1. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    Steampunk Western - Too small a niche for trad publishing?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Bob Magness, Nov 10, 2011.

    I am wondering if the type of novel i wish to write might be more suitable for self publishing vice traditional publishing. I want to write steampunk westerns.

    Some of you may not know what steampunk is. It is sci-fi or fantasy that typically takes place during the Victorian era and contains technology that is steam powered and contains clock work mechanization. The technology is much more advanced than what was actually possible during the time. Think steam powered robotic horses or clock-work cybernetics. A popular example of classic steampunk is The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

    It is easy to find steampunk novels but the VAST majority of them are set in Victorian era Europe. As I said, I want to write steampunk westerns. More specifically I want to write sci-fi steampunk westerns. The reason I am clarifying is that in all my searching the only steampunk westerns that I can find out there are fantasy and have supernatural elements to them. That is great and I enjoy those but I want to leave the supernatural out of mine and keep it sci-fi driven. Actually, an example of a sci-fi steampunk western movie is Wild Wild West with Will Smith. Though the fiction I will write will be darker and not so cheesy.

    Many members of this forum have stated one good way to get agents and publishing companies to consider your fiction novel is to first get short stories published. So I headed over to Duotrope and ran the following search for publications:

    Genre:Sci-fi
    Sub-genre: Steampunk (yep, it is in the pull down menu)
    Payscale: Token and Up (Some members here have stated be published in nonpaying publications doesn't help)

    I left rest of the pull down menus as "Any". I pressed enter and got 14 hits. That doesn't seem like very many. I suppose I could submit them to any sci-fi publication even if they don't specify they accept steampunk.

    But the point is this: it is not a saturated sub-genre. There is a dearth of both authors AND publishers. I am left contemplating if this may be one of those cases where it is better to go the self publishing route. Any thoughts?

    An no, I have no expectation of becoming rich or even making a living off of this. I want to do it for the pleasure of it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I would say go for traditional. I see no reason this will not sell. I would read it for sure. If you are worried about steam punk in general being over done right now, than make all other aspects of the story unique. Using a western setting is a step in the right direction. Also, you have no idea if steam punk will be over used or not by the time you finish writing this and get it published. So I say go full steam ahead and worry about it after.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    As a general rule I think someone who enjoys steampunk of one kind, would be willing to try steampunk of another kind, so I don't think it's too small of a niche.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Steampunk seems increasingly popular at the moment. I'd say go traditional, as the "western" aspect isn't so much a niche as a slant on steampunk as a subgenre.

    I'd also suggest that you should understand that subgenre on duotrope is a relatively new feature, and many publishers don't yet bother with it. Take a look at SF publishers in general, and if you're a keen reader of steampunk take account of the publishers of the books you're reading and enjoying.
     
  5. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    Thanks all. And Banzai, thanks for the that piece of info about Duotrope. I went back and looked at the description of many of the other sci-fi magazines and the decriptions of what many of them are looking for, even though they don't mention the word "steampunk", most definitely encompass it.
     
  6. Jabby J
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    Jabby J Member

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    I would read it. A dark steam punk western? How could I resist? Let me know when you're finished.

    Seriously, what I have found is that steam punk is not that vast of a genre (although seriously cool), but that sometimes works to your advantage. You're writing something that isn't too played out and if it's written well could be the 1st of it's kind. You could be the trail blazer to another sub-genre! I say go for it. If it doesn't get published, that doesn't mean it won't be cool to have written it.
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Happy to have been of help. I've definitely seen some of the more general SF publishers and markets do steampunk. It's becoming quiet mainstream now.
     

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