top they need to push the younger, fresher authors (namely Gregory Keyes).

    Daw, Avon, Aspect, ect. are pretty much all based around one or two authors, (though they are power-houses...Tad Williams, Melianie Rawn (hopefully she can get well, and get back into writing soon), Ray Feist, etc).

    The big wild-card to the future will be, and always has been Baen. Right now, Baen's got the sci-fi field (in my book), if they were ever to focus on fantasy, they could change the genre and industry. Its funny, everyone always considers Baen as not one of the big-guys; but I think they've been the most influential publisher in the industry.

    Now, who are the big-boys of fantasy. That's real tough to say. My list now includes those who are on the rise, and those who are on the decline:


    If I had to say one right now, I'd say the current king is Martin. He seems to be the one who is selling well, like by almost everyone, and has the most people gnashing their teeth waiting for his next one.
  4. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    May 17, 2000
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    Great Topic, I think about this one occasionally myself. TOR is #1 right now interms of Fat Fantasy. But each publisher has their own little niche as I see it;

    TOR BIG Fantasy series (Jordan, Modesitt). Live by Jordan, die by Jordan. I am one of the Jordan fans who is slowly becoming disenchanted with WOT. Elizabeth Haydon is pretty good, and a new author. Might start Wizard's First Rule, from what I have read about you either love it or hate it. I think the best thing that TOR does is the ORB reprint series (Gene Wolfe; Richard Matheson)

    DelRey-they seem to publish across the board and seem to have some of the classics of Fantasy; McCaffrey, Donaldson, Gemmel, Eddings, etc-probably why they have just reissed LOTR under the DelRey imprint rather than Ballantine imprint (VERY SMART MOVE WITH THE MOVIES COMING OUT NEXT YEAR). DelRey also started their IMPACT imprint, with the classic Lord Dunsany. Not sure if DelRey still has the Del Rey Discovery line active.

    BantamSpectra-They have Hobb and Martin, what else needs to be said, plus new voices such as John Marco, who is getting a lot of praise across the net (, to name two), and Mark Anthony who is pretty good in his own right. BantamSpectra also has a decent backlist of Feist and LeGuin's EarthSea.

    HarperCollins which just bought out Avon, merged the EOS imprint with HarperPrism-they may be the publisher to watch, combining two groups of established authors (Feist, Duncan, Wurts, McDevitt.)

    WarnerAspect-JV Jones is pretty good, just from reading "A Cavern of Black Ice." This imprint seems to be growing as well.

    The three Penguin SF/F Imprints: Daw, Roc and Ace

    DAW-I only have read Tad Williams from DAW, but Daw seems to be broad on a smaller scale than DelRey-mostly fantasy. Sean Russell, while I have not read him, seems to be regarded fairly well.

    ROC-I have only read GG Kay from them, but he is pretty damn good

    ACE-mostly sf, some fantasy from what I have seen

    Baen-never ready any books from them, to me seems mostly military SF, which is not my glass of beer.

    Just my observations, what the hell do I know?!?!

    Then again, I could be wrong. [​IMG] :)