Hello writers! It’s been a while since I made a post, and I hope to be putting out more content soon with more lessons that I have learned over the last several years of being an author. Today, however, I would like to offer you a fantastic opportunity. I have just launched a brand new marketing service to continue my goal to help raise other authors up, particularly those who are just starting out or who don’t have the time or budget to put together a strong marketing plan for their book.
Introducing Busy Author Marketing: custom book launch plans tailored specifically to your book and/or series. These launch plans include everything from social media content ideas, to suggested book blogs and podcasts to contact, and how to utilize your marketing budget of any size. Newer authors or authors with lower budgets can be accommodated in a way that works best for them. And the best part: this service eliminates the tricky and time consuming marketing research side of book launches and allows you more freedom to simply create.
So why me?
I spent three and a half months before the launch of my first book creating a database of blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. within my genres in order to reach out to everyone I possibly could to have the perfect first launch. I continue to do a lot of research into what social media trends are hot right now, what readers expect to see on an author’s website, and how to take the work you have already done for your book and turn it into something marketable. My presence online continues to grow, and I am trying new ideas all the time to entice readers. I am also very adept at working on a budget. As a student, I don’t have a lot of money to launch my books with, but I have learned to maximize the types of promotions I am doing and have a pretty good sense of where to invest money and where to invest time.
I want to continue my efforts to help writers take all of the content out there and actually figure out what ideas will work for their book. I think it is one of the most difficult parts of the publishing journey, and anything I can do to help those who get bogged down in research, who get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities out there, or who simply don’t have the time to come up with a marketing strategy, only to execute.
To kick things off, I am offering a launch promotion for this business. The first ten authors who fill out my contact form will get 50% off their chosen payment plan. I hope you’ll check it out! Click here to learn more.
One of the best ways to market your books at all genres and all audience types is to obtain early reviews. Authors can accomplish this in several ways. Many reach out to their existing reader base via their newsletter or social media to remind them how important reviews can be to boosting an author’s visibility. Others form a street team of readers and send out advance reader copies (ARCs) to collect reviews and promotion in the first few weeks of a book launch. But one solution that more authors should take advantage of is reaching out to book bloggers.
Book blogs are very much still around in the literary world! While many have fallen to the wayside over the last few years, there are still a lot out there that are consistently posting in-depth reviews of books. And not just those that are traditionally published: indie authors’ work has been resurging in popularity for many book bloggers due to an increase in content all over the world and the ability to pin down very specific tropes that readers are interested in. Book blogs have amassed thousands upon thousands of followers over the last decade, and a good number of readers still turn to their favorite reviewers to learn what they should read next.
So, where should you start when you want to find and reach out to book bloggers?
Step 1: Find book blogs that are active and align with your genre.
Step 1 takes the most time out of all of the steps to this process: the research portion. There are several databases out there like The Book Blogger List, The Book Review Directory, and Kindlepreneur’s Ultimate List of the Best Book Review Blogs that can be a fantastic place to start combing through book blogs in various genres. Most databases are organized by genre or audience type to give you a category to start with. While some databases are kept up to date, some are years and years old. You will need to open every link and check the dates of the book blog’s most recent posts. Depending on your genre, this could be a quick process or a very long one.
Step 2: Check the book blog’s review policy.
As you’re checking each website, look for their review policy. Sometimes, this is its own separate page on the blog. Other times, you’ll find it in the “about” or “contact” sections. READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY. If nothing else, you have to read this section word for word. You’re not just looking for the genres that the reviewer enjoys or does not enjoy; you’re also looking for information about what tropes they read most often, the types of books they will not read, the formats they read in, and information about how they wish to be contacted. The more information about your book that you can match to their preferences, the better. Your priority should always be to start with reaching out to book blogs that match your book’s tropes. You are more likely to get a reply than you are for a general genre blog. Also, make sure that they are taking review requests at the present time. This is particularly important for indie authors as several blogs will specifiy whether or not they take indie books and if so, additional information they may want for you.
Step 3: Send your message.
In my experience, the best way to do this is to make yourself a basic template that you can copy and paste into your email or into a blogger’s contact form. You will be and should be modifying it with every single message because bloggers can usually tell if they are getting a form letter. But there are certain elements that you can keep consistent across requests that will save you time. Here’s what you need:
Greeting and Introduction: Say hello! If the name of the blogger is available, use it. Personalization is always the best choice. In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and what book you are the author of. Include the genre(s) and the publisher name (even if it is your own personal press). Mention how you found their blog, whether it was from a database or somewhere else, and talk about any content of theirs you may have enjoyed. At the end of this paragraph, indicate that you are reaching out to see if the reviewer may be interested in reviewing your book. If there are specific tropes that the reviewer mentions in their review policy that are in your book, mention that here.
Book Blurb: Copy and paste your book blurb into the next paragraph(s).
Additional Information: The last paragraph here is for giving the reviewer a sense of what you can offer them and when you need the review by. If you have a specific time frame in mind for something like a book launch, give as wide of a time frame as you can. If not, mention that you are in no rush for a review. Book bloggers are extremely busy, and you are more likely to get a yes if you are flexible on timing. Also, mention which formats you are willing to send, including various ebook formats and/or physical copies. (Refer back to the review policy to make sure your offerings match the reviewer’s desires!).
Conclusion: Thank the reviewer for taking the time to look over your request, and conclude your message.
Example: Chasing Fae
My name is Cady Hammer, and I am the author of Chasing Fae, a young adult fantasy novel published by New Degree Press. I found your blog while looking for great book blogs for YA reviews, and I have been enjoying your content. I wanted to reach out to you to see if you may be interested in reviewing my debut book.
Grace Richardson is a young mortal woman whose only concerns are providing for her family, playing her violin, and spending as much time as possible with her brother Leo. When Leo goes into service in the Fae’s world as a mercenary, she expects him to return with the honor that he deserves.
When Leo suddenly dies in an unspecified accident, not a word, medal, or penny comes down from the higher ups. Suspecting foul play, Grace disguises herself as a Fae and sneaks into the Upper Realm to get some answers. She anticipated being in way over her head, but the Fae soldier who catches her fleeing an angry bar and discovers her identity only a day in? Not so much.
Now Grace is forced to drag Aiden along as she tries to work out exactly how and why her brother died. Along the way, she has no choice but to confront her prejudices against the Fae as she attempts to sort out the difference between the honest and the dishonest. Political conspiracies, demon realm escapades, and family secrets will all lead Grace to the answers she’s looking for… and some that she isn’t.
I am in no particular rush for a review, so if this book interests you, I could fit anywhere on your schedule. I have ebook copies available in Mobi and ePub formats. If there is any other information you need, please let me know.
Thank you for your consideration. Have a nice day.
Step 4: Wait. Then rinse and repeat.
The final step of the process is to wait. It could take days, weeks, or even months to hear back. In the meantime, continue reaching out to other book blogs, and keep an eye on your inbox. If and when you get a reply, you’ll want to send a quick thank you to a rejection or a review copy right away. Remember: even if a blogger doesn’t like the book you are pitching, they may want to read another that you write down the line. Building relationships is so important in the literary world for both community building and marketing, so don’t let a potential one slip away.
Nan Sweet is the author of the Dusky Hollow Series. Check out the first book in the series for free here.
Fantasy writers like to rescue their heroes. While every genre has mentors and rescuing heroes, fantasy writers are prone to make things a little too easy. Sometimes, we write ourselves into a corner. Instead of making our characters do the work, we rescue them. Why? Because we’re stuck, too. For example, if my heroine, Carrie is locked in a cage, and I don’t know how to get her out, one option is to send her best friend, Ivy to look for her. Yes, that gets her out of the cage, but is there a better way?
If your character is stuck in a situation, and you find yourself equally stuck, start at the end of the scene and work your way backward. Maybe your heroine escapes, or maybe she is taken into servitude. Maybe she spends the whole book trapped. Whatever you want the end result to be, challenge yourself to use your character’s wit and ability to escape. When wit and ability aren’t enough, empty her pockets and see what she’s carrying. If you have a group in a dire situation, then apply that challenge to the group as a whole.
Let’s say your character has been locked in a room with brick walls and high windows. Can she get herself out? Think of weaknesses in the room. Are there ledges on the window, a brick sticking out? What does the character have in her pockets or on-hand that can be used? The great thing about writing is that you can go back a couple of pages and give her a belt or a pocketknife, even if you didn’t know she needed it at the time. As long as the items make logical sense, give them to her. The escape should be hard to accomplish without jarring the reader’s sense of believability.
If there are no weaknesses, create the weakness that your heroine can exploit. Is the dungeon impenetrable? Maybe your character is a fast-talker. You can write a guard on the other side of the door. Is there a grate in the floor or a weakness in the wall? Maybe your character is a gymnast or magician.
What happens if your character is an underdog? What if you have a strong-willed character whose weaknesses won’t allow them to save themselves? One of my all-time favorite heroines is Mercy Thompson written by Patricia Briggs. Although Mercy has some ‘superpowers’, they are limited to changing into a coyote and talking to ghosts. That leaves her in some desperate situations.
Although Mercy has been rescued a few times, Patricia Briggs worked in some clever ways of bringing Mercy’s strengths to the rescue. Because of her loyalty, Mercy in her weakness is a defender of the weak. She finds unusual help from fae objects, one of them a wooden staff that follows her around. It is a plot device Briggs works perfectly. Before it could become a crutch where the reader groans and thinks, “Okay, now the staff will save her,” Briggs found a way to distance Mercy from the staff. (I won’t say too much because this is a series every fantasy lover should read.)
It’s okay to lapse from time to time and use a rescuer.
Even the greats, from J.R.R. Tolkien to C.S. Lewis have used heroes to rescue or advise their group. The point is to be aware when you’re taking the easy path and check for a better way. Thank you for reading.
Special thanks to Cady Hammer for allowing me to guest on her blog!
Hey writers! I know it’s been ages since I put content out, but I’m hoping to return to sharing more advice with up-and-coming fantasy writers. I’m considering branching out from sort of the overall mechanics and tricks of the trade for fantasy writing into tips for writing specific tropes, plot points, and character archetypes. Today, I want to talk about building a war.
One of the most common plotlines in fantasy is the brewing of a new war. This war has most likely been building for a while, and it is your job to bring your readers right into the pivotal moment where all hell breaks loose. Between planning for war, gathering soldiers and supplies, and fighting in large magical battles or long drawn-out sieges, you may have a lot of ground to cover. My most recent book was my first venture into writing a fantasy war, and I want to share my best writing tips from that experience.
#1: Your war needs a clear purpose and a clear cause.
In order for a war to be worth fighting for, there has to be an underlying purpose and a clear cause or set of causes. Why do people go to war? Sometimes it’s because one land wants to take another land’s wealth or resources. Other times, two differing religions or two nations with strong nationalistic ideals can’t coexist beside each other. Whatever reason you choose, you have to build that reason into your worldbuilding. The history of the two sides that you are working with has to show the building blocks. Nothing in your world should happen spontaneously. Every event is rooted in someone’s past or some nation’s past. Also, make sure your reason is big enough. For your war to be believable, its purpose has to be something that people would be willing to die for.
#2: War affects everyone
No matter what walks of life your characters come from, you need to be able to show your readers that everyone is affected by war. From the highest government officials to the poorest peasant in the village, none of your characters are immune to war and its costs. Whether a character survives the war or not, they will be affected. Perhaps a friend or a colleague of theirs dies. Maybe their home or farm is burned to the ground during a battle. The effect could be positive too: your character may step into a leadership position that changes their life forever. War affects everyone, so do some research on potential consequences and assign them to your characters accordingly.
#3: Know how to structure your war.
During my research, I learned that there are two main elements of war that you will likely be writing about: open battles and sieges. Here is what you need to know. In an open battle, one side always wins, and the other loses. Even in a draw, there is usually a clear side who has taken the most damage. Battles often only last for a few minutes and can really only go up to an hour or two at the most. Open warfare is extremely costly, and each side must agree on that cost in order to go to battle, which is often the lives of their men.
Conversely in a siege, the conflict can last days and days. One force, knowing that they are outnumbered or low on resources and weaponry, falls back to a stronghold where they can prepare to defend. This can reduce their disadvantage of fewer soldiers. The more powerful force then surrounds the stronghold and begins the siege. Although this type of warfare can be very slow, it can be a great way to build tension and anxiety among your characters. In a strongly written war, there’s a good combination of these two types.
#4: Writing a battle means maintaining many elements at once.
There is this beautiful complexity to writing a battle. Although battles only last a short period of time, many things are happening at the same time. When I read battles in my favorite fantasy books, I have always found them to be chaotic and confusing at times, but still cohesive. It’s important for you as the author to guide the reader through the chaos. One of the best ways to do this is to set key points throughout the scene that you can follow like a roadmap and build the chaos up around it. Doing this will keep your reader glued to the page without losing them in the details.
When you’re in the midst of the chaos, make sure you’re still keeping the fundamentals tight. Your plot points should move in a logical format, your world should feel full of detail, and most importantly, your characters need to have and show emotion at every turn. Don’t let the basics slip while you deal with the many, many details.
#5: Momentum and morale are essential to victory.
On both sides of a conflict, everyone is dead set on victory. That means that in between battles and sieges, other major steps should be taken to achieve that goal. These can come in multiple forms, but I would say the major two categories are momentum and morale. On the momentum side, your heroes could be traveling across dangerous territory to form critical alliances or gathering supplies from nearby villages and recruiting people to the cause. In terms of morale, perhaps your protagonist goes down to the barracks to speak to the soldiers personally and give a grand speech or a large holiday ball is thrown to boost morale during a ceasefire. But don’t forget: the villain’s side will also be making these kinds of steps. It could be interesting to showcase both sides.
Looking forward to sharing more writing content soon. Happy writing!
Paulette is an indie author who holds a Master of Arts in reading education. Her writing inspiration stems from watching fantasy and paranormal movies, as well as her real-life experiences with mental health issues. She hopes her readers will find humor in her stories, become curious about seeking peace through the present moment, and consider reaching out for help if they are struggling with their own issues.
Paulette loves drawing, watching a good thriller, kayaking, and eating chocolate…lots of it. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two cats, Linda Hamm and Bree. Of the Lilin is the first book in her new upper YA paranormal series, The Sage Chronicles. You can check out her website here.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was back when I was in elementary school. One day at church, while the priest was giving the blessing, a woman a few pews in front of me suddenly got up and dashed out the front doors. She’d taken off so quickly that the strap of her purse slid from her shoulder and started falling to the floor, but she snatched it up before it did and tore down the aisle and out the entrance.
I was already having a tough time paying attention to the lesson for the day and so spent the rest of the worship time holding the picture of the woman in my head, replaying it, finding the best words to describe how her hair, purse, and body moved, the energy she gave off, and wondering why she left so suddenly and where she may have gone.
It was then that I knew I wanted to be able to share what I felt with others. I didn’t realize it at the time, but as I grew older, I found that writing was an excellent way to bridge the gap and invite others into my world.
What does your writing process look like? What do you find the most effective? What do you find the most difficult?
Initially there is a scene that I can’t get out of my head, and I feel driven to write it down, play with it, try to put into words the feeling I get when I see the scene in my mind’s eye. From there, I begin to write. As I build my story, I then begin to draft out a plot outline, character descriptions, etc. For Book Two, I’m thinking of starting off with an outline and see where that leads me.
The most difficult part of writing is when you don’t feel like doing it. It isn’t even writer’s block for me. It’s when you feel burnt out, tired, and unmotivated. Those are the times you have to push through.
How many books have you written?
Of the Lilin is the first book in The Sage Chronicles and the very first book I’ve written. I’m working on the second book (Book Two of The Sage Chronicles) now!
I also have a diary novel entitled When Life was Yellow in beta reading mode about a young girl coming to terms with her obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her story is based on my life experiences with the illness.
What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It takes a lot of people to help create a book! From beta readers, ARC readers, editors, marketing, etc. It takes a village!
Can you tell us about your latest project? What inspired you to write it?
My latest project, When Life was Yellow, is based on my experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I’ve only recently come out about it to friends and family. For years, I kept it a secret because I was ashamed of it. I’m hoping my book will let others who struggle with OCD know they aren’t alone and that there’s help out there.
What is your best character-building tip?
I like to think of a scene – just a normal everyday one like cleaning the house before company comes over. Then I place each character into the same exact scene and think of what they would be wearing at the time, what would they be thinking, saying, etc. The idea of placing the characters in the same context helps me really tease out how each one would approach the situation so differently.
How do you market your books? How much interaction do you have with your readers?
I have a basic market plan that involves reaching out to book reviewers for their review of my book before it’s launched. I promote my book on Twitter and Facebook. I’m also looking into blog tours. I’ve not done them before and am excited to learn what they’re all about.
My reader base is small at this time, but I enjoy interacting with them whenever I can.
Who is your favorite author and why?
The author that stands out to me the most is Joanne Greenberg who wrote I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. What draws me to her is not only the topic of her novel but the images she provokes and the rawness with which she fleshes out her MC.
What words of wisdom do you have for young people who want to start writing their first book?
My “wise” words are for anyone who is starting the writing process no matter their age (as I’ll be 50 in October). Write because you love it and be open to critique, but only make the changes that truly resonate with you. When you write, you’re leaving a bit of your soul behind for others to know once you’re gone.
Noah Lemelson is a short story writer and novelist who lives in LA with his wife and cat. Lover of Science Fiction, Fantasy, New Weird, and Punk. He received his BA in Biology from the University of Chicago in 2014 and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the California Institute of the Arts in 2020. He has had several of his short stories published in both print and online magazines, such as Allegory, Space Squid and the Outsider’s Within Horror Anthology. Visit his website here to learn more about him and his upcoming book.
I’m not into the whole Chosen One thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to toss a hot take that all Chosen One narratives are bad. Like any trope they can be done well. But it has been done, and done, and done, and done some more. When I sat down to write The Sightless City (then “Untitled Lazarus Roache Project”), I wanted to tell a story about comparatively normal characters, not heroes chosen by gods or destiny. But normal does not mean boring. Too often books allow their protagonist to become dullest character. It’s a genuine challenge to make sure your point of view character is not just some window with legs, but a full and complex human being (or fantastical human being equivalent).
My strategy to make my POV interesting was to make each protagonist flawed in some significant way. They would be united in their opposition to Lazarus Roache, but I wanted each of their struggles to be individual and internal. They had been wronged, but they were not passive victims, they had active flaws that got them into their situations, and make it more difficult for them to escape.
To both explain what I mean, and to give a hint at how to write realistically flawed characters, let’s talk about the self-narratives. We each have a narrative about ourselves, explanations for what we have done, what we are doing, what we will do, and why. Often identities are a big part of this, labels either given to us or chosen by us (often a bit of both). These self-narratives give us a sense of who we are, and influence our future decisions, but they aren’t necessarily “true.” I’m not saying they’re always “false” either, obviously. It’s just that self-narrative are, like everything in society, constructions, ideas that are sometimes based on facts, sometimes on emotion, but often come from a blurry mix of reality, emotion, and expectation.
Marcel Talwar is a war hero. He fought to free Huile, giving up his leg and losing his friends in a fight for freedom. This is the identity he was given and one he embraces fully. But there is another narrative, another possible identity. Marcel Talwar is a war criminal. He caused thousands of brutal deaths. This alternative reading of his actions, as factual as his other identity, is abhorrent to Marcel. He does not actively consciously consider this possibility, and I don’t explicitly call him out on it in the book, but on some level he is aware of this darker narrative. This other interpretation does not make him question his war hero status, quite the opposite. He is so utterly convinced he is a war hero because the alternative possibility is so horrid. This leads to a massive emotional block preventing him questioning from his own decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. This is a significant character flaw. Marcel is a good person, in that he tries to be a good person and do good things, but he can be blind to reality when that reality threatens to unravel his self-narrative.
Sylvaine also has her own issues with self-narratives and identity. She is a Ferral, a beast-person, discriminated against her whole life. Ideally, she might find pride and security in her identity, and create a positive self-narrative, but she is unable to. Instead, she seeks to reject her Ferral-ness and prove, to the world and herself, that she is something more. This self-defense mechanism has found its focus in Ætheric Engineering. Ferrals are stereotypically considered primitive and simple. Engineering is the exact opposite of that, civilized and intelligent. She believes subconsciously that if she can just become an engineer, that will prove she is not just a mere bestial Ferral. She believes it will prove, to the world and herself, that she is deserving of respect and dignity. That’s not to say her interest in engineering is not genuine. She does actually love engineering, but her obsession is colored with a desperate self-loathing brought on by years of bullying and discrimination. Of course, this is what makes her inability to control æther so devastating, it’s not just the death of a dream, in an assault on the identity she is trying to claim, a cut into an old and deep wound. She keeps trying again and again to become an engineer, each failure just building more self-loathing, and as her desperation grows, as does her willingness to make questionable decisions if she thinks it might make her a real engineer.
Of course, its not just enough for these characters to have flaws, to have contradictions in their self-narratives, but these flaws need to manifest as actual conflicts in the plot. (I mean you could have a fully internal narrative, that might be interesting, but genre conventions for fantasy mean that at some point, something in the world has to change in meaningful and usually violent ways). So in comes Lazarus Roache, who, unlike the protagonists, is not trying in the least to be a good person. He is able to manipulate the protagonists not through simple threats or bribery, but by playing on their self-narratives, and their desperation to be the person they think they are.
So then the tension of the story becomes two-fold. 1) Will my protagonists defeat the villains. And 2) Will my protagonists be able to work through the inner contradictions own sense of self? But these two conflicts are interconnected, failing to stop the villains can push them deeper into holes of their own psyche, while these flaws can in turn prevent them from effectively fighting the villain. To resolve the external conflict, they have to overcome their internal ones, and those are often much more complex and difficult to face. And I think, also more interesting to read about.
Hello writers! How have you all been? It’s been a while, I know, but I have just been lost in a sea of work. Kindle Vella is launching next week, and I have been working on my fantastic Ivy Labyrinth project that I mentioned to you all a couple months ago. I did an entire post on tips for writing urban fantasy, and it seemed to be reasonably enjoyed by all of you. But as I was writing the first few episodes of my serial, I realized I wasn’t actually writing urban fantasy. It had similarities, but it did not quite fit based on what I had read about the genre. I went searching for answers, and I discovered a new genre for me: magical realism.
Today, I’m going to share with you a short comparison of these two genres so you don’t make the same mistakes I did when starting a new project.
In urban fantasy, the setting is most commonly a urban city although I have seen a few instances where the setting is a major or even rural town. Whoever and whatever your fantasy creatures are, they should live in the city and interact with the population, but their true magical identities are unknown to mortals. They should integrate seamlessly into the universe and fly pretty much undetected. Until the main character discovers them, of course, and gets drawn into their world and their struggles. My favorite example of urban fantasy is the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.
In magical realism, fantasy and reality operate side by side. Magical elements blend into the real world like they are one and the same. Through the main character’s eyes, magic is presented as fact, as something that always has been and always will be. Sometimes the author doesn’t even explain how the magic works! They operate through the eyes of the main character who sees magic as an everyday occurrence, encouraging the reader to accept it as such as well. From what I have read, magical realism often contains a social or political critique of society. In my opinion, this doesn’t have to be an overly obvious factor. For me personally, I’m still trying to figure out where or if that element fits into the piece I am working on.
So there you have it: my very quick breakdown of urban fantasy vs. magical realism. I hope this helps some of you when figuring out which subgenre your story fits into. Happy writing!
Hello writers! I’m finally winding down my semester, which has been the most chaotic yet. I apologize profusely for not putting out as much content in the last six months. There has been a whirlwind of things happening. The most recent one is the subject of this post.
When Amazon announced their upcoming Kindle Vella platform, I was super excited. I am writing something entirely new for the platform. The piece is actually an idea that I worked on in middle school and am now revamping and upgrading to a young adult urban fantasy serial. Urban fantasy is a genre that I have always enjoyed reading, but I have never tried to write it before.
Then again, I had never tried writing epic fantasy before I wrote my first book.
So I have done some research into what it takes to write urban fantasy, and I want to share that advice with all of you.
Tip #1: Setting Matters.
On every site that I read through, writers pinned setting the most important aspect of urban fantasy stories. In fantasy, the setting always acts as another character in the story. It should be well thought out and well developed. I spent eight months working on the worldbuilding for Chasing Fae due to its complexity. Urban fantasies are set primarily in cities, though some take place in an outer suburb or something similar. These cities can exist in the modern world, but they could also be set in an alternate world or universe. Authors often draw from real-life urban environments to construct the most realistic setting. Some even play around with the era, taking a city from the past and bringing magic into it.
One of the most important elements of developing your settings is where the magic and urban world meet. Writing Tips Oasis conveys it best: “There are two different ways that you can portray the city: as it is, or as it would be because of the magic”. Magic can either be hidden in plain sight or portrayed out in the open. It has to be perfectly blended with the modern world. Technology like airplanes, the internet, and cell phones are often utilized by characters from the mortal and the magical world. At the same time, the magical institutions should have their own set of rules and technology that work together with or alongside the mortal one. I’m still learning about what that looks like!
Tip #2: Choose your lead protagonists wisely.
Whether or not you are choosing one protagonist or multiple protagonists, it’s important to find those characters that you can showcase “unique, but accessible” points of view. Whether they are mortal, vampire, or dragon shapeshifter, your characters need to feel believable to your reader. The magical aspect should not define your character. Instead, they should be given a full personality. They should have desires, strengths, weaknesses, and that one thing that keeps them going during the day.
I am planning on writing my Kindle Vella story from four perspectives. Serials specifically lend themselves well to multiple perspectives. One will be a mortal woman, one is a male dragon shapeshifter, one is a naiad with siren blood, and the last is an elemental fire mage. There are quite a few more magical races that I am including, but I don’t feel the need to have each of them have a main voice. Hopefully, I’ll be able to showcase many of them through secondary characters.
Tip #3: Pacing Is Important.
Though there is a variety of advice out there about what kinds of urban fantasy plots are the best, the pacing notes seem to all be the same. Readers of urban fantasy expect their stories to have a healthy dose of action. Of course, there need to be quieter moments to allow readers to breathe, but this genre tends to be fast-paced. Subplots are also important to help bring layers to the story. Romance is often a chosen subplot, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t let it take over the story. That may transfer your story into paranormal romance! Writers’ Digest adds that urban fantasy is sexy; a good sex scene or subtle eroticism teased throughout the book keeps the reader’s heart pounding.
I’m looking forward to tackling this story idea. Any one else who enjoys reading or writing urban fantasy? Any advice you want to share with the rest of us?
Hey everybody! I’m so excited to share that Chasing War’s presale campaign is officially live! I can’t believe I’m doing this again, but I’m so thrilled to get this new story out to you. Chasing War picks up right where Chasing Fae left off with Grace taking her new place in the Upper Realm. Spoilers from here on in. When Grace arrives at the House of the Evening, she is instantly thrust into the world of the nobility. As the heir to a throne she didn’t even realize was hers, she has to navigate magical education, dangerous politics, and a stepfamily she never asked for. With her tutor, Talon, and Aiden by her side, Grace steps out into the Upper Realm only to find a war exploding under her gaze led by the House of Darkness. She and Aiden must quickly strategize against the invaders while searching in earnest for the remaining six prophecy members. As the war rages on and more pieces of the puzzle fall into place, Grace must make a decision about who to trust and how to lead.
Click here to check out the presale campaign and preorder your signed copy of Chasing War today!
Today, I am launching my brand new landing website, cadyhammer.com! This will serve as a place to find the most up-to-date information about me and my books. My dad bought this domain for me years ago when I was a kid in hopes that one day I would use it. It makes me so happy to be able to showcase this site under my name as a part of my author pathway. I hope you all will check it out!
And don’t worry, Fluff About Fantasy will still be updated on a (hopefully) bi-weekly schedule. I plan to keep this site as active as possible as well. Sending good wishes on the first Monday of the new year!