When I started writing several years ago, it took me sometime to decide which was the genre that worked for me the best. I started with thrillers, thinking that it would be difficult to create a fantasy or science fiction world. I love reading thrillers, that can’t be questioned, but I also love reading other genres like fantasy.
I thought that developing characters and a story in a world that already existed would work for me better as a beginner writer. But setting a story in a current world is not easy. You still have to do research, know the place where it will take place, research about the people in this place, the language they use, etc. After a first manuscript that didn’t work well, I realized that I wasn’t that good at establishing a current environment, so I thought I would give it a try with fantasy.
But would I be imaginative enough to figure out a whole fictional world? Would I have the words and imagination for world building, aside from character building? I didn’t know. I doubted myself a lot, but I still started with a story that I had a long time in mind.
When I started writing “The Last Families”, I gave it a simple title “New World”. It was because I was writing about a new world and thought it would be better to name it like that than simply “Manuscript”. I started describing those fantasy landscapes that I had imagined before. It wasn’t that bad and I enjoyed the process. Some time later (a couple of years) here I’m with my first fantasy novel.
I’m not sure if fantasy is all I’m ever going to write but my next story is still in this genre. There is a mix of science fiction in some parts of The last Families and I’ll probably explore this genre a bit more in the future. Right now, I’m happy that I get to explore my imagination much better than when I was trying to adapt my stories to an existing world just because of writing comfort. I feel better challenging myself.
The fact that a story has fantasy in it doesn’t mean that its whole world is made up and not related to current topics related to our own world. But if it wasn’t because I had to write a pitch, a synopsis, and disclaimers for this book, I wouldn’t have thought of the harsh underlying topics in the story:
End of the world /post-apocalyptic. Even though The Last Families happens in a fictional world, there is a background and time to the story. African, the last continent left on Earth, refers to a world that is far in the future, after the other continents have become lost somehow. The Last Families characters are still escaping from this last continent that is now facing its destruction.
Skin color/race as a factor to survive – Without going too much into details and telling part of the story here, the new place where the families have arrived, Gambir, has extreme circumstances that make that some people with certain skin color have better chances to survive.
Superiority of some families – Some families, like the Ninfires, believe they are superior than others. The idea of a group of people superior to other is still current relevant issue, no matter in which country we are located.
Misogyny – This is of course a characteristic that belongs to a villain, Ian, and even though this is a fictional world, unfortunately it can still be present.
There are still other harsh topics in “The Last Families” but that are better discovered during the story. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the story is only dark, it is also a story of love, leadership, tolerance, sacrifice and compassion.
When I started working on my launch plan, the website was a no brainer. That is the only thing that I would be able to pull it out myself without hiring somebody else. I’m happy to admit that I really enjoyed the process and the website is ready.
For any other authors out there that might be seeking into setting up a website for their book, and you are not sure what content to include, after doing some research, this is the content that I included:
A Homepage that summarizes most of the website’s content, from the book’s release info, author, contact form, etc. The idea is that most people won’t navigate further than the homepage and won’t even click the navigation menus.
An About the Author page. This is a must in a book’s website. I included a short bio- the same that is placed in the back of the book’s cover. I have the belief that it has to include a good picture, people could want to meet/see the author.
A link to the Author’s blog, that means to this blog. I don’t think I’ll have a blog section in the book’s website. Maybe in the future. Although I’m not really sure what would I blog about. But in the meantime, I have this blog that has been running since 2015 with over a hundred of posts. So why not link to this blog? That is a good way to get more followers in “The Diaries of the Happy Writer”.
A Contact page where anybody can contact me. I’m mostly thinking of people who might be interested in an ARC (Advanced Read Copy) or something like that.
The controversial “Fanfiction” page which after some carefulconsideration in a previous post, I decided to give it a go. It’s not like I’m a world famous author and will get myself into suing readers for copyright issues. The more people that can read my book, the better, and I’m honored if someone ever thinks of writing fanfiction about it.
The Reviews page. Although, reviews are preferred in store sites like Amazon or Goodreads, it is still okay for me if people want to leave their review on site. The page will still include, of course, links to the retailers’ sites.
I’m pretty sure this content is not stone-fixed. While this adventure of self-publishing my book continues, I’m pretty sure that I will find myself re-doing certain things. I might need to add other sections to the website that I hadn’t thought before. A blog section could be needed to boost the SEO, for example. But at this stage, I’m happy to say that The Last Families’s website is ready. Please make sure to click the button and subscribe to get updates:
I finally have a cover for my first fantasy novel “The Last Families” and I’m extremely happy to reveal it:
The cliffs in the cover are inspired by the first opening paragraph of the “The Last Families”:
Blood climbed at least half a mile towards the sky. That was Yarisha’s first impression when she saw the crimson hue that covered the tallest cliffs she’d ever seen. The immense island above them resembled a piece of land floating on the water’s surface. Judging by the marks on the red cliffs, the water could have been higher once. Whatever mineral drenched the rocks, it painted them a deep red. This wasn’t the dreamiest place one would expect, but the families didn’t have anywhere else to go. Their own land had been destroyed.
If you’ve been a follower of this blog for a long time, you probably know that I started as a fan fiction writer. I don’t have any shame about it. I think that there is no better compliment as an author to have “fans” of your story. These fans have the story so glued in their brains and understand the characters so well, that they want to write a fan fiction about it. They might be looking forward to doing alternative endings, or simply writing scenes that were not mentioned in the book that somehow they can imagine happening. If you write a fan fiction story, it is usually because you liked the story, the characters made an imprint on you, and you feel they deserve your time to write about them.
I know that many authors are against fan fiction. To many it looks as if others are stealing their characters and breaching copyright. I thought a lot about this. But being a good follower of many fan fiction platforms, I’m aware that in most of the cases, there is always a disclaimer at the beginning of the story, about who the characters belong to and also author’s recognition.
Therefore, I would love to have a “The Last Families” (my fantasy novel to be released soon) reader who wanted to write a fan fiction story about it. Building a fan base is quite hard and what better way to encourage fans than allowing them to be creative?
In addition, for those that are not much into writing, there are also fan-made illustrations. I believe it is an honor to have fans spend time into crafting and drawing illustrations about your characters and/or scenes. I’ve seen many of these illustrations on Pinterest and Tumblr only because I’ve also followed boards of books/stories/movies that I enjoyed and I was excited to see illustrations coming alive.
I’m about to finish by book’s website. But I’ve come across one idea that I haven’t seen much out there. Maybe there is an author who’s done it but I’m not aware of him or her. I want my readers to feel enticed to write fan fiction stories and to draw/illustrate their favorite characters scenes. I’v been thinking of including a section in the book’s website where they can submit those. The submission form will mostly make sure that there is a disclaimer about the use of my characters and story. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t if it will mess the copyright things. I only want the readers of “The Last Families” to be able to have a space, with the author’s consent, to submit their stories. where they can have their own side plots, alternative endings and unwritten scenes. I also want the readers to find an interactive section on this website where they can read and see fan fiction and illustrations submitted by other readers. I’m not sure if this idea will work or even if I will have people who like the story so much in order to devote time to it. But the idea has been nagging me for a long time. After all, there is no way to avoid from fan fiction happening on other platforms. I’ve been a fan fiction writer myself and it would have been great to submit my stories to the author as a tribute of how much I enjoyed their story. I only know that the I have to dare and try. I don’t have much to lose. It is self-published and I’m the only person who owns the rights. What do you think?