When I close my eyes at night, my sleeping brain fills with rich, vivid scenes that might as well have been cut out of a movie. It’s always been that way for me, since before I can remember. When I was in college, I took a required course on creativity in business where one of our semester projects was to keep a dream journal. At the end of the semester, most of my classmates submitted a 10-page-or-so, double-spaced document stapled together with their name on top. Mine was over 60 pages, single-spaced, with pictures, headings, and formatting, and the stack was too thick to staple, so I had to put it all into one of those 3-hole-punched portfolio folders. My professor was floored; didn’t want to believe I actually dreamed that often with that much detail.
Another late post (sorry!!) but I wanted to get this info out there ASAP.
If you’re on any form of social media and following an author, you’ve seen excerpt graphics before. They are basically pictures with text over them, sometimes info about release dates, the book cover, etc. Some are so great you look for the Buy link only to realize it’s still “coming soon!” And some you can barely read. In terms of marketing value, excerpt graphics are right up there with cover images. They make a huge first impression. I’ve done a fair number of these as well, and I’ve learned a trick or two from all the greats, the not so greats, and my own experiences. This is a quick guide on how to catch your audience’s eye.
When I began this series with the very first post, I told myself (and all of you) I would never tell you how to write. It’s not for me to say; I have been writing something or other since I could hold a pen in my hand, which gives me roughly 22 years of experience on the subject, and I still don’t feel qualified to give advice.
I have, however, received a lot of advice on writing, much of it unsolicited, some of it useful. Lately I have seen a lot of posts by bloggers, authors, etc. containing lists of rules for writing a successful novel. Rules for avoiding elements, things that are overdone in writing, things new writers do wrong… you name it, and there is probably a list out there for it. It’s a thing now, people want to know the secret. How did you do it? How did you get so famous? What do I need to do to break through into the NY Times Best Sellers list? TELL ME!
I won’t tell you. Mostly because I haven’t done it myself yet, but also because I believe all those lists and rules are a lot of snake oil. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. In the end, we’re the ones who decide the outcome. We’re the ones holding the pen. All the rules and guidelines in the universe won’t make your story stand out if you don’t have a good story to tell. They might even smother your book, diminish its potential if they make you cut out what makes your story unique. Because that is what rules do: create cookie cutter novels for public consumption.
Here’s how I approach writing:
I had a plan today. It was to sit my behind down at a computer and get in a solid word count for Wolfen. I am so close to the finish line I can smell it. But while I was doing my daily social media rounds, I came across an article that completely derailed my train of thought. It was about reading, and the decline in male readership. If you have a few minutes to spare, I encourage you to check it out here. The statistics and survey responses are really something.
So my plan changed. Instead of writing a chapter or two, I came here to write a blog. But what’s a blog without pictures? Therefore, in a separate tab, I opened a stock image site and did a quick search for “reading.” Here’s what I found:
Lesson 1: KISSASS
Keep It Simple, Stylish And Self-Sustainable.
This year will mark the 3-year anniversary of my first big acceptance letter. I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs in that time, learned tons, not just about writing, but also publishing and everything that surrounds it. I’ve also learned a lot about life in general and my life in particular. I am not one of those people who can take a wild leap and believe everything will work itself out. When I approach that ledge, I make damn sure I have a parachute strapped to my back and a safety net at the bottom just in case it fails. That basically means I didn’t drop everything the moment I found out I was getting published. It also… Read More »Lessons In Life and Novel-ing
Greetings! Long time no see! I hope your holidays and New Year were a fantastic end to 2012 and beautiful beginning to 2013. I have a lot of news to share. For those who follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed the new book trailers I’ve posted in the last few days. Yes, I started dabbling in a new art form–Windows Movie Maker. And, believe me, it truly is a form of art to get that finicky piece of Microsoft software to do what I want it to… But I am happy to report that in the battle for a put-together book trailer, I am winning! There will be more trailers to come, I hope to have one for… Read More »The Royal Wizard Trailer and Release Date
My name is Alianne and I have a confession to make. I am not a morning person. And it’s not because I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning (although, depending on the hour, that is definitely a factor) but because all my best and/or most hilarious ideas come to me late at night. I’m the kind of person who requires brain activity. If, for some reason, I am denied (if I am doing something incredibly boring, or getting distracted every time my brain tries to … you know… work) strange things happen. Like me searching for different color highlighters to fill in the Windows logo on my keyboard. Sadly, they were not permanent markers and the first… Read More »The Funny Comes Out Late at Night
You know when you’re out shopping and all you hear are those really weird songs that sound like 60’s TV series jingles? I heard one recently with lyrics about “I love you too much to ever start liking you” and made one of these faces: O_o I though, is it me? Am I just too young to appreciate a good oldie, or getting too old for the trends kids these days salivate over? Or maybe I am just stuck in a generational gap somehow. I don’t have an answer. But every once in a while I will go into a store and hear a song that’s so familiar I could hum it in my sleep, but for the life of… Read More »The Songs That Stick