Fantasy Young Adult Novel Resources?Complications Ensue
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some time ago I perpetrated a novel about the childhood of Morgan le Fay called THE CIRCLE CAST: THE LOST YEARS OF MORGAN LE FAY. It's coming out next year from Tradewinds Press. O Hive Mind, how can I best promote this book efficiently?

The book is about Morgan's life between her flight into exile after her father's murder by Uther Penndragon, to her return to Britain as a powerful sorceress. How did a girl with nothing but talent and anger become the greatest sorceress of her age?

The book is nominally YA, so my publisher will, I imagine, market it to girls and libraries and school. I imagine Wiccans, medieval re-enactors and King Arthur fans would dig it, too.

Ye who know something about novel-publishing: what are the most efficient ways an author can promote his own novel? What's not worth the effort?

I've thought of doing a virtual author's tour, contacting blogs and websites for (a) young adult readers (b) Wiccans (c) medieval fans (d) King Arthur fans. What are the blogs and websites I shouldn't miss?

Also, my publisher is willing to fund an author tour. (Actually he'll get grant money for it.) If I hit four or five major cities, how can I get the maximum buzz out of being physically there? It's probably not worth traveling to Calgary to sell ten books, unless I can leverage that somehow into radio interviews or ... what?

I'm staring a blog about the book, magic, myth, and Morgan le Fay, of course. What sort of content might be the most interesting to readers?

Thank you, gentle readers!

Labels: , ,


Your conundrum made me think of Canadian author/comic creator Joey Comeau ( He promotes novels completely unrelated to his comic work but often ties it in, or attempts to get those fans involved asking where they'd like his tours to go etc.

Dependent on your publisher's interests it might be worthwhile to say 'Hey I have a screenwriting blog with its own fanbase, how can I play to that as well as the great Arthurian masses'.

By Blogger cameronm, at 1:21 PM  

"It's probably not worth traveling to Calgary to sell ten books"

Sydney, Australia, however... might by justified by a book or two.

(Just don't start meddling with TV shows.)

By Blogger Karel, at 6:19 PM  

On my sister's book tour, they flew her out to Calgary (from Toronto), but not Vancouver. That's common, apparently, where Vancouver is not generally on the book tour. I find it incredibly odd that the 3rd largest city in Canada is not usually on the book tour.

By Blogger Tim W., at 1:09 AM  

You could produce your own BOOK TRAILER. I've seen several different kinds on (where else) YouTube, from simple author-interview types to 30 second ones more like a movie trailer, acted out and hitting the highlights of your book. You can be as creative as you can afford. Might be fun and also give an idea about adapting for a movie.

By Blogger januaryfire, at 9:54 AM  

Consider the RPG community.

Write up something like what John Harper has done for Lady Blackbird, based on the book's characters and situation.

By Blogger Rustin, at 10:50 AM  

You should talk to people connected to the Montreal Celtic Music Festival. I'd also talk to Heather Dale as well - she lives in Toronto, is a friend of mine, and writes piles of songs inspired by Arthurian legend.

For your author tour, if you want the biggest long-term audience then you're probably best off going somewhere in each region (of N America - since I assume you won't get cash to travel elsewhere?). In the US some good choices (very sff heavy places) would be Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle or Portland, Santa Fe (very small though) or Austin. You could drop Chicago for Toronto, and pick Vancouver in the Pacific NW if you prefer. If you could time to tour to end in LA whenever you'd need to take meetings in LA anyway, then perhaps you could get an extra city in to your tour as a screenwriting business expense. If not I'd pick San Francisco over Austin.

If you just want the biggest short-term audience, I think there's something to be said for just hitting the West Coast: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and LA.

Also: you have to do readings these days - or at least talks of some sort, not just signings. On your virtual tour I'd definitely suggest podcasts of sections of your book.

By Blogger Rich Baldwin, at 1:34 PM  

While it is not YA specific, Barry Eisler has some good advice about this on his website:

Hope some of it is useful.

By Blogger James, at 2:46 PM  

I've never published anything (someday!) but I read the blog Writer Unboxed on a daily basis:

They frequently answer questions about self-promotion and showcase successful strategies. They recently wrote about blog tours, actually. Most of their info is US specific, but it might help. Best of luck, and congratulations on the book!

By Blogger Wool in Sunshine, at 6:47 PM  

The promo king is JA Konrath:

But really, there's no way to promote a book ;)

By Blogger John McFetridge, at 12:34 PM  

Get it banned! The Streisand effect.

By Blogger blogward, at 1:35 PM  

Genre Specific Marketing Ideas: Take advantage of existing experience.

1. In Toronto, the Merrill Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy (part of the Toronto Public Library) often hosts book launches and other events. Contact them and ask if they'd be willing to host an event.

2. Contact Fantasy and Science Fiction genre bookstores (i.e., BakkaPhoenix Books in Toronto, White Dwarf Books in Vancouver - and ask them if they'd be interested in hosting an event for you.

3. Send review copies to SF&F publications (in addition to the regular review pubs): Locus, SFSite, SF Review, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, etc.

4. Try to attend local conventions if you are around - and ask to be on panels. For example, Ad Astra and Polaris are both held in Toronto. Most conventions are happy to host book launches and events. Your publisher can also buy fairly inexpensive advertising in program books.

5. If you are hosting multiple events in one city - make them each unique. For example:

A. Traditional Book Launch
B. Book Signing with Q&A on Screenwriting vs. Fiction Writing
C. Book Signing with Workshop for Youth
D. Book Signing with Online Chat
E. Multi-day game/event. When the anthology I co-edited came out, I designed a multi-day game which was held during a weekend-long convention. The game culminated in a book launch on the last day. While it was labour intensive - it worked very well as a promotional tool.

General Marketing Ideas: Differentiate yourself.

1. Play up the shift in focus (i.e., screenwriter widening horizons...) and send notes to local papers, any universities or colleges you've been to, etc.

2. Bookmarks and buttons seem to work well for inexpensive giveaways. Send out packets of signed bookmarks to independent bookstores you are aware of. Also keep them to handout to people you meet at events.

3. Host and take part in Blog Tours and Virtual Tours. I have seen authors participate (and host) blog tours for authors. For example, doing a Q&A at different blogs, taking part in online chats, etc.

That's all I can think of off-hand. I wrote a promotional plan for a YA fantasy novel a few years ago - I'll see if I can did it up, in case I missed anything.

Good luck - and congratulations!


By Blogger Jana, at 3:35 PM  

I liked a lot of what Jana had to say, and feel stupid even mentioning a couple of things that come to mind since she was so thorough.

A couple of marketing ideas:

They have a lot of followers and accept review copies which they even list. i'd recommend checking out the site and look for tags/archives on how John DeNardo writes up his reviews.

2. On SFSIGNAL, there was some discussion a while back on Book Trailers. Given your experience writing for the screen and contacts, I'm guessing that might be an option?

By Blogger Daniel, at 3:42 PM  

That's a good one Daniel!

And ::laugh:: I meant "dig it up" - not "did it up". I should have spell-checked my comment.

One thing I missed - Award Nominations:

In the long-term, you should also be sure to get copies into the hands of the Juried Speculative Fiction Awards (i.e., SFWA's Andre Norton Award for YA Fiction, the Sunburst Award) and on the Canadian Prix-Aurora Award Eligibility List.

By Blogger Jana, at 6:01 PM  

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