Take our characters into your hearts, minds, souls and worst nightmares
“Publishing is hard. No doubt about it. But sometimes authors get so caught up in the publishing aspect of the profession that we forget the reader doesn’t give a darn how the book was made, researched, written, published, or promoted.” – Hope Clark
We really don’t want to tell you all that because why would you want to know that any more than you want the details about how your prospective new lawnmower was made? Instead, we much prefer you knowing that we hope you’ll enjoy a good story and then take our characters into your hearts, minds, souls and worst nightmares.
Hope Clark wants to be persuaded a book has a story that will probably interest her more than that it’s cheap or free or the author’s hard-fought debut novel. I feel the same way.
On the other hand, unless a writer is well known and can fill his or her blog with news about upcoming book signings, conventions and other appearances, or–perhaps–the progress of a feature fill that’s being made from one of his/her books, the rest of us don’t have bookish information to provide in a weekly blog.
So, we talk about the subject matter in our books hoping, for example, that people who love mountain climbing will read a post about it and then see that the author has written a novel with a mountain climbing theme with a plot sounds interesting and a story fits within one of the genres the individual likes. The gurus say that if an author writes weekly posts–or even tweets–that say nothing but “buy my book” s/he is spamming his/her own readers. I agree.
That leaves us with talking about the subjects and genres we love and hoping that our posts attract the kinds of discerning readers who are will see possibilities in our books. However, I’ve learned a few cautionary things about this idea:
- Murderers don’t read mystery thrillers about murder and mayhem unless the novelist includes how-to-do-it tips.
- Using a lawnmower in your story line doesn’t attract people who mow yards or sell lawnmowers.
- If you whine to prospective readers that writing your latest novel made you insane, they will be too superstitious to buy it.
- Footnotes attached to everything in the novel you researched (cited with sources) or experienced (cited with names of witnesses) do not “ramp up” your story’s appeal. (I know, Lincoln in the Bardo breaks this rule.)
- Forget about the idea of committing a sensational crime and then writing a based-on-a-true story novel about it. Most jurisdictions have laws that won’t let you profit from the bad that you do unless you only imagined it.)
- If you put spells or subliminal messages in your books that force your readers to buy more of your books, it’s probably best not to mention it.
- Saying your novel is just like the novel of a famous writer will cause (a) more people to read the famous person’s novel, and (b) people to ask why your novel isn’t also on the bestseller list and the well-known review sites.
When it comes down to it, I don’t even know why I read what I read, much less how to write something that somebody else will read. My reading habits are all over the map, so how anyone would include me in their target audience is beyond me. Most advertising/promotion software has probably figured out by now that the words “free” and “cheap” really turn me off. I suppose it’s possible that the NSA/CIA/FBI track the books I read and sell that information to publishers. If so, thanks for spying because I keep coincidentally finding plenty of wonderful stuff to read.
As for my own writing, I write about what interests me and hope that I’m not the only person on the planet who finds such stories fascinating.
Since so many people love fast food, I based my latest e-book short story, “En Route to the Diddy-Wah-Diddy Landfill While the Dogwoods Were in Bloom” on fast food. So far, McDonalds hasn’t agreed to included a copy with each Happy Meal.