Welcome back to the second star-studded day of the CSFF Tour. We’re featuring The Wolf of Tebron, the first in a series by author C.S. Lakin.
Yesterday I gave an overview of the book, and tomorrow I want to give my review. What do I have in store for today?
How does an author effectively market their book – to get it into the hands of the type of reader that will appreciate their genre/style?
I ask this today because The Wolf of Tebron is billed as a “fairy tale allegory of God’s love.” The designation fairy tale isn’t used often nowadays outside of the Disney realm. I thought it was an interesting angle to go with this book. Since this tour features fantasy and science fiction novels (more broadly speculative fiction, including alternate history novels like The Gifted series by Lisa Bergren), it is a logical book to spotlight. I don’t think anyone in our group, when choosing books, paused when they saw the description.
I think a lot of the books we feature run into a tricky problem of how to market the story. In 2010 we featured Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. It was set alternately in the 1700’s and the modern day. It was labeled as “magical realism.” What is that, exactly? And who is the market for that? It worked enough to get us to review it, but it isn’t an easy book to summarize. It is not fantasy, but there was a fantastic element that was a key plot item.
The Wolf of Tebron is probably closer to fairy tale than true fantasy, so the designation is appropriate. Will it capture a potential buyer with that moniker? Of course, it also bills itself as an allegory. True allegories are hard to find. The Pilgrim’s Progress is probably the most famous one in Christian literature. The publicity letter I received with Tebron considered C.S. Lewis in the allegorical realm. I wrestle with that. I don’t think it is a true allegory. In my mind an allegory has point-by-point connection with whatever it is trying to emulate. Yes, Aslan is a Christ-figure, but how many other direct connections are there? There is much symbolism, but I don’t think allegory is the best way to describe the Narnia series.
Enough with the nit-picking. The point is, I think speculative fiction has a harder time marketing itself because the term is encompasses several sub-genres. If a book is a mystery or a romance, there can be variations: detective vs. noir, chick lit vs. historical. Still, the category is pretty focused. Speculative fiction is a wide berth, and it is tricky when a fantasy book doesn’t match a Lord of the Rings pattern.
So the author and publisher have to call it something. For those in the tour, what do you think? Was “a fairy tale allegory” the best way to market Tebron? Is there a better way for this book to reach its readers?
Check to see what the rest of the CSFF gang is saying on Becky Miller’s post. I’ll give my review of the book tomorrow, with a little more on marketing…