2 July 2018, Writing - part x542, Developing Skills, Marketing Materials, Genre
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.
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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
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.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
1. Design the initial scene
2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a. Research as required
b. Develop the initial setting
c. Develop the characters
d. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5. Write the climax scene
6. Write the falling action scene(s)
7. Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 30: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
For novel 31: TBD
Here is the scene development outline:
1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
Today: Time again to look at marketing materials. I just finished a new novel—actually, I finished it a few weeks ago, but I’ve been working on the marketing materials. I always develop the specific materials first, then the condensed materials for my currently defunct publisher, and then the cover. You can see above, I made a proposed cover. I haven’t put any of this information on the internet yet, but I’m building up to that.
Here is my proposed cover:
Marketing materials are a must. I’ll be straight up with you. I know most people have not completed their novels. Some of you might have. You might be still working on your editing and proofing. You might be still perfecting your novel. All of that is important, but none of it matters if you don’t have a plan for marketing your work. Marketing means you have some plan and know what a publisher might want to know about you and your work. What you need is a format for your marketing materials, and here it is.
Title of Work:
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
L. D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, detective, supernatural, fae, fairy, romance, intelligence, Britain, United Kingdom, MI6, magic, New Scotland Yard, goddess, Dagda, organization, the Crown; will fascinate anyone interested in mystery, detectives, and the fae—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy mystery and suspense novels.
Genre is a very interesting characteristic or quality of a novel. The reason is that the genre changes with the market. Don’t believe me—just look at how many novels suddenly became dystopian when dystopian suddenly became a thing. My Ancient Light novels were suddenly called dystopia, not because they were, but because that was the current popular genre buzzwords that would sell novels.
What you put as the genre may or may not be what your publisher considers the genre. For marketing and sales, the genre may change over time and with changes in the marketplace.
I write all this to say—don’t get hung up about genre. People really do. If your novel is obviously Romance or purely Historical Fiction, they might stay that way, but don’t be so sure.
Publishers and readers are looking for niches and the unique. The normal love story isn’t going anywhere. The standard romance, if there ever was one, isn’t getting sold. Readers and publishers are looking for Harry Pottys and Sparkly Vampires, and I don’t blame them. The unusual and unique are what excite people. Unfortunately, the plots for many if not most of these modern novels is “the end of the world.” So, a love story with the end of the world and sparkly vampires—what is the genre of that novel, by the way?
Really, no kidding. What is the genre of that novel? A love story could put it anywhere from a romance to whatever. Likely not a romance, but sparkly vampires might make it horror or suspense. With an “end of the world” plot, the novel can’t be historical, unless it is about Noah. It most likely is science fiction, or we could state, it must logically be science fiction. With vampires of any type, you have fantasy. Science fantasy can fit under the science fiction genre, sort of.
Usually, you don’t use more than two descriptors for your genre. I suppose you could use more, but that hasn’t become accepted yet. I have a list of genre types and descriptors. The book I described would most likely be Horror Fantasy or Suspense Fantasy. You could mix them up to Fantasy Horror and Fantasy Suspense. The actual sparkly vampire novels are categorized as young adult fantasy romance. The author called it suspense romance horror comedy. There is my point and there is the rub. The novel would likely not have sold as well as a horror romance. In fact, I’m surprised it was called romance. Romance in the modern sense is bodice ripping love and not necessarily written for young adults.
In any case, this specific novel went from the author’s suspense romance horror comedy to the young adult category and a Fantasy Romance. Go figure. It sold a bunch of copy. We should be so lucky.
Pick two, stick two, and be ready for your publisher to change it.
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.
What I will do is go through each step and give you my answers based on my latest novel. I did leave the top parts filled.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic