How bad author behavior can cost you fans and sales
If you're reading this because of the title, you might be disappointed. No, we don’t have pics of JK Rowling flashing the crowd in NOLA for Mardi Gras beads. Sorry we disappointed you. But if you’re an author or aspiring author who is interested in building AND keeping a fanbase, this might be the article for you.
I’m not a big fan of reality TV. In my opinion, it’s cheap entertainment that makes everyone who watches it just a little dumber for sitting around watching “real” people do stupid crap for fame and/or money. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal. I’ll even admit to having my IQ lowered on rare occasions when I was sucked into a reality tv show a friend or family member was watching (Hey, I only watched to be polite). They can be strangely compelling.
Crazy endings are in the same boat. Readers claim to despise them, screaming "WTF" at their Kindles but there are plenty of insane endings on the mega-bestsellers list. Some have even been made into giant movie franchises. Unlike reality TV however, a surprising conclusion doesn't assault your intellect, it comes after your emotions. The grinding pain of not knowing how the story ends—or if the story ends in some heart-wrenching fashion—can be devastating. Not to worry though, every book on our list of all-time great WTF endings is well worth the anguish. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s an episode of Hoarders on my DVR I’ve been meaning to watch.
My name is Sylvain Neuvel. I was born in Quebec City and raised in a small Quebec town called L'Ancienne-Lorette.
I write science fiction. My novel, Sleeping Giants, is available now from Del Rey. It revolves around a secret project to assemble the ancient body parts of a giant humanoid relic buried throughout the world by aliens. Click here for more info.
I have a B.A. in linguistics from Université de Montréal in 1999. I received my Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 2003. My main interests are word-based morphology, computational morphology, as well as formal and lexical semantics and most of my work focuses on a formal characterization of polysynthesis, compounding and agglutination in word-based morphological terms.
About Mark Gottlieb:
Mark Gottlieb attended Emerson College and was President of its Publishing Club, establishing the Wilde Press. After graduating with a degree in writing, literature & publishing, he began his career with Penguin’s VP. Mark’s first position at Publishers Marketplace’s #1-ranked literary agency, Trident Media Group, was in foreign rights. Mark was EA to Trident’s Chairman and ran the Audio Department. Mark is currently working with his own client list, helping to manage and grow author careers with the unique resources available to Trident. He has ranked #1 among Literary Agents on publishersmarketplace.com in Overall Deals and other categories.
I don’t know about you but I don’t really pay much attention to movie reviews. I already know exactly what I want in a big screen experience. I’m a big fan of superheroes, car chase scenes, special effects eye candy and just about anything with Scarlett Johansson.
Books are a totally different story. There are a LOT more books out there than movies and a novel requires much more of a time commitment. Unless you have lots of free time to waste, it’s important to choose wisely. Reviews can be helpful—especially if a book has lots of them—but a recommendation from an all-time great, once-in-a-generation author like Stephen KIng (my absolute favorite writer) will move a book from the “maybe” list to my “must read” list faster than Pennywise slithering through a storm drain. Seriously, if Stephen King vouches for a book, that’s pretty much all I need to know. With that in mind, we’ve gathered 10 of his favorites for your consideration. We recommend having your Amazon “buy button” finger ready to go.
Welcome to part 3 of our "Self-publishing mistakes killing your book sales" series. Check out parts 1 and 2 here and here. Now that we have that minor housekeeping out of the way, let's start the show.
Just about any profession has a phrase or two that people in those jobs hate. For a delivery driver, it may be “flat tire.” For a school principal, it might be “food fight”. For many self-published authors, the phrase “social media” seems to fill them with a stomach-churning sense of dread. Not because they’re unfamiliar with the various social media platforms (most people have a least tried Facebook or Twitter). But unless you happen to have a background in marketing or advertising, most people simply don’t have the knowledge or experience to use social media as a tool for marketing their book. Not to worry, the Knockin’ Books crew has folks with decades of experience in marketing, including a bestselling self-published author who knows a thing or two about how to get readers to click that all-important BUY button.
You’ve been stuck inside for months, slogging through the cold and gloom of winter. Thank God, spring has finally arrived and it’s time for a well-deserved break. Whether you head for a beach resort, a cabin in the mountains or just take a stay-cation right in your own home, you’re going to need a good book or two (or ten) to help you relax and enjoy some quiet “you time.” Sure, you probably have a few titles already on your Kindle but why not take this opportunity to try a few genres outside your normal comfort zone. We’ve got a diverse list of page turners covering everything from romance to mysteries and ghost stories to thrillers. There’s a little something for everyone and more than enough to ensure your spring break will be filled with memorable reading.
At some point, every self-published author gets to a point in their book writing and publishing process when they begin thinking about the cover. For many authors, it can be one of the most stressful parts of the entire process, even more so if it’s your first book. Despite the fact that most authors have seen thousands or even tens of thousands book covers over the course of their life, few have ever given any thought as to how they’re created. For many, facing the prospect of developing a visually pleasing book cover that will actually help sell books makes them feel like they fell out of the clueless tree and hit every stupid branch on the way down. No worries though, our buddies at Reedsy reached out awhile back to share a handy infographic that breaks down the entire book cover design process into seven easy steps. And, being the “givers” that we are, we decided to share it with you, our loyal readers. Enjoy.
Achieving a high level of success as an indie author is tough gig...like really tough. Besides the actual challenge of writing a book, you have to navigate all the countless other tasks, including editing, proofreading, cover design, book launch, social media, website and on and on and on. Even if you do everything right there’s still no guarantee of success (and certainly not much profit to speak of). For the average indie author, selling anything more than a few hundred books is considered very good. Only a very small percentage ever sell more than 1,000 books.
Which is why the amazing few who beat the odds and actually make it to the big time should be acknowledged, celebrated and studied by the rest of us. With that in mind, we’ll be presenting some of the hottest and most talented indie authors in the business. But, since there are so many amazing writers these days, there’s no way we can cover all of them in a single post so we’re breaking things down by genre (sometimes even by subgenre). We’re starting things off with suspense/thrillers, but watch this space for more awesome indie authors coming soon.
Guest post by author Liza Street
Two years ago, I was desperate to find a job that would allow me to work from home. An avid fan of writing guru James Scott Bell, I discovered freelancing sites through one of his books, and a dream was born. While writing the copy for my profile, I looked at other successful freelancer profiles and tried to emulate their professionalism and confidence.
Despite my professionalism, confidence, and the experience I brought to the table, the work did not start rolling in immediately. I bid on everything related to editing, no matter how small, no matter how bizarre. My specialty, I thought, was young adult fiction, but here I was bidding on copyediting for health blogs, collections of sermons, and real-estate themed PowerPoint presentations.
We like to think we’re a good judge of character. That we know and understand the people in our lives. In truth, it’s impossible to really know a person completely no matter how close you may be to them. Everyone has thoughts, desires and animosities they keep hidden away—sometimes even from themselves. For most, those feelings tend to stay right where they are, concealed from the rest of the world, never to be revealed or acted upon, at least not seriously. But every so often, people let their lusts and spite leak out and cause real damage. If you’ve been on the receiving end, then you’ve felt the sharp knife of betrayal as it sinks into your back even though you likely never saw it coming. (Or maybe you were the one who held the knife.) Most of us have felt that way to one degree or another which is why we can all relate to these nine tales of treachery.
Book cover design is a tricky business. First and foremost, the main goal of any well designed book cover is to grab the attention of its intended audience. If it doesn’t pull in eyeballs, it’s game over. Second, it should provide a general idea for the emotional tone and character of the story. Finally, a book cover should clearly communicate a minimum of two important pieces of information: the title and the name of the author. That's it, eye-catching, emotions and basic info. Sounds easy right? Yeah, not so much. If it were that easy, everyone would have great covers and I think we all know that's not true.
So how do you design a great cover? Well there are an infinite number of ways to achieve these goals but one of the most important tools in any book cover designer’s toolbox is typography. It’s also one of the most overlooked and misunderstood. Which is why we’re going to spend gift you a few valuable tips that will hopefully help turn your next cover into an eyeball magnet.
The basics of show don’t tell
Hi all; Julie here! Today’s post goes back to basics with a discussion of Show Don’t Tell. (For other approaches to this rule, you can read JJ’s piece on balancing the mix of showing and telling, Pub Crawl alum Susan Dennard’s post on using showing and telling on macro and micro levels, and Kat’s approach to when to show and when to tell.) There are few rules of craft that can be applied to a draft that will lift the level of the writing with the same effect as this simple rule. With every first draft I write, I find I fall into the lazy habit of telling, and with each revision, I look for places I can show more. Some basic rules are basics for good reason.