Guest post by: Chris Larson, Assistant Professor of Journalism, University of Colorado
When “Fifty Shades Freed” opens in theaters on Feb. 9, fans will no doubt flock to see bad boy Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) bested by naughty-but-nice heroine Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson).
A less racy but equally thrilling story, my research shows, is how romance writers are getting ahead in the digital era.
With the rise of the internet and social media, the common wisdom says that fewer people are reading books. But, according to multiple sales reports, there are still billions (yes, billions with a “B”) of books being sold worldwide every year. Hardbacks and paperbacks have made a slight comeback lately, but not surprisingly, the segment with the highest growth expectation is still ebooks. This is good news for indie authors who almost always choose to release their books electronically, given the economic advantages of that publishing method.
Goodreads is an author’s dream. It’s chock-full of book addicts just hoping to get their next quick fix, to find their next favorite author. Those readers just might be looking for your book. But sadly, some authors do their best to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot on Goodreads, alienating potential fans with preventable acts of douchebaggery and literary asshattery. With that in mind, here are the top 5 violations of readers’ Goodreads trust that can drag your book sales down into the muck, along with your good name:
By guest author Bronwyn Green
You actually need an editor.
No, really. You do.
Oh, you have a degree in English?
Sweet. Me, too. * high fives you *
But you still need an editor. So do I, and I am an editor.
The problem is our brains. Our beautifully creative, efficient brains. Our brains know what our books are supposed to say. So, they thoughtfully fill in the missing words as we proofread. They know that we always reverse exhibitionism and voyeurism and helpfully process the meaning we intended rather than the one we wrote.
Hey there, folks. Design Dude here and I have a confession: I’m not very handy with cars. I can do simple stuff like change air filters and headlights but I never took the time to learn how to do more in-depth maintenance or repairs. It just wasn’t my thing. When I was younger I was kinda embarrassed about my lack of automotive skills but as I got a little older and wiser, I learned a simple and very important truth: no one can be good at everything. This fact is especially true for self-published authors.
Having written a novel, you’re well aware of all the complexities involved. Everything from developing a plot outline to character development to dialogue to pacing. Frankly, it’s not realistic to expect the same person to also be knowledgeable and skilled in proofing, editing, designing cover art, launching a website or blog and managing multiple social media platforms. But since few of us have the financial resources to pay someone else to handle all these tasks, we’ve put together a collection of some of the very best books with all the best insider tips and tricks to help make your book a success. Trust us, if it's not covered in at least one of these books, you don’t need to know it.
Our good friends at Reedsy have come out with another awesome and informative infographic. This one provides some great tips on the tricky task of how writing an effective query letter. Frankly, we thought it paired perfectly with our "Do's and Don'ts" post on the same topic. If you're at all interested in going the traditional publishing route, we strongly advise you to read both posts for maximum effectiveness. To see the full Reedsy post, just click on the infographic below. Good luck.
What are some writing tips for young aspiring authors? If this question sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been asked of every successful author ever interviewed. They get so accustomed to answering it that they say the words on autopilot. Answers usually vary from read more, to get into a critique group. That advice is all fine and good (and true), but what aren’t they telling you? What advice do you really need to succeed in the dog-eat-dog world of publishing?
We talked to best-selling authors in darn near every genre to get all the need-to-know info for you. You’re welcome. Here’s the list:
Here at Romance Rehab, we love self-published authors. For starters, they release books faster than traditionally published authors. (More books + Less time waiting = happy book bloggers) They’re also able to express their creative visions without having to first filter them through the lens of the traditional publishing industry. (And let me tell you executives in the publishing industry something: you guys don’t always know what all readers want. So, when you say that paranormal romance is dead? Yeah...not so much. We can find you thousands upon thousands of romance readers looking for new vampires, shifters, and other supernatural characters to read about.) On a whole, self-published authors are fast, flexible, and fearless—and we respect the hell out of them.
But… (There’s always a but, isn’t there?)
Science, that’s who
You’ve heard (probably more than you care to) that as a self-published author, you’ll need to hire a professional proofreader before releasing your novel. That’s easier said than done when you’re a debut author, or an author with only a small following, and you have no way of knowing if you’ll ever get any return on that investment. It’s conceivable that you’ll pay, per word, for professional proofreading and never sell more than fifty books. Why spend the money? Why not just proofread the darn thing yourself?
About ten years ago, I got a new boss at work. I’ll call him Dan. At the time, my career as a Senior Designer in the marketing department of a Fortune 500 company was going pretty well. Everyone I worked with valued my work and my performance reviews often read like they'd been written by my mother. Going into my first review with Dan, I had no reason to believe that trend would change.
Unfortunately for me, Dan had other ideas.