I am thrilled to announce my latest novel Eden’s Wake (sequel to my first novel Rising Tide) has been accepted by my new publisher Christopher Mathews.
Let’s say you’ve just completed reading the latest and greatest best-selling novel. What are you going to do now? You have several choices. Realize how bad your work is, drop into the depths of depression, burn all your manuscripts and/or never write again.
Use the excellence you have just experienced to inspire your own writing ability and pen a novel to rival the masters. What would this masterpiece contain? If we look back to your last read (the latest and greatest best seller) we find that it was written crossing several genre lines. Starting with mystery, plunging through steam-punk romance, taking a slight detour into the world of sci-fi and fantasy, and finally finishing with a bunny rabbit named Boo hopping through the pages of a children’s book.
First, you must decide which direction your plot will lead your protagonist and characters. Perhaps you will take your manuscript along a different course, one never seen in the literary world. How about three protagonists, four antagonists, two sets of Siamese twins, one male, one female and a mule named Scorch?
I can see the climax now. Just picture the final showdown…
The three protagonists unable to decide who is in charge form a blue-ribbon, fact-finding commission to rectify the situation. Four antagonists with no one to antagonize meet for drinks awaiting the commission’s decision. The Siamese twins left with nothing to do, decide to marry, the ceremony officiated by a cactus and witnessed by the mule. The four newlyweds and mule ride into the sunset having absconded with a sleigh and a pack of reindeer.
Of course, this is only a suggestion; it’s your novel so creative control falls upon your shoulders.
Now, if I was a bettin man, I’d wager that you might feel more comfortable writing within your genre. Since we have no clue as to what your genre may be, we’ll choose for you. We want something adventurous and heart pounding, but nothing that will keep you awake at night. It must be sensitive; yet, not enough to think the characters a cast of sissies; suspenseful with horror incorporated lovingly; and romantic without hugging, kissing or any other public displays of affection. And finally, who can resist a great “who done it?” That’s correct; a murder mystery with no one actually dead.
Once you choose your genre; you may begin your masterpiece.
Now, not to dissuade you in any way or hack into your enthusiasm about writing this amazing book, there are several things I would like you to know.
Once you complete the rough manuscript, you will spend months writing, rewriting, rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing and eventually proofread while rewriting and editing.
Then, you will spend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to interest an agent or publisher in your work. This isn’t very difficult, if your name happens to be Stephen King. You see, about a thousand new titles are released each day. Now, if you divide the number of agents and publishers by the number of authors attempting to garner their attention, the odds end up being a bazillion to one.
If you manage to catch someone’s eye and become published, you will once again spend enormous amounts of time and energy to market your book to the world. You will be vying for attention with well over a quarter of a million books released each year.
I’m glad I was able to share with you the delightful and positive aspects of becoming a published author. If there are any other ways I may lift your spirits or interject inspiration into your world of writing, please contact me through this site.
Good luck and happy writing.
“In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” This quote, uttered by Alfred Tennyson in his poem “Locksley Hall” written in 1835, still rings true today…or does it? Consider the differences from Tennyson’s time in the 19th century, through the 20th, and into the 21st century; a full one hundred eighty years.
It seems the more civilized we become, the more barbaric our actions.
God help us all.
Just don’t be afraid to ask.
“The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie” Griffin MIB III
How do you envision ideas for your novels? Do you set in your favorite chair with pad and pencil in hand, writing down different plots until one strikes your fancy? Perhaps you stretch out and let thoughts surrounding your particular genre rattle around until one shoots out that would make a satisfactory storyline. The dreams you have during your slumber; certainly a plot could be found amongst the strange goings on in that mixed up bag of sludge. You can stare at a blank page (which is my usual modus operandi) until something smacks you in the face. Then again, in this crazy world in which we reside, the most mundane of items or events may trigger an idea never before imagined in the literary world. When all else fails to formulate a starting point, maybe turn to mind altering psychedelic drugs…there’s bound to be something there to stimulate your cranial lobes, even if you write in crayon.
Once you have discovered your subject matter, there are many ways to begin. Some prefer to outline their entire story from beginning to end, stringently remaining within the confines of their outline. Others outline, but use it loosely, frequently straying in and out of their original storyline. I, myself, jump in, hang on, and let the story drag me along for the ride. And then there are those who have yet to pick out the correct color crayon.
After your plot is established, do you immediately introduce your protagonist and jump right into the action? (Once again, my M.O.) Perhaps you take a less invasive route and gather background information before you pounce into the foray. You may introduce the main players before you forge ahead into the meat of your story. Sadly, you may be unable to choose between the brown or salmon color crayon.
How do you construct your novel? Do you stick to each scenario within your main storyline until it’s finished? Maybe you spring back and forth between scenes, holding the main plot together with smaller subplots. (Me again) Your book may be a single story with a small number of characters requiring one intense scene to carry the entire plot. Well, isn’t this wonderful. I see you’ve melted the two crayons together to form the color puke.
Please allow me to retract a regrettable statement I made earlier in this post. Do not, under any circumstances ingest substances that will interrupt the normal operation of your brain. To take it one step further, ingest nothing.
Oh look, our friend has begun to pen his novel…What a wonderful opening line. “Me gots purdy pinky toes!”
I can’t wait to read the completed work.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of books published each year. Now if you happen to be fortunate enough to count yourself among this vast number; then, congratulations, you have a book in print. Having a book in print is something most people never achieve. So, you may certainly consider this a boon. Then again, even though you have a book in print, which is something most people never achieve, you may certainly also consider this a bane.
“How,” you ask, “can my masterpiece be both good and bad?”
Having a book among the published is a feat in and of itself… and that’s where it ends. Everything from there on out is to vie for the position of putting your book into the hands of the reader.
“How is this accomplished?” you inquire. ( In case you haven’t noticed, you ask an inordinate amount of questions. ) The only answer I can provide is, in a word, marketing.
Marketing can take on many forms: book signings, book tours, book clubs, social media, reviews and slinging books out of the back of a moving pickup truck. If you can think of it, you can use it as a marketing tool. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should. I believe my favorite form of marketing is word-of-mouth, although this can be fraught with dangers, pitfalls, and the usual lack of interest.
To begin with, there is good word-of-mouth where the reader cannot possibly say another positive syllable about your book. These type of reviews usually originate from the author’s parents, siblings, and close friends.
Then comes the author’s dismemberment and ground to a fine powder stage, the bad word-of-mouth experience. This is where people who may or may not have read the book cannot tolerate the family generated grandiose reviews and must trash your first round of positive opinions. These reviews will not only bring you back down to earth, but attempt to bury you, if you allow it do so.
At some point you will begin to receive truly unbiased opinions on your first novel. They won’t all be good nor bad, but a mixture of good, bad and everything in between, and isn’t this what you truly want?
You will most certainly include an email campaign within your word-of-mouth marketing strategy. This too can bring about good results or suck you down into the pit of what I have deemed “no sale retail.” The problem with email is if people don’t know you, they will more than likely delete your book pitch from lack of interest or fear of a virus.
I’m finding that consignment stores are a great place for your book to collect dust. You see, by introducing your novel to different types of dust bunnies and the like, you expose it to a more diverse group of dirt, than the limited types at home.
Hopefully, you get the idea of how to begin your own marketing plan, but be sure to put this plan into motion at least six months before your baby hits the shelves.
Let’s delve into a more unorthodox but effective way to sell your book. Being a new author, the brick and mortar stores are less likely to carry your book, so you’ll need to purchase a goodly amount from your publisher.
Walk into your neighborhood mega bookstore, carrying your box of novels, a chain, padlock and baseball bat. Chain the front door shut and threaten anyone who does not purchase one of your books with bodily harm. Of course, your bat, being made from foam, will cause no injuries unless your customer base discovers this to be true, then a prudent getaway plan should already be in place.
As you can see, with a small amount of thought you too can discover (along with established marketing methods) new and exciting ways to market your book.
It is true that some of these methods may land you in places you’d rather not be, such as in front of a judge or even in jail, but remember any publicity can be good publicity.
Your name is Vladimir Bloodsucker. You reside in the Western section of Romania in a quaint little villa known as Transylvania. Aside from your regular occupation as the town mortician and kindergarten teacher, you write humorous romance novels as a sideline. You have this great idea for a novel, but you are suffering from a form of writer’s block. It’s not that you can’t find the words; it’s placing them so you remain true to your genre as well as the book’s subject matter.
Let’s just face facts. If you weren’t so hung up writing in one genre with the ridiculous… No, ludicrous ideas you manufacture for your books, we wouldn’t have all these problems. I’m the only literary agent in this podunk town and I have two clients; you and what’s his name. And ole what’s his name can’t seem to write about anything but vampires. Every month, I get another vampire manuscript. I’ve had it up to here (holding hand above head) with vampires. I send him a dozen rejections at a time and tell him to make sure these last for the upcoming year.
Starting next year the rejections go out wrapped around wooden stakes.
Now, where was I….Oh yeah, Vlad and his next best-selling flop. Vladimir’s idea for his next novel (and don’t forget he writes in the humorous romance genre) is the astronauts perspective of landing on a moon made of cheese.
Here is the actual first chapter I received from Vladimir last week.
“Cheese Wheel to Mission Control. Cheese Wheel to Mission Control. Come in, Mission Control, over,” Artichoke said. (Beep)
“This is Mission Control, Cheese Wheel. Good morning, Artichoke.” (Beep)
“Good morning, Mission Control,” Artichoke replied, “are we a go for landing?” (Beep)
“That’s an affirmative. We have determined the surface to be similar to that of a mid-range limburger.” (Beep)
“Roger that, Mission Control, initiating thirty second burn to begin decent.” (Beep)
“You’re looking good, Cheese Wheel, ten seconds to touchdown.” (Beep)
“On my mark,” Artichoke said. “5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 and down.” (Beep)
“Good job, Cheese Wheel, ready to exit LEM.” (Beep)
“Thanks, Mission Control; it’s a bit wobbly down here and smells like armpit.” (Beep)
“You knew going in, that limburger is aged with the same bacteria that causes human body odor,” Mission Control said. “So suck it up, suit up and get outside.” (Beep)
“Roger, Mission Control, I snuck my wife aboard so as soon as I finish romancing and telling jokes I’ll get right to it, Cheese Wheel out.” (Beep)
I couldn’t read anymore, my lunch was working its way upward and I found myself reaching for my bottle of Xanax.
Now you see what I have to deal with being the only literary agent with two clients, one with a vampire fetish and the other just an idiot. And the real shame of it being no other prospects. Most agents are inundated with manuscripts…Me, well, you know my story.
Actually, I’m suddenly finding that things are looking up as long as I mix my Xanax with a half bottle of wine. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start writing and represent myself. It couldn’t possibly get any worse…or could it?
What’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite book? Do the two coincide with one another? Did you read a great book that turned into a lousy movie? Or, did the movie surprise you and turn out to be as good or better than the book?
It just so happens that two of my favorite movies began life as ink on paper. The first, and probably my favorite movie, was Jaws released in 1975. This movie affected an entire generation. People were actually afraid to venture into the water. Being an author it probably seems strange, but I never read the book. From what I’ve heard, the book was good, but unnecessarily cluttered with love affairs and such. To me, in a story like this, if you want to kiss something, kiss a shark. I was but a young buck when I ventured to the theater to view this thriller and returned four more times. Five times on the silver screen and well over fifty in the home venue, might make you think I was obsessed with this celluloid masterpiece. Nah, I just like the movie.
From the ocean to the Great Plains, we move from the “jaws of death” to the swirling winds known as “tornadoes,” “cyclones,” and “funnel clouds.” Twister is my next great book-to-movie, which I also did not read.
Now, as far as storm chasers actually operate, I think the movie was probably not as factual as it could have been. On the other hand, I didn’t go to the theater three times to see a fact-based movie. Twister came out in 1996, just three years after Jurassic Park, which was the first movie to use “go-motion.” This new technology pulled us away from the decades old stop-motion animation we were used to seeing ever since the first movie danced its way into our hearts.
CGI opened a whole new world of special effects and Twister was in on the ground floor. Aside from having a great story, the animation jerked you from your seat, spun you around, and then smacked you several times before depositing you head-first back into your chair.
I took my girlfriend (at the time) to see this wonder of technology. Half-way through the movie, the popcorn machine caught fire and we were escorted out the back of the theater. We received vouchers to see the movie at a later date (or when the smoke cleared), which we did, and that girlfriend, a year later, became my wife…pause for tear removal and nose blowage.
Thinking, as I occasionally do, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Jaws and the F5 in Twister were to meet?
The twister would have to become a water spout which would cause it to severely weaken. Even though the shark is not the brightest creature in the sea, it would hesitate to attack a column of water. And if I’ve brought you to the point that you would consider a confrontation between a swirling mass of water and a big fish, then I humbly apologize, not only to you, but the preceding paragraph and its five wasted lines.
All good things must come to an end which brings about a conundrum. Oblivious to good and bad, as far as this post goes, do I end it or (like that drum beating bunny) keep going, and going, and going, and going…….
I believe we all know the answer; this tale should be put to rest….
In case, you’re wondering where I locate material for my blog, I purchase it from a surly old Wiccan who resides in Haiti and vacations in Jackass Flats, Virginia (no joke, real place). She’s not much to look at, but makes a great conch (pronounced “konk”) chowder and the blog material’s dirt cheap. After a few shots of rum, it’s free because you can’t shut her up.
Until next week, when we once again mix a pinch of fact with a bucket of nonsense, I bid you a fond, “Ado!”
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