This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Location, Location, Location...

Real estate agents know it's true...

The location of a property can change its value dramatically. Good neighborhood, higher value, more power in the marketplace. Bad neighborhood, lower value, passed by, passed over. So what do the rules of location have to do with your writing property?

Location as Setting

There are some places and time periods that just capture the imagination. That imagination and perception is a powerful thing to use in your writing.

As a little girl, I remember hearing that Paris was the most romantic city in the world. To be kissed on the Eiffel Tower? Heavenly! In my imagination I still think of Paris as romantic and artistically inspired (even though my reality included dragging students through city streets littered with dog poo on shoddy tours led by an inept tour guide). Paris is a powerful setting for a story. Its rich history (Abelard and Heloise, Notre Dame, French Revolution, Napoleon) has helped endear it in our cultural treasure trove of fantastic places. Write a story in a Parisian setting and (if you know it inside and out) you'll have at least a guaranteed handful of readers who have an insatiable love for that location and will pick up your book out of loyalty to location alone.

The Medieval period and Renaissance are locations in time that attract a following all their own. Our country is dotted with Renaissance Fairs and Medieval Festivals and there are even educational and social societies that have cropped up to help people relive the history. There are other time periods that also attract people's imaginations, consider the strength Regency romances had (and still have) in the marketplace. If you can write to one of those time periods, you are also likely to attract people who regularly read similar things. Just be wary--they will know details about the period and place--you will need to do your research!

Am I telling you to write a story set in a place or time that is already popular in people's minds? Not necessarily (although you probably will because one's already snared your attention, curiosity, or loyalty). Just know your landscape intimately and use whatever things you can to create a strong foundation on which your intellectual property is built.

Location as Publishing House

Obviously, the publisher that picks you up says quite a bit about your writing and target audience. Choose to send out your manuscript packages or queries to the publishers on your "A list" first. Consider their power in the market and their catalog of books as your "neighborhood." If they have a good market share, your "property value" is stronger (and your royalties might be, too).

Think carefully about what authors and works you want as your neighbors, because they speak volumes about you as well (if only because people will compare you to them first).

This, of course, raises the question of self-publishing. Do you want to be compared to other self-published authors, or could it be detrimental to your sales? It will depend on the mindset of your audience. If a potential reader has a bad taste in their mouth from the last self-published book they got roped into reading, you'll have to really work to sell your far superior book to them. Either way, you'll want to investigate your marketing approaches. Consider "guerilla marketing" strategies as ways to reach your target audience.

Think about the location you're seeking for your book... Is it the neighborhood you want to grow old in or is it just a slightly nicer place on your way to a prime location?

Good luck!

1 comment:

Dream Keyper said...

I like this analogy. Kind of like tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are. First impressions are indeed important. We wish you all the best and know you will achieve all of your dreams!!

What is the most interesting city or setting to you?

Woo-hoo! Didn't You Know It!

Which ancient leader are you most akin to?
created with
You scored as Ghengis Khan

you scored ghengis khan! He was a Mongol political and military leader or Khan (posthumously Khagan) who united the Mongol tribes and founded the Mongol Empire (�� �онгол Ул�), (1206�1368), the largest contiguous empire in world history.

Ghengis Khan


Julius Caesar


Henry V (England)






Napoleon Bonaparte


Alexander the Great


Pride and Prejudice

Which Pride and Prejudice Girl Are You?
created with You scored as Elizabeth

I am Elizabeth. I am headstrong and intelligent. I love to be myself, and am very loyal to my family. I can sometimes be prideful and "prejudiced," but I try to remain open minded and I usually regret past mistakes.







Mrs. Bennet








Super Me!

Which Superheroine are you?
created with
You scored as Huntress

You are the Huntress... No matter how many times you try and prove yourself to be good, you always seem to be stuck in the same rut, with the reputation as a "bad girl". Guys love to hang around you because you're easy to talk too.



Black Canary