Advertising and Promotions

One of the things I tell people when they ask me about writing is how challenging it can be not to have a tangible product. You see all my books are electronic. This limits how you do things like a launch party or book signing.

I’ve been searching for fun and creative ways to promote and market my book from things like blog tours to fun give away items like personalized screen cleaners.

They say you have to spend money to make money. Do you think this is true? What would you want to see in the way of promoting an e-book?

Do you have experience with these types of promotions?

I’ve found the e-reader vs paper copy debate is alive and well. There still seems to be a stigma when it comes to e-books.

What have you found in your experience?

 

Leave me a comment!

Death of a Character

tombstoneShould I kill my character? I’ve seen this question a lot lately and even a writing prompt about killing a character. We all know authors who do it. Some are even our favourite authors. Some authors do it A LOT. (I’m looking at you George R. R. Martin)

Should only the bad guys die? Should your beloved protagonist die to motivate the other characters? I’ve given this considerable thought, here’s my take.

No not only the bad guy should die and yes sometimes the protagonist should die to motivate the other characters to action. Some of you are screaming as you read this, but wait there’s a catch.

Every death no matter how big or how small should provide a pay off for your reader. After all they are the voyeur in your characters lives. As an author everything we do we do for them.

So don’t just kill your character for the sake of it. Think not only what it does to the other characters in the story, but also the pay off for your reader. Every death should be satisfying in some way.

 

 

 

Cliffhangers Plot Device or Annoyance?

cliff-hanger You’re reading a new novel whether it’s an e-book or paperback novel and you come to a point in the book where it dawns on you that there is too much story left to tell and too few pages left to tell it in.

Your book is going to end in a cliffhanger. How do you feel? What do you do? Well if you’re anything like me on this particular evening I threw my e-reader aside and gave up on the book. After two cliffhanger endings I found that not only did the book not end here with a happy ending but went on for another three books. It was also made worse by the fact that the characters were changing between the books ending up with different personality traits than they’d acquired in the last book and reverting in progress and character growth that they had made.

It got me thinking though that in recent years this has been a trend among publisher especially in romance. So much so that submission calls now say must have HAE or HAE for now ending.

I suppose from an author stand point this makes sense financially. Find success with your first book and readers are compelled to read your second, and although I understand the reasoning behind it let me tell you I hate it.

I hate it both as an author and a reader. I would much rather see an element of the story that can carry into an new book. Something that propels the story forward naturally rather than something that can feel artificial.

Now that’s not to say that all cliffhanger endings are done poorly there can be success but is it really necessary?

Instead could the next book pick up where the last left off? Or baring that at some point down the road?

Do people enjoy this style of reading or has it just become a normality in the writing world?

What do you prefer as a writer or reader?

Time Management

It’s only April but already this year has been a struggle for me. Why? Some would chalk it up to time management. In addition to writing I also have many other interests and it’s been a challenge to give each interest it’s dedicated time, but I try.

People always ask me how do you find time for writing. See like most I live a busy lifestyle. I work a full time job in addition to writing, and I have a multitude of hobbies. (Writing is not a hobby please be mindful of this when speaking to writer.)

This question always stumps me because the truth is I don’t know how I “find” time for writing. Just like I don’t know where my ideas come from. The truth is a lot of the time the ideas are just there.

Of course I go through periods where I don’t write as much or as often as I like, and there are times when I struggle with the logistics of my novels, but for the most part writing is just an extension of my being I equate it to having an third arm it’s always been there and has served me well. If damaged or suddenly gone I would suffer and function differently.

I have to tip my hat to everyone writing or with multiple jobs who are also raising families. I don’t know how they find the super human strength it must take to juggle their schedules.

My big secret….

I make time.

Time isn’t found it’s sacrificed. It’s stolen from other areas like family time or sleep. The real challenge comes in balancing everything. Picture here a plate spinner with several items in the air. That being said the new challenge I’ve given myself is to steal time for myself not because it’s trendy but because it’s necessary. So I’ve vowed to take time for myself even if that feels unproductive or selfish. Wish me luck…

what do you  “steal” time for?

 

Character POV

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing something in a different point of view (POV). However when I try I find that 3rd person is so ingrained it’s what comes naturally. I’ve found a number of books I’ve read recently have been 1st person.

I think this can be done well but find that I miss the POV of the male character since most romance novels are written from a female perspective.

There have been times when a book has been re-released in the male voice but I find this feels a bit contrived. Sort of a sure thing for a pay cheque.

Generally when I write I’ll shift point of view between my main characters. This has it’s own set of unique challenges it’s hard to avoid head hopping and at times I find it difficult to write the voice of the opposite sex.

I find myself thinking of the line in As Good As It Gets where the fan asks the writer how he writes women so well and he responds by saying he thinks of a man and takes away all reason. Obviously that’s not true but it gives me a laugh when I’m trying to capture the voice of my male characters.

Do you have a preference when reading or writing? Do you tend to choose 1st or 3rd person?

To Purge or Not to Purge?

In addition to writing I have many other interests. Reading, knitting, canning and painting come to mind immediately. One thing that all of these hobbies share is the inevitable accumulation of stuff.

I can’t imagine giving any of these things up I love them too much.

Now you might ask why not read only e-books? or why not buy only the yarn you need for the project you’re currently working on?

Well, the answer to those questions are simple and and if you are anything like me you know. One does not simply by the yarn for the project they are working on, and to suggest such a thing is ludicrous.

Books are another problem…in that I love them so much. There are currently over 1000 titles saved on my e-reader, but I also have five book cases brimming with books many of which have been read and re-read. I can’t part with them it would be too much like saying good bye to a lost friend or lover. Nor can I convert solely to e-titles despite the fact that my own books are published electronically there is nothing quite like a tangible book and I will forever sit on the fence for this debate.

So I know that to be successful the time will come where I must be ruthless to make any progress at all. Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

What can’t you bear to part with?

Write Something Real

I’m sure every author sets out to do this. So what do I mean? Write something thought provoking, or something that reaches inside you and rips at your guts or tugs at your heart strings. Write something vivid that will leave an impact.

Write what you love, not what people thing you should write or what you think will sell.

Yes, you read that correctly. All writers want to create the next work that takes the world by storm, and if they tell you they don’t then their full of shit, but it isn’t about that. Or at least it shouldn’t be. instead you should write in a way that brings each book to life.

So how do you do that? I’m sure I don’t have the answer, but for my money I’d bet write something real. Something you love. Be bold, be brave and don’t stop until the story inside of you is out in the world.

Paint your characters with vibrant colours. Love your protagonists. Know them inside and out as if they were your best friend. Hate your villains, they are the bag guys of the story after all, but offer redemption because on their side of the story they’re the hero. Create a rich world that you’re sad to see end. If you’re successful your readers will love your hero hate your villain and be sad to see the story end right along with you.

heart book

Write what you know

Everyone says that to new writers and it’s sound advice. After all just like it’s best to negotiate from a position of power it’s also best to write from one. That said, what happens when you can’t do that?

Well, normally I’d suggest research…a shit ton if need be – but even that isn’t always possible.

You’re a woman how do write believable male characters or vise versa? Sometimes there is no one to ask. There is no research that can reasonably be done So what do you do?

How do you get inside the head of your male homosexual leading character and express their relationship in a way that isn’t stereo typical? How do you make it three dimensional and moving?

I think sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet.

Redeeming Characters…

So, you bashed a character in your book. You gave them horrible qualities and put those qualities under the microscope for all to see. Now they are clamoring to have their story told.

So now what? How do you turn around a character trait and take a character from dis-likable and make them your hero? I think the secret is to make them as real as possible. Make them as human as you can. No one is completely good or completely bad.

Give your character a reason to have had their bad habits and horrible qualities in the first place, then show the journey that they are taking to fix those quarks.

If you can do this readers will fall in love with characters they started out loving to hate.