18 April 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 288, Genre, Marketing Materials
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I’ll make a slight digression because I’m developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
Before you can market a novel to the public, you have to market it to publishers or potential publishers. This means you need to develop materials to market your novel. These marketing materials can be used when the book is published. We’ve already looked at two main pieces used in marketing: the title and the book cover proposal. These are necessary for a web design, and they are also necessary for a publisher. You can live without a cover proposal for a while, but you need a title right away.
The next step is to build the marketing information you will use to present your novel to publishers and to the public. Here is an outline:
Title of Work:
Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer
- D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, Washington State, Tacoma, Spanaway, Seattle, Computer, Pacific Lutheran University, Hacker, goddess, sushi, Redemption, kami, Japan, Shinto, torii, Shrine, engineering, math; will fascinate anyone interested in the spiritual, mystery, and suspense—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy historical mystery and suspense novels.
Author Bio: Approximately 120 words
Synopsis: Approximately 500 Words
Concept of the Work: Approximately 250 Words
Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.
Other Information: If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.
I’ve written before about genre–I’ll do it again. Especially with novels today, genre is more a marketing concept than a distinction of plot or theme. Many novels today do not fall easily into one genre pile or another. Many, if not most, are mixed in their appeal–it just becomes difficult to state: historical mystery suspense. This starts to sound like the focus of the audience and not the work at all. It would help–or perhaps not, to have a genre: historical mystery suspense. The reason it might help is it would categorize many works that fall into all those piles–it would hurt because many readers who like historical works, but not necessarily suspense would not have a chance to be exposed to it.
In general, the genre of a work can and should change based on the audience. Here is a great example. My Ancient Light novels are historical suspense with a spiritual twist. They don’t fit well in any normal genre, but they are easily historical suspense. They are now published as dystopian fiction–which broadly, they could kind of be, but only if the history of the real world is dystopian. In this way, my publisher is taking advantage of a new genre that has excited the marketplace. Ancient Light can be said to have a somewhat dystopian feel. They can broadly be called dystopian. They kind of fill a unique niche in literature and are hard to place–why not be dystopian?
In your marketing materials, you should try to take advantage of both the marketplace and the interests of the public (you audience). Your publisher will certainly do that, but realize, a dystopian novel might have some play with a publisher today–more play than historical or suspense. Likewise, a novel about supernatural creatures might excite publisher into, at least reading your work. I’m not sure if the supernatural creature market is dead. I wrote a book about a vampire–I just was inspired and not by the current crop of vampire novels.
So pick a genre that might excite a publisher and your audience–that’s the way to market your novel.
At this point everything I’m doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.