Monday, March 23, 2015

Clear the confusion, get back to basics.

Seriously? Facebook, Pinterest, website, LinkedIn, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter phew ...... It's all just a little too much eh?

Well, yes AND no. It is true that all of the above suck dry that tiny pot of extra time that you have in your day, or week. Numerous outlets, all craving your attention in order to promote you as an author, and of course your latest book. To what ends? Well, that's down to the individual author.

With all these necessary distractions around it is easy to lose sight of the most basic of requirements - Write a great book!

There are a few exceptions around, but the rule of thumb is that you've got to have a quality product to begin with. As an author, it is the words, the story, the presentation - these are the basics of our trade. I would highly recommend not releasing a book until you, the author, are 100% happy with it; it has to be the best you can do if it is going to stand a chance in amongst the millions of books that are already out there. 

Here's a fact: Did you know that the phrase 'rule of thumb' dates back to 1400's? Yup, apparently, a law was passed in England that allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick, but ONLY if it was no thicker than his thumb - what a caring bunch.

I often harp on about the greatness of Judi at ProofreadNZ, and not without good reason. But, even Judi would probably advise that, if you are writing in a very niche genre, then get an editor experienced in that niche to edit your book. An example here would be 'Memoirs'. There are many many specific do's and don'ts when writing memoirs, and a brief glance at some of those specifics tells me that the editor has to be really attuned, really switched on to the micro detail of what is acceptable and expected when publishing memoirs. 

But an editor is there to edit your work, not write the book for you. Yes they can guide you, definitely advise you, but it's not their name going as the author so you have to have realistic expectations. I'm sure some editors will turn away work if it involves poor quality writing, sub-standard story construction etc deemed beyond economical repair; but there are some that won't. Exactly the same as any profession, there are 'professionals', and there are some 'not-so-professional'.

So, my point here is this: Yes it is of great value to have a working knowledge of social media, marketing and advertising, definitely. BUT, if your book/story is not of a good enough standard it won't sell anyway - what is the point of having a thousand follows on FB or twitter if you only have junk for sale - focus on the quality of your 'product' first and foremost, focus on the writing!

And on that note, I'm off to work on WiP 2 - an unknown story.

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