Why are Australian publishers averse to science fiction books?
20 February 2023
Australian author Alice Boer-Endacott, writing for the Australian Young Adult Literature Alliance (#LoveOzYA) blog:
However, despite the growing mainstream appreciation of fantasy (and science fiction) texts, especially within YA, Will [Kostakis] notes, “it’s as if we’re conditioned to see something as less worthy just because it is unabashedly fun. The implications of this? We talk less about fantasy books’ craft, we omit some of our finest YA writers from awards conversations, they’re not studied in schools … That last bit is very important in the Australian landscape, where sales are (unfortunately) quite small.” This final point was echoed by an industry insider with whom I had a passing conversation on this subject (they declined to be named). They told me, “the success of YA texts are dependent on whether or not schools pick up class sets, and they are much less inclined to do that with fantasy.”
Some Australian publishers explicitly state they will not accept science fiction and fantasy manuscripts. Some Australian authors meanwhile have reported local agents and publishers will only accept literary fiction manuscripts, and nothing else. Scoring any publishing deal is difficult, but the odds are especially stacked against sci-fi and fantasy writers in Australia.