As mentioned in my previous post, Close Your Eyes received a super positive review from the Historical Fiction Company in the fall. I had entered the book in their "book of the year" contest, and in December they made some announcements.
Initially the book made their long list, for best book of 2022, and later it made their short list as well.
Close Your Eyes did NOT win best book of the year, nor was it the runner-up, but it did win one of their sub-categories - best Historical Fantasy book of 2022.
That image is from the Historical Fiction Company's Instagram feed. I like the castle background that they found! So nice! And actually, that river to the left is wonderful as well, especially if you're read the book and remember the escape scene with Tycho and Agnieszka ending up in the river :)
I don't remember if I myself nominated the book for that Historical Fantasy category, or if they assigned books to categories as they read them. I suppose that label is accurate, since Gora as I describe the Kingdom did NOT exist in history, though the broader scope of the book is indeed true - the Papacy, and the Bishop's thoughts about the Papacy, which foreshadow Martin Luther; Joan of Arc; the Hussites amongst whom Tycho lived for a while, and some other details scattered here and there.
The word "fantasy" just doesn't seem to suit the book though. And even Historical Fiction is slightly misleading, because it's not the actual HISTORY within the book which is important, it's Sam's heart, and Tycho's doubts, and Agnieszka's steadfastness, which are important. But... none of that fits into a label very well either - so I guess Historical Fantasy is about as accurate as it gets!
Close Your Eyes was published in December 2021, and I feel like I've done nothing for a year except flail about from one place to another trying to market the book. I used (or tried to use), Readers' Favorite, Hidden Gems, StoryOrigin, Goodreads Giveaways, and Netgalley, and maybe even some other places I've now forgotten, to promote the book, and to find reviewers of the book.
Netgalley was both the most useful, but also, the most frustrating. It costs an author (or publisher) a LOT to get your book onto Netgalley, and to promote the book there so that Netgalley users will even notice the book and request to read it, and I didn't really get as many reviews from that site as I thought I would. Having said that, some wonderful people discovered my book through Netgalley, and went on to write very touching reviews of the book, and I'm very appreciative of that.
I think a "slowing down" though is going to happen now, with Close Your Eyes. I will still be trying to find readers and reviewers for the book, but not with the zest I did over the last year.
A slowing down on the "marketing" side of self-publishing, to get back to the "writing" side of this business. I have another confused and tired young boy to get back to, Jeremy from Within This Darkness, and I feel a need now, to bring his story to the people who enjoyed Sam and Tycho and Close Your Eyes.
Oh, and shovelling snow. That was an adventure recently as well :) I put this video on TikTok during the blizzard that happened here in Ontario over Christmas. I use the same username (@chrisfindsthelight) on Instagram, and that video is there as well.
For anyone who isn't able to visually see videos very well - I had my 12 year old daughter film me for a minute, shovelling snow frantically as the blizzard roared around us, and I set it later to the "Gonna Fly Now" theme from the first Rocky movie :)
Best wishes everyone.
I'm Chris Tomasini.