Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reviews and Marketing

Two important necessities that drive most indie authors crazy: Reviews and Marketing.

Writing a Review – It is by far the simplest and fastest way a reader can provide immediate feedback to an author about their book. Buy. Read. Write a review. 

Please tell me why you didn't like my book! 

Sadly, most people loathe writing a review. The most common response when asked why someone didn’t write a review - “I never know what to write?” That’s okay. I am here to help you with that problem. Trust me; it’s easy and it’s quick.

If you didn’t like the book; say you didn’t like it. Reviews are important to an author; good and bad. Besides, we love hearing from our fans as well as our haters.

Example: I disliked the book. 1 star. Brief explanation why. Too short. Too long. Bad Story. Predictable. Poorly written. Bad editing. Etc. Etc.  Presto you’re done!

You do not have to write 500 words. Keep it simple and to the point. Same goes for a book you liked, although if you really liked the book and feel compelled to elaborate, by all means, please do so. Using words such as: Great, Awesome, Fantastic, and Spectacular are totally acceptable.

There you have it. Simple. Easy. And Fast. One other thing. Writing nasty things just because you like writing nasty things is just bad form. You’re better than that.

Writing a review is the second best way you can express your appreciation to the author. Obviously, buying their book is first.  

Marketing – YUK!  No problem. Humility is a good thing, but you wrote a book and you want people to read it. “How do I attract the attention of potential readers?”

 Marketing 101 - Don't be this guy!

Once again, keep it simple. Tell your relatives, friends, and your enemies. Twitter, Facebook, and local book signings are good places to spread the word. Also, donate a few copies to a high school or your local library. Librarians are your greatest asset. Buy them breakfast. Bring them donuts. Beg them to promote your book. Begging is okay, just don’t drool on them. 

Use beguiling phrases when describing your book: “Great read and lots of action!” “Hauntingly Awesome!” “Captivatingly Unique!” “A Memorable Experience.” “Easy to read because it was written by an idiot who thought he was a writer.” “The epic journey about a woman who had 700 children and 3 cats.”

Okay maybe marketing is not my strongest attribute, but I do routinely poll customers at the local book store and library to find out what attracts them to a particular book. The majority of responses are: they look for genre first, though informative blurbs on the back and favorite authors are also equally important when they are looking for a book to read.

Good luck and write like you mean it! 

Breathing is the most important thing you will ever do, everything else is just icing on the cake of life. 


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Book Covers & Comics

(For amusement only, please do not take any of this seriously.)

Book Covers, they should be the least of a writer’s worry, simply because, as we all know, you should never judge a book by its cover; right?

When stacked in a book shelve, you never see the cover.

Apparently, that is no longer the case. Wildly exciting book covers are now a big money thing. The innards of a book, sadly, are less of a thing.

Recently, I visited a nearby book store and spent some time gawking at the many fascinating and riveting book covers. The colors were vibrant; the illustrations extraordinary, the lettering bold, and all very eye-catching. Success! I suppose, if you’re into buying and reading a book because it has a fancy cover, then so be it. However, after reading the contents of a few books, I was no longer impressed. I am keenly aware that the topic of covers and content is extremely subjective. To each his own is the understandably appropriate phrase when discussing such things.

Example: The ever changing covers of ‘The Hobbit’. Yes, there have been many; quite a lot actually for such a simple book. Excessive is the word that comes to mind.        

Yup, you guessed it; I loathe fancy, over-the-top book covers. One look to the left proves it. Endeavoring to acquire extravagant covers to adorn my books was not my main focus. The depictions I chose are simple symbolic meanings about the stories; eye-catching they are not. I for one have never purchased a book because of its cover. Sounds a bit snobbish, eh? Whatever, it is what it is. (Ugh, I hate that saying equally as much as I hate when people say, “Spot on”.)

Contracting a prominent illustrator is harmful to your wallet. They are known to scurry about in the dark, seeking out vulnerable, inexperienced indie authors and then lure them into their lair with pretty pictures. Once inside, the defenseless authors are bedazzled by the skillful artistry of the illustrator. Before they know it, their wallets have been picked clean. Bah, big deal. You had a good time, eh? Money well spent, right? Fame and fortune is right around the corner, truly. 

You have to look like you belong at the dance, even though you came alone. (Indie Authors Mantra)   

With that being said, what the hell, if you have the cash, go ahead and decorate your book with an attractive cover; illustrators gotta eat and pay their bills just like everyone else.

Comic Books – YIKES!  It has been an incredibly long time since I sauntered over to the comic book section of the book store. I almost fainted the instant I saw the price of a comic book. I used to pay $0.10 for a comic book. Now they cost $2.99 and $3.99; some are even more than that. SERIOUSLY!!!

Okay, I’ll give credit where credit is due. The illustrations in current comic books are amazing. The dialogue, um, a, well, never mind. I won't go there. To each his own, right?

Example: Some indie authors are giving their Ebooks away for free, and others, $0.99. The common price is $2.99. Now keep in mind that some of these Ebooks are upwards of 100,000 words. For those of you who do not know what it takes to punch out an edited 100k+ book, well, it ain’t easy. The length of time can vary from 6 months to a year, or even longer.

I am by no means an expert on the subject of pricing books, but after finding out that the cost of a comic book is roughly the same price as well-written Ebook novel, I have only one word to express my feelings on the matter – COMICAL! (Pun intended) Yes, I live in a hole in the ground and rarely go outside.  

A comic book for $3.99? Really? No way! Is money falling from the sky and no one told me?

“Seriously?! $3.99 for one comic book! Oh Vey! Hmm, a comic book can be read in less than 10 minutes. Eh, instant gratification for less than $24.00 dollars an hour. What a deal, and considerably cheaper than a lot of other forms of entertainment. 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Yearly Occurrence

As we grow older, we eventually become wiser, right? Well, that’s what we all hope will happen anyway. Regrettably, for some folks, ignorance simply compounds as they age, and I understand completely why that happens too. It’s called the ‘slider effect’.

So does that mean I don't have to feel bad about the stuff I write? 

The ‘slider effect’ occurs when you allow your mind to slip deeper and deeper into the void of fantasy abstract nothingness. Face planted in a iphone or the TV is where it commonly occurs, but for a writer, the place is the endless sea of blank pages that beg to be filled.

Yup, the void got me again. It happened when I became thoroughly engrossed in the book I am currently writing. Fortunately, I've been here before; the people are interesting, but the food is nasty.

I should have known after three books what writing does to me, but the tormenting pleasure of conversing with abstract characters is so gratifying. I can make them say whatever I want, do whatever I want, and go wherever I want. Their fate is in my hands!

If any of them get out of line or complain – they die a horrible death!

I am at the bottom of the void now and the only way out is to finish the book. It is truly a love hate relationship.

I love writing fantasy stories, I love concocting outrageous characters, and I love pulling a reader deeper into my world and into my head. Beware, it’s kind of scary in there.

The hate; it’s wondering if anyone will ever read it. More importantly though, I worry if the story will be exclusively entertaining, fascinating, or appealing. I already know it will be bizarre.

Imagination is a wonderful thing, and uniquely distinctive if motivated properly with the right amount of unfathomable concepts of craziness. I constantly think crazy thoughts so I’m good on that front.

Being another year older today, my aging ignorance tricked me into thinking I was young again - then I raised up after tying my shoe and remembered I be an old man. 

I love to hate what I write, and I am addicted to thinking about silly stuff. Therefore, onward I go, armed with nothing more than my peculiar imagination to guide me. I should have brought a lantern or perhaps left bread crumbs to find my way out. No matter, I’ll just create another character who knows where the exit is. A dog with twelve eyes; the size of a horse, speaks and understands what I say; knows how to use a sword and a very good editor. Perfect!

Mother, I know not what I do, but the whip on my back feels so good!

“Happy Birthday, jimmy!”

“Back-atcha, Mr. Kafka!