An interesting post from Nathan at Castalia House explains the reasons for the collapse in traditionally published science fiction. Read the whole thing, but this was Rod Walker’s favorite quote:
Reliance on Bookscan and other sales tools sent publishers looking for blockbuster bestsellers instead of growing their midlist writers. And, in the current day, ebooks are proving just as disruptive, with more than 80% of all 2016 science fiction sales coming from ebooks according to Author Earnings. But while writers cannot control the changes in the industry, they can at least avoid the mistake that repeatedly led to soft sales:
Or to be more proper, literary realism.
The problem with literary realism is that literary realism is boring.
The first rule for any fiction writer (the Prime Directive, if you will) – don’t be boring under any circumstances. A writer can violate any other genre rule or convention or rule of plotting, so long as he doesn’t violate the first rule: don’t be boring under any circumstances.
Literary realism is boring.