Back from “leave of absence!” ENCHANTÉ has been off the wires for a while because of overwhelming demands from other forces in our universe.
With winter temperatures in the Washington D.C. area falling way below freezing point, just after we experienced our worst snowfall in one hundred years, Valentines day hugs together with Presidents Day. Thank God we (well most of us) have Monday off.
During the past few weeks that ENCHANTÉ was dark, a number of things happened in our writers world: both Some Women I Have Known and Enchanting The Swan were crowned with video trailers. Happy Valentine.
Some Women https://youtu.be/CehtAV55QpU
We were also asked to review other writers’ books. This is a timeconsuming and serious undertaking if you want to do it well and give the author due credit for the time spent on crafting a book, whether fiction or non-fiction. More about that another time.
And we wrote a short story “A Naughty Romance” that will soon be available on Amazon.com.
One critical element all writers face is the famous “audience.” Some books do better than others because they are written better, belong to a more popular genre (be it romance, thriller, mystery, fantasy or science fiction), or are penned by an already successful author. Wise pundits say, “Write the best book you can.” There is some truth in that, but your “audience” will determine what is the best book and how many will buy it. Apart from advertising and social media campaigns, much depends how large that audience is and how you “catch” it.
If you depict a large sports arena, with twenty-five thousand people, the audience for your book is spread around in little patches of 4 or 5 people, running from 100 to 200 or 2,000 or more if you are lucky. Before electronic publishing, writers only had access to agents and publishers, and many saw their work rejected. Even now with electronic publishing available to almost everyone who wants to take up the pen, many want to write, but few make it alive through the grind. Comparisons with “Powerball” and “American Idol” are almost “cliché.” Amazon counts 12 million books in its clouds, but who reads them?
Take Romance for example. Romance features many sub-genres and styles (formulaic romance, “Harlequin” romance, Inspirational romance, Romantic suspense, Erotica, you name it). Each has its own “audience.” They also say that most readers are female; some stats go as high as 80%.
In some romance publishing and writers organizations, it is women that write for other women. Ever seen a male name on one of these books? And if it is a male author he may well use a female name! I attended once a Romance Writers conference and I was the ONLY male! A thousand participants sat on the hotel floor waiting their turn to get a book signed by Nora Roberts, their “Queen!”
Nonetheless, I feel inclined to write romantic stories and from time to time a thriller. That’s the way I am wired. I just don’t write romance the way that female authors do. And I have a different vantage point because of my different life, background, experience and environment.
Other friends write fantasy, science-fiction, or mysteries. Each of us faces the “audience” issue: where to find it or how will it find YOU! Well, if you manage to get published traditionally, the publishers may have access to that audience through their established channels. If you, after many rejections, finally decide to self-publish, you will have to do that all yourself. Soon you will notice that hordes of “marketing experts” besiege your wallet to help you reach your audience.
Apart from a few bona fide organizations and entrepeneurs, you face a racket of profiteers. My first offer came from a publicist asking $14,000 for one year, then reduced it to $8,000, and then to $4,500. Can you imagine? Did I take it? Of course not. How much royalty from your book would you have to earn before you make a positive Rate of Return? Assuming the marketing advice helps?
So what do we do then? Remain “undiscovered?” Stand in the line of American Idol, till our legs give up? Keep plugging on Twitter, Facebook, and whatever, in the hope to catch a fish? Go to fairs and farmers markets with your trunk full of books, and a sign hoisted up, “Buy My Book?” Do booksignings and sell 3 books an hour (if you are lucky)?
My experience so far is: attend a few writers conferences and learn the craft (lots of good books around, e.g. Writers Digest), write what you like and feel engaged in, submit drafts to your writing group, finish it with a good editor, who also helps develop your story, self-publish it with a small publisher or Amazon’s Create Space if no agent takes you after some 60 to 100 query letters, and then do all the marketing yourself, while trying to get some positive reviews. It’s a nuisance, but it’s a necessary evil if you want some recognition for your effort.
Some writers support groups like AuthorU.com (for daily advice) and BooksGoSocial.com (for affordable marketing and trailers) would be good sources to work with. There are others, but watch out for the “swindlers!” Because they are there on the look out as real predators to get your money.
Bye for now!
Bye for now