Go with the Flow

Can an author be surprised by the outcome of his/her own story? You might think that any writer starts with a clear idea about the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. It only needs to be written and decorated with the necessary level of detail to reveal character and environment.

However, no author is alone with the story. There are the protagonists, too, and they have a say in the plot. Sometimes they say: “No, wait, that’s outright stupid. I won’t act like that.” The current scene changes, its results may change, and ultimately, it may render the envisaged end unreachable. There are only so many twists an author can add to re-route the plot to the original end. Sometimes it works, and then I can smile at my actors and say, “Got you!”

But basically, once the story runs, my protagonists and I – and even my villains – are forced to go with the flow and must see where the course of events will take us. I, the author, can only nudge them here and there, and only if the initial setup was conclusive, I will arrive where I planned to go.

So far, I’ve been surprised a few times, but overall, the story evolved as it should have. I’m rather happy with it, and I hope, you are, too.

Promote. Promote? Promote!

Hi, and welcome to my blog. This blog is all about promotion.

No, I’m not talking about getting the big corner office and unlimited expense account. I’m talking about what happens after you’ve finished that manuscript, after you’ve finished the edits, after you’ve approved the cover art.

It’s all about selling that finished book.

I remember when my first book Colorblind came out. I did not know the first thing about promoting a book – the first thing, the next thing or the last thing. Fortunately, I’ve learned a few things since then.

But before I learned about the wonders of Social Media, I struggled with online promotion of my books.

The first method I tried using was Yahoo Groups, mostly because that was how I first learned about Extasy Books, so it made sense, at least in my mind, to use Yahoo Groups to promote my books. Unfortunately, this method proved to be unreliable, pretty much hit or miss. It took about five years, an eternity online, to amass a member list of 287 fellow Yahoo users. Not good. What was good, was that I had control over who posted what messages or any kind of content, who had access to that content, and the like. What was bad, was that when you joined a Group, you could decide whether or even if you got any emails from the group.

But then along came Facebook and Twitter.

Both sites have their unique advantages. On Twitter you can follow anyone you like without having to know the user – but you can only send messages 140 characters or less. With Facebook, you can send messages of any length you like, but Facebook is a security heavy website, so it is difficult to get Friends. However you can also get a secondary page where you can have people Like your page.

Both sites have made promotion easier in the internet age. Fortunately there are lots of other promotion opportunities that only cost you in time. But that’s the most important thing every writer has – time. It’s more important than even money. You can get money back, but time, once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.

Publishers, including Extasy Books, will do a certain amount of marketing for you. But the rest of your promotion options are up to you.

Peace, out. Namaste.

Jon Bradbury is the writer of 11 published e-books, including Sugar Daddy, Worst Kept Secret, and The Professor, and is madly writing more. Jon can be followed on Twitter @ JonB1969.


Attention to Detail

The plot makes a story worth being written, but the attention to detail makes it worth being read. Detail lets a story come to life. Not the kind of detail you’d find in a police report, but the kind of detail that triggers your imagination, that allows you to relate to own experience, or even tells you, “Yes, I’ve been there, too.”

If you’ve watched the Lord Of The Rings movie, try to remember Minas Tirith, the white city. The story was all about the fighting, but did you pay attention to the roadsides? Street lanterns, trade goods, decoration – all deliberately put into place to make the place look like a real, lively city, with a lot of love for detail. If you didn’t notice it, you still might have caught the spirit of it and enjoyed the movie more.

If you’ve read my latest book, Torment, you might have seen some of Manhattan’s scenery through the eyes of my protagonist. Of course, she noticed the big landmarks. But there’s also room for detail, like the broken neon advertisings.

Things like that sometimes require a lot of research work. What will the moon be like on June 10th, 2069, over the Australian east coast? You can’t write about a new moon if it’s still half full. Okay, most readers won’t bother to investigate. But those who do might appreciate the extra effort.

More obvious mistakes might even alienate reader and story, like, you can’t have wrist watches in ancient Rome. You can’t have Miss Liberty in Boston, unless you build a parallel-world story around that fact. Those big things will rarely fail, though. It’s the little things, the detail, I as the author must be concerned about with every paragraph I write.

Whether I succeed or fail, whether I achieve the desired effect, that to determine remains up to you, the reader.