Monthly Archives: November 2012
Breaking into the YA market with a little help from my friends
by Leandi Cameron
Young adult paranormal romance/fantasy has become one of the largest book genre’s within the last five years and, that, is a challenge in itself.
Young girls everywhere are dreaming of that hero that would whisk them away and take them to a place where their world will be turned upside down, and magical things will happen to them.
Even when we grow up, we still love to believe that magic really exists and that the worlds created for us by authors could, somehow, one day become a reality.
Mostly, when it comes to vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts and other fantastic or otherworldly creatures, what attracts us most is the mystery and the dangers that we, as readers, are free to explore – in our minds, these characters become real and we come to love them.
Therefore, there is no doubt that the young adult market is steaming, and very, very, attractive to many authors who are racing towards biting off a piece of the pie.
Herewith lies a great problem, however.
As the young adult book industry grows, so does the amount of books that are badly written and cheaply sold, and these books are overcrowding an industry that includes so many authors that are “true” writers with brilliant stories to tell – these beautifully crafted tales wash away within a slush pool of badly written novels that are unedited and badly thought out.
However, true writers would know that the significance of having a unique take on the paranormal genre is the most important part of making your book stand out – or that is what I keep on reading on blogs, highly acclaimed websites and from marketing experts. This, is what I did with A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel, which is the first in a series.
But, as an author and a qualified journalist and editor, there is one thing that still eludes me – marketing and driving sales. For myself, as I believe with many authors, I have the uncanny inability to know how to get my book noticed. I confess – knowing how to be a saleswoman isn’t my forte.
If you are not on the bestsellers list, you can kiss getting reviews by highly acclaimed reviewers goodbye, and getting bloggers to respond to your emails is a nightmare. You are simply invisible, no matter how well your book is written, or how unique your story is.
Marketing, marketing, marketing, the bane of my existence, yet the most important part of making a book sell. Therefore, when I realised that my abilities simply consist out of being a creative spirit, I decided to leave the marketing and sales driving to the experts.
It is important to find good avenues to market your book – yes, you are going to have to invest some money into getting this done, but if you find a marketing expert that understands your book’s genre, and is dedicated to finding you the best platforms to display your work, then, within time, you will start seeing growth with that book you slaved away on for many years. Your baby will grow, and soon it will become the stable and impressive young adult you hoped it to be.
For me, I found that Bookbuzzr, Goodreads, LibraryThing and Quora are great platforms, among others, to help increase exposure for your novel. Then there is Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages – yes, the list goes on and on. This is a lot of hard work! Especially if you have a full-time job, and need to get started on your second novel, before you start getting screaming emails from those who have read your book and can’t wait to see what happens next.
However, I cannot stress enough, the importance of enrolling the help of a book blog tour marketer. I use Orangeberry Book Tours, and without Pandora’s help, I would never get through all the work it takes to get my book’s name out there.
Hopefully, in time, continued exposure would bring about change and a climb in sales – I know I have a unique book and soon someone will notice that it isn’t “just another paranormal romance/fantasy just like all the others”. Therefore, I will continue working hard at it, and dedicate time to my novel’s success on a daily basis – with the help of others – of course.
Leandi Cameron is a South African award-winning journalist and newspaper editor. She is also co-owner of multi-disciplinary company House of LeaVik. Her debut novel, A Tale of the Other Kind: A Therian Novel, was released in October 2012, and is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook format. For more information, visit www.leandicameron.com.
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Genre – YA Paranormal Fantasy
Rating – PG13
Laedron hasn’t been able to sleep for a week, yet he feels fresh and invigorated. He heals at an extraordinary rate, and finds that his hunger is satisfied by only a few morsels of food each day. Enhanced by the use of a soulstone, a vicar’s restoration spell has done much more than cure Laedron’s wounds, and a book with no name might be the key to discovering why. Unfamiliar with the deep implications of the magic behind his newfound abilities, he feels like his life is spinning out of control, and he must know the truth.
Laedron leads his companions to a land of vast pine forests to learn more of his condition, for the book mentions some of his symptoms and hints at the oldest secrets of mages. When he arrives in Lasoron, a strange old woman points him in the direction of the ancient ruins of Myrdwyer to uncover the answers he so desperately seeks.
An old feud, a host of soul-sucking enemies, and a madman bent on revenge stand between him and the answers he hopes to find, but he soon learns that some secrets are better left unknown to mortals.
The third installment of the Bloodmyr Trilogy is by far the best and serves as an excellent ending to the story. I had some doubts going into the third book because I only thought the second one was so-so but it was one of the most captivating reads with great character advancement and much more relationship building than the first and second books had to offer. In this book Laedron and his friends venture to another unknown land seeking the Uxidin and the Bloodmyr Tome in hopes of learning if the healing “miracle” cast on him by Jurgen is permanent or if he will die when the spell finally does end.
Laedron finds far more than he bargains for upon finding the Uxidin and instead of a proud people he finds a sorry lot hiding underground from gigantic crystal monsters who suck the essence out of all living things. Laedron and his friends also come upon many moral dilemmas during this adventure, whereas the problems in the other books were more straight forward – this person is evil and must be stopped – no questions and no reservations were had, yet this time they must decide what is right, not just for them but for a race of ancient immortals. I very much enjoyed the moral dilemmas and the conversations had between party members in trying to solve these problems. I thought they were handled much better and much more in character than certain problems brought up in book two. I also really enjoyed the way this book was ended. A separate mini-chapter was written for each character upon returning home so that closure could be given to each chapter and not just to Laedron.
Overall, this was a riveting read and I found the crystal creatures to be fascinating, perhaps one day a short story will be written about them and how they fared after Laedron and his party left Myrdwyer? I’m not sure if I’d recommend reading these books out of order but it certainly seems as though the final installment gives you most of what you would need to know upon just picking up this book.
Available on Amazon:The Immortals of Myrdwyer: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #3
Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.
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Today’s stop on the Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe introduces readers to Veta, a horsewoman and a dedicated defender of her people.
Physical appearance: Tall, blonde, blue eyes, athletic build
Special skills: Horse riding, archery, spear throwing, leadership
Magical items: Enchanted sword
Veta is a stern almost humorless young woman born into a remote settler community on the frontier of Nufal. She loves the open prairie and the horse herds, but a brutal invasion destroys her joy and leaves her to care for her younger sister and a ragged troupe of refugees.
As a capable young woman, Veta gathers the last of her horses and sells them to help the refugees. She straps on these responsibilities stoically while still reeling inside from the death of her parents and the abuse she suffered at the hands of invaders.
She has no patience for people telling her what she can or can’t do. Men for the most part do not interest her, except one, but she has little capacity for acknowledging her feelings or expressing them. The needs of others interest her the most. She’s willing to fight to defend her people. She’ll work tirelessly to keep them safe and fed.
Although an important part of her community, Veta is an enigma among her people. She wears men’s clothing and fights in battles. She possesses no rank, but gives orders readily and is often obeyed. Veta is courageous and clever. Her greatest flaw might be that she is too serious, but she has reason to be so dour.
Author’s feelings about the character:
In many ways Veta is a classic shield maiden. She was a new type of female character for me to write. I’m not the type of person who often appreciates ridiculously tough females who can smash all foes to pieces and do it while wearing heels. I understand the appeal of those fantasy heroines, but it’s just not my style. But still I wrote Veta. She’s a statuesque athletic blonde who can kill you, but I presented her realistically. She can’t do back flips and slice oranges tossed in the air with throwing stars or anything like that, but she can face grim battle with a steady hand. She enters the epic in the last two novels. I often like to add new characters as an epic proceeds to keep it lively, and I hope readers enjoy her.
From New Religon: Rys Rising Book III
The woman pulled up in front of Gehr and Cruce and glanced between them. Her lovely blue eyes were jewels stolen from the vaults of a crisp autumn sky. She appraised each man with a lingering look that held him in anticipation.
“Who be in charge here?” she finally demanded.
In unison, Gehr and Cruce said, “I am” and then they exchanged competitive looks.
Narrowing her eyes, she turned her horse, obviously meaning to intimidate them with its muscular bulk.
Gehr said, “I am Commander Gehr Bradelvo and this is Commander Cruce Chenomet. We are of the Kwellstan Militia.”
“Kwellstan,” she said, unable to hide that she was impressed to be speaking with men from the crown of civilization.
“May we know your name?” Cruce asked. He stared at her as if he had never seen a woman before. She was strangely majestic and unapproachable. Her wildness was entrancing but also warned that she did not want to be petted. A long red scar on her left cheek told of violence recently healed, and Cruce surged with offense to imagine a woman being cut like that.
She looked back at him with feral mistrust as if answering his basic inquiry would cage her soul, but the hostility was fleeting. Her eyelids fluttered and her face softened. She seemed to be willfully remembering herself.
“I am Veta from Hedenar,” she said.
Her name was odd to the Kwellstan men, but the people of Hedenar were noted for being a bit different. Their settlement in the remote south was the oldest frontier town, except for Kahtep. The people of Hedenar took pride in their distinctive customs and valued their isolated location.
Veta dismounted. She held the horse’s bridle, unwilling to give up her connection with the animal. “I be seeking to sell horses to the militia,” she said.
“How many do you have?” Gehr asked, looking at the herd.
“Forty three. They be the best horses in Nufal,” she said sternly almost daring anyone to dispute her. “I’ll be accepting no less than 4,000 kwellstenums for them.”
Her rapid attempt to deal reeked of desperation and inexperience, and Gehr put up a hand. “Veta, please, I don’t know the customs of Hedenar, but business in Kahtep or Kwellstan is not done with terse demands. Let me get a man to show you where we water our stock. And you can’t be alone. Did you come here with your family?” he said.
His final word made her flinch, and the stallion stamped a front hoof.
Recalling that bad things had happened in Hedenar, Gehr regretted mentioning her family and wondered how to apologize. Cruce brushed aside the awkward silence and said, “Don’t worry, Veta, I’ll buy your horses.”
Utter gratefulness flashed across her face as if her worst fear had been that no one would buy her stock. Gehr looked askance at his friend, reckoning that Cruce was not judging horseflesh. Amused, Gehr realized that if he had the means, he would drop 4,000 kwellstenums on a tom cat and a dozen old hens if this cross-dressed vixen asked it of him.
Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.
Start reading Rys Rising for free and enter the prize drawing. http://falbepublishing.com/braveluck/feel-real-fantasy-blog-tour.html
Having arrived in the Holy Land, Laedron Telpist continues his journey to halt a war provoked by the Heraldan church. He discovers that the war he so desperately wants to stop is merely a prelude to something much older than he could have imagined. With the aid of his allies, Laedron must uncover hidden plots, bring justice to the rampant corruption, and end a conflict before it claims more victims. Laedron, his friends, and the Shimmering Dawn knights face off against new foes, some willing to trade their loyalty for power and the ancient secrets of spellcraft and others more dangerous than outward appearances would suggest.
The second book in the Mages of Bloodmyr series starts out very exciting and is a continuation of Laedron and his group’s quest to end the war between Sorbia and the theocracy. I was happy I had decided to continue with the plot however I was not as happy with the character development in this book. I felt as though most of the characters remained the same and that Marac and Jurgen made huge life changing choices with little thought. They appeared to make choices that go against what their characters had believed in throughout the first book and for most of the second. I felt as though these choices could have been made more believable with extra conversation or thought, for me the change from “I can’t do that” to “fine I’ll do it” just seemed to sudden and without a lot of thought.
The last quarter or so of the book was mainly build up based on this huge decision made by Jurgen and Marac that will continue the last leg of their journey in the third book. I felt the end of the book was rather slow compared to the beginning and probably could have been either summed up faster or left as a prologue for the third book. However, the characters are left with a gigantic conundrum in which to solve and if the problem cannot be fixed then it leaves huge life changes for Laedron to deal with.
Leaving the third book with the group headed off to a new country and more unchartered territory for them along with a new problem to solve does make the third book a desirable read so one can gain closure for the story.
Available on Amazon:The Consuls of the Vicariate: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #2
Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.
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When Laedron Telpist’s sorcery training is interrupted by a knock on the door, what once seemed a proper profession must now be hidden. In a world where priests and mages vie for the limitless power of the elements and a new Grand Vicar has sworn death to all sorcerers, Laedron is tossed into a nightmare which would see his destruction at every turn.
From the home shores in western Sorbia, through the Cael’Brilland heartlands, and even across the seas to the great city of Azura, Laedron finds himself embracing old friends, consorting with unlikely allies, and confronting potent enemies. As he struggles to train himself in spellcraft, Laedron must face that he lives in a time when the utterance of a simple spell could be the signature on his death warrant.
This book was a little slow to start, beginning with a long introduction of the main character Laedron and his choices on where to attend school to become a mage. The first three chapters or so spend quite a bit of time developing Laedron’s character and depict him as an extremely naïve person ready to trust most people without a moment’s hesitation. As the book progresses Laedron runs in to a bit of trouble and finds out that he must make it on his own and is no longer living in a sheltered world but one soon to be at war. Laedron was known as a “neonate” mage before going off to school and was only at school for about a week before things went south, yet in that time he apparently learned an enormous amount of spells. The longer Laedron is alone the more power hungry, sadistic and vengeful he starts to become yet he never quite loses his naivety. I felt Laedron’s character was the best developed which makes sense seeing as the story is centered around him, however his ability to use spells so effectively with little training and little practice seems out of place – but I’m thinking that might be explained in another book seeing as this is the first of a trilogy.
Once I got about three or four chapters into it the story started to pull me in further. It becomes much faster paced and exciting only slowing down again in few spots. It also ends on a bit of a cliff hanger making the reader want more. Another thing I must give this story credit for is not being overly predictable. Obviously some things need to happen for there to be a story but at several points I assumed one thing would happen only to be fooled with something entirely different and I love stories with good twists.
Overall I would say this was a really good read, but I also would not have been put off with more character development surrounding the characters travelling with Laedron for the majority of the story. Also, I would love to have more background on Ismerelda, but again I feel as though that might pop up in one of the other books, if not I think a short story or novella dedicated to her could be interesting. I found her to be one of the most interesting characters in the book so far, but I am connected enough with Laedron to be rooting for him.
Available on Amazon: The Circle of Sorcerers: A Mages of Bloodmyr Novel: Book #1
Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.