I don’t normally post about WIP (Works In Progress). However, I thought I’d provide an update on how End War: Lonely Hunter is progressing. It is my first full length Science Fiction novel. To be honest, I’m a bit burnt out at the moment. Between a demanding full-time job (that has nothing to do with writing), blogging, relentlessly growing my understanding about how self-publishing works, continuing to promote my first novel (to include finishing up the audio book), and working on Lonely Hunter and its four sequels…I’m smoked.
One of my goals this year was to read more indie/self-published novels. Part of my motivation was to study them to help me learn how to better write a book. My own novel is progressing, and I do read about the craft and some classic works of fiction. But sometimes it is good to look at the not so good to better understand what does and does not work. So far I’ve read seven novels and novellas. That is not a huge sample size, but it is big enough that I wanted to provide some summary thoughts. And these books are not randomly selected from Amazon. Let me explain….
Free Indirect Discourse (also called Free Indirect Speech) seems a clunky mouthful, but it is also a powerful tool to make your writing more intimate when used in proper measure. Wikipedia says: “What distinguishes Free Indirect [Discourse; FID for short] from normal indirect speech is the lack of an introductory expression such as ‘He said’ or ‘he thought’. It is as if the subordinate clause carrying the content of the indirect speech is taken out of the main clause which contains it, becoming the main clause itself. Using [FID] may convey the character’s words [and thoughts] more directly than in normal indirect.”
No, I’m not selling thousands of books a day. And, no, this is not a huge category. But it is still pretty exciting.
In the US, my book has made it to #6 and #9 in two different categories. And it has made it to #1 in France, #2 in Australia, #2 in Canada and #9 in Brazil. And it has cracked the top 100 of several more lists. All that is exciting, but a #1 spot is special and not something I’ll ever forget.
Thank you to everyone who bought a copy. 🙂
Most young writers (of all ages) share their manuscript much too often and much too early in the hopes of getting constructive feedback on their work in progress. For instance, I see a lot of writers share their work after just a first or second draft. Some share “Chapter 1” of a novel, even though chapter 1 is all they have written. Even if such drafts are free of spelling and grammatical errors, sharing a draft so early is a mistake.
There is no understating how important it is to get reviews to help ramp sales of your new book. And I’ve previously written about how to get great reviews from some of Amazon’s top reviewers. But I’ve just discovered this: There is a group on Goodreads that is helping authors get thoughtful reviews posted to three sites (Goodreads, Amazon US and Amazon UK) from readers they don’t know. It’s a great and simple system. How much does it cost? No money involved. You just have to pay it forward and review a book from someone else. And there is no limit; you can get as many reviews as you can give.
I believe we live in a universe governed by laws of causes and effects even though we don’t yet fully understand all the causes and all the effects. When it comes to art, in particular, it is immensely difficult to know what cause will result in which effect. So it is tremendously difficult in the realm of words to know which sentence, which metaphor, which plot device will resonate with a majority of your targeted genre’s readers and turn a bunch of words into a great story. Though we don’t know these things with precision, I do believe that there are quantifiable causes and effects in play.
Wired for Story is Lisa Cron’s assertion that we do in fact have (some) science in the realm of writing that enables us to understand the causes and effects of good storytelling.
My first novel has been the #1 bestseller in its category in the UK, and it has made it into the top 10 of nine Amazon bestseller lists worldwide. My sense is that when most US authors post their book to Amazon, they don’t think twice about their overseas or international sales. This is a mistake because there are a lot of big markets outside the United States. You can fall further behind or you can ramp your sales. About 10% of my volume is now coming from non-US Amazon sites.
I have not translated my novella into any other languages, and I have spent less than $10 on advertising outside the United States. Here are a few things you can do in about an hour to help ramp your own international book sales…
I’ve not posted much recently. I have been heads down writing and reading to improve my craft. One of the books I’ve read is Stephen King’s On Writing. As a maturing writer, I’m attentive to writing, but also writers. I have long avoided this book because I really do not care for King’s writing. And to be honest, after having read this, I still don’t care for his novel writing.
Like many writers, I spent a lot of time worrying about how to get published. Once I did publish my story, I quickly realized I needed book reviews. Under no circumstances would I pay for Amazon reviews. Now, after a year, I have gotten 38 book reviews. That may not sound like much, but they are all legitimate, and more than a fourth of them have been from Amazon’s top reviewers (“Top 100”, “Vine Voice”, etc.). And 24 of the reviews have been 5-star reviews. The rest are 4-star reviews with just 1 3-star review. This is important because it will help drive sales forever. How did I do it?
I greatly value good writing, and I will always consider myself an “aspiring” writer no matter how many books I eventually publish. So far I’ve published one novel. From this experience, I’ve gained insight into book marketing and promoting that I am happy to share. Most importantly, I better understand that there are specific tactics and techniques that can help me — and you — ramp your sales faster.
Continue reading “Tips and tricks to sell at least 1000 books”
So you are an aspiring author and keep hearing that you need a “platform” if you want to publish, which usually means a web presence. But you are new to the world of blogging, or maybe you already have a site but are not getting very many visitors in spite of cranking out a few blogs? Want some help that is free and clearly explained? Here are the 3 best, easy to use, and free guides that can help you.
Don’t you love it when you get feedback on your fiction that you are doing too much “telling” and not enough “showing”?
When we think about how to write a novel and to be a successful writer of fiction, we must understand the balance of showing versus telling in our work. This is one of the critical skills and one that we can learn. There is no formula, and we need to do both. The trick is to keep them in proper proportion.
Learning how to write well is more than just cranking out words in response to creative writing prompts. For instance, I’m sure you have gotten feedback in your fiction writing workshop (or writing studio or writer’s studio, which is the more popular term of the day) on a submission from someone who you thought was a self-serving ass. When it happens, your defenses immediately go up and you stop listening for anything constructive. At that point, it is a wasted exercise for you and the person providing feedback. As a young writer, this is not what you need.