Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - Fractions of Existence by J. Lenni Dorner

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Fractions of Existence by J. Lenni Dorner
Publication Date:  September 20, 2017
Once they were humanity's exalted protectors— now they are being hunted.

Xavier will weigh all human life against Gwendolyn's ignorant happiness.
The good news is that her choice can blow his away.

Omnipotent beings find each other while playing an online game. Xavier has been searching for Gwendolyn, his true mate and the missing member of the Existence. Only if reunited can the group regain the rest of their memories and access all of their powers. Hidden in plain sight, disguised as humans, they help who they can, as best they can, when they can.

The Eyes in the Shadows, a religious sect, has been trying to free humans from the “prison” of life on Earth for millenniums. The Existence has always been able to thwart them… until now. They've discovered a way to end the world that no one will see coming.

Gwendolyn has her future all laid out. There is a plan. She knows what her parents want for her and how to get it. Then Xavier, a friend from a virtual game, makes her question everything. He's full of secrets, one being an understanding of her fear of the wind.

She tries to suppress her intense attraction to the mysterious and frustrating Xavier. She's engaged, after all, and the thoughts she's having aren't proper. Gwendolyn is swept into a whirlwind of secrets, danger, and a forbidden attraction. She'll drive across the country in her beat-up old car, not knowing if he is genuinely interested or just being polite. (He refuses to kiss her!) Gwendolyn's journey is full of self-doubt, sacrifice, and dark visions that invade her sleep. Will she uncover the truth about herself?


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 If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing

Not just because of my book, but also because of my time at Operation Awesome, I learned more about query letters. There's a question or request that often comes up about "comparison titles." There's a disconnect between what agents and publishers mean by this and what many authors (myself included) think it means.

The purpose of comparison titles in a query letter is marketing to a core audience. Authors tend to pick a best-seller, which seems wise, but isn't. The reason is that best-sellers tend to have a crossover fanbase. Harry Potter is a very popular example. It has a huge fanbase of readers who have never bought another fantasy book, and a fanbase that transcends ages. The books didn't start there, though.

The question isn't about who might buy the book once it becomes wildly popular. The question is about which group will buy the first 500 copies. The hardcore fanbase who will tell their friends, write reviews, and post on message boards. Use Amazon to find your book's genre, then skip the first page or two on the top of the list. That's the sweet spot for comparison titles (in most cases).

Another mistake querying authors make is using non-books as comparison titles. Movies, television shows, or even songs are not comparison titles. The first place a publisher sells your book isn't going to be a movie theater, the DVD section at Best Buy, via Netflix, or on Pandora. (Though how great would a, "if you enjoyed this show, consider this book" option be? Even if that were real, it still wouldn't be the first selling location.) Big publishers are going to start selling using their pre-existing fanbase of proven reading reviewers. That's why they need to know who to sell the first copies to. (Or offer up ARCs.) This might seem obvious to some authors. To those who it doesn't, back in 2013, I had one query letter where I compared Fractions of Existence to song "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba. Yes, there is a similarity, but the marketing doesn't crossover between music and books.

That was my second biggest querying mistake. (My biggest one being my attempt to write the query letter from the point of view of one of my characters. It seems creative and fun. PLEASE learn from my mistake and don't do it. A very kind agent pointed out that it's nothing but confusing.)

Yes, I ultimately decided to self-publish. I became an expert on query letters over the past five years, learning from books, classes, and (most of all) from mistakes.

I self-published because I wrote an urban fantasy that doesn't include the traditional elements of the genre. Fractions of Existence lacks mention of vampires, detectives, orphaned main characters, magic users, dragons, butt-kicking female loners (Jez isn’t really a loner), a butt-kicking normal human who plays with paranormals (Wend isn't really a normal human), or protagonists who hunt paranormals for vigilante justice (that's the antagonists, and it's not justice they're seeking). It IS an urban fantasy, just not that kind of urban fantasy, which makes it difficult to market to the fanbase. I realized I had to scrap it or go on my own and hope to find my small niche of readers. It's hard, but I know it was the right decision for me.

About the Author

J. competed in Write Club 2014 &2016. The Creative Writing Institute held writing contests that resulted in J Lenni Dorner being published in "WRONG!: A themed anthology 2014" and LOST!: A themed anthology 2017. J self-published "Preparing to Write Settings That Feel Like Characters," in 2015. Winner of the Write Edit Publish Now flash fiction "Youthful Frights versus Adult Fears" Halloween challenge 2015. Signum University's Mythgard Institute held a creative writing contest in the autumn of 2015 called "Almost an Inkling" in which J Lenni Dorner was the Popular Vote Winner of week 6, resulting in publication in The Soul of Wit. The Operation Awesome Flash Fiction Contest 12 win in April 2016 went to J Lenni Dorner.

A to Z Challenge co-host as of 2017.

When not reading or writing, J enjoys video games, laughing at funny cat videos, finding drawings of dragons on Pinterest, and watching movies.

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