Breaking all the rules
If there is one hard and fast rule in publishing it’s don’t abandon your genre. There are a handful of super amazing authors who can get away with it, but for the most part, if you’ve made a successful career of writing children’s books you don’t jump ship and start writing racy romance novels. At least not under your real name.
I recently spoke to a successful YA author who has a dozen books under her belt. She just wrote her first YA sci-fi novel and decided to use a pen name to appeal to a more diverse audience. (The thinking is that boys won’t read books written by women. So even though she’s still in YA, she had to use a new name to try to draw in the boys) Her worry was that she wouldn’t be able to bring her teen girl fans over so she’s done a lot of promotion to let her fans know that this book, while under a pen name to draw unfamiliar male readers, is still hers. And it’s very lucky for her that she can do that.
I understand this rule, I really do. As a writer whose first love and success spawned from YA novels, what was I thinking writing Born of Blood under my real name and what are the potential pitfalls? Well, let me explain.
Firstly, when some wonderful teen fan Google’s me or does an Amazon search they will find my YA books and Born of Blood on the same page. While I cringe at the potential of an unknowing 13 year old girl picking up a copy of Born of Blood, it is a possibility. My publisher and I worked very hard to design a cover that would clearly convey that this is an adult novel. And as for the book itself, I worked very hard to keep the content mostly PG13 rated, just in case. So while there are no racy sex scenes or anything, it is a mature book for older readers. Even so, I have had reviewers accidentally list it as YA just because they know my other books so well. So just to set the record straight, this is a book for adults. Not the kind you have to buy behind a beaded curtain or anything, but something not fit for the kiddies to be sure.
Secondly, I now have to find and impress a whole new audience. When you write in a specific genre people come to associate you with it. For example I was a huge fan of Anne Rice’s vampire novels. One day I saw a new book with her name on it in the store. I already knew I loved her books so without a second glance I picked it up and took it home. Three pages in I realized it was historical fiction. Not something I expected and not a genre I enjoyed. I never did read that book, and I was disappointed that she’d tricked me like that. Now here I am, doing the same sort of thing to you guys.
It’s never easy to launch a book, but it gets better as your name and books become better known. But the same thing that makes that part easier, makes doing this harder. It’s like launching my first book all over again, only with more expectations and preconceived notions to overcome.
But I wrote this book because I had to. From the day Sophie started talking in my head, I was in love with her, the story, and as I wrote more and more, with the world she lived in and the people around her. As any writer will tell you, when you feel that way about a story, it’s your job to tell it, no matter what.
So why didn’t I just create a pen name? A whole new writing persona whose brand I could build and market? I considered it. A lot. I even came up with a few great urban fantasy writer names like Constance St. Claire and Lydia Glass. But at the end of the day, I LOVE this book. I want to write a hundred Palmetto Moon books. And it would kill me not to have my name on them. So I made a difficult decision.
For the privilege of having my name on this book, I will do it the hard way. I will break all the rules and bulldoze any obstacle that gets in my way. As with everything else in my life, I will earn it with blood, sweat, and tears if I have to.
And for those of you who are old fans willing to take a chance on something new or new friends looking for a really excellent read, thank you from the bottom of my heart and happy reading!
Sherry D. Ficklin, Author
Book Review by Lexi Flint
Born of Blood is the first book in Sherry Ficklin’s Palmetto Moon Paranormal Fantasy Series. Mrs. Ficklin is a prolific writer whose writing career began, as noted above in YA Genre. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two books in the God’s of Fate Trilogy. The fluidity of the writing showed the painstaking research into Greek mythology the writer had to do. She seamlessly wove the present day with the Greek gods of the past. However, the Palmetto Moon Series is getting off to a rough start.
The Characters : Each of the main characters in Born of Blood were well drawn and thought out. It was easy to picture them in my minds eye as I read. I could imaging them as characters on a weekly television series. They all had a purpose and helped drive the plot forward.
The Premise: What do you get when you put a private detective, her vampire ex-fiancée, and his new vamp girlfriend in a house together? Jealousy, hilarity and danger. Will Sophie and Caleb be able to resolve the issues of their prior relationship and solve the case without one of them dying in the process.
The story starts with a bang, there is no slow build up or unnecessary backstory. Ficklin puts her main characters and the readers in peril right from the start. This is a fast paced novel that you won’t want to put down until the very end. Ficklin has created a “realistic” world in which vampires have come out of the closet and are demanding their undead rights.
The vampires are lead by Rayne Blackwood a sexy, powerful and complicated vamp who has his eyes on our main character Sophie. But could the pretty detective fall for Rayne when she wouldn’t give Caleb a second chance after he had been turned on their wedding day? And is Rayne trying to win her over by placing gift wrapped bloodless bodies on Sophie’s doorstep or is someone else trying to scare her off the case?
While some parts of the story seemed rushed, the author put enough thought into the various plot lines, characters and setting to keep me interested in the story. I am looking forward to the second installment of the Palmetto Moon Series. Born of Blood is definitely not another sparkly vampire story, it’s a story you can really sink your teeth into. Lol
Palmetto Moon, Book 1, Born of Blood is due for release on October 9th 2011 from Tell-Tale Publishing
Book Blurb : “A young mother has vanished without a trace and Sophie D’Angelo has been hired to solve the cold case that left police stumped. Tensions are high between the local cops and the newly ‘out of the coffin’ vampire community, landing Sophie smack in the middle of the toughest mystery she’s ever faced and in the middle of a possible civil war. Her only allies are her loud, overbearing Italian family and her ex-fiancée turned-vampire, Caleb, who shares her house, her business, and generally gets on her nerves. If he wasn’t already dead, she’d probably kill him.
As if that wasn’t enough, Sophie has become the fixation of a twisted killer who is leaving a trail of bodies straight to her door. Can Sophie uncover the truth behind the strange disappearance and unmask her stalker before she, or someone she loves, becomes his next victim?”