Yesterday I decided I should upload A Lonely Magic to NetGalley. For some reason — oh, wait, I think the reason is that I’m an obsessive perfectionist who should never be allowed to look at anything she’s previously written, ever — I started editing it again. Again. *sigh*. It was because I found a typo, early on — a comma that should have been a period and a related missing capital letter.
It wasn’t the worst thing ever. I made a bunch of changes, including some lines where the formal Sia Mara spoke too colloquially. I had Cyntha saying that something “made sense” and when I read that it was like it was written in glaring neon letters. That just didn’t feel like the right phrasing at all. This is, of course, why it’s good to give yourself plenty of time to edit, but whatever, it’s also the joy of self-publishing. The changes aren’t so major that they affect the plot or descriptions, so I’m not going to worry about them. I did wind up taking out a ton of Fen’s swear words, largely because I’m sick of reviews that comment on it.That might change who she is — she probably comes across as less aggressive, less hostile. Maybe that’s good, maybe that’s bad, but if I decide it doesn’t work for me, I can always change it back.
I do find it sort of ironic that the fact that Fen uses the word ‘fuck’ seems to make people think the book is mature. In Twilight, Bella has bed-breaking sex with a guy who’s a hundred years old, and that’s apparently deemed okay for pubescent girls. In The Hunger Games, children kill children in bloody and horrible ways, and that’s fine for your average 14-year old. In Harry Potter, people die right and left and the violence is a massacre by the end, but sure, it’s YA. A non-virgin heroine who says fuck and is comfortable with her own sexuality, though — well, that’s clearly not for teenagers. It’s weird. But I am just going to call the book YA Fantasy in its book description now and declare it such and see how that goes.
Yes, I’m also trying to revise the book description. Wow, I hate writing book descriptions. Really, truly hate it. It’s so hard. Just a few sentences, what could be difficult about that? And yet I’ve rewritten this book description probably a dozen times and it’s never made me happy. I initially, last spring, worked with a copy-writer on it. Possibly I should go back to that first description. But I kept tweaking it all summer long, worked with my marketing intern on it, and have continued to tweak. The version on Amazon is from early January, when I dropped the price.
Side note: never make two changes at once. Is it a better book description or a better price or am I still seeing the lingering results of the promo I did on it in December? I have no idea, but ALM sold 48 copies this month which makes this month (relatively-speaking) a good month. Relatively speaking, because of course that earns me about $100 which, while nice, does not a sustainable income make.
Back to the main topic, I am definitely revising the book description again, but I’m taking a step back and trying to decide what the key points are that I want to include in it. Should it mention Fen’s age? I sort of think it should, even though it feels awkward to work it in there, but it will establish it better as YA(ish) and let my other readers know that this is not the same genre as previous books. Should I mention her mother? I never have, but her mother’s death — well, her mother’s existence — is an important element of the story. I’ve tried over and over again to keep the word “enchanting” in there, because I feel like it’s the best descriptor for what I was aiming for, but maybe I should just give it up. But what other adjectives would work? Do I need to say that Luke is a teenager? I always do, but maybe I shouldn’t bother. Does it make sense to call Malik gorgeous? I feel as if the adjective is a signifier of his importance, but maybe it muddies the issue.
Ugh, I hate writing book descriptions. The current version — with no tag line — is:
When a gorgeous guy tries to murder her, 21-year-old Fen is rescued by a teenage boy, Luke, and his sexy older brother, Kaio. But escape might not be so easy. A killer is after her and she’s got no place to run. Or does she?
The brothers offer her a safe haven, whisking her off to a glamorous Caribbean island, but the island’s atmosphere simmers with unnerving undercurrents. The brothers have secrets and Fen has questions. Who are they? How did they know she was in trouble? And why has she been targeted for death anyway?
The answers she comes up with are as unexpected as they are wrong but the truth is more enchanting than she imagined when she discovers that the brothers come from a magical underwater city. Every enchantment has dark edges, though and before long, Fen is caught in tides of romance, magic, and political machinations. With her life and the lives of millions of human beings on the line, Fen must look deep within herself to find the strength and courage she needs to stay afloat in an amazing new world.
A Lonely Magic is a young adult fantasy, suitable for readers of Twilight, The Hunger Games, and the later books in the Harry Potter series. There are no explicit scenes or graphic violence, but Fen’s not shy about swearing when she’s under stress. And she’s always under stress!
Suggestions for tag line or other comments very welcome. Thanks!
Ha, yes, that’s the right attitude! I wonder, though, if you’ve hit on the use of the word that makes the critics uneasy — Fen uses it as a swear word, but she also uses it specifically to refer to sex and that’s an attitude that might seem too mature. I wanted it to — I saw her as a hardened child, one of those kids who’s seen too much and done too much, innocence lost. But those are real kids, too, and they deserve to star in fantasies, too! Great insight, thank you!