Fantasy is a subgenre of Speculative Fiction in which the reader is introduced to another world. In some cases, that world may appear very much like the real world but have elements of magic or other unreal things. Some fantasy books are entirely in another world with much different rules and systems than the one the reader lives in. Fantasy is a popular fiction genre and one that many self-publishing authors are drawn to. Here are 5 tips for self-publishing authors writing in the fantasy genre.
1. Bring in an Outsider
It is very common in fantasy literature for the main character to be unfamiliar with the magical world they are entering. This allows the reader to learn the rules of the world as the character does in a way that feels natural. Common examples of this in fantasy are characters arriving through a portal, new students at a magical school, and a hero discovering they have powers that they must be taught to use.
Bringing in an outsider is a great way for self-publishing authors to avoid information dumping, which can happen when an author really wants a reader to understand world rules, but doesn’t have anyone within the story world who wouldn’t already know those rules.
2. Keep Some Secrets
Often, self-publishing authors of Fantasy spend a lot of time creating deep and complex worlds. This can include things like drawing detailed maps, writing world histories, and creating complex languages for their characters to communicate in.
While those things can be important for the author to know in order to make a congruent story, often readers need only pieces of that information to understand the story.
Occasionally, self-publishing authors get so caught up in sharing the exciting details of their world with the reader that it bogs down the story. Some readers don’t mind spending fifty-two pages learning every major battle fought between unicorns and centaurs in a war that ended hundreds of years ago, but most would prefer the writer stick to those things relevant to the current story.
Self-publishing authors particularly need to be concerned with cutting extraneous information from their stories as higher page counts increase book printing costs.
3. Use the Hero’s Journey as a Beat Sheet
Fantasy is a genre that lends itself to following the hero’s journey when a self-publishing author is creating the plot and character arcs for a story. Following the basics of the hero’s journey during the outlining phase can easily allow the self-publishing author to lay out a story familiar enough for readers to understand but with the self-publishing author’s personal twists and additions.
4. Be Fearless
Fantasy is a genre that lends itself to creativity. Self-publishing authors shouldn’t worry that something is too outlandish for readers to believe but instead should focus on convincing readers that their tale of the fantastic could be true. Cowboys riding talking unicorns, paupers riding dragons, and princesses falling in love with cursed beasts, are just some of the things that readers are willing to accept in a story if the self-publishing author is clever enough in the crafting.
5. Make the Genre Clear in Marketing
A self-publishing author should be sure that the titles, custom book covers, and synopsis of their books clearly indicate that the reader is picking up a fantasy novel.
There is a vast audience for books in the fantasy genre but fantasy is only for some readers. It is important for self-publishing authors to be clear to potential readers what sort of book they are looking at. Making sure the book marketing elements are clear helps readers find books they are likely to love reading.
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