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How to Publish Your Own Fantasy Novel

How to Publish Your Own Fantasy Novel

By Swapna Krishna

The MindHut

With the plethora of fantasy novels being written and published lately, you probably have wondered if you should put pen to paper and write your own. After all, you have a great imagination and decent writing skills. Why not? If you're considering writing a work of fantasy, here is our step-by-step guide on how to publish your own fantasy novel.

Step One: Invent a Brand New Land

The first thing you want to do is come up with a completely new place for your book to be set. The coolest part? You're completely in charge. Want magic to be real? Poof—it is! What about dragons? Or unicorns? The best part is that there are no real boundaries for what you can create—the point is that it's fantasy. It's supposed to be weird and crazy! While you can't just copy someone else's idea, reading already published fantasy novels is a good place to start. Multiple kingdoms are popular (though I'd stay away from seven—that's been in countless books and it'll look like you didn't have the creativity to come up with a different number), as are really big walls. Dark places no one ever goes? That's where your main enemy will come from. You're in charge, and you can do whatever you want—just make sure you have fun!

Step Two: Create Your Characters

As with the land you create, there aren't a lot of restrictions for what kind of characters you can populate your novel with, but here are some suggestions: Try to make your main character human. It makes it much easier for the reader to relate to them, especially if you have non-humans roaming around. (Though don't automatically make the non-humans the enemy, unless you want to seem kind of species-ist). You might also want to have multiple species, some allies, some enemies, some in between (think human, elf, dwarf, orc, uruk-hai, wizard from Lord of the Rings). Or, if you want to keep things as simple as possible, the ol' humans versus humans is always easy to fall back on.

Step Three: Name Your Characters

This might seem like it should go hand in hand with step two, but naming your characters is a lot of work. You want to come up with foreign, exotic names, but not so much so that your reader will spend more time wondering how to pronounce them than actually reading your book. If you're having trouble, you can always, once again, read other fantasy books to get ideas. This is more common than you might think (does anyone else think that Samwell Tarly sounds an awful lot like Samwise Gamgee?) and it's a great way to get your imagination going.

Step Four: Write Your Book

Okay, yes, this is the hardest step. Once you have your setting and characters, you have to actually sit down and write the narrative. Of course, you could be writing a series, so you don't have to tell the whole story in one fell swoop. And your first draft should definitely be a rough outline of the series of events and how the characters interact; descriptions can come later. But don't forget about them, because since you're creating an entirely new place, descriptions are key for immersing the reader in your story and helping them learn about the dynamics of your particular land.

Step Five: Self-Publish or Get an Agent

After you write the book, you face the difficult decision of either self-publishing it or trying to get an agent to publish it traditionally. Both have their positives and negatives—if you self-publish, you know your book will be printed and it can sit on your shelf for all time, but it's likely that no one besides you and your family/friends will actually read it. Getting an agent is much more difficult, but if you manage to do it, you stand a much better chance of making your fantasy novel a bestseller.

Either way, happy writing and publishing!

Do you think you have a fantasy novel that should be published?

Topics: Books, Mindhut
Tags: writing, fantasy, publishing, books-and-comics, books week

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About the Author
Swapna Krishna

Swapna is a Washington, DC-based freelance editor who loves all things space and sci fi. You can find her book reviews at S. Krishna’s Books (http://www.skrishnasbooks.com) and on Twitter at @skrishna.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.