One of the things that will get you an automatic rejection from most agents—and a swift toss to the DNF pile from a lot of readers—is an unsympathetic character. Especially an unsympathetic protagonist. Personally, I have to admit if there’s nobody in a story I care about, I’m out of there after ten pages or so.
But what do we mean by a “sympathetic character?” What makes us care?
The truth is the protagonists of our most popular books, plays and films are often people we wouldn’t like to hang out with in real life. Some are pretty toxic.
From “wily” Odysseus to Don Quixote, to Heathcliff, Becky Sharpe, Scarlett O’Hara, Dexter Morgan, Walter White, Lisbeth Salander, and the “Girl on the Train,” we are fascinated by morally ambiguous characters who make bad choices.
But don’t these successful works negate the dictum that a protagonist must be sympathetic? Nobody wants these people as their BFF.
Authors often get into trouble when they’re writing books for children or adults and end up blending the two in an awkward way. I’m here to clear up confusion around the differences between children’s books and adult books.
Particularly when authors write “coming of age” novels or fictionalized versions of their childhood, they sometimes end up writing novels that feel like they’re not quite for adults and not quite for children. Others set out to write crossover novels that appeal to both adults and children that wind up feeling like strange mishmashes.
We keep hearing that we must promote our books on social media. Given the billions of people who get online every day, this seems like a great idea. With so many media out there, however, how can you choose which one’s right for you?
Thankfully, Hostgator Coupon Code has published an exhaustive list with 60+ social networking sites and a quick description of each. If you’ve ever wondered what the heck Tout or Shutterfly is, here’s your chance to find out. This epic list includes the following, among others:
WhatsApp – Simple. Secure. Reliable Messaging and Calling
Facebook – It’s free and always will be
Twitter – See what’s happening in the world right now
Instagram – A photo and video-sharing social networking service
WeChat – A multi-purpose messaging, social media & mobile payment app
Tumblr – Micro-blogging and social networking website
With each passing year, there seem to be more and more book marketing tactics you can use to amplify a title’s exposure and reach more readers. And it can be tough to keep up with all of them! So what are some of the biggest (or newest) book marketing strategies that authors have been using in 2021 to promote their novels?
We’ve compiled a list of strategies we’ve seen authors buzzing about so far this year. Some tactics can help directly increase book sales, while others may help expand an author’s platform, which can lead to future sales. And while this is by no means an exhaustive list of book promotion tactics, we hope it helps give you some ideas for strategies to consider as you create your next marketing plan.
Mastery is peculiar in that spectators see whatever the professional does as ‘easy.’ Masters rarely seem to even break a sweat, whether they’re dancers, authors, or entrepreneurs. What they do seems so natural that it’s easy for us to be fooled into believing we could do the same right off the bat.
I recently signed up for a watercolor workshop. Years ago, I dabbled for fun painting in acrylics, but I’ve always heard how watercolor is among the most challenging mediums. With running a business, writing, homeschooling my young son, taking care of my aging mother, etc. I needed a hobby and a time and place to simply chill.
Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Oh how my Type A personality loves to muck things up. It’s taking everything for me to RELAX, let go and simply give myself permission to be NEW. My teacher has painted thousands of watercolors and is arguably one of the top masters in the country. It takes all I have to not compare my rookie attempt to his version he seems to produce without even having to actually focus.
***A skill earned through many years, countless of hours of practice, and training.
Same with authors. With the pros? Their stories flow, drag readers in like an unseen riptide only to release the exhausted and elated audience at The End.
Mastery, to the casual observer, appears seamless and effortless.
As many Readers, Friends, fellow Authors and Blog Visitors know, I am the author of ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, with the published books Soul Taker, Sundance, Demon Tracker, and Bounty Hunter.
Books five and six in the series are about to be sent to my copyright lawyer; book seven is almost ready to be sent to my editor. Currently, I’m tying book eight into the computer, and book nine is waiting to be typed in; and I drafted the plot of book 10.
‘The Council Of Twelve series is a pleasure to write, and I love my characters. They have become part of me, part of my thinking, and part of my family. I’m convinced I’m not the only author whose characters grew on him/her. I have been working on this series for more than five years. And I look forward to starting a new book in the series every single time. The series is supposed to consist of fourteen books, at least that’s what I planned, and I haven’t changed my mind.
But for a while now, there was this story in my head. First, it was an idea. I wrote down a few sentences to not forget about it. And we’re talking about just three sentences and a few notes in my scrapbook. I took the notes over to OneNote, my writer’s tool that I constantly carry around with me in my devices, laptops, phones, and tablets. I transport my character sheets, ideas, notes, places, and many other things. Whenever I have time, I have a look at them – and slowly, very slowly, that idea started to stabilize, and I began to develop the plot, form the characters, and finally grabbed a scrapbook to begin writing the draft.
I have been sick for weeks… I’m not going into details here. During that time, I tried to do the most necessary but couldn’t really write or read. I felt horrible most of the time. While the work on this new book ceased, my brain still tried to work, and I’m trying my best to catch up on the writing.
And at this moment, I start touching a subject which I try to understand, and still, I’m not exactly sure what to make of my feelings. I started writing this story. It’s fun, building the characters, drafting the plot, planning the twists. Compared to the ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, that book is neither Young Adult nor Fantasy. It’s fiction, and I write for adults. There’s some romance, intimacy, crime… It’s something I never thought I would plan to write, but it’s fun; I like it. And I feel guilty!
I know, it sounds odd. But I honestly feel like I would ‘cheat’ on my series! I’m not really sure how to handle that feeling. Should I feel guilty? Is it normal to feel that way? How do other authors think if they decide to work on a book outside their series? Do they just start writing on their new project, or do they wait until they completed the series? What are they doing? How do they feel? Is it normal that I feel guilty not to continue to write the series, to feel like I’m neglecting the work on ‘The Council of Twelve’ series?
I’m not yet feeling all too comfortable writing this new book, even though it’s so much fun to write. But why should I feel guilty? Why should I not write a new story? What would other authors feel in such a case? Let me know in the comments. I’d be grateful.
You know the situation. A beta reader or editor says a precious part of your book has to go. You resist, strenuously. They fix you with an unforgiving eye and say: ‘kill your darlings’.
Sometimes we resist a change for good reason. The character/scene/description/flashback/whatever might be needed. It explains something, or adds resonance, or fills a gap in the story, though perhaps it doesn’t yet do its job. That’s fixable.
We also resist changes that will cause a hot mess, though we’ll probably make them when we’ve mustered the courage.
Those aren’t darlings.
What are darlings?
Darlings are things we cling to, with especial defiance, when we shouldn’t. They’re anything we’re keeping mainly because we like them, not because they are necessary for the book.
We all do it. We’ll do it on our first book and yea unto our umpteenth.
So why are darlings such a blind spot? Here’s my theory, from experience at both ends of the editing sword. Darlings carry emotional baggage.
We might keep a darling because it’s based on something personal.
We might keep a darling that’s totally invented, but it took a long time to draft or edit and because of that investment, it’s going in the goddarned book.
But look at those reasons. Are they about the reader’s experience? Or are they about us, the writer?