Author - Ann I. Goldfarb
I’m convinced the kids in my neighborhood think I’ve slipped into senility. Why?
Because I keep pestering them to tell me the words for everyday objects. I write young adult mystery-suspense novels; but apparently my vocabulary hasn’t budged from the Stone Age. So, I need to tap into every available resource in order to stay current.
It all started when one of my editors said, “Ann, no one uses the word pocketbook anymore. It’s outdated.” I immediately stepped outside, holding the very object in my hand as I walked over to a girl on her way to school.
“Excuse me,” I said, “but what do you call this?”
She looked at me as if I had just landed on this planet.
“It’s a bag. A handbag.”
“That’s what you call it? A bag? Nothing else?”
“Well, maybe. If it had a special brand, like Gucci or something. But yours is, well…uh,
just mostly material.”
Then I went back into the house. But it didn’t stop there. Apparently, all sorts of words that I use are outdated. Obsolete. Like blouse. I asked my neighbor’s 14 year daughter for that one.
“You mean a top?”
“That’s what this is, a top?”
“Or a shirt, I suppose.”
“What about a blouse? Would you call it a blouse?”
Author - Peter Rogers
Step 1: Imagine walking into a bookshop knowing that somewhere among several thousand other titles on those shelves is book you have self-published. Without asking, how do you find your book?
Step 2: Now imagine you are someone else, someone who has no idea who you are or that you have published a book. How are they to know that the book even exists let alone start to look for it?
This is the question every publisher will ask right at the beginning of the publishing process. It will sometimes be asked even before the author is offered a publishing contract, especially a new and unknown author. The answer to this question is also why some perfectly well written manuscripts are rejected.
It is also a question that launches a series of subsequent questions. If we publish this, how are we going to ensure it sells? Who is going to buy this? How many do we think we will sell and so on? In short, these are all questions based around the potential market for the finished book and they are asked and answered at the beginning of the process.
The greatest mistake made by the majority of self-publishers is that they view themselves as not being subject to the basic principles of the market? The simple fact is that if the intention is to self-publish and offer that book for sale, then whether you like it or not, you become subject to the principles of the market.
The next greatest mistake is putting book production before seeking answers to those marketing question outlined above. Another mistake is relying on the promises made by the company you have contracted to produce your book without confirming that those answers correspond to the promises made.
Professional vs. Amateur Writer
The first question you need to ask is: "Is my book professionally written?"
There is a basic craft to writing fiction and it is usually evident when an author doesn't have it. One of the most obvious tells is too many words. Here's an example I have used before to illustrate this point.
Suppose that this is the first paragraph in a science fiction novel:
"Commander Thad Black glanced at the blinking yellow warning light on the XRG Booster control and knew that unless he did something brilliant within the next ten minutes his Galaxy-Class light cruiser would soon end up as little more than a ragged pile of ceramic, high-strength steel and bloody flesh cruising forever through the deep dark between the stars."
The reader does not need to know that the problem is with the XGR booster or that this is a Galaxy-Class light cruiser. The reader does not need the laundry list of ceramic, steel and flesh. The reader does not need the purple prose about the deep dark between the stars. What information does the reader need? The point of this paragraph is that the character we are dealing with is named "Thad Black," that he's the pilot of a star ship, and that the ship is going to blow up soon unless he can figure out how to fix it.
It could have been written like this:
"Thad Black glanced again at the blinking alarm then looked away. He figured he had about ten minutes left before the runaway booster blew them all to smithereens."
Admittedly, this is not great prose but it pretty clearly illustrates how less is more. Good craft starts with shorter sentences, fewer attempts at overblown imagery, and fewer details. The reader does not need nor want to know what the Hero had for dinner, where he bought his shirt, what kind of material his tie is made of, how long it took him to get from his kitchen to his car, or the number of liters in his SUV's engine. Professionals have learned to use only enough words to tell the reader what they actually need to know now.
An opening paragraph like the example above will tell a reader that they are not dealing with a professional-level writer. That paragraph is the hallmark of an amateur.
In case you might think I don't like science fiction, I do. I particularly enjoy David Drake's Lt. Leary books and I think David Drake is a very talented writer. Read some of his work for a good guide on professional narrative and dialog.
This is not to say that all description is bad. I recently read John Katzenbach's The Madman's Tale and I thought that his prose was terrific. Here is a brief excerpt from what I think is a book with great dialog and excellent narrative style, The Madman's Tale.
"The ground floor corridor in the Amherst building was crowded with patients. There was a buzz in the hallway as people spoke to one another or to themselves. It was only when something out of the routine took place that people grew silent, or else made untethered noises that could have been speech. Any change was always dangerous, Francis thought. It frightened him to realize he was growing accustomed to existence at Western State. A sane person, he told himself, accommodates change and welcomes originality."
If you want to read examples of other professional-level crime fiction try anything by Michael Connelly, Martin Cruz Smith, or Lawrence Kellerman.
Dialog Matches Character
Another thing to look for is dialog that is inappropriate in tone to the background of the speaker. If the Hero is a teenage boy, he needs to talk like a teenage boy, not like a mob enforcer or a federal judge or a fifty-year-old wine merchant. Suppose the teenage hero is with a group of other boys and one suggests, "We could steal it." Depending on his social class, intellectual level, area of the country, etc. the hero might say: "Yeah, right" or "Are you fucking crazy?" or "Let's call that Plan B" or he might scowl and slap the other kid along side his head. If the hero's response is: "That's illegal" you know that the writer wasn't thinking about fitting the style of speech to the character's age, background, maturity or the like.
Adwords, Google's advertising subsidiary is undoubtedly the best internet advertising agency in terms of customer reach and associate publishers. But at the same time it’s also the most expensive out there. I advertised my eBook through Adwords and personally results have been below average.
Still I’ll be neutral and put forward few key points which will help you in deciding whether to advertise with Adwords or not.
So we have about 500 million+ people on Facebook! And so it becomes obvious that you will get all kinds of people and most importantly dedicated readers of your book’s genre. But the question is how one really finds his /her potential readers? I spent close to 5 months post my book’s release on analyzing Facebook as a potential ground for promotion of eBook/book and I am quite satisfied.
So here are a few things that will definitely help one in promoting his/her book on Facebook.
“I am my own master”… a line that everyone loves and is the CORE essence of self-publishing. When you decide to self-publish or become an indie author, you decide to have your precious book just the way you want it to be. No interference by the pesky publishing house, no burden of pleasing the publishers, everything under your control and above all you don’t depend on anyone to get your work to the potential readers!
Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? But there is just one problem which is synonymous to “STRUGGLE”. The market is crowded with cut throat competition, the editing of book is complicated, promotion is a headache, pricing and royalty issues are too complicated and access to print market is dismal. To make it worse you will have far less than adequate knowledge about all these issues and you end up struggling in this new and vast world of self-publishing. At this point, picture starts looking gloomy!