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 …
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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.