Good advice

Again I have chosen an article by “The Snowflake Guy” Randy Ingermanson himself. I think he can teach you an awful lot about writing and marketing probably as important as the writing. Today I put his blurb on the bottom so please go on and enjoy:

Marketing: Why Did You Buy THAT Book?

Amazon shipment

Amazon shipment (Photo credit: enno)

A big part of marketing is learning to think like your
customer.

More than a hundred million books have been published
since Gutenberg did that neat trick with movable type.

Out of all those choices, why would any reader choose
yours? What would be her motivation? What would be the
actual process she follows from the initial state where
she knows nothing about you to the final state where
she pays for something you wrote?

That is a scary question, and if you let it, this
question will paralyze you into never writing another
word.

So let’s turn the question around and make it unscary.
Take five minutes and think about the last book you
bought. Why did you buy it? Why THAT book out of a
hundred million others?

This is a fun game that can teach you a lot. I’ll play
first.

The last time I bought a book was yesterday. A bunch of
friends and I were talking online about standing desks.
Some of these friends already have one. I’ve recently
ordered one. A standing desk is supposed to be good for
your long-term health. People who do a lot of sitting
tend to end up dead sooner than those who don’t.

One of the friends in the group asked, “Did you guys
read DROP DEAD HEALTHY?”

I’d never heard of this book. She explained that it’s a
hilarious book by a guy who decided to spend one year
trying to do all those things they say we’re supposed
to do to get healthy. He wanted to become the
healthiest person on the planet. This is the same guy
who wrote a humorous book called THE YEAR OF LIVING
BIBLICALLY, which I’d heard rave reviews about.

It sounded like an interesting book, so I popped onto
Amazon, read the product description, and clicked the
Buy button. It all took about two minutes. The main
driver was a product recommendation from a friend. I’m
reading the book today. It’s good so far.

What do we learn from the above? If anything, it’s the
power of word of mouth. The author of this book did
nothing — nothing active anyway — to earn my sale.
One of his fans did most of the work. Amazon did the
rest. The author gets the money, no matter how the sale
happened.

OK, that was actually informative, so I’ll play again.
I have another book on my stack that I’ll probably read
next. It’s titled CITY OF BONES, by Michael Connelly,
one of the best writers of police procedurals out
there.

I got an email recently, either from Amazon or from
BookBub, saying that CITY OF BONES was on sale at a
special price. I don’t remember the price, but it was
lower than normal. I had read several of Connelly’s
books and found him to be a terrific writer. Police
procedural is not my absolute favorite category, but I
read it some.

I figured I might as well get it now at a good price,
so I clicked through and bought it.

That’s the end of the story, but it’s worth asking
about the beginning. I knew Connelly would be worth
reading because I had already read several of his
books. But how did that happen originally?

Well, I had first noticed his novel THE LINCOLN LAWYER
on the top of the best-seller lists a couple of years
ago. Then a friend of mine who writes thrillers
mentioned that Connelly is one of the very best writers
in his category. So I bought a few of his books and
found them to be outstanding.

What do we learn from this? My purchase was a result of
a combination of several things:
* Name recognition — I had seen the author on a
best-seller list.
* Word of mouth — my friend mentioned Connelly was
outstanding.
* Experience — I read a book by him and found that he
really is excellent.
* Branding — Connelly writes in a clearly defined
niche, so I know that today’s book is going to be
similar to what he’s done in the past.
* A sales trigger — I received an e-mail with
notification of a special price for a limited time.

We learned something new with that one, so I’ll play
one more time. Just last week I finished reading THE
INDIGO SPELL by Richelle Mead. It’s a young-adult
vampire suspense novel. What led me to buy it? Here’s
what happened.

Last summer I was Skyping with a friend who mentioned
that she’d been reading Richelle Mead’s VAMPIRE ACADEMY
series. She said it was her daughter’s favorite series,
and her daughter reads a ton of YA fiction. My friend
said it was fabulous, so I opened a web browser, went
to Amazon, and did a search for the title.

I found it pretty quickly, read the product
description, and then clicked on the Look Inside
feature. I read the first chapter and found it
extremely engaging. I’m not a huge fan of vampire
fiction, but I had read the TWILIGHT series, and
vampires can be fun.  VAMPIRE ACADEMY looked like a
terrific read, so I clicked the Buy button.

I read the book quickly, loved it, and raced through
the other books in the series. Then I started the next
series, featuring one of the minor characters who now
becomes a major character. That series is incomplete,
and after the first two books, I ran out. But I got an
e-mail in December from Amazon mentioning that the next
book, THE INDIGO SPELL, was due to release in February
and if I preordered it, I’d get it the day it released.

So I clicked the link and preordered the book. A couple
of months later, exactly at midnight, the book
magically appeared on my iPad. And I started reading it
the next day.

Again, there is something to learn from this chain of
events. Here’s how I bought that book:
* Word of mouth alerted me to the existence of the
author and gave me a title.
* A search on Amazon brought the title up.
* The sample chapter and product description made the
initial sale.
* Great writing got me to read the sequel.
* Strong branding throughout the series assured me that
each book would be “the same but different.”
* Good characters pulled me from one series to the next.
* An e-mail from Amazon got me to pull the trigger on
the sale two months before the book was actually
available.
* Automatic delivery put it at the top of my To Be Read
list on the day the book was released.

OK, I’ve played the game three times and I’m starting
to see the common threads. Word of mouth. Sample
chapters. Great writing. Clear branding. E-mail
notification. Easy electronic distribution.

Those are the things that get a sale from me.

Now what about you? Play the game several times,
writing out how and why you bought the last few books
you’ve bought. Then analyze the results.

What are the common elements that trigger a sale to
you?

Not all readers are like you, but some of them are. You
might want to get some of your friends to play the
game. Choose friends similar to your target audience.
Look for common elements.

Now here’s the point of this game.

What can you learn from this game about how you should
be marketing to your target audience? Where should you
be putting your marketing effort — your time, your
energy, and your money?

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit
http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.

 

 

 

 

Randy Ingermanson on “naked dialogue” ~ brilliant

Flocon D'été .... Summer Snow Flake

Flocon D’été …. Summer Snow Flake (Photo credit: gmayster01 on & off …)

This brilliant article is from the “Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” of Randy Ingermanson and guess what? He allows to post them so of course I follow his advice and post the blurb as well 🙂

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the
Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced
Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers.
If you want to learn the craft and marketing of
fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to
editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit
http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Download your free Special Report on Tiger Marketing
and get a free 5-Day Course in How To Publish a Novel.

 

Craft: Naked Dialogue

“What’s naked dialogue?”

“It’s dialogue without any action, description,
interior monologue, or interior emotion.”

“Can you do that?”

“In short stretches.”

“Why would you do that? It sounds stupid.”

“If the main conflict is in the dialogue, then adding
anything else takes the edge off the conflict.”

“I don’t believe that could work. Give me three
examples where you’d use it.”

“Courtroom scenes. Interrogations. Um … can’t think of
a third example.”

“Maybe a Socratic dialogue?”

“Oh, right.”

“So you can actually make this work without even one tag
to tell me who’s talking?”

“If it works, it works.”

“What if it doesn’t work?”

“Then add in the minimum amount of other stuff
necessary to make it work.”

“I suppose you’d call that bikini dialogue then?”

“You’re stretching the metaphor too far.”

“And you somehow imagine this kind of dialogue works?”

“I know it.”

“Could you do a whole scene that way?”

Orson Scott Card did several scenes that way in
ENDER’S GAME.”

“How did the reader know who was talking?”

“Readers are smart.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Don’t readers have to see at
least one tag so they know the names of the speakers?”

“Not unless they need to know the names.”

“But you’d have to limit it to two people, right? You
couldn’t possibly do this with three people, could you?”

“Hey guys! Whatcha talking about so violent-like over
in the corner? Gretchen, are you practicing your
interrogation skills on poor Grendel?”

“Get lost, Goober. I’m just trying to get the bare
facts.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! I get the message. I’m not wanted,
so I’m outta here. Give her heck, Grendel.”

“So what was your question again? Something about three
people?”

“Never mind, I figured it out.”

“Any more questions?”

“Well, naked dialogue sounds difficult. Is it worth it?”

“You have to decide that after it’s all written. You
can always throw the scene away if you don’t like it.”

“Have you ever tried it? In your own scene?”

“Just once.”

“When?”

“Just now.”

“Oh, man, are you going meta on me? Mixing planes of
existential reality again? You are so weird!”

“Admit it, Gretchen, you love me.”

“That’s it. We’re finished and I’m leaving.”

“It ain’t over till I say it’s over.”

“You can’t keep me here against my–”

“It’s over.”

 

 

 

Update on “me and the NaNoWriMo” ;-)

 

I can’t remember if I mentioned in this blog that at least three people told me in the last 4 weeks that I am not organised.

 

Now I believe in synchronicities and took this as a message from the universe that I have to have a look at my organisation of my writing. I realised that I am on a good way to be better organised but not there yet and whoosh another synchronicity:

 

Randy Ingermanson was writing in his newsletter about journalling your writing business which means to write down your goals and then write down which you have achieved and which need to be moved or changed. I have started this for my writing even though I am not sure yet if this shall lead me to a real business but well it helps anyway.

 

And what does this have to do with the National Novel Writing Month?

 

Well, when I decided to take part I also had to decide what I will do with my blogs: let them be paused or go on writing. Both did not seem right or possible. So I decided I take this month to write the entries for November and schedule them. This way I can fully concentrate on the NaNoWriMo but do not lose my blogs.

 

So far I am quite good. The diary really helps to stay focussed and I even achieved more goals than I have planned.

 

That is a really good feeling!

 

May your writing be creative this week and may you achieve whatever your goal is!

 

National Novel Writing Month Web Badge

National Novel Writing Month Web Badge (Photo credit: ajsundby)

 

 

 

 

Free resources for writers to be #amwriting

 

I set up a page where I keep some links for free resources for the writer to be. Today I thought I might post them as well as they might help one or the other of you. It’s not an awful lot but some might be interesting.

So here they are! Have fun:

 

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method            He explains his way of writing a novel, you can get free newsletter about advanced fiction writing and a free email-course about “how to publish a book”

Open University, Open Learn, Start writing fiction A free introduction by the Open University on writing fiction

BBC Archives ~ Interviews mit 20th Century writers brilliant page with Interviews as early as the 1930′s

BBC Writersroom Tips on writing and the possibility to send in unsolicited scripts for films, shows ect

Writing fiction on about.com everything from finding a space to write to how to get published

Writers Digest We all know that one I suppose

MITOpencourseware What the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has to offer for writers

DiplomaGuide.com A list of courses for free for aspiring writers and poets

One Character

Step 3 of  Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method is to start creating your characters. You are supposed to write a one page summary with

  • The character’s name
  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline

for your main characters. Interestingly I am doing Open University‘s free course “Start writing fiction” in their Open Learn area. At the moment I am at part 1.4 “Portraying a character” and incidentally I was supposed to do a characterisation for a character as well. So I used that to start with my main Character Zara. I have done a lot already about her but got caught in the fact that characters and story sometimes develop by themselves and don’t go where they were intended to go. For me those changes always felt like I am not good in what I am doing. How can you know about your character if it changes constantly? But Randy Ingermanson says more than once that that is a process that happens all the time and shows that the character comes alive. So I realised that this negative image of my writing actually stopped me from getting anywhere. I think I got an image of her from what I wrote for the Open University course but I have not answered the questions above. That is what I will do tomorrow.

Some years ago I have tried self-learn courses to get good with writing but my lack of self-esteem and also my lack of perseverance stopped me from finishing them. That seems to have changed. I love to research free material and try out what they teach while I work in the novel.

A few weeks ago I thought about having a mentor for my writing but I had no idea where to find one and I am too shy to ask. Well today I can say that Mr Ingermanson definitely is one. But also the good authors I am reading. Just finished Patricia Cornwells “Red Mist” and while reading was checking for example on what conflicts Scarpetta has in herself but also with the characters around her and what main conflicts are in each scene to bring on the story. I also tried to figure out how she creates atmosphere and how she describes her surroundings. Reading a lot and finding out how the authors do it is probably the best mentor and way of learning how to write. Another one of my classics to learn is J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings. You can learn how to create world, atmosphere and suspense. That book was the first I ever read and tried to learn from him.

Another way of having mentors right now are blogs of writers. I am not picky just let my intuition take over and show me which one to follow. There are for now mainly Derek Haines and Susan Kiernan-Lewis. Well I should go somewhere like that :-).

Thank you guys for helping me even though you do not know it :-)!!!!

Picture thanks to Theguyinblue from English Wikipedia via http://ookaboo.com

right…..

managed to get myself to do step two of the snowflake method.  I am not quite sure if it is really how it is supposed to be but it gives the novel somehow a look of “I can finish the thing”. Think this method might work as you can do it in bite-size steps and nothing gets too much. Well I managed again to spend my time with loads of reading blogs and buggering around on facebook so the avoidance stage is still working high. But well everyone has started small I guess.

With signing up for Randy Ingermansons newsletter also comes a free e-mail course of how to publish your book. To read that was too intimidating though. ….. I keep you updated…..

I am back….

….. but I am not sure to what really. About 2o years I try to write this story but I never really done it. My fears just hit in and I give up. But it just does not let go and so I think the universe tells me something: “Write the thing ~ no matter how crap” and in the end how do I know if it is crap if I do not write it?

This time’s trial? The snowflake method ~ it sounds like a plan and I have managed stage 1! I’ll keep you updated……

 

thanks for the picture to wikipedia:Wilson Bentley from English Wikipedia via http://ookaboo.com