After almost a solid month of plotting, characterization,
pacing, and creating setting, I finally wrote the last sentence to my new novel
before I start the revision process. Feeling elated I sat back in my office
desk chair and beamed, enjoying the pleasurable sensations of finishing this
stage of the project. Then suddenly, I was stricken with horror. I had written the
story to completion. There was nothing more I could say or add to the story. It
was done in my mind.
But… it is only 16,000 words!
Being a first draft, I know I can expand the scenes and
probably drag out another 20,000 words turning this into a 36,000 word
manuscript. But I wonder, is that long enough? My fears were quickly assuaged
as I began researching the top selling indie authors.
It seems the days of minimum novel-length requirements
have passed. Many authors are selling tens of thousands of copies of their 99
cent 20,000 word stories and getting rich doing it. Lucinda Wilde is one
example. Her (it’s actually a husband and wife collaboration) 10,000-20,000
romance novels are selling in droves. Readers want quick fixes these days and
are not offended to shell out a little money for a few hours’ worth of reading
entertainment. Attention spans are short and so are many of the bestselling
Being able to write, publish, and sell a story or novella
is not an exact science. The short novella must be top notch. It must grab the
reader right away and addictively string them along until the story’s conclusion.
There can’t be any wasted scenes or oddly, off-putting dialogue. The story must
be streamlined and awesome.
Many writers will argue that a 15,000 or 20,000 word
novel is not a novel but a glorified short story. They argue that a book this
length would never make it in the mainstream, and they are right. But today’s
indie author isn’t writing for the mainstream, they are writing because they
have stories to tell that are outside of the mainstream. Stories that for
whatever reason the big publishing houses thought they couldn’t make a profit
on. That doesn’t necessarily mean the stories aren’t worth the public’s
attention, only that the corporate numbers didn’t pan out.
Going over my first draft, I can’t seem to find where I
could add more plot. The story is finished as it is and adding fluff will only
lessen the impact. As I begin the revision process I’m empowered by the fact
that there are no minimum requirements for an excellent story. I write scenes
that make the story strong not just to fill empty pages. My dialogue is tight; not
drawn out to add to the final word count. This freedom to write stories without
the leaden weight of a corporate marketing and financial responsibility is what
is revolutionizing the publishing industry and the writer as an artist as a
I’m sure if you’re a reader or author you’ve heard about
Amazon’s new prime membership for books. For a monthly fee a reader can now purchase
an unlimited amount of ebooks for as long as they remain members. I’ve done a
bit of research and here’s what I’ve discovered.
Although Amazon Prime does sound ominous to the author when
it comes to royalty payments it actually does have some pretty fantastic perks.
For one, an author will no longer see that dreaded return unit in their monthly
sales reports. Once a book is downloaded and the first ten percent is read the
author gets a full royalty whether the book is read entirely or returned.
Second, the book is now in the prime reading catalog so a
reader is much more apt to experiment with an unknown author because it isn’t
costing the reader anything to see what the book is about. It also will allow
for more experimental stories to be published. Books that a reader may be wary
to spend money on can now be read as a part of prime. Imagine how that frees
both writer and reader to experiment outside their comfort zones. This may lead
to some pretty amazing discoveries and breakthroughs.
Third, the fund for these books is ever increasing so in the
future an author may actually receive more royalty than if a reader had
purchased the book for the full retail price. All these facts plus numerous
other benefits such as free promo’s and countdown deals makes Amazon, in my
opinion, the absolute best place for indie authors to publish their works.
Some of you may disagree with the exclusivity of Amazon and
believe that it is prudent that an author distribute their books through as many
channels as possible to gain maximum exposure. I have put this notion to the
test for the last three years by having my books also distributed through
Smashwords to its available outlets. I have done significant marketing and
promotion for both sites. In the end, Amazon outsells all other sites including
Nook and Kobo by at least 25 to 1. A huge difference.
So, now what? As of today I have taken six of my books off
Smashwords to concentrate solely on promoting Amazon prime and my titles. I
plan on doing countdown deals, giving free promos, and most all, reiterating the
fact that it will cost nothing for a prime member to check out my books. That
is a huge incentive to sample a story.
If you own a Nook or Kobo, I regret that several of my titles
will no longer be available on those devices. I urge you to become an Amazon
prime member. I believe it is going to completely change how readers buy and
enjoy ebooks. I see it as the wave of the future and a
gateway for unlimited readership.
To everyone who follows ALWAYS WRITING, I would like to thank you for your support and comments over the years. In my never ending quest to find out what works best at getting noticed and selling books, I'm trying something new today.
If you have a Twitter account, would you please tweet the following message and ask your friends to retweet. I'm very curious how far and how many tweets this will go. As always, thank you for your support.
Writer’s are transport machines. We
put words on the page and transport reader’s minds to other places and times.
But at what cost to a writer’s psyche?
A great author once said that being
a writer is like having to do homework every day for the rest of your life.
There is always something to do; editing, rewriting, better setting details,
characterization, etc. Not a day goes by that I don’t spend time working on one
of my books or upcoming projects. Tens of thousands of hours spent plotting,
pitching, and producing. Sometimes I wonder what I would have done with those
hours had I not been a writer?
There are social sacrifices all
serious writers make. It is the loneliest profession in the world, after all.
The saddest however, is the writer who doesn’t hit the grand success they’ve
dreamt of and think they have wasted their time pursuing their passion. If you truly
enjoy your craft than that enjoyment itself is the reward; not fortune, fame,
or recognition. All the sacrifices made are worth it.
On a another note, I would like to thank Jackie Weger http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Weger/e/B001JS2M62 for taking time to help me get DROP OUT and the rest of my books noticed by the world. She runs Enovel Authors At Work, a great group of writers of which I am proud to be a part of.
It never fails to
amaze me how we have become such an instant society, a society in which
entertainment, whether television, movies, or books can be had at the ready
with the press of a button almost anywhere in the world and at any time. As a
writer, you must have a constant presence in order to stand out among all the
I have been on
vacation for the last few days and have not written any new posts to my groups
or made my presence known on the internet. You would think that such a short span
of time away from marketing wouldn’t have any effect on my book sales. But it
I wrote an article
about this phenomenon a few years back when I went on a longer vacation and saw
my sales drop dramatically. In order to sell books you must maintain a web
presence on the big writer’s sites and writer’s and reader’s threads and
communities at all times. People are constantly bombarded with ads and have
learned to ignore nearly all of them. The way to get noticed is to keep
We all need a
vacation from the stresses and absurdities of life; however, the work of a
writer is never really complete. Whether it’s creating new characters and
stories or marketing existing works, it’s having homework every day for the
rest of your life. To make it big in the book selling world you must put forth
the effort to get yourself noticed. Sales don’t occur because a book is a great
read they occur because people find out that the book is a great read. And that
is achieved by maintaining a presence.