Demands Beyond writing – Promotion and Its Complexity

It’s More than Creative Writing

Did you know writing would be this complicated?

In olden days a writer found an agent and the agent found a publisher. Sure that’s a little simplistic, but it was broad stroke for how it was before self publication. When my wife and I wrote our workbook to help stepchildren adjust to their new family a good friend took it into Doubleday and they published it. They sent us on a national tour including an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show. Those days are gone.

How It Is Now

It seems publishers only talk to agents and agents only talk to—I don’t know who. In short there is no easy way forward to get a book published, publicized and marketed. It seems it is mostly up to the author. Of course there are predators out there who engage authors and charge incredible fees for doing things which are of little use. I won’t go into that mess.

And Then There is the Promotion and Author Help Industry

There are books to help us write books, there are books to help us edit books and on and on. Advice pours forth from multiple sources and it is up to us to sort it and make sense of it. I’ve spent some years now reading sorting and in the end came down to trying it out. Some of the advice turns out to be dated, some spot on. 

The Best Advice

One of the best pieces of advice I read was to be patient. I’ve become quite clear that nothing works right away. It is said that there are 3500 “books” “published” each day. That comes down to a huge crowd and a lot of noise. It takes time to be noticed. The other things I got clear about was that things have to be tried and then we have to adapt.

Having a Thick Skin

Some things we have to listen to are writing related and some general publicity and advertising issues. But there is also reality. When the first of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy was published, the very first review on Amazon gave it one star. It was not to the reader’s taste, she thought the vocabulary was “too big” and she couldn’t write an effective sentence. Got that. And there it sat on the Amazon page all alone as I worked to attract other reviews. Who is going to buy a book with one star? It took some time, then the five star ratings showed up and the total climbed. Phew! The world is not an even, supportive place.

Being Fair With Each Other

One of the things I concluded immediately is that we need to be fair with each other. When I pick up a book and don’t resonate, I have to be honest that the issue may be me and not the book. We don’t all like the same things. I’m not much of a fan of word heavy literature or that’s what I term it. I want that book in my hand to be stirring and along with it my imagination and that essential thing in my life “possibilities” must call out to me. I’ll rate books but won’t rate books that are not to my taste. It wouldn’t be fair or reasonable.

Endurance

I guess in the end what I would say is that we have to endure and stay with our projects. Let’s face it, we like the creative writing process and some people accept it as a hobby and don’t expect to sell much and may not even try to promote it. It seems best if we weigh our goals and accept the complex noisy world in which we live. We learn to improve our writing skills and we have to learn what to expect and to accept endurance is essential.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Origins and Sources of the Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 5

 

Being Moved Beyond Simple Exposition – From Within

Many of us who write fiction do not anticipate where the effort will lead us or what might begin to stir within ourselves. When I began the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I had a story line and then used Dara Marks’ Transformational Arc to organize it and structure it. One perception is that it may then be a matter of filling in the blanks. No such thing.

The story took on enhancements and a life of its own in ways not anticipated. And then there was the matter of insistent characters who showed up for inclusion. In the end I had to concede that the story and the writing process was stirring things inside of me.

Essential Elements

At the beginning, the intention was to write a story about the salvation of our future. Without a doubt we live in a very dangerous time. Perhaps the least of our dangers is how we may ruin our economic future. And then there is our capacity to use nuclear weapons to bring untold destruction. At the same time we are seeing clear evidence of climate change wrought by our presence. Deniers can deny all they want but we have the capacity to damage so much of this planet in ways never before seen. 

Other Discoveries

Even though we have been around our habitat for millions of years, we know so little about it in many ways. We must accept that life is insistent. We have learned about change and now know how adaptable life forms are. Deep in the ocean around warm vents we discovered life forms we assumed could not exist. We now know that asteroids contain water and amino acids which suggests life seeds itself well beyond this planet. How naive we have been!

Being Discoverers

We like to explore and discover more and more about our world. And now we are looking to go to Mars. That planet has been virtually striped of its atmosphere because it has no magnetic field but we seem interested in terraforming. It is likely that we may discover something we had not thought about.

What will happen if we break out of our planet? Are we ready? Are we mature enough as a species to bear the burden which discovery reveals? And who might we meet out there? In Star Trek they insisted that they not interfere in civilizations in other worlds they discovered. Part of that seems to come out of the perception that we may not be that wise. There are stories of invasion and attacks by extraterrestrial beings and we hope they do not come here. That, in some ways, is a projection of our understanding about our frequent lack of maturity.

What Fiction Brings

As I wrote the story, its characters developed. And now as I look at the trilogy I find that a book 4 seems to be demanding my attention. But it remains in the shadows and I will see if it will manifest itself. But one thing became apparent, that the story was leading me toward the theme of transformation. In human history we have seen sudden delineations and development as with language and culture. And then there are things such as the Enlightenment. Is there a transformation in our future?

If we survive this dangerous period, how might we advance. Suddenly we see stunning revelations about widespread molestation and mistreatment of women. The cascade of revelations is such that we cannot turn back from it now. And the uprising of women to overthrow their subjugation is stunning but just beginning. And in writing these books I found that the empowerment of women was essential. I really have to wonder if the empowerment of women is going to lead us to a significant transformation beyond anything we might suspect. We will see won’t we?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Demands Beyond writing – Promotion and Its Complexity

It’s More than Creative Writing

Did you know writing would be this complicated?

In olden days a writer found an agent and the agent found a publisher. Sure that’s a little simplistic, but it was broad stroke for how it was before self publication. When my wife and I wrote our workbook to help stepchildren adjust to their new family a good friend took it into Doubleday and they published it. They sent us on a national tour including an appearance on the Phil Donahue Show. Those days are gone.

How It Is Now

It seems publishers only talk to agents and agents don’t talk to—I don’t know who. In short there is no easy way forward to get a book published, publicized and marketed. It seems it is mostly up to the author. Of course there are predators out there who engage authors and charge incredible fees for doing things which are of little use. I won’t go into that mess. But we experienced it.

And Then There is the Promotion and Author Help Industry

There are books to help us write books, there are books to help us edit books and on and on. Advice pours forth from multiple sources and it is up to us to sort it and make sense of it. I’ve spent some years now reading sorting and in the end came down to trying it out. Some of the advice turns out to be dated, some spot on. 

The Best Advice

One of the best pieces of advice I read was to be patient. I’ve become quite clear that nothing works right away. It is said that there are 3500 books “published” each day. That comes down to a huge crowd and a lot of noise. It takes time to be noticed. The other things I got clear about was that things have to be tried and then we have to adapt.

Having a Thick Skin

Some things we have to listen to are writing related and some general publicity and advertising issues. But there is also reality. When the first of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy was published, the very first review on Amazon gave it one star. It was not to the reader’s taste, she thought the vocabulary was “too big” and she couldn’t write an effective sentence. Got that. And there it sat on the Amazon page all alone as I worked to attract other reviews. Who is going to buy a book with one star? It took some time, then the five star ratings showed up and the total climbed. Phew! The world is not an even, supportive place.

Being Fair With Each Other

One of the things I concluded immediately is that we need to be fair with each other. When I pick up a book and don’t resonate I have to be honest that the issue may be me and not the book. We don’t all like the same things. I’m not much of a fan of word heavy literature or that’s what I would term it. I want that book in my hand to be stirring and along with it my imagination and that essential thing in my life “possibilities” must call out to me. I’ll rate books but won’t rate books that are not to my taste. It wouldn’t be fair or reasonable.

Endurance

I guess in the end what I would say is that we have to endure and stay with our projects. Let’s face it, we like the creative writing process and some people accept it as a hobby and don’t expect to sell much and may not even try to promote it. It seems best if we weigh our goals and accept the complex noisy world in which we live. We learn to improve our writing skills and we have to learn what to expect and to accept endurance is essential.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Author Issues

Do you believe writing fiction is a straightforward endeavor?

A Complex Endeavor

I opened this new series with a post about choosing categories. Writing actually has become an increasingly complex endeavor. I thought I might share some thoughts for my fellow authors. But the rest of you are invited to listen in. You might find it amusing or even interesting.

What Happened?

Many (very many) years ago I had the inspiration to write fiction. I found it engaging and interesting. It was fun to be creative. Looking back I think the impulse to write happened when I reached a life change point.

Anyway, I started writing. Then came a deeply moving job which took all my energy. Then came a divorce, a new marriage, two more children from her first marriage, a new career and on and on. Life takes energy and commitment and each time I started something new, other demands got in the way.

Life Settled Down – Well Not Quite

Later, much later, my life settled down and a new idea for fiction emerged. I thought it interesting to pursue it. My wife had been working on screen plays and gave me Dara Marks Transformational Arc. What a neat way to scope out the progress and development of a book!
So I settled in with the reassurance that I had a structure to guide me.

And then demanding characters began to show up. I had an idea and these demanding people insisted on their inclusion and of course, they brought with them their personality, conflicts and foibles among other things. And then the psychologist had to look out because he began to pick up on their inner conflicts. That doesn’t sound so bad except it leads to conflicts of all sorts that can get in the way of the story and its development.

I’m blogging about some of these people including Avery, Brigid and Luisa among others.

Enhancement and Complications

It may sound nice to have characters showing up because they bring enhancement of the story. Well, not quite. They bring more than enhancement. They complicate the story and so the book became a trilogy – I think. It seems there may be a fourth book stirring.

And through it all I began to see that the story was filled with themes. I could see mythology which had always intrigued me and the prospect of the impact of waves of humanity possibly leading to transformation. But above all, what was striking was the fact of these women’s lives. Back in the 1960s I became intrigued by the process of women’s liberation that has now become the work to end the subjugation of women. Steadily I could see that my commitment to feminism was having an impact on the story and the development of characters.

Never-ending

I’m going to leave this there for now. There are so many other matters that come into the authors life. I’ll be addressing some of them. Have a nice day. I’ve got work to do and it isn’t fiction writing. So much else has cropped up.

Did you believe writing fiction might actually involve crowd sourcing?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Problem With Ratings

 

Manikin leaping from reflective sphere in fantastic landscape

What do you think about the issue of ratings for fiction?

What a Nuisance

When someone is writing fiction it seems likely that the primary reason they are doing it is to write fiction. Duh! It is an interest pursuit and can be challenging in a way that is fulfilling. Unfortunately, in most instances the author would also like to sell some books. Maybe they have a dream of being greatly successful or at least would hope there would be some sales.

And so that means it’s necessary to be involved in promotions. Ugh. The dreaded promotional process. It can be cumbersome and time consuming and is not exactly creative. Since it is quite likely that the book will be sold on Amazon the author will begin to see ratings go up. It is at that point that the author needs a perspective on just what they mean. Here are some thoughts.

My Recent Experience

In the spring Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power was published. I anxiously awaited the first reviews and ratings. Then came the first one. It was a one star. Very far from what I hoped. It lingered there alone on Amazon for quite some time. Not a high point. In the review the person said “vocabulary to advanced for subject matter”. There were other errors in spelling and grammar in the comment. Let me just say that the book obviously was not suitable for them and probably not to their taste. Fortunately, shortly other ratings began to show up with 5 star ratings clearly coming to dominate. Large breath of relief.

Choosing to Rate a Book

In working on promotion it was clear to me that there are very distinct categories and people have clear preferences. I will not review or rate a book that is not within one of my fields of interest or preference. If I don’t like the subject matter I don’t have to read it to know I won’t like it. Well, at least most of the time. Sometimes I’m surprised.

What to Expect

I’m sure there are widely divergent opinions but my perspective is that if five stars absolutely dominate then it is likely that the person has a following. That isn’t always the case but it is sometimes. The import of that is that an author, particularly at the beginning, needs to temper his or her perspective and expectations. Since ratings are often done by reviewers it can be expected that a reviewer will be critiquing a book. And that means when they see a problem or a shortfall it will probably dictate a lower rating. That is fair enough.

A Perspective

The bottom line is that ratings are valuable to authors and readers alike. But the numbers don’t stand alone. Among them are reviews and reviewers can give an added perspective. And the author needs to be ready for the rating which represents a person who simply doesn’t like the genre or the level at which it is presented.

What has been your experience with ratings and reviews?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Book Contest Awards Received

I’m pleased to announce that awards have been received for Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power. It is the first book in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

It received awards from:
New England Book Festival
London Book Festival
Hollywood Book Festival

 

 

Coming this spring is book 2 of the trilogy: Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise.
We will be moving swiftly into our future.

Life Wins Almost Every Time

 

What sudden shifts have you experienced in your life?

Clarity Versus Reality

We may maintain contradictory beliefs at the same time. We often “know” about our future and what we want one moment at a time. But life has a way of having other “thoughts” for us. A trip to Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress is instructive.

A Political Environment is Almost a Life Form in Itself.

There is a class of political beings clearly to be seen. Almost routinely they are clad in dark blue or black suits whether they are men or women. These are the aides and the employees of the members of Congress. Many of them fought hard to get their jobs. Sometimes it wasn’t a matter of simply applying. Often it involved service in successful political campaigns. In some cases they had to serve a number of times before their candidate won and they could join him or her in government. They could then come along for a glorious career.

Except there is a sobering note. There is an age group missing in DC. The dominant age group jumps from twentysomethings to middle age. Why is that?

Along Comes Destiny

The problem is that fabulous face. It is seen across a room at a party or a gathering of some kind. Two people enchant each other and then the most terrible thing happens. They desperately want to be together and that generally leads to a passionate involvement, marriage and children. Setting up the appropriate household and managing the insistent newcomers are all consuming. And so the careers are interrupted or end. The political passions are replaced by the personal passions and associated needs.

It often seems that this almost inevitable human event was not foreseen. The focus was on the moment and the excitement of the career. At some point we once again see the insistence of a reality we live on the edge of. Isn’t it amazing how we can evade the almost certain element of life which is just waiting out there? We do an extraordinary balancing act with these various facets of our lives. The adventure may only be for a time. Or at least that particular adventure. And often the fiction writer plays out the scenarios for us. Perhaps we should pay more attention to fiction.

What is your style in pursuing fiction? Do you consider it or experience it?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt