Do you hate the mundane world? Do you long for a world where evil lurks but you know heroes will rise to fight it? Do you yearn for days of old when magic filled the air? Is Led Zeppelin your favorite band?
Then epic fantasy just might be for you.
Though you’re unlikely to crack the overall Top 100 on Amazon (the current top-selling epic fantasy is 82 in Kindle books and is by a NYT best-selling author with a big publishing house behind them; there are no small number of independent/self-published books in other genres ranked higher), epic fantasy is a steady earner. Long stories attract faithful fans, and once hooked on your world, they will buy every book in it. And even when one series is ended, your deeply detailed world will have plenty of other areas to explore that hold new characters and stories for your readers to discover. Robin Hobb does this to very good effect.
Epic fantasy is a worldbuilding genre. You must enjoy worldbuilding as much, or maybe more, than the actual writing. If this sounds tedious to you but you still want to write fantasy, look at more primary world focused genres like intrusion/urban or historical fantasy.
You should consider writing epic fantasy if…
- You love reading them.
- Your non-fiction reading tends toward medieval/ancient history and folktales from around the world.
- You are comfortable with “the mythic voice.”
You should probably try a different genre if…
- You like terse prose and tend to write short.
- You prefer fiction with a modern sensibility.
- “Gormenghast” makes you think of a medical condition, not a decaying, Gothic castle.
The formula for success in self publishing for an epic fantasy writer is pretty straight forward.
- Have a good book. It must be vast and far-reaching, full of history and political intrigue, while also being emotionally epic in the journey and growth of the protagonist.
- Build an ARC or Beta reader team. Get feedback from the beta readers to improve your book and use the ARC readers to get lots of reviews for your book when it launches.
- Make sure your title, cover, and description are true to the genre. These are the things that readers use to decide whether to buy your book or not. Make sure they match the book you’re selling. Epic fantasy has fairly defined covers, and shouldn’t be challenging.
- Advertise to the people who read books just like yours. This means product targeting with Amazon ads and keywords for books with covers that look like yours and similar subject matter. Pick your favorite author and target them directly from the day you start writing all the way through your book launch and advertising campaign.
- Keep writing. Don’t rest on your laurels with a good book. Write another one. And another one. And so on. The next book helps sales on the earlier ones and it adds up to some serious sales numbers by the time you get to book number six or seven. Epic fantasy readers expect a series, and the genre lends itself to series exceptionally well. It even lends itself to extra series in the same world, as there is always more of that world to explore.
- Build your mailing list. Readers are always hungry for more books. If they like your stuff, they will snap it up the day it comes out. The same is true with building a social media following.
The hard part of all this is writing a good book. One of the founders of this site is a fantasy author and has written a ton about the process of writing them. Check out the fantasy tag in articles for more on writing fantasy of all kinds.