I always find it helpful to look back at what I have learned in the past year, before I can look ahead. As I reflected this past week, I read some of my past blogs. I think most of what I learned I passed along to other writers.
However, I saw something interesting that you probably already know: if your goal is to sell books, plan to finish writing by June, use the next few months for critiquing/editing/cover design. And publish by October so that you can cash in on the biggest sales period of the year: Christmas.
Furthermore, it will help if you have the word Christmas or Holidays or other words “of the season” in your title. Beyond that, if your cover has a Christmas tree or snow on it, sales will increase.
Now, let’s say that you don’t want to write a Christmas story, per se. You can still have your book ready in October, design a cover with a winter scene, use a word in your title that might tend to be Googled, such as JOY or HOLIDAY. (I once saw a book that was about a place named Holiday Farms. It had nothing to do with Christmas. The last name of the individual was Holiday.)
You can use similar ideas for Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and so on. I leave you to your imagination and creativity in boosting your book sales around the holidays.
My last blog post talked about Flash Fiction and got us ready to address the “How-To-Write-It.”
So, here we go with what I’ve learned about writing Flash Fiction from a real-life pro, David Gaffney: 1. Start your story in the middle of the action. You don’t have time in this very short form to set scenes and build character.
2. Don’t use too many characters. Excess names and places eat up your word count.
3. Make sure the ending isn’t at the end. (What?) Give almost all of the information in the first few lines, using the next few paragraphs to take the reader on a journey beneath the surface. This will help you avoid stories with punch-line- type endings.
4. Make your title short and sweet. Give it punch.
5. Make your last line ring. Remember, it’s not the ending. – but it should make the reader continue to think about the ideas in the story and speculate about what it all meant.
6. Write long, then whittle your story down to the essentials. When you edit, don’t decrease the impact of the story. Choose your words carefully and sparingly. Make each one count!
Next week’s blog post: Flash Fiction Tips.
I went to one of my favorite hobby stores last week. After spending an hour there and filling my cart, I joined other shoppers in the check-out line.
I saw quite a few people purchasing seasonal wreaths. Some bore the symbols of Halloween while others were decorated with fall leaves and Thanksgiving messages.
Wreaths are a colorful and fun way to send a subtle message to friends and neighbors, in much the same way as decals and vanity plates on cars.
Since our writing has messages that are more pointed–more in-depth–within their pages, we might want to think of our covers as wreathes for our books.
The artwork and titles—even the colors and fonts that are used—all work together to form a subtle impression for the purchaser.
It is the entire “package” that entices a reader to buy. Careful thought to even the smallest detail can mean the difference between a sale or casual glance as they walk on by.