Budding and established science fiction authors, heads up. Orbit, “the SF and Fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group,” has just announced “a major expansion plan starting from Fall 2016. The imprint will increase the number of titles it publishes by 50% to approximately 90 titles each year.”
Tim Holman, Orbit Publisher and Hachette Book Group SVP, said of the move: “There is a huge and diverse audience for SF and Fantasy out there, and it’s the perfect time to be expanding the list. Orbit is currently the fastest growing SF and Fantasy imprint in the U.S. with an increasing number of New York Times bestsellers – most recently Ann Leckie, whose debut Ancillary Justice was also the first novel to win every major SF award.”
Ann Leckie’s success may go partway towards explaining Orbit”s move. But you have to wonder if the success of self-published SF has also been a factor. Take The Martian, for instance, which has become the new Fifty Shades of Grey as an iconic self-publishing success story. Or Cory Doctorow and Peter Watts, who both exemplify the relationship between SF and self-publishing, free Creative Commons distribution, and even e-books. With titans like that dominating the genre, no wonder Big Publishing wants to catch up.
For those writers who want to go the traditional route, though, listen to Holman’s words: “We’re very much looking forward to building on the success we’ve had, expanding the publishing team, and welcoming more authors to the list.”