Friday, September 20, 2013

Why Most Novels Don't Sell

Their writing is, um, flawed: Thanks to Russell Urquhart for sending me this blog post from Kas Thomas, who describes himself as a "writer and technology evangelist." Bad writing isn't the only problem plaguing amateur novelists, but it's high on the list. If you don't like Thomas' cheeky style, read on anyway. If you're guilty of the literary sins he describes in useful detailand you admit ityou can repent and become a better writer.
Not long ago (April 2013), Mike Cooper tried to calculate the average amount of royalties earned per year by self-publishers of novels, and he came up with the appallingly low (but probably accurate) figure of $297.
Why so low? Well, there's a tremendous oversupply of titles, for one thing. With around 2 million titles available (growing by 5% or more a year), you can't expect that the average book will be terribly lucrative. But there's also the fact that most novels are not particularly well written (to put it kindly). Let's be blunt. Most self-published novels (and a large percentage of traditionally published ones) are irredeemable junk. And thanks to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, most authors of said novels don't have any idea how bad their work is.
Read more ...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Readable Memoirs Are Novels ...

Just Not Fiction: I've been telling my memoir-writing students that memoirs are like novels, except they are true. Well, mostly true, but that's another issue. Thanks to Molly Wingate, a writing coach, for making the same point and, in the process, tipping me off about this advice for memoir writers from Kathy Brandt, who wrote a book with her son about his life with a mental illness:
Remember the story arc.
What is the story arc?  It’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. In his book Screenplay, Syd Field calls it the dramatic structure “a linear arrangement of related incidents, episodes, or events leading to a dramatic resolution.” When I write fiction, I eventually diagram the book on a long sheet of paper—a time line with each incident or plot point rising to the final climax and resolution. It becomes a visual roadmap and a way to identify places I’ve gone wrong. Once we’d written several drafts, Max and I realized we needed to do the same. We diagrammed our roadmap or story arc and began rewriting.
Read more.
And don't miss Brandt's "Eight Questions to Consider As You Draft Your Memoir" further down in her article.—The Publishing Pro