I found this blog interesting about writers helping each other to sell their books. Enjoy
More young children are learning to read not from a printed book but rather on a table, electronic reader or even a smartphone. This phenomenon presents an opportunity for authors because these flourishing platforms have a growing need for children’s e-books.
These trends have been analyzed in the recent report “What a Difference a Year Makes: Kids and E-Reading Trends 2012-2013. The report focuses on parental attitudes regarding the benefits of e-books. The report was compiled by family centered consumer product company PlayScience (the research arm of Play-Collective) and Digital Book World, a consumer publish resource. An online survey was conducted in October, 2013, of 603 U.S. adults who have children ages 2-13 who read digital books in their households.
The most important finding: Children’s e-reading continues to grow sharply, with two-thirds of children 13 and under now reading digital books; 92 percent of those kids do so at least once a week. That translates into a potential consumer base of 36 million U.S. children. In addition, nearly half of those children read digitally every day. Does this mean children are reading more because of e-books, or are they simply switching from print to electronic forms?
J. Alison Bryant, president and founder of PlayCollective, thinks the answer is the former. ” There is certainly some move to electronic forms, but overall it seems to be addictive,” she says. Cindy Loh, publishing director for Bloomsbury Children’s USA, explains the versatility of ebooks: “There are more of them available since the rise of e-books. In digital, books can really be tailored to the readership without print production and inventory costs, so the reader who loves dystopian can keep reading dystopian stories long after the bulk of the print industry has moved on to another genre. Publications schedules are much more flexible for digital, too. Production timelines for digital are shorter, and publishers now have the possibility to release all books in a series within a year. E-books have also opened up the market for novellas and prequel stories that would have been more challenging to publish in print.”
The report also reveals that children want both print and e-book versions of the same title. The study offers two reasons for this: It could be that children view each as separate and unique reading experiences, or it may be that they enjoy a book so much that they want to be able to access it at all times and in multiple formats.
The other major finding of the report is that parents who grew up with print books are learning to embrace digital books for their children. The study shows that a majority of parents surveyed feel that e-books can motivate their children to read more or to become better readers, improve their children’s reading abilities and reduce the amount of time their children spend with other media.
Digital children’s books, now in increasing demand, provide a new pathway to publication for aspiring writers. But any enhancements must be constructed upon the never-antiquated foundation of a strong narrative.
Original by Dale McGarrigle
Although it is often used to denote any objectionable word, profanity literally means words that are considered profane—that is, words proscribed by religious doctrine. (Proscribed generally means forbidden by written order.) In the Judeo-Christian tradition, this primarily means taking the Lord’s name in vain (that is, not in prayer).
For the love of God, stop complaining.
Jesus Christ, look at the size of that thing!
In writing as in life, profanity can seem gratuitous or, worse, a thinly veiled shock tactic. And it can offend. All of which might jolt the reader out of the unfolding action. As a result, it’s important to use profanity only when it’s adding something essential.
I have to admit that when a book has so much profanity and obscenity that it’s the only thing that I keep seeing instead of the story, I quit reading the book or watching the movie. I was raised in a time when four letter words and obscenity were insulting and crude. They were used, but not in mixed company. People used clichés as, “cussed like a sailor.”
Obscene means something disgusting or morally abhorrent, often connoting sex. The f-word is considered the most objectionable of these. (Adding “mother” as a prefix ups the ante.)
Non-objectionable variants of the present participle form of the word—besides “fugging”—include “fecking,” “freaking,” “flipping” and “fricking.” (To be honest, I really don’t know why that “u” is so important.)
“Screw” is a milder word. Notice that both the f-word and “screw” are used not just too literally describe the act of intercourse, but to connote “taking advantage of”:
Don’t go to that repair shop—they screwed me out of $500 for a brake job I didn’t need.
Words referring to the pelvic area, male and female, are also considered obscenities.
To help you understand why I think like I do let me tell you a personal story that I remember as if it were yesterday instead of the 1950’s. I was a small child maybe five at the most. My father and my uncle were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking. I can’t say they were drunk because I was not old enough to really be aware, but I do remember a bottle setting on the table. I was sitting in the kitchen floor by our refrigerator watching and listening to what was going on.
My dad was talking and gesturing with his hands. I heard my father say that four letter word and the next thing I knew my uncle knocked my father out of the chair to the floor. My uncle then told my father not to say that another time in front of me.
I asked my mom about what happened and she told me that daddy had used a word that he shouldn’t have. That one event impressed my five year old mind so strongly that anytime I hear it, I see my dad hitting the floor.
It seems to me that today’s language is filled with four letter and curse words, and is accepted as norm by mostly young people. Truth be told, I still find it offensive no matter how much I hear it.
In writing language choices should stay true to the character; however, the narrative isn’t riddled with profanity. Using restraint allows one to achieve voice effectively and maintain authenticity while avoiding the likelihood of profanity’s potential pitfalls. Such language can seem be a departure for a character, and that contrast can also be revealing.
When profanity influences characters or becomes pertinent to the unfolding action, it can be necessary. In the autobiography Black Boy, Richard Wright uses strong profanity and racial epithets to show the ways in which white characters try to intimidate and terrorize him.
When used incorrectly, profanity can be a shortcut to emotion and the reader is bound to remain unconvinced. Try to convey emotion through action, gesture or different dialogue for a more nuanced effect.
From story to story, from novel to novel, protagonists vary widely in psychological make-up, goals and dreams, in the types of conflicts they face and in the way they resolve these conflicts. Among all these differences, compelling characters may have some common qualities as well.
Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward and 24 other novels, believes compelling protagonists share two chief traits. “I think he or she needs to be someone with a strong will to move through adversity, and someone readers can relate to,” she says, adding that relatable characters also require vulnerability. “We’re all vulnerable on the inside, so our hearts go out to anyone enduring struggles we understand.”
Authors are often told that readers must be able to root for their characters, yet Hyde believes that protagonists don’t necessarily have to be likable or sympathetic. They do need to be human, or readers won’t be able to relate to them. To accomplish that, says Hyde, you have to get inside your character’s head, and thats when the “humanity will begin to shine through.”
Here’s how Ishmael Reed gets inside of Paul Blessings, a character in his 10th novel, Juice!
I’m a survivor all right. After generations of ancestors working in the fields, factories, cleaning homes and offices, my generation had a chance to go to school, read books, attend plays, and do desk work just like W.E. B. wanted it. Like an old time Talented Tenther, I even had a season ticket to the opera. Only falling asleep once. During Wagners’s Die Meistersinger, I think it was the droning, lumbering trombone score that did it. Besides, like millions of my contemporaries, I’m fond of gazing and staring. This “sedentary” lifestyle got me in trouble with glucose, which one geneticist has said we should avoid more than the snakes we were originally programmed to fear. A bakery display of cake, muffins, and cookies is like a nest of cobras to me. They should invent a candy bar for diabetics called the Grim Reaper. How did I know that sugar had a dark side.
Blessings comes fully alive for readers with his open, frank self-revelation: regarding his roots, his generation’s opportunities, his drifting off during the Wagner opera, his sedentary style and his health crisis. Wryly, Reed situates diabetes in a framework that surprises us by an utterly bizarre comparison: snakes and sugar. We want to learn more about this intriguing character.
Of course, it’s one thing to know what a compelling protagonist and still another to create one. Should you begin with notes for a fully fleshed out character, or should you discover your protagonist as you write. Virgil Suarez, author of several novels and short story collection, plans out his protagonist in advance of writing. “I love to create an entire biography and history for a character,” he says, even though only 10 percent of what I imagine about a character actually makes it into the story or chapter.”
While Suarez does a lot of initial planning, much of his characterization happens as he writes. Intutive discovery of character may be key to solid character development. Instead of engineering or controlling characters, let their own voices take action. “I’m on the lookout for a fictinal person with a good story to tell me,” says Hyde. “After I make that connection, it feels more like a process of sitting back and listening.” This act of listening worked well fro Grissom, who says her two first-person narrators spoke clearly to her. “I wrote down what they were saying.” She had to edit later, but through attentive listening, she came to know her characters well.
Excerpt from Returning To The Elements by Jack Smith
After 37 years of marriage, Jake dumped his wife for his young secretary.
His new girlfriend demanded that they live in Jake and Edith’s multi-million dollar home. Since Jake had better lawyers, he prevailed. He gave Edith, his now ex-wife, just 3 days to move out.
She spent the 1st day packing her belongings into boxes and crates.
On the 2nd day, she had two movers come and collect her things.
On the 3rd day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candlelight, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar and a bottle of Chardonnay.
When she had finished, she went into each and every room and stuffed half-eared shrimp shells dipped in caviar into the hollow of all the curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.
When Jake returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.
Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything- cleaning, mopping, and airing the place out. Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters during which they had to move out for a few days and in the end they even replaced the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked.
People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit.
Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.
A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house. Word got out and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls. Finally they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.
Edith called Jake and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.
Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were the sign the papers that very day. She agreed and within the hour, his lawyers delivered the paperwork.
A week later, Jake and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home…
Including the curtain rods.
Very interesting read. Now I understand why so many writers sell books after they are dead. We have to keep on keeping on. 🙂