Monday, December 30, 2013

2013's Final Epiphany. "What's Your Book About?"

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season. Mine was busy. Too busy. But this is the longest I've ever taken off of work EVER, and it's been great.

So with Dragonfly Warrior being released early and my getting to reunite with friends and family, I've had the dreaded question posed to me:

"What's Your Book About?"

I love science fiction and fantasy, so of course my debut novel is science/fantasy-related. Almost all of my family and close friends don't read "that stuff." They either read romance, nonfiction, or just the newspaper. Many of them have purchased my book, but I'm pretty sure a tiny percent of them will actually read it.

While I truly appreciate their support, knowing they did it just to support me makes me a little sad.

So how do I answer the dreaded question? Usually it goes something like this:

"It's science fiction/fantasy. Steampunk actually. Lots of adventure and action." And then I'd kind of dismiss them. Why? Because I'm pretty sure the person inquiring wouldn't want to actually read my science fiction/fantasy novel. And I admit, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I write genre fiction. But I'm also bothered by how quickly I dismiss others.

Now, if I was surrounded by my fellow geeks, I'd have no problem going on and on about the cool steampunk machines in my book. The awesome action scenes, the mix of all kinds of world mythology. I could easily talk their ears off about my book.

But what about those that don't read the kind of books I write? 

Not only do I struggle with that embarrassment, but I think I'm a bit of a science fiction snob. It's not right of me to dismiss others like that. Just because someone doesn't exactly fit in our "club," it doesn't mean that they wouldn't enjoy my book or others in the same genre. A few of my beta readers don't read science fiction or fantasy at all, and they said they loved it. They were surprised by how much they enjoyed it? Why? Because underneath all that steampunkery and science fiction/'s just a story after all.

And who doesn't love a good story?

So the next time someone asks me, "What's your book about?"

I will not be such a jerk. I will look them straight in the eyes and reply, "It's about a naive sent on a quest out into a cruel world to save his people."

2014 will be the year of inclusion for me. I will promote and market my book to anyone willing to read/hear what I have to say. Because it's the story that draws readers in. The story, the characters, the conflict. That's what counts.

Oh yeah, and my book has kick ass steampunk in it too.

Quick Updates:

* The paperback version of Dragonfly Warrior is NOW available. Click HERE to go to the Amazon link. Sales were brisk early on, with friends and family buying my book. Now, I'm dead in the water. It's a marathon, not a sprint, right? If you want a personalized and signed copy, let me know in the comments. I'll reach out to you and get that going.

* I've decided to create a mailing list. I promise not to fill your inbox with junk. Just quick announcements and such. 2014 is going to be a big year, as I've got some pretty HUGE goals set. Wanted to keep people updated of my books coming out. The sign up is below.

* I want to do a very EASY blog tour. I have never done one of these before. I will reach out to those who did the cover reveal and see if you're interested. I'll also put up a new sign up form in the coming weeks. I'm thinking of doing the blog tour sometime in March.

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As I was reading, I was thinking don't tell them about the genre, tell them about the story. And you figured that out! You're right, science fiction turns some people away. But if you focus on the story that just happens to be placed in a science fiction setting, your book will appeal to them.
I am still stunned how many have read my books that have NEVER read a science fiction book before, but read mine because of the story and the characters. And that is what you want!
My blog is open to you in March!

DEZMOND said...

Sf is my fave genre after historical one, both in books and in movies. In my experience of a psychologist, those two genres are mostly unpopular among the uneducated people... and you don't need them as readers :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I still find it awkward to talk about my work with non-writers or non-readers, but I try to focus on what I like best about my work and I find that enthusiasm either becomes contagious or gives me a little boost of confidence, and reminds me that I love what I do, even if other people don't always "get it." :)

Melanie Schulz said...

If you figure out how to answer that question then tell me, because I still really struggle with this.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I hope those "outside" my genre give me a try. That's my goal. And thanks. March is the month I'm looking at.

Dez: I love my genre peeps. Just gotta not be so ashamed of being a part of it when I'm surrounded by my non-genre peeps.

Madeline: That's the right attitude. Not always easy to stay so confident when I'm with people who don't get it.

Melanie: Lol. Without the struggle, we don't learn...I guess!

Miranda Hardy said...

Most of my family aren't avid readers, so I run into the same problem when describing what I'm working on.

Morgan said...

I think that's a great one line tag! :) You've had a big year, Jay. So proud of you. You're doing it--living the dream. I'm excited to see what 2014 brings for you!

Jay Noel said...

Miranda: EXACTLY! They ask because they're curious, but they don't even read the newspaper.

Morgan: It's been an interesting ride. Taking the jump was not easy. Just gotta see what happens now. Thanks!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Boiling it down to a line or two, also known as the "Elevator pitch," is the best way to tell people about your book. Those interested in the story will read it.

Anonymous said...

I like this - be more positive when talking about your writing.

I have friends who boast more about my writing than I do. That just happened at a Christmas party and I had NO idea how to respond. I need to get ballsy with my writing. Be proud of it, be loud with it...and not

Rusty Carl said...

Hey Jay - is there a way to order a signed copy?

Jay Noel said...

L. Diane: And stripping away all that other stuff. I mean, other people love that stuff, but not everyone. But everyone loves a good story.

Riann: Yes. Be proud and don't alienate!

Rusty: Yes! I'll reach out to you about that.

Gina Gao said...

I really liked this post. You've had a really great year, keep it up!

M Pax said...

I will give your book a shoutout on my blog 1/8. I don't know if I will blog any more than that this month, because I set an insane deadline to get my next book done. However, if you want more, ie guest post, I can schedule something in February. Let me know. I want to help. :D I did put it up on the UR post last week.

mooderino said...

Genre fiction is hugely popular and I'm sure there's an audience out there for your book. I think everyone loves an adventure.

Moody Writing

Dana said...

I have a difficult time talking about my work, especially to people who either don't know much about writing or think that it's just my hobby, which I admit sometimes brings me down. I think next time someone asks me what I'm writing, I'll take your advice and let my enthusiasm show. Why shouldn't I be enthusiastic? :)

Emily R. King said...

Great for you, Jay! Your one-sentence pitch is awesome, and you should be proud to share it!

Jay Noel said...

Gina: Thanks so much!

Mary: I appreciate it for sure. I will probably schedule a little blog tour. Nothing too crazy or too involved.

Moody: Just have to find those people!

Dana: Exactly right. Don't let it bring you down. Be proud of your WORK.

Emily Thanks. I shouldn't feel sheepish just because I write genre fiction.

jaybird said...

This post made me laugh Jay, cause it's like the exact opposite for me, in my circle of family/friends. Sci Fi/Fantasy is about the only acceptable genre to write in (other than non-fiction). When I get asked that dreaded question, I kind of mumble, "It's a paranormal romance." And then wait for it.... Cause next comes the heckling and big eye rolls and the bad Twilight comparisons...which my book is nothing like. But that doesn't matter one bit to them. I know they are only teasing and I shouldn't be that sensitive but it kind of sucks to have your genre and work be dismissed so easily. I think you have the right idea to not mention genre and just talk about the characters. I might use that trick and choose that path myself in the future!

Happy New Year Jay. I hope 2014 brings you and your book much success!!!

Pk Hrezo said...

Just signed up! I need to work on my mailing list this year more. It's a goal.

I know what you mean when you try to explain to people who aren't fans of SFF. But you're right, we should always be looking to convert! I mean, that's what word of mouth is all about. Sharing something new that we discovered. And what better art to share then our own books? Most of my fam and friends dont read SFF either, and I'll be surprised if they finish my books, but you just never know.

Here's wishing you much success for 2014!

farawayeyes said...

I'm so excited for you. I've been in that Thanksgiving to Christmas fog of traveling, family and too much fun, so I had no idea you had an early release. I admit that I'm not a big sci-fy fan, but I'm always up for a really good story, and it sounds like you've got one.

I'll be heading over to shortly to purchase my e-copy. Good luck with the marketing. I do feel a really good story will eventually find it's way

Mr. Shife said...

Congrats Jay. Very happy for you and the successful launch of your book. Happy New Year and continued good fortunes with Dragonfly Warrior.

The Desert Rocks said...

You must be thrilled. Congratulations and I'm sure it's a fascinating tale.

Lexa Cain said...

I've read "genre" fiction all my life and consider mainstream and literary pretentious. Yup, I'm a genre snob! But, I guess since I was brought up on Star Trek and Night Gallery, it's to be expected. Congrats on your release - I wish you much success!! :)

Milo James Fowler said...

I can feel your pain, bro. Most of my readers are complete strangers, but the few family/friends who "get" my stuff and let me know they like it -- those are the folks who make my day.

Ellie Garratt said...

A belated Happy New Year, Jay! I have the feeling 2014 is going to be the year your rock the stratosphere. Let me know if I can help with your blog tour or any other promotions during the year.

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