The other day I submitted Silver to a publisher. Part of the submission guidelines were to suggest comparable authors and titles. This stumped me.
I’ve done my research, I know not to brag about how my writing is as good as Terry Pratchett’s or that my series will be the next Twilight. I never intended to compare my books with others in an attempt to sell it, I suppose I wanted to be accepted on the merit of my own writing and that it would then be the publisher’s job to find comparable titles as a selling point.
The truth of the matter is that I have read books about women, vampires, demon slayers and otherwise, fighting in their world of dark fantasy full of werewolves and angels. I’ve read them and been bored, the woman always falls in love, usually with the bad guy. She walks through a club of girating bodies with her weapon concealed at her side looking for the villain and when she lays eyes on him she is overwhelmed with passion and arousal and suddenly I’m reading a Mills and Boon book (not bad but not what I wanted).
Suddenly the strong heroine is made weak by a man.
I wanted to write a book where the female heroine wasn’t compromised by a man. Sure there are love interests, sexual partners and men in Silver but they are not necessarily the obstacles that Emily May must overcome; they are tools to bring the obstacles into her life, they are her comfort and they are representations of the opportunities open to her.
The real obstacles come from deeper, darker issues. Emily May will not be weakened by love or sex, but instead she is slowly dragged down by the amount of death that surrounds her and the weight of taking so many lives.
This is the kind of book I want to read and I know I’m not the only one. I’ve read forums, comments on social networking sites and blogs that tell me I’m not alone. But I still haven’t been able to find a book that matches what I want. I’m not saying that Silver succeeds in this, but I hope that it does. I’m also not saying that Silver is the only book that might succeed in this, of course it’s not. I just haven’t found a book that gives me what I want and is memorable yet. But then I read titles other than dark fantasy and am possibly quite a slow reader.
Don’t worry, I didn’t put this long argument in my submission! I hope I remained professional while giving a succinct answer but if not then I’ll never hear from the publisher again. I’ve already moved on, writing my next novel and planning the future of Silver.
Contining on the topic of comparing your novel with other well known authors and titles, I found this on the publisher Orion’s blog;
I’ve read a few articles like this one and I am always amazed and entertained at the things people supposedly write in their submission packages. I am confident that I have remained professional throughout this process and that can only give me hope.