Welcome to the site launch of Our Own Worlds! We are a collective of independent women, trans, non-binary and genderqueer fantastic fiction authors who are looking for better ways to engage with our readers.
Our mission, on this great galactic voyage, is to build a collective (we’ll avoid the word “colony”) on the edge of a new frontier. We want to escape the noise and chaos, and the artificial obstacles, that exist in the rest of the world we’ve left behind (the publishing world, that is.)
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single author in possession of a manuscript, must be in want of readers… But it is also a truth, universally acknowledged, that a single science fiction, fantasy, paranormal or horror reader in possession of a Kindle, a Kobo or a bookshelf, must be in want of books. We desire to fulfill both of these wants!
Ah, but how? Because, you see, in our declaration of independence (as authors,) we have realized that in the world of publishing, all men are not created equal. Well, perhaps they are. But we are not men.
We’ve become aware of certain significant obstacles that prevent our voices from being heard:
The publishing world is hostile to women and marginalized gender identities.
It isn’t readers who are hostile. Readers just want good books, and they (we) don’t care what the author’s gender is. But the industry itself is less likely to publish books by women & other-gendered authors, less likely to review them, and less likely to treat them seriously in a review. There’s even an argument that the perspective itself of women and marginalized genders is perceived as being of poorer quality by the industry, so even blind judging fails to account for this.
There are significant gatekeeping forces in the publishing industry who don’t want to share space with independent authors.
As a result, they spread the message that indie books are not of the same quality as traditionally-published books, and that if a writer were a “real author,” they would be traditionally published.
While there are many indie authors who are newer, and who perhaps publish before they are ready, the idea that their work is “not as good” as that of traditionally-published authors is simply not true. There are many reasons to publish independently, most of which come down to marginalization, ingenuity, or wanting to maintain creative or financial control.
But that myth is pervasive, so we want to assure our readers that in order to be a featured author on our site, you must pass through a vetting process. Three of our authors must determine that your work is ready to be showcased here. For more information, see our Membership page.
The industry itself believes that science fiction, fantasy, and other fantastical genres are on the decline.
As a result, they will not put as much money, or as much effort, into promoting SFF books. This becomes a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. Have you noticed that the SFF section in the bookstore gets progressively smaller every year, and is wedged into deeper, darker, cobwebby corners? Then, of course, their sales continue to drop, so the cycle continues.
But most sales of SFF books are not reflected in traditional publishing sales these days, and most publishing sales models do not take independent publishing sales into account at all. Data Guy did a presentation at the 2018 Nebula Conference that demonstrates conclusively that SFF sales are moving primarily into the indie market. Data Guy’s work in other areas has been controversial in the past, but not in this area.
Why is this? Many have speculated: my personal speculation is the price of books vs. relative wages. Readers looking to try a book or an author they’re not sure they’ll like are moving to digital formats, which are considerably less expensive. And this, I believe, is taking the place of the 99 cent pocket-book.
But we know that speculative fiction readers are among the most dedicated and voracious readers in the world! We know you’re looking for new material, and you just can’t find it on the bookshelf at Barnes & Noble in among all the Robert A. Heinlein and Philip K. Dick reprints and Warhammer 40K books. Not that we have anything against any of the above. Just… we know you want those, but you want more too.
Well, you can find more here.
The independent publishing industry is glutted with an overwhelming number of books, so it’s hard to parse the information.
All the experts agree: the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of independent publishing with a successful blog has passed. The truth is, there are a lot of books being published with the easy availability of independent-publishing. It’s hard for readers to search the field to find what they might be interested in, and it’s hard for authors to be heard in the cacophony. Marginalized voices have even more difficulty being heard.
But we believe that readers do want to hear those voices! We believe that readers just have no idea where to start looking.
Friends, if you’re interested in speculative genre and literary fiction, you can start here. We’ll feature reviews of indie-published speculative books as well as New Releases from our (carefully vetted) member-authors, articles about the genre and the industry, and from time to time, fun pieces like free fiction, story readings, and panel discussions and videos. But unlike many sites, we’re not going to bore you with the details on how to write an effective character arc. Our platform is reader-focused. We want to be your one-stop shop for what’s happening in independent speculative fiction of any and all genres. I promise we won’t steer you wrong.