Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Today is the beginning of Memorial Day in many regions of the country (acually, several schools around here had yesterday off as well), so it's a good time to remember and be thankful for all the men and women who have served and given their lives to protect this country. A moment of silence in honor of them.......

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Writers' Wednesday: Business or Pleasure?

I've been following an interesting discussion on one of my author loops over the last couple of weeks. It started as a discussion of how to measure sales based on a novel's Amazon sales rank and morphed into a general discussion of marketing, sales, and reasons for writing.

And this is what I found most interesting: many more people than I realized write for money. That is to say, many of the people who chimed in on this discussion are very successful authors (in terms of sales and hitting various best-seller lists). Over and over again, the common thread was that these authors spend as much time marketing themselves and studying which promo efforts translate into the most sales as they do writing their actual books. The feeling among most of them was that this is a job, I'm making a living, and thus I have to study the business side of it just as much as (if not more) the creating side of it.

I found that soooo interesting, mostly because I and the writer friends I know personally do NOT make a living from their books. They write on the sidem at nignt, on weekends, whenever they can, because they love it. If they make money, great. If not, they're still creating something they love.

This is not to say that the authors mentioned above don't love to write, but they don't seem to get lost in the creative efforts and experiences because they can't afford to. At least two of the authors in this discussion confessed that they wrote in the genres they did because those were the genres that sell best, not the ones they love best. They have deadlines, so they don't agonize over finding the perfect word or creating the perfect scene. They write the book for the audience that's awaiting it. They know what sells, and that's what they write.

This whole discussion was somewhat eye-opening for me just because I've heard so often, "Write what you love" but let's face it: there are many successful authors out there who write what sells - and they know how to sell it. I envy those authors to a certain extent, and I start to wonder if I'm going about this all wrong. Certainly, I don't need to pay the bills with my books, but maybe I should be thinking more about the end result of sales than I am right now.

What do you think? Are you an author who spends a significant amount of time studying marketing and sales? Do you tailor your writing and your promo efforts to make the most $$? Have you shifted what you write to take advantage of market trends, even if you're not in love with the genre? I'd love to know...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Mentionables: Reviews Come From the Strangest Places

Happy Monday!

Today, a couple of reviews worth mentioning. Not traditional reviews, though - one is written by a student of mine who chose to read Summer's Song for her "book of the month" reading assigned (I suppose you could say she was hoping for a good grade, though she's diplomatic in certain places, and I know her well enough now, that I think she's being honest). The other is a fan email from a woman in Russia. The first time she wrote to me, I thought it was a fluke (sorry Katerina, if you are reading this), so I emailed her back with a couple of specific questions. She answered them :)

So it's true: you never really know who will read your book, who will love it, who will hate it, and who will review it. Once your words are out there, they're fair game for the reading public, which can be both a blessing and a curse :) Today, I'm focusing on the blessings:

From a student's review: "I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone; I was hooked after the first page! The book's amazing plot never fails to keep the reader on edge as it includes the surprise of suspense novel, the heart-warming sentiment of a romance novel, and life philosophies all in one...Additionally, the story inspires one to forget the "ghosts" of the past and look toward a happier and brighter future. The novel provides you with the perfect happy ending, and a description of the ever enduring, life-changing, can't-live-without-it kind of love that women crave."

From a fan email: "I am very happy write the letter to you!! You help me survive when I was in trouble. You know the best romantic book I read by you was called "One Night in Napa". The heroes are for ever in my heart. When I feel bad I think about them and I feel good myself. It was very very exiting!!! But that would be beautiful to read in in your native language. Thank you very-very-very much for my the happiest houres with your book!!! I am a big fan of romantic book since I met your book!!! And now I study English for to read your book in English!!!  Your creativity made my life better. Thank you!!"