Wow where do we start? This has to be one of the most multi-faceted extraordinary and compound subjects currently surrounding the indie book world. This is an everyday author/readers dream and nightmare rolled into one. Let's do something different if you will allow me, let's break this down into categories of the 'players'. CG has been nice enough to lend me his blog for the day while he continues to throw away drafts and chapters of Heliotrope into the refuse container. Cad Gelb is tied up in the corner of the room facing the northeast window while a cat sleeps at his feet. His head is drooping and that hood covering his face and ears is blocking out the words of wisdom I am about to unleash upon you.
3) ARC (Advance Reader Copy) or Beta Readers
Author- As an author first and foremost I will tell you that there are several reasons we animals write. These may as well be the same reasons that a musician writes a song, an actor acts, a politician lies, a drunkard has another drink of wine. The chase. Without sounding too philosophical and going too deep everyone has a dream. Everyone has a purpose. You my friend are one of the lucky ones if you have found your purpose worth chasing. You're even luckier if you have fulfilled a dream. It is not easy by any means. Working hard and sacrificing is the only way to get there. So, with that being said, why are you doing this, writing that is? Why all of the gut-wrenching hard tedious monotonous work? Money, fame, acknowledgement, a second income, why? Sometimes you just write because you are driven to do so. Something snapped, came undone. If you think you can just write something down and people will read it you are wrong. If you think you have the best damn book cover art in the world and everyone will want to read your story you are wrong. If you think what is in your head is what everyone wants to read you are wrong. But, if you think that everyone wants to know what is in your heart, your soul, and your gut, then you my friend are right!
Writing from these places is what readers want. Combine those three and you have a formula for a successful story. No writer ever got it 100% correct the first time around. Give up and you will never know if you had the heart, soul, and guts to get it right. I can't tell you how many wannabe authors and writers don't think that anyone wants to read their work. I hear it everyday, I see it in their robotic doll eyes. That glazed-over beaten down look. My first response is this, "NO ONE EVER STARTED OUT AT THE TOP. NO ONE!" With that being said, or shouted at them, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going. Hone it. I write so I can keep writing. That's it! That is the only reason. There are so many great stories in our heads that need to make it to your hearts, souls, and guts. From there it's luck, destiny, a greater plan, whatever you want to call it. Shoot for something you cannot reach and when you arrive there tell me how you feel putting all of that work into something you can now call your own. It felt great did it not? This is why we write. We have something to say in the coolest damn way we know how and when you read it you will know every ounce of energy we put into our stories were the best we could do at the time. Hang with us as indie authors and you will be pleasantly surprised at some of our work. We believe in ourselves and you should too. Once a week troll around the internet, a bookstore, anywhere books are sold and grab any book that looks interesting. Read it. Review it. Good or bad it helps, it helps quite a few people when you read and review a book.
EDITOR- Oh boy am I gonna get an earful for this. Here is goes: AN AUTHOR IS NOTHING AND I MEAN NOTHING WITHOUT A GREAT EDITOR OR BETA READERS. There I said it and I don't care who heard me. You can be the greatest author in the world and have a world class story worthy of the Gods, but if your book is full of errors, inconsistent characters, and blah descriptions then you are just churning water trying to stay afloat. You're beating yourself up and what could have been a great story is now an official garage sale item for $.25. Authors please do not underestimate a good or even great editor. Your story demands it. You demand it. Your readers demand it. Is there some mistakes in books, good books? Sure there are. I reread Philip K. Dick's original Minority Report last week and it was awful. Don't get me wrong the story was fantastic but the editing left something to be desired. I can look past that. Why? Do you have to ask? I didn't think so. Here comes the quandary. The biggest one of all. "I don't have the money or a publisher for a great editor, what do I do, argggg!" I will now point you to 'Players 3 and 4 above'. These can be some of your greatest allies BUT and this is a big BUT, you need to dial down the ego. Please for the love of all things that are holy dial back that ego. You're not the greatest yet. Let others see your work. Family, friends, and social media buddies. Use people that you trust. (Yes pirating is real so be careful with whom you trust, just ask CG. He is now a part of the "I got burned" club by someone 'scraping' his information).
Going back to the ego subject, if this is your first draft, book, or novel, don't build a wall or a shell. When others point out mistakes and errors 99% of the time it is because they care and want you to succeed, not because they are just mean pricks with a vengeance for other authors. If you want to continue writing let your guard down. I know it's hard to do but you need all of the constructive criticism you can get. I will reread this Blog and get inputs before I let it fly. "But it's MY work and it's MY creative juices that made this novel what it is! I don't want anyone to get it for free!" Oh God please stop whining. You are going to give your first book out for free anyways trust me. Just let it happen. Shhh, shh, that's it, just let it go... After you start selling your second book come and see me, I know a great editor who just loves what she does. When she points something out to you in passing don't cave in on yourself and run and hide. She only means well and truly wants you to succeed. You must maintain a thick skin at all times!