This is posted on Crystal Lake Publishing's blog as well as mine. Thank you, Joe Mynhardt!
Posted by Joe Mynhardt on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 Under: Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror
Writing Is Easy! Publishing is easy! What, you ask? How can writing possibly be easy? Writing is one word after another. That's it. There's nothing difficult about that.
Someone in the back is shaking their head, thinking that I'm an idiot. No problem with that. That's his right. He can even leave the room and I won't care.
Ah, you ask. "What are the words?" Again: simple. Put a picture in your head of the story you want to write. Write about that picture. If you have no story in your mind, forget about writing. Writing is easy, but only if you have a tale to spin. I get one simple thought in my brain, many times a sentence, or even a single word. Wham! Go from there.
As an example: in an upcoming novel, I think about my garage. I sleep in the garage because my wife is a bitch. The start of the picture in the gray matter is forming. Other senses come into play. Mice pitter-patter around and they make me think of rats from 'Nam. A presence forms, cutting off my air supply, a moldy stench surrounds it. This is not the first time this has happened, but this time . . . this time something is different. What? It talks to me this time. It never has before.
See what I mean? One word, garage, got into my mind and horror surrounds me. No build up needed. Pure action from the beginning.
Some people will rebel against what I'm saying next. Do not outline! It kills the flow of your story. Let your tale roll unfettered and free. I never know how my stories will end. That's the fun of writing. Let your story people determine the outcome.
Do not worry about perfection in your first draft. Just write a story that flows. Don't worry about anything else. Hemingway said the first draft of anything is shit. He was right. So concentrate on the story first, and then polish in your next drafts.
Now, your story is done, and a grand tale it is. Except for one thing. It sucks! The story itself is great, but it needs some serious editing. Comma splices abound. There's not enough white space. You have over-used words; you are redundant. Mark in chapter one is Matthew in chapter ten.
Now what? You work on your edits first. Don't annoy your friends and ask them to be beta readers. Do the job yourself. Read your story out loud as you edit. That will help with your commas. Over and over again, do your edits. When you are satisfied you have a good story, send it to an editor. An author is too close to her/his own story to do it justice in the final edits.
Okay, I'm sure many of you have heard the old beta reader thing over and over again from friends. They are not editors. Hire an editor. There are many good ones out there and they will not all gouge you. Many have great rates.
If you are going to self-publish, get a great cover artist. Don't go half-ass here. It is very important. Also, consider doing books with interior art scattered about. It is impressive, and a lot of Publishers are doing it.
Have someone who knows what they are doing, do your formatting. Make certain you check everything out before you publish your tale.
When it comes to Marketing, get outside the box. Push the envelope. Don't be afraid to do things never done before. I have super plans for one book I am publishing with another author. What I plan on doing has never been done before. Obviously, I don't want to mention it yet until the book comes out. At that time we will both be glad to explain our wonkiness. Going on Facebook and saying, "Buy my book," is not Marketing. What it can be is annoying. Many people will consider it to be spam and be turned off. Turn them on, not off.
I'll give you an example of an interesting ploy. Arrange to do book signings in bars. Tell the owner that for every book a patron buys, you will buy that reader a beer. And, include a tip. Why? That bartender will steer buyers to you. Set the price of your book so you make a profit. Let's say your book is from a small Press and you get a discount and pay $7.00 for a $15.00 book. If you sell the book at $15.00, you will make a profit of $4.00 if you pay $3.00 for a beer and $1.00 tip. More than you get from Amazon or B&N. The same thing can be done in coffee shops. In no time at all, you will have a following.
I will have another post explaining eBook marketing. Notice I didn't mention which way you should go with your books. Big Six, Small Press, Cooperative, or Indie, it doesn't matter. That's up to you and what you want to do. I will be posting more of my little tips in the future. Publishing has changed, folks. Be willing to change with it.
Happy writing to everyone!
Blaze McRob has penned many titles under different names. It is time for him to come out and play as Blaze.
In addition to inclusions in numerous anthologies, he has written many novels, short stories, flash fiction pieces, and even poetry. Most of his offerings are Dark. However dark they might be, there is always an underlying message contained within.
Join him as he explores the Dark side. You know you want to.