The online magazine for independent authors and publishers. Mick Rooney is an editor, investigative journalist, author, publishing consultant, and Editor-In-Chief of The Independent Publishing Magazine (TIPM).
Today, more novels are being published and read than ever before. Around 407,000 novels were published in the US in 2007 alone. One of the ways to make yours stand out is knowing how to create realistic characters. So how do you do this? The following eight tips will help you
1. Make Your Characters Complex Like Real People
Most times, we get bored when reading a book, not because it has a bad description or the plot is confusing, but simply because there’s no connection between us and the characters. For example, look at the story of Achilles, the Greek legend. He could not be harmed physically because his mother had dipped him in River Styx when he was an infant. This gave him a great advantage when it came to combat. His heel, the part where his mother held him as he was dipped in the river, was the weak point that ultimately led to his death.
The story would not have been interesting if Achilles could have remained undefeated, but his flaw made him human. Achilles’ heel reveals that it is possible for a strong character to encounter danger just like everyone else. Moreover, it also shows that great characters have histories, even if they are talked about briefly. These historical accounts can wield influence at critical moments in your story, thus deciding the outcome of a key plot point.
2. Give Your Characters Unique Motivations and Goals
Have you ever read a book and ended up telling yourself ‘I can’t believe character Z did that!’ Most times, what a story requires is an unexpected event. If a character’s actions feel too frustrating, then think keenly about cause and effect ideas. Our requirements shape our behavior. Conflict is crucial to a good pace and the reader’s interest. Therefore, having characters that have similar or contradictory desires brings about a strong impression of an imaginary living world. Whenever you plan character objectives, think about the following: Why does my character possess this objective? Why does he/she need to achieve it?
Whether your character achieves his/her objectives or not depends on the nature of your story.
3. Create Believable Characters
Picture this. You have your characters’ goals, and motivation clearly spelled out in your head. They already have realistic flaws. Yet in some way, you’re finding it difficult to create a character. Providing the reader with an immersive character description is essential.
When outlining any component of your character, think about how the other components might be utilized to reinforce your character type. For instance, if your character is fearful and nervous, what kind of language is he inclined to use? How will their body language mirror their temperament? Establishing connections between these individual elements of a character makes him/her more real since it illustrates that the character has a complex combination of feeling, thought and action.
4. Describe Your Character’s Appearance
One thing that can put off readers is obvious cliché. Description of character is a feature of fiction writing that’s prone to cliché, for instance, wringing of hands to portray distress – when describing your character’s appearance, you can talk about the posture, face, eyes, and hands.
5. Describe Your Character’s Body Language
Body language can tell a lot about your character. It can reveal a lot of information about the character’s emotional or psychological condition. Moreover, it provides the means to communicate mood and atmosphere quickly. For example, a character moving from foot to foot while the arms are crossed might portray feelings of being low on confidence.
6. Write Memorable Characters’ Voices
Thinking of voice might be strange in a written media, but that would be a big mistake. When sketching your character, think about how his or her voice can bolster the reader’s impression of strengths and weaknesses. A character who is often quiet might display unexpected courage and fierceness. Alternatively, a character who is loud might become silent suddenly in a serious incident, even if you don’t directly describe whether something’s happened – reader’s mind would rush to think about possible reasons, why character’s voice has changed.
7. Create Believable Character Psychology
Character psychology is strongly associated with its goals, motivations, and flaws. Other than external obstacles to your character achieving his/her goals, there should be internal ones that provide readers with insights into the character’s psychology.
If your character has to defeat a powerful opponent, then portraying a fearful mental state assists in increasing the suspense, and will leave the readers second-guessing as to whether the character will prevail or not. Just like goals and motivation, psychology can give explanations as to why characters make certain choices.
8. Show Character Development
You should strive to show character development, even if you’re writing a short novel. Characters ought to uncover new things about themselves, other characters and their world within the story. However, there are exceptions. A character’s changing status can be used to express a sense of tragedy and inevitable fate (if this is the effect that you want to achieve). Therefore, it is important to ensure that there are other avenues where the story can develop from and eventually create forward momentum.
Moreover, one of the characterization errors that beginner writers make sometimes is to concentrate on plot development without considering other things. Character development can be written into your story in several ways, for instance, varying your descriptive language to match your character’s age.
All in all, coming up with characters that drive your story, readers can relate to and also keep the readers glued to the story is not an easy task. However, with the tips mentioned above, you can begin asking yourself the correct questions about your characters. Eventually, you will come up with vibrant characters for your story and create a novel that sells!
Do you know any working character-writing tips that we left out? Feel free to share them in the comments!
Lucas M. Cappel is a part-time tutor and a freelance writer with a wide range of interests, spanning from education to the nature of the human mind.
Coffee table books – they fall into that category of ubiquitous items that seem simple until you stop to look at them closely and discover art.
A good coffee table book, that is. If you don’t put together a meaningful work, or fail to publish it, a coffee table book will just remain a creation with incredible potential.
Here are ten tips to enchant living rooms everywhere, whether you have a seedling concept or you’re ready to go:
1. Create something that’s missing
Even in a well-covered niche, the point of artistry is a unique perspective, which you undoubtedly have. Unless you’re being commissioned to make a generic coffee table book, what would be the point in creating one?
Instead, look for a new angle- in your photography, in your story, or even in combining a few of your subjects- for a compelling, original book. Unite it behind a theme or message in one complete sentence, not just a description.
For example: In a Manhattan coffee shop, everybody in line seems like a stranger, but you’ll know exactly where they’re going if you carefully examine their shoes.
If you put the time and thought into a thesis with every component articulated, you’ll find guidance for your photography and story, and how to you put it all together.
The result will be a complete, eloquent, and poignant book that readers will be proud to feature in their homes.
2. Manuscript like the Dickens (and the Austen and the Hugo)
The written content of a coffee table book has an abundance of moving parts, so make sure to hire an editor to work with you from the beginning on the introduction, captions, conclusion, bibliography, index, and more. You need the second set of eyes.
It may feel a little too much at first, but make sure the writing is emotionally gripping, completely original, and directly supportive of your message.
Think of it like this: a picture is worth a thousand well-written words, so it will undoubtedly show wimpy writing for what it is if you try to put a hasty caption next to one of your photos.
Only when your manuscript is a polished gem should you combine it with your collection of photographs and pitch it to publishers.
3. Scout your team early
When you have a fleshed-out idea of the coffee table book you want to make, it’s time to get flexible and find a designer and printer for your book.
Though editors are seasoned veterans of their field, they’ll dream with you about your book and every avenue of possibility. When you find a designer, they’ll give you a better idea of what’s possible or likely to be successful in formatting the book. A top-notch designer will have an expansive knowledge-base for the sizes of book trims and what different paper stocks printers carry in-house, which is crucial in your production costs.
By visioning with a designer and printer early, you’ll work within a realistic template. An added benefit is that, if you pay attention closely, you can gain a world of insight by looking at your project from their eyes.
4. Ask yourself constantly, “Would I pick this book up?”
It’s cliché, and the answer seems obvious, but creating a coffee table book is like composing a symphony in all its intertwined parts, so you should step back regularly to ensure everything is working in the direction of the book’s fullest potential.
Keep the end goal in mind. All this work goes into something that will be part of somebody’s home. Who is that person?
People pick out coffee table books to advertise ideals within their identity (stylish, observant, worldly, nostalgic, generous… there’s a book for it) so how will your book help them to display those traits?
To reach the next level, push yourself to capture your readers’ friends. Imagine someone who is sitting on your reader’s sofa. By being friends with your reader, they have a degree of familiarity with the subject, but not anything close to an interest… yet. How can you make this book compelling enough for them to peruse, and get them hooked on the story that you and your reader have in common?
5. Mix things up
Most writers tend to think about one or two layouts as they envision their book. Even with an expert designer, the majority still have to spend time consciously mixing in other styles. The mastery happens once you listen to what the photos want.
Here are some considerations:
Some photos need blank space to breathe.
Not every page needs words.
Not all words need photos.
Some photographs work best as a team. Words would detract.
Respect blank space.
Fill the early pages in a way that teaches your reader how to examine your work, and balance each page as if it were a single photograph.
6. Enlist a village
Writers worldwide are tired of hearing how they absolutely must hire an editor. The good news for you, in coffee table book production, is you must also hire a designer to make a successful work of art.
It is the most tempting way to cut costs, but failure to utilize an editor and designer spells certain defeat. At best, you would be missing out on wisdom and contacts. At worst, you could get negative reviews for lack of clarity, or even incur costs in reprinting the book after finding errors.
7. Black and white: the secret win-win
If you can’t cut costs in editing and designing, and you know to go with an option other than the very cheapest your chosen printer has to offer, your original budget might be in the rear-view mirror.
If this is the case, consider printing your book in black and white. It’s a classy, timeless look that works well as décor in many homes, and it reduces printing costs substantially without letting up on quality.
The minimalist aesthetic is all the rage right now, and its timeless elements will not soon go out of style.
Kickstarter should only enter the equation once your work is about 90% complete. You need that much work before you can put together an accurate timeline and some detail and transparency about the challenges in your work.
To interest investors, explain to them how you’re creating something that’s missing (Tip #1), and consider offering some incentive for their contribution. This could be the donation of a certain amount of proceeds from your book, photography services, or an exclusive bonus collection of outtakes from the endeavor.
9. Publish local
If you can find a local publisher/printer that you like, you’re much more likely to get a “yes” on your book, and you might even be able to negotiate better pricing than with more prominent organizations.
Local and small business products are appealing to mindful consumerists, and you can put together a grassroots campaign to build buzz for your book by selling it in local establishments like cafes or home décor boutiques.
Plus, local newspapers are interested in talking up community collaboration much more than a local would-be coffee table book creator.
10. Give your book away for free…
…To bloggers. As you work on your project, keep an eye on blog activity within your niche. Send a note to the top bloggers once your books are finished and ask if they would like a free copy. Stipulate that they should write a nice review.
Publishing a coffee table book requires surgical attention to detail, immense creativity, grit, and know-how. Though it’s daunting, your path to success includes deep, critical thinking about what you have to offer in your book, procedural forethought, and a team of support.
Samantha Rosario is a blogger, mother, and resident of the greatest city in the world, NYC. When not working at a Manhattan publishing house, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. She is also an avid runner, swimmer, and aims to complete an Ironman in 2018.
Matador, one of the UK’s most widely recommended self-publishing service providers, is delighted to announce that they now offer a complete audiobook creation, publishing and distribution service for self-publishing authors. With an emphasis on top quality production values at a realistic and affordable cost, all the audiobooks will be narrated by professional actors and established voice-over artists.
Audiobooks are a growth area in publishing, appealing to on-the-go readers. UK audiobook sales have doubled in the last five years, with audiobook purchases now accounting for 5% of consumer book spending in the UK (Nielsen UK Books & Consumers’ Survey, 2017).
‘Audiobooks have historically been the most difficult and costly format to produce for indie authors,’ says Jeremy Thompson, MD of Troubador Publishing, Matador’s parent Company. ‘For self-publishers, the barriers to entering the audiobook market have been the high cost of production and the technical challenges faced when producing an audiobook. However with the clear growth in the appetite for audiobooks, we felt the time was now right to open this channel to more self-publishing authors.’
Matador’s audiobook service will go live on Tuesday 1st May 2018 and will sit alongside their other high-quality self-publishing services that range from printed titles and digital publishing to sales, marketing and distribution options. Matador’s audiobooks will initially be distributed via Audible and full details of the service can be found on the Troubador website.
Matador is a leading UK self-publishing imprint and part of the Troubador Group that also includes the Book Guild, Indie-Go and the annual Self-publishing Conference. Based in Leicestershire, Troubador celebrates its 21st successful year in 2018.
As part of a strategic reorganisation, Crowdfunding publisher Unbound is making four of its editors redundant. The news was first confirmed by commissioning editor Simon Spanton this week via his Twitter account. Spanton tweeted:
So; my dream job is not to be as long a dream as I hoped. Due to cost-cutting I am one of four editors being made redundant at Unbound. I am gutted as I was working with amazing authors on amazing books. I am also in the market for editorial work (DM me).
He was in his editorial role for just over one year and formerly worked for publishers Orion and Gollancz. Spanton departs Unbound along with three other editors. CEO and company co-founder Dan Kieran confirmed the news to The Bookseller this week, stating that the publisher’s editorial team would be cut by a third.
I can confirm we have made four editorial redundancies in our team of twelve (having tripled the size of the team last June) as part of a strategic reorganisation. Redundancies in any business are always hard for everyone involved but Unbound has and will always continue to evolve. We’re growing fast with our trade sales up over 100% on last year, and we’ve broken our own crowdfunding records raising over £200,000 a month for the last three months alone. We are also making investments in AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, which will enable the evolution of our platform to continue.
Unbound is a community, platform and a publishing model using crowdfunding to assist authors publish their books.
This is the first PUBLISHING SERVICE INDEX for 2018. Our last one was released in December 2017. The index continues to reflect closures of publishing service providers and our latest release sees the departure of another two companies, though they were very small players in the service field. I now intend to compiled the index three to four times across the calendar year, so we can monitor seasonal changes. The month-to-month work involved was simply not being compensated by enough changes on the index over a short period of weeks.
In recent years the index has reflected the rise and dominance of DIY-styled publishing platforms. Indeed, at one stage the top ten featured seven such platforms. However, the latest index appears to reflect something of a mini resurgence for some of the top-rated FSPs (Full Service Providers) and I must say it is something that surprised me a little. IngramSpark has slipped from first to third and it has been a long time since a FSP occupied one of the top two spots (Matador). With CreateSpace shuttering its full service programs and Amazon continuing with its longer term strategy to merge and streamline its print and ebook platforms, it is notable that KDP has returned once again to the top spot in the index. I wonder if we will even see the existence of CreateSpace in its current name and form by the end of this year. That would mean IngramSpark need to do a little better with new clients looking to transition from CreateSpace if they want to capitalise, and so far I’ve had very mixed feedback from authors on the ease of the process of transferring existing books, particularly in respect to ISBN usage.
Outside the top ten (11-20), there isn’t a great deal of change, though I note Mill City Press continues to slip back and exits the top twenty for the first time ever. We can expect to see more publishing service providers fall by the wayside and close their doors in 2018, either because of a downturn in business from authors seeking full service providers or increased competition from freemium publishing platforms (online platforms that offer free basic services for file load up and formatting software, but charge for more advanced services like design, editing and marketing). Nook Press has now been revamped and renamed (yet again) and becomes Barnes & Noble Press, just hanging on inside the top thirty.
As a publishing consultant, one additional point of note. I am finding it increasingly difficult to suggest a large and varied pool of reputable full publishing service providers to authors looking to go in that direction, particularly if an author wants both print and ebook editions of their book. More and more, we are moving to a publishing landscape where authors need to take greater control in the management of their book projects, and that means looking to publishing marketplaces to connect with professionals, whether an author is looking for a book designer, a skilled book formatter, an editor, or marketing and promotional assistance. While it is still possible to find all those services under one roof, so-to-speak, this area and the options available are shrinking, and when it comes to quality, efficient delivery of services contracted, and reputation; these are not the kind of things any serious independent author wants to compromise on.
One of the common questions I get asked is: when am I reviewing X or Y company? I rarely now review new companies in the full service provider arena. I appreciate that companies keep me up-to-date on their development plans, but if I am brutally honest (and you know I often am!), I don’t see the innovation in publishing I experienced going back over the past five years. Often, new startups come with great plans and ideas, but they either come and go before ever finding their footing after a year or two or simply mimic the Author Solutions model of gouging and exploiting authors (often new) as a production mill to make money. I’m still excited by new digital publishing startups. The author-publisher market continues to be very competitive and no longer suffers fools or those in it for a quick buck. All that said, I think the author/publisher landscape has been pretty much mapped out for the coming years. There will always be new players, new technology, but the principles of good, quality book publication remain the same.
TIPM and Radio Espial has conducted audio and video interviews with the former CEO of Hillcrest Media, Mark Levine, indie author Linda Riesenberg Fisler, Kevin Spall of Thomson-Shore, and Jeremy Thompson of Troubador. We will have more interviews with authors and publishers in 2018. If you haven’t seen the interviews, you can view or listen to them by visiting the Radio Espial website for all the links (iTunes, Soundcloud, YouTube etc.).
TIPM continues to receive regular feedback on services through comments under our reviews, via our The Independent Publishing Magazine Facebook page, and directly to us. We want to thank all of those who took the time to share their publishing experiences. Your comments are always welcome and every comment and experience of a publishing service — positive or negative — is always read and reflected in the latest index published.
I’ll catch up with you all later in the summer. Our next index is scheduled around July. Our next email newsletter for subscribers is due out within the next week.
Everyone dreams of a writer’s life. You book your trip to Seychelles. You pack your laptop and light beach clothes. Sunglasses and flip-flops are a must. You enjoy at least two months of vacation there since you can afford it. How can you afford it? Well, you’re working right there, on the beach. You’re making money while enjoying yourself.
Everything works so fine in our imagination, doesn’t it? But the reality is different. Surprise, surprise: I’m not writing this from the beach. I don’t know any writer who works from the beach. Sure; I know travelers and adventurers, but they are taking some time off work, so they can fully enjoy their trips. As for the writing process at the beach, here are five reasons why it didn’t work for me.
1. The Beach Environment Has a Destructive Power
I recently talked to my friend, Monique, who works as a writer for BestEssays. She just came home after spending two months in Ecuador, so I was eager to hear about her experience: “I didn’t get to do as much work as I planned to,” – she said. “It went well for the first week and I was living the writer’s dream. But you know what? The sand and sun ruined my laptop. So that was it; I had to take a break from work and convince myself to enjoy the trip as a full-time tourist.”
You love the heat and humidity, but your laptop doesn’t. So the next time you see a lovely photo of someone working on their laptop at the beach, remind yourself of this: that scene is not even close to reality!
If you do intend to work and travel, please do it in your room. You can wake up really early in the morning, do your writing, and enjoy the beach for the rest of the day.
2. What about the Bills?
When writing is your job, it has to pay the bills. In my case, I had an apartment back home, and the expenses were up to $1000 per month. I thought: I’ll save on electricity, so I’ll pay less. I packed my bags and went to explore Italy for a month. I still had to pay the bills back home, since you can’t really avoid rent. But I had other bills to pay: accommodation.
See? When you travel, you have gigantic expenses, and your writing business may not cover them all. You need savings, so you’ll be comfortable on your trip. If you plan to afford them while working, you should be ready for unpleasant surprises. Chances are, you’ll want to explore. You’ll be working less, and that means you’ll be earning less money. In my case, I wasn’t able to afford all expenses, so I was late with the rent.
Italian beaches didn’t even seem nice when I realized that.
3. It’s Not Really a Vacation
Let me tell you something about my vacation in Italy: it wasn’t a vacation. The thought that I had to work more to support the trip was incredibly burdening. I did not isolate myself from the screen. Time away from the screen… now that would be the ideal vacation for me.
When you use technology every day (and you surely do that when you’re a writer), it makes you tired. You need some time off. And you don’t get it when you intend to write at the beach. Wait; didn’t we just prove that writing from the beach was not a real possibility? Never mind. You get my point.
4. You’re Not Getting the Most Out of Your Trip
Let’s say you want to go to Cuba. It’s a lovely country. If you intend to work, you can stick to the schedule described above (write in the morning and explore for the rest of your day). However, writers can’t usually stick to a definite schedule. Inspiration comes and goes. Sometimes you’re inspired to write for an entire day.
So the chances that you’ll stay on that schedule are really slim. You’ll simply write and explore in sessions throughout the day, but guess what: you won’t be able to explore much. You will probably limit yourself to the hotel room and the beach. Cuba has too much to offer, but you won’t see anything.
5. If You’re Working for Clients, They Won’t Appreciate Your New Schedule
If you’re working on your next big novel, a trip may be exactly what you need. But if you’re tied with deadlines or you’re working with clients, you have specific instructions to follow and workload to complete. When you’re traveling, you lose a few days on transportation. If you’re flying to a different time zone, you’ll need a few more days to recover from the jet lag. Then, you’ll start working, but you’ll work less with the intention to see more of the place you visit.
Your clients won’t appreciate that. They need the work to be done, so they will probably hire another author to fill in. What if that author is better than you? What if you lose part of your workflow for good? Think about that!
You have the right to a vacation! No one denies that. However, your clients would expect you to take two weeks or a month off. If you head off to Cuba for two months, you can’t expect them to be happy for you.
So that’s why I’m not writing this from the beach. It’s a nice idea of a lifestyle and I tried it, but it didn’t go as planned. I write when I write, and I’m a tourist when I’m a tourist. Multitasking doesn’t really work for me, and most writers I know feel the same way about their write-and-travel adventures.
Warren Fowler is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at Best Essays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.
Troubador Publishing, one of the major publishing service providers for indie authors, has significantly redesigned its website with some impressive improvements.
From the Press release:
The redesigned Troubador Publishing Ltd website brings together all the imprints associated with Troubador for the first time, from the well-respected Matador imprint to the independently-minded Book Guild – while still showcasing all the writing and publishing events the company organises alongside its publishing programme. The new site features a cleaner interface that is easier to navigate for users and written with mobile device browsing very much in mind. The content of the website, from text through images, factsheets to news stories, has been rewritten and reimagined to make it sharper and more appealing. Apart from a fresh new look, the key features of the new site are:
New features and functions have been added to help users access company information and resources more quickly and to showcase books more readily. One of the most significant changes takes place behind the scenes, where the bookshop content is now driven by a daily Onix data feed to ensure the most up to date information.
The Author Centre functionality has been enhanced, in particular royalty reporting. Now featuring a historical royalty section where previous royalty statements from both physical and ebooks are available to download by an author – in addition to a snapshot of the current position being available.
The site now features a blog for the first time, which includes articles by staff, authors and guest writers on all aspects of self-publishing – taking all the experience and passion the team have and continuing the company ethos of making as much information available to indie authors.
One of the most significant changes can be seen in the new bookshop, making it easier for customers to browse and buy. Covers are now displayed more dynamically, books are given more space, enhanced functionality for reviewing, discounting and discoverability have been built in. As well as featuring each month’s new titles, there’s a more extensive special offers section, a themed sale section and a preview of what’s in the upcoming publishing schedule. Customer reviews are given a greater prominence in the new bookshop.
The addition of a new live chat function on the Matador pages lets customers speak with actual staff (not chatbots) during office hours.
For more information about the company or website relaunch please contact:
Technology has reshaped our lives in a drastic way. Looking back on the technological advancements of the last few decades, we can’t help but be astonished by the giant leaps humanity has made and we can’t help but wonder what else there is in store for us. From solar energy to self-driving cars, from AI assistants to drones, technology has come a far way and it keeps improving. In this article, Essay Writing Service UK outline how exactly technology is affecting the writing industry.
We are used to employing the latest gadgets without giving them a second thought. But if we stop and analyze technology carefully, we’ll see the huge role it plays in our day to day lives: we use our smartphones to call an Uber, we keep track of our calories with an app, we pay for groceries with our smartphones and we can dim the light with a voice command. And our social interactions and behaviors have changed dramatically in the last few decades as well. Letters and postcards are almost extinct, replaced by instant messages via apps like WhatsApp or Facebook’s Messenger.
The writing industry hasn’t remained unscathed either. Long gone are the days of typewriters, pencil sharpeners and blotting papers. The vast majority of writers now employ different tools of trade: extra-large smartphones, iPads or tablets, and laptops. 21st century literature is produced, packaged and consumed at an entirely different level than 20th century literature. Keep reading to find out all the major ways in which technology has affected the writing industry in the last few decades.
1. Writing Speed
Bloggers, journalists, copywriters, novelists, poetry writers, ghost writers and even students have benefited from technological advancements when it comes to writing speed. Nowadays, if you feel nostalgic, you start writing your material on a notepad. But not only is this environmentally unfriendly, it’s also excruciatingly time-consuming. Computers have revolutionized the way we write.
The average typing speed in adults is 40 words per minute, which translates to 400 words per 10 minutes and 2400 words per hour. For faster typists who are also skilled writers, the numbers look even better. Experienced writers can knock out 2000 words per hour, especially when they are in a time crunch.
The most important change technology has brought to literature is undoubtedly the speed with which we can type, communicate and share ideas. Writers are no longer restricted by their hand-writing speed. They no longer have to employ someone to decipher their manuscripts and type them out on typewriters. Writers have more tools at their disposal nowadays than they have ever had in history! Not only are they spoilt for choice with text editors, they also have countless of organizational tools and apps at their disposal to help with their work load and enable them to complete their writing tasks faster than ever before.
2. Instant Feedback
Needless to say, technology has managed to shatter all geographical barriers and impediments. Nowadays, communicating with a person at the other end of the world is done instantaneously. Writers who heavily rely on feedback from employees, peers or their audience can stay connected with everyone effortlessly.
This unprecedented situation has certainly left its mark on contemporary literature. Aspiring novelists or poetry writers need only submit their latest creations to literary forums in order to gauge the readership’s reaction and adjust their material accordingly. Literary circles are not extinct but they have a different shape and form nowadays. Writers with the same interests can find each other on the internet and meet-up for reading and feedback sessions.
It’s been said over and over again until it’s become a cliché: the internet brings people together. This powerful tool that has reshaped the 21st century can be used in a myriad of ways. One of its most striking accomplishments is connecting people, enabling them to engage, to share ideas and, most importantly, seek and receive constructive criticism.
Whether you want to hear from a consecrated lit-critic or an avid reader, you need only post your material online. But brace yourself! Under the cloak of anonymity, many feel safe to be brutally honest. There are also alternatives for when you don’t want to make your work public: professional writing services that can either write your paper from scratch, offer advice or just proofread and polish your material.
When it comes to online research, the internet can be both a blessing and a curse. The beauty of the world wide web is that anyone can add their story to this huge inventory of data. But the ugly side of the story is that no one bothers to check the facts.
Writers find themselves having access to all the information they need. If you’re writing a novel set in Colombia you don’t actually have to visit it to get a sense of the surroundings. Simply open Google Maps and start wandering around the streets. Check the forecast to see what the weather’s like. Take a look at the latest news to get the pulse of the nation. Then you can let your imagination run wild!
Naturally, nothing compares with experiencing things first-hand. Novelists and journalists still prefer to see things for themselves and take notes on the field. However, bloggers, copywriters and ghost writers can only benefit from online research, virtual tours and video conferences. The speed, reliability and convenience of the internet make writers efficient and fast. Not only can they produce content speedily, their work is high-quality and fact-checked.
4. Distribution Channels
Technology has been helping us stay creative and bring our dreams to life for the past few decades. Not only is it easy to express ourselves, stay organized and receive constructive criticism from peers and readers, it is also extremely easy for writers to distribute their work, to reach out to everyone and make their voices heard.
Passionate writers who want to put their work out there don’t have to waste time looking for a publishing house willing to help them. Setting-up a blog, writing an e-book, sending out newsletters is incredibly simple, accessible and inexpensive! The writing industry has truly been revolutionized. Nowadays, all writers need to do is press a button and their content is online for everyone to read, enjoy or dislike!
And with things being so simple, it’s no wonder many people try it at one point or another. Signing up for WordPress is a piece of cake. Writing your first few blog posts comes easy. It’s around this time that half of the aspiring journalists, writers or bloggers give up. Unmotivated, undisciplined or simply uninterested anymore, online personas go silent and never sign in to their distribution channel again. Only the few who persevere will end up succeeding.
An online blog doesn’t necessarily imply publishing your work just for the sake of it and not getting anything in return. With the help of monetization, ads and affiliate links, bloggers can make a living through their website as long as they are diligent and have a loyal following. And it’s not uncommon for bloggers to use their online readers in order to get a book deal from the biggest publishers on the market.
5. Everyone Has a Voice, Everyone Is a Writer
Nowadays, writing comes in a plethora of shapes and forms: tweets, Facebook comments, Reddit posts, Yelp testimonials, Goodread reviews, and Wikipedia contributions – what do they all have in common? They’re all live expressions of people from different corners of the world. They are often genuine, raw and unedited. Their aim is to communicate, to help, to share, to warn or to amuse.
The greatest gift technology has given mankind is a resounding voice. We can all speak up, reach out, weigh in, contribute or point out grammatical errors. We are all writers. Last century’s love letters have been replaced by cheesy instant messages. Pressed flowers of yesteryear are nowadays heart emoticons. Locks of hair are obsolete; in their place – pouty selfies.
6. Virtual Jobs
Technology has also reshaped the writing industry’s workforce. From job hunting to online interviews and working remotely, writers, bloggers and journalists work in a different rhythm and environment than their peers from a century ago. You can live in Europe and work for a US firm. You can work remotely from an exotic beach and get paid through PayPal. You can use the internet to find well-paid writing gigs. Ghost writing and web content writing are in high demand and talented writers are always keen to provide high-quality, entertaining materials.
The writing industry has transformed completely. With new distribution channels, new types of readers, new ways of reading and engaging with content, writing keeps evolving. Internet users are notorious for having a super short attention span. Copywriters only have a few seconds at their disposal to catch their attention before they swipe away to the next ad, blog or post. Enter online marketing techniques! This new but vast field is always changing and improving. As user behavior changes at the same time with the release of new gadgets and technologies, advertisers, marketers and writers have to think on their feet and compete for the readers’ time.
Nowadays, content writers need to be more than great wordsmiths. They need to have SEO knowledge, they need to know how to sell, how to pique the audience’s interest, how to keep them on the website, and, most importantly, how to solve their problem.
Laura Thompson works at Essay Writing Service UK under the English and Creative Writing fields. With experience of undertaking modules in a diverse range of subjects, she has acquired exceptional knowledge of contemporary and classical theories which include philosophy, history, cultural studies, film and literature. Having recently graduated with a first Class combined Bachelor’s with honours, she has a clear understanding of current academic systems and regulations, as well as high quality proof reading skills.
Many writers know the frustration of putting their time, effort and hope into a book, only for it to fizzle out after launching.
It can be incredibly disheartening when books don’t perform as well as expected. One response is to simply move on to the next project, giving up any hope of the previous book’s fortunes changing.
While this approach is entirely understandable, it’s often mistaken. Many books contain the potential for success. Tried and tested methods exist to help a poorly performing book change course and become successful.
Authors have had significant success in resurrecting poorly performing books by –
Revamping the book’s cover and description
Advertising the book through effective channels
Repackaging the core content of the book into a new offering
It’s not possible to revive every book out there. Some are simply not good enough to succeed, no matter which techniques are tried.
However, if you’ve invested your time, effort, and money into a book which isn’t performing well, what do you have to lose by trying? Either you resurrect your book’s fortunes and experience the success you originally desired, or you move on to your next project with peace of mind, knowing there was nothing more you could have done.
Improve the Packaging, Not the Product
According to the classic 4 Ps of marketing theory, commercial success comes down to product, price, packaging, and place. It’s essential to get the right balance between these four elements for your offering to succeed.
Books are no different. Often, the written content of a book is absolutely fine. However, the book’s ‘packaging’ (its cover and description) put readers off discovering just how good the writing is.
This is especially true for independent publishers. The market is absolutely crowded with books. However, consumers are spoiled for choice and have a short attention span. It’s therefore essential to package your book in a way which is able to capture a potential buyer’s attention, and entice them into taking a closer look.
Some of the indications that the problem with your book is the packaging and not the book itself are –
The idea behind your book was carefully considered (in the case of non-fiction, your book offers clear benefits to a defined audience, in the case of fiction, your book offers fans of a particular genre everything they expect in terms of plot, character and convention)
Your book has been edited
The written content of your book has received positive feedback from credible sources
Your book cover was not professionally designed, or was designed by someone without specialist knowledge of your genre or niche
Your book cover is old and no longer is a good fit for the modern market
If you suspect that the way your book is packaged is part of the problem, it’s worth soliciting feedback before investing time and money into revamping the packaging.
Any of the following three ideas can be used, either in isolation or conjunction, to determine whether it’s worth focusing on repackaging your book –
Taking an honest look into whether your book cover design and description compare favorably to similar books which are performing better. Are there any elements of the other books’ covers or descriptions that yours lacks?
Getting feedback from relevant readers as to their opinion of your book’s cover and description. Are there any common criticisms worth taking on board? This is a good way to overcome any blind spots you may have to your own work.
A/B testing a new cover idea. If you have a new cover idea or description in mind, you should consider testing whether it performs better in the real world before re-releasing your book. Pickfu is a useful service for doing this.
Often, seeing your book succeed is a matter of presenting it in a more attractive way. This decision should be based on evidence and real-world feedback.
The old adage ‘build it and they will come’ definitely does not apply to self-publishing.
Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with the book itself, or the way it is presented and packaged.
Instead, the problem is the way the book has been promoted. Broadly speaking, two types of problem exist in this area –
For a marketing channel to be effective, it needs to offer the potential to promote your book to an interested audience, at a cost which will offer a reasonable return on your investment. Any marketing channel worth your consideration should have a track record of success with books similar to your own. The cost of marketing should also offer a realistic prospect of profit.
As well as choosing the right promotional channels, you need to ensure that your book is presented with attractive copy and images. Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Simply analyze effective ads on any given marketing channel, determine what they have in common, and apply this to your own promotion.
If your book isn’t performing as well as you hoped, a promotional push could be the best solution. Don’t doom a book to failure before spreading the word in the best way possible.
Converting Core Content into a New Book
The most comprehensive option for reviving the fortunes of a poorly performing book is to repackage the core content or concept of an existing book into an entirely new title.
This is the best option when your book contains some good ideas or elements, but has sufficient weaknesses that will always hold it back from succeeding.
Almost every great book and film has been through this process. For self-publishers, the insight into a book’s weaknesses often doesn’t become apparent until after publication. Negative reviews can often be the best window into a book’s weaknesses, and subsequently what must be remedied for an entirely revamped version.
Some possible approaches for this idea include –
Retargeting a non-fiction book to a more specific audience. Sometimes, by aiming to please everyone, the books end up pleasing no-one. By focusing your ideas on the needs of a more narrowly defined audience, you can often create a more helpful book.
Keeping the core of a fictional story, but making significant alterations. For example, your fiction story may have received praise for its plot, but readers didn’t find its characters appealing. Rather than starting from scratch, keep what works, and discard what doesn’t.
Updating an older book for the modern market. Sometimes, your book’s problem is down to age. The main concepts and ideas may work well, but need reforming for a modern audience.
If your book hasn’t performed as well as expected, it doesn’t mean your time creating it was wasted. Instead of seeing your book as a failure, see it as a prototype which you can improve and repackage until it succeeds.
Book Revival Final Thoughts
Hopefully you now see that a poorly performing book doesn’t have to be the end of the road. Before you throw a book on the scrapheap, consider whether –
The book itself is fine, but its presentation could be made more appealing
The problem isn’t with the book, but with a lack of promotion, or the wrong marketing channels
The book’s core content and concept can be reworked into a better overall offering
Ultimately, a book represents a serious amount of your time and effort. Don’t condemn it to failure before giving it every chance possible of revival.
BIO – Dave Chesson
I’m 34 years old and an 11 year veteran of the US Navy. I was also a military kid and so have lived in all corners of the globe. But that’s not what defines me. After my family, my real passion is books, but more specifically the new world of Kindle e-books. I’ve made a pretty decent side income out of them.
You could say ‘I have a certain set of skills’?
If I had to describe myself, I would start by saying I’m a husband and a father first and foremost. But when I am not playing dress up or chasing the Bogey Man out of the closet, I am an online entrepreneur specializing in Kindle e-book marketing.
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