Do we give readers what marketers say they want, or what we want to write?

Over the past year or so I have paid for a number of marketing courses to help me sell my books. Unfortunately, when I signed up I didn’t realise that when they promised that I would sell tons of books if I followed their plan, that the books they were talking about wouldn’t be mine.

What do you mean? I hear you say.

Well, I mean, that these courses are designed to help you sell books that sell, which may not necessarily be your books. They cater for genre pulp fiction or non-fiction self-help type books. If you don’t write stuff like that, then from my experience, you won’t sell that many books. If you  follow the training in all of these authorpreneurral type courses where a few writers make millions out of selling novella style crime/mystery/whodunnit stories, then you will succeed. Especially if you are prepared to give most of your books away. Literature in general is suffering because of this influx of junk food style prose, in my opinion.

Readers don’t always want safe, they want different. Give it to them – please!

I don’t want to write like everyone else.

My motivation for writing does not come from the desire to make money, it comes from the desire to write for the thrill, the fun, the wonder of the written word. I am passionate about my writing. I laugh, cry, hurt when I write. I feel exhausted sometimes after I have spent a few hours struggling with sentences that won’t work, or characters that say things like, ‘Paul, we’ve done it!’ Ah! Done what? Now I have to figure out what they’ve done. It’s called imagination and you won’t find that in any course.

So, writers, not authors, writers – write from the heart, the gut, the soul – not from the bank account.

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Here is a wonderful poem by Charles Bukowski which sums up my rant beautifully.

So You Want To Be A Writer

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

 

If you would like to know more about my work, please visit my website  Oddly Books:

http://www.oddlybooks.com

 

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Read A Book Video Challenge

I was recently challenged to record a video, requesting people to read a book. Whilst I was practising the piano accordion, I began to sing a few lines about what books mean to me and why people should read them. After a few goes and some interesting input from a large red bookworm, I decided to record the following video and post it on Facebook.

 

You can view it here: https://www.facebook.com/nikki.mcdonagh.56?fref=ufi

 

So – READ A BOOK!!  Preferably mine:

 

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All Authors Blog Blitz!!

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So excited because I am hosting my first All Authors Blog Blitz!!!

I am very pleased to be hosting the versatile and talented Karen Einsel who has a fascinating insight to the relationship between authors and athletes.I know what you’re thinking:

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What? How? I sit and type, and sometimes get up to make myself a cup of tea or coffee. I’m no athlete.”

 

 

 

But Karen has made an interesting connection that just might change your mind. Take it away Karen!

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Authors and Athletes

I’m a tennis fan, and if you’re not, that’s okay. No matter which sport you are a fan of or who your favorite player is, you have to admire their tenacity. Their willingness to go the extra mile. To give it their all, win or lose.They didn’t get to where they are by how many tweets they tweeted, nor by updating their facebook status. No, it took studying their craft, practicing, and a lot of hard work. They play through pain and adversity. When others say they can’t, they believe they can.

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Authors can learn a lot from athletes and believe it or not, we have a lot in common. For one; Not everyone will like us, or like what we do, or even how we do it. And that’s okay. We need to realize that we are all unique. Each of us have our own strengths and weaknesses, but it’s what we do with them that sets us apart. We both have hopes and dreams. We set goals and work towards achieving them. Sometimes we fall short, but we struggle on.

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And last, but not least, we both have support groups. We might have the raw natural talent, but we need the people who rally around us. Who help us along the way. Family and friends make up a big part, but athletes also rely on trainers, nutritionists, and coaches, where writers have beta readers, editors, and proofreaders. But the bottom line is, it’s up to us if we want to succeed or not. Do we swing and take a chance on striking out? If we strike out, do we just give up? Or do we go back out there and try again? So the next time you throw your hands in the air and shout, “I give up!” Stop and think, “What would your favorite athlete do?”

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Thank you Karen for an interesting insight into the challenges that face both authors and athletes.

And to continue the BLOG BLITZ – you can check out my post – CREATIVE USE OF LANGUAGE IN NOVELS –  on Karen’s blog here:

 

You can find and follow Karen:

Here on Facebook

Here on Twitter

And her Blog – Karen’s Different Corners: HERE!

 

Author Spotlight – Hannelore Moore

I would like to introduce to you the wonderful Historical Romance author – Hannelore Moore.

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Could you tell us a little about yourself and your typical day?

I have always wanted to be an author, but I really got serious in 2006, when a close friend of mine earned his Master’s degree in creative writing. As I watched him present his thesis, I thought, “Wow! How great is that? Getting an advanced degree for doing something you love!” So I decided to apply and muddled through until I graduated in 2009. I’m not really sure someone can be taught to write, but attending classes and having deadlines and a structure made me put stuff down on paper. That was the most valuable thing about that program, and I’m so glad I did it!

I have a full-time job, so my weekdays are pretty busy with non-creative stuff. At the end of the day, unless I’m truly inspired or in the middle of something, I tend to have a glass of wine, listen to music, and mess about on social media, especially lately. I think you’ve mentioned this yourself, Nikki, that once we’ve finished a book, we have to spend a lot of time promoting it, so I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter more frequently these last few months.

Since my poor old dog TrevOrr is slowing down, I tend to hang out with him and don’t go out as much as I used to. Weekends are spent lounging and attempting to write. I have a couple of friends who drag me out for charity dog walks, movies, or food. I appreciate that they get me away from this monitor every once in a while.

 Tell us about your novel The Ice Goddess.

The Ice Goddess is about Evangeline Grey, an introverted woman who has lost everyone important to her. When she finds out that her guardian is going to force her into marriage so he can get his hands on her pending fortune, she manages to escape, but in the winter of 1752, it’s hard for a woman alone to survive, especially when she’s making the long trek from York to London. On the way, she meets Kendall Beaumont, a second son who has been banished to the north to learn responsibility by managing a rundown family property. The two make a pact – Kendall shelters Evangeline by pretending to be her husband, and she helps him transform the crumbling wreck of a house he’s inherited into a real home. They keep up this facade until she turns twenty-one and becomes eligible to claim her inheritance. During their time together, Evangeline learns how to break out of her icy shell, and, because of her steadying influence, Kendall begins, finally, to grow up. They fall in love, of course! That’s probably a spoiler, but you knew it was coming. And there’s much more that happens after that!

TheIceGoddess-1

In the bitter winter of 1752, Evangeline Grey is determined to return to London, claim her inheritance, and lead a solitary, uneventful existence. York holds too many sad memories for her now, and she’s ready to leave it behind.

When she finds out that her guardian has designs on her — and her pending fortune — Evangeline manages to escape, but her journey south is fraught with uncertainty and danger. Mourning the murder of her brother, still reeling from her aunt’s recent death, and close to penniless until she finds her way back to London, she’s never been more alone.

And then, on a desolate Northern English moor, she meets a benevolent stranger who changes everything.

Kendall Beaumont is a man running from a few demons of his own. On his way to his home in remote Almsborough, he stops to help the pretty, young runaway. The future seems fairly bleak for the both of them — until he decides to make her an offer she can’t refuse…

When did you decide to become a writer and publish your work?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I actually decided to self-publish my first novel Tower Bridge last year via CreateSpace. Although I haven’t sold many copies, I’ve found an amazing network of writers on social media. This is great because so many folks, like you, for example, are so supportive. It’s also daunting because I’ve realized how many other books are out there. Getting a new publication noticed is a feat!

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I read that as a teenager you wrote and illustrated a graphic novel, could you give us more information about that?

I was really into it! I loved Marvel comics, especially. I completed a few stories about the Avengers and the X-Men. The Avengers were my favorite. I loved The Scarlet Witch and The Vision and the strange, complicated relationship they had. My family moved a lot since then, so I think my early attempts at graphic novels are lost to the ages. A shame.

Would you consider writing a graphic novel now?
I have considered it. My drawing is really rusty, though, and you know how self-doubt brings you down. With Tower Bridge and The Ice Goddess, I’ve been playing with illustrations on my blog for promotion purposes, so I’m hoping that I’ll get used to drawing again and be brave enough to branch out. Anything is possible, right? I mean, a year ago, I had no idea I would be the published author of a historical romance!

What is your favourite genre to write in and why?

I think that I like contemporary literary fiction the most. I appreciate that it’s straightforward and non-sentimental. Although I suppose that you can write that way in any genre. One of my newest favorite authors Kate Rothwell has proven to me that romance doesn’t have to be flowery and sappy. In any case, after I finish my next historical romance, I would like to try my hand at another contemporary novel.

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Where do you get your ideas?

I’m inspired a lot by music and the UK. I tend to have a lot of musicians in my stories. I guess I always wanted to be a rock star myself! And I’ve always been drawn to the UK. Not sure why. Maybe I lived there in another life, but I find the history, architecture, and landscape fascinating.

Do you have a favourite author?

I do! Nick Hornby, without a doubt.

If so, why?

He makes writing look so easy. What an amazing skill that is! He’s funny, too, which is hard to pull off in writing. His dialogue is amazing and I really care about his characters, as self-absorbed and clueless as many of them are.

Do you have a writing routine?

Not really. I can write anywhere at anytime, but I have to be on a roll. I think, maybe, I am more apt to write in the morning, but that’s not always the case.

Do you have a favourite character in your book and why?

I tend to like my boys. Stan, the guitarist in Tower Bridge, is such a pillock, but he was so much fun to write! And then there’s Kendall in The Ice Goddess. So many romance heroes are cynical and cold. Kendall is just the opposite. Even though he is somewhat irresponsible, he’s a good guy. Kind, talkative, and vulnerable, but brave when he has to be. And a musician, too. I have a thing for those musicians, apparently.

If you could spend a day in a book as your favourite character, who would you be, what book would it be, and why?

Hm. That’s a very good question. I guess it would be interesting to be Claire in Outlander and experience the 18th century (and Jamie Fraser) first hand (I hope that doesn’t come off as a double entendre). Only the first book, though. I’m not crazy about the sequels. But she and Jamie share a fierce, true love, and it would be amazing to feel such a strong connection. Or Jean Grey/Phoenix in X-Men, who has awesome powers and two strong men in love with her.

What are you working on at the moment?

Three things! I really want to finish these. One is another historical novel based loosely on Katherine Fanshawe, the first female highwayman in England. The second is inspired by Ealing Broadway, a short story I wrote about the 2011 London riots – I’d like to build a novel around the mother and son in that. And the third is a short story about the Beatles 1966 US tour. All the characters in those are anxiously waiting for me to tell them what to do next.

Fanshaws

Thank you so much Hannelore for your brilliant answers and a brief insight into your world and the books you write.

 Below are links to Hannelore’s blog page, publishers and where you can purchase her books:

Blog:  http://hanneloreshappenings.blogspot.com/

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Hannelore-Moore/e/B00C4RZB6K/

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hannelore-Moore/e/B00C4RZB6K

My publisher: http://www.5princebooks.com/

 

Echoes from the Lost Ones – A year of doubt and thanks to all the readers!!

About a year ago, I had my first ever book published by Fable Press. Echoes from the Lost Ones – a YA dystopian/sci-fi novel.

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I was unsure how people would react to it, because I used a slang-based language to tell my story from the heroine’s viewpoint. I took quite a risk writing in this style, but I knew that I wanted to produce a story that broke the mould and create a unique world with a unique voice.

I waited for my first reviews with apprehension.  My first one was a 3* and yep, the reviewer didn’t like the language. So I thought, here we go, I’m going to get slammed for daring to be different. Now, I wasn’t actually upset that I got a  3* review!! That’s good isn’t it?  I was actually very pleased indeed. Then I began to get 4* and 5* reviews. Very, very pleased. My experiment with narrative payed off – for the most part. I still get 3* reviews from readers, and they pretty much say the same thing about not liking the language and finding it difficult to read. But, more people enjoy my quirky world and oddly use of English than don’t.

Result!!!

So I say to all who want to try and do something new with language – DO IT! You never know, it just might work.

To celebrate the launch of A Silence Heard – the second book in The Song of Forgetfulness series, Echoes form the Lost Ones is FREE to download on all Amazon sites from 29th May to 2nd June. Thanks to everyone who has downloaded Echoes!! Very much appreciated.

 

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If you enjoy a read that is different from the usual dystopian/sci-fi novels that are around, then why not get a copy and see if you like my style.

Still not sure? Check out my book trailers for both novels:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ-AmBW-QjQ

 

Amazon.co.uk

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness/dp/1939897041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369775406&sr=8-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

 

Amazon.com B00CXSZIGS

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness/dp/1939897041/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369775230&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

 

Amazon.ca

http://www.amazon.ca/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Forgetfulness-ebook/dp/B00CXSZIGS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369775317&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

Echoes from the Lost Ones – A year of doubt

About a year ago, I had my first ever book published by Fable Press. Echoes from the Lost Ones – a YA dystopian/sci-fi novel.

Image

I was unsure how people would react to it, because I used a slang-based language to tell my story from the heroine’s viewpoint. I took quite a risk writing in this style, but I knew that I wanted to produce a story that broke the mould and create a unique world with a unique voice.

I waited for my first reviews with apprehension.  My first one was a 3* and yep, the reviewer didn’t like the language. So I thought, here we go, I’m going to get slammed for daring to be different. Now, I wasn’t actually upset that I got a  3* review!! That’s good isn’t it?  I was actually very pleased indeed. Then I began to get 4* and 5* reviews. Very, very pleased. My experiment with narrative payed off – for the most part. I still get 3* reviews from readers, and they pretty much say the same thing about not liking the language and finding it difficult to read. But, more people enjoy my quirky world and oddly use of English than don’t.

Result!!!

So I say to all who want to try and do something new with language – DO IT! You never know, it just might work.

To celebrate the launch of A Silence Heard – the second book in The Song of Forgetfulness series, Echoes form the Lost Ones is FREE to download on all Amazon sites from 29th May to 2nd June. Thanks to everyone who has downloaded Echoes!! Very much appreciated.

 

Image

 

If you enjoy a read that is different from the usual dystopian/sci-fi novels that are around, then why not get a copy and see if you like my style.

Still not sure? Check out my book trailers for both novels:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ-AmBW-QjQ

 

Amazon.co.uk

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness/dp/1939897041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369775406&sr=8-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

 

Amazon.com B00CXSZIGS

http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Song-Forgetfulness/dp/1939897041/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369775230&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

 

Amazon.ca

http://www.amazon.ca/Echoes-Lost-Ones-Forgetfulness-ebook/dp/B00CXSZIGS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369775317&sr=1-1&keywords=echoes+from+the+lost+ones

Clouds and a Suffolk sunset

 

 

Some photographs I took a couple of days ago in my garden. The colours are not enhanced. The sky went from a dark sulphur orange to this spurt of purple in a matter of minutes. Such amazing clouds!!

Truly inspiring.

 

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