M.K. Hobson is the author of the Nebula-nominated The Native Star and The Hidden Goddess, both of which are available through the usual venues. She is also doing a Kickstarter Project for the next book in the series. You can learn more at her Website, www.demimonde.com
My life is so self-referential at the moment that I’m starting to feel like a character in one of my own books. And when that happens, friends, you know you’ve either gone off the deep end or…well, I don’t know if there even is an “or” that can be attached to that statement. You’re done for.
I’m currently elbows-deep in a marketing campaign to fund the publication of a book about warlocks whose power derives from their ability to mold and shape the public imagination using popular fiction. So basically, I’m marketing a book about marketing warlocks who build their power by publishing dime novels. Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. But it’s been doing that for days, so I’m kind of used to it.
The marketing campaign I’m running is a Kickstarter. And the book I’m trying to publish is called The Warlock’s Curse. It is Book 3 in my Veneficas Americana historical fantasy series (the Nebula-nominated The Native Star and The Hidden Goddess were Books 1 & 2.) Central to all those books is a magical system consisting of three grand traditions: blood magic (natch), spirit magic, and faith magic. Of these three, it’s the last (which I call credomancy) that comes in for special attention.
In the Veneficas Americana universe, reality is a fundamentally democratic construct. If enough people believe that a certain thing is true, then that thing doesn’t just become true, it is true–and always has been. As a magical practice, credomancy exploits this. Power is built through the targeted manipulation of human belief, and wielded (to some extent) cooperatively.
In The Native Star and The Hidden Goddess (set in the 1870s) this “targeted manipulation” took the form of the thrilling dime novels I mentioned earlier. In The Warlock’s Curse (set in 1910) the marketing methods have become more sophisticated, evolving to include the new moving-pictures, as well as nationwide Teslaphone broadcasts (reflecting my determination to avenge Nikola Tesla’s real-life humiliation at the hands of that snake Marconi.)
The fact that I myself have been a marketing professional for the past 20 years had a lot to do with my creation of these “marketing warlocks.” I remember sitting around one day at some agency I was working for at the time, laboring over a dumb creative brief and thinking, “You know, if all of this work I do to get people to buy stupid crap could instead be applied to getting them to do really interesting stuff … you know, like becoming my own personal dark army or giving me money or whatnot, I’d be set.” And the more I thought about it (I really didn’t want to work on that creative brief) the more I realized “… um, yeah. Helloooo. Marketing and propaganda and mass hysteria are exactly how dark armies get built, dingus!” And the rest just kind of rolled out from there.
I never imagined, however, that I’d have to take my marketing skills and actually build a dark army of Kickstarter backers with them. I mean, it was kind of an intellectual exercise, you know? But now, to get my book about credomancers into the hands of readers, I have to use every single “marketing warlock” technique I can possibly think of to capture public attention, foster excitement, and build community energy. All so I can make some magic happen.
I would say “isn’t it ironic?” except (unlike Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, apparently) I actually know what that word means. I think a better word to use is “encoic.”
So, yeah. Isn’t it encoic? Don’cha think?