A while ago, I teased something on Twitter that I had something in the works for the OELN (original English light novel) community. I was working out the details and decided on what I wanted to do.
In short, in addition to being an author of OELN’s myself, I’m also a graphic designer by day and a Managing Editor of Anime and Manga for a website known as The Outerhaven by nights and weekends. Needless to say, I know first-hand just how difficult it is for an OELN author to get recognized. Our books cater to an extremely niche audience and even still, that audience barely believes in us.
There is a stigma that if something doesn’t come from Japan, it’s not authentic. That OELN’s are not real light novels and, therefore, that our stories shouldn’t even be given the time of day.
I’ve tried social media, I’ve tried contests and giveaways, I tried putting myself out there on podcasts, I’ve even tried writing press releases and submitted them to big sites. Even with having some industry connections, I still couldn’t get anywhere all because of this stigma that surrounds the genre in which we write coupled with the fact that we are just independent authors and are not well-known.
That is why I talked to the Editor-in-Chief at The Outerhaven and told him what I wanted to do. I realize that, like myself, someone just needs to be given a chance to get some exposure. That is why I wanted to turn The Outerhaven into the first geek culture-themed website to prominently not shun away and feature OELN authors who are just looking for a place to post a story about their works.
Obviously, The Outerhaven is not Anime News Network, it’s not Tokyo Otaku Mode, Crunchyroll, or any other major website out there that posts news. We do average anywhere between 150,000 to 200,000 unique visitors per month, though, and while I cannot promise fame, riches, or anything of the sort, what I can promise you is that we will post stories about your OELNs.
How many eyes read it, interact with it, and go on to purchase your books are all outliers that I cannot predict. That is why I say that I can’t guarantee those things aforementioned; however, I do realize that someone, somewhere just needs to step in and give someone a chance.
So, just what am I offering?
I’m offering you a place to submit news about your book and/or have yourself permanently listed on The Outerhaven in our OELN Database sub-section on the site. Maybe you want to announce a brand-new series and want to get the word out? Perhaps you might have a book about to be released and you want to hype up the release date? Or, a book just came out and you want to advertise the fact that it’s out in the world and you want people to come and take a look and/or purchase it?
Whatever it is, I will be more than happy to write a news post and put it up on your behalf. There are some requirements, though, if you want to submit a news post. Nothing super intense, but just some things I will need in order to create an effective post.
- Your book MUST be an original English light novel. I apologize to any other independent author; however, I am targeting a very specific community. We are a relatively-new community with very little awareness and that is something I want to change. An OELN book is a novel written in and/or based-off of Japanese Anime culture/style.
- You must provide a synopsis of the book and/or story. If your book isn’t released yet and you’re just looking to make an announcement or you’re submitting anything to hype up an upcoming release, readers need to know what it’s about. If you’re releasing a specific volume, you’ll want to submit a synopsis tailored to that volume as well as an overview of the series.
- You must provide a JPG or PNG of your book cover. It will be used in the news post. Obviously this is only applicable if you have a cover. Typically, series announcements don’t have covers yet so there are some exceptions to this.
- You must provide a 16:9 graphic at least 710 px wide by 400 px high for your book series. If you don’t have one and have a png or transparent background of a character or a logo for your book, you can submit that and I will create a generic header graphic for your news post.
- For book releases: you must provide a link to where people can buy it.
- Optional: You can provide links to your social media accounts and/or website if you have one.
A news post was the only thing I was preparing to offer but then my Editor-in-Chief came up with a suggestion that I didn’t expect him to go so far with. This is the reason why it took me so long to hammer out the details and get this announcement out there.
We have created a sub-section on The Outerhaven for OELN authors. With the author’s permission, we will create a page that will live on our site. It will have an author bio, some images of your book covers, links to all books you’ve written, and links to your social media and / or website.
This part is completely optional but the offer is there if you wish to take advantage of it.
This one is easy to answer.
The cost to you, the author, is nothing. This is something I am willing to do for our community at absolutely zero charge. As an author myself, I understand the costs associated with being an independent author. Printing costs, shipping costs, art commissions, it all adds up and the vast majority of us don’t see much of a return, if at all.
We write because of our passion for anime and manga. We write as fans and we have our own stories that we wish to tell. We pay enough to get those stories out there so I wouldn’t dream of charging anyone for this service.
The only cost to you would be the time it takes to gather and email me your information, at which point it will only cost me a few minutes of my time to go ahead and post your story for you.
I’ve put out a couple of feelers to some people in the OELN community about what I planned to do. So far, the feedback has been VERY positive. Because as such, I’m fully prepared for an onslaught of people messaging me and wanting to take advantage of this. That’s why I’m going to say this…
I am one person manning this initiative. If I get flooded with requests, I may not be able to get to yours immediately. I’m also not going to post everything submitted to me in one, single day. That creates over-saturation and nobody wants to come to a site that talks about video games, tech, comics, and other things only to see 50 stories of OELN’s on the front page. So, if I do get bombarded, I will be spacing out the posts so that they don’t cause other stories to get buried or lost in the shuffle.
It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you. Trust me, I’ve been ignored enough by other websites to where I wouldn’t extend that same discourtesy to you. Just know that your post is probably queued for another day. All submissions that meet the requirements will get posted. If you can’t meet the requirements, just talk to me and I’ll see what can be done to get you there.
Also, I will not be doing reviews of light novels. Honestly, this was something I was thinking about doing but with the amount of stuff I have going on in life, I wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to constantly doing reviews. Heck, I have OELNs I’ve purchased that I still need to read for my own enjoyment. I didn’t want to say “Hey, I’ll review it for you, too.” and then sit on it for months simply because I just haven’t had the time to get to them. It wouldn’t be fair to the author and I don’t want to do that to anyone.
To submit news to me, submit your information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Just make sure you use OELN in your subject. For example:
OELN: A.R. Dragonfly’s 8th Volume Slated for May Release
OELN: Announcing a brand-new series: From Ashe
OELN: Final Hope Vol. 2 Available Now!
The OELN tag will help me see it better and not get lost in the shuffle since this is my business email and I will be receiving other mails from some of my partners at The Outerhaven.
In addition, if you wish to have a permanent residence on our website, you can head here and fill out the form and we will create a biography page for you with the information that you have provided. https://www.theouterhaven.net/olen-submission-form/
So, there you have it!
As I said, I can’t promise the world. What I can promise is that there can be at least one website out there that will not ignore you.
Everything starts with a spark. The spark will never happen unless someone is there to do it. My goal is to try and be that someone.
Simple as that.