Author Topic: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books  (Read 488 times)  

Offline -alex-

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Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« on: August 06, 2017, 06:00:43 AM »
A couple questions for those who write High/Epic fantasy.

1) Ive almost finished the first book in my new S&S Fantasy series, and soon Ill be commissioning somebody to create me a map. Im looking into that now. Thing is... I dont know how much of my world I should have on the map as standard. The first two books take place in the protagonists home kingdom, the third takes place in the kingdom to the west, the fourth takes place in the snowy no-mans-land to the north, the fifth takes place to the kingdom to the east and desert no-mans-land to the south, and the sixth takes place in the protagonists home kingdom, the kingdom to the east.

Ive seen some series just have a map of the kingdom/area that book is set in. Ive seen some series just have one complete map, with less detail. And Ive seen some that have two maps per book.

The reason I was a little worried about having one single map of the three kingdoms and the north and south areas, is because I would have to have much less detail on them, because, well, obviously Ive yet to write the rest of the series... if that makes sense?

Any advice?

2) On some maps, Ive seen the protagonists path/route marked out. Is this a good idea? Bad idea?

3) If you have any map maker recommendations, Id be very grateful.

Thanks for your time.

Online AlecHutson

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 06:25:16 AM »
Hey Alex, I'm of the camp that maps are very important in fantasies. I love orienting myself with them and tracing the path of adventures. For my map, I searched for 'black and white fantasy map' on Deviant Art and found a map-maker whose work I thought looked cool. There were a few considerations I had with my map:

1 - Black and white.
2 - Not too busy.
3 - The initial version of my map was A3 sized. You can see a version of it here, on the map-maker's website (I believe he is open to more commissions, if you like what he's done)
 
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/xoZKO

For my book, I asked him to split it in half, into two A4 pieces so that it fit better into most e-readers pages. If you're curious what that looks like, you can click on the first book in my profile and check the 'look inside'

I love maps, and have no problem flipping through several of them in the beginning of a fantasy book. But I might restrict the maps contained in each book to the locations actually in the book, otherwise it might be confusing. Also, I'm planning on asking my map-maker to add details as they appear in later volumes. Maybe I'll go back and update the first book's map - that's one of the amazing things we can do as indie authors!

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Offline AliceS

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2017, 07:33:54 AM »
I love maps, too and I think they are a problem for ebooks. I saw one that was horizontal, but every time I turned my Kindle to look at it, it reoriented again. Grr. Some book I was reading had a link to the author's website to see the maps larger. I like that idea. My suggestion is something simple for the book with the bigger map on your website.

I commissioned a map for a series and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it. Wasted money. Essentially he just gave me a cleaner version of the mock up I gave him. So make sure you're clear with your designer. I'm going back to Incarnate.com to create my own.


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Offline Word Fan

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 07:45:30 AM »
I love maps, too and I think they are a problem for ebooks. I saw one that was horizontal, but every time I turned my Kindle to look at it, it reoriented again. Grr.

That's not the map's fault. That's yours. You have to know the procedure, with your particular kindle model, to bring up the map as a separate display image, and also the setting to allow a horizontal image to display full-screen. Each Kindle probably has a slightly different way to do this but even the lowly Kindle Keyboard can show wide images full-screen horizontally, or even zoom in and scroll around in them.

Online C. Gold

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2017, 07:50:33 AM »
Oh man, I hate the flippy thing on my Kindle when trying to view a map. Half the time they don't zoom in either so I'm left squinting at tiny fonts.

As a reader, I would prefer only the relevant maps. Having a path of the hero/heroine's journey is a plus. I also like having a zoomed out overview of the entire world with a second, zoomed in detailed map of the city/area the characters are in for that book. That way if kingdom names are mentioned, I can get a quick idea of where that is in the world. Oh and a web link for more detailed, larger maps is a great idea so I can really blow it up and view it the way it was intended instead of side tilting my head and squinting. :P

Offline Nicholas Andrews

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2017, 09:04:38 AM »
I love maps, too and I think they are a problem for ebooks. I saw one that was horizontal, but every time I turned my Kindle to look at it, it reoriented again. Grr. Some book I was reading had a link to the author's website to see the maps larger. I like that idea. My suggestion is something simple for the book with the bigger map on your website.

This is what I do. Also has the added bonus of having the reader engage with your website. The auto-flip on my Kindle drove me insane as well, so I had to turn it off.

My philosophy on how much to show is to show the relevant region to where the entire story is going to take place as your main map. A big part of fantasy is wonder, so leaving some sections off the map makes readers wonder what's beyond the borders. For my books, my main map is the eastern half of the continent in which the entire series takes place. I also divide each book into three parts, and each part has a more detailed regional map of a single kingdom that is most relevant to that particular section of the story.

Here's the page featuring the maps from my latest release as an example:

http://thenykkshow.blogspot.com/2017/06/a-sense-of-sacrifice-maps.html
   
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Offline Elsye_Harwood

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 09:28:42 AM »
 These maps look amazing.  I've managed to put two maps in two different books in the past  but it was a struggle to adapt real ones for what I needed  without it looking rubbish.
I  also  created a path to the show the route travelled by the characters  but it looked awful.
I  really like maps  as well and love studying  them  which I do at length when I find them in books, though that's quite rare unfortunately. I  think they add another layer  to the story, helping to make the locations and places   real in your head.
 These examples are great so I'm inspired to have another go.
I had thought of putting  a link in the books and placing the maps on the webpage, but they're a bit ropy to say the least.
But it's definitely an option that I'll explore after rethinking the maps I've already done.
I'm glad it's not only me to loves looking at maps.
Thank you for sharing  your examples.
Great stuff and very impressive.


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Offline AliceS

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2017, 09:50:32 AM »
That's not the map's fault. That's yours. You have to know the procedure, with your particular kindle model, to bring up the map as a separate display image, and also the setting to allow a horizontal image to display full-screen. Each Kindle probably has a slightly different way to do this but even the lowly Kindle Keyboard can show wide images full-screen horizontally, or even zoom in and scroll around in them.

Huh. Didn't know about that. I need to look into that.


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Offline komicer

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 08:05:59 AM »
We've done maps before.



We do need a rough mock-up from the author regarding what needs to be detailed and what will go into the map. Little things like 'pine tree forest here' will be important. Otherwise,

I commissioned a map for a series and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it. Wasted money. Essentially he just gave me a cleaner version of the mock up I gave him. So make sure you're clear with your designer.

That's how it will probably end up. Be really really clear on what you want, especially those small details.

Offline abgwriter

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 01:49:30 PM »
My fantasy series happens in two different continents. Books 1 and 2 happen in the southern continent, books 3, 5, and 6 happen in the northern continent and books 4 and 7 happen in the frontier between the 2 (a mountain range). What I did was divide my map in 2, cutting through the mountain range and I'm thinking to include the specific half relevant to each book. I guess in the last book I could always include the full map but as you say, that would probably lessen the amount of details. If your terrain is small with just a couple of kingdoms and areas you could get away with putting the full map (like the map in Eragon), but if your land is more detailed like LOTR or A Song of I&F then you should definitely consider several maps.
 

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Offline -alex-

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Re: Calling fantasy authors with maps in their books
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2017, 08:57:23 AM »
Thanks for all the replies everyone, much appreciated.  :D