Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

How Are You At The Fine Art Of Table Sitting?

June 17, 2019

What Waiting for Customers Can Feel Like (Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

Most indie authors have attended a literary festival, or an organized book-signing. It’s an integral part of the way the book-selling game is played. I’ve gone to a lot of them, and I often think I’ve seen it all.

For instance, I’ve seen writers trying to attract readers with giant bowls of candy (OK…I’m guilty too).

I’ve even seen authors dress in character costumes and props. At one event I attended there was a man dressed as a pirate, right down to the tri-cornered hat, sword, telescope and eye patch. I didn’t find out how many books he sold, but he certainly attracted attention.

However, most authors are not nearly so outgoing. Most of them are introverts, not necessarily all that comfortable connecting with people and selling themselves.

I’m the first to admit it can be tough. You have to be engaging, but not pushy. There’s a fine art to it. An eye-catching display can help, if it’s not too gimmicky (I like to use a plain white table runner, with my name and the prize medallion from one of my books on it).

I also always have bookmarks that display all my current books and where to find them outside of the event. They give the links to my web site, my Facebook page, other social media and this blog.

Conversation is Key
But even more important than accessories and links, is conversation. If you’re able to force yourself to be a little more of an extrovert, you’ll often find yourself in fascinating exchanges, first with the other authors around you, then with readers.

There’s a special reason I think it might help to chat with other authors at the surrounding tables before the event gets underway. Networking with those other authors may actually help you to sell your own books!

You may not have the specific genre someone is looking for, but if you could suggest an author who might, you’d be surprised how often that is reciprocated.

Be honest about your own book’s content, and if another author has something you know is closer to what a customer is asking for, direct them to it.

Also, be prepared to tell others if you’ve read an author’s book. A sale can often be helped along by someone saying, “I’ve read that. It’s really good!” It also opens the door for other introverted wordsmiths to recommend you.

A positive, outgoing attitude is necessary to sell books. You don’t want to seem like part of the furniture, because conversation is what converts to cash.

Have your own elevator speeches ready, be friendly, and you may discover a passion that exceeds your anxiety about standing beside a table in the public eye for hours.

You may be a fabulous writer, but who’s going to know it, if you never sell a book? It can make your day seem like a solo afternoon looking down a cliff.

So, make eye contact, be energetic, smile and look happy. You may even sell a few books.

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I’ll be moderating the Rochester Writer’s Group Meeting at Barnes & Noble in Rochester Hills, Michigan on June 18. Then I’ll be joining other authors signing books at Detroit Festival of Books at Eastern Market in Detroit on July 21 and at SterlingFest in Sterling Heights, Michigan on July 27.

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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 two 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. So, please, let me know what you think.

Feeling Productive?

January 5, 2019

If you’re a writer anything like me, you probably have lots of story ideas floating around in the wrinkled old gray matter under your cap. I know I sure do. There’s a lot waiting to bloom.

As I mentioned last month, 2018 was a productive time for me. I’ve completed several chapters of three entirely different books. A couple of them are sequels to my current novels, and I’m pretty comfortable with where they’re going. I expect them to be done by summer.

But the entirely new one has me in something of a quandary.

I’ve always heard it said you have to hook your reader within the first three hundred words, or you’ll never get them to turn the page, let alone finish reading. I’ve repeated that mantra often.

Part of me believes that conventional wisdom to be true … not because “conventional wisdom” says so, but because I often decide on a book purchase myself after scanning the first couple of pages.

So, I must be ahead of the game. I’ve actually got several thousand words down on the new book. It’s just … none of them seem quite right as the start of the story. I’ve changed the beginning several times already.

So, I need some feedback, and I decided, as I’ve done before, to put the (current) beginning of it here:

* * * * *

Harkau
Electricity came to the village of Harkäu in the year 1937. That doesn’t sound like much to the children of today, because they don’t realize what a blessing it was not to live by candlelight.

Once people got over the big, wooden poles stringing unsightly wire alongside all the roads, many of the old farmers, at least those few who could scrape together enough money, put an electric light bulb in a room or two, usually hanging it bare from the center of the ceiling.

Those lights, all by themselves, were a fabulous invention that changed our lives, but some in the village who could afford them also had an outlet installed and bought a radio to plug into it, and those radios brought the rest of the world into our homes.

My brother-in-law, the baker, ordered one for himself and another for his brother. In no time at all, the neighbors would gather in the evenings at one of those radios. It made us all feel so very worldly to listen to those broadcasts.

A lot of the local broadcasts were performances by some of Germany’s top orchestras and opera singers, which were marvelous, but the messages were also heavily laced with National Socialist German Workers’ Party ideals.

I wasn’t sure I agreed with all the rhetoric contained in the broadcasts we were allowed to hear, but I have to admit Hitler’s fiery speeches were raising German spirits, which had been down since the end of the World War.

Germany’s economic environment, still plagued with enormous war-related reparations, supported the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party Chancellor.

He took advantage of the brewing economic discontent to find himself at the forefront of a political ideology. National pride, patriotism, Aryan pride, and things like that.

“I don’t think some of that is true,” I said one night after listening to one of his more vitriolic speeches.

“Auch der lieber!” my brother-in-law’s neighbor sneered when he heard me, “Oh, my God! What would a woman know about things like that?” If I had expected to receive any support, the idea quickly vanished as I surveyed the open stares of others in the room.

© Ron Herron

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What Do You Think?
Is this something likely to grab your interest and make you want to know what happens next?

Leave a comment.

Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Decades ago, long before the digital age, I once sold encyclopedias door-to-door. What can you possibly say to me I haven’t already heard?

* * * * *

My novel “Blood Lake”, a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner and a ForeWord Indie Finalist, was also named a 2018 Book-of-the-Year Finalist by TopShelf Magazine. At the end of December I learned they named it Number One in the horror category!

* * * * *

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. 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.

What is Historical Fiction?

December 18, 2018

As the holidays close in and another year comes to a close, I’ve had a chance to think about the books I’ve written, and those on which I’m currently working, one of which is definitely historical fiction.

The working title is the name of the town in Hungary where the protagonist lived – Harkau.

Not all of the events in the story are completely imaginary, as the main character is based on someone who actually existed (my late father-in-law’s great aunt).

It was her journal, after all, a spotty, inconsistent but interesting document, which my father-in-law had translated from its original German, that became the basis for my story.

The world of this story is based, as closely as possible, on the reality of the particular time and place in which she lived, even though most characters mentioned are totally imaginary.

In other words, it’s just a story.

However, in order to write it, I have to invent a tale about things that happened during real events and, no matter what options I choose, nothing in my story can go against the known facts.

That Means Research
While true historical fiction can be interesting to write, you shouldn’t attempt it if you hate research. You’re not writing about contemporary Americans in old-fashioned costumes, after all.

You have to remember the time period and place will shape your characters with different attitudes, beliefs and knowledge than might be familiar.

I normally research heavily, since there are historical references in many of my books. It takes an effort.

At the same time, remember your characters are more than just the historical moment in which they live. Everyone has a personal story, quirks, good and bad qualities, worries and secret desires.

Remember too … you’re writing a novel, not an encyclopedia article. After you’ve done all that research, it can be tempting to try to use it all, but resist that temptation! Use only the details that naturally belong in your story.

And always remember: show, don’t tell.

It’s the same caution I mention for other fiction writing. At the end of your novel, your reader shouldn’t feel as if he’s read a history book — he should feel like he’s visited the place you’re talking about.

Avoid Mistakes
I can’t say it enough. To write good historical fiction, you need to research, research, and research some more. If your readers notice a discrepancy, they’ll step out of the story which, as an author, is the last thing you want to happen.

You need to get to know your characters’ corner of the world well enough that you can move around it in your imagination, picture your character walking down a street or sitting at a table, and know exactly what they would see, hear, feel, and smell.

You need to research until the historical part of your novel becomes almost second nature, so that you can focus on the story.

If possible, take a trip! Travel to the setting of your novel, in order to absorb the atmosphere and take advantage of any local archives, museums, or residents … who may be a gold mine of information.

What to Look For
Like all good fiction, there are special things to look for in your research. What was the social structure like? Who was rich and who was poor? How did the social classes interact?

What were the attitudes of the time toward religion, family, marriage, the role of children, gender, race, etc.? What was education like?

What kind of homes did people live in? How were these homes organized? What would all of the rooms have contained? Were there servants? What was the structure and rhythm of domestic life?

What was the physical world like outside your characters’ homes? Farmland? City? Forest? What animals and plants would there have been? What kind of crime or other dangers existed? What were the modes of transportation?

What was the political situation of the time? Was the map different? What were the boundaries of the countries? What were the current events of the time? The latest scientific discoveries? Who were the important people? What did men talk about? Women?

Where would people in your characters’ positions have worked? Where would their money have come from? What kind of food did they eat?

How did people talk? What kind of vocabulary would they have used? Give little hints of the local vocabulary so your reader gets the flavor (without annoying him with hard-to-read prose) … and be sure any slang is appropriate for the time period.

Choose Wisely
Once you’ve done all that research, it will be tempting to show off everything you know. But remember, your reader is there for the story. Use only the details that belong in the story.

But be accurate. Even though what you’re writing is mostly made up, historical mistakes can be disastrous, because they interrupt the reader’s imagination. The last thing you ever want them to do is leave the story. You want them wanting to know what happens next.

That’s why it’s essential to get the facts right. Then your readers can sit back and enjoy their imaginary journey to another place and time.

Do it right, and watch the good reviews roll in!

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My novel “Blood Lake”, a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner and a ForeWord Indie Finalist, was also named a 2018 Book-of-the-Year Finalist by TopShelf Magazine. Winners will be chosen before the end of the month. Stay tuned!

* * * * *

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. 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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