Drop It Like It’s Hot

When I began writing, I worked hard to avoid linking my work to anything real. I wasn’t sure about the rules. I made references to things like the obsession of Golum and the ring, without saying Lord of the Rings, or even naming Golum. I named towns with names similar to real town names, but steered clear of naming the towns. I even called Paris Hilton, Paris Hinton in one book. I didn’t want to be in trouble. Really. I thought I could get in trouble. *shakes head* Now, while I wouldn’t advise you name characters after people I know, just  so you can kill them off – like my super evil ex bestie Linda Miller! *JERK!* <– Totally joking. I made that name up. If that’s your name, I’m certain you are lovely and also a good sport. LOL.

I now know it’s okay to name things in pop culture, locations too. You can name stores and restaurants and whatever you want. Readers like to identify with places and things, be in on the jokes. And it’s also fun to make all those things up. Writers’ choice.

But don’t count out the benefits of linking your manuscript to a real place.

When your book is published, you’ll have to promote. If you can travel to the town in your book for signings and appearances, you might tap into a focused market. People like to read stories set in their hometown, or someplace where they are otherwise connected. Be careful not to fudge the details or those who love the place will be sure to let you know about it. But, let’s say for example, you write a YA and set it in your old college town. You could potentially catch the attention of not only the town residents, but the current students at your Alma mater, the staff, and other alumni.

If you know the town well, mention a favorite spot or two. Those may be great places to hold book signings. Local newspapers and media will have an added reason to cover your story too. It’s never too early to think about promotion. The work is just beginning after you type the words THE END.

Hey, you’re the author. Write it your way. Knock their socks off! And don’t count out the hidden bonus of name dropping :)

3 comments to Drop It Like It’s Hot

  • Very interesting tip, Julie! I usually “make up” the protag’s town, but plant it in upstate NY. Your suggestion of using an actual city and referencing an actual place (now I’m thinking of my fav local cafe), is a good one.

    Thank you! Happy Friday!

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    Thanks Tracy!

  • Very timely as I just changed the name of one of my minor characters for this concern. It’s good to hear I don’t need to worry so much!

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