Wednesday, April 19, 2017

best time to write novel!

When I began writing novels in 1986, it was 2 years and 8 months before I saw my first mystery novel, Kill Cue, in a bookstore. It took more than a year just from contract signing to publication. Today, things happen more quickly because self-publishing is the name of the game. You don’t need traditional publishers anymore.

Over the last decade, Print on Demand has made it possible to scale down the cost of publishing. No more huge print runs for books that might sell and no more remainders when they didn’t. Best of all, the world has finally become comfortable with buying their books on the Internet. Amazon gave power to authors.

Today, many writers are publishing books on their own through Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle programs at little or no cost because they want a greater share of the pie than traditional publishers offer. In the late 1980s, Bantam-Lynx gave me a 7% royalty on the cover price of my first novels; today with the right pricing, I get 70% royalty on my published book.

Self-publishing finally gave authors complete control over their own books.

When you self-publish through Amazon, you gain global distribution to major eBook stores, which means you can reach millions of readers without a New York publisher. Your book will get in the hands of your readers quickly, with the advantages of low-cost delivery, global scale and no up-front costs for you. Digital publishing has put power in the hands of writers and has democratized the publishing industry.

It’s a wonderful time to be writing a novel.
Back in the old days, you had to write a manuscript and send it to the publisher who would decide whether you deserved to be published. If they bought your manuscript (and only about 10% of all manuscripts were purchased by New York publishers back then), it was out of your hands and you had to come up with your own marketing.

Today, you can write and publish your book in paperback and eBook for almost no money and reap the rewards. No agent. No publisher other than you. Not only that, but your book remains in print for as long as you want it to.

There’s something cool about holding your paperback book in your hands. Publish your paperback through CreateSpace and they will publish your book for Kindle if you ask them to, at no cost to you.

Self-published outnumber traditional books.
In the first six months of 2016, the number of self-published books actually surpassed the number of traditionally published books.

Since the market has been besieged with self-published books, some have been simply awful. Bad editing, poor covers, and mediocre content are widespread. In my research, I looked at more than 100 Kindle and CreateSpace novels. Sadly, more than 60% of them were virtually unreadable.

Apparently people are writing their novels before learning HOW to write them. Lousy books drive away potential customers. There are reasons for the customs of writing fiction; reasons that have to do with what readers want.

Readers complain about books. Among the books I checked, I found that readers complained that the books were full of misspelled words, inferior character development, POV problems, stupid plots and many of them had no ending at all, just a link to the next book in a so-called “series.”

For proof that you need to write the best novel you can, read these three short excerpts from actual reviews of novels now on Amazon.

“Mistakes all over and immature writing. Head-hopping viewpoint. The story line was completely disjointed. Characters were forgettable.”

A different book. “Spelling, grammar and continuity errors abound and the Main Character was about as likeable as a disease. Really, I DO need to CARE about the Main Character in a book.”

One more. “The characters don't feel ‘real.’ I'm frustrated with the heroine of this book. She has no backbone nor a brain in her head. No one is this gullible. Sure it's fiction but couldn’t the story be somewhat realistic?”

Those reviews came from people who wanted the books to be good, or at least readable.

Sadly, the fact that anyone can publish a novel means that anyone can publish a novel. That democracy causes lots of really bad writing to be published. But you can buck this trend by writing the best novel you can.

Quality rises to the top in publishing. Since so many self-publishers are writing for CreateSpace and Kindle, the best way for you to rise to the top, get decent reviews, and make money with your book is to write the best novel you can.

Can you write a novel and publish it yourself?
Yes, you can. If you strive to write the best novel you can and rewrite it carefully, you can make lots of money with a good book. The market needs your well-written novel.
There are no hard and fast rules for writing fiction, or if there are some, nobody knows what they are. However, there are many precedents, created by the millions of writers who went before you. You can profit from their mistakes and have someone in your corner as you write your novel.

You’re scared to write a novel. Of course you are. Writing is a dangerous profession. (Bullfighting is more dangerous but at least the bull doesn't try to rewrite your book.) Fear and anxiety are natural emotions for a novelist and these feelings are not unique to beginners. Will you look deep inside your soul and find nothing worth-while? (Like that great line from the Broadway musical, A Chorus Line: “I dug right down to the bottom of my soul and I found nothing.”) Writing a novel takes an investment of your time, faith and your heart. Will readers like your novel?

There is no way to know. Many beginners beat themselves up because the first words they put down look dumb. Well, duh! Nobody writes perfectly first time, that’s why I call your first draft The Secret Draft; nobody gets to see it but you.

Remember that. It does not have to be perfect right away. It’s just a Secret Draft. You can decide to make a dog your main character, tell about your aunt’s bad time in Vegas and put “very” in front of everything, but it is only your first draft.

Millions of people cannot write a simple sentence. You can. You are a writer; writing is what you do. Some days you’ll write badly, some days you write well. However, there will never be a day when you cannot write at all.

Above from the book NOVEL SECRETS,
available for Kindle on in paperback