Category Archives: author woes

Book sales are down. And how I think it can be fixed.

Not just hard copies, either. Digital copies, too. All but with Amazon.

A lot of the publishers I’ve been reading about lately seem to have some advice. A lot of the agents lately really want you to take it. And it seems this is getting CRAMMED down our throats.

Show not Tell.

Since Darrows, when one of my CPs said I don’t show enough, I’ve read a TON of books. I’ve read old books, new books, and even books about writing books. And this is what I’ve noticed.

A lot of the older books, as far back as The Shining to Gilbert Grape to Silver Linings Playbook. There isn’t this micromanagement of characters and ideas a lot of people will tell you that you have to have. What I found seemed that some fine details were there, but it was done in such a way that it let the story shine. It didn’t drag into this person down with all these little things in between the story. (And the older stuff before PC came into play…was different.) The stories were allowed to go along with the main character and if said character wanted to describe out more details, then so be it. It was a nice on and off…

And it seems they all want you on all the time now.

I happen to like the on and off. It gave just enough info without over-killing the story with the plethora of details. I felt free to imagine what I wanted and what might be necessary. There isn’t much to imagine now and days with all this micromanagement going on.

Now, in reading the books about writing, there was one…and I couldn’t read too much into it because I disagreed with a lot of it. They were talking about how everyone now wants video this and video that. That everything you write should be like a movie described out into fine details. BLEH. If I want to watch a story, I’ll go visit any one of my digital copies or head over to on-demand…Netflix…whatever. I don’t want someone telling me all this stuff they see like I have to know it all. It’s too much to process. Too much information and it gets boring. (IMO…and that’s all this is, just my honest opinion.) Give me a good story. Let me have some creative right by imagining some parts or some people or some events like I used to do when I fell in love with reading.

Thursdays, I help out in a class with doing what the teacher calls “Book Chats”. I call them “Book Interviews”. I ask questions to the kids about their books they’ve chosen to read. I ask so many things, including why they chose the book. (and you get some VERY honest answers: “Because I have to read it to make my pages.” … “Because the cover looks awesome.” … “Because the back of the book description seemed interesting.” … “My mom is making me do it.”) Especially during the fiction chats, I get to ask things like what they imagined and what they wondered about. When we cover the newer books, I always get answers like: “There was nothing to imagine. The author told me everything I had to know.” 😦 That is so sad. Those books are also the ones they seem to not be as into or excited about as the older ones that cycle around. And those chats can last for hours if I let them.

While I can’t say for sure that’s the reason more people are turning away from books, it feels like that’s it. I’m sure time is a major factor, but there seems to be no room left for the reader’s imagination and wonder. That was something I always LOVED about my favorite books over time.

I don’t think “Show not Tell” will save the publishing industry like everyone thinks it will.I think there is something obvious that’s being skipped.

Remember BIG when the adult Josh has this idea for an interactive comic. Back then, it was going for a choose your own adventure sort of thing. This idea goes a little above and beyond…and I would LOVE to figure out how to do it, because I think it’s where some books need to go.

Imagine reading a book, let’s go with RomCom since I’m so into them these days. There is a song the characters are dancing to…on a device (something like a Kindle, the Fire tablet, even an iPad) you touch the song name and it takes you to the YouTube video or the iTunes or Amazon song where you can sample or listen. There is a movie they go to on a date…touch the movie’s name, it could take you to a preview (faux or real, the fake ones usually better)… Touch a name of a character or place and get images to appear…Make it interactive.

Now I know someone is thinking…that’s crazy talk or I must have ADHD. No one can concentrate on the story. Well, if the links aren’t within the text, there could be footnote numbers (What’s Your Number?/Twenty Times a Lady had those with humorous notes) and those numbers could take you to a section at the end of the book. Sort of like the special features on a Blu-Ray or DVD…Behind the scenes, deleted scenes, character extras, soundtrack/playlist the author was inspired by, images, drawings…whatever the author would love to share. Imagine finding the book trailers back there…some actor or voice actor doing a quick read of a few pages of the book…So many possibilities and options.

Something like that would BE SO AMAZING! I think making a book more interactive and less micro-managed with words is the way to go. With younger people especially who seem to respond better to more interactive computer games, music venues, etc. Even the book chats are more successful and popular than the other option of book reports…because they can interact and engage.

I’m sure this might cost a fortune to do and that’s why no one seems to be exploring the possibilities. But, more and more publishers are asking full print book price for digital copies…which makes me want the paper versions because then you get that wonderful New Book smell as part of the price…I’d be willing to spend same as print book price if there were extras like this included. Maybe even a little more depending on what the extras are.

Dare to daydream.

Until that happens, I’m going to keep writing, toning down my micromanagement…because I can micromanage my characters down to the eyelash order of a blink if I’m not watching myself. I admit, I am horrible at doing this. I will work on getting an agent…and I hope to be among the first of interactive stories out there. If only I was Stephen King or someone who could make it happen now.

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this post filed under writer/reader wish list

all gifs found on giphy.com

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Filed under author woes, finding myself, keeping entertained, romcoms are my peeps, thinking out loud, wish list

Time to start editing!

(said like Richard Dawson in The Running Man)

(Turns out, I say a lot of things like that.)

So yesterday, I finished Wings. Which worked out exactly how I planned it…
which, IMO, is THE PERFECT ROMCOM this side of Playing It Cool.
I am over the moon thrilled with it!

 

But there isn’t too much time to celebrate.
I’m considering #PitchWars at the end of February with this one. (And if Wings doesn’t fly there, then Wattpad, this blog, and tumblr it is!)
Mostly because I deem it that perfect timeline and content wise. I really wouldn’t change a thing about it.
But I still have to venture into edit h-e-double-hockey-sticks…

…because I know, the faster I type–on this story some days I’d get almost six thousand words done before the afternoon hit–the more I know my word selection sucks, the more I tend to repeat things, the more it needs to be fixed.

My typical game plan is getting tossed out of the window.

I’m not going to read it from beginning to end as I edit. I already know it from beginning to end and am in love. If I start reading it, in order, I’m going to wind up reading it instead of concentrating on the edits I need to do. (see also Human Touch and Love, Darrows.) I don’t have the time to for a full read through until it’s a few days out from #PitchWars. So I’m going to randomly choose a chapter or two or three a day and concentrate on the edits. And hopefully I’ll get the manuscript done in time.

Otherwise, it will be ready for online publishing in some format by the end of February!

I’m über excited about this one!!! Okay…one more happy dance!!!

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Hurry up and read it, kiTT! I wanna talk about  it!!! And, please, let me know if you hates, too.

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Oh, Rick’s Chick and kiTT…you know that A&M gif has me thinking of McClane chunking the ball to Jaden for that last-minute win, right?

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The post is filed under editing hell.

All gifs used were found on giphy.com.

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Filed under author woes, editing hell, editing worries, Pitch Wars, romcoms are my peeps, wings

Daydreaming of Charlie Everett…

Not that I’m experiencing a writer’s block of any sort. Just thinking ahead as to what I have left to write of Charlie and Violet’s story in Wings. Thinking about the now three questions I have left to answer, and the two extra characters I need to use before the story ends. Because it’s getting close. Just typed out and finished chapter twenty-one today. The question is: Will I proceed to 22 or will I work on something else? Because I just am not ready to give Charlie and Violet an ending yet. Because I love them and once they’re done, I won’t get to spend time with them…well, not as much and not in this capacity.

Sometimes, I just listen to the story’s soundtrack that I build as I go and think over the events and characters. Sometimes I draw out floorplans and diagrams in my journals. This time, I photoshopped. I sort of took Charlie (Chris Evans inspiration) and made him into a graphic novel character. What kind of superhero would he be? Definitely a quirky, fumbling, awkward hero that shines no matter what. (Think along the lines of The Tick or Too Much Coffee Man).

And then I made an alternate possible cover image for the book, though I will say Wings refers to something other than angel wings. This is just my weird obsession.

I’ve discovered a few things while picturing in Photoshop. It’s clear I’m about four chapters away from the end now. I know whose POVs need to be done and pretty much in what order, though one chapter could be told from either POV. I know when and where the answers will come. Maybe within a week I’ll have them typed(?)–*heavy sigh*–though I am far from ready to end this story…because I LOVE it so much! If this could be turned into a film, I’d watch it as many times as I have seen What’s Your Number?…which, let’s say is VERY WELL SO FAR OVER 100, I’m looking in the rear-view mirror and 100 is parsecs away.

Am I the only one who finds it difficult to type THE END on a beloved story?

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This post filed under writer’s procrastination and fangirling.

All images were made by me with PSE with images found on the internet through Google and Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended.

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Filed under author woes, book boyfriends, book covers, having fun, inspiration, love letter to quite the character, random blathering, the fangirling has made it here, wings, writer's procrastination

Bookstore observations:

Books. They line every shelf, every aisle. As far as the eye can see. Well, except the cafe. The scent of new books fills my nostrils and my heart speeds up. I’m on a hunt for something to fall in love with. Something to read and cherish and mark in and love until the pages are broken and worn. This particular hunt is for that perfect RomCom.

I’ve read other RomCom-y almost stories…

I loved this back in its fic days… The first fic I have ever read, the book series is excellent, too.

The paperback version I own was given to me from Fics 2 Flicks. If they hadn’t sent it my way, I would have NEVER discovered this lovely gem.

And they are fantastic and on my favorites shelf in GoodReads. But they’re too Eromedy for what I’m searching for. (Eromedy is a term I made up when I wrote Life Imitating Art. The author in that story called her tales Eromedies…and I use it all the time now. It’s Erotic Romance meets Romantic Comedy.) Not that there is anything wrong with these stories, but I want something sweet and endearing and not all about the sexy times.

I have a few of those. Much like the books above, I own multiple incarnations of them or the entire series or both. They sit on my shelves and on my kindle. I pull them out on occasion to read through my favorite parts that I’ve bookmarked and/or highlighted. Much like the line in What’s Your Number?, the movie, each thing brings a patter to my heart, a smile to my lips. I love these books.

A few of my Absolute Favorites:

What’s Your Number?

Originally titled: 20 Times a Lady

Both by Karen Bosnak. One is a movie tie-in cover. I own both–in paperback and kindle–because I just love the story so much!
Did you know, in the books, the main character’s name wasn’t Ally Darling? It was Delilah Darling. Anyway…

Between the Lines  series by Tammara Webber

Boomerang series by Noelle August (a collab Veronica Rossi & Lorin Oberweger)

I don’t know what I loved most about these books. The drama. The humor. The story. They just snatched my attention and I couldn’t put them down until the last word was read, at which point I refused to put them down.

These are the types books I went hunting for.

I stalked my shelves first. I tend to hoard books like a squirrel readying his nuts for the winter. I buy them based on the appeal of the cover and a quick scan of the blurb. A few of my favorite books have been discovered with that process (see, The Night Circus). I got excited when I spotted:

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

I pulled it out and went for the description first. Read, read, read, and slowing down and…bummer. This turns out to be more Chick Lit than RomCom. I’m just not in that mood.

So I took to the web. GoodReads has lists and lists and I went straight for the RomCom list. Book after book. Found one that was highly rated and was supposed to be Cinderella meets Falling Down. Just off the pitch alone, I was had. And I got Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman on my kindle and read and read…all the way to 30% when I realized: CHICK LIT! NO! The break-up was inevitable…it just wasn’t working out. It’s not the book, it’s all me. Maybe I’ll pull an Ally Darling and try again in the future, but for now…

I have sadly found, a lot of Chick Lit is lumped into the RomCom categories. I don’t want a woman empowered  because she found her life path in a life of suckage, I want ROMANCE AND COMEDY! GET ME JAKE ADAMS!

(Take that back. I want COLIN SHEA more)

Now, I got excited when I came across The Nanny Diaries on Amazon and Goodread’s RomCom Lists.

And I truly adore the movie, so I thought, why not? The book and the movie align here and there, as it should. But the book took the more Nanny approach to life where the movie went all Harvard Hottie. And I wanted so much for Harvard Hottie to be the story. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, it was just not enough in the Rom to balance out the Com in the story. *heavy, slightly saddened sigh*

It wasn’t getting any better.

A friend (hi, kiTT!) recommended:

A Nicholas Sparks novel. (Found a copy at the bookstore!) It’s on my TBR list and bookshelf, but I’m worried it’s way too DramRom (Dramatic Romance) rather than RomCom…

While I was at the store hunting down that Sparks book, I searched for more RomComs…I’ll take anything movie related, television show related, or just a great, sweet story like it never before touching the screens of the world. I found the romance section and I was thrilled and full of hope. But as I walked through the books, my heart started breaking. These books had shirtless cowboys and southern belles, guys with long hair, historical tales, a dude in a kilt going by the name Outlander. Uh…somehow I wandered into the wrong place. None of them were for me. Totally out of my league and not really my type at all. Even if the shirtless cowboys did snag a peek of my attention…I’m no longer hanging at Billy Bob’s. Time to go.

So I wander past the graphic novel aisle, stopping to consider Saga book 5 and Captain America (The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and the so very heartbreaking, The Death of Captain America…Pass. I think I’ll save my breakdown and ten boxes of tissues for the movie, thank you) and enter the generic fiction shelves. I found a ton of Chick Lit, traditional fiction, a row of Stephen King, a shelf of Gillian Flynn…and oh, look! Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin (the current read)! All I needed was Something Blue. They didn’t have that, but they did have Baby Proof on my TBR list… but that’s total Chick Lit. Ugh. Okay…There were some Sophie Kinsella novels, though the one I’m searching for:

may just have to come in Kindle form. *heavy sigh* Shelf after shelf was not even close to anything I want to read right now.

I go across the main aisle and search the YA section…because I do love me some YA reads more often than not. Twilight barely exists anymore, only occupying a third of a shelf. Sad. But that’s not even RomCom genre. Shelf after shelf. Much like fiction, I notice groupings. There is a section of dystopian love where The Hunger Games and Divergent run into The Maze Runner.  They aren’t bad, but I am sort of tired of reading about heroines who conquer all. Then there is the strong heroine in the contemporary fiction. BTDT. Random fiction, a lot of which I have read already. And much like the fiction section, I am realizing RomCom seems like an antiquated notion these days.

When did it go against the rules for a basic love story to exist? Does it really matter if a girl falls for a guy or vice versa or guy for a guy or girl for a girl? Because it seems like if a girl falls for a guy, she broke some law and the universe will come to a halt. I’m not saying have the MC be a weak little thing and give up her life for the football captain or whatever…even if I do love me some Sixteen Candles  and Jake Ryan types. I’m feeling like any fluff and fun that used to be so easy to find has just fizzled into nothing. And if the guy falls for a girl, he’s seen as weak. And if the guy falls for a guy, then it has to be about him dealing with it instead of just being in love. And same with a girl for a girl…UGH. WHERE ARE THE STORIES OF LOVE WITHOUT A LIFE-LESSON-DRAMA TO GO WITH IT?

Which truly concerns me. Because those are my stories. I love the not-life-lesson-drama and the heart and the fun. I adore the moment someone admits their feelings. I love the chase and typically the happy ending no matter the cliché. I’m a sucker for such things. I’m DYING to read a story like this. I’m on the verge of writing a story like this. Which bring me to the next concern…

If they are so out of sync with the world these days, would it get published? Would it be worth a write? That’s a major thought…one that makes me pause and think of all the sci-fi, the dystopian, the stories of strength and virtue…is a RomCom just nothing in the world of publishing now? Because I know I am hard pressed to find a good RomCom-y movie these days. (Which I can’t wait to see My Fair Dude! Wish it was a book!)

I hope I’m just overthinking again. Because something in my gut is yelling at me to write this story.

In the meantime, I did pick up one book (that hopefully fits this love story idea) since I recently acquired the companion story on my Kindle and I was desperately searching for this one:

I just hope it’s as cute as the book jacket summary reads.

And PS… I totally bought the second one just because of the cover alone. (I have a weird book/page art thing. I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to that obsession.)

So to any of my readers, followers out there…if you can recommend a GREAT ROMCOM, please do. Comments, email, twitter…tumblr…any of them. I am desperate for a new love! I can only Colin Shea for so long… (going on five years now…Who am I kidding? This will probably last for an eternity.)

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Filed under author woes, book boyfriends, book covers, books that speak, keeping entertained, love story, on the book shelf, rêveur, read, romance can't be antiquated, romcoms are my peeps, the fangirling has made it here, write, writing wishlist

Dane Cook said:

{Instagram post here}

I’m so fucking inspired by @matt87chevy here. Hard work is hard work no matter who you are or what your story is. Self doubt is a signal that you know how to ignite the spark inside you to move towards what you love and where you need to be.

Of course it’s scary. Change is scary but It’s worth it the minute you begin. It’s all that pre worrying shit you need to push past.

You know what always terrified me? The comfort zone. That area where you just exist and don’t know what is around the corner so you don’t look. No way.

This picture should be your wallpaper until you get your shit together. From everyone that is making a strong move on the board today because of your determination photographed here I say thank you Matt.

And it was the perfect thing…ILY, Dane Cook.
I was definitely frustrated.
I don’t know why I let one person’s opinion wreck me and my book so hard…especially when so many other comments have barely dinged me.
[albeit, they were helpful more than harmful]
Needless to say, I am going through the my Sketchbook Project commitment, and I am definitely writing another story, and finishing the one I’ve been writing.

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PS…thanks to kiTT for unconsciously helping, too.
PPS or is it PSS? … And to the muse who won’t get out of my head!
PPPS or the other way…How’s the new theme looking from there?

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09.03.2015 · 9:35 pm