The truth is we all judge books by their covers.
I'll also agree that a cover should reflect what's in the story. If you're paying for this cover, you need to make sure you're getting what you want. If you need a recommendation ask around. I'm sure people will be willing to share their cover artist
I agree. Even if it is a remote connection, the cover should give the reader a sense of what sort of story to expect. Good luck!
It is better to me if the cover relates in some way to the story. Michael Whelan was really good at that.
Thanks everyone. Book 1 is due out early 2013; hope to have a completely revised and finished Book 2 by then.
Congrats as well!
Congrats Rich. Good luck with it.
This is the list I'm currently running through;
I've been contacting bloggers for months now and I'm still only up to M... time consuming but for better or worse, i'm getting out there
Sawyer and I mean "professional" reviewers.
Folks whose blogs, magazines, whatever specifically cater to reviewing fantasy and/or sci-fi titles. They often have a huge following and if they review your book, you get major exposure.
Again, doesn't guarantee a favorable review or even a review, but you will be getting a chance to put your work it in front of a larger audience.
Just a suggestion. Good luck with whatever you go with. Here are a few links to threads where some folks have gathered review sites:
If I had a group of reviewers to go to, then I don't think I would have written this post. I have some reviews on Smashwords and on my web site, but that's hardly much.
Finding reviewers has been the biggest challenge? Is it acceptable to query the followers of my blog (not this one, the one with 80+ followers) and ask them if they would review for me. I tried that one my Facebook Fan Page and got no respond for my second book which is due out by the end of the year (or there about).
I'm on twitter though don't know how useful it is- my highest follower numbers was 26 though it fluctuates, I find blogging... time consuming. I do a little on my website and have a whole 12 followers...
The most effective thing I've found so far is going through reviewer lists, emailing them my 'spiel' with a cover image and free coupon to download my novel and hope for the best... I get about 1 in 8 who accept to review my novel so it's a start. Even doing that is time consuming as you need to go to their website, read their review policy, find their email and email them... sounds easy but it's amazing how much time it consumes!
Anyway, I've resigned myself to emailing a few every time I'm online for a time... slowly getting there (have about 8 blogger reviews now and have another 8 or 9 ready to go and am already building a list to send out my arc for book 2...)
It's all a work in progress...
Well, I'm not an expert, but I'll be in the same boat in the near future (I hope).
Attracting an audience is not always easy. The best is, of course, word of mouth. But a writer has no control over that. You do have control over how often a potential reader sees your work or your name. And all those things you mentioned, help and are relatively inexpensive (or can be).
One thing you might want to consider is getting your work in front of reviewers. Again, you have no control over what sort of review you'll get, but it will expose your work.
Human beings like to label things. The important thing is to stay true to yourself and your writing. That unique perspective is something no one can take away.
I know just how you feel. Take my debut. I got a lot of great praise for it, but some knocked it as 'lacking originality.' Did I want to find those people and shake them and shout "are you insane? Do you know how much depth you've blithely written off with your off-the-hip assessment?" But, in the end, you just have to suck it up and move on. You control the content, but once it goes out into the world, there ain't a damned thing you can do about it.
Thanks Jon for responding.
I think part of my point is if my novel is gaming novel is will turn some people off. Of course, probably won't know it is unless told. Your point about gamers being people is a good one. I am a gamer myself. So point taken.
But the other part of my post is this: if my novel is a gaming novel so are lots of others that I would never describe as such. So why label me if you aren't going label the others?
(A) You wrote a fricking novel. Let that sink in. Of all the people in this world who say they want to write a book, I'd hazard about 5% actually complete the goal. So congratz.
(B) So what? Gamers are people, too. And some of SFF's best fans. Some excellent writers have written tie-ins and other books that certain folks consider "gamer" books.
(C) Opinions are like a**holes, everybody's got one. The more you get your writing out into the world, the more critique you're going to receive. Develop a philosophical attitude about it early. You'll sleep better.
I think the 'punk' characterisations are a surprisingly good way of categorising fantasy, as they often, to me at least, set out the mood of the book, and the world it's sending you into. A 'medieval-punk' (not quite sure if that's the word) book is always going to have a different tone to a steampunk story.
"...right now it feels like I'm ordering coffee when I describe the kind of fantasy novels I'm writing."
It can be like that, that's true. Of course, it depends on where you order coffee. If you go to Denny's you'll only get one kind. If you choose to go to Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, etc , (what's popular and chic) then yes, you'll have a full list to choose from, but you can still order plain coffee. The same goes for submitting your stories. You always have the option of choosing purist magazines or publishers who will publish a strict category of fiction, but then you take a risk of having it 'not quite' fit what they are looking for.
And yet, I personally have trouble when category options are so limited for submissions that my piece doesn't fit into anything they have listed. I don't know if you can make categories any 'clearer'. If anything, I think they will only get more complex.
Writing is both art and science, and falls into many categories just like other forms of art and science do today. It used to be planets and stars were categorized simplistically, that physics was the end all be all before its quantum hit space and that only a few basic forms of dance were worthy of the stage. Our worlds have changed and with that change, variety, mutations of style and a penchant for breaking the rules and coloring outside the lines have taken hold of our once monochromatic universe. As for me, I relish in the options, the changes and selections, but I still write for one person. Primarily me.
Whether I call it "weird fiction" (a personal description of my writing) or check mark the multiple horror, urban fiction, Gothic, fantasy, sci-fi blocks on the submission form, one thing remains. I enjoy telling the story no matter what the 'label', and that above all will keep me typing and sipping coffee, whatever the flavor I choose for the day.
I'm of the impression that Duotrope's categories are by demand of the markets, themselves, for one. (Not that that's what you implied).
As to your work, sounds like S&S to me, which I'm positive was a category, I haven't been round duotrope much lately. But I'd still agree that the way to pitch your work is to stay with the comparison to familiar books. A single book is not epic (my opinion), so you can't be pitching epic yet, and series isn't really a category, so S&S, still.
Vampire is probably a split off thanks to Twilight, since it's pretty non-horror from what I've heard--and thus a few markets are trying to cash in on that readership with stories in that..... er..... vein. And paranormal, FYI, is probably shorthand for either paranormal romance (vampires in love etc.), or paranormal suspense. Not sure.
The publishers have those categories so all the readers who want something rarefied can get exactly what they want.. I.e. I want something exactly like Twilight, but different.
Check out MZB's magazine, whatever it's called, and see what they're classifying that as now, because I thought it was swords & sorcery in the past, and doubt the type of stories they go for has changed, so that will tell you what happened to S&S. I don't see the horror elements, if they are not major, as being enough to switch it to horror, since that's about the only choice left for you.
I have many sites on the web. What would you like to see? The site in Smashwords where the book is on sale? The page I put up to collect all the information related to the book? I'm guessing the latter so go to feitelberg.net/aglaril/book1.html
I also have a stand-alone blog, a acebook fan page, and files on Scribd, in case you are interested.
I will take a look at your site and reply to you.
A link exchange is good too.
Do you have a website? Mine is www.mlsawyer.com.au... I'm looking for advice and am happy to give my opinion and if you're interested we could exchange links... I can also help with a few html buttons... my current mission is to get as many facebook 'likes' as I can because every time someone clicks on that, my website is shown to every one of their friends... free advertising.