While I wait for things to settle down for my editor (who is also the person who is drawing my cover) and contemplating pushing back the release date because a temporary cover by would just not be as good, and I’m not done with my final run through of revisions… I find myself thinking about Wild Core’s aesthetic and branding.
Actually, I’ve never seriously had to think about marketing before.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had original works, but I’d always intended to publish traditionally. It took me a long time to realize that the plots and characters I write about might be overlooked by a traditional publishing, and because the other writing I’ve done is fanfiction and relies a lot on being associated with a big name story, I’ve never really had to think about how to reach a new audience.
How do I market this?
What really is Fugitive Rising at its core? What is it about?
It’s the start of something bigger, and that bigger thing needs to be represented in the way I advertise this first novel, so what exactly can I do to represent my story, and myself, to a greater audience?
I’ve had people advise me to use the Social Justice aspects of my novel to sell it, but that would only really work if I were just advertising on tumblr, and while it is true that there are aspects of my novel that are progressive, those things aren’t the focus of the novel. It doesn’t feel fair to people who want novels about their struggles to advertise my novels as having LGBTQA characters and disabled characters, and then not have that novel really focus on those struggles.
I don’t want to cheat anyone out of a meaningful experience, so I don’t want to appeal to people through that aspect of my work because it does feel like it would be cheating. Those are traits of my characters, but they’re not defining traits. I’ve never considered any of those things to really define who I am, not as much as the choices I make and the way I treat other people, and I guess that attitude is reflected in my work.
At the same time, this isn’t really traditional Space Opera/Fantasy, either. Most of the stuff in the genre has Human protagonists, but almost my entire cast is comprised of aliens, and it’s much more deliberately political. I focus less on epic battles of swords and guns, and more on epic battles of wills via the conduit of Intergalactic Diplomacy, less on space chases and more on the interpersonal struggles of the people who shape the Galaxy through their influence.
I want to tell the story I want to tell, but there comes a point when you realize that the story you want to tell is odd enough that none of the conventional ways to advertise really work for you or for your story.
My narrative is weirdly progressive, but doesn’t focus all its attention on those things.
My setting resembles other very famous settings by virtue of being a Space Opera, but focuses less on saber duels and more on the scope and outlook of Galactic Politics.
My protagonist is odd and probably the opposite of what most people would say is marketable, but I do know for a fact that people tend to love him once they read about him.
So what do I do?
I guess that’s my big task for January.
Figure out how to present Wild Core so that people want to read it while still being true to what it is.