Author Archive

Urban Fantasy Come True

This week, 11 of the Top 20 Fantasy bestsellers in the US are urban fantasy titles, including the Top 3. Most people are aware of the growth of urban fantasy over recent years, but I wonder how many are aware of the degree to which it now dominates the fantasy bestseller lists? This week’s chart shouldn’t be a surprise, either. Looking back over the fantasy bestseller charts of recent years, there’s a clear trend:

2004: 1 urban fantasy title in the Top 20.
2005: 4 urban fantasy titles.
2006: 5 urban fantasy titles.
2007: 7 urban fantasy titles.

Without any doubt, urban fantasy has changed the face of SF and Fantasy publishing in the US over recent years and there’s no sign that it won’t continue to do so.

The Bestselling SFF Debut of 2007

The Innocent Mage by Karen MillerWe’re delighted to announce that the UK’s bestselling SFF debut of 2007 was Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage. It was a great year for new authors, but it was clear from the start that The Innocent Mage was something special. It went straight to the top of the SFF charts when it was first published, and the buzz has continued to build, with a stack of rave reviews, particularly online. All seemed to echo the same sentiment: that Karen Miller was an author with an incredible gift for creating characters that leap off the page — and for telling a story in a way that makes it ridiculously difficult to put the book down (and incredibly difficult to resist The Awakened Mage, the second book in the two-part series, which came out shortly after).

Congratulations from all of us to Karen, a new star of fantasy fiction.

And for all Karen Miller fans out there, three words: Empress, April, amazing.

Number One!

Congratulations to Karen Miller, whose second novel, The Awakened Mage (out this week), has charged straight to the top of the SFF paperback bestseller charts in the UK. In the US, both The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage are among the Top 5 mass-market fantasy bestsellers. Karen is very happy — and so are we!

Robert Jordan

It is a great sadness to report the news that Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series, passed away yesterday, 16 September. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and everyone who knew him personally and through his books. The news was first posted on his blog at

And they’re off!

Orbit’s first two releases in the US, Lilith Saintcrow’s The Devil’s Right Hand and Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage, have charged up the fantasy mass-market bestseller lists to #3 and #4 respectively. A great start — and great excitement at Orbit HQ!

We have lift-off…

Tim HolmanWell, after months of meticulous planning, discussing and strategizing, it’s launch month for Orbit in the US. The books are in the stores, the reviews are coming in, and the marketing campaigns are underway.

With all of the preparation that surrounds the launch of a new imprint, it’s easy to forget the importance of that relatively brief moment when somebody sees a book for the first time — in stores, in libraries, online, or wherever — and makes a decision. As publishers, we can edit the books, and package the books. We can promote them, both directly and by working with retailers. And we can make sure that they are available as widely as possible.

But will that book catch your eye? Will you pick it up? Will you read the blurb and like the sound of it? Will you flick through a few pages and be excited enough to want to carry on? And then, of course, if you’ve done all of those things, will you enjoy it as much as we have?

Only time will tell, of course. But we’d like to thank everyone who has helped us get to this stage, and given us so much support and good advice, in particular: the authors, the agents, the booksellers, the librarians, and the reviewers. And I’d like to give special thanks to the woman I saw on the subway yesterday reading Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage and not looking up once. I hope she didn’t miss her stop … actually, I hope she did.

A Cultural Matter

Here’s a question: whose next SF novel features spaceships with the following names?

Now We Try It My Way

Experiencing a Significant Gravitas Shortfall

Subtle Shift in Emphasis

Liveware Problem

Don’t Try This At Home

You’ll Clean That Up Before You Leave

Without doubt one of the most highly anticipated SF novels to be published next year, Matter is the new novel from Iain M. Banks, the UK’s bestselling SF author. It’s a Culture novel — the first for 8 years — and Iain has just delivered the final manuscript. And I’ve just read it. And . . . WOW!!! (that’s a technical publishing term). Being a Culture novel, we’ve also got a whole heap of new Culture ship names to look forward to. My favourite today is Don’t Try This At Home. We’re scheduled to publish Matter in the UK and the US in February next year, and here’s a sneak peek of the cover:

Matter Cover

Starred Review for Orbit US Debut

Winterbirth book jacketThe first (of many, we hope!) Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly in the US has just arrived and it’s for Brian Ruckley’s Winterbirth. In their own words, it’s an “outstanding fantasy debut … ensuring a fervent audience of epic fantasy fans looking for something innovative in a genre that can be anything but.” Scroll down the page here to read the full review.

(I’m not sure, btw, whether the fantasy genre as a whole is any more or any less innovative than other genres — answers on a postcard, please — but it’s great to see a reviewer recognizing that Brian Ruckley is a writer with his own distinctive voice.)

Meanwhile, in another lovely pre-publication notice in the US, Kirkus Reviews describe Winterbirth as “epic fantasy in the mode of George R.R. Martin and R. Scott Bakker . . . readers who like their fantasy dark, multi-threaded and political will sink their teeth into this.”

To read an extract from Winterbirth, visit

Orbit at the ALA

Jo Graham

Jo Graham
(photo: Robert Walters)

Wilda Williams at Library Journal reports here on a lunch hosted by Orbit at the ALA (American Library Association) Convention in Washington D.C. recently. It was great to have the chance to talk with so many librarians and journalists about our launch list and publishing strategy, and hear about some of the issues and challenges they face.

And I got to meet Jo Graham, author of Black Ships, for the first time. She’s fantastic. She spoke wonderfully about her debut novel and read the opening pages beautifully. Everybody wanted more — but they’ll have to wait! Also got to see the White House for the first time — but Jo was the highlight of the day for me.

Orbit in Australia

The launch of Orbit in the US is only a few months away, but it was off to Australia last week, with Orbit UK Editorial Director Darren Nash, for Convergence — the 46th Australian National SF Convention in Melbourne — and a week with our sister company Hachette Livre Australia in Sydney.