Keywords are supposed to help readers find my books. In that, they are an extremely important part of the publishing prep. I need to get them right.
Aside from the blurb, this might be the hardest part of getting the book ready. Once it's written, there are a number of steps before it can be released to the public. Several of them have nothing to do with crafting the story. Those are very hard for me.
I started with the larger themes:
- Aliens in hiding, but they are hiding in plain sight. So not an invasion or first contact or exploration. That might be a little confusing.
- They are hiding from a civilization that enslaves them.
- They also have psi-skills like telepathy
- And are healers extraordinaire
On the other side I have:
- Undercover intelligence agents that are great buddies
- Multiple alien species coexisting
- Interstellar travel
- Long established galactic governance
- A simmering subplot of economic instability
And then there's:
- A character who uncovers her own hidden identity
- An unfolding of the devolved culture of the enslaved people
- Innate skills that look like magic
Somehow I have to distill this all down into a handful of keywords and blurbs of varying size. Some as small as 50 words! I have to take a step back and try to see the largest arcs of the book, dropping out all the subplots. Sometimes that makes it sound cliched. Another thing I need to avoid.
And when I'm done with this, I'll be getting back to Wisp, Nick, Tillie and Angus.