Word of Mouth

We hear time and again that what sells books is word of mouth. We only have to look at some of the recent runaway success stories to see that it’s a pretty accurate statement. When someone we know recommends a book, raves on about it even, it makes us curious. We want to read it too. See what makes it so rave-worthy.

I sometimes joke that I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read the Fifty Shades trilogy because, for a time, it seemed that was all everyone was talking about. People I know, who barely read, were hunkering down for the long haul. I was shocked by their admission. Not only were they reading the books but they were buying their own copies.

But I’m not here to lecture. Far from it. My point is, many of the people I know who bought the books did so because they heard about it from someone else. Many claimed to just want to know what all the hub-bub was about. Right. Oh yeah I’m not here to lecture. I forgot. Many of the people who admitted to reading it even acknowledged that the writing wasn’t all that good. (Being the only person on the planet who hasn’t read them, I can’t pass judgment on that.) Yet still they read on.

Now, you all know I’ve got a book ready to hit the bookstores in a few weeks. Here in the little community where I live my friends are all buzzing. Plans are being made for the book launch that will take place at the end of September. I’m already blown away by the response from my friends on Facebook, and their generousity when it comes to sharing things like the cover of my book, and other book- related posts I make on my Facebook page. I didn’t even have to chase them down or twist their arms behind their backs and make they cry “Uncle.” They just did it to help out a friend who happens to be an author with a book about to be released, and I think that’s pretty darn cool. While walking down this writing path I’m on, it’s indescribable to think of how many people are here to keep me company. 🙂  It makes me beyond happy.

Word of mouth can sell many books. Mind you, my book isn’t likely to sell a fraction of what the Fifty Shades trilogy did, but in my little corner of the world it’ll buzz for a time. Not only that, we’ll all share in that buzzing.  It’s not just about me and my book. It’s about our book. Ah— small communities. They sure know how to make an author feel loved.

Has word of mouth ever sent you running t the bookstore? Have you ever bought a book simply because someone raved on about it?

I Just Can’t Like You Anymore

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of problems liking people, which is new for me since I generally get along well with others. Here’s the scoop. I’ll start with Facebook. I love Facebook, don’t get me wrong, but this past while I’ve noticed, I no sooner “like” something then I notice that “like” has been taken away, disappeared into the great wide world of the Internet. Zappo! Poof! I don’t think it’s just me and my slow connection since others seem to agree with, but not everyone. Some say it hasn’t been a problem for them. And it’s not just the likeability thing. I’m sometimes told I can’t comment or else the comment I make disappears too. Well, okay, I’ll accept that, but when I want to comment on my own status it’s a bit annoying to be told I’m not allowed to.

Is it fair to knock these free services? I’m not sure. Do we have a right to certain expectations? I kind of think so since the whole idea is for us to interact with one another. Free or not, it’s difficult not to find yourself grumbling a time or two when these things mess up so frequently.

Since were on the subject of likes:

Now onto WordPress. I love the “like “ button we now have, because let’s face it sometimes we just don’t have time to think up a comment or sometimes we just have nothing to add, but still want to say, “Hey, I liked your post!” It’s a support thing and it’s great. However, most of the time my “like” button won’t load. This, I’m fairly sure is because of my connection and not a whole lot I can do about it. Every now and then I’m surprised when everything loads properly. So, it’s not that I don’t “like” you all anymore. Really it’s not you…it’s me.

The last of the proofreading for my book was done over the long weekend. I swear no matter how many times something is proofread, by yourself and others, those nasty little typos are bound to appear from out of nowhere. It’s seems inevitable. Yet we all hope. My editor says it’s impossible to catch them all. It’s soon off to the printers! I’ve been in touch with the Publicist from Nimbus and we’ve discussed launch dates although at this point it’s a bit tricky since there’s always the chance that things will get tied up at the printers. Can’t have a launch if the books have been delayed, right? For now, I have a tentative date since I needed to book the community centre ahead of time. No official announcement yet.  It’s all moving straight ahead.

Today Miss Charlotte comes to visit and we’re pretty excited. She hasn’t been down since Christmas. Hopefully, she’ll find lots to do and the weather will be great.

So, that’s my bit of news for the week. What are you all up to this week? Are any of you are having a problem “liking” people?

MIA

Just in case any of you are wondering, I haven’t gone any place. I’m just having some computer issues and it’s making my life most challenging these days. I’m hoping to set up a time to take my computer into the shop. But until then I’m very limited as to what I can and can’t do online. I’ve been reading a few blogs but I can’t leave comments and  only the text is coming up. So if you’ve you’ve posted any photos I can’t see them. Facebook is even worse. It looks pretty bare bones. And although “Flying with a Broken Wing is available for pre-order on Amazon.ca, all the clicking in the world won’t let me see the cover of my book on the site. I know it’s there.  http://www.amazon.ca/Flying-With-Broken-Wing-Laura/dp/1771080388  but I can’t even add the link here on my blog. NO fun..

Publication is a little over three months away. Time is closing in, and I’m started to get excited. In other news, a brand-spanking new Advanced Reading Copy arrived in my mailbox a few days back. You’ll have to take my word on it since — you guess it—I can’t add a photo. Oh bother. Here’s hoping I’m able to get back up and running at full capacity before too long.I miss you all.

Hope you’re having better luck than I have been.

What’s the Book About?

One of the toughest questions for any author to answer is , “What’ your book about?” Whenever that question gets asked we struggle to sum up our writing in a few words. Don’t ask me why. We’re used to writing synposes for our books so you’d think we’d be able to rattle off a brief summary as soon as that question is asked.

So, what’s “Flying with a Broken Wing” about? I’ll let the Nimbus fall catalogue tell you. (I’m on page 20 BTW.) Sorry, the qualityof the photo isn’t so good, but it’s better than a finger in the eye as they say.

DSC03709

So there you have it. A quick peek into my book and what it’s about. Guess it’s  happening after all! Yippee!

The New Cover

Here is the cover image for my new book. I’m told the text could possible change for the final, but this is the image we’re going with. As my editor said, “There are so many layers of meaning in a relatively simple image.”  If you read the book, I’m sure you’ll agree. As with the cover for my first book, simple seems to work well for the right kind of book.

 

DSC03615

Finally, A Little Book News

Comparing your first born to your second child is sometimes a bit difficult not to do. When that second little one comes along we start right away by comparing their sleeping patterns. At least I know I did. Often times your first-born is more advanced when it comes to language because they have more of your undivided attention. But that doesn’t mean your second child is any less special. All children bring their own special gifts to the planet. It is what makes all of us unique. The fact that we sometimes compare the development of our children doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make it any less so.

I know, what does this have to do with my upcoming book? Nothing. Well, maybe something. Maybe just the fact that it’s difficult not to compare my first book to this next one, and even the whole process of publishing. For instance, Bitter, Sweet was relatively short even though, during the editing process, 5,000 words were added to the story. My upcoming book is a tad too long which means I have to make cuts this time. When my editor told me I had to add 5,000 words to Bitter, Sweet I cringed. I thought it was nearly impossible. However, editors don’t get to be editors by not knowing their stuff. Caitlin made suggestions as to where scenes could be added and slowly but surely the word count came up to where it needed to be. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d originally thought.

But cuts feel like, I don’t know, like an amputation of sorts. I’m mulling the idea of getting rid of a few very minor characters as well as a few small scenes. Writers often refer to it as “Killing off your darlings.” Might sound a bit extreme, but this late in the game it does feel extreme. I blame myself for being too wordy during the first edits. (I had an inkling this might be the case.) But laying blame doesn’t change what is. I still need to decide what can go and what can stay. Luckily, I’m not talking about 5,000 words this time, but still….

Work on the fall Nimbus catalogue is about to start. That means I’ll soon have a cover for my book. Contrary to what many people think, I’m not responsible for coming up with a cover, and thank goodness for that! You really wouldn’t want to see what I’d come up with. This doesn’t mean I won’t have any input. Once they come up with a cover, it’ll be sent my way for approval. If I hate it they’ll keep working at it. The day Caitlin sent me the cover for Bitter, Sweet I was afraid to open the file, wondering what I’d do if I absolutely hated it. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem. I loved it right away. I can’t imagine it being any different.

As for the title.

The title of “Bitter, Sweet,” was originally, “Bittersweet.” I remember when the comma was suggested. I immediately thought it looked weird. The concern with the title was there were so many other books on the market with bittersweet in them, and they wanted this one to stand out. They also thought the comma gave the book a more literary feel. The comma certainly seemed to do that. I mulled the idea over for a few days and then decided that the compromise didn’t feel that horrible, and really wasn’t all that different from the original. Of course, now I couldn’t imagine the title without a comma.

So what about the title of this book? During discussions with my editor, we’ve decided to make a slight adjustment to the title. Instead of “To Fly With a Broken Wing,” We’ve decided to change it to “Flying With a Broken Wing.” Just a small change, but I’d originally titled it, “Fly With a Broken Wing,” until it was pointed out that images of “a fly” were difficult to get past. Hadn’t thought of that when I originally titled it. Now it makes me giggle.

So yes, the book is making progress. We’re working toward publication. I know it feels really slow, and a lot of people have been telling me they’re getting anxious. I’m sure you can appreciate how I feel being the author and all. But patience is something all writers learn. In fact, it’s a must. As soon as I have a cover I’ll post.

So I’m off now to start making some cuts. Wish me luck!

Where I’m At

So I’ve been kind of hiding around blogland this winter, coming out occasionally to see what going on. You may or may not have noticed.

I wanted to give a shout out to a few new blogs I discovered this past week. I hope you’ll pop on over if you have time and see what they’re all about.

The Storm Project

The Rain Girl

Part Time Art Projet

Winter’s been flying by and I’ve been busy writing. Nothing really new to report here. At the end of January, my editor emailed to say she’d lost pretty much all of January due to illness and so this meant the edits on my novel was pushed back. This just means I’ll have more time to work on my current WIP. Yes, I did get through a first draft and now it’s time to start all over again.

Is a writer ever really through with a manuscript? Most of us can always find something we want to change, but alas, there comes a time when we have to say enough is enough.

Now with a book contract signed and “To Fly With a Broken Wing” due to come out this fall it’ll soon be time to start thinking about all the things that go along with having a newly published book— book launches and signing, readings, and meeting new people. Still, it’s a fair ways away. I don’t have a cover yet for the book, but I’ll be sure to share it with all of you when I do.

So there you have it, a quick, kind of dull summary of where I’m at.  And with March edging closer to an ending, I’m anxious for the nice weather and a few signs of spring to come our way.

Now’s your turn to tell me where you’re at. Speak up!

Who Are You Sleeping With?

DSC03197I posted this pic on Facebook some weeks ago. It’s actually a plaque I got for Christmas this year and thought it was kind of neat. But the truth comes out when I say I can’t remember ever taking a book to bed with me. While, I sometimes stay up late to read I don’t do it from beneath the covers. Not even once!

I know a lot of people read in bed almost every night. It’s part of their bedtime ritual. After a long day it’s a great way for them to unwind as they curl up in bed with one of their favourite authors. For some, it’s the only quiet time in the day when they can enter an imaginary world and become a part of it. And we all know how important it is to lose ourselves into the world of imagination, right?

These days I tend to read while using the treadmill. In fact, some days it’s the only time I find to read.(Ah the busy, busy life of an author!) Let’s face it, a treadmill can be pretty darn boring, aimlessly walking until you work up a sweat with no true destination in mind, not even a change in scenery. So, I decided to combine the two. I thought, why not?  I’ve got such a list of books waiting for me I try to cram in reading time anywhere I can.

I’m also one of those lucky people who can read while driving in a car and not lose their lunch in the process. FYI, I’m not the one doing the driving. (Wouldn’t want to scare any of you readers out there. ) Living 45 minutes out of town does sometimes have its advantages, and on shopping day I can squeeze in some reading as well. I’m also known to take reading material with me to work, and read on breaks or at lunch time. Hey, who says you can’t find time to read?

Reading is important to writers. It’s not an option, it’s a must. I know many people don’t get that, and that’s alright. I’ve been accused by some of  “always” reading or writing, like it’s a bad thing. But the truth is, if you’re serious about being a writer, you’ve also got to read. Writers are often inspired by reading the words of others. I can’t begin to say how many times a particular book has inspired me with my own writing even if that book doesn’t resemble what I’m writing at all. It’s kind of a strange and wonderfully weird thing that happens to many writers when we read a book we really love. It makes us want to rush out and write our own story. We are sometimes struck by a moment of clarity that brings everything into focus for us, and we have other writers to thank for that.

Okay, so I got a little side-tracked from my original post. I was talking about reading in bed, which I mentioned I don’t do. But how many of you read in bed— once in awhile, never, or almost always?

Liars, Snails and Writers– We’ve Got a Thing Going on!

I’m a liar. There I’ve said it.

I bet some of you are too.

Let’s talk about it.

I tell myself lies all the time. Things like, I’ll just hop on the Internet for a quick second and check my email. Who knows, my editor might be trying to contact me in the worse way and I have to know right …this…minute. I mean, you know what editors can be like, expecting things to happen at the snap of their finger…And, and, if I don’t respond to her email immediately something catastrophic could take place. Like I don’t know…like maybe the earth will stop spinning on its axis, maybe the sun will forget to set or maybe, just maybe, the fate of the entire world rests on that “non-existing” email from my ever-so-impatient editor waiting for me in my inbox.

Here  lies another lie. It comes after I’ve written a few hundred words or so.

Got to get up and move around…gotta stretch those legs of mine. Things seize up. After fifty years of living, body parts begin to wear out you know. When I come to a tense part of my story, sometimes I just can’t sit still.

So yes, I’m a published author but that doesn’t mean I can’t come up with any number of excuses NOT to write. Writing takes discipline. No two ways around it. It’s just as difficult for me to find that discipline as it is for anyone else. Published or non-published, we writers all battle the same demons. Yes, I know, I’m published, there should be more of an incentive to keep me going then those of you who are struggling to break through, but my livelihood doesn’t depend on the money I make writing ergo I can procrastinate with the best of them.

Crummy attitude— my livelihood doesn’t depend upon the money I make writing ergo I can procrastinate. I mean really. Considering I’d quit my job in a heartbeat to stay home and write full time, I’d say that is a darn poor attitude.  So while I say one thing, I don’t do a single thing to back it up. It’s not an easy thing. It takes a leap of faith. Yes I would like to make a living writing, yet I continue to work because my job, while it may not be my first choice in life, is at least predictable. I know what my income will be.

The truth is, making a living with writing means you’d have to churn out far more novels a year than what I seem capable of doing. I know some people can. One writer on Facebook is spitting out words like fireworks. Her books are all over the internet and if I had half her energy I might stand a chance. She said she quit her business to write full time. So it’s possible.

Another writer told me it takes three or four published books a year in order for a writer to rake in enough money for the year. When I heard that I knew I wouldn’t be retiring anytime soon.

I’m a snail.

I’m a snail and a liar, and a little unsure of what my true objectives are when it comes to writing. We all assume every writer wants to make a living writing, but maybe that’s just not so. I’m sure some writers are happy just to see their stories in book form, something for them to look back on in their old age and feel they left their mark in the world. Their children and grandchildren will remember them with pride.

Now I wonder what spurs the writer onward– money or leaving behind a small legacy? I suppose that depends upon the writer. We are all individuals. Different goals, different points of view.

But what do I know? Could be I’m far off base. Snails are not known for their intellectual abilities.  😉

If you’re a writer what keeps you writing? Do you expect to one-day make a living writing? If so, do you have any specific plan in place?

Surviving a Bad Review

So you’ve written a book, and you’re published. You’re on cloud nine dancing barefoot with the pixies. I mean, you should be, it’s a big accomplishment. Your book receives glowing reviews. Friends stop you on the street to tell you how amazing they think your book is. Some thank you for being the awesome writer you are. Everyone is happy, they’re up on that cloud with you bouncing around to “Oh happy day,” and it’s a glorious feeling. They love you… I mean your book. Those months of sweat and toil were worth it. You’re going to be all right.

 

But then the unthinkable happens. You’re googling your book one evening, stroking that ego a bit more, trying to uncover even more people who love you…I mean your book. You see your book mentioned and you click the link.  Bam! You’re hit with a hard blow to the ego. Someone you don’t know has written a review. They hate you…I mean your book. This can’t be. Surely they didn’t understand the deeper meanings, or appreciate all the intricate plot threads. They couldn’t have. Just look at that! While summarizing the book, they wrote the facts wrong. Were they even paying attention? What the heck, your main character was a boy, not a girl, they lived in the city, not the freaking country. I mean, how credible can this reviewer be? Did they skim over the most amazing parts? If only you had them here. Let them tell you to your face they don’t like you…I mean your book.

 

I don’t care who you, if you’ve written a book and sold any amount of copies, someone  out there is going to be less than enthusiastic about it. While having everyone rave about your book is absolutely divine,if you think everyone who reads it is going to love it you need to get in the real world. I know, I know, you already know that. And if you’re lucky those who don’t like it won’t rate it on Goodreads or write a review. While all that may sound good in theory it’s not all that practical unless you don’t venture out onto the Internet.  Eventually, a book you write is going to get a one or two star rating, or an unfavourable review. That’s when you’re faced with the reality of it all, it’s right before your eyes. No denying it. Someone doesn’t like you…I mean your book. Worst of all they told the whole world.

 

So how’s an author to get past a bad rating or review, you might ask? Here are a few suggestions I have.

 

 

  1. Accept the fact that this is bound to happen. I’m not talking about accepting it on an intellectual level, but accept it in your heart. Hoping and wishing everyone will love your book won’t change the facts. People have different tastes. You do. Why wouldn’t someone else?
  2. Learn not to take these things personally. The person rating your book probably doesn’t know you from Adam. They’ve got nothing vested in you. You’re a name. That’s it. Remember, they aren’t saying they don’t like you. They’re saying they don’t like what you’ve written. There is a difference.
  3. Spend time on Goodreads. Check out your favourite authors. Read the reviews of books you absolutely love. What you’ll find is your favourite authors all wrote books that someone didn’t like. You might think these reviewers are nuts, but it doesn’t change the facts…or the rating.
  4. Be the first to write a bad review for your book. Don’t let someone else beat you to it. Print it out and post it where you can see it during the early days of publication. This will help absorb the shock when the real thing comes along. Remember not to be too nasty or obnoxious.
  5. Weigh the good reviews with the bad. Which one outweighs the other? If you receive 100 poor reviews or ratings and only three good ones (all from close friends) maybe this is telling you something. Otherwise, blow it off. One bad review, or two or three isn’t the end of the world.

 

Hopefully, these suggestions will help cushion the blow of that first bad review. I say, take comfort in knowing that you’re in good company.

 

Has a bad review ever set you in a tailspin? How did you deal with it? If you’re on Goodreads have you ever given a bad rating or review? If so, did you give any thought as to whether the author would read your review or see the rating?

 

 

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 239 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 81,075 hits