Plodding Along

Sometimes its all you can do, plod along. Rapid progress is always nice but rarely achievable. Doing big things in one fell swoop is generally impossible and is very daunting. Like writing a story. Whether its a novel or a short story there’s little prospect of doing everything required at one sitting.

So, best not to try.

Many times I’ve heard the refrain ‘I’ll write my book when I’m [insert here a set of conditions that might never happen].’ Nobody has the time to write. There’s always something that needs doing. That’s why a writing habit is so important. Writing every day, even if it’s only a few words, is the best gift you can give yourself.

The arithmetic involved is compelling. I can write about a thousand words in an hour. So, if I wrote for twenty minutes a day I would have 121,000 words a year. A fat fantasy novel or two skinny crime thrillers! Twenty minutes a day!

I’m sorry to bang on about this but if you can’t grant yourself twenty minutes to do what makes you feel good then you’re not having a good day.

So I’m telling you to write every day.

I’m also suggesting that if you don’t manage to write then don’t feel bad about it. Be kind to yourself. But remember that writing is actually being kinder to yourself than forgiving yourself for not writing.

Then there’s another thing. Write for yourself. Don’t worry about readers in general or a reader in particular. In my experience, if you don’t have fun writing it then nobody is ever going to have fun reading it. Equally, if your guts aren’t churning with emotion as you put down the words chances are that it will leave most readers cold.

The publishing bit has been dealt with in numerous previous posts (as has this advice). Don’t worry about markets or genres or what you think might grab the eye of a literary agent. By the time you’ve competed your story, the market will have changed anyway.

Do seek help in improving your writing. Join a writers group, find someone to mentor you, don’t take any notice of the effusive praise lavished on your work by your friends and family.

Plod.

That’s my heartfelt advice.

It works for me.

 

Image courtesy of Freeimages.co.uk

Book sales and reviews

There’s a lot said about self-publishing. Much of it is derisory, as if self-published books are inherently inferior to those conventionally published. I suppose it’s because the vast majority of them are.

I’ve already referred to the plethora of titles that have been released by the relative ease of self-publishing and the way in which the sheer numbers make it difficult to be seen and purchased. Most of the self-published work is really awful, that’s true. This makes the half-decent or even quite good stuff hard to distinguish.

One of the ways to boost visibility and sales is through reviews. However, it drives me mad that unscrupulous authors are using fake reviews to boost sales. ┬áIf you’re willing to pay, there are people out there who will provide them.

I see reviewers on Goodreads giving five stars and a long positive review to a dozen books a day. You can buy fifty 5* reviews for about $1200 at http://www.buyamazonreviews.com.

If you want to make sure they’re good, you can write them yourself then send them to http://buyreviewsnow.com/ who will post fifty of them for $250.

I’m not recommending you do this, only pointing out what we’re up against. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your book is inferior just because you have fewer reviews.

To the honest author, reviews are gained with difficulty one at a time.

My experience is that a good book will get its fair share of reviews eventually, there’s no need to panic. People are busy, even if they absolutely love your book it’s not often they will take the time to put up a review.

There’s nothing wrong with encouraging readers to review your book. Many authors provide free copies in the hope of more reviews. It’s never worked for me, though. Begging is my preferred option.

There’s another side to reviews, though. Some people may take exception to what you’ve written and leave a really bad review. It’s hard to take at first. When I received my first negative review, I forgot all the good ones and believed my book was as bad as this person was saying. I considered giving up writing altogether. It’s human nature to be hard on ourselves.

I’ve been fortunate, I suppose, I’ve only had a couple of real stinkers. My advice is to welcome any review, good or bad, but never enter into a dialogue with the reviewer. I’ve seen experienced household name writers answer critical Amazon reviews and I don’t believe they achieved anything other than to give added exposure to the review. When I see a negative review I can make up my own mind about the person who wrote it and whether they have been reasonable and fair.

So come along to this, share your experiences and get that essential publishing strategy sorted out.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/self-publishing-workshop-tickets-14168627747

It’s being held on 18 January 2015 in Chorley, Lancashire. It’s a one day workshop to give you a head start on the publishing road. Even if you’ve self published loads of books, I’m sure that it will be a day well spent with professionals in every aspect of writing and publishing.

photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

What Writers Need

I’ve been thinking. Dangerous, you might well say but bear with me.

As I wrote in my previous post, my writing has gone through various phases. I’ve learnt a lot and am still learning. There’s things I wish I’d known at the start, but isn’t that the same with anything in life?

So, what is it I most needed early in the process?

Encouragement, sure. But I believe I got plenty of that from friends and family.

Time. There’s never enough time. I made enough time to write a novel a year by cutting down on the amount of crap telly I watched. Now, I tend to wake up and start writing straight away. Time is just a matter of priorities.

Feedback. Once I began to employ professional editors my writing began to improve massively. I love the editing process, I like being told what to write, what works and what doesn’t. Having an editor gives my writing greater freedom.

A plan. That’s what I needed. I still need one and it needs constantly updating. The plan I’m talking about is my path to publication, and beyond. Had I known as much about the publishing industry when I began producing novels as I do now, things might have been different.

For a start, I would have been much more encouraged. I may have been sufficiently motivated to devote even more time to writing.

What I needed was someone that knew what they were doing to take me through the steps and the decisions that have to be made in order to get a book out there and into the public domain.

Someone friendly and knowledgeable. Someone like me.

So there’s this:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/self-publishing-workshop-tickets-14168627747

It’s being held on 18 January 2015 in Chorley, Lancashire. It’s a one day workshop to give you a head start on the publishing road. Even if you’ve self published loads of books, I’m sure that it will be a day well spent with professionals in every aspect of writing and publishing.

photo credit: Eigappleton via photopin cc