My Fans have asked me, “How do you come up with such creative things?”
Because this seems to be a common question among all my fans, I think I should respond to these three fine individuals.
How to write creative things.
There is an old adage that says, “Write what you know.”
I know that that does not seem amazingly creative but if you approach it correctly it is.
For example, take that animal story that you or someone in your family often tells. Not the boring one that people wait through politely so they can tell their boring story. No, the one that you actually have people go out of their way to hear. Now the trick is to make it creative.
When you tell about the animal you ran into that got stuck in your grill, or that you managed to get out of the road only to see it run back into the road and die horribly, you want to turn it into something creative.
Instead of using the word turtle or deer, just use the word Sasquatch or chupacabra. Suddenly, you too are a creative writer. It is just that simple.
How to get your book read.
There is a trick to getting your book read. You must know your demographic first and correctly target it. Once you have this properly figured out, it is actually easy to get your book read.
One good demographic to target is the average teen reader. Your average teen reader will probably only read a few books that are assigned to him or her in classes. Some of them will take one of those books as a springboard and actually turn into someone who no longer considers reading an unreasonable chore.
So clearly, if you choose a book that they are likely read and make yours very similar, then you will have a good chance of having your book read.
If, for example, you know that Ray Bradbury’s, “Fahrenheit 451,” is going to be read by high school classes, all you really need to do is make your book very similar. The first thing you need to do is get a copy of Fahrenheit 451. Carefully remove the pages and glue your book, that is very similar, into the cover and put it on the shelf of a used book store.
The best part is they don’t have a clue. If you don’t let the secret out, apart from their making a horrible grade, they have no real chance of knowing that they read a different book.
How to be a successful author.
Again, there is a trick to being a successful author. Luck and talent have on occasion helped, but you would not be reading this guide if you were going to use those approaches.
First, you have to look at your dream. A lot of you will say, “Well, sure, that’s easy, my dream is to be a successful author.”
Sorry, to me that doesn’t really sound like much of a dream. No real detail, not a lot of imagery. You are not ever going to make it as a writer if your dreams are not a bit more vivid.
Here, let me share my dream with you. I was showering in a bathtub and there were all these dead rats floating in the ankle deep water. They were partially bloated and oddly a touch cute from being blown up a bit. I was trying to keep my feet from touching the dead rats and the parasites, round worms and other things floating among the rats. I was very upset with the person that was supposed to keep the bathtub clean.
There you have it. Doesn’t that sound a bit more like a real dream?
How to get your book noticed.
How far should you go promoting you book?
Currently writers are afforded a certain level of legal protection that is not given to all activities. For example, forcing or manipulating someone to read your book is not prosecuted or even viewed in the same way as when you force physical attention on someone. This is especially important when you are writing for a teen audience.
The answer to how far you should go promoting your your book is simple. How good is your book? Your book is like Tinkerbell, if you don’t have faith in it, it will never take off and fly. One simple cure to this problem is to start over and write a really good book. I know, I know, that does not have a lot to do with success these days. It is, however, a start. A good book will then motivate you to do what you need to do to get published.
Think hard about what you are going to do to get your book published. Unless you let the publisher free, he will never be able to publish your book. The odds are good that he will break all of the promises he made to you while you still had him at your mercy. It is entirely possible that you might make an enemy in the publishing field without having gotten a single advantage.
Again, camping on doorsteps, hiding in bushes and sending envelopes full of perfume and glitter are perhaps going a bit too far. Especially the perfume and glitter. That stuff never goes away. If you have what it takes, seduction or bribes may be a better route.
You may be thinking, “That doesn’t work these days.”
If you are thinking that, you should probably do a bit more market research and read a few of the books at the top of the best sellers lists.
Why do I give these wonderful tips?
You may be asking yourself, “Why do I give away all of my secret tips to writing that I have so carefully researched?”
After looking at all of the writers that are associated with writing blogs, writing retreats, lectures and seminars, I realized that an amazing number of them have only a few book sales. Very few of them have names that anyone would recognize.
So after doing all of this research and reading the advice of all of these writers, I realized that there is no barrier to entry.
Who to listen to?
The real question is, “Who should you listen to for advice on becoming a successful author.”
There are those who say that you should write really well. Yeah, I suppose that might help, but for every Dickens there are five complete losers who made it to the Times best sellers list. When was the last time Dickens made it to the best sellers list?
The really good advice is going to come from the authors who made it big, while writing really horrid books. These are the people I want to learn from at seminars. These people know how to become big. So, if you see me at your seminar, try not to be too offended, I am just trying to learn from the best.
What should I write?
As far a writing goes, you should try to be mainstream. This way you can just copy everyone else and no one will really notice. Without any really creative qualities in your book, how will they ever prove you just stole everything?
Or you could go for the common trends. Look at the top books that catch your fancy and you will appear as creative as anyone out there. With your new steam-punk zombie thriller about bondage with a rich dude in a wizard school, how can you possibly go wrong? If you give it a good name like, “Fifty Shades of Green,” It will fly off the shelves. A few years ago, you would have wanted a vampire without all the weaknesses. These days, you have to be a bit more selective, brooding-all-day-suckers are no longer in vogue.
There is, however, no reason you can’t borrow from what used to work. This lets you freshen up your work with a few classics. For example, zombies that don’t go out during the day because they sparkle. Now I think you are beginning to see just how easy this is.
Refining your work.
Let’s take a look at your current work. The first thing you need to do is change the main character’s name so it isn’t your name. Then we need to get rid of any of the direct references to Star Fleet. Now we almost have something we can work with. After removing all references to your animal ears, fur and tail, we need to replace the words, light and saber, with other things like bright and cutlass. Be creative, use a thesaurus. You should probably change your love interest’s name as well. I realize that it is possible that someone else might be named Josh Groban, but you don’t really want to be so obvious.
Another thing that is generally considered good to do, is pass your work around to friends and other writers so that you can get good critiques and input. I have read several of the books that have made it big lately. Does anyone really think these authors were listening to advice on writing? If they were, they need to make a new circle of friends quickly.
The problem with circulating your books to get reviews is that soon enough your friends, acquaintances and fellow struggling writers will start avoiding you in the same manner they used to avoid you back when you were going through your pyramid scheme phase.
When all else fails, try begging.
Hopefully, these sage words of advice will help you to become the great author that we both know you deserve to be. Hopefully, you will remember who helped you out by clearing up and explaining the options for writing and promoting your books to have the success they deserve.
If not, then I may actually have to break down and run one of these seminars so that my efforts toward writing and understanding the field can actually pay back some of the time and investment that I have put into it.