And now for something completely different… ish. I’m a fantasy writer and so I’m a sucker for maps. All the best epic fantasies have them. I’m published in a genre that pulls from this world with fantastical elements and doers of great deeds, sooooooo… no maps. I mean, California? Google it.

That’s why when one of my fellow authors at our publishing house, Tirgearr, put out a very engaging and spot on blog regarding maps in fantasy novels- I just had to share. I hope you’ll all enjoy her point of view and maybe even check out her stunning novel, The War Queen. Thanks again for appearing on my blog, J.M.!!!

Here’s her two cents… ENJOY!

Why E-book Fantasy Writers Should Include Maps

 

I’m an avid reader of fantasy books. I’m also an avid writer of fantasy books. And, what the heck, I’m also an avid enthusiast about maps in fantasy books. I own a lot of the Dragonlance books. I even have a map of Skyrim hanging in my hallway and a map of Maui right above my computer.

WHY YOU SHOULD INCLUDE A MAP IN YOUR FANTASY BOOK

The answer is very obvious. You want a map to, literally provide direction for your readers who have taken a chance on you and picked up your book to read it. You don’t need a map of America if you write contemporary, because, thank goodness to our schools, we were taught where California and New York is. And, if for some weird reason you’ve never opened a book, turned on the TV, or stepped outside in your life, you can GOOGLE those locations. I know. I’ve done it. You get hundreds of different maps for America.

Let’s say I wrote a book and titled it The War Queen. It’s a fantasy book set in my own made-up world called Endendre. Now Altarn is the Lady of Blindvar, who faces opposition from Kaelin who is the Lord of Ruidenthall. Separating these two states is Luthsinia. Altarn travels out of Niesh toward Athenya, stopping along the way at Yott and Gaynord where she eventually ends up on Greatmare.

Are you wishing you had a map of Endendre yet? Did you just try googling it? Didn’t find it? Here it is.

Endendre

 

Pretty fancy. Where did I get this map? I drew it. And because my sister is a professional artist on her way to stardom, I gave the outline to her and she dressed it up to be what you see here.

BUT JM! I DON’T HAVE AN ARTISTIC SISTER ON HER WAY TO STARDOM!

That’s fine. Here’s another map I drew by hand for another yet-to-be-published fantasy book of mine:

Anthrell

Of course when this book is published, I’ll throw it at my sister to dress it up professional like. Oh. Right. You don’t have my sister. But, you DO have programs online, you have illustrators all over the internet who would love love love your business (but JM! That will cost money!) So stop buying coffee at Starbucks every morning, eat beef ramen for dinner instead of sushi, bike to work instead of drive.

The point is, life costs money. Manage your money into the areas you feel are most important. Paying someone to illustrate your map can be cheap. You might find a good freelancer on Fiverr.com to do it for you. Or, again, you can throw it into a program – even word paint – and do it yourself.

Let’s get back to why you should have a map included in your book. It’s for direction. Can you imagine reading Lord of the Rings without having the guidance of a map? Or any of the Dragonlance Chronicles? How about The Wheel of Time?

Reading should be an enjoyment for your readers. Help them read easy by giving them a visual to follow along.

DON’T HAVE THE AMBITION TO CREATE A MAP?

Maps are fun to make. Creating a map brings your story to life and you start to believe you have created a real place that exists somewhere. It’s PART of your story, and you can do SO much more with your map aside from having it in your book. What do I mean by that? You can use it as a background on your book’s webpage. It might even look as awesome as this: https://www.jmrobison.com/the-war-queen1

Or go one step further and create yourself a store on zazzle.com and turn your map into a poster to hang in your hallway next to Skyrim:

war_queen_map_poster-r9fccb7b41f4148929d1b9689b458c326_zvd_8byvr_324

A mouse pad:

war_queen_map_mouse_pad-r72ae78f70cd348678cc205b414cf4400_x74vi_8byvr_324

 

A bumper sticker:

ruidenthall_bumper_sticker-rd39e6bb64a3a4878b4d14823e83298a1_v9wht_8byvr_324

(see these items in my zazzle.com store)

And then you can use this map as a fun free giveaway for your book. Basically, you’re not creating a map. You’re creating a massive promotion for your book that will hook readers to want to come back for more.

I’d LOVE to see your maps. I invite you to post a picture of it directly onto my Facebook author page.

Now, aren’t you glad you stopped by and learned about maps? Now you have a great book to pick up, War Queen, AND a new marketing tool! You’re welcome.

Have a GREAT weekend!!!

About JM…

Born in small town Bennington, Idaho, J.M. wanted to be just like her big, story writer sister. Big sister paints now, but that initial role model was all the springboard J.M. needed to fearlessly leap into writing the novels of her heart. Getting around the world as a soldier has helped broaden J.M.’s views on cultures and personalities, and settling down as a Deputy Sheriff in Nevada for a time has helped her maintain all the fine intricacies humans are capable of which has helped define her characters into something realistic and believable. Without any prior claims to fame, J.M. is proud to showcase that hard work, even from rock bottom, DOES pay off.

jmrobison

Please do check out The War Queen- JM is with my press, Tirgearr Publishing, so you KNOW she rocks. Here’s a bit about the book:

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her kingdom for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.

During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.

Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her land without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his kingdom. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her kingdom, or try claiming her heart?

TheWarQueenbyJMRobison200

 

This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.

 

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