She said it’s my narrative and dialogue that sets my work above the slush pile. The thing is, I never submitted the book to anyone and she picked it off the shelf. The one thing I do is broadcast my email address everywhere I can (but not here, as that would be a waste of time and a violation of the rules), and she contacted me that way. Hemingway proved that 99% of a story can be told in dialogue. What many would-be writers do not know is that dialogue is not a recording of real speech; such would be as boring as most self-published books are.
I am often sickened by writers who think that if their work does not sell, it is just because it has not been noticed. The reality is that if your work sells or does not sell, it’s your story and nothing BUT your story that made the difference. If a story is selling, there is a reason for it. The claim that a book is selling because trash sells and your book is much better but it just has not been noticed is self-diddling and childish. Instead of cutting down other’s work with false arguments and pretence, ask yourself how you can improve YOUR work. I have read many novels by members of this board and found many faults in them, but some were selling, not as well as mine, except for few exceptions, but many were selling well enough. I did not fixate on their faults and certainly did not make up faults that were not there just to pretend I was superior to them as a writer. I tried to discover what it was that made their books sell. Of course, if you do not want to sell books, you can ignore this post and keep telling yourself that Mrs. X’s book sells only because it got noticed and all you have to do is use another freebie promo, and in the mean time you can continue to put down other writers’ work that does sell. If failure makes you happy, just keep on doing what has brought you failure in the past. If a story sells, there MUST be something the writer did right. To deny such a truth will invite more failure.
Respectfully, I'm not sure I understand the point you're making here. I fully admit that it's probably me being dense. I can be rather thick sometimes.
I agree that dialogue carries a story best. My books are so dialogue heavy, folks have said it felt like they were reading a script, and they were surprised to find that they loved it that way.
I also agree that a good story is the most important factor to success. All the marketing in the world won't help as much as great story-telling.
However, I'm not sure I agree that it's the [i]only [/i]factor. "The reality is that if your work sells or does not sell, it’s your story and nothing BUT your story that made the difference."
There have been authors (most authors, unless I'm mistaken) that spent years trying to get their story noticed. How did those great stories not sell for years, then suddenly started selling? If the authors didn't change the story, then why did the book take a year to start selling? Why does every author here say the best thing you can do to sell books is to write more books? Wouldn't that mean that - while story is the most important aspect - it's not the only aspect. Doesn't that suggest that visibility matters, at least some?
Are you saying that if someone writes a great story and puts it up on Amazon, and does nothing to promote it, that book will just start selling tons of copies on its own, without any marketing? If that's so, why do you broadcast your email everywhere you can?
Please understand, thetimucuan, I'm not arguing your point. I actually think I agree with you, but I think the wording might have confused me a bit. I'm just saying I don't fully understand what your point is.
I'd love some clarification. I actually respect the fact that you do so well. I respect it greatly.
But I'm not sure I understand what you're advising here. Are you saying authors should not market their book or try to increase exposure?
The fact is, many here need to stop pretending that their work is better than those whose work is selling. If your work does not sell, putting down people's work that does sell is not going to do a thing for you. I really do not see why that is difficult to understand. I'm not trying to write high brow literary here in my post; it's plain English and to the point.
I have noticed more and more that people here do not seem to realize they need to work on THEIR writing and not keep putting down other people's work. They seem to do this most with books that are outselling theirs. Jealousy? There are two sci-fi writers here who do well. One is way above the other in writing ability, but both sell well. The better writer sells more, but both sell well enough to be above most of their competition. What I have noticed, though,are people putting their work down as "fantasy" and even inventing faults in their writing, when there are no perfect novels and one person gets something entirely different from another when reading the same story. I see nothing wrong with genre novels and literary is generally just another word for boring, so why the put-downs on genre stuff that is selling more than most? Sales numbers DO help to measure the writing! To ignore success is to invite failure. Time and again, people who have low to zero sales find it necessary to put down the work of those who have attained more success. This is stupid, childish, and self-defeating.
I actually agree with you. You'll never see me put down successful genre writers. I write horror (light horror, usually supernatural). I'm definitely not one to judge genre writers. And I most certainly don't think I'm better than more successful writers.
I just didn't realize this post was a response to other posts. I just didn't get the part about good story telling being the only thing that matters. I think it matters of course, but other things help as well.
But anyway, this post was to other people who say things here that I don't say, so I'll drop out now.
"If that's so, why do you broadcast your email everywhere you can?"
I do not consider my email address promotion, and do not answer every email. And I do not promote but encourage others to do so anyway. (I just am too busy writing to promote and have six stories waiting on editors.) I enjoy turning down agents, so I want them to know how to contact me.
It's great to see you are still here - you would have been a great loss to the boards.
Can't agree more with your points. I liken it to a writers workshop, full of people who wish to craft the perfect prose and will happily spend ten pages describing how a leaf falls from a tree in the fall. Intellectual wank that holds no interest for anyone other than the self indulgent writer.
What readers predominantly want is a story that makes them NEED to turn the page. I think we write in very similar genres and it's simple, if you write a good story, people tell their friends and your book sells.
Tim, I actually agree with pretty much everything you say here.
You should know there was only one reason I ever put down your work (and really, I never put down your actual novels, which I haven't read, although I did say negative things about your genre and one line of book description that may or may not have been yours): The reason is that on your very first reponse to one of my first KDP posts, you called my writing "worthless." You made the argument several times that only people whose writing was worthless would give it away in a free promo. When I tried to defend a possible value for free promotion, you called anyone who would use it a "crap" writer who wrote only "crap."
I wish that the author of those posts had read what you have to say in this thread--if so, you might not have been so quick to put down the writing of another author on the forum. I agree that well-crafted dialogue is an art form that can make or break a story, and I am all for entertaining reads with good dialogue. I'm not a literary snob--I read plenty of "gulity pleasure" writers who will never win awards.
Anyway, I applaud your urging forum writers to think twice before they call someone else's work, which they have never actually read, "crap."
Congratulations on your success, as a preliminary matter.
I would like to note, however, that I have a # of pen names - all the same writing quality, many within the same genre. Same length, same pricing structure, same marketing effort (next to none), equivalent covers. One (not this one!) has very excellent sales. I won't qualify what "excellent" means to me - but 3 books are currently ranked below 6k, 3 more below 10k, 3 more below 15k. The 3 below 6k frequently chart in the top 100 for their genre categories and all 3 have been below 3k in rank a number of times. All of the titles (which are short works) are a $2 royalty per book. If you have similarly performing titles, you know what this equates to in terms of earnings. The rest of the pen names? Total waste of time and effort.
I agree a writer's efforts are best placed writing and constructively marketing their own work. I just want to note that some decent books by good writers do go unread despite the writer doing everything correctly.
With this in mind, I have had strangers go out of their way to contact me to exclaim how much they loved BeSwitched. One told me they read it 3 times in 4 days and another wrote me 4 messages on Twitter and Facebooked me that it was "OMG. So magical." So, the possibility of getting crazy fans is there. But, if that is rare, my books still don't sell well--even after promoting--maybe you know what secret ingredient prevents it from flying off the virtual shelves.