Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Let’s say you’ve just finished J.R.R Tolkien’s epic fantasy ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and you want to read more of the same sort of thing. You could perform an Internet search on the word Tolkienesque, but you would be slugged with over 90,000 results. Perhaps a better search might be A style reminiscent of Tolkien, which returns a mere 3,000 results.

But do you really want to read something that is an imitation of an earlier author's work?

The book marketers say yes. You want to read a book that is very much like something you’ve read before.

You want to read a book in which Krodo, a short statured creature from a mythical land, goes on a quest to destroy an amulet that has amazing powers but a link with pure evil. There will be a tavern in this book and a long bearded stranger. There will be frozen nights sleeping under stars followed by a night in a huge mansion. There will be a refreshing bath and new clothes. These clothes will come from a mysterious but friendly stranger. This stranger will have the power to help Krodo in his quest, but will also issue a grave warning.

Okay, so you probably don’t want to read about Krodo. And, to be honest, I don’t want to write about him. But think about that earlier statistic: 90,000 results for Tolkienesque. You have to look at a number like that and think about how much interest there must be in the genre.

The aspiring author needs to think about who his readers will be. He can’t just dismiss a huge potential market for his work. One should not be too precious.

‘m I precious?

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