Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Andy Frazier - Author of over 30 titles across 6 genres, shares his experience, opens his heart to some of the hurdles he had to over come in order to achieve his goals.
Why do I bother?
How many times as a struggling independent author do we utter these four words? Sent a manuscript out to exactly the right agent, then checking the inbox every day and getting nothing. Then it comes, that rejection, the one that sends us back down the slippery snake again, as the ladders get taller. After a dozen attempts, do we give up, to save the heartache of disappointment?
No, of course not. For six months we slog on, buoyed by encouragement and our own self-belief until one day, those four words appear again and we make a decision - To be independent. We will show them. We write stuff on our blog about how the industry is in turmoil and literary agents are all stuck in a recursive tail-spin with a bag on their head, and how the internet is the only way forward.
Any of this sound familiar?
This was me, 4 years ago after I wrote my first novel. But, like you, I was tenacious. It wouldn’t stop me because my book was so much better than other dross that was in fashion. Firstly I discovered Lulu, then Amazon bought create-space, so I went with them, publishing copies to order, on paper, and getting them out there. With some extra hard graft, knowing my own market, I slaved away until
I had sold 400 copies on paper, and another 200 on kindle, in a year. The good reviews came in and my social media fans grew. For all intense and purposes, I had cracked it. A bone-fide fully fledged author was I.
I had made no money – lost some, in fact - but that didn’t matter. People were reading me, especially as I had also given away another 3000 ebooks.
If I had any sense, I would have stopped right there, and got a job. One agent told me, in a friendly way, that I had already surpassed millions of wannabe writer’s dreams and even congratulated me. Annoyingly, she also told me that my book, which she had turned down, would make a good children’s story. Foolishly, I listened and for the next two years wrote 6 children’s books. Bigmistake! Don’t get me wrong, the books were great – and well received by those who read them. All
200 of them.
You see, what I didn’t know then, and maybe still don’t know exactly, is who my target audience was, and how to reach them. And this, my fellow author, is the biggest crevice we all fall into.
Well, here is something you may find interesting, if not a little disturbing. ‘To know your audience, you have to know yourself.’ Who are you really, deep inside? Because, despite your best efforts, that is who you are in your words. Ultimately, whether you write science-fiction or car manuals,you write them as you. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t consider writing at all. Only when you reach genius status can you write as someone else, and very few achieve that.
So let’s take a look at yourself? Are you the one that everyone wants to sit by at dinner parties? If not, then consider that. Maybe you are at the wrong parties? If they do want to sit by you: why?
Do you make them continually guffaw uncontrollably, so that all the other guests are envious? No?
Then maybe writing humour isn’t your thing. Does the table go silent when you tell an embellished anecdote, all ears tuning into the fine detail of your linguistic brilliance. No? Me neither.
But some people do want to sit by you, don’t they? Who are they? Are they pretty females/confident males who find you sexy, or understand that you are on their wavelength? Or are they the lads, who want to discuss football, TV and other macho things. Or maybe the kids, who love your stories of ghouls and woolly mammoths? Are the parties full of your own like-minded friends, or
total strangers? Or maybe you never get any invites at all?
Only you know that answer. One thing is for sure, the people who like to listen to you will not fit into
every category. And the ones who don’t won’t buy your book, no matter how many agents tell them
how good it is.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. I am sure your book is brilliant, and you know exactly who to
pitch it to. But like any good sales person, walk a few yards in your reader’s moccasins, preferably
BEFORE you write the first word.
Andy Frazier has written in excess of 30 books, in 6 genres. As well as selling novels he writes travel
guides and is currently commissioned writing a large non-fiction book. He spends half the year in