Sunday, June 25, 2017

Here, Take it, It's Free

Freebies. Why That Still Smarts.

Giving books away has been a no-no in my life ever since I was first published. It was drummed into me by other authors to NEVER give away your work -- except to your mother and maybe some siblings (providing they actually read books). So, now that every expert in the field of book marketing is telling me to "GIVE AWAY YOUR BOOKS," I find it very unsettling and not an easy thing to do.

But I'm doing it. (gulp)

Not all of of my books, mind you, but one and sometimes two of them. The powers-that-be call this "baiting" or "magnet books" that attract readers to your body of work. Yes, I'm used to sending out ARCS (advance reader copies) in hopes of getting a review or two out of them, but giving books to readers is a new activity for me.

I understand how it works to build your reader base and get them talking about your books. When I go onto Goodreads and see people asking if anyone knows of any good westerns or romantic suspense series, I fume. Why? Because Goodreads doesn't allow authors to jump in there and write, "Read mine! They're fabulous!" Nope. You can't do that. You must remain on author pages where you can post your new book or cover or whatever and hope that readers migrate there to see it. Fat chance.

So, I've jumped onto the freebie bandwagon and have been sending my books to people left and right, free of charge. I'm also going to begin offering a novella of mine to anyone who signs up for my elite readers group or my elite Facebook group. 

Of course, if you're a KU member (Kindle Unlimited) you can get my books for free any old time you want. However, it's alarming to discover how few reviewers are KU members. This is, of course, because they don't ever buy books, so they sure aren't going to pay for a KU membership.

It's also odd to discover people who STILL don't read ebooks, for whatever reason. Most of the time, it's because they say they can't afford an ereader. This seems preposterous to me. You can buy a Kindle Fire for $50 and get books, movies, email, etc. on it. That will SAVE you money, in the long-run. Especially, if you're one of those people who never pays for books, but gets them free on various online sites. Spend  $50 and not another dime to read thousands of books. Yes, the majority of those free books suck. But, hey. They're free, so quit whining.

If one out of five people I have sent books to actually leaves reviews of them on Amazon and/or Goodreads, I will be a freebie convert for life. If not? I'll still keep giving them to readers in hopes that some of them will enjoy them so much they will want to read more of my books. Gee. They might even want to BUY one!

Monday, February 13, 2017

I've Got You Under My Skin

Skin to Skin

A large part of being successful when writing fiction is the ability to slip into character. Ideally, we should become each viewpoint character. Sometimes writers make the mistake of being more like a camera looking at the characters. Or they pop into everyone's head and tell you things about every character (omniscient viewpoint). There are times when these tactics can work well.

However, 98 percent of the time, writers do their best work when they "become" the viewpoint character and stick with one character per scene. This means that they feel, see, taste, smell, think, and know only what that character feels, sees, tastes, smells, thinks, and knows. In this way, the reader is immersed completely in the story. Ping pong viewpoint -- switching from head to head -- can be jarring and keep the reader off balance. Sometimes the reader has to backtrack to figure out who's who and what's what. It can be that confusing.

Writing in first person helps writers stay in one viewpoint and not slip in and out of a character's head. It's a good device for that and it's a popular viewpoint for many romance novels (ala Fifty Shades of Grey). Third person viewpoint is trickier, but I like it because it seems more like a novel rather than a diary to me.

Whatever viewpoint is chosen, the objective should be to use it to make your readers live along with your characters. I like to think that I can pull them in so far that, should a doorbell chime or a phone ring or someone speaks to them, they startle. They're so deeply into that fictive world that they forget everything around them. I know that as a reader I love books that suck me right in so that I'm oblivious to time passing and what's going on around me.

The same thing happens when I'm writing. Once I get inside my character and surrounded by the scene transpiring, I have no idea of the time. Often, I come up for air, so to speak, and I'm shocked that two or three hours have gone by. That's when I know I've been on a roll.

When I was learning the profession of novel writing, viewpoint was the thing I tackled first and it wasn't without struggle. Slipping into someone's skin -- even someone you've created -- is no easy feat! But it's so worth it.