share this

Monday, June 27, 2011

Books which sell well

A story doesn’t have to be grammatically correct, when the readers like it you’re on the right track. All you need to do is find a niche in the market and off you go.
I spend some time on writer’s forums lately. I have my moments in which I do a lot of posting and reading other peoples post and then I stop visiting the sites all together. I have been on a few like wattpad and writersbeat. There are a lot of young writers ranging from 13 to 16 on wattpad and most of them love fantasy, zombie or vampire stories. They receive the most views on their stories, while all the others are limping behind. This doesn’t mean the other genres are less well written. This particular forum is crowded with the result of books like Harry Potter, Twilight and so on. Don’t forget that J.K. Rowling’s first book arrived about 10 years ago on the market. Thus the teenagers writing stories now have been spoon fed the scars and spells throughout their life.
This doesn’t mean we all have to create fantasy or horror stories as youth is only a part of the population, there are many other age categories, and genres you can pick from. A lot of these young writers are copying their idols. A new genre is fan fiction. The name says it all.
Ok, you belong to the group of somewhat older writers and looking for a niche in the market, where do you start? I just Googled and came to the conclusion that the following are also highly appreciated.

·         Memoirs autobiographies
·         Romance
·         Adventure
·         Sci-Fi
·         Fantasy
·         Mystery/thriller
·         Medical
·         Action
So there you go it’s not so bad and there is plenty to choose from. I’m sure your book fits somewhere. You need to figure out in which category it fits, and that’s not always easy. 
Nowadays Mystery and Thrillers are seen as one genre, but my book isn’t exactly a thriller it is more a mystery a medical mystery with a hint of Sci-Fi.
Now dig up your diary and start typing, sling a few bad experiences in here and there and you might have a best seller under your belt before you know. I wish my PC didn’t crash, I might have gone for my own autobiography. However I do have the first draft on paper, hand written.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The jigsaw which becomes a novel

A couple of years I took part in a creative writing course. The woman conducting the course gave the participants a copy of her published book carrying the name; Jigsaw.

Editing is a bit like putting a jigsaw together. You have all the pieces, you might even have the puzzle nearly completed, however a few pieces look out of place; they don't seem to fit properly where you put them. OK there you go; you take those pieces out and put them aside. You fiddle around with some other pieces you hope will fit better. In the process you come to the conclusion the situation is actually far worse than you anticipated.
Panic stricken you throw yourself in front of a passing bus. You've put so much time and effort in writing and editing the story it is driving you crazy.

I found a solution for this problem many writers suffer from; I have a print out of the complete book, going over each page I divide them in different sections.
I color each passage with a separate color;
  • red for action/conflict.
  • purple for discussions
  • green for descriptions
  • brown for memories/flashbacks/dreams
  • blue for anything else

So with the colour pencils out I am able to see which piece of the puzzle is where in the current draft. When making a real jigsaw puzzle I begin with the border and the corners, this gives the jigsaw a strong foundation and all the other pieces fit inside the border. You know if you've read J.A Konrath's tips you  put action or conflict in your first chapter, later you can play with different color combinations to see what suits best to keep the story flowing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tips from J.A. Konrath

Tips for the first chapter

  1. Make sure the first chapter starts with action.
  2. Show, don't tell. This means you don't need a one paragraph description of a bedroom, a character's thoughts on everything, and for god's sake don't put any back story in the first chapter.
  3. Keep it short. It doesn't have to be James Patterson short, but a ten page first chapter is better than a thirty page first chapter when it comes to grabbing attention.
  4. Watch your POV... try to stick in one character's mind for the whole chapter.
  5. Cut everything that doesn't move the action forward. EVERYTHING. If it moves the story forward, or gives us a better feel for the characters, put it in a later chapter, but not the first. Leave the reader wanting more, not knowing everything.
  6. You probably don't need a prologue. Editors often cut them, and readers often skip them. Try to remove it and see if the story suffers. If you really believe you need one, don't make it longer than a few pages.
  7. And this is the most important---trust yourself. You've been writing since you were four. You know how to craft a sentence. Not everything needs to be rewritten---sometimes it comes out right the first time.
Conflict is the main ingredient for successful fiction. The question of "What happens next?" is what keeps your audience glued to the page. Not pretty description. Not clever phrasing. Not cute dialog. The motor that drives the story is conflict. The central plot of any story should be centered around a conflict. The sub plots should introduce more conflict. There should be conflict on every page, and even in every paragraph.

Readers don't want characters to be happy. They want them to be tortured for 90,000 words, and then happy at the very end. Maybe. That's the essence of a page-turner
Travel for more useful tips to Joe's site.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Free online store fronts are they worth your time

Free online store fronts like, offtheshelf, lulu, smashwords and others give authors a platform to self publish their books. Readers can then buy the books when they become a member. Herein lies the problem; in order to shelf a book you've created you must fill an online form and go through the motions of uploading your files and making a book cover. Once your finished it's up to you to promote your book. Off you go and post as many links as you can to all the social networks and your contacts.
Doing this without any result it began to dawn on me that potential customers might not want to sign up with any of these online stores but rather buy directly from the author. Maybe you say I'm not doing enough to promote my product, maybe so, but I don't want to waste my time with relentless marketing while I rather write on my new novel. The only online store front I am going to put time is create a space. They are involved with Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.
I am currently waiting on a revenue number which I need to create an account at create a space. Next I will receive an ISBN. This magic number (ISBN) is going to give me the opportunity to sell my book on any storefront.

Friday, June 10, 2011

On which devices can you read an e-pub file

We have all heard about PDF files and perhaps also about e-pub files. PDF is around for along time but e-pub is one of the newer formats and  reads on iPods, PDA's, e-book readers, iPhones etc. However you can also read an e-pub file on your personal computer or laptop. All you have to do is download Adobe Digital Edition or Stanza from lexycle.

There is much more to be said about electronic devices and how to translate electronic files, but as a writer I am not really intrested in going into detail about technology. It was never the intention to do so on this blog. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Publish and sell your book on a shoestring budget

I have discovered that promoting your book is actually more work than writing it. I didn't spend whole days sitting behind the computer or writing on my notepad. I did a few hours here and a few hours there. I can write basically anywhere I can turn into my own world. I wrote in cafes, coffee shops, hotels, during a Jungian course at home and even at work. I also write with music or the TV on.
I designed a poster and the cover for a DVD. I got this idea of putting the book on a PDF file and mail this to buyers. But then it dawned on me when I was in a € 2 shop to get more disks to put them in a DVD box and sell them on markets and fairs. I already made a design for the sleeve.

Now the next time I go to a market or fair I put up my poster and present the book as a electronic book in a DVD box. I made the copies in Nore Side Education in Kilkenny (thanks a million)