Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Don't Read Fantasy

My mom said this to me yesterday as we discussed the MLS contest.

It had never occurred to me before, but she's right. Mom's bookshelf nowadays is stacked with political thrillers by authors whose names I can't even think of to write. When we were younger, she liked historical romances and westerns like Louis L'Amour and that guy that writes about Indian reservations. Hillcamp? Huxtable? Something like that. Perfectly good books I would never read.

Another friend who only read biographies and non-fiction historical commentaries also read my book and liked it. We were talking about cover art once. I told her I knew what picture I wanted for the cover (Caissa sitting at the feet of a dragon as they talk) and what picture a publisher would want (Caissa with sword drawn rushing a dragon breathing fire). I was told in no uncertain terms that my friend would never pick up a book with a picture on the front of it. She suggested a star of justice symbol instead. Maybe I suggested that and she concurred.

My sister-in-law read my book. While her taste runs to gangsters and vampire/horror, and she cannot stand English romances (or authors, for that matter, who are my main inspiration), she liked it. She even suggested I add a few more fight scenes. The dismembered monks in Manarot are for you, Triny.

Even my postman read it, and gave me the greatest compliment I have yet heard: "It's like a real book."

Either all these people are flat-out lying to me, or my book has appeal. Which floors me, considering I can't get a mention in the MLS contest. Yes, it's early, but once again, Star of Justice is noticeable by its absence. (I am not telling you to mention it, mom.)

So now I'm wondering, is my book too normal for real nerds? Is my lack of fantastical and uniquely startling creatures a drawback with the hard-core fantasy crowd? Is the very thing that makes the book accessible to people with other interests making it boring to those I would normally market to?

Egads! What a disaster! People who like the book would never pick it up to read, and those who would pick it up won't because it's too normal.

Welcome to the story of my life.

2 comments:

  1. MLS is probably not the place for your book. Looking at all the entries the ones that seem the most popular seem to be actually connected to Heaven and Hell, Jesus coming back, crisis of Faith, what does it look like after the world ends, etc...

    Your book is actual fantasy - that's a good thing because it means it will appeal to a wider audience than the "Christian Crowd". MLS seems like a nice place for a soft, cushy intro to people who are like you - bah humbug. Put on your Dragonskin armour and go back and beat down Tor's door and publishing houses that publish fantasy and science fiction. Hit the fan based sci fi and fantasy web sites. Go where the fans are - put an e-chapter on your website and sell the rest of it as a e-book for $4 or $5.00. Have Kinko's print up 10 copies in softcover and take it to a fan convention, visit the local book stores and see if they'll take a couple of copies on consignment and put them by the front door. Get it out to the public (Tribes - it's where it's going, get with the program ...) and let the people like it. Try different covers and see what sells better. Go over to the library and see if they will let you talk about writing a book and sell some from a table in the back of the room. No one is going to come over to your house begging for a copy of your book - at least not at first. Get enough out there to develop a fan base and you'll eventually be able to publish your laundry list (thank you Stephen King)!

    You've written books, that makes you an author so that part is done - now you have to learn marketing and sales to make you a published author. Less time sighing and more time doing - generate activity, even if it's the wrong activity try it and discard it, you can cross it off your list as what doesn't work and try something else. If you don't like "the story of my life" then get off the proverbial duff and change the story.

    Love,

    Your Bro

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  2. And that's what it sounds like when your elder brother tells you not to be a whiny butt. Hehe!

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