Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weird West Woes

There are an amazing amount of weird westerns out there, if you look for them at places like Amazon. But, if you look more closely, a lot of them appear to be self published.  And still more are just short stories being sold as books.  And they're all horror stories.  Believe it or not, there was a time not that long ago when weird westerns were heavily science fiction. Then there was an abrupt shift and everything with the weird western label suddenly became horror--and ultra dark horror for the most part. And the science fiction weird western was all but gone and forgotten.

That's actually why I started publishing Science Fiction Trails.  There just aren't many homes for western themed science fiction anymore.  And, alas, it seems writers no longer have much interest in writing this stuff. Our submissions are way down.  The western flavor of steampunk fired up people for a bit. We also saw a real surge when Cowboys & Aliens came out. Now that the fervor from that has quieted down, there just isn't much going on in this market.  I actually feel more like the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam than at any time since I started doing this over a decade ago.  Even though sales are not what they could be, as readers continue to favor free downloads over actually paying for something, it is the departure of writers than worries me more.

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