Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What makes you choose a certain book?

A few days ago a read a blog post entitled Looks Matter. It was all about book covers and which ones tickle your fancy.

It got me thinking about why I choose to read certain books. What makes me pick up a book I have never read before?

First and foremost, I choose to read a book based on the author. This is, of course, if I know the author and have read and liked their work before. This doesn't guarantee me the best read ever, but I'll have a pretty high chance of enjoying the book.

Secondly, word of mouth. If someone recommends a book, I'll look out for it. If I read a good review on a blog, I'll hunt the book down.

Thirdly, genre. If I'm in the library or a bookstore I head towards the YA section and can usually find a book that suits me, but this is where the cover and title become important.

Fourth reason I choose a book - the title... when books are stacked on shelves you are usually looking at their spines. The title needs to be catchy, strong, quirky... something that will grab my attention. If I like the sound of it, I'll pull it out and take a look at the cover.

Fifth reason - the cover... it has to be striking, and I often find the simpler the better. The Twilight covers - I love those and Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy... the new covers being produce by St Martins press are gorgeous.

Once I like the cover, I'll skim the blurb. If it's exciting or, okay I'll be honest, romantic in anyway I'm going to be interested.

Lastly I'll give the first few chapters a skim. If they grab me, I'm walking to the sales counter.

Now, if I'm getting a book from the library, I will usually give the author a minimum of six chapters to grab me. I know that is far more generous than most agents and publishing houses, but I have had the odd occasion where my persistence has paid off. When I was younger I felt absolute guilt if I did not read every word of the book, but I just don't have that kind of time anymore. I still remember when I returned a book to the library unfinished... it was a very bizarre feeling.

Okay, so the point of me breaking this all down, is that it has made me realize just how important each aspect of this process is. It's made me think about what I need to do to in order to make writing a career.

1. I need to continue learning and training, so I can be the best writer possible
2. I need to use social media to build a name for myself
3. I need to write in the genre that I love, keeping this whole process enjoyable. I also need to keep reading and reading so I can stay up with the play on market trends and also hone my writing skills further.
4. I need to make sure my titles are catchy and engaging
5. My cover art needs to be simple, yet breath taking
6. My pitch/blurb needs to grab the reader
7. Back to my first point again.... my writing needs to be sensational - particularly the first few chapters :)

Feel free to disagree with any of my points, I just found this a very interesting exercise, particularly if I do take the road of self-publishing.

What makes you choose a certain book?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Self Publishing

I have been trying to get published for a while now and have always turned my nose up at the idea of self publishing. The thing that worries me about it, is that people can basically put whatever they want out there and what if it's not very good. I like the idea of my work being scrutinized and made brilliant by an editor. I like the idea of a publishing company thinking my work is good enough to market and stamp their name on. People who self publish just don't get that satisfaction.

However, I have been researching self publishing lately and I'm beginning to change my mind. Admittedly I have been reading articles about the amazing Amanda Hocking, who has just done so brilliantly. If that happened to me, I would be flying high! What an excellent start to a career in writing! Now, I'm not suggesting that I would ever manage to build up that kind of impetus, but wouldn't it be awesome :)

One of the main reasons I am seriously considering self publishing an ebook is because I have written a YA trilogy and I can't sell it as the first book of a potential trilogy. All three have to be published... the story lines are interwoven throughout the three books and the first one ends with a cliff hanger that, according to all my critiques, is brilliant. I don't want to lose it.

So - my thoughts are this...
Self-publish my trilogy in a digital format. Put it out there, use social media to market it and see how I go.
In the meantime I will continue to write and submit my single title manuscripts to agents.

So that's the plan. I still have a little more research to do before going ahead, but watch this space. By the end of the year you will hopefully see a copy of GOLDEN BLOOD available as an ebook.

What are people's thoughts on self-publishing? Who else out there has given it a go?
I would love to hear some stories.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Getting Back In The Game

In 2010 I was obsessed with writing and getting published. It was all I thought about and having to switch my brain off to concentrate on other things was really hard.

Then I got sick.

Having to put aside my writing for close to a year was a little heart breaking, but now that I'm recovered and ready to start again I feel as though I have a new, fresh perspective... a healthier one.

I've just sent off my second query this week. Nervous? Yes. Excited? Extremely. Fretting that it won't be picked up and my life will be over? Not so much.

I would LOVE to get published. It would be a dream come true! But if I don't, I am going to keep on writing. I love writing and nothing is going to change that. All these stories racing around in my brain are meant to be put on paper and if the one I am currently submitting does not get picked up, another one might. No matter the outcome, I still get to write and that is the best part.

I am not hounded by the same sense of urgency anymore, so having to put writing aside to focus on my family and other things around me is much easier. I'm feeling greater joy in the whole process and far less bogged down. All I can hope is that I manage to keep this up.

A career in writing is what I want and I will work hard to get there, but I've come to realize that if it doesn't happen tomorrow, that's okay.

I hope everyone else is happy in their journey and writing with joy and passion.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm coming back!

Hey everyone,

Well I am now the proud mother of two lovely boys. My eldest just turned 4 and my baby is nearly 12 weeks old. Very, VERY slowly my brain is getting back some of the power that was sucked from it during pregnancy :)

I'm excited to say that, "I'M COMING BACK!!" The writing juices are starting to bubble in my brain again and I can't wait to dive back into my writing.

My first goal is to read through the work I had just started submitting before I got pregnant. If it's up to scratch I'll start submitting it again and hope for the best. It will be good to read it with fresh eyes. I wonder what I'll think :)

My second goal is to start updating my blog again on a weekly basis to let you guys know how I'm getting along in my writing journey.

I hope everyone is healthy and still loving the art of writing :)