How To Be The BEST Author Ever

So I’ve been an author for six months now and I think I can say without a doubt that I know everything there is to know about being an author. Since there is literally nothing left for me to learn, I’ve decided to be generous and share my vast knowledge with my lowly followers.

1. Stop reading!

Seriously, a lot of people will tell you to do the exact opposite, but don’t listen to them! Reading will only cloud your judgment and make your own novel worse. Do you want that to happen? NO. Not only that, but you might accidentally lift elements of that story and end up PLAGERIZING. You SERIOUSLY don’t want to do that, do you? And you waste so much time reading when you SHOULD be using that time for WRITING.

2. Make sure EVERYONE knows about your book!

Marketing is very important! If it’s not obvious that you have a book out when people visit your blog, you’re not going to sell any books! Make sure that there are AT LEAST three links to your book on every blog post, otherwise it’s like you don’t even have a book out. You should always ALWAYS always tell new followers/ commenters of your book and where you can find it. I like to use a copy/paste message with a link to my book on Amazon that I send to everyone who comments on, likes, or follows my blog! This is also a good idea on Twitter, to immediately tell new followers where to buy your book!

3.  Never accept a bad review!

Like I said, marketing is very important! If your book has bad reviews, no one is going to want to read them! You have to be aggressive and go after the bad reviewers, explaining how they’re wrong and telling them to either remove their bad review or change it to AT LEAST a four star review. NEVER accept a one or two star review. That’s career suicide!

4. Make up some Frequently Asked Questions to post an FAQ on your blog!

I understand that many of you starting out may not have enough fans to put together an FAQ, so you can just make some up! By acting like the questions you’re answering are asked a lot it will make it look like you’re more popular than you actually are and get people interested in you and your work!

5.  Always write for the market.

Being an author is a JOB. You’re in it for the money! If you write a book no one wants to read, you’ll end up under a bridge! ALWAYS write about whatever is currently trending. Right now, I’d suggest a vampire BDSM book!

6.  Make sure readers know what your main character looks like!

What is a story without a main character? NOTHING! Your readers NEED to know what your main character looks like, from the color of their eyes to that birthmark on their left buttock. The best way to do this is to open your book with your character looking in the mirror and describing everything they see! It’s both comprehensive and immediate, so your readers will start off knowing just what they look like down to the smallest details!

7. Don’t worry about consistency!

All you need is a good story. If your character loves lemons in chapter one but hates them in chapter ten, no one is going to notice! As long as the story goes on, it doesn’t matter if things are consistent as long as there is lots of action!

8. Make sure your story has an agenda!

You aren’t writing JUST to make money; your book has to SAY something! Whether it be about gay rights or abortion or feminist issues, make sure your book has a hidden agenda! Your book is useless if it just tells a story; it also needs an important lesson that will stick with your readers!

9. Don’t worry about your book cover!

You know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It’s completely true! Readers don’t care what your covers look like, they’re only reading your description! Just look at these covers, and these books are published! [1] [2] [3] [4]

Alright, but in all seriousness, don’t listen to any of this advice. (Also, to be fair, books with terrible covers can sell [1] [2] but only if you already have a huge fan base and a bunch of books already out.)

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How To Be Sarcastic

Those who care about the feelings of others need not apply.

Step One:

Start by adding comments like “Oh, really?” or “I never would have guessed!” after someone says something incredibly obvious. If the person does not realize that you are being sarcastic, continue making them explain whatever they have just told you while you listen with rapt attention.

Step Two:

Never give people a straight answer. If someone asks you how you feel after you broke your leg, for example, say something along the lines of “I feel spiffing! The doctors think that by next week I’ll be back on my feet and taming lions in no time!” The use of outdated language and over-the-top enthusiasm will ensure people that you are being completely sincere and are not at all insulting them.

Step Three:

Talk in a dead tone of voice. Never put any emphasis on a word unless issuing a direct insult. For example, “You wouldn’t believe how excited I am!” should be said in a flat voice, while “I can’t believe how interesting you are!” should have emphasis, so that even those with the thickest of skulls will realize that you are mocking them.

Step Four:

In the event of someone telling you that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, tell them that stupidity is the highest form of entertainment.

Step Five:

Tell people absolutely random shit. End the sentence with, “What do you think?” For example, if someone asks about the weather, reply with something along the lines of “It may be cloudy now, but I sense that a giant tornado will come and carry us to Oz where we may frolic in the sun with members of the lollipop guild. It’s going to rain, what do you think?”

Step Six:

Always use sarcasm in the presence of authority figures. This includes teachers, parents, bosses, and the police. For example, when asked if you were the one involved in hit and run case, reply with “No, of course it wasn’t me! His brains were all over my car, there was a positive ID on my license plate, and four witnesses saw me drive away, but it couldn’t have been me! I’m sure it was just someone who I happened to have all the above things in common with.”

Step Seven:

Once you have mastered the art of sarcasm, use it on a daily basis. Eventually, you will become so good at it that no one will ever be able to tell whether or not you’re being serious. For example, when your friend asks you about the game last night, and you reply that it was very exciting, your friend will roll your eyes and tell you not to be so goddamn sarcastic. What they won’t know is that you actually were excited about the game, and that you are just such a master that they’ll never know what you’re truly thinking.

Olé.

Are you writing the right story?

Being part of a writing community is fantastic. Whether it be a writers’ group on Facebook (like I’m in) or a close group of friends, it’s nice to know that you can share your passion with someone who understands and get feedback on your work.

Lately, I’ve found myself asking a lot of questions.

“Would you hate this character if he did X?”

“Does this scene come off too creepy?”

“Is this typical for erotica, or should I take it out because it’s not really that sexy?”

While it’s great to have feedback, I realized that I was asking too much. If I asked a question every time I had a doubt about something in my novel, it’d be a list of questions as long as the novel itself. It’s nice to hear that yes, your character Bob does come off as being sensitive and edgy, as you wanted, but if you rely too much on what others say, you’re going to lose your writing voice.

On the same group I started asking too many question to, I see a girl who posts something almost every single day.

“Will this sell even though my character is a strong female who talks back?”

“Will people still buy this even though the romance happened a little too fast?”

“Would you buy a story about a prince and princess if the princess is really smart?”

Basically, this woman is obsessed with what will make her book marketable and what other people want her to write. You should write for your fans, yes, but you HAVE to write for yourself. If you’re not, then you’re going to be miserable.

When you ask yourself whether something is working out or not, you don’t need to ask someone else’s opinion. Analyze the scene in relation to the story at large. Go with your first instinct when writing it all in the first draft, then agonize over those little details in the second or third. The time for getting opinions is during editing, when you have an editor or beta readers looking over your work.

Sometimes you may ask yourself “Am I writing the right story?” If it’s a story you feel needs to be told about characters with strong voices that you’re proud of, then the answer is yes, and you don’t need anyone else’s confirmation to tell you that.

What have you written that you’re most proud of?

Speed Editing

rush

I’d like everyone to repeat after me: Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. 

I am FINALLY ready to start editing Wildflower Crown. It needs SO much work. I need to stick with the schedule I set to get it published on time, hopefully in May or June. (I forget which day I actually circled on the calender, but it’s set for when the weather is warmer.)

Since I procrastinated so much, I want to have the first draft edited by next weekend, not including scenes that need rewritten or just written period. (That will be for the second draft. I’ll have two weeks for that.)

Sometimes I forget that writing is work. It’s fun and I love it, but it really is difficult at times.

I may be a little absent from WordPress this week, so now you’ll know why. It’s because I’m trying to get my ass in gear. (Also, I’m not going to talk about how much school work I have on top of everything. AND on top of that, I have the hiccups. Poor me, I know. :p )

Is anyone else editing too?

Things I Don’t Understand About Blogging

So I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and I feel like I’ve learn a lot in that time. However, there are still some things I don’t understand. Maybe some of you can help me out.

1. I don’t understand people who follow everyone they can.

I mean, I get the concept. If you follow people they may follow you back, and that can increase your audience. That’s great. Only, who cares about the numbers? A good number of my followers are fashion bloggers and lifestyle bloggers that clearly were just following to try to get a following of their own, but I didn’t follow them back. I don’t care about fashion. I don’t need posts like that showing up in my reader. If you follow me, it doesn’t mean I’m going to follow you back. If it seems like you blog about writing I may check you out, but it still doesn’t mean anything, and if I follow you I can still unfollow you if all you blog about is your grandpa’s dentures despite claiming to be a writing blog.

2. Why wordpress changed the stats page.

This really bugs me. I like the old one. At least move the “go to the old page” button to the top so I don’t have to scroll down each time. Seriously.

3. How to find bloggers who interest you.

I’m pretty sure that like half of the blogs I follow are Australian. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m American. I found one Australian blogger and that just led to more of them. I’ve looked for tags like “writing” and such, but I don’t want to follow blogs about poetry, I want to follow blogs similar to my own. The blogs wordpress suggests are useless, in my opinion. I don’t want to follow a blog with 10,000 followers. What are the chances of actually starting a conversation when 100 other people comment on their posts as well?

4. Why people keep trying to buy my kidney.

I’m not joking. And most of the comments get sent to spam. These are all ones that made it through.

5. Why so many writers write blog posts in purple prose.

My fingers caress the keyboard as my thoughts dictate the keystrokes of this post. The cars pass by my apartment as unaware of my life as I am of theirs, paths crossing but never intertwining. The small red line snakes under the word, and they greet each other like old friends. It is apparent that I am unable to correctly spell the word intertwining on my own. My face crumbles. Even as a writer, I struggle to arrange my letters in the correct order dictated by the dictionary.

I just… don’t get it. I’m want to read you blog for information, not poetry about your cup of coffee or your recent publisher rejection. I try to be eloquent, yeah, but sometimes being eloquent means saying, “I’m done with this shit.” It’s all about getting your point across while making it easy for the reader to understand… and that means no waxing lyrics about the deep web of depression that a spider of grief spun from your heart when your favorite novel series ended.

6. Whether or not my blog matters.

Is this something the rest of you have trouble with? As an author, I would love it if my blog promoted my book like crazy and I got rich, but that’s not really why I’m doing this. Now I just want to connect with other writers and share advice. I want to be able to help others who had the same self-publishing problems as I did, or to get marketing advice for someone who’s been self-published for a few years now. I expect my blog to keep growing, but how much will the numbers matter? Will I continue finding followers who interact with my blog, or more “I’m a hot model/musician/actor who’s following everyone I find, buy my stuff!”

What confuses you about blogging?

 

Editing Disaster

So I was all ready to edit Only in Whispers. I had everything printed and ready to go. I printed it a while ago, actually, but let’s not talk about how long I put off starting.

Editing the prologue? That was fine. Prologues are short. No big deal.

The first chapter? I realized oh, there are a lot of mistakes. Oops. I got out notebook paper to write down all the notes that didn’t fit on the page.

I got to the fifth chapter, and I realized I made a terrible mistake. You see, editing Kiss of The Fey was a very drawn out affair. I started the very first draft back in high school, but it was just published this September. I had a few years to run through it a few times and get rid of all the nonsense things before I actually printed it out and looked hard for errors.

Only I forgot that I did that. So now I have a printed first draft of complete poo. (Well, not complete poo, but it’s poo enough when trying to edit it by hand.)

I am officially throwing in the towel and typing up the corrections I made so far then doing the rest digitally. It will save me a lot of time and grief.

the horror

the horror

Author Don’ts

As with anything, being a new author means making a few mistakes. With the help of the people in the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook, I’ve compiled a list of things new authors shouldn’t do.

  1. Publish a book too soon. Just because you want to get something out there doesn’t mean you should rush. If self-publishing, take the time to make sure that your story is ready. If putting out a sequel, make sure that it’s really at it’s best, and that you’re not just pushing it out there to appease fans.
  2. Never talk religion or politics on social media unless it directly relates to what you write. There is a fine line between supporting gay rights and posting incendiary comments and arguing with people. You don’t want to turn people off from your story just from some stupid comment on Twitter that they disagreed with.
  3. Another one on that front, never respond to a one-star review. Or a two-star review. Or any reviews, unless it’s to say thank you for the review. Never get into an argument with a reader over your book, even in private. You don’t want to be accused of attacking a reader, because that will inevitably turn readers off from your work. If someone gives you a bad review you don’t deserve, rant to your loved ones in private and keep it at that.
  4. Don’t criticize other authors. I have broken this one by ranting against Stephanie Meyer and E. L. James, but Stephanie Meyer will never see my posts again The Host and E. L. James is a bitch to her fans. If you must speak out, make sure it’s something you can stand behind. You don’t like their book? Do not slam them over it. They plagiarize and bash fans who give one-star reviews? I personally would not engage, but if you must say something, be sure to stress the fact that you don’t condone their actions.
  5. Never describe eyes as “orbs” unless they’ve been removed from the person’s head.
  6. Never beg people to buy your book. If people know you have a book out, don’t shove it down their throat. People will be annoyed if you see them as a dollar sign.
  7. Don’t follow every blog you come across. Sure, some of them might follow you back, but does that matter? Sure, follow writing blogs, author blogs, publishing blogs… but fashion blogs? Gardening blogs? These kinds of blogs follow me all the time, and that’s the end of their interaction with my blog. I don’t care about followers, I care about the people who actually read what I post and talk with me. I care about the people who also post relevant posts that I can continue the conversation with.
  8. Do not start or end the book with a dream sequence. That’s lazy.
  9. Don’t let yourself get distracted by talking writing. You can blog and hype your book all you want, but unless you actually write it, nothing is gonna get done.
  10. Don’t give up. Never put yourself down. No one can tell a story like you can, so be motivated! The world needs your story!

Free Amazon Promotion Results

Books given away: 534

Free eBook ranking in my genre: 24 (may have gotten higher, but I forgot to check till the second day)

Books bought since the giveaway: 1

I think that’s pretty good for what small marketing I was able to do. I’m super excited that someone bought my book right after the promotion. I’m assuming that it was still ranked high somewhere, even though it was still ranked in the thousands of it’s genre (the non-free one).

I got a few people who said they started reading and liked it and would leave a review (plus I left a note at the end asking for reviews for anyone who finishes it) so I should get some reviews out of it. I think the promotion went pretty well, and I’ll be sure to update you guys if I get a million reviews or something.

I just got surgery on both my feet, so I might not be blogging for a few days. I was given some pretty serious pain meds, but I’m hoping not to have to use them. I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season!

What was your experience with free giveaways?

Improve The Chances of Your Blog Being Seen!

Waldo of "Where's Waldo?" for those of you who don't know.

Waldo of “Where’s Waldo?” for those of you who don’t know.

When I started blogging, I had no followers, just like the rest of you. I just started off by making a post that said “Hi, I’m new to blogging!” then by posting whatever I wanted to blog about. For the most part, that’s writing-related posts, but I don’t limit myself to that. I also posted thoughts on other matters such as Barbie dolls and the Alex Day scandal, as well as blue Sour Patch Kids and the title of “Basic Bitch.”

While my followers mostly look at my writing posts, which is evident in the comments and views following the day I post it, the broader topics are the ones getting my blog on the top of Google. People come here looking for basic bitches, Alex Day, and motivational posts. Overall, those viewers contribute very little, never leave comments (or when they do, they’re ignorant ones like BITCH HOW DARE U SAY DAT bleh bleh blah that I filter out) and never have an account to like or follow me, but the truth is that those views are the ones we need.

I published a book in September and I’ve posted links to it EVERYWHERE. I put it at the end of my most Googled post, put it in the sidebar, have a link in the menu to my author blog… basically, if you come to my blog, you’re going to see it. I check the stats page every day and there are always clicks on my Amazon and author blog links. That means that some of the people who are coming to my blog are looking at my book! That’s great! It doesn’t matter that it’s only 5 people a day and they don’t buy it. Considering that I’m still new to blogging, I think it’s a pretty significant accomplishment.

Tips to make your blog more visible:

  • Give every post a good title. Don’t make it “This is how I do it” before going into your workout routine. “This is how I do it” means nothing to most people. “Tips For a Great Workout Routine For Lazy People” is obviously better.
  • Repeat yourself. See how I have my title for this post and then the title of this list? Both phrases can be used by Google to find me, rather than just one.
  • Vary what you post, but not too much. If your blog has no theme, you’re not going to get as many followers (unless you happen to be funny). I post mostly about writing and self-publishing, as well as book reviews, but I don’t hesitate to post something else that’s on my mind. My followers see that most of my posts are relevant, and people from Google find the non-relevant ones.
  • Comment on other blogs. Not just a “Alright!” or “Congrats!” I admit that I do that, but only when I genuinely want to congratulate the person. When you want someone to check out your blog, do NOT post “Oh hey check out my blog.” Add to the discussion with a similar problem you’ve been facing or with a polite opposing view. Not only is the blog owner more likely to check out your blog, but if it’s a bigger blog, their followers may as well.
  • Don’t be fake. You don’t want meaningless followers. Sure, it looks good to have 500 followers, but does it mean anything if they never comment on your stuff? If they don’t care about your book or your life, they’re just a number? Don’t sell your blog as a fashion blog and then critique feminism. Don’t title your blog “My Witty Ramblings” and then complain about college the whole time. Market yourself correctly so that the right people will see you.
  • Make each post the best that it can. Lots of people are turned off by bad grammar and spelling. If I click on a blog that looks interesting but they have a mistake in whatever post happens to be on the top, I click away and never return.
  • Don’t spam your followers. Have a book coming out? Then yes, feel free to mention that in ever post. However, don’t just post six posts saying, “MY BOOK IS COMING OUT.” That’s how you lose followers. Make a post about editing, then marketing, then how you’re handling your nerves. If you’re selling something, let everyone know that by making it visible, but unless it is the sole focus of your blog (as in, no blog posts, you’re just here for a business website) you need to make people want to come to your blog in the first place to see what you’re selling.

 

On an unrelated note, I almost died last night because the interstate turned to ice and I had no idea until I saw the other accidents. For those of you in the north, remember to drive safely!