All posts by lgamc

About lgamc

I work and play in the beautiful west coast city of Vancouver in Canada. I've been a longtime fan of Fantasy, SciFi and Horror stories. I also have a closet addiction for B-rate SciFi and Fantasy movies. Sharknado - enough said.

What’s the best way to market your book?

There are so many who believe that when they finish writing and have published their work, that the job is done. Unfortunately this is not true. Even if you are going a more traditional route and have been picked up by a book publishing giant, self promotion is always part of the job description. So what’s the best way to market your book?

I’m not going to wax poetical on Amazon ranking systems, or the importance of reviews (please write reviews!!!), website, FB page, twitter and so on, because I think that as an intelligent being you have already figured that one out on your own. There are a dizzying array of strategies and stories of success out there, and the nearest I can tell, the only ones getting rich off the advice are the givers of it. (blush).

Social Media is great, but conversion rates for book purchases vs people contacted is about 500:1. Some days it’s just too hard to compete with cat videos.

So what’s my 2-cents of advice on the best way to market your book?

Get out there and start pounding pavement.

As an Independent Publisher, bar none the best way to get word out about your book is good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth because you build a real market, with real people, who are invested in your successes. Start with your hometown, build a solid base of fans, and then move outwards from there.
Build a mailing list that contains real fans, and let that be your social media jumping off point, your first pebble in a real pond. Let your mailing list know when you have an event elsewhere and encourage them to share it. If they love your work, and they know you, they will.

People move, and the person you talk to today may just be the one in the next city who says – “Hey, I know that author, they’re from my hometown. We should go to that!” They will become influencers and advocates of your creative works.

Don’t be shy, be your own biggest fan. Schedule book signings. Attend conventions. Go to book clubs and let them grill you for an hour or two about story and character. Build relationships with your fan community, and ask them to spread the word. Make appearances and donations to worthy causes.

This is the most satisfying part of my promotions because how awesome are fans? You’ve done all this work, you deserve to witness firsthand how your novels are being received by the people who are supporting you. The best part of my day is when someone tells me how much they have enjoyed what I’ve created, and I get to shake their hand. Even better when they’ve brought all their friends to meet me too. 😎

So here’s my last words and a case study about the value of real life interactions. After an appearance and book signing, I had so many people asking for copies of my books in their stores, that a major book chain is now going to be carrying me on their shelves. That, my friends, is why fans are powerful. And it could not have happened without them.
Humbled and blessed, and with thanks to my advocates and fans;

~L.G.A. McIntyre
Author of The Lies of Lesser Gods series

How do I copyedit my book?

I’ve had a lot of questions about publishing lately, so I thought I’d take a second and answer one of the biggies.

How do I copyedit my book?

One of the most common ways to vet your book is to recruit beta readers to give honest feedback. Avoid people who tell you it’s great. You need to know where story has gone wrong so that you can improve the rough bits.

Fix logic bombs. If it doesn’t make sense, figure out a way to explain it or remove the section.

Sometimes you need to scrap a scene to save a story. Don’t be afraid to be brutal with your book. Take a critical look at everything that happens in your tale in point form, and if there are bits that are not critical to moving the story ahead ask yourself if they really need to be in there. Trim the fat.

When I re-read my work, I look for bumps – that’s what I call something that knocks me out of my story. Sometimes its an awkward sentence, or a word. Fix these.

Go through all your dialogue and remove every word that ends in “ly”, she said snidely, angrily, happily, sadly. If the sentence doesn’t read as snide, angry, happy or sad, no amount of adverbs are going to save it. ReWrite.

Make sure your scene is set. Think of the senses. What does your character see, hear, taste, touch, sense/feel? What is the light like? Is it hot/cold? Look for a way to integrate the setting into what your character challenge in the scene is. Can the setting mirror their experience in some way?

Here’s an exercise: write a scene using only dialogue, that gives emotional context and reveals the setting of the scene, without using any qualifiers or adverbs, no narration.

Good luck and let me know how you make out!

Cheers,
L.G.A. McIntyre

Finding Your Voice

Write what you know
Finding your voice

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Einstein

Finding your voice, as an author, can be the most difficult thing that you do. It requires your brutal honesty, fearlessness, and daring. Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?

Do not confuse technique with voice. Technique is the structure of a story or of a sentence. How you manipulate that technique, that is your voice, that is your style.

Right now you are remembering every criticism and C+ you ever got in high school or university english classes. Forget it. (This is the be fearless part) Voice isn’t about being perfect, just perfectly you.

Can you judge a Monet against a De Vinci? Which one is better? Or can you say, “Wow. The Mona Lisa is awesome, and Water Lilies makes my heart turn over.”

Different Styles. Different Voices. Both amazing. But both absolutely meaningless to you when placed against a simple drawing done by your child that you have hung on the fridge. True voice has context and meaning to you – not to the person down the street.

If you try to write in a way that is similar to how someone you admire writes, this is not your voice. You are Monet, trying to paint the Mona Lisa.

So how do you find your voice as an author?
1) listen to your inner monologue as you write. If you find yourself constantly stopping to search for the next sentence, chances are you are not listening to your instincts. You are lying to yourself. If your instinct is to use the word ain’t instead of isn’t, then use it.
2) Record the conversations that you have with a friend (with their permission) so that you can pinpoint the rhythm of your speech patterns, the words you use, the idioms and slang. This is your voice.
3) Write your characters as they would be if they used your voice. A Medieval Knight wouldn’t use street slang, unless that is how the world in which he lives works.

You have heard the old saw, “Write what you know”. It isn’t referring so much to life experience as to your true voice. It is what you are comfortable with, and it is what you have spent a lifetime honing to perfection. You. Just You. That is your voice.
Good Luck and Happy Writing!

Be Your Biggest Advocate

You must be your biggest advocate.

This is a tough one, but so very necessary. Stand behind your work.

I guess there is a bit of bravado about it, some protectiveness for your “baby”, but what it really boils down to is passion. Either you love what you created, or you don’t. If you do, then shout it to the world. If you aren’t proud, then you are either in the wrong business, or it is time to go back to the drawing board.

Creativity is a tough gig, because it is so very subjective. What you think is fantastic, another might see as mediocre. But if you are going to sell your work, you have to be inspiring, you have to inspire others to get onboard about it. You have to be your own biggest advocate. Your passion will shine through.

The only danger is tipping into arrogance, where you fail to listen to feedback that could help you to improve your craft. So don’t forget to be open, and listen to what people have to say.

Unsolicited advice seems to fall under 2 categories.

  • The critique
  • The criticism

Okay, I know that these two words seem almost exactly the same, but they do own different connotations.

The critique, offers constructive ideas and opinions. People will be speaking from a place of caring and helpfulness. They want you to improve, even if it seems like harsh advice at the time.

The criticism has an altogether different agenda. It comes from people who are looking for a way to tear you down, tear apart your work, and make you feel like you should give up. It is mean, for the sake of being mean – like a bully.

Learn to distinguish between the two, because nothing creative happens in a vacuum, and feedback is the most important tool in your creativity arsenal.

Abandon your Inner Censor

When you write, you must abandon your inner censor.Abandon your Inner Censor

This is especially true when writing the antagonist’s point of view. If you cannot allow yourself to be despicable, how will you write this character?

I have had several people comment to me after reading my books that they wouldn’t want to meet me in a dark alley.
It isn’t me. It’s my characters. And when I get those comments, I know that I have done a good job.

Another place where the inner censor can raise its head and cause stilted writing is in the creation of scenes that involve sex or violence. How much is too much? What is gratuitous, and what is necessary in order to move the story and character development along? It can be tough to tell, especially if the scene is outside your comfort zone.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this scene provoke an emotional reaction?
  • Is it integral to the story. If I delete it will the story be lessened?
  • Is it within the character’s nature to behave that way?
  • Is it important to the character development to keep this scene?
  • Have I gone far enough / too far?

If you find yourself thinking something like this:

  • What will Mom/Dad think when they read this?
  • People are going to think I’m a freak!

It is your inner censor attempting to stilt your creativity. Writing about sex, doesn’t make you a pervert, any more than writing about violent wars makes you a general. The human experience is filled with uncomfortable quirks, and if you are not willing to explore them for the sake of well-rounded, realistic characters, then you are automatically dooming your writing to be mediocre.

To overcome your inner censor, try these exercises:

  • Create a scene that you would normally avoid. Do it again, and again. It will begin to desensitize you to the subject matter.
  • Read how other authors have handled similar scenes for inspiration.

Do Book Blog Tours Work

Recently, I had an opportunity to put this question to a couple of my Indie Author friends. Do Book Blog Tours Work to drive sales and promote interest in your book?

Here is sound, practical advice on Indie Book sales and promotion from award winning indie author Anne-Rae Vasquez author of the Doubt trilogy (http://amongus.ca), and Indie Author sensation Lorna Suzuki author of the Imago fantasy series, soon to be a major motion picture.

DO BOOK BLOG TOURS WORK?

Anne-Rae: The blog tour doesn’t make sales based on my experience. The only thing it does is to get your book on many different web sites, but be careful – Don’t spend your money on a book blog tour until you check it out. I found out the hard way that the “blogs” that my book was featured on were just “fake” sites that that the blog tour companies host. Yes… multiple fake sites. I was so disappointed.

Lorna: I’ve done several book blog tours over the past 5 years since joining Twitter, and for me, sadly, it did nothing. It might be different for you though. Unless someone is charging you to do the blog tour, it certainly doesn’t hurt to do one.

One hint, you might want to limit your Twitter accounts to 1. I found those who had personal account, character account, etc. were not followed, especially if the multiple accounts showed the same tweets. People tell me if its redundant, it just clogs the stream.

Anne-Rae: If you want to do a REAL blog tour, it takes some work which means networking with Bloggers on Twitter. Then asking them if they will feature you on their blog… or better yet, tell them you have a contest where someone can win an ebook copy of your book and a $10 Amazon giftcard. Host a Rafflecopter from your site and send them the embed code so that they can embed it on their site. Or sometimes, they’ll just ask you to provide the prize and they host the rafflecopter. Basically, you need to make friends with bloggers/authors who are active and willing to share your stuff which means, you have to reciprocate.

Lorna: When I did do blog tours, giving away ebooks via a draw, I didn’t get much interest for those either. *sigh*

So, in the promotion of your books, especially when you first started out, what do you feel helped the most to drive sales?

Lorna:  My sales were mostly via word-of-mouth and literary events. It was not until a started a “Pls don’t buy…” tweet campaign that there was interest. I had more ebook sales in 2 weeks than I had in 3 years! Here’s the Vlog: youtube.com/watch?v=r7Lznl… explaining it.

Anne-Rae: The only other thing that worked for me but I don’t know if it was a fluke or coincidence but I was helping another blogger promote their author’s book on my blog.
A few days prior to that, I had made my book Free on Smashwords which B&N, iTunes, Kobo, etc. made it free. A couple days later, Amazon made the book free too. I had over 1200 free downloads on Amazon. I didn’t know it was free on Amazon until someone told me. I panicked. I went to Smashwords and changed the price. A day later, Amazon switched the book back to its normal price. And guess what? Sales started picking up. In two days, I had over 80 paid sales. Then it died down to 3 or 4 day and then to zero….

What I figured out was that the blogger I was doing a blog post for has about 15,000 readers. They were promoting Doubt as being free the days I was hosting their book on my site. I guess when it switched to Paid, their readers who read the email a day after the Free promo ended, probably liked the synopsis and bought the book.

That only happened once and when I tried to replicate it later, it didn’t work because it was missing the key factor… a blogger who has a loyal and active fanbase.

WHAT PROMOTIONAL TOOLS HAVE WORKED BEST FOR YOU?

Lorna:  I’m finding the closer to film production we get, if you check my Twitter stream you’ll see I’m getting more & more “I’ll just wait to watch the movie!” comments. I’ve had some people tell me that reading epic novels is too time-consuming! I found even when I was interviewed for the Vancouver Sun, it did nothing.

However, my live appearance at Seattle Comicon did generate interest and a blip in sales of the print books.

Anne-Rae: The best paid book promos that worked to drive my rankings in Amazon are:

  •  http://ereadernewstoday.com/ – you only pay if your book sells. The cost is miniscule but the exposure is awesome – sold 53 ebooks
  • Mike Gallagher’s Free Kindle Books and tips – http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/ – sold about 25 ebooks
  • www.BookSends.com – you’ll need a minimum number of 5 star reviews and other criteria – sold about 30 ebooks

But these are just promos… they will NOT build your fanbase…. That requires time, patience and networking… it also means finding a street team or book launch team who will help share things to their networks. But this means giving free stuff and/or incentives to make them excited to do stuff for you. It’s not easy and takes time…

Gaining the trust of influencers (ie. people who have loyal fans) plus the power of word of mouth and having many books published and share, share, share, give away one of your books (yes, you need this in order to get reviews and fans). Make sure at the back of the book, readers can click on a link to purchase book 2.

Do you have a successful book promotion experience that you would like to share? Or perhaps a comment on your experience with Book Blog tours? Please leave a comment on our article Do Book Blog Tours Work.

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You can follow Anne-Rae on her YourTube channel –  http://fictionfrenzy.tv
and read her YA adventure series Doubt: http://amongus.ca

You can follow Lorna Suzuki’s vlog YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuxubc770I2gLF2QmncogRw
and Lorna’s Imago series at:  http://www.newmobileme.com/imagochronicles9

Follow LGA McIntyre, author of The Lies of Lesser Gods.
https://twitter.com/LGAMcIntyre
https://www.facebook.com/lgamcintyre

For more great articles for Indie Authors visit The Independent Creator

Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO

This article describes the Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO for your webpage. These are some easy steps to take to make yourself more visible to search engines!

First some definitions:

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – organizing content on your web page to become more visible to a search engine, targeted for specific Keywords.

Keyword – a keyword is a word or phrase that somebody might type into a search engine when searching for specific information.

LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing – Here is a very simple snapshot of LSI. You have searched for The Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO. The search engine, using LSI, will return with the closest match to this phrase. If there is no The Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO, it will search for instances of the words Optimize, SEO, Top 10, etc, where they appear in the same article.
The closer they appear to each other – side-by-side in the same sentence, or within the same paragraph – the more likely they will be ranked higher than the page where the words appear with several paragraphs of content between them.

Okay, lets get started with our easy to use
Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO

1) Keyword must appear in the Title – In our case, the Keyword is a phrase – Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO 

2) Keyword must appear in the URL – If you look in your address bar, you will see our keyword phrase in our URL  http://lgamcintyre.com/top-10-ways-to-optimize-seo/

3) Keyword density of 3-5% throughout your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). This means that when we use our keyword phrase, Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO, we need to ensure that we have used it enough times within our article to equal about 5% of the content. We can break up the keyword phrase,  and use any or all of it, so long as we keep the phrase words as close to each other as possible in the article. As in, I hope that you find this Top 10 list helpful to your search for finding easy ways to Optimize content for SEO. All of our keyword phrase appears in that sentence. And it counts for the LSI ranking of search engines.

4) Make use of all the header tags throughout your article – this is the one people ignore the most.

H1 – Your webpage is only as

H2 – Visible as

H3 – Your SEO Optimization

5) Keyword must appear in the first paragraph – how’d we do? Did we SEO Optimize our first Paragraph?

6) Keyword must appear in the last sentence on the page – how’d we do? Did we SEO Optimize our last sentence?

7) Use Bold and Italics with the keyword where relevant – take a look throughout the article and you will see that we did this as well.

8) Place at least 1 internal link somewhere within the article. For example – for more information on SEO and why you want to take the time to do it, visit SEO is the gas driving your search engine.

9) Use at least 1 image with Alternative Tag that contains the keyword. This alternative tag is not generally visible upon the page, but remember that search engines read all meta data. Don’t ignore this box when you are uploading your media.

Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO
Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO photo: Hurricane Floyd – Nasa

10) Keyword must appear in the page description. The page description is on display when the search engine returns results after a keyword search. Our description reads: This article describes the Top 10 ways to Optimize SEO for your webpage. Make yourself more visible to search engines!

I hope that you found this Top 10 list helpful to your search for finding easy ways to Optimize content for SEO.

My Characters are Pushing Me Around

How schizophrenic do I sound? My Characters are Pushing Me Around. A writer friend and I were talking about this phenomena.

I’ve been writing for a long time. One of the most frustrating experiences is when a character refuses to behave as you wish them to.

I go into a chapter with a clear path all marked out, an outline of what needs to happen, the emotions that have to be expressed, when suddenly, out of nowhere, my characters start doing things that I didn’t expect and didn’t want. I realize that they’ll soon have me cowering in a corner begging them for a breadcrumb pathway out of the dead-end scene. So here’s my 2 strategies for when my characters are pushing me around.

1) DELETE, DELETE, DELETE, DELETE 🙂 – The easy solution. Puts them in their place. FAST!

or, if it looks like they might have something worthwhile to add

2) Let the characters play through

I really love to let the characters play through, and here is why.

Our subconscious is thinking about things in a way our conscious minds cannot track. I believe that this is where our characters get their will to try to control their destiny. Just as you have the book laid out in your mind, of who the characters are, and of how they are to react, your subconscious may be 30 pages ahead of you, recognizing a greater plot or emotional pivot opportunity that you have not acknowledged consciously yet. The characters pushing you around, may be a manifestation of your subconscious setting up for a great event.

Just be warned: though these little id battles can create beautiful rich sub-plots, that you, as the author, need to steer the story with a hand at 10 and 2 at all times.
Everything that you write must have a purpose within the story, otherwise, it needs to be cut. DELETE, DELETE, DELETE, DELETE 🙂

Top 14 Epic High Fantasy Series of All Time

How we Set our Criteria for the Top 14 Epic High Fantasy Series of All Time:

Fantasy fiction is set in an alternative, entirely fictional world, rather than our real world.
High Fantasy strives for Mythopoeia, the act of making (creating) mythologies. While many literary works carry mythic fantasy themes, only a few approach the dense self-referential purpose of mythopoeia. It is invented mythology that, rather than arising out of centuries of oral tradition, are penned over a short period of time by an author. It is intended to create detailed worlds with well-ordered histories, geographies, and laws of nature. The rules of this fictional world differ from those of our world, with the inclusion of magical elements, creation stories, religious beliefs, customs, societies and norms.
Mythopoeia aims for specifically created mythology to add credibility and literary depth to fictional worlds.
This is a list of those we consider the best of the best:

 

1. Wheel of Time – by Robert Jordan

Of all the epic fantasy entries out there, we had to list Wheel of Time in the #1 spot. The Eye of the World is the first novel in The Wheel of Time series. Originally planned as a 6-book series, The Wheel of Time now spans 14 volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and a companion book. Book one was published in  1990.
Robert Jordan died in 2007 while working on what was planned to be the final volume in the series. Fellow fantasy author and long-time Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson was brought in to complete the final 3 books. The series draws on numerous elements of both European and Asian mythology, especially Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism in the concepts of balance and duality, and a respect for nature. Additionally, its religious creation story has similarities to Christianity’s Good and Evil.
The Wheel of Time is notable for its length, its detailed world, its well-developed magic system and a large cast of characters. The 8th through 14th books each reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller List. As of 2008 the series has sold over 44 million copies worldwide and has spawned a computer game, roleplaying game and soundtrack album. Television and film rights to the series have been optioned several times, most recently by Universal Studios.

 

2. The Belgariad – by David Eddings

Pawn of Prophecy is the first book of The Belgariad, a five-book epic fantasy series that follows the adventures of Garion as he seeks to fulfill the prophecy of the battle between the Child of Light and the Child of Dark and restore balance to the world. Eddings followed up The Belgariad with The Malloreon, a five-part fantasy book series that continues the lives and adventures of the characters of The Belgariad.
Magic is the Will and the Word, in which a sorcerer concentrates their strength through willpower, then releases it with a word. The word itself is immaterial; but the user must have a clear vision of their object. The uses of the Will and the Word are almost limitless; but can exhaust the user even to their death.

 

3. A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) – by George R.R. Martin

Evan though this series is not yet complete, I don’t think that any top list could exist without A Song of Ice and Fire. It was inspired by the War of the Roses and Ivanhoe – which may speak to its amazing realism and depth of world building. It is currently intended to comprise seven volumes. The first book, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996. Two more novels are planned and still being written in the series: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
HBO purchased the television rights for the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series in 2007 and began airing Game of Thrones in 2011.
The story follows an epic struggle among several ruling families as they fight for the right to the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, as they fight, they are oblivious of a coming danger that they are ill prepared to meet. Magic, Dragons, Politics, Religions and other bad things.

 

4. Shannara – by Terry Brooks

Shannara begins with The Sword of Shannara in 1977 and continues through to Witch Wraith, which was released in 2013. The series blends magic and primitive technology. The books are set in the Four Lands – Earth, long after civilization as we know it was destroyed in a chemical and nuclear holocaust. By the time of the prequel First King of Shannara, the world has reverted to a medieval state and magic has re-emerged to supplement science.
The series has received criticism; some have accused Brooks of lifting the entire plot and many of his characters directly from Lord of the Rings.
Regardless of this, after being accepted for publication by Ballantine Books, Shannara was used to launch the company’s (then) new subsidiary, Del Rey Books. Its success provided a major boost to the commercial expansion of the fantasy genre.

 

5. Dragon Riders of Pern – by Anne MacCaffery

The series (as of 2011) comprises 22 novels and several short stories, beginning with Dragon Flight in 1968. The Dragonriders of Pern is one of those rare series that has a foot in both SciFi and fantasy. In creating the Pern world, McCaffrey set out to subvert the clichés associated with dragons in European folklore and modern fantasy fiction. The Dragons of Pern can breathe fire and resemble great lizards with wings, but Pernese dragons are entirely friendly to humanity and are not magical, but a genetically modified species created by the first human settlers on the planet. Though based on a SciFi premiss, the Dragons have a psychic link to their Riders. The world, religion and society of Pern are classic High Fantasy.

 

6. Memory, Sorrow & Thorn – by Tad Williams

Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn began with The Dragonbone Chair in 1988. The paperback publication of To Green Angel Tower was divided into two volumes, so many readers consider Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn to be a 4-book series.
The books are set on the continent of Osten Ard, whose inhabitants include Sithi (elf-like immortals), Qanuc (troll-like mountain-dwellers), as well as several distinct human nations. The youthful conquests of King John the Presbyter (also called Prester John) unite most of the human world into a single realm, but the former conqueror is too old and feeble to stop his sons from quarrelling. As the conflict widens throughout the world and beyond, an orphan kitchen boy, Simon, is living a life of castle drudgery. As a new ruler is crowned and forms a supernatural alliance with the Norn Storm-King, Simon is forced to flee into the wilderness, armed only with his mentor’s biography of Prester John.
Despite terror, starvation, and general bewilderment, Simon manages to find sanctuary and thus begins the quests for Three legendary swords — Minneyar (“Year of Memory”), Sorrow, and Thorn. They are the only hope against the combined power of evil gripping the world.

 

7. Lord of the Rings – by J. R. R. Tolkein

Often imitated, but never duplicated! The story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s 1937 children’s fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during WWII. It is the 2nd best-selling novel ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.
It follows the adventures of a least likely hero, who eventually saves the word by resisting evil and staying true to his nature, while around him beings of immense power fight for control of Middle Earth. Often thought of as THE benchmark for High Fantasy.
Tolkien’s work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its themes and origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopeia, (refers to the making of myths). Influences on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology, religion and the author’s distaste for the effects of industrialization, and Tolkien’s experiences in WWI.
The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy; the impact of Tolkien’s works is such that the use of the words Tolkienian and Tolkienesque have been recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans, and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works. The Lord of the Rings has inspired artwork, music, films and television, video games and subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio, theatre and film.

 

8. Mistborn – by Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn series spans 4 books, the first being Mistborn: The Final Empire (2006). The fourth book takes place about 300 years after the original trilogy.
Most humans are enslaved skaa workers living in misery and fear, where the Lord Ruler is the divinely invincible power. In the brutal Pits of Hathsin where atium, the most valuable metal in the world is mined, an imprisoned half-skaa thief named Kelsier discovers his Mistborn powers and escapes. A brilliant mastermind and natural leader, now empowered with new weapons,  he uses  his  talents to topple the Final Empire by stealing its treasury and collapsing its economy, while setting up the Lord Ruler as the mark.
Sanderson is noted for creating the 3-Laws for Building Magic Systems in High Fantasy.
Rule 1: An author’s ability to solve conflict satisfactorily with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic.
Rule 2: Limitations > Powers – A character’s weaknesses are more interesting than his or her abilities.
Rule 3: Expand what you already have before you add something new. Readers of genre fiction are interested not just in the magic system but how the world and characters will be different because of the magic.

 

9. The Elric Saga – by Michael Moorcock

The anti-hero Elric of Melniboné was a seminal influence on the field of fantasy in the 1960s and 1970s. Elric is written as a deliberate reversal of what Moorcock saw as clichés commonly found in fantasy adventure novels inspired by the works of Tolkien.
Central to many of Moorcock’s fantasy novels is the concept of an Eternal Champion who has potentially multiple identities across multiple dimensions of reality and alternative universes. This cosmology, called the multiverse, is based on the concept which arose in particle physics in the 1960s and deals with various primal polarities such as Good and Evil, Law and Chaos, and Order and Entropy.
From the first story onwards, the Albino Elric is shown using ancient pacts with gods and demons to assist in accomplishing his goals. Elric’s finding of the sword Stormbringer serves as both his greatest asset and greatest disadvantage. The sword confers upon Elric strength, health and fighting prowess but must be fed by the souls of those struck with the black blade. In the end, the blade takes everyone close to Elric and eventually Elric’s own soul as well.

 

10. The Riddle-Master Trilogy – by Patricia A. McKillip

The Riddle-Master of Hed is the first book of the Riddle Master Trilogy, the following two books of the series are Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind. It was published in 1976.
The trilogy makes use of a number of themes from Celtic mythology. The story takes place in a fantasy world divided into a number of countries. Each country’s ruler has a mystical awareness of his or her land: the land-rule. The seldom-seen High One presides over all. Riddles, typically questions about obscure pieces of lore, feature significantly, as does shape-shifting magic and music. This is the ultimate “quest” style story.
Morgon, Prince of Hed, only wants to rule and work the land of his birth, however he has a different destiny and inheritance, marked by three stars on his forehead. He must wander strange lands of untamed magic, dealing with riddling wraiths, mysterious harpists, a lost crown, a magical sword and an all knowing High One who rules over all. In his quest for a new life for his people, he must face great dangers – not only to himself, but to his promised bride, his land and his way of life as he strives to bring magic back to the world.

 

11. The Immortals – by Tamora Pierce

Wild Magic is the first book of The Immortals Series of 4 books. The orphan Daine learns that she has the magical ability known as Wild Magic, which enables her to speak to animals, heal them, take their shape and bend them to her will. Her father is Weiryn, a minor god of the hunt.  She meets the master mage Numair and becomes his student.
Under Numair’s guidance, Daine explores the scope of her magic. But she begins to sense other beings too: immortals. These bloodthirsty monsters have been imprisoned in the Divine Realms for the past four hundred years, but now someone has broken the barrier. It’s up to Daine and her friends to defend their world from an immortal attack.
There are a lot of nods to Celtic Lore in these books. A large cast of characters, love interests and gods, leading to epic battles of good vs evil.

 

12. Sword and Circlet Series – by Carole Nelson Douglas

This is my dark horse entry. Six of Swords and Exiles of the Rynth are prequels to Keepers of Edanvant, book one of Sword and Circlet’s trilogy of books first published in 1982 for a total of 5-books in this series. Strong Sorceress female lead, Irissa, can look at no reflective surface without loosing her magic. Her talking, interfering cat is the soul of an old seer of her magical order of the Torloc race. Her love interest, the swordsman, Kendric, is one of six mystic swordsmen who protect the realms. Evil villains galore inhabit a world that is corrupt and dying. The magic is unique, the story is strong. Douglas has always addressed women’s issues in her fiction and preferred mixing genres from contemporary to historical mystery/thriller, romance and women’s fiction, with high and urban fantasy.

 

13. The Chronicles of Prydain – by Lloyd Alexander

The Book of Three is the first book of the The Chronicles of Prydain, a Five-book series of Children’s fantasy published in 1964. The Series earned a 1966 Newbery Honor and a 1969 Newbery Medal.
The five novels follow Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper at Caer Dallben. Taran chases the pig into the woods, and thus begins his adventures. Soon he teams up with a wandering king-minstrel, a sharp-tongued princess and a furry creature called Gurgi to save Prydain from the power of the Horned King.
The novels draw upon Welsh Mythology, particularly the Mabinogion. One of the most widely read series in the history of fantasy, The Chronicles of Prydain is the inspiration for the animated Disney film, The Black Cauldron.

 

14. The Chronicles of Narnia – by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe is the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven-book series published in 1950. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted for radio, television, the stage, and film. The books have profoundly influenced adult and children’s fantasy literature since World War II. Lewis’s exploration of themes not usually present in children’s literature such as religion, and issues including race and gender, has caused controversy over the years.
Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series follows the adventures of various children who are magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion, Aslan (a god figure) to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The series spans the entire history of Narnia, from its creation to its destruction.
The books are inspired by mythology stories from Christianity, Persian, Greek, Anatolian and traditional British and Irish fairy tales.

 

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