Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Novel Marketing Idea...

I was pondering some novels some friends are writing or have finished and creative ways to market them. I realized the web-site TVTropes (http://www.tvtropes.org/) could be a very good way of doing it. One could create a page dedicated to one's work, set up an initial list of tropes, and then add your work to the pages of the individual tropes. Hopefully the fan-base will do the rest. My friend Jamie describes this as "entry-baiting" or something similar and said it's allowed.

I've considered doing this for some of my fan-fics, since Jamie described a scene in "The Wrath of the Half-Blood Prince" as being a Crowning Moment of Awesome (Sirius Black riding his flying motorcycle through a swarm of Death Eaters). However, if I actually *joined* TVTropes, it would eat more of my life than it already does. I think I'll save that until my book (or the books listed here) get published...

Here's a list of some tropes for my novel Battle for the Wastelands.  I'm not going to link individually to each trope lest my readers get sucked in and spend all day there rather than doing useful work.

Doomed Hometown-Carroll Town

Complete Monster-Jasper Clark, Karl Steuben--two lieutenants of Grendel, the main villain, who lack his virtues and have much more over-the-top bad behavior.

Child By Rape-The situation of Catalina Merrill, whose child (by Grendel) Grendel intends to use in a dynastic double-cross. Which leads to...

Chessmaster-Grendel ultimately plans on replacing Jasper Clark with Havarth Grendelsson, who would have a dynastic claim to the region and could command the oppressed population's loyalty through his mother Catalina Merrill and would be hailed as a hero for getting rid of the oppressive Jasper and his evil cult. Inspired by a scenario from Machiavelli's The Prince. Andrew will also get to this position himself as the story progresses

Unfortunate Implications-Grendel's regime is multinational and includes Arabs and Asians; the plucky rebel army is largely white and our hero's opinions of a particular ethnic group mirror our world's antisemitism and antizaganianism (hating Gypsies). This has gotten some people annoyed. I expect even more people to get annoyed when we meet Grendel's son and heir Falki Grendelsson, who is of mixed race (Grendel is white; Lin Cao, Falki's late mother, was Asian). I am not a racist--there are story reasons for things working out this way, like the demographics and politics of the fictional world.

Steampunk-Most of the advanced technology in the northern realms is like this--airships, calculating engines, etc.

Dieselpunk-Some of the advanced technology in the northern realms and all of it in the southern realms (which come up later in the series) is like this.

Religion of Evil-Jasper's cult, the Flesh-Eating Legion.

Vestigial Empire-Alonzo Merrill's realm, which consists of several hidden refuges/camps. The Merrills once ruled a very large territory now overrun by the Flesh-Eaters.

Rooting for the Empire-I'd hoped to avoid this for Grendel and his regime, but I've lately realized that if there's a lot of controversy within the fanbase, this means more attention and thus more sales. Besides, creating villains with virtues (Grendel's lack of concern for race and bringing peace through conquest) and heroes with flaws (Andrew's bloodthirst and racism) will lead to differing character interpretations

Roaring Rampage of Revenge-Andrew re: the Flesh-Eaters.

Hollywood Tactics-My knowledge of warfare comes from books and the Internet and isn't always in line with reality. Luckily a couple members of my writing groups have military experience and have pointed out where I've gotten into this.

Action Girl-Alyssa Carson (the cavalry-woman from chapter 13, whose name hasn't been introduced yet)

Badass Longcoat-Andrew, the Merrills in general

After the End-There was some kind of nuclear apocalypse hundreds of years prior.

Mix and Match Critters-The rippers, which are essentially wolf-headed and wolf-pelted chimpanzees.

Alternate Character Interpretations-Something I figured will come up. Is Grendel a wicked tyrant or a bringer of order and peace who does what he has to do? Is Andrew a heroic paladin against the forces of evil or a bloodthirsty killer driven insane by the destruction of his home and family?

Five Man Band-Andrew's squad in the Merrill Army. Zeke is The Big Guy, David is The Smart Guy, and Hank is the Sixth Ranger.

I figure those of you out there who have produced books and other media who are trying to market them might find this concept useful.


  1. Nice baiting idea. For the record a few of the pages on alternatehistory.com use this technique, mainly Lands of Red and Gold, Swarm on the Somme, and A World of Laughter a World of Tears.

  2. Thanks. I remember reading "Swarm on the Somme" and I think "Look to the West" on TVTropes as well.

    I might put ATLs of my own up there, probably the Afrikaner one, but I'd prefer to do that when there's some actual fiction set in it.

    (I've got two short stories set in that ATL, but haven't been able to sell them.)

  3. Hm... The Remnant, from what I understand from TV Tropes' description, boils down to the evil/villainous(/antagonist) counterpart to La Resistance. Would this be an accurate description of Merill's Realm?

  4. Good catch. The actual trope I was thinking of was "Vestigial Empire," although the truncation of the Merrill realm was a lot more abrupt than the gradual territorial decay VEs typically suffer from.

    The Merrills would also fit "La Resistance" as well.

  5. Another one you might look at, is toher bloggers/writers pages. I would recommend the Nostalgia Critic for one, as he was one of the first web personalities to use it, and is a trope namer