A Guest Post by the indomitable Roland Yeomans
I KNOW WHAT THE NEXT BIG THING IN BOOKS WILL BE.
Well, it could be.
And who am I?
Roland Yeomans by name:
A reader, a writer, a dreamer.
No, this is not a Book Tour Post – it is an explanation of why Book Tours are not working and what could be the next genre of the moment.
Why aren’t Book Tours working anymore? Simple.
Over-saturation and boring repetition.
When a Book Tour comes out, the blog lists all begin to look the same – with the same post title and cover image even.
I mean how many cover reveals of THE TEMPTATION OF THE VIRGIN by C. Mai Kahunas can you see over and over again?
Though from the title and name of the author, I bet you wonder what that cover would look like right now!
We writers are like that puppy that keeps going back to his empty dish, drawn by the memory of when it was filled with food.
Book Tours worked once but no more. Amanda Hocking parlayed her Twitter presence into high sales.
Now, Twitter is filled with BUY ME!
But no one is listening anymore.
So, like me, you’re asking: “If Book Tours aren’t working, what can I do to draw attention to my new book?”
The answer is simple: give the blog visitor something they want to know.
What do all of us want to know?
We know the basics of writing, of editing, of crafting a three act story with action and suspense.
Well, for one thing: We want to know what the next hot genre will be in time to begin writing in it.
I can help there: STEAMPUNK.
You’re rolling your eyes out there. I see you. Steampunk has been declared dead almost from the moment of its inception.
Tales of Sorcerer’s Apprentices were thought old hat … until the Sorting Hat and Harry Potter.
Vampire stories were thought long in the tooth … until the sparkles came out.
When we do something old in a new way, we catch the imagination of the readers.
1. It's the perfect mash-up genre for a culture obsessed with mixing and remixing, fanfic, and memes.
Gotham. Sleepy Hollow. Bates Motel. Guardians of the Galaxy. The Jungle Book. The Legend of Tarzan. The Flash. Lately, we really seem to be into creative takes on the old classics.
And Steampunk is like the ultimate mash-up genre –
both futuristic and retro.
Plus, it's got room for anything and everything fandom's little heart can dream up:
Aliens and AIs, zeppelins and zombies, pirates and corsets, goggles and gaslights, mad scientists and scullery maids. It's romance, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and adventure (and even occasionally a whodunit or a spaghetti western).
2. It's class conscious.
We live in an era of massive inequality and an exponentially increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Science fiction and fantasy have always provided a means for writers and artists to critique their society indirectly.
(Just look at The Hunger Games.)
Steampunk takes place in another period of massive inequality –
the Victorian Era and the Gilded Age, a time when lords and ladies dressed in absurd regalia lounged in luxury while a permanent underclass shoveled the coal that fueled their society and starving urchins begged for bread in the streets.
Many Steampunk writers are drawing on this obvious metaphor to our current age and exploring pressing social issues.
3. It's eco-conscious.
At Steampunk's core is an obsession with the environmentalist's battle cry: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle.
Steampunk is based on an appreciation for reclaiming something old and making it new again, for cherishing the long-lasting and well-made over the slick, disposable, and new.
4. Your individuality is Steampunk's strength.
Steampunk is customizable and flexible, with a "start where you are" mentality that makes it incredibly easy to join in, whatever point you're starting from.
Steampunk is a big friendly movement, and you can jump in anywhere and anytime you like.
5. Alternate History or Everything Old Is New Again.Steampunk frequently dabbles in alternate history, placing importance on real life inventors such as Nikola Tesla or Charles Babbage as an explanation for ‘advanced’ technology like air ships and computers that run on clockwork and steam power.
Needless to say, this unique – and seemingly random – combination of ingredients means “the sky is not the limit – it is just the beginning.”
Which happens to be the cover blurb for my first Steampunk novel, THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD.
Where Abraham Lincoln is the villain, my hero puts President Ulysses S Grant in a sanitarium, and he marries the bad girl (H. Rider Haggard SHE bad) -- interesting things like that.
It will detail his honeymoon cruise in 1867 aboard the first Air/Steamship, Xanadu, where intrigue, death, betrayal, and murder reign supreme: and that's just in the bedroom. Outside of there it really gets deadly.
“Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection and genuine goodwill — the blood-letting will come later.”
(Mark Twain on the new marriage of Samuel McCord and the alien Empress Meilori Shinseen).
Listen to the music which played in my head as I wrote of the Xanadu, fighting its way through a sorcerous storm hurled at it by a mysterious enemy.
Thank you, Roland!
What do you think folks, is the book blog tour dead?