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High fantasy versus urban fantasy: the smackdown


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Posted on Jul 12, 2013 5:22:24 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 12, 2013 5:22:29 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013 1:41:21 PM PST
HJ Leonard says:
Lol!

Posted on Feb 16, 2013 1:20:05 PM PST
Screw all that! My name is J.R.R Tolkien. Read my new book The Hobbit.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013 10:31:20 AM PST
John (post above) is quite right. If you remove the paragraph that promotes your own book, then the rest of it is OK. But any mention of your book should be confined to MOA.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2013 6:29:37 AM PST
John Green says:
You're also self-promoting your work in a thread you're not allowed to do so. You need to remove the reference to your book; you can only do that in the Meet Our Authors forums.

<< Initial post: Jun 28, 2011 3:36:16 PM PDT
Amazon Community Team says:
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Posted on Feb 16, 2013 4:11:12 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 16, 2013 12:21:44 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2013 3:49:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2013 3:01:21 PM PDT
As an author, the advice given to authors in this situation - but it isn't an exact fit for the categories within the genre! - is pick the closest fit for the top-level category (fantasy, romance, mystery, western) and leave it general (mark as short story when appropriate) and use a combination of your summary/blurb, keywords, and tags to give a more precise idea of the flavor and nature of your story. Like if one of your primary characters has a specific defining classification that could appeal/repel readers such as single-parent, orphan, child, senior citizen, physically handicapped (is that even still the accepted term or has Political Correctness struck again?), cowboy, mechanic, alien... you get the idea. Or if there is a particular point of the story that you feel is important - 1920's, Prohibition, Civil Rights Movement, Set during ----- war, Texas, Mexico, ocean-cruise setting, dragons, trains, rocket ships, rescue pets. Or your cowboy story is not set in the American West, but in Brazil, or Russia, or Mars. (Martian Westerns? some sort of sci-fi/western hybrid that would be a wreck to categorize... someone should write this.)

In theory, as people read your story, they can add tags or reviews that they feel appropriate which will help other readers get an idea if your story is to their tastes. In practice, that's all dependent on people reading your story and feeling willing to give it more of their time to leave a comment and/or tags.

As much as being able to identify an established genre for your story makes it easier for people to find it, it can upset people who look in 'historical romance' and find something set in the 1870's, because that doesn't fit what they consider 'historical romance'; or someone who looks under 'techno-thriller' and finds a story about the interesting and not always effective efforts to develop the first vessel for mechanized flight, and the accompanying industrial espionage and sabotage that accompanied such efforts (totally making up those examples). But that shouldn't mean you don't write your 1870's romance, or industrial sabotage during the invention of aircraft. Or your thrilling story of a brave warrior challenging the foulest magics in the heart of Africa.

Another oft-repeated bit of advice is to write it, classify it the best you can, and then write another one - more stories = better visibility = more chances for reader#234 to find your stuff, become interested, and buy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2013 1:26:38 PM PST
Rabid Reader says:
I like them both, but for me to enjoy a high fantasy it has be well written. Urban Fantasy for some reason I give more leeway and don't mind if it's a bit drekky.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2013 3:28:03 AM PST
I think most authors realize how important the cover is, but they may not be able to afford the best one. In the case of traditional publishing, they usually have no say, certainly at first and sometimes never. One of my favorite cozy mystery books has a horrendous cover: Dead Woman's Shoes. When the ebook came out (I don't know who did the cover--the author or the company. The original book was put out by a small publisher; by the time the ebook came out, the small company had been bought by a one of the UK majors. No idea who owned the e-rights) the cover improved, but it's still not a grabber: Dead Woman's Shoes: 1 (Lexie Lomax Mysteries). Sometimes, whether you're the publisher or the author, you buy what you're budgeted and get the book out there.

Covers sell books. There is no doubt. There is also no doubt that the magical formula is always changing...

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 2:29:22 AM PST
Many authors have no idea how important the cover can really be. Though I agree it should reflect the work, it shouldn't necessarily reflect the authors taste. It's about what catches the eye of the consumer. An author, many times, will have difficulty viewing his/her work as a product, and will see the cover part of the creation. The fact is, it's just the packaging. As with people, in the end, it's what's inside that counts.

I don't care what people say about not picking up a book because of a cool cover, it just not true. I have personal experience with this, and have seen what a cover can do for sales.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 5:04:03 PM PST
Reader complaints have actually worked quite a few times, but usually in "white-washing" --where the model on the cover is white and the main is not. This also has little to do with the author, but has to do with publishing and marketing departments making very bad decisions...

As for the rest of the covers, well, it happens quite frequently. There's always trends and if someone thinks a trend is selling, they are going to "copy" it at the very least in the marketing materials...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 5:00:01 PM PST
Also true, I've known authors who had to fight to prevent covers like that from being on their books, and other authors who had no say over what went on the cover of their book at all (generally newly published writers). Maybe readers should start a write in campaign or something, particularly when it comes to books in which the covers have nothing whatsoever to do with the contents of the book, but are clearly exploitative?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 4:56:58 PM PST
Ah, I've seen those pictures, hilarious! Didn't know it was any type of genre per se, just art targeting an adolescent male readership. I'll have to look into this.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 3:03:47 PM PST
Well in fairness the romance in Ilona Andrews doesn't start until almost book 3. Yeah, it's hinted at, but it really isn't quite the same as bodice rippers and there is quite a bit of plot going on in the first 4 or so novels. I don't think they are at all equivalent to chicklit. There's no real similarity to that genre as Kate Daniels isn't at all concerned about her shoes, purses or social life. She does worry some about her job and whether she'll be able to keep it, but not for the usual chicklit reasons. There is also very little focus on her physical attributes (more on her killing skills) unlike most chicklit.

OTOH, you are right about the hilarity on Jim Hines' site. Some of those photos are great. Others are...scary.

I really don't think you can tell the Snarky Heroine who Kicks Butt from the covers either...because those sell so well, sometimes there is that kind of cover only to find a book that really isn't that genre. This can mean a very, very good book or a very, very bad book...or it could just depend on your taste. :>)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 2:36:13 PM PST
L. Tolbert says:
The trope you're talking about is the Snarky Heroine Who Kicks Butt. Just like bodice-rippers, you can always tell it's that kind of book because the lady on the cover is always standing with her back to the viewer and a weapon in one hand. Although now some artists are starting to flip it and show them from the front with a weapon in hand. These books are usually thinly veiled romance novels, ChickLit with werewolves or just rip-offs of more popular writers. I have a few in my collection : Ilona Andrews and Carrie Vaughn mostly.

Check out Jim C. Hines website where they discuss this a lot and there's even photos of Jim and John Scalzi trying to reproduce some of the poses. It's hilarious.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013 11:48:13 AM PST
Iola says:
No, you may not. Amazon do not allow self-promotion in these forums.

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 8:16:44 AM PST
High fantasy is in a definite rut at present. Urban fantasy seems to be in a similar rut, but only only because there are so many "non-writers" trying to duplicate mediocre success stories. Someone mentioned a trope of leather pants chicks, but I haven't noticed that trend at all, but then I'm very picky about what authors I read, and stay away from people jumping on a bandwagon to make a quick buck. You generally can't go wrong with writers like Charles De Lint, who was doing urban fantasy before people even had a name for it. George R.R. Martin whom I'm sure many of you High Fantasy readers know very well also writes very good Urban fantasy, and you should check it out. Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman, the list is extensive.

If any genre becomes popular, it is going to become over-saturated by the hacks out to capitalize on it. You have to be particular what you read, because all of it is not good. You see it in Steampunk now, you saw it with LoTR (and I'm talking about back when Sword of Shannara first came out), you saw it in SF after Star Wars become the thing. Remember Sturgeon's Law, and also remember that in the long run, it's all speculative fiction, and when it's well done it's all good regardless of the sub-genre.

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 7:43:59 AM PST
Clueless says:
I vote for urban fantasy. They are usually a quick read and I guess I just like lots of 'snack' books as opposed to a full meal. Even though I'm sure that The Game of Thrones books would be fantastic reads - I'd rather read 5-6 urban fantasy novels in the same amount of time as just one of those fatties.

Posted on Jan 23, 2013 11:04:04 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2013 11:03:10 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2013 10:57:38 PM PST
John Green says:
Who's getting upset? I was suggesting you not sink to his level, that's all. Are you truly that thin-skinned?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2013 4:12:31 PM PST
<<Even though they haven't been the best of posters, you're the one being snide now. It could simply not be to their taste; it's not that big a deal, is it?>>

Wow... um. Is he your brother or son or something? He has shown up precisely once in this entire thread and his entire post consisted of "i cant stand urban fantasy". No capitalization. No punctuation. No evidence of any intention but trolling the thread. I would say your statement that he hasn't been the best of posters is the understatement of the year. Yet you jump to his defense as if I accused him ruining my life by not liking the genre.

But to answer your question. No it's not that big a deal that he doesn't like urban fantasy. But unless he is your family member and is even now hiding in his closet crying hysterically I don't see any reason you would be getting so upset that I disagreed with him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2013 2:15:10 PM PST
John Green says:
Even though they haven't been the best of posters, you're the one being snide now. It could simply not be to their taste; it's not that big a deal, is it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2013 9:21:46 AM PST
<<i cant stand urban fantasy>>

Then you haven't read the right urban fantasy. Your response is kind of like saying "I hate pizza" because the only pizza you've ever eaten is bargain basement frozen pizza.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2013 9:01:02 AM PST
I loved that book too. :) I think it was absolutely the right move.

I am really looking forward to where she goes from here.

Another series that might do something similar is Kelly Gays Charlie Madigan. The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Book 1) I haven' t read past book one, but I think the two worlds blend.
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Discussion in:  Fantasy forum
Participants:  46
Total posts:  146
Initial post:  Dec 13, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2013

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