Just when I think I have neared completion of my historical fantasy novel, I come to an epiphany that brings it all to a screeching halt.
The book is about a thrall (Viking slave) whom wins his freedom by becoming a hero. Simple enough. It's got all the cool stuff: Vikings, axes, zombies (draug), trolls, and strange fey creatures such as gnomes and huldras. Creatures of Norse mythology with historical realism to the storyline to make the story believable.
So what's the problem?
Although it was completely unintentional, it's a guy kind of book.
And the problem?
Men don't buy books. Men seldom read, or at least those that do are in the minority as far as readers and book purchasers go. The numbers are undeniable. On average 67 to 71% of book purchasers are female. I remember when I was a teen and helping out at my grandparent's bookstore. Most of the customers were women. When I worked at Bracken Library at Ball State University - most students patronizing the library were in fact women. The males were there only long enough to get whatever basic research information they needed and left. The females always stayed longer and along with their books needed for research, also grabbed some personal reading materials.
The story features a male that saves the day surviving the wilderness full of things that want to kill him. He eventually saves the day by slaying the creature wrecking havoc on his village and is freed. Not only freed, but recognized as a hero (which jumps to book two of the series).
What's the problem with that? The problem is that women don't read such books. It's hard to even get them to watch the Hobbit.
But many women watch "The Vikings"
Yes, because it has a heroine - Lagertha. Plus half naked muscular viking men helps, but that is a T.V. series. It's not reading. If it were in a book series, how many female readers would it have? Few. It would have as many female fans as the Chronicles of Gor have, which is not many.
I am considering adding a heroine. It may not be possible,as it may change the entire story.