Over the last seven weeks I have been blessed by a team of talented authors who shared their tips in a series of guest blogs. This has been a wonderful experience, not only because of the feedback I received from readers, but in making myself rethink some of my own practices.
I’m a member of the Australian Society of Authors where we are often told of the huge number of books, both traditionally and indie published, released each day. Trent St. Germain had a great point in his guest post reminding us not to give up our day job. It’s true.
Critical or commercial?
I’ve been around for a while and am still waiting for one of my books to be a sleeper success, or the next one to be really big. But most of us are in the same boat. While many copies have gone out for review winning new fans and wonderful critiques, it’s the readers who you’ve got to convince to part with a few dollars and discover you. Good reviews are only part of the picture.
Elaine White reminded us of the importance of Facebook in this process. Continually having your name in front of potential readers, whether via comments or promotion, is a must in this competitive market.
At this very moment I’m sharing my reading time between an Ernest Hemingway novel and the delightful Wilde City anthology, Butt Villains on Vacation. Both have their merits. In fact, the latter has made me discover a handy tip in writing third person – something I am yet to do but am considering.
Matthew Bright, Trent St. Germain, L.A. Fields, Max Vos and the team at the Carter Seagrove Project all pointed out the importance of reading. This cannot be stressed enough, and although it’s important to know your market, reading only your genre limits you as a writer.
Flesh our your characters.
J.P. Bowie reminded us about character sketches. The people in the world you’ve created should feel real to the reader, and fleshing out their likes, dislikes and personality traits beforehand is very important.
I google images of people to find visual representations of my characters. Then I write a list that includes their education, beliefs, the type of person they’d like to sleep with, the type of person they’d fall in love with, their personality traits, and a one sentence catchphrase that the character would say – even if they never say it in the novel.
The team at the Carter Seagrove Project told us under no circumstances to read our reviews. Elaine White said that both negative and positive reviews can give us important critique.
I agree with Elaine but know how hurtful a bad review can feel. I always love to have feedback to what I write, but when a blogger takes off stars just because there was no sex in your book, or a reviewer gets angry at you because you didn’t keep within genre, you know that the reviewer is talking about themselves, and not your book.
In short, there are some reviewers I take seriously, and others that haven’t mastered critique.
Let’s do this again.
As this has been a successful series of posts, I will definitely do this again, extending the invitation to more writers to share their secrets. In fact, the second series of these posts begins if you click here.
Thank you to all that participated this time around, and to those in the earlier group of guest posts answering the question: ‘What is Gay Literature?’. And thank you to the readers who found these blogs and commented either publicly or privately. It’s these types of collaborative social media projects that help everyone feel part of a creative community, and helps us all extend our networks along the way.