Friday, 13 February 2015

If you don’t care about your book why would anyone else?

I’ve read a couple of articles recently where people talked about their experience as an e-book writer and self-publisher. Each had a friend who made a success of it and raked in the money and they were inspired to give it a go.
Confessions of a failed romance novelist
One male, one female - each throwing up an e-book with the sole desire to make money and they attempted this because they were desperate. One chose romance, the other erotica with shape-changing dragons, and neither should have been writing in either genre. He describes it as embarrassing and an uninviting stew. His research was asking one ex-girlfriend what she read as erotica.
She spent an inordinate amount of time generating a fake persona and opening twitter accounts in that name. But she has an agent who says her book got readable after the 135th page and clearly doesn't normally represent romance novels at all given the way she said ‘she understood’ that they had simple plots.
If it only gets readable at page 135, I have serious doubts about the whole thing; or is that the whole thing? *snorts* It got readable when I could see ‘the end’ on the page.
They slap some awful cover on it and load it onto Kindle expecting the money to roll in.
And *spoiler alert* it doesn't. One sells 18 copies and the other 3 or something.
I consider my books and my stories as wordy babies. I love them. I cry with the characters. I fall in love with them. I have honestly sobbed when I have killed characters off or broken their hearts. And if the sex I write doesn't turn me on, how the heck will it turn anyone else on? Why would I be ashamed of them? Why would I shove them out poorly dressed and prepared for the world?
Is it worse that they fail after I have put my heart and soul into them? Maybe. But I will know that I did the best I could for them.
They are both so ashamed of the book they have written that they don’t put any care into marketing or releasing them. I’ll bet that they aren’t tagged correctly. I can’t imagine they put much effort into writing a summary or teaser pitch for them. Her book doesn’t sound like a romance novel at all given she says it is super angsty. Romance readers expect a HEA or HFN (happy for now) ending. There is a formula and she hasn’t researched it and she doesn’t know that because she doesn’t read the books.
Their products must reek of the desperation they exude. Unlike their friends’ efforts.
They can both clearly write. They have funny, self-deprecating articles published on webpages. And I hope they got paid for it.
So where did they go wrong? I reckon they both chose genres they didn’t understand or care about. They don’t read in the genre they chose to write in. I don’t read military fiction, why would I try to write it?
And they missed another big marketing opportunity. In each article, they don’t say what the book was or give their penname and they don’t give a link to it because they are still so ashamed of it. Thankfully, Beverly Bush is a fake penname because if it was real you’d be ruined right off the blocks for romance writing.
A few people who read the article might have gone to buy the book or read it on their Kindle account to see if it is as bad as the authors say it is. That’s some more sales and reviews they didn’t even try to get.
In the world of self-publishing right now, you have to be everything; writer, marketer, editor, agent and promoter. And if you can’t do all of that by yourself, find people who can help you, even if you have to pay them.
Because if you don’t care about what you produce, no-one else will.