Thursday, June 11, 2015

We Pause For This Brief Commercial Message

… and I can get away with it, because I'm not pushing my own book this time. About the same time I tossed Mountain Lion King out into the cold, cruel marketplace, an old writing buddy of mine, Laura (writing as L. Woodswalker), self-pubbed her own work. I switched from SF; she didn't. Tesla's Signal is a SF steampunk thriller starring scientist Nikola Tesla. Damn thing's doing great, too. A brief sales promo netted her enough sales to bump her up to #23 on Amazon's Steampunk Fiction bestseller list. She's getting rave reviews for it, too. If steampunk's your thing, check it out here.

I'm going to have to read it this weekend. Got a library book to finish first; those puppies come with a deadline.

As for my book, well … the less said, the better. Maybe I shouldn't have switched from SF. Maybe I should try writing erotic SF romances. Oh wait, that was my last one. Or maybe …

# # #

I was on a publisher's web site, reading samples of their books to get a feel for the kind of things they publish. I try this every now and again, but usually end up skimming the excerpts. Poor attention span. I blame TV. That, and sometimes I don't find the excerpts very compelling. Or they have typos or poor sentence structure or something. Or there's not enough sex, or they don't get to it fast enough (we're talking steamy romance books here. If a Western snippet didn't include a shootout or a cattle stampede, it would amount to the same thing. There's no excuse for typos. None at all.).

I feel about book excerpts the same way I do about movie previews: what you're seeing or reading is supposed to be the best the book/movie has to offer. This is its selling point, the teaser that's supposed to get you to plunk down your hard-earned bucks.

For example, the upcoming Jurassic World has been promoting the hell out of the scary dinosaurs, and Chris Pratt commanding a squadron of velociraptors. (After Guardians of the Galaxy, they had me at Chris Pratt. But the dinosaurs don't hurt.)

Therefore, if the excerpt is less than compelling, it makes me call into question the quality of the rest of the book. That's all you got, bubbie? That's the best scene in the book? Well, I won't be forking over my pennies for this piece of drek, and you can—

That's when it hit me. Sometimes, when pimping my own stuff, I have a hard time picking the right scene. Does it catch the reader's attention? Is something interesting going on? Did I put enough sex in? (Romance, remember.) Is somebody going to skim over my excerpt and think, that's all you got, bubbie? On the publisher's site they want two excerpts, a bit of the story and a sexy teaser, and they'd both better grab the reader's attention, or …

That's it. That's the answer. That's how I can get myself onto the bestseller lists. All I have to do is write a book made up of nothing but the best scenes. No crap. No filler. An entire book comprised of the equivalent of all the high points in a movie trailer. Lots of dinosaurs. Lots of Chris Pratt.

But not Chris Pratt doing it with dinosaurs. I have limits.

Boo-yah! I've finally figured out the secret to writing a blockbuster! Don't put any of the dull scenes in. If it's a romance, make the whole book page after page of foreplay leading up to the most explosive orgasm ever. Metaphorically speaking. These people do have to eat and sleep, after all. And readers seem to like characterization, for some reason. Make it sexy characterization. Jasmine walked like sex on display, an orgasm in a dress that clung to her curves like a desperate horny teenager. Brent ducked behind the counter to hide his reaction. Of all the days to wear briefs. Bet she wasn't wearing anything under there. Where would she have the room for it? Yeah, I know people who'd buy a book with that as the blurb. They might even read the other chapters.

And that's how you write a book that flies off the shelves, ladies and germs. Write only the good parts. How can you tell the difference between the good parts and the bad? Oops, we're out of time. We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.


Savanna Kougar said...

Good for your author friend. 'Course Tesla is a hot commodity these days. So many of us wish we were living in his free-energy world, as opposed to the fraud-con game, energy system we've been forced into... thank you, robber baron JP Morgan, and evil friends.

Good point about choosing excerpts. Not the easiest task at times! And it can make or break sales.

I heard today that the new Jurassic Park movie is just a vid game, as far as looks and action, made larger for the screen... not my cup of tea, I can tell ya!

Anyhoo, yeah, I could pen only movie-worthy, tight scenes... Red Lioness Tamed is an example... however, the flow of a novel is 'sometimes' in the story and the progression of the story, which includes scenes not workable on a movie screen.

And, maybe it's just me, but I like focusing on the love-sex relationship in a detailed, intimate way... same goes for the world my heroines and heroes inhabit, which calls for some narrative... 'cause, as you know, you have to describe and give the flavor of the setting by using words instead of images.

Anyway... I don't have the answers as far as what WILL be a big seller. I just know what I like, and I take an educated guess by observing what does sell, to a limited extent that is. And that's what I do my best to write.

Truthfully, so much of what seems to sell holds absolutely no appeal to me... thus, how would I draw the reader in???

As far as typos, I've found a few missing words like 'a' in HMSC... and there are probably a few typos too.

Pat C. said...

The theory holds up, though ... if you write only good scenes, you should end up with a good book. Of course, "good" is relative, but if you remove all the tedium and repetition and just stick to the important stuff, you should be okay. Like, who cares if Ted "got up, wandered into the bathroom, tended to business, and went into the kitchen to make coffee. Then the roof fell on him." Just skip to the roof part.

Unless Ted gets yanked into the toilet by a tentacle belonging to one of the Great Old Ones who took a wrong turn and ended up in the New Jersey sewer system. Now you've got the reader hooked.

Not sure what this has to do with romance. I think my blood sugar's low.

Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, that's definitely on the tedium side, and I don't like reading that kind 'detail'... I attempt not to do that.

I might say... but not if he's the hero... After taking a too-much beer at the football game leak, Ted figured he needed to sober up with a mega-strong cup of coffee. About to reach for the coffee pot, he heard a creak...not enough to be alarmed. The next thing he knew, the roof crashed on top of him. All sound and fury. He blacked out.

Whatever... yeah, I either need to up my blood sugar or go lay down for awhile. Take care!