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Hardest part about finding physical reader for you?

For me, I'm from a state in India where the genre fantasy isn't that big of a deal for the academics.
Even if they are a fan, they only just watch movies or shows, and if they do read it's only usually the big names like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc.
Correct me if its arrogance but I don't trust someone (no matter they're literary achievements) who've never read or care for the fantasy genre to read/critique my works.
 

pmmg

Vala
Id be happy to have readers. If they don't like fantasy, some of the comments you draw will be of no use. But they can still be useful to sharpen skills with. They might tell you where the commas go.

But I would want one who was up on the genre if they were a paid editor.
 
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Mad Swede

Maester
Well, the basics of good story telling don't vary with genre. A good literary critic should be able to disregard the genre and produce a constructive (or at least not negative) critique with suggestions for improvement. My editor doesn't write fantasy, but is able to critique and improve my work.
 
Well, the basics of good story telling don't vary with genre. A good literary critic should be able to disregard the genre and produce a constructive (or at least not negative) critique with suggestions for improvement. My editor doesn't write fantasy, but is able to critique and improve my work.
But he reads fantasy, right?
 
I see both your points, though. Perhaps I ought to find those willing to critique/read my work with an open mind, without prejudice.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
But he reads fantasy, right?
No, she doesn't. At least not much. Her job is to work with me to improve the way my stories are written. That doesn't require an in-depth knowledge of the genre, and in fact I would argue that an editor shouldn't be too close to the genre. You want an editor who is open to new ideas, and someone who is a fan of the genre might not be as open as they should be.
 
No, she doesn't. At least not much. Her job is to work with me to improve the way my stories are written. That doesn't require an in-depth knowledge of the genre, and in fact I would argue that an editor shouldn't be too close to the genre. You want an editor who is open to new ideas, and someone who is a fan of the genre might not be as open as they should be.
Oh, sorry for my saying he, Maester. But I see your point. Thanks for replying. I'm 20 years old right now (started writing at 18) and still relatively amateur. Your input really helps my way of thinking regarding this topic. Thanks a bunch.

Also, you mention having an editor, does that mean you have published works already?
 

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
No, she doesn't. At least not much. Her job is to work with me to improve the way my stories are written. That doesn't require an in-depth knowledge of the genre, and in fact I would argue that an editor shouldn't be too close to the genre. You want an editor who is open to new ideas, and someone who is a fan of the genre might not be as open as they should be.
Having a few published works out there and a lot of experience in this industry, I am going to disagree with the bolded statement. You do want an editor who is at least familiar with the conventions and tropes of the genre you're writing in, or else you run a risk of them not understanding, or even not liking your work simply because they don't "get" it. Fantasy especially is a genre that really needs an editor familiar with it because we can get a bit weird, even for speculative fiction. Editors are crucial to the publication process, both indie and traditional, and you don't want to invest in one's time if they won't understand the story you're trying to tell.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Oh, sorry for my saying he, Maester. But I see your point. Thanks for replying. I'm 20 years old right now (started writing at 18) and still relatively amateur. Your input really helps my way of thinking regarding this topic. Thanks a bunch.

Also, you mention having an editor, does that mean you have published works already?
To answer your last question, yes I do have commercially published works out there: 3 novels and a collection of short stories. The fourth novel is being edited. That written, they're in Swedish and we haven't yet agreed an English language publisher, although negotiations are ongoing.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Having a few published works out there and a lot of experience in this industry, I am going to disagree with the bolded statement. You do want an editor who is at least familiar with the conventions and tropes of the genre you're writing in, or else you run a risk of them not understanding, or even not liking your work simply because they don't "get" it. Fantasy especially is a genre that really needs an editor familiar with it because we can get a bit weird, even for speculative fiction. Editors are crucial to the publication process, both indie and traditional, and you don't want to invest in one's time if they won't understand the story you're trying to tell.
If your editor doesn't like or understand your work then you've got the wrong editor. A good publisher will arrange for the right editor, otherwise they're not doing their job. It's easy to say the editor needs to understand the conventions and tropes of a given genre, but what then happens when an author writes a book writes a book which challenges these, or which crosses several genres? My editor feels very strongly about this, because she argues that the basics of good storytelling are common to all genres: plot, pacing, style, perspective, voice, characterisation and dialogue. What genre you then write in is, she argues, subsidiary to the story you are telling and the way you tell it - or should be. All the genre does is define your setting.
 
Genre is more than setting, but I get what's being said in both directions. Part of this depends on the level of edit. Line editing, copy editing, and proofreading can be genre-independent (more or less) while a developmental editor and those looking at the story at higher levels than "being correct" should know the genre a little or a lot depending on the job at hand.

If you write a romance that misses all the beats of a romance novel (and you aren't doing that on purpose... is that possible? Might not even be a romance after that, heh heh) and your developmental editor doesn't understand the romance genre, that's gonna be a clusterflubber for your marketing.
 
But back to the original question: I don't trust anyone who isn't into fantasy to read and critique my work, but they still do, heh heh. Gotta love those reviews from people who clearly don't read your genre, especially when they make it on Amazon to sit for eternity. Outside of a couple of friends who read fantasy, I didn't push my work on anyone, not even my wife... not that she doesn't own copies, but they aren't her thing. I really listened to two people on Eve of Snows, myself and my editor. And my editor didn't say much outside of asking questions and making corrections and pointing out the occasional insane sentence I knew was horrible but left in anyhow, LOL. On the latter, I would kick the ground and mumble "I know" as I went to rewrite it. I got lucky with my editor in a sense because she used to own a small publishing house, so she'd worked in the industry on another level and had worked with a lot of trad authors like Piers Anthony instead of coming at editing from a pure editing perspective.

So in a sense I don't know how hard it would be because I assumed A) they'd be difficult to find and B) I probably wouldn't change much no matter their critiques. Listening to too many people would be a sure road to insanity, IMO.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Genre is more than setting, but I get what's being said in both directions. Part of this depends on the level of edit. Line editing, copy editing, and proofreading can be genre-independent (more or less) while a developmental editor and those looking at the story at higher levels than "being correct" should know the genre a little or a lot depending on the job at hand.

If you write a romance that misses all the beats of a romance novel (and you aren't doing that on purpose... is that possible? Might not even be a romance after that, heh heh) and your developmental editor doesn't understand the romance genre, that's gonna be a clusterflubber for your marketing.
OK, then how do we explain The Lord of the Rings? Because you can argue that it is a romance novel. After all, it has the love triangle (Aragorn, Eowyn and Arwen), it has those in favour (Galadriel) and those against (Elrond), it has the external goal (become King of Arnor and Gondor), it has a line between masculine and feminine sensibilities, it has the external conflict (Sauron versus the west), it has the internal conflict (certainly for Eowyn), it has the personal secrets (Eowyn again, and also Aragorn), it has the internal change and the happily ever after ending. But it's regarded as fantasy... You can make similar arguments for quite a few other supposed fantasy novels.

This is why my editor regards genre as secondary. As she says, the sort of characterisation and plotting you get in the Lord of the Rings goes a long way to explaning why Aragorn and Eowyn act the way they do, and why their relationship develops like it does. But, she also says that you don't need the fantasy setting of the Lord of the Rings for that particular relationship to develop in that way as part of a novel, it would work in almost any genre. And the reason it works is because the storytelling basics are all done well.

And that is why she argues that editing (and she means developmental editing) is not about knowing the genre. It is about knowing good storytelling. Sure, being able to recognise the genre can be useful, but that isn't what makes the story good.
 

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
Genre is more than setting, but I get what's being said in both directions. Part of this depends on the level of edit. Line editing, copy editing, and proofreading can be genre-independent (more or less) while a developmental editor and those looking at the story at higher levels than "being correct" should know the genre a little or a lot depending on the job at hand.

If you write a romance that misses all the beats of a romance novel (and you aren't doing that on purpose... is that possible? Might not even be a romance after that, heh heh) and your developmental editor doesn't understand the romance genre, that's gonna be a clusterflubber for your marketing.
^ This. My wife, who's our in-house editor and grammarian, and I were talking about exactly this about an hour ago, and romance is the perfect genre to use as an example. My mother-in-law loves romance. She gets romance. She doesn't get fantasy, and while she supports our work she doesn't appreciate it, so she hasn't really read much of it. And if she were a copy editor, that would be fine. But a developmental editor needs to be more knowledgeable about genre so they can not only guide storytelling, they can guide your kind of storytelling. If a developmental editor doesn't read and like your genre, it's going to be a struggle to get your money's worth of an edit out of them.
 

A. E. Lowan

Forum Mom
Leadership
OK, then how do we explain The Lord of the Rings? Because you can argue that it is a romance novel. After all, it has the love triangle (Aragorn, Eowyn and Arwen), it has those in favour (Galadriel) and those against (Elrond), it has the external goal (become King of Arnor and Gondor), it has a line between masculine and feminine sensibilities, it has the external conflict (Sauron versus the west), it has the internal conflict (certainly for Eowyn), it has the personal secrets (Eowyn again, and also Aragorn), it has the internal change and the happily ever after ending. But it's regarded as fantasy... You can make similar arguments for quite a few other supposed fantasy novels.

This is why my editor regards genre as secondary. As she says, the sort of characterisation and plotting you get in the Lord of the Rings goes a long way to explaning why Aragorn and Eowyn act the way they do, and why their relationship develops like it does. But, she also says that you don't need the fantasy setting of the Lord of the Rings for that particular relationship to develop in that way as part of a novel, it would work in almost any genre. And the reason it works is because the storytelling basics are all done well.

And that is why she argues that editing (and she means developmental editing) is not about knowing the genre. It is about knowing good storytelling. Sure, being able to recognise the genre can be useful, but that isn't what makes the story good.
I explain it by saying that Tolkien was a medievalist and replicating the "romance" type stories that were prevalent in the Medieval period; knights, adventure, beautiful women who didn't do much more than be beautiful, the occasional dragon, etc. Lots of "natural nobility." Lots of "ungodly" bad guys. England didn't have much in the way of a culture-defining romantic literary tradition, having had Arthur pretty much ripped off by the Normans (and later the French) after 1066. So, Tolkien set out to write one, and The Lord of the Rings was the result, along with the history and language he created to go with it.
 
LoTR is NOT Romance because it has romance in it. That would be a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Romance genre is, a similar oversimplification as saying all fiction is fantasy… which on a certain level it is, yet it isn’t.
 
I agree with Demesnedenoir that it very much depends on the level of editing. A sentence or scene can be edited independent of genre. That is purely about the words and the order they go in. However, it's different when you look at the structure of a story. You need to know about the story-beats you need to hit to be a certain genre. If you want to developmentally edit a story, you need to know how stories in that genre work.

I think it's actually even more important that you have a close understanding of your genre if you are purposfully breaking the rules. If you accidentally do this, then it will disappoint your readers and turn them off. You can subvert genre expectations and write a great story. Game of Thrones actually is this. GRRM set out to write an epic fantasy tale where not everyone was good and heroic and fighting a big bad guy, but one where everyone was some shade of grey. Basically diving into the question "if Aragorn got rid of all the orcs, was that genocide?" It was very purposfully written to go against the genre expectations, and because of that it worked.

As for the original question: Finding readers is hard, no matter where you are. It's the main problem writers these days face. Just remember that it's a big world out there, and you can sell to pretty much anyone (or have anyone read), no matter their location. My editor is in the US (Texas I think), while I'm in europe. That's not a problem at all.
 
The main reason for my posting this question was, recently I entered a short story writing contest where they stated that all themes and genres were open. Long story short, I didn't make it top 10. And I'm not saying this in defense or because I think my submitted work was splendid or anything of the sort, but the feedback I receive from the judges were just, "We don't really understand the piece.". Which was, you know, after paying for the entry fees and everything, was pretty frustrating to say the least. But I understand that its obviously going to be a long road and I'm sure to face a lot of negativity in the future. So thanks, guys, your comments encourage me a lot.

And, I know I'm probably going to have to work and save some money before I could afford one but, how does one go about finding an editor?

Also, with all due respect, saying The Lord of the Rings is romance just because it had one is almost an insult, I think. Lol.
 

pmmg

Vala
Its also rare to get good feedback. You need to post stuff for review to get the stuff a contest judge will not spend time to say.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
LoTR is NOT Romance because it has romance in it. That would be a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Romance genre is, a similar oversimplification as saying all fiction is fantasy… which on a certain level it is, yet it isn’t.
Except that LoTR contains examples of both romance genre conventions and what some people call romance genre beats - which is why my editor makes the point that you could classify it as a romance genre novel. But, as A. E. Lowan has pointed out, LoTR is really a modern example of a medieval saga, so it isn't a straight fantasy genre novel either.

With that written, when it come to story beats my editor regards them as being connected to story structure (3 act or whatever) rather than genre. She says the basic beat structure is generic for any given story structure, and that it is what you put into the beats which help define the genre you're writing in. (I don't know if that is very clear, I'm translating from Swedish and trying to summarise at the same time.)

My editor places a lot of emphasis on good storytelling, and a lot less emphasis on genre. That suits me because my kind of storytelling (what I write) is not straight fantasy, it is a cross between that and other genres. Here in Sweden (and, it would seem, the Nordic countries) that isn't seen as an issue and the books have sold quite well - well enough to earn out my advances. But not having a clear genre seems to be a much bigger issue in English language publishing, and I'm not sure why.

On the basis of several years experience I think that your relationship with your editor is of far greater importance than your editor knowing all about the genre(s) you write in. That means understanding each other and your respective roles (editor and author). It means knowing the way each of you think and the way you both write, and it means knowing the way in which each of you read a story. It means listening, and it means having an open mind. A relationship like that is all about trust and that takes time to build, which is why I also argue for having the same editor for as many of your stories as possible.
 
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