Have you ever had one of those weekends where you shut the world out and just read? I did that a couple of weekends ago.
One Thursday evening, I sat and watched the Divergent movie. It has been on my ‘to watch’ list for a while, the books on my TBR list even longer. As soon as the end credits rolled, I downloaded the first book to my kindle.
On the Friday, my other half went shopping while myself and my daughter (who was off school sick) stayed home – her reading Harry Potter on her Kindle, me reading Divergent on mine. He came back with the paperback boxset of all three. Big mistake – I did bugger all the entire weekend.
What I’m getting at, I guess, is what makes a book (or series) unputdownable? Is it plot, characters, or setting? Maybe it’s all three and more. Maybe it’s word of mouth. How do these books get the readers in the first place who then go on to tell their friends about it which then snowballs, making an author suddenly propel into bestseller lists and author superstardom?
I guess if we all knew the answer, there wouldn’t be such thing as a bad book – sadly, I have read many in my many years – and we’d all be considered best sellers.
Breaking into the world of publishing isn’t as hard as it used to be with the addition of self publishing. Literally anyone can write a book, upload to Amazon (or similar) and sell it. I think self publication is fantastic as it’s removed the fear of rejection. In most, this is a good thing as many people who would never have had the guts to approach a publisher or agent are self publishing and happily continue to do so. For some, the fear of rejection has boosted confidence where it’s unwarranted. There’s a saying – just because you own a tambourine, it doesn’t make you a rock star (I don’t know who said it, I may have even made it up), but the same goes for writing. Just because you can string words together, it doesn’t mean you can write a novel.
Having said that, making yourself and your books a success in such a competitive market is hard. For your one book, regardless of genre, there’s another ten that could be seen as similar, or released on the same day.
So, how do you get your book noticed? If I had the answer, I’d be giving up the day job and writing full time in a swanky, private office with a lock on the door, but sadly I’m not. I’m still working towards my teaching degree and writing in my spare time.
I wish someone with a far more logical brain than I, would come up with a foolproof formula and share it. I don’t deny that I get envious of authors hitting the big time seemingly out of nowhere, even though I certainly don’t envy their new pressures and stresses that come with it. I’m not saying I want to be the next E. L. James or Veronica Roth, but I would like to be able to say my writing contributes towards my bills now and then. Wouldn’t we all?