GUEST POST - This is WAR! Tropes in Fantastical Conflicts

Skyler Boudreau Editorial Contributor

Skyler Boudreau
Editorial Contributor

The month of March was named after the Roman god Mars. Mars is a god of war and was the most important god to the Ancient Roman military. To the Ancient Romans, Mars and the military represented a way to secure peace between them and their neighbors.

I want to take a look at three of the tropes that appear in wars within fantasy novels. For the sake of clarity, and since a lot of these are called by various names, I used the names from TV Tropes, a website with a ton of information on the topic. If you want more information about any of the ones I mention, you can search them on that website. It can be fun to scroll through their lists and think of novels that match the different tropes described.

The Magic Versus Technology War

A lot of fantasy novels take place in a medieval setting, making the technology available to characters fairly primitive. Sometimes, however, there are stories where magic and more advanced technology exist at the same time. This is almost always a source of conflict. For example, Gaiman’s novel American Gods is centered around a war being fought by ancient gods like Odin and Anansi against new gods of modern technology.

The Forever War

This is a war that has been going on for so long that neither side remembers the initial reason for why they began fighting. It’s not so much the reason behind the conflict that matters, but more the fact that it is happening. Often, though not always, it is the role of the protagonist to reconcile the situation. Sometimes the Forever War is more of a backdrop to a bigger story. Whatever the reason for its inclusion, it is a conflict that has been going on for, well, ever.

Fantasy Conflict Counterpart

I find this trope particularly interesting. The Fantasy Conflict Counterpart creates a war that reflects a historical event, such as the way Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is an allegory for the Cold War. It creates a way for authors to discuss major conflict in situations where they might not be able to in a historical or modern context. Perhaps there is the fear of being blacklisted, as there was during the Cold War. Perhaps the author disagrees with the role their own country played in a war and is unable to say anything otherwise. There are easily hundreds if not thousands of examples of this trope in action.

What are some fantasy war tropes that you’re intrigued by?

About Skyler Boudreau

Skyler Boudreau is a book reviewer with Reader Views and Feathered Quill, a freelance writer, and a musician. She can be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Instagram @SkylerBoudreau. One day she hopes to work as an editor and best-selling author, but for now she is pursuing a career in freelance writing.

2018-2019 Awards Winners Announcement!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Finally, the winners of the 2018 copyright books for the Literary Awards have been selected. This was a challenging process for our judges! All participants should be proud of their books as we can tell you first hand the quality of all of the books we received has raised the standard of Indie publishing for sure. Well done!

Check out the Official Award Listing Here

For those of you who made the winner list, the arduous job of promoting your work has gotten a little easier through a winner seal, but it will still take some work on your part to get your book noticed. Here are some ideas on how to use your winner status to promote your title:

·         Once you receive your seal, get the publisher to add it to the cover of your book.

·         Post your seal everywhere! This includes your Amazon page, author page, blog, media kit, and any other social media profile or author’s bio.

·         Be proud and blast it off! Announce it everywhere through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn…etc.

·         Announce it to the media through the distribution of a press release.

·         If you have advertisements out there, make sure you include your seal on them.

·         Get features everywhere you can to announce the win.

·         Schedule giveaways to celebrate.

·         Publish articles on steps to produce a winning book.

For those of you who did not place in this year’s event, this is not the end of the road for your title or your writing careers! There are many things you should do.

·         Read the review for hints on why yours was not selected.

·         Find on your review a positive quote that you can use to add on your back cover as a Reader Views endorsement. This quote can also be used on your bio and Amazon page and announced through social media networks.

·         If your review mentioned any specific problem with the production of the book, invest in some consulting help to correct by revising it, or avoid flaws on your next book.

·         Do not get discouraged! You have done something most only dream of. Keep at it!

For more information about the Literary Awards or how we can help with any of the above-mentioned ways to promote your title, visit www.readerviews.com or email us at admin@readerviews.com.

 

2018-2019 Literary Awards - AND THE FINALISTS ARE...

Whoa - It has been a fierce competition due to the great quality of most of the books entered! As usual we can only select a few finalists, and this year it’s proving to be a very difficult task! So we wish all the finalists good luck, knowing that in our hearts and minds you all are winners. For those participants that didn’t make the finals, know that most of you didn’t make it by a VERY SMALL margin. So be proud of your book and your accomplishment and do not be discouraged! Keep marketing your book by submitting to other awards programs and be sure to keep reading our newsletter for ongoing tips on how to get your book out there.

Here is the list:

2018-2019 Finalists - (listed alphabetically by category does not indicate placement)

Finalists, as you wait for the winners announcement, there are few things you can do to get ready and make the most of your status!

·         Those of you that have printed copies, check out the link included in your finalist notice (it will come to you via email) to order stickers for your books covers. This year we are ahead of the game, LOL, and have the stickers in stock, so we are ready!

·         Once the final placements are announced, we will be producing award certificates, to be emailed along with a digital copy of the sticker seal. This is the time to begin to contact your publishers to find out what you need to do to add the seal to your digital book covers.

·         Plan your strategy for spreading the news about your accomplishment! Announcements to the media can be made through press releases and their launch can be coordinated with a social media campaign. Check out our PR Writing, PR Distribution, and Social Media Blitz services!

·         Literary Awards give credibility to your title! Make the most of your expert status and give book interviews, publish articles, and share your knowledge with upcoming new authors. Giving back is the best way to promote your work!

Being an award winner is what all authors shoot for, but for those who did not make the finalists list know this; Be proud of being a participant as you did something the majority of people do not. You not only wrote and published a book; you also endured the critical examination of three lines of judges! Use quotes of your review and share the knowledge you acquired during the process to make the most of the experience and keep writing! For more on how we can help authors please visit us at www.readerviews.com.

And stay-tuned for the announcement of our category winners, special sponsored award recipients and regional/global winners on Monday, March 11th.

2018-2019 Literary Awards Finalists Announcement Coming Soon!

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Phew, the last few weeks at Reader Views have been busy to say the least!  We received the last batch of scores from the first-line judges and are busy tallying those results to determine the entries moving into the second round of the competition. 

This is a good time for participants to be planning their marketing strategy as there are many things to consider. It is a given that winning an honorable status will provide a strong promotional tool. But a tool is only good if put to use! As independent authors, having a plan is imperative, and all participants should be thinking, even before the announcement, about what comes next. What will you do to promote your award-winning book?

For more information on how we can help, check out our Services for Authors.

Best of luck to all participants. Finalists will be announced in the next couple of weeks. From everyone here at Reader Views, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be a part of your journey!

How to Get the Most from Internet Radio Broadcast Interviews

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Often the first idea that comes to mind when considering using interviews to promote our books is the airwaves via talk radio and real-time TV shows. The idea of reaching a large audience and becoming a celebrity by making an appearance for a few minutes is very appealing but It’s also not realistic. The Internet radio, however, offers a different type of exposure. The podcast or video interview stays online indefinitely available to anyone at any time. The audience of the show is the book’s target market, as readers search for a specific topic. These Internet shows often offer longer interviews (some up to 30-60 minutes) for the author to promote their book and website. Below are some ways authors can make the most out of Internet broadcasts:

·         Book different shows that talk about different topics covered in your book, sot that you can reach a wider audience in diverse areas. For example, for my book set up in Europe during WWII I could look for shows highlighting Historical, War, PSTD, Italy, Italian Migration, writing a book about your parents…etc.

·         Send different topic list and sample questions to all shows to make sure you have different interviews and don’t end up with several interviews that all sound the same.

·         Plan sale promotions and events around the interviews - announce the interviews on your website to get more traffic.

·         Make sure you mention your website and book title a few times throughout the interview. Be personable and cordial with host and have sound bites ready to mention that listeners can remember easily after the show is over that will prompt them to visit your site or Google your book.

·         Have an audio commercial of the book ready to offer it to the host and sponsor another show with it.

·         Make sure you link the show on your website, Amazon’s Author Central account, etc.

·         Announce your shows on all the online calendars you can reach as well as your social media sites.

Remember your online interviews will remain available indefinitely so keep mentioning them on your blog and newsletter with the link! For more information on how we help Authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

Special Announcement: New Publicity Opportunity for Picture Book Authors!

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Hi All,

We wanted to share our exciting news!- Reader Views Kids and the Barefoot Librarian are collaborating on a new service for picture book authors with a unique opportunity to create a buzz about their books.

Taken from our press release:

Reader Views Kids teams up with the Barefoot Librarian, to create a new opportunity for picture book authors through the Librarian Picture Book Publicity Package.  Featuring an extensive array of publicity services, this new package not only provides picture book authors with an experienced book review from a librarian; it also maximizes exposure on their networks through special social media postings, advertising, and features uniting efforts to create a buzz for both targets: kids and libraries. Reader Views Kids and the Barefoot Librarian are scheduled to roll out this new service on February 4, 2019. The publicity package includes an expert assessment/review of the picture book, online publicity and news spotlights, social media exposure, advertising in an online magazine/book catalog, and an exclusive author interview.

 When interviewed about the new service, Susan Violante, co-Managing Editor of Reader Views said “Reader Views Kids was founded to offer reviews by kids for kids, as they are the real audience for children’s books. But in reality, librarians are also an important target, as they pick the books for their library audience. We decided that it was time to add librarian reviews to our Reader Views Kids menu, so we partnered up with the Barefoot Librarian, who is the perfect fit for our family.” Co-Managing Editor, Sheri Hoyte added, “It’s long overdue that we teamed up with a librarian to help our awesome children authors get their picture books in libraries, making them accessible to all kids. We are so excited to be working with Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian – she brings a special talent to the table.”

Eve Panzer, the owner of the Barefoot Librarian, is thrilled about joining forces with Reader Views Kids. She said, “This is the perfect pairing! Susan and Sheri bring their vast experience of marketing and publicity, as well as a large community of followers to the partnership. I will bring my prospective as a children’s librarian and my networking channels in the library and educational worlds. Our author clients will truly get a unique and powerful package.”

The best features and areas of expertise from both companies were put together to develop an amazing publicity opportunity for independent picture book authors.

About Reader Views Kids:

Reader Views Kids launched at the end of 2007 as part of Reader Views to fill a need of having children’s books reviewed by kids instead of adults. Reader Views Kids consists of a group of kids ranging from 3-18 years of age. The mission of these bookworms is to read and give their honest opinion on age-appropriate books. Recommended guidelines are followed to make sure their reviews cover the book as a product, however, their voices and opinions are honest and genuine. The younger kids do the reviews with help of their parents, the older ones are seasoned readers in their own right and write their own reviews.

About the Barefoot Librarian:

Eve Panzer is the Barefoot Librarian, an experienced school librarian for kindergarten through eighth grade schools with passion for working with educators in their selection of the best of children’s literature. Holding a Masters of Library Science Degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Eve has been a professional in children’s literature since 1999, helping educators to select relevant books that are meaningful to their students.

More information can be found at www.readerviewskids.com and www.barefootlibrarian.com or by contacting Reader Views admin@readerviews.com.  

What is Genre-Blending?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

There is no question about it, genre-blending is happening! But what is it? And what does it mean for writers and readers? In the old publishing system before the Internet, categorizing books was the norm. The entire system was based on these categories, and most writers would adhere to the genre. Yet even then, within the last two decades of the 20th Century some works from a few authors did venture into this trend. These books were difficult to categorize, and I can imagine just how many genre-blended manuscripts from new authors were rejected because the industry was not ready for them. I am not sure why the industry is ready for genre-blending now, but I like to think it is thanks to all the Indie work out there. I bet that most readers were as tired as I was of the cookie cutter publishing machine, and craved something different. This craving with the Indie books boom, thanks to the Internet in my opinion, is what made possible the publishing industry fusion revolution we see currently. Below are few things to think about when writing genre-fusion stories:

·         Keeping your plot straight. Sometimes having too much freedom can make it difficult to choose a focal point when writing. I mean, just look at the historical fiction book “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. This is a historical book narrated by the angel of death (the reaper)…It could easily be considered a fantasy because of this fusion. Yet the main story is about the main character (a little girl who loved books during a time they were banned and burned in Germany). The author found the best balance of fantasy and historical fiction in his book by separating the fantasy element from the main plot when he made the reaper strictly the narrator. I think that finding a balance of genres is what will keep the reader from scattering their attention and losing the main plot. Another example I can think of is the movie, “Cowboys and Aliens.” The western genre was the setting and the plot revolved in sci-fi.

·         Pick one of the blended genres as the main one. Before developing the story, the author needs to choose which one is the main genre and apply it to the plot. This will not only help to keep the story line straight, it can also give a focus point for the promotional efforts. Having a main marketing target and using the other genre fused into it as angles for promoting will also help the promoting team to stay on track with a defined campaign, instead of scattering efforts everywhere without specific direction and goals.

·         Keep it simple. If you are like me, you get a bunch of ideas all at the same time. Because of this my first bullet point plot is really like five stories instead of one. I know this, so I always do a bullet point summary so that I can strip out all the extra stories before I start developing my project. I do this with book-size ideas all the way through this very editorial. Keeping it simple is always a good idea to make sure your message goes through but working with genre-blended stories it becomes even more critical to do this. A plot with too many characters and twists of a WWII-vampire vs zombies who end up being ancient astronauts-and a Nazi zombie falls in love with Churchill’s daughter might be a little too much for readers to follow and enjoy at the same time. So take your time selecting what you want to include in your plot to make sure it is balanced.

In the end, currently a successful book is not about what category or how many categories it’s written in. What matters is that it’s a good story that is well-written. For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

You Must Read Before You Write…

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I began writing for publication during the 1990s, but my love for books began decades before during my childhood. My mom wanted me to develop my Italian so she subscribed me to an Italian comic magazine when I was about ten years old. During my preteen years, she would take me to her friend’s bookstore, the place where my love for books grew, as my reading skills developed. Then when I turned thirteen, I began to write in a journal my grandmother gave to me. It was during those years that I realized how my journal reflected the new words I learned in the books I was reading. My sentences improved, expressing myself became easier and my thoughts and imagination were set free! It was my uncle however, who started me in serious writing. His method was fundamentally based on improving my reading list by including literary wonders from Dante Alighieri and Niccolo Machiavelli, to more contemporary writers like Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, Giovanni Guareschi, Stephen King, Agatha Christi, Isaac Asimov, Robert Ludlum, etc. By the time I was 18 years old, I was not only an avid reader of most genres, I was already developing my own personal favorites like, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, J.J. Benitez, Hemmingway, Richard Bach and a zillion others! But it wasn’t until I migrated to the US that I discovered an interest in writing for publication.

This little bio on my own evolution from reader to writer is meant to show how the process takes time, but also how big a role reading plays. To be honest, without reading, in my mind there can’t be a real writer. Yes creative writing classes are good to learn the craft and to exercise the mind. But without reading a writer is limiting their potential to the minimum. Here are some points on why this is true:

·         How can we expect to write stories appealing to readers, if we don’t even know what it means to be a reader?

·         In the same way musicians are inspired by the great musicians before them…so are the writers inspired by the great authors who paved the way before us. So without that source of inspiration, knowledge and guidance; how can a writer become a unique author, how can a writer discover their own style, how can an author inspire others through their work?

·         When writing for publication, an author needs to do a lot a research regardless of what genre they’re writing in. But they also need to know what the current marketing trends are and targets for the genre they are writing. How can they know what their audience wants if they aren’t readers of the genre they are writing in?

·         How can a writer learn about pacing, style, character development, setting, plot, etc. without reading?

·         How can a writer be sure their book is well edited without being a reader?

When it comes to reading it doesn’t matter what you read, but when it comes to writing we have to make sure we know what others have done on the topic we wish to write about and learn what works for readers and what doesn’t. This also serves to discover if our topic has been done too much or to figure out if our angle could be a niche. There are an infinite number of reasons why we should read as writers. But if you are still not convinced just ask yourself… why should anyone read your book when you won’t read any ones else’s book?