March 15, 2017

Why Genre is So Important in Today’s Amazon World

What I mean is in the past, we could browse the shelves of our favorite book store for potential reads. We’d skim the authors and the titles. Then we might wander over to another group of shelves.

We had access to all the shelves. That made browsing really a browse. Today, if we shop online for our books, browsing becomes more difficult.

If you tried, you’d probably never get anywhere. It’s almost impossible to browse all the books in a genre. I tend to be a shopper who is easily overwhelmed. It there’s too much out there, I don’t buy. I like a few choices or an opportunity to browse a few choices. Amazon, no matter how much we love the convenience and the service, will never be able to create that kind of browsing opportunity.

Of course, Amazon is trying hard to do so. You’ll see on your Amazon page, readers who looked at this book also looked at… Amazon also suggests books based on your browsing or purchasing habits. The problem is these hints often miss the mark. I shop for everyone in my family. If I purchase a heavy history tome for my husband, that doesn’t mean I want to read heavy history tomes myself. Furthermore, I’m often using Amazon for “research.” I’m looking for titles that may fit with something I’m writing. That doesn’t mean that’s the kind of book I want to read.

Here is where genre comes in. Genre has always been important. We as writers must identify our genre so readers will know what we are writing. In the past if we spilled over into another genre, the book store had to decide where to place our book.Once they did so, that book appeared on the shelf in that genre. But, my book might still be found by other readers because book store browsers can wander throughout the store.

For example, my first book The Clock Strikes Midnight is not a typical mystery. Some might say it was a suspense family saga; others might call it literary fiction; still others might call it Southern fiction. I had to place it in a particular genre, and I chose mystery. Fortunately most of my readers agree that it is a general mystery versus a whodunit. Nonetheless, the book also has elements of the other genres listed. I cannot remove it from the shelf of mystery, but I can add the other genre names when it appears on Amazon.

Identifying the genre of a book will place a book somewhere in the book cyber world. Giving it alternative genre or sub-genre will even better identify it. These are extremely important decisions. Some say if you select a limited genre, for example, Southern cozy mystery with a female sleuth, you will have a better chance to getting notice on Amazon.

The closer the target, the better the chance of finding that audience among all the millions of books and thousands of shelves a book store like Amazon offers.

What are your experiences with genre?

Twitter or Facebook–A Good Place for Writers to Hangout?

This is no easy task. It takes time and dedication. In the end, however, it’s worth the trouble.
Confused Business Man

One of the choices writers must make is to decide which social medium gives them the best visibility. In the past a writer need only get their book published. The publisher took care of getting the word out to the right audiences. The publisher sent the book out for reviews. Nowadays, the writer must do most of the work.

But, which medium offers the best bang for the buck. In other words, do you spend your precious time on Twitter or on Facebook or elsewhere? And how much time is enough?

Here are some tips for hanging out on Twitter.

  • Visit Twitter often. Post at least ten tweets a day. If you visit less often, you lose momentum.
  • Look at other people’s tweets. If you like what someone else is tweeting, retweet or like the tweet. This helps you connect with the other person.
  • Do not fall into the trap of buying followers. You want to attract followers who are interested in what you have to say. Just having a big number isn’t enough. You want quality followers. Otherwise you waste a lot of time tweeting to people who really don’t care about your books.
  • Build your following by looking at the suggested followers Twitter provides. Take a look at the person, how many followers do they have and how many people are they following? Does that person have similar tastes to yours? If the person has similar tastes but is following more people than follow them back, they are not a great choice. If, on the other hand, they follow fewer people but many are following them, they might be a better choice. Use your discretion here. People who have many followers but rarely follow back may also be a bad choice.
  • Interact with your following. Check out websites of those people who interest you and DM them. I personally do not like auto responders when I follow someone. It feels false. Instead, DM people personally when you see someone following you that piques your interest.

Tips for Hanging Out on Facebook.

  • Like Twitter, you must post on your Facebook author page at least ten times in a day. Unlike Twitter, you must include a photo.

    If you simply post a link, you may only get 10-12 views. Photos receive 50-100 views or more.

  • It’s harder to increase your following on Facebook than it is on Twitter. For some reason it takes much longer. Again, I do not recommend buying likes. Facebook frowns on doing this as well. You want to focus and target your audience. The more targeted you are, the more likely you’ll increase the number.
  • Try purchasing a Facebook ad for greater visibility. I wouldn’t do this often, but it’s not too costly to boost your more important posts on occasion.
  • Develop short posts. Whenever your post goes over one sentence, you lose readers. You can add a link. But, make the words compelling enough for people to want to click on that link.
  • Interact with your following. I don’t get nearly as many notifications on Facebook as I do on Twitter. But, I still try to pay attention to them by replying to their actions.

More people interact with me on Twitter. My following grows more readily. That doesn’t mean I ignore Facebook, it just means, I use it less.

What about you? Where do you get the most tractions? Twitter or Facebook? What tips do you have to help build interactions?

Take a look at this book trailer. It’s gotten over 400 views on YouTube.

What Does It Take to Get The Word Out About Your Book?

bigstockphoto_Woman_With_Hand_To_Ear_Listeni_209983My books are not self-published. I say that right off the bat because there are many things I cannot control. Self-published authors have an advantage in many ways I do not. Here are some examples:

  1. They control the price of their books and thereby the specials that are run.
  2. They select the key words on Amazon and can change and update them as needed.
  3. They have good sales information. They can track what is working and what isn’t.

Given these limitations, those of us who are traditionally published still can do a lot of things to get the word about about hour books.

If you don’t have a website, get one. People want to see more about the author than your name. Make sure your website is professional but has some personal information. Include a blog. Many writers use blogspot which enables them to have a blog and a website all in one. You should blog regularly. Think about things you can share about being a writer or about reading in general. Share posts from other websites and invite other authors to guest post or to visit your site for an interview.

Select the social medium or media you want to focus on, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or something else. If you post on any of those, do so regularly, like every day. I post ten updates, tweets a day on four networks, including Google+ and LinkedIn. These posts should include all kinds of things, not just promotions about your book. People want to get to know you before they start investing in you. These days it takes a long time for that to happen.

You can’t promote your work in the articles, but your bio will include all your books. If you write investing, intriguing, professional articles, you’ll attract interested readers to your website and to your books.

Mine goes out once a month. I keep it simple but include lots of tips for writers and for readers. I want it to be interesting but not inundate my community with too many emails. I know what that’s like! This e-newsletter should go to everyone in your community, including the people who sign-up on your website (and there should be a sign-up and a giveaway there) and the people in your LinkedIn community.

Most publishers have a Facebook page, a website with shopping opportunities, and a Twitter account. Be sure to post on these sites. Your publisher has many writers. You only have one. This activity will increase the eyes on your content. That’s the goal after all, right?

My Interview with David Alan Binder–Full of Writing Tips

DSC_0003_4x6Joan Curtis interview with David Alan Binder

Joan’s Bio from her website (shortened):  Joan is an award-winning writer who has published 7 books and numerous stories. In her mystery/suspense novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight, we meet Janie Knox, a tormented young woman who escaped her home and family after a jury convicted her stepfather of killing her mother. Her second mystery e-Murderer is the first in a series, starring Jenna Scali, a fairly normal young woman who happens to run into dead bodies. Again, this book captures the imagination of readers with all its twists and turns. The second in the Jenna Scali mystery series, Murder on Moonshine Hill, features Jenna and her friends at a quiet wedding in the mountains of North Carolina. All goes well until everything turns deadly with the discovery of a corpse.

Joan’s books have won awards. The Clock Strikes Midnight won FIRST PLACE in Royal Palm Literary awards for Mainstream/Literary fiction and the Silver Medal in the Global eBooks Awards for 2015. The e-Murderer won FIRST PLACE in the Malice Domestic Grants Competition for new writers and the GOLD for mystery in the Global eBook Awards for 2016.

http://joancurtis.com/ (website)

http://joancurtis.com/blog-radio-appearances/ (blog)

Goodreads Author’s page

Amazon Author’s page

Twitter page https://twitter.com/JoanCurtis

Facebook Author page  https://www.facebook.com/joanccurtisauthor/

MuseItUp Publishing Author page

1.  Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?

I live in Athens Georgia—A university town.

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

There is little that’s predictable. My stories unfold as I write them. The    publishing process changes daily. Writers must be flexible and persistent.

 3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk? 

My mind goes faster than my fingers on the keyboard. So, when I re-read what I’ve written, I’ve often left out words or written something that totally doesn’t make sense.

4.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

[Tweet “I appreciate the support of a publisher #authorinterview” David Alan Binder] In my view if you’ve written a book     that is worth publishing, you can find a publisher. It’s not easy and the big name publishers are very hard to break into as a new writer, but the small   publishers offer a good alternative. I would only suggest self-publishing if the purpose of your book is marketing a business. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they? My fiction publisher is MuseItUp Publishing, Pierrefonds, Que. Canada. My nonfiction publisher is Praeger Press, Santa Barbara, California

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? 

All my fiction books came out first as e-books and were later published in print. My publisher holds the rights to do that. The problem with having just e-books is that they cannot be signed. Often I want to do giveaways of signed copies or book signings. Clearly print books are necessary. The problem with just having a print book and no e-book is the cost. Most people do not want to pay print book prices for an unknown author. Some people only read on print and others only by e-book. It’s best to have both!

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?   

The first bit of advice is something you’ll hear from many writers. [Tweet “Keep sending the book out even in the face of multiple rejections #authorinterview” David Alan Binder] That doesn’t mean writers do not pay attention to rejections and the comments made. Revising all the time is critical. But, we must continue to persevere in the face of rejection.

I also suggest going to the small publishers. Researching them and finding         one that fits your genre. Skip going to an agent. Agents are as difficult to     snare as the large publishing houses. And, in this day with the internet giving   writers access to so much information, agents are becoming less and less important.

7.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

I don’t have an agent, and I really do not see the need for one. My publisher is very generous with her authors. I read the contract myself and understand the terms. Most intelligent writers can do that. If you happen to write a blockbuster, the agents will come looking for you.

8.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?  

. I give it away on my website for signing up. (http://www.joancurtis.com)

Generally, though, my first suggestion to new fiction writers is to finish the book. There is no use looking for publishers or agents until the book is finished. If you are writing a nonfiction book, you must write a very  complete book proposal before you explore publishers or agents. (Agents are really unnecessary for nonfiction writers).

My second suggestion is to spend a lot of time re-writing your book. Put together a group of Beta readers who can give you honest feedback (not your spouse or your kids). You may have to pay some of these readers. It’s worth it. Once you get the feedback, go back and re-write. The manuscript must be polished and honed as best you can get it before you send it out.

My third suggestion is once you get your book published, you must take responsibility for getting the word out. You cannot count on your agent or publisher to do that for you. If you can afford to hire a publicist, great, but most of us cannot. You must build a platform through blogging and tweeting   and then tell that platform about your books. I didn’t do that with my first          nonfiction book. I expected the publisher to market it for me. I needn’t tell you, it didn’t sell too many copies!

9.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

For nonfiction, I found the writing less inspiring. I wrote facts and conveyed information almost as if I were teaching a class. There was little opportunity for creativity—nonetheless I did create examples to spice up my books.

I’m what is called a pantser fiction writer. That means, I do not rely     heavily on an outline. I learned early on that if I let my mind go, almost in a trance-like state, characters will emerge, take on personalities and sometimes take over the story. This is quite surprising when it happens, but it’s also    wonderful. Writers cannot force this and some writers never experience this process. I am fortunate that I experienced it early in my writing.

10.  How many books have you written?

I have written and published 4 nonfiction books, all published by Praeger Press out of California. I have also written and published 3 mysteries. I have a new one that will go      to the publisher in January 2017. Each of these have been published by   MuseItUp Publishing.  I spend my time now writing fiction.

11.   Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)? 

Notice what you like to read and what works for you. The more you read the better writer you’ll become. But beyond this, writers must learn the craft of writing. Learn how to write dialogue. How to create scenes. How to develop a worldview. I have a number of tips and suggestions for writing suspense and mystery on my blog, http://www.joancurtis.com/blog. But, I also suggest that writers find blogs that help them improve their skills. There is much more to writing than simply putting a pen to paper.

12.    Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story? 

This is a very tough question. All my books have unique twists and turns. My best response to this question is to let your imagination go. Because I don’t write from an outline (in fiction writing), my characters will come up with interesting twists that even I hadn’t thought about. But, I do know that for me, the best thing is to put the book aside and to do something else. For example, with The Clock Strikes Midnight, I had reached a place that felt like a wall. Something had to happen but I didn’t know what. I put the book aside and went for a swim. While swimming, the answer came to me. Many times the answer comes at night while sleeping or on a walk. Getting away from the work is the best way to allow your subconscious to play with ideas and come up with amazing twists.

Let me add one caution. Don’t write twists just to write twists. Your twists must feel natural to the reader. Otherwise the reader feels betrayed. I recently read a book where it became clear to me the author simply        wanted to surprise the reader. As a reader, it felt contrived.

13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd? 

In The Clock Strikes Midnight (a stand alone mystery/suspense), the main characters are two sisters. Their interaction as well as their bond is what make the story different. Furthermore, there is a southern charm to the book that many readers have enjoyed.

The mystery series (e-Murderer and Murder on Moonshine Hill) debut two characters—Jenna, the main amateur sleuth, and her sidekick, Quentin. The two play off each other in a unique and fun way. Readers not only enjoy the suspense and the inherent mystery, but they also enjoy the humor and the realistic portrayal of these characters.

All my books are set in the south with southern speaking characters. This isn’t necessarily unique, but it adds a certain charm to the pages.

14.  What are some ways in which you promote your work? 

I have promoted my work through the social media in the following ways: 1) Blog tours where reviews and excerpts appear on blogs for a period of time 2) Tweeting daily about my books and about other books of a similar genre 3) Facebook groups and a Facebook author’s page.

I’ve entered contests and gone to conferences to receive rewards for my books. The Clock Strikes Midnight has won three major awards    including First place Royal Palm Literary Award and e-Murderer won the GOLD for the global e-book awards.

In more traditional ways, I’ve appeared at book festivals for book signings. The Decatur Book Festival is one of the largest in the country. I appeared there last year. I’ve also appeared in small bookstores for book signings.

15.  What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why? 

I spent a lot of money on promoting my first fiction release. I regret two things I did: Join NetGalley and hire a publicist. Both of these things cost a lot of money and were not worth the expense. NetGalley produced some reviews, but not enough to justify the cost. The publicist did a lot for my book, but not enough to make up for the cost.

Another place where I spent too much on the first book was the creation of a book trailer. I made the mistake to contract with real actors. The cost was extremely high even though I produced a very professional book trailer. For the second book I created a book trailer more cheaply, using standard images off the Web. Overall, I’m not sure readers look at book trailers, nor if     they have any impact on sales. For my third book, I decided not to create a  trailer.

Be careful to pick and chose how you spend money on promoting your   book. You will have to spend some (blog tours), but I learned that the less    spent the better.

16. What saying or mantra do you live by? 

If you set your mind to something, give it all you’ve got, concentrate on it and you will succeed!

17. Anything else you would like to say? 

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to these questions. I hope my answers help some writers, and I hope some of your readers will join me on my blog and become part of my community.

Books on Amazon:

Fiction

Clock Strikes Midnight

e-Murderer: Jenna Scali Mystery Book 1

Murder on Moonshine Hill: Jenna Scali Mystery Book 2

Nonfiction

Hire Smart and Keep ‘em

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media

Managing Sticky Situations at Work

Strategic Interviewing: Skills and Tactics for Savvy Interviewers

Share here.

Marketing My New Book–Do’s and Don’t Tips

As I begin the process of marketing the launch of my third book, I look at what I did right and wrong with the previous two launches.

To get your book out there before readers you must do it yourself. And this is a very daunting task. Worse than writing the book. Much worse. Many an author will tell you they enjoyed the process of creating their work of fiction. They will also tell you they dislike the selling and marketing. That goes against the nature of an artist.file4661306949432

Nonetheless we must bite the bullet and get our books before the audience. Here are some tips I learned from my first two efforts.

They do. But there are problems with getting reviews for your books. First, Amazon will not approve reviews if they think they’re from family or friends. I won’t go into how ridiculous that is but it’s an Amazon decision we authors must live with. Second, people will say they will review your books but they don’t. Begging and pleading won’t get more reviews. Third, if you use review services, you will send out many free books but only a handful of the people will review your book. Given all this, we must continue to ask for, beg and plead to get reviews any way we can.

It’s okay to have a Facebook author’s page, but all the groups where marketing is allowed are inundated with shout outs about new books. Most people delete them or never see them.

We did a Facebook Launch for my first book. We spent time, money and a lot of effort to launch the book with a lot of hoop-la on Facebook. Few people came and fewer still bought books. The good part of the experience was it was fun to do. But we decided against it for the second launch.

Much less chat. We tired it but again, it was a lot of time, effort and headaches for little result.

That’s a great way to keep the ball rolling. I’m not sure if it sells books, but at least it keeps your name out there. You should tweet 10 times minimum a day with only 2-3 tweets about your book. I schedule posts on four social sites throughout the work week. I can do them ahead of time. It’s a great way to stay in front of audiences and to create new audiences. Be sure to include LinkedIn because a number of people will see your updates there.

There are several types of blog tours. I’ve participated in a couple of tours with two different companies. The most basic blog tour is where bloggers promote your book or review your book or post an excerpt of your book. This is a good way to get different bloggers to see your work and broaden your audience. Be sure to check out the various book tour sites. It costs anywhere from $200 to $400 for a full-blown tour. I’ll share tips on blog tours in a later post.

This is another way to build your audience and also get reviews. You can get as many as 8 new reviews on a blog review tour. Again, there’s a fee to the company and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a good review.

This time I’m going to try a Cover Reveal tour with a tour company. My hope is to build interest in the second book in my mystery series. I wouldn’t recommend doing a Cover Reveal for a stand-alone book or the first book in a series. But, when you’ve got a second book, you can create interest and post links to the first book for readers to take immediate action.

Those are my current tips. As I learn more, I’ll post more.

BTW, I did invest in book trailers for both my books. Not sure I will on the third. I spent too much money on the first one, less on the second one. The reality is book trailers are nice but not worth the extra cost. Check out this one–the one that cost too much!

Reviews Controversy–What’s an Author to Do?

After publishing my first mystery, I begged family and friends to write reviews. I didn’t ask them to write five-star reviews, just to share their thoughts on Amazon. Most didn’t do it. Those who did had their reviews removed from Amazon because they were in Amazon’s opinion, family and friends.

All the people I asked had purchased the book. They were not given free books. One friend objected to Amazon’s policy. I am a verified customer of Amazon. Why did they remove my review? One of my colleagues, who is a librarian, had her review removed three times. Finally we posted it under her husband’s account.

business hand clicking customer reviews on virtual screen interface

Recently, I heard about authors paying for reviews (like people paying to get followers on Twitter). When I noticed a book with over 16,000 reviews and 5 stars, I was amazed and immediately purchased the book. Later I asked a friend if she’d read it, I was shocked when she said, “It’s a glorified romance. Really thin and not worth my time.” How could she say that. Sixteen thousand people liked it. I began reading the book and guess what? My friend was right. The book was terrible. Well, not terrible, but extremely weak. Worth maybe 3 stars. I am now suspicious about that author and how she got so many reviews.

They came from people who bought it that I might know but I had no idea they bought the book, from review bloggers I contacted and begged to review the book, and from review blog tours. I have not purchased any reviews. But, I’m looking at a service whereby you pay a fee and you can get reviews, but they are honest reviews.

Sitting here now, I wonder what people who don’t have access to the New York Times reviewers do?

Why don’t more general readers review books? The estimated percentage of buyers who review books is something like .0001 percent. Even books that won awards, like The Clock Strikes Midnight, can’t seem to strike home with reviews.

Any suggestions? What have your experiences been? Help!!

If you want to check out the e-Murderer before you buy and and hopefully review it, take a look at this book trailer.

How to Engage Your Platform on Twitter?

bigstockphoto_Woman_With_Hand_To_Ear_Listeni_209983Okay, I keep hearing that for social media to work, we must engage our platform. I’m having some trouble doing this and am looking for some tips. The social media sites do not offer tips. They simply say do it. My guess is there are people out there who can guide the rest of us. Yes, I want to communicate with my platform.

And no, I don’t want to simply toot my own horn. So, how do I go about doing that?

Here are some of the ways I’ve tried:

These are posts related to writing with lots of ideas about how to successfully get your ideas on paper. I tweet these posts and acknowledge the blogger with a @ symbol. Often the blogger will favorite the tweet and retweet it. But the blogger never engages with me, never asks me questions, never wonders why I posted their particular blog.

At least that’s what the social media gurus tell us. I use the hashtag #amwriting #writingtips #amreading. My hope is that some of these hashtag followers will respond. The one that produced the best engagement was #YouKnowYouAreAWriterWhen. A few tweeters actually commented on some of these tweets. The others do not seem to generate any comments.

These are questions related to reading and writing. For example I asked the question, Do you have to like the characters to keep reading? I got no responses. Recently I asked the question, What kinds of tweets do you hate? I got no answers.

So, I’d love to hear what you are doing to engage your followers. Naturally I want more followers. But, I’m more interested in engaging the group I have.

Signed: A Frustrated Tweeter

Florida Writer’s Association Royal Palm Literary Awards–Clock Strikes is a Winner!

About 500 writers convened outside of Orlando Florida to celebrate the Florida Writer’s Conference last Thursday through Sunday. Workshops for new and seasoned writers of novels, screenplays, short fiction, poetry and much more provided needed advice and encouragement. This conference celebrated its fourteenth year and attracted writers from Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama, and more.

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During the conference the Royal Palm Literary awards were announced. The finalists sat nervously during the banquet dinner, wondering if they might be a lucky winner. Vigorous judging from anonymous judges considered everything from short fiction, poetry to book length fiction and nonfiction. Award winners walked on the stage to receive a nice plaque and to have their photos taken.

I sat with my colleague, Bernadette Boas. We had no idea which category my book might fall into–mystery, suspense, woman’s fiction or mainstream. With mainstream being the toughest to nail because of the number of books represented in that category. Each finalist appeared on a big screen that scrolled throughout the dinner. When those at our table appeared, we applauded. Finally after an interminable hour wait, the awards ceremony began.

12108227_10206900079272758_7846668035103633609_nWith great surprise and delight, The Clock Strikes Midnight won the first place Royal Palm Literary Award for Mainstream/Literary book length fiction. I stumbled to the stage, somewhat stunned. The photographers snapped photos in every direction.

The tag line for the Florida Writer’s Association is writers helping writers. The beauty of this award is that it represents other writers recognizing the work. Like the Oscars, where others in the industry recognize one another, the FWA does the same. Writers can be very tough on one another. By winning first place in this broad category, I felt humbled.

If you’re a writer and want to experience the support of other writers, check out the Florida Writer’s Association. They are truly writers helping writers.

How Much Are You Willing to Change to Publish Your Book?

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During the talk he shared an example of something that happened to him early in his career. A big publisher offered to pick up his book but asked him to rewrite the story from the point of view of one narrator. He had written it from the viewpoints for four different people. Rash felt he couldn’t do what the publisher asked and still maintain the integrity of the story. He turned them down. Later, a much smaller publisher picked up the book.

Now, would I have made the same decision? I remember when Reader’s Digest offered to publish my first story. It was an original story that I’d worked on for almost one year. The re-write they sent me didn’t sound anything like the story I had written. It was much more in the flavor of Reader’s Digest. My story had a very different voice. The question was, do I want to publish the story or not? I caved. Unlike Rash, I decided to allow them to publish the story as they had re-written it. But, to this day, I do not see that version as my story. Whenever people ask to see the story, I send them my original.

The second time this happened to me was at the point of publishing my first business book. I wrote a very clear proposal that the publisher bought. When it came time to write the book, they asked me to write something else. Instead of a practical hands-on book as I had proposed, they asked for a more academic book. Again, my decision hinged on whether I wanted the book published or not. My agent advised me to write what the publisher wanted. Once more, I caved.

I have a lot of respect for Ron Rash. He’s what authors need to be.

I suppose we must be the Van Gogh’s of the writing world. Van Gogh never caved to the pressure to paint for the masses. He painted what he had to paint. He died not knowing how well-received his work would finally be.

The flip-side of this question is that often publishers know what is best. They may suggest something the writer needs to do to improve the work. Case in point: To Kill a Mockingbird vs. Go Set a Watchman. Anyone who read both will know that the publisher was right in asking Harper Lee to make changes. To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down better than it’s predecessor. So where is the dividing line?

What are your thoughts?

The Skinny on Book Trailers. Should you or shouldn’t you?

As a reader, I don’t know that I’ve ever looked at a book trailer before purchasing a book. Usually I read about the book on online site, like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I will often get a sample first if I know nothing about the author. If I do know the author, I’ll risk buying the book without the sample. But, I’ve never actually purchased a book from a book trailer.

Perhaps younger readers are inclined to take a look at the trailer before purchasing a book. Those same readers possibly look at movie trailers before going to the movie. As for me, my selection of movies often comes from word-of-mouth rather than a trailer. Nonetheless, if I see a captivating trailer with actors I like, I will put that movie on my list to see.

What about book trailers, though. They don’t have actors you might want to see. They contain little bits about the book to entice you to read it. Book trailers give  you a feel for the book whether suspenseful or otherworldly or full of adventure or romance.

Here are some reasons authors may want to invest in a book trailer.

As a writer, we must filter out everything and focus on what that essence is.

Who is your audience? If you are writing Young Adult fiction, you definitely want to consider developing a trailer.

Readers often find their next read through bloggers. When bloggers add a book trailer to their sites, it creates many more views.

Your book trailer will appear on YouTube where many more people might get exposure to your book.

Share one of your favorite book trailers.