Marketing From the Niche
When I was in the middle of world-building the Griffins & Gunpowder Universe, I ran into a dilemma. I had a solid idea of what I wanted to do with this universe: I wanted it to be an epic fantasy but I wanted to bring gunpowder technology into it. The problem was that I couldn’t for the life of me find very much in the way of previous examples of how this was best accomplished.
So I was debating dragging the whole universe back to the standard-fare medieval world, or taking it into a full-on Steampunk world. After some internal debate, some twitter chats with other authors and some googling, I decided to go ahead and make the world that I wanted to make in the first place.
Now that I’ve released The Cerberus Rebellion and plowed into the Gunpowder Fantasy subgenre full speed, I find that it’s rather difficult to find marketing venues for it. The Griffins & Gunpowder Universe is between two worlds; not quite Traditional Epic Fantasy but definitely not Steampunk.
So I’ve tried to reach out to the few other authors that write in the sub-genre and build a network of Gunpowder Fantasy authors.
A.S. Warwick’s Commonwealth Chronicles (his website is here) would definitely fall into my definition of Gunpowder Fantasy, though he doesn’t go quite as far down the gunpowder/steam technology path as I do. Where Griffins & Gunpowder is set in the mid-19th century with muskets being phased out, rifles common and the beginning emergence of cartridge-based revolvers, the Commonwealth Chronicles is set in a late 18th-century to early 19th-century setting. Muskets and smoothbore cannon are the dominant firearm in Mr Warwick’s world; rifles are rare, slow to reload and cumbersome.
Another author whose world falls into Gunpowder Fantasy, though again on the earlier stages of the technological tree, is William King. His Terrarch Chronicles make heavy use of muskets and, from what I’ve read so far, very much include heavy magic use.
The last author, and the one that I’ve had the most interaction and cross-promotion with, is Harry Vossen from A Way With Worlds, a world-building how-to. I had the chance to read some of his yet-to-be-released novel, Under a Burning Sky, and I was impressed. His work is definitely the furthest from my own; through the first few chapters (I haven’t had a chance to read through the full novel) Under a Burning Sky uses very little reference to gunpowder. In fact, Harry’s world is probably the closest of these selections to traditional Epic Fantasy. To the point I reached, muskets weren’t used and the only gunpowder weapons seemed to be cannons loaded aboard ships.
The point of this post is to say that no matter how small you think your subgenre is, with the expansive nature of the internet and the booming eBook market, there is likely to be someone else writing something similar enough to your own works that you can draw parallels between the two worlds and help each other through cross-promotion.