Defining your genre poses a challenging and painful task for many writers, and I am no exception. The choice of genre not only helps potential readers find the types of books they are most interested in reading, but it also now plays a critical role in the sales and marketing process on Amazon. Over the last month, in anticipation of launching my debut novel, Providents Awakening, I’ve researched this question to death, and I learned some interesting things, and had a personal epiphany. Here’s what I learned…
Books and Writing
As writers working to perfect our craft, sometimes I think half the books ever written are about how to write better. With such an ocean of ink slinger advice to swim through, how do we know where to start, where to focus, where we’ll find the most cleavage…ah…I mean leverage? Clearly the answer to this question is debatable, but for this writer, one simple rule applied with pit-bull tenacity has done more to heal my prose of a plethora, a deluge, a superfluity of literary abominations than any other, and probably all others combined. If you can remember only one point of writer’s craft (one is often my limit), then this is the one.
On April 16, 2010, I wrote a guest blog post on a website devoted to iBooks entitled: Does Your Website Play Nicely with iPad? I am reprinting it here, just below, so that we see where I got it right or wrong, and so I can provide some updated figures as well as the current landscape of iPads, iBooks, and how it all affects the business of reading, writing, and publishing. What follows is the original post, with a few formatting tweaks, along with inserts (see orange arrows, boxes, and text) of updated information and commentary. Enjoy.
The purpose of this article is to help novelists get a handle on the question of book length, and the impact that manuscript size can have on getting published and selling books. So the question is, does size matter? When I first took up the “pen” and started writing my first novel (about 14 years ago; never finished that one), one of my first questions was “How long does a novel need to be?” I was curious to the answer primarily because I wanted to have a sense for how much work lay ahead. Now I do understand, and I understood even back then green as a cucumber, that novels come in many lengths from Animal Farm at 29,966 words to War and Peace at 544,406 words. But outliers aside, if you’re a modern novelist aspiring (and perspiring) to become a successful published author, then it makes only good sense to write your first novel(s) to fit a length that today’s readers / agents / publishers find reasonable.
For an author / writer / blogger, the hardest word to write is always the first word. Few things are more frightening than writing that first word, possible exceptions being a first date with someone you really like, public speaking, giving birth, and if you’ve just been turned into a vampire, the first time you bite someone and drink their warm, gushing blood (at least one would presume). Let’s take a look at how we can get past the fear of starting.
In this episode, I chat with novelist, Duncan Whitehead, author of The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club. We discuss having the courage to publish, the insane concept of getting investors for your book just like you would a new business, marketing your book on social media, radio, print, and blog tours. And he talks about the importance of building and leveraging your own platform. WARNING: Beware the NC-17 outtakes near the beginning, especially if you’re watching this near your kids or co-workers.
I Just Can’t Get Enough of Hugh Howey’s Story! If you are an aspiring author, a lover of great fiction, or just get fired up by little-guy-works-hard-and-finally-makes-it-big-doing-it-his-own-way kinds of stories, then you have to love what’s happening in Hugh Howey’s life right now. I know I’ve been both inspired by it, and have learned things from his experience I know will help in my own career. But this video is a double win for us indie authors because Hugh gets interviewed by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, the co-authors of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book.