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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Author Interviews

Beginning Monday 6/5/2011, I will be posting interviews with various authors at least once a week each Monday. I already have several weeks of interviews scheduled to post and I'm really excited, and I think you all will enjoy these interviews. I find them very inspiring and I hope that you do too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How Often Should I Release a Book

I have come across many blogs and forums where people have shared their advice on how to market a book on Kindle --and Nook to a lesser extent. Well-intentioned folks have recommended blog tours, participating in forums, buying online ads on certain sites, social networking, etc. Authors are so desperate to sell their book, that they'll try anything thrice -me included.

So does any of that shit work?

Yes and no

No, the shit doesn't work for the short-term, but can it work for the long-term? Fuck if I know! I haven't tried any of these techniques for the long-term yet, except for social networking, and I can tell you from experience to save your time and not waste it marketing to your twitter followers every minute of the day because its counterproductive at best for the short-term and annoying as hell for the long-run.

So how can we get more people to buy our books?

BE A WRITER

Part of our problem as new writers is that we still approach marketing like we did 10 years ago. Too many of us are too busy trying to figure out how to sell one release every year. A lot has changed in the last 10 years. Ebooks are flying off the virtual bookshelves, we have smartphones with Kindle and Nook apps, and self-published authors have ultra-liberating control over the price and release dates of our books.

So why are you still trying to pimp one release 2 years later?

Why are you continuing to harrass your Facebook friends?

These questions aren't a knock below your belt. They're questions that I'm asking myself 2 years after my first book release. I feel like an idiot for not publishing to Kindle back in 2009 when I said "ugh, those 35% royalty rates are nothing more than unarmed robbery. Why shall I settle for a pittiance of a royalty when I can earn far more in paperback sales? Ho! Thou shalt get that dirty Kindle away from me at once!"

How stupid and naive of me!

Fact of the matter is that 50% of little to no sales is far worse than 35% of steady volume sales in a growing Kindle market. And Kindle's royalties have improved at certain price points too.

Instead of trying to sell my books on CTA platforms and damaging half my print books in the process, I should have published on Kindle. Forget guerilla marketing to Facebook friends. Forget #FollowFriday on twitter.

BE A WRITER

Releasing a book once every two years is a relic of the old publishing model. Marketing said book is also limiting and time consuming. Adding friends, dropping twitter bomb, and liking pictures probably makes your friends feel nice, but more times than not it doesn't make you money. Social networking just becomes a major time vampire.

Q. Glenn, if I can't social network, buy ads or go on blog tours, then how will I sell my books now?

A. Your approach towards selling books is all wrong. Its not about selling books RIGHT NOW. Its about being a writer who establishes quite a catalog. Plus I never said that you couldn't do those things. I'm saying that placing too much emphasis on those overrated marketing techniques takes away from what you do best... WRITING STORIES.

Your focus should be placed on the long tail and the long term. New release marketing is unnecessary when you're solely releasing ebooks. Right now, you and I should be working on our next book and releasing it within the next 3-6 months. That way you'll have 3 ebooks for sale on Kindle that potential readers can stumble across and try, instead of burning yourself out marketing one book and trying to finish another one.

These are some of the things I've learned from waiting two years to write and release another book. And it wasn't as if I purposely waited two years. I just got so caught up in trying to sell my first book that two years slipped by without me doing shit. I could have released at least 3 more novels had I placed more focus on being a writer than haplessly trying to market and sell my book.

Q. Mr. Glenn your Highness, what would you do if you could start your writing career all over again?

A. Just call me Glenn... I would still utilize social networks and blogging, but I would use those tools for what they were originally intended for.. online networking. More importantly, I would dedicate 20 hours a week to writing future works. Then instead of telling my 500 friends to buy my book everyday, I'd put up a notification upon my release stating that I just released my new book and its available on Amazon as well as my previous works. I'd do a blog tour that doesn't kill my writing time, and I'd work on my next book. At that point more of your friends will think "wow, Glenn's really serious about this writing stuff!"

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Writing With a Purpose Part 2 -- The Book I've Been Writing But Can't Finish

I love the Glenn Gamble Books Group that I created on facebook as a platform for myself and other writers to discuss book publishing, writing, myself, and other authors' work. A number of aspiring writers have disclosed that they've been working on a book that they can't seem to finish. As I've mentioned in my previous blog, this is not uncommon and its nothing to be ashamed of, but the sooner you get away from this habit, the more productive you'll be as a writer.

In order to avoid writing books you can't finish, you must know why you're writing, what you wanna write about, what the ending will be, and you need to create an outline that incorporates those things. Go to my previous blog for details on creating an outline.

Q: Glenn, what if I already started the story? Do I delete my story and start anew with a brand new outline before rewriting it?

A: No, I do not want you to delete your story simply for the fact that you've been writing it for way too long now. You need to finish your fucking story once and for all.

Q: I don't like your potty-mouth and how do I finish my "fucking" story mister!

A: Refer to the remainder of this blog.

So you have this book -your masterpiece, your story- that you can't seem to finish. What you need to do is STOP writing your story right now and figure out what the ending of the story is going to be "guy gets girl, girl gets guy, hero overcomes addiction, hero defeats evil-doer and rescues everyone, etc." Once you have your ending you must outline the rest of your story with events that happen leading up to the ending. Depending on how much you've written so far, you can had more events or fewer events as you see fit. Whatever you decide for your outline, stick to it as closely as possible as you write in your "filler" to tie in all those events leading up to the ending. Make sure your last event includes the climax, then tie that in to the ending.

Once you've completed your book, determine what kind of writer you are. If you're the type of writer whose really verbose and wrote 70,000 words or more then walk away from your book for a week after you've finished your story then come back to it and reread it to make any cuts to your story that you may see fit then turn it in to your editor. If you don't see any cuts, that's fine too. Now if you're the kind of person who doesn't write really long stories before you're done with your book then turn in your book to your editor as soon as you're finished. Most writers usually write so much that they end up having to cut things out of their story, more than likely this is you. Now on the other hand, there are those writers who barely write just enough to complete their book. Nothing is wrong with this, I happen to be one of those writers myself.

I've been writing poems since high school, blogs since 2006, and I've written two books. Because I've been writing for so long my thoughts are more concise and organized than most aspiring writers because I've written over 100 blogs. I've developed my writing process over a period of years so its more natural for my writing to be more concise than it would be if I decided to write a book after having not written on a regular basis for years. I know what I'm going to write before I fire up MS Word. I know what the story is going to be about and my ending. I pretty much write my outline so that my "filler" doesn't get off-track when I'm writing my book.

So stop what you're writing, determine what your ending will be, outline some events leading up to the ending, and don't forget your climax.

Join my facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=156987984365009

Monday, May 2, 2011

Writing With a Purpose

One of the great things about being an author is the infinite number of people who tell you "oh, I'm working on my book, but I can't seem to finish." Another common question is "how do you know when you're at the end of your book?" These are not uncommon obstacles for writers who are working on their first novels. They are avoidable!

The way to avoid working on a never-ending book is to write with a purpose. The same goes for figuring out how to end your book. You need to determine what your story is going to be about. After that you must determine how your book is going to end before you begin to write your book. So let me clarify what I'm saying with some bullet points. I call this the planning stage. This is what your thought process should be before undertaking any book you’re writing:

Planning stage

1. “Gee, it would be a great idea for me to write a book about ________ because it would be great, and damnit, people like me!”
2. “Okay, now I know what I wanna write about, how will my ending go.”
3. “Now, that I got my ending how do I figure out the stuff I wanna write in the book.”

Number 3 in the planning stage is a good question to always ask yourself. The answer to that question is an outline of your book. Think of it as a table of contents without the actual book. Some people like JA Konrath do 40-page outlines of their book complete with descriptions of characters, themes, scenes, etc. because he’s a fucking genius bitching rock star –I’m just Glenn Gamble. Your outline can be as detailed as you want it to be, or not. However you decide to do your outline, you must have the basic components listed below:

My Book I’m Writing

Setting: Where will it take place
Characters: Who are your characters? What are their characteristics?
Plot: Write down what your book is about, and write down a sequence of events that you want to happen.
Conflict: What obstacle must the protagonist/hero overcome? For instance, John likes Sally and its love at first sight between John and Sally, but John can’t have Sally because Sally has an abusive boyfriend whose name is Tiny, and Tiny doesn’t like Sally hanging around pretty boys like John and would crush John like a pop can if he ever caught him talking to Sally. That’s one conflict there. I’ll sprinkle some more conflict for good measure. John also has a speech impediment and always stutters whenever he sees Sally because she’s so pretty and so perfect. I’ll throw in one more because I can’t help myself. John, would like to take Sally to the town fair 6 months from now, but he doesn’t have the money for two tickets because he doesn’t have a job and his parents can’t afford to give him money to go to the fair.
Climax: I call this the Rocky moment. This is the turning point of the story, the high point. This is where the John faces his obstacles and wins. John overcomes his speech impediment by seeing a specialist, and he finds a good-hearted manager/store-owner/etc. who gives him a job and he saves up enough money to buy the tickets. Then, the highest point: John takes boxing classes and beats the snot out of Tiny.
Resolution: The ending. The happy stuff happens here. After John beats Tiny up, he asks Sally out. She says yes, they go to the fair have a great time, then they get a room and conceive John Jr in the throes of lust which leads to an unplanned pregnancy.. the end!
Here’s how I usually start my outline:

-Book Title
- Story is about…

Sequence of events that occur in the story
- Event 1
- Event 2
- Event 3

Ending


I even go as far as to number my chapters and put “such and such is going to happen in chapter 1, that’s going to happen in chapter 2, and this is going to occur in chapter 3..” all the way to the ending, then I start writing my book by following my outline and writing the details behind those events, leading up to the events, and the events themselves. It is so important to write an outline so that you can stay on track and so that you won’t find yourself writing a never-ending story.
Now its time to write!

Remember, when you’re writing a book you must:

1) Plan your book
2) Outline your book
3) Write your book


Here's some further reading for you:http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

1. http://www.learner.org/interactives/story/
2. http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/632402-Four-Parts-to-Every-Story

If you have a facebook profile, then I invite you to check out my facebook group and if you like what you see, go ahead and join it here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=156987984365009