This weekend is, more or less, my second anniversary of being a published author.
Things I have learned over the last two years range from growing as a writer, to understanding my audience and dealing with reviews… No one can tell you any of this is easy!
Oracle was rejected by a publisher because the book was too much telling and not enough showing. One rather purposeful rewrite later the whole MS was subbed to a new E-Publisher, and they took it on their books. In hindsight not a brilliant idea, but to be fair they got me started.
What I learned from this, besides now having an almost fanatical approach to showing through dialogue and character interaction, is that rejection isn't the end of things.
ON COVER ART:
Speaking of which… cover art is where it is at! It doesn't matter if you have written the most perfect book ever to hit Word – if your cover is bleurgh or your title is bleurgh, then you won't get noticed. I don't know how many writers of M/M there are but I know there are *a lot*. Covers have to make your book stand out.
That leads me to titling your book
ON THE TITLE OF YOUR BOOK:
If you are writing your first book about shifters or cowboys or cops, then try and get something in your title that shows this. The Heart Of Texas as a title with the added art including a cowboy and horses sums up the book in that brief second you have for people to choose your book out of many.
Imagine the potential readers for a book titled *A Texas Shifter Cowboy And A Cop With A Kid At Christmas*! Okay so that is going a little far but you get the idea.
My first book was called Oracle.
Yeah, that really explains it's about an empath, an academic, and an ancient weapon bought to life!
Moments, my second book, was equally as unhelpfully titled.
I think I hit gold with *The Christmas Throwaway* which was published the first week of December 2010. Then of course book four blew it all with the rather strange title of *Kian*. (Yes I don't take my own advice!).
The Heart of Texas got me back on track though!
So I guess what I ended up getting my head around was that you need to think about the titles that stand out to YOU and go from there.
Just imagine if you were wanting to try a new author and you had ten seconds to choose one out of ten and you knew none of the authors…
The question I always asked myself was what makes me buy the book I have chosen?
I wrote an article on reviews six months ago – it can be found HERE.
What have I learned from the reviews I have received? I try to take the reviews you have and learn from what readers are saying. If enough people tell me that one of my books was slow or too fast, or not sexy enough, or *insert anything here* then I go back to that book and I find out why. Then I learn from it.
Of course the thing to remember is that no one will ever write a book that pleases every single reader, but listening to well structured opinion is vital.
It took me a year to come to terms with that.
ON PLANNING STORIES:
Plotter vs Pantser
I can't plan stories. By that, I mean knowing the beginning and end and also exactly what goes in the middle.
I am a *pantser*, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. I know how a book starts and I have plot points I want to cover but I never plan. Why? It's simple. I get bored.
In my head the story is finished and I lose the impetus to write. Also my stories tend to build and move according to action and character, so to have a set response or direction in my head would be to stifle what my characters want to do.
(Is it just me or does that sound WAY pretentious! Smacks self…)
I ran a Blog Hop a year ago and the following articles were all advice that existing writers had for newbies… hopefully the links still work.