Thursday, August 10, 2017

Writing a book isn't as easy as you might think

I made a comment recently on Facebook, as I struggled with the action in my latest book, that anyone who thinks that writing a book is easy has rocks in their head. Perhaps I should have said anyone who thinks writing a book is easy hasn't done it.

Some people, it seems, can churn out a book in a month or two, which keeps their fans fed. Barbara Cartland wrote 723 books in a 75-year career, which is not much shy of ten books a year (!). However, most of my author friends are nowhere near so prolific. When I publish my current book, For the Greater Good, it will be the second this year, and really, the first (The Stuff of Legend) hardly counts because most of it was written last year.

I wish the prose simply flowed from my writer's fingertips, but it doesn't. I write, I stop to work out where the story goes from here, I do some more writing, then I read back over what I wrote and fix the typos and maybe the wording. By the time the story gets to my editor I've probably edited it myself three or four times. Then I incorporate my editor's suggestions. And then I'll go through it again.

When I started off in the writing game, I did reasonably well, financially. I'm not talking even midlist, but at least I got my costs back. That's no longer true and I know I'm not the only author who has had serious thoughts about giving it away. After all, if people don't read what we write, what's the point?

If you want to encourage your favorite Indie to keep writing, there are a couple of small things you can do. The most powerful (unfortunately) is to write a review if you enjoyed a book. It doesn't have to be much - just "I liked it". It's sad but true that reviews drive vendor algorithms. Books without reviews disappear into the rising tide of new books. (Also, it does give authors a bit of encouragement to know someone enjoyed the result of their hard work.) Apart from that, tell your friends. Nothing works as well as word of mouth.

Meanwhile, the work on For the Greater Good is nearing its end.

Here's the blurb

A Human settlement is destroyed and all signs point to an Yrmak raid as Imperial agents Tian Axmar and Brent Walker scour the site for clues. One thing they never expected to find was a survivor, a rare alien feline with unusual talents.

As tensions between Humans and Yrmak ratchet to the point of no return, Tian and Brent must bring all their cyborg skills to bear as they follow a dangerous trail of deception and misdirection. 

The feline, now dubbed Puss and strongly bonded to Tian, holds the key to many of the questions driving the investigation. Unfortunately, that bond drives a wedge between Brent and Tian’s working relationship, leaving Brent with second thoughts about his decision to become a cyborg.

As the evidence unfolds, it becomes clear that a devious plot to incite an interspecies war will strike at the very heart of the Empire. With lives at risk, there's no time to waste. Racing against the clock, Brent, Tian, and Puss must stop the planned carnage, and this time for Brent and Tian… it’s personal.

I'll have it out for preorder very soon.


  1. "...rare alien feline..." <--- Hooray! Can't wait for this story.

    Algorithms are evil. I've seen a good few 4- and 5-star ratings accompanied by reviews only a few words long. Doing that doesn't really sit well with me, but if that's all it takes... I don't imagine that many authors are happy or satisfied with that, but it's preferable to nothing, which is sad and makes a mockery of the whole damned thing. There's too much fabulous talent out there to lose.

    1. Yes, they're not 'reviews' - but they express an opinion, and unfortunately, that's how the Amazons of this world do what they do. Believe me, it's very hard not to drown in the clamour.

      And I just KNOW you'll love Puss :)

  2. I hear you on that, Merry. And I think some reviewers are intimidated to leave a review. They see these 500-word, detailed and insightful essays left by "pro" reviewers and they think to themselves, "I'm not that good with words. Anything I write will look silly." So they say nothing at all, which hurts both the book and the author. They may not realize a review can be only 3-5 sentences. Something basic like: "I loved this book. Great characters and great plot with a lot of twists. I'm going to look for more books by this author." That satisfies the 20 word requirement and gets the point across. It may not entice a throng of readers to snap the book up, but it adds to the chorus...and the evil algorithms!

    1. I thought the length requirement on Amazon had changed? This is a review left for my hist fic book (in total)

      "It was okay. Nothing great."

      In fact, I thought you could leave a star review without a 'review'? Anybody?

    2. I didn't think you could do that on Amazon. I'll have to check it out.

      And yes, I've had some reviews much shorter than 20 words, so not sure if the minimum word requirement for reviews is something fairly new or not actually more of a recommendation and not a requirement.


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