Do readers & writers want ‘real books’ or ‘ebooks’?

This is a big question for readers. And writers. Because writers are readers (or if they’re not, they should be!).

This time last week the first boxes of paperbacks of my second novel FIND ME arrived. What a moment. The book has been available as a Kindle for a little while now and when I hit the publish button there was a moment as well. But it was nothing like the moment when Deb in the post office opened the very first box to reveal stacks and stacks of books. And the response from my readers to the arrival of the paperback has far exceeded my expectations. And my supplies. Within two days I  had to place a new order.

So it got me thinking about the question we are asked every single day. What do readers want? Real books or ebooks?

I remember when a close friend received one of the very first iPads to arrive in Australia. To her it was a new gadget, a new toy and a MUST have. When I questioned her about why she MUST have this gadget it wasn’t because it was shiny and new, it was because she wanted to take it on her next holiday to Bali. With books on it. Goodbye heavy bag full of paperbacks. Hello shiny new toy with books on it.

And so it began. And so it continues.

I love laying in bed late at night with the iPad screen dimmed to the perfect light. You can read for so much longer this way for one simple reason – it takes no energy to turn the page. Just a tiny flick of your finger and there you have it – a clean new page full of words.

But as a reader, and a writer, the shiny new gadgets for reading ebooks that come onto the market every single day will never replace the lovely, beautiful, tactile sensation of holding a ‘real book’ in your hand. Running your hand over the cover – have they used gloss or matt finish? Is there any raised lettering? And then you open it. What kind of paper have they printed on? Is it cream? Is it white? You then have a flick. There are no words to describe the first flick of the pages. And once you have gone through all the motions, you sit in your most favourite reading place and so it begins.

And so it continues.

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Thanks Indie Author Land for connecting readers with authors

For the past few weeks a fantastic online marketing website genuinely set up for readers and authors has been posting messages on their twitter page about Write About Me. They have also published a fantastic interview about my book and taken the extra time to really get to know who I am, what my book is about and who would enjoy reading it. And all for no cost to me. Which is incredible. And awesome. And very much appreciated!!

Check out their interview here: Why you must read Write About Me

Thank you Indie Author Land for being a breath of fresh air in the complex and often overwhelming world of self-publishing. If you’re a self-published, indie author check them out HEREImage.

What authors must do when they get a bad review

 

One way of dealing with bad reviews is to write the Very Bad Book as Andy Griffiths has done!

One way of dealing with bad reviews is to write the Very Bad Book as Andy Griffiths has done!

Newsflash for authors! Not everyone is going to like your book. In fact, some people are going to dislike it so much they won’t even get past the first few pages. And now, with so many opportunities for reviewers to share their thoughts online about your book, you are going to know exactly how much they love or hate it.

I have to admit, Write About Me has attracted its fair share of bad reviews. The most recent review  in a highly-respected Australian magazine – seen as the book bible for individuals and book clubs looking for the next best book to read – plus the experience of one of my US writing friends on the weekend, has prompted me to share my tips on what authors must do when they get a bad review.

It’s heartbreaking for writers when this happens, but there are a few tips to managing those bad reviews.

1. Accept that your book will not appeal to every reader, and move on. Each review is subjective. I remember my Mum saying to me when I first published Write About Me that it’s just like when you go and see a movie. Sometimes it’s a blockbuster but for you, it falls flat. It could be the mood you’re in, it could be the simple fact it’s not your style. There are so many films I love and so many that I don’t – and the same goes for books. Now move on.

2. Accept criticism gracefully, and move on. BUT… I remember my first one-star review for Write About Me. I was aghast at some of the things the reviewer wrote. They had it all wrong! That’s not what I intended when I wrote the book! Hang on, my writing style was deliberately chosen and they hadn’t read it closely enough! They’ve missed the point! How can they say that! Everyone else who’s read it loves it! I have people writing to me every day and coming up to me on the street saying how brilliant it is! You’re wrong!

The simple fact is you can’t engage with everyone who’s read your book. If they didn’t like it, they didn’t like it and it’s their right to express that opinion. BUT, and there is a but. Watch out for trolls and reviewers who have nothing better to do than harass you online. There are ways you can deal with these situations. For example, if someone has published an unfair review on Amazon, authors can ask Amazon via Author Central to remove it. A US author friend of mine had someone publish a scathing review and copy that to all her books. The reviewer stated clearly they hadn’t read the books. Amazon swiftly removed these reviews as they were very much a personal attack not connected to the contents of the books themselves.

3. Say thankyou, and move on. Reading a book takes time and effort, so every time someone takes the time out of their lives to read your book and enter the world you’ve created with so much love and passion, deserves a thank you. A book is such a personal project for writers, but you can’t take it personally if your personal project is rejected or criticised. This is something all creative people face on a daily basis, in fact, it’s something all people face every day. Writers need to develop a thick skin when they choose to publish their work. Once you are in the public domain you are open to public criticism.

Fortunately you are also open to public praise. So take all the praise and put it in a big pile, then go to that pile every time someone criticises your work and bury that criticism right at the bottom. It also helps if you have other writers to talk to – they understand and will provide all necessary comfort and counselling!!

 

 

 

Write About Me moves bookshelves into mystery, thriller and crime

One of the best parts about publishing your book on Amazon is the incredible opportunities it provides for self-published authors. As Amazon aims to keep pace with the ever-changing book publishing world, authors and writers can stay on the front foot and be continually finding new opportunities to sell more books.

As a new self-published author I am learning every day and one thing I’ve discovered is the importance of which category or shelf your book is on in the biggest bookstore in the world.

After seeking advice from other authors and doing my own research, Write About Me has now changed shelves. These are its new categories which align more closely with the type of book it is.

I will keep you posted about what happens from here as I roll out my new virtual marketing strategy – stay tuned!

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3 top book publishing tips

TWM_Be originalHere are 3 top publishing tips from Melissa-Jane Pouliot, an Australian self-published/indie author whose debut novel “Write About Me” has reached #1 several times on Amazon and has become a high-profile platform for raising awareness around the world about missing persons – the theme of her novel, inspired by a true family tragedy.

1. Stick to your own writing style, even if you are told it is not strong enough for the current fiction market. 

I have a simple, straightforward style. Coming from a media writing background, I am trained to write in active voice and short sentences. In the media world you have to tell the story within the first three paragraphs. Flipping into fiction writing was a challenge when it came to being descriptive and filling in the blanks and you could finish my first draft in about two hours. But there is a balance between long and boring and too quick and slick – just stick to your own writing style and writing goals.

My writing goals are to minimise overwriting, be true to my characters and create a pace that keeps people’s attention and keeps them turning to the next page. Your style might not be considered as literary genius, and you do have a responsibility to your readers and yourself not to stray too far off writing that makes sense – but every writer has their own individual style that makes their writing “theirs”.

It is also important to edit your book, but it’s just as easy to over-edit your work. Be careful not to lose your characters and plot through over-editing. This is another fine balance that all writers are constantly aiming to achieve.

2. Maximise every single marketing opportunity that comes your way.

First of all you need a marketing/media plan – no easy feat when you’re trying to finish a novel! This starts well before your book comes out and can be overwhelming – even for someone like me who has a strategic marketing and media background! Notebooks are perfect for this. Scribble down ideas when they come, then don’t forget to reopen that notebook at least once a week to remind yourself of all your brilliant marketing ideas.

The marketing tools available for self-published authors are a mile long, and the options and opportunities match the number of stars in the sky. Facebook, twitter, wordpress, Instagram, Tumblr, SnapChat, traditional print media, online blogs, author groups, literary associations – honestly, where does it start and finish? So you need to stay focussed and select the tools that you believe will work best for you – and that you can afford.

Then you have to be prepared to drop everything else in your life when a marketing and media opportunity hits you in the face and make sure you get the absolute maximum exposure for your book. Because once that opportunity is gone, it’s gone. Old news is no news – new news is news. 

It’s important to remember you don’t have to do everything right that very second – map out a plan, be prepared for the unexpected, and do the very best you can as that’s all you can do.

3. Keep in close touch with other indie authors – and write down every little thing they say as you’ll never know when it will come in useful for your own self-publishing journey.

Once you start looking you will find so many self-published authors trying to make it big in one of the biggest ponds in the world. Where do you belong? Is your novel best listed in mystery? Or Crime? Or Literary Fiction? Who is your audience? How do you find them? It can be likened to trying to find the missing plane from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 – and that is not being flippant in any way. Finding your own place on the giant bookshelf where your readers have no shortage of options is one of life’s biggest challenges and for many, biggest mysteries.

So you need to seek out other indie authors and share share share – we are all in the same boat and none of us want to be left at sea.

Love being on top!

We knew that would get your attention! That’s the power of words.

But in author speak, on top means #1 and that’s exactly where Write About Me is currently sitting. And we’re pretty excited here at The Word Mint for our author Melissa-Jane Pouliot. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, pack some tissues, don your best 80s gear and enjoy the ride.

  • Write About Me is available on Amazon as a Kindle and paperback
  • It is also available as a paperback from a range of stockists in Australia

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Write About Me hits more shelves

It is so fantastic when new stockists come online @ The Word Mint! This week a batch of personally-signed copies of “Write About Me” are making their way to the shelves of Tamworth Newsagency in NSW, who are among a number of new stockists who want this self-published book by a brand new Australian author on their shelves.

WriteAboutMeConfrontingPicWhen Melissa-Jane Pouliot first published her novel and set up The Word Mint, we weren’t sure how we’d get it into bookstores but it seems that although we don’t have a huge publisher/publicist and distributor behind the book, it is still gaining significant traction and popularity having reached #1 on Amazon several times prior to Christmas and our list of stockists growing each week. Most importantly, Melissa-Jane gets at least one personal message a day from a reader who has been moved by her book, and she is getting some great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

In terms of paperback sales in Australia, we have needed to increase print runs significantly over the past two months to meet demand – thank you! Doing all the marketing, networking, social media, research and distribution ourselves The Word Mint still has a lot to learn but learning as we go along makes the journey so much more exciting!