Posts Tagged ‘indie writers’

2021 – A Year for Innovation

January 31, 2021


For me, and many other indie authors, the global pandemic meant no in-person book launches. No speaking honorariums. No presentations at book industry events. Last year had a very sparse feeling to it. So, to try and keep things moving, I explored virtual readings, interviews and presentations. It wasn’t the same, but it helped.

Many indie authors were knocked off balance, and 2020 might best be remembered as the year they began innovating. They need to carry a similar “can do” spirit into the new year. Because, until vaccinations take control of the global pandemic, it’s going to be important to jettison old habits and embrace ideas that may be new to most of us.

Also a Year of Discovery
Hopefully, with a little continued innovation, and a willingness to keep moving forward, we will discover new possibilities. One of the things I discovered in my conversations with other indies was how strongly some still feel it’s a detriment to be listed in online product details as “independently published.”

Some mask the fact that they’re self-publishing by creating their own publishing imprint because, like it or not, they feel there’s a bias against self-published books.

I disagree.

I think a well-written book stands on its own, however it’s published. Successful novelists don’t let labels, or the lack of them, limit their efforts. I don’t go as far as creating my own bogus publishing imprint, because it’s not worth the cost, time and effort. But I do make certain to register each book with the Library of Congress.

The hard part, after all, is in the marketing, since there’s no publishing house to use their 85% of the proceeds to foot the bills for advertising.

Explore Promotional Tactics
Recognize a good idea when you see it. Rather than looking at something and saying, “Oh, that’s a clever idea, but it’s coming from a nonfiction author, so it won’t help me.” Instead, train yourself to say, “That is clever. How can I use it to market my novel?” Reshape it to apply to your situation and you might be surprised by how many effective tactics are suddenly available to you.

Take it a step further and study how major consumer product brands handle marketing. Can you learn anything from them, too? For example, more and more consumer brands are showing social responsibility by aligning with causes. Can you build goodwill with your ideal readers by doing the same?

Get to Know Your Readers as People
When you invest time in meaningful discovery, you can also learn what’s happening in the lives of potential readers. This gives you insights and situations you can use to improve your stories so they resonate with your target audience. The more you know about your readers, the better able you are to write books they will love and…more importantly…talk about.

Shake Things Up in 2021
If you’re an indie author, remember, I’ve mentioned before your book must have a professional cover design that meets the genre style, professional editing and proofreading, and beta reader input for feedback on the story, characters and dialogue.

Vow to make the coming year one that sees you reaching new success milestones. Instead of talking about what you can’t do to market your novel, make a list of what you can do. Be open-minded. There are more options available than you might think.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Tips for Generating Great Book Ideas

September 25, 2020

2020 has been a weird year, that’s for sure. Like me, you may have been having trouble concentrating on your writing.

Just remember…when it comes time to start, don’t overthink things. Keep it simple. Whether you’re staring down writer’s block, or find yourself overwhelmed by too many good ideas, here are some thoughts to get you started.

Create a Character Based on Someone You Know
Many authors have mined the traits of a best friend, family member, or co-worker as part of a great book idea. I certainly have.

So, when you’re around people, jot down a few observations about their behavior…either mentally, or in a notebook…and see if those observations prompt any story ideas. A key supporting character, or even the main character, could be a composite of people you know.

Adapt Mythology Into Your Own Great Story
If you aren’t the kind of person who can generate a book topic by mining the depths of your own life, you can always go in the opposite direction and adapt folklore or mythology.

J.R.R. Tolkien used story elements from Norse mythology to craft The Lord of the Rings. Shakespeare’s creative writing process often led him to cast real-life kings and queens in his plays, adding his own embellishments to create better stories.

Find a myth or folktale you want to adapt in your own style.

Embrace the Supernatural
Sounds weird, right? But, trust me, readers love well-crafted ghosts and apparitions. In the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft or Stephen King, create a cast of characters…and make at least one of them a ghost.

Get Inspiration From Comedy
Some new fiction writers make the mistaken assumption the only books worth writing are those that are gravely serious. Fortunately for the reading public, that isn’t true at all.

Authors from Shakespeare to Mark Twain have had great success writing books and plays where comedy came first. Try twisting one of your writing ideas into something more absurd.

Send Your Character on a Journey
From road trips to epic quests, audiences love a character on the move. If you have a great character or premise in mind, think of ways that you can send that character on a journey…or how the premise can be extended over the course of multiple story locations.

Try Freewriting
Freewriting is a technique where you write without a prescribed structure. That means no outlines, cards, or notes (I like to work this way). In freewriting, you follow the impulses of your mind, allowing thoughts and inspiration to appear without premeditation.

Allow your stream of consciousness to inspire the words on the page. Let the characters tell you what they want to do. With practice, you can use freewriting to unleash your creativity.

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Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

When Things are Dramatically Complete

March 20, 2020

Photo: Kromlau Bridge (also known as Devil’s Bridge) in Gablenz, Germany

I don’t think anyone would argue writing fiction, whether it’s a novel or a short-story, is a craft. One that requires an adept handling of many elements. But what does adept handling mean?

Every author is different, of course.

Lately, like a lot of folks during this coronavirus scare, I’m stuck in the house…and I’m writing. I think it’s worth mentioning again that I don’t write to an outline. In other words, I don’t plan ahead before drafting my stories.

The reason?

It’s simple. I don’t want to know beforehand what’s going to happen. If I know the direction it’s going to take, it probably won’t be a good book, because I write to find out what the characters have to tell me.

If I already know, it will bore me…and I’ll likely bore the reader, too.

I shoot for an organic development that leads the characters, and the reader, to a place where each character, for better or worse, is somewhere new. Sometimes, like in the picture above, that might seem like it’s right back at the beginning.

But, if I’ve done it right, they are there in such a way they have grown measurably, and perhaps actually know that place for the first time. Dramatically, they are complete.

It’s Never One Size Fits All
But keep in mind that in fiction, just like in life, one size never fits all. Even the blank spaces, the things that are left unsaid, should be unspoken for a reason.

I’ve been writing for years, but I’m still amazed how stories evolve as you work on them. For instance, some of my writing comes out in long bursts of prose, while some seems to go on the page at a plodding pace. It can be frustrating.

However, regardless of the pace, I always consider two key questions: What is absolutely necessary to telling the story and, perhaps more important, how can the author know this?

A good story is an emotional labyrinth, after all, a maze you find your way through as the characters tell you about it. Well-done stories can transport readers and ignite imaginations…but crafting them is easier said than done.

The imagined world you create in your writing can be liberating. It can also be a daunting challenge. After all, if you plan to welcome readers into that world of your creation, it has to be somewhere they, as an audience, will want to live…at least for a short time.

Focus on the Details
World-building does not mean you have to throw everything about day-to-day reality out the window. Always remember…no matter where they are, people are people.

Build your stories around a core of realistic characters and relatable behavior, and it will make your imagined world that much more captivating. The more you can strategically and artistically throw in such content, the more engrossing your world will feel to readers.

Few things turn a reader off faster than a world that doesn’t make sense or, worse, refuses to play by its own rules. After all, readers give an author the benefit of the doubt when they suspend disbelief and allow themselves to live in your world.

Making the imagined worlds internally consistent is the responsibility authors owe them in return. As the writer, give yourself space to explore and discover your new world in the same way your readers will when it’s their turn to experience it.

Believe me, it will be an immense benefit to your efforts.

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The book-signing scheduled at the Leon & Lulu Books and Authors Event in Clawson on March 22, 2020 has been postponed. Please check their website for updates.

**********

Gentle Readers, my books have all garnered some terrific reviews. You can see all of them by using the Amazon link below. Check them out. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

**********

You’re invited to visit my author’s website, BROKEN GLASS to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” on The Authors Show, or see my three local television interviews. You can also like my Book of Face page, find me on Goodreads, or follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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