Are you unique enough?

I don’t know if other author’s experience this, but it is something I think about – especially after reading a lot of Tweets by agents and publishers that talk not about an author’s books or works but the author themselves.
One agent I happened across openly admitted that they where not seeking any type of unique work, they where seeking a unique type of person, and an author had to fit a mould. Is that my problem, I don’t fit a mould?

In today’s heavily visual, heavily marketing, heavily social media focused society I’m not surprised that publishers seek author’s who have a sell-able face, but not just a sell-able face, but a sell-able identity. Somehow, at some point, I blinked – and identity became this massive, important thing. What is your identity?
Are you unique enough to be an author?
It feels like, today, you have to have some sort of incredible personal uniqueness to win an agent, or a publisher – something that makes you stand out amongst the crowd – instead of your work.
But perhaps I only see one side of the publishing industry online, I would really love to speak to publishers and agents about this – because I find it utterly fascinating.

I am pretty sure it was how I was raised that instilled in me an ethic of believing that my work spoke for me. I didn’t want to be put on a pedestal, it was my work that I wanted to share – not me. I wanted my stories, my adventures, my worlds, my characters to shine for me.

The more I write, the more books I put into print, the more I have this intense desire to fade into the background and just let my world exist for me, to let my work be my voice.

A lot of Art

So I have a lot of art to do in the next couple of months.
Like.
A LOT.
As in, I am going to be in front of my computer every day just doing art. That’s it. Art.
This isn’t a problem. I am really happy to be doing art, it just feels a little overwhelming to be staring at a list of illustrations I need to get done for my next novel and wondering…ah…whoops…deadline.
DEADLINE.

Did I mention DEADLINE.

Hah. Hah. Oh boy.

I should be doing art right now.
But instead I am currently writing a short novel I hope to submit to a company here in Adelaide. I’ve always wanted to write a ‘family survives a disaster’ novel and I figured this would be a great opportunity to write that one book I’ve always, really, really wanted to write. It’s only 40,000 words. I can write that in like…two weeks, but, the topic requires a lot of research.
Maybe I can get my brother-in-law to help. He’s good at research…

Anyway, where was I, ah yes, ART.

So, if you’ve ever picked up the paperback versions of KEY and Protectors you’d know they’re illustrated. I really love illustrating fantasy novels. I think it adds another dimension to the story, and it’s fun.

Right now my amazing editor and I are working on the first book in the currently titled ‘Northland Rebellion’ series that fits in between my main ‘Chronicles of the Children’ series. We’ve almost finished the editing. Very exiting.

Title_Page_Jarvis.jpg

Here is the half-title page. I’ve been a bit worried though…Jarvis is ‘another boy’ and in an industry that is increasingly looking for female protagonists I don’t know if featuring him on the first page is a good idea. I thought, maybe, to change it to one of the female characters – in which – this book has many.
But I think I’ll leave it as it is, as the title page I am working on balances things out.

KibandDenvyJPEG.jpg

I’m trying a different style for this book – different from KEY and Protectors. I wanted to go for a more painted style. I don’t know how it will print, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Here is Khwaja Denvy and Ki’b. For this book – I would have to say Khwaja Denvy is the ‘protagonist’.
I actually wrote this book for Lance.
Lance was an elderly gentleman at the cafe I write at. We would talk whenever he visited, and he told me stories about his time in WWII, growing up as the son of a German father and an English mother. He marvelled me with his energy and vitality despite growing old. We laughed together, we cried together. He was the first man (other than my father) to ever call me beautiful. Every time he would see me he would tell me, ‘You are so beautiful today. Why, if I was a young man, I would marry you.’
I never got the chance to tell him how much those words meant to me. How much those words blessed me. I learnt so much from him.
His favourite character from KEY was Denvy. He considered himself to be Denvy. Lance died before I was able to show him even the draft of Orphans and Outcasts, and I’m actually a lot more emotional about it then I thought I would be, now that I’m coming up to releasing the book.
So I guess that’s why I chose to focus on Denvy as the ‘hero’. Because I saw an interesting story in telling things from the point of view of an older character, thanks to my time with Lance.
Denvy just happens to be a giant-cat alien…