Of Writers and Prose: How the ever-loving $#%^& do I sell my book?

Quill-InkFirst of all, I’m not an expert at this and I’ve never claimed to be. This is just my perspective and how I view the publishing industry.

A writing friend of mine wrote this blog post last month. I’ll give you all time to read it. It’s a very interesting read as it shows the frustration that every author, especially new ones, are experiencing with publishing right now.

https://loveslastrefuge.com/2017/01/06/i-am-the-poster-child-for-failed-branding/

I’ve known Nya/Diane for several years and I feel her pain. The genre she writes has taken a really big hit over the last several years with indie publishing houses closing and pirating. It’s frustrating to see all that time and effort you put into a book go down the drain, and to be honest, it’s made me leery of any publishing venture outside of doing it myself.

The biggest concern is that with all the new writers publishing books, the digital landscape has become congested. Clogged even. What’s a new author to do? Hell, what’s a mid-list author to do? I have six books out and I barely make enough to buy one of those expensive coffees you have to order in a different language, but that’s my fault. In the last year I’ve done next to no promotion of my work. I’ve been too busy with school and Job That Pays to give any attention to my writing career. It isn’t that I don’t know how to market myself, or that I feel it’s hopeless; I just haven’t put any time in to doing it.

Some marketing terms that are bantered around the industry leave a bad taste in my mouth. For instance the phrase ‘target audience’. I hear this A LOT, but to me a reader isn’t a target. They’re not to be hunted down and pummelled with links to Amazon sites. Readers deserves our respect, and we need to treat them that way. Instead of throwing book links at them, why not connect with them through hobbies or other interest. Many new writers only connect with other writers, and while that’s good for learning the ropes, it’s the connections outside of the writing bubble that we need to make.

Whatever way you plan to publish, make no mistake, it’s a business and must be treated as such but promoting yourself and your work isn’t, and it shouldn’t be viewed that way. Promotion is about you; making a connection with people. There is a difference between promoting your work, and marketing it.

Marketing: noun

  1. the act of buying or selling in a market.
  2. the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the        producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising,    shipping,storing, and selling.

Vs.

Promoting: verb (used with object), promoted, promoting.

to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further:

            to promote world peace.

2. to advance in rank, dignity, position, etc.  Education.to  put ahead to the next higher stage or grade of a course or series of classes.

4. to aid in organizing (business undertakings).

5. to encourage the sales, acceptance, etc., of (a product), especially through advertising or other publicity.

 

I put these two definitions up to show you the difference. It’s very subtle, but it’s there. Think of it this way, MARKETING is your Amazon or blog page with your books; the site where readers can PURCHASE your work. PROMOTION is the act of bringing readers to those sites. With the rise of digital publishing, these two terms have blurred. Yes, they are connected to each other and they may seem like they’re the same but MARKETING is not PROMOTING, and PROMOTING is not MARKETING.

I think this is going to require more blog posts.

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It’s a WIP! [Un-named Adult Magical Realism Story]

Tim Roth has a funny quote; “The road to Hell is paved with works-in-progress”, and with that in mind I bring you an excerpt from my latest WIP, the as-of-yet-unnamed-magical-realism story.

Please keep in mind this is a WIP. There are bound to be error in grammar and what not. 😛

~~~~

It was another couple of days before the doctors released Jolene from the hospital. She still had the headaches, but after a several M.R.I.’s the doctors concluded it was just the result of a mild concussion, but it didn’t help alleviate the grief she still held on to. She lay on the couch and stared at the television. One of the afternoon talk shows that pitted mother against daughter, or something like that. Jolene wasn’t paying attention. She couldn’t shake the knowledge that his act of kindness toward her caused his death. If she’d just been sterner and insist he not do anything for her, he’d be alive. She glanced at the time on her cell phone. One-fifteen. They’d be talking over his usual bowl of soup and toasted cheese sandwich right about now, and then he’d leave her a toonie, tip his hat and go home. That’s what should happen. Not this. Not him in a grave. She rolled over onto her back and closed her eyes. The flashes of multi-coloured lights were still going off, but they weren’t as bright as before. She focused on the faint colours. It still relaxed her, made her feel good. Just like Mr. Nithercott used to do.

The sound of keys unlocking a door brought her around. Lilith strode into the small apartment with a plastic bag in her hand. Her long black duster was soaked and drops of water beaded off her shoulders and back and made a wet line to the galley kitchen.

Jolene caught the scent of food. “You brought food back from the restaurant?”

Lilith pulled back the hood of her sweatshirt as she placed the plastic bag on the counter. “I thought it would be nice to have, like you know, a wake for Mr. Nithercott.” She pulled out a medium size, round take-out container. “I got some soup from the cooks and a couple cheese sandwiches.” She turned to Jolene and her face dropped. “What’s wrong? Why are you crying? I thought you’d like this?”

Jolene wiped away the wetness from her face. “I do. I just wasn’t expecting it.”

Lilith pulled off her coat and hung it up on a hook by the door. “I thought, maybe if you’re up to it, we could put some flowers on his grave?” She sat on the far end of the couch. “We can catch the number seven there and back.”

Jolene nodded as she swung her legs over the side of the couch. “Thank you.”

Lilith shrugged. “I know you liked the old guy and it isn’t right that you didn’t get the chance to go to his funeral.” She paused before standing up. “Poor guy didn’t have many people there.”

“You went?”

Another shrug. “I thought someone from the restaurant should go.”

Jolene followed her out to the kitchen. “Did any of his family show up?”

“None that I saw.” Lilith poured some of the soup into a waiting bowl. “Just a bunch of really, nicely dressed people. “ She rested the take-out container on the counter. “Do you think he had money?”

Jolene opened the sandwich containers. “No idea. If he did, he never talked about them.” She froze at the sight of the sandwich. The white bread toasted to a nice light brown; small beads of ‘cheese sweat’ dotted the small portion that overlapped the bread and the slight aroma of grease floated up from the container. She stared down at the sandwich, remembering his smile, the way his mouth moved when he ate.

Her stomach growled and she picked up the sandwich. “I am so hungry.” She bit down into the toast, savouring the sharp flavour of the cheese. She took another bite, bigger this time and the third bite she was stuffing as much of the toast into her mouth as she could.

“Whoa. I thought you didn’t like Swiss cheese?”

“I don’t, but I’m so hungry.”

Lilith held open the second container. “I got them to make you a normal cheese sandwich. I was going to eat that one.”

Jolene stopped chewing and looked down at the remaining half. “You want it?”

She got an indigent look shot her way. “Half a sandwich?”

Jolene grabbed the food and headed out to the living room. “Too late. Times up. Mine now.”

Author Interview with Christelle Delport

This month, I reach all the way across the ‘pond’ to the U.K and speak with Christelle Delport. Her new book White River Calling has the main character…well, I’m not going to give it away. After all, it’s her book.

So let’s begin…

CRDelport1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?
I was born and raised in Benoni, South Africa. My parents moved around a lot, so we never stayed in one place for very long. I am currently residing on a smallholding in Walkerville South Africa. It is just south
of Johannesburg.

What Genre do I write? I think I’m still trying to figure that out. I like to tell a story. My first book, Basics, is a sort of biographical fictional novel. The characters are fictional but everything that happened
to them, I got from stories real soldiers told me. My second book, White River Calling, is a fiction adventure story with a little hint of Science Fiction maybe. I have another book planned that is a detective murder
mystery. So as you can see, I don’t really have a specific genre as yet.

2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?
At the moment I am only writing part time. I have a full time job in IT working for a cell phone operator. It does afford me the opportunity to test the water, so to speak. I don’t get to write as much as I would like. Writing takes time, and lucky for me, I have a very understanding partner who affords me the time to write when I’m not working. For the last year
and a bit, you can guess how I spent my lunch hour.

At first I send out a lot of queries with big dreams of becoming the next hot-shot writer, but reality struck and I received one rejection letter after another. Luckily I discovered the wonderful world of eBook publishing which gives anyone the chance to get published. I also quickly discovered my writing wasn’t nearly as good as I thought and that I still
had a lot to learn. I joined various online sites to learn more and improved my writing. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. One must only be willing to learn. Who knows, I still might be the next hot-shot writer.

3. What was your experiences like with Self-Publishing?
Publishing the book is actually remarkably easy. I studied the recommended style guide and made sure the book was setup according to the prescribed style, and, viola! Getting people to read it is a whole different challenge, and for a new writer, in that lay the difficulty. They first need to learn about me, the writer. You first need to build a reader base
and that takes time and patience. Almost everyone that reads one of my stories, whether it is a short story or a book, love it. That is a start and I’ll build on that.

4. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What was the inspiration (if any) behind this story?
It actually started out as a writing exercise. Something I do when I get stressed. I sit down and start writing, anything that comes to mind. I started with a guy in the desert, a guy with no memory, just to create a little bit of mystery. I didn’t want to put him in an ordinary setting, so I put him in the middle of a desert. But not an ordinary desert, it is actually in the middle of Arkansas. And there is a drought, a bad one, with no water in sight. So I started to work on some back-story for the
guy and came up with some pretty good stuff. Soon I had so many ideas and they grew. Then I started to write, and soon, White River Calling saw the light.

5. Was it difficult to write a character with no memory of who he is/was? 
No not really. When I did my planning for the character, I still worked out his complete back-story; I just didn’t share it with the reader. What was fun about it was that I got to develop the character right before the reader’s eye. Yeah, I know, you develop all characters, but they have back-story, a platform. For Sam, I had to build the platform within the pages of the book, and the setting where he ended up, largely determined that platform. He could’ve ended somewhere else, and then his path would had been completely different.

6. What do you hope readers will find interesting about this story?
First of all, the story. It is a really good story. There is romance, suspense, action, and even a hint of science fiction. The dynamics between the characters are interesting, and how they have to work together in order to ensure their own survival. The fact that a small town, that don’t trust strangers, have to rely and depend on one to save them. Will you survive if all your basics structures get taken away?

7. What things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?
I often write short stories about every day events I see, or work them into a story. When it comes to a novel, I have a general idea of what I want to achieve, but let the story develop on its own. For me as a writer the story is just as exciting as it is for the reader, because I don’t really know how it’s going to develop.

8. Is there one genre in particular that you would like to write? Something you would find a challenge?
I think I am too young as a writer to really be concerned or classify myself into a certain genre. Maybe when I have ten books or more under my belt I’ll be able to answer that question. For now I write the story and see what develops.

9. As a reader, what are some things that attract you to a story?
Of course the story has to be interesting. I read a wide variety of genre’s. I like to read a book twice. Once as a reader, just enjoying the story. Then a second time, as a writer, when I look at the reading and analyze the writing to see where it can help to improve my own writing.

10. Have you ever thought about giving up? If you did, what changed your mind?
I write because I love it, not to be a commercial success, although if that happens, I won’t sneeze at it. I like to share my stories with people and enjoy engaging people who read my books and to hear their thoughts and what they thought. It is tedious and hard work and it takes a lot of effort to put a readable book together. I will keep doing it as long as I
enjoy it.

 

To learn more about this author, please click the links below

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stella_Del

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7084481.C_R_Delport

 

stelladellBooklinks:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/311097
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CKNGKOA

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