I wish that I could assure you that just by reading my blog, you will instantly become a better writer; that you will be the next Amanda Hocking or that agents will get back to you right away. I just can’t. I can’t even make those things happen for myself at the snap of my fingers, but there is something I can promise you, and it’s this: If you have made your way here, then it is likely you seek out other writers. That is good news because it means you are less likely to publish an ebook with the worlds worst cover (friends don’t let friends use clipart!) that you are less likely to write the wrong sort of query letter (YOU SHOULD TOTES REPRESENT MY EPIC MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY THRILLER SUSPENSE SOFT ERROTICA ALMOST ENTIRELY COMPLETED AT 250,000,000 WORDS. I AM AWESOME AND HAVE A DOZEN UNNESSISARY SEQUELS PLANNED) basically you are far less likely to make preventable mistakes.
Today I had some ones ebook land in my lap. I wont tell you by which means the birdie ended up there, but I will tell you this. It was that bad. The kind of book that SOME people think the indie and self service types are all writing, and I had to wonder; how did this happen? Will it happen to me? Will it happen to you? Not likely. I can’t promise we are all on our way to instant best seller status, but you would be hard pressed to make all of these errors.
1) Error One Book Cover: This particular number had a completely unrelated stock photo (landscape) it did not even fit across the whole virtual cover, and it was BORING. Some people will fight me tooth and nail on this, but if you want to sell your book to more than just your friends and a hand full of other writers it needs to be in a pretty, or at least intriguing package. I don’t care how rich and creamy the center is. Keep preaching that people should be able to see how awesome your book is through the crap, I’m done listening because no matter how well you did, you would have done better.
2) Too much dialogue. Sometimes people should have just written a script. The book I read today made me need to double check I hadn’t stumbled into reading bad fanfiction by an 8th grader from another country. Dialogue is a great way to break up action, or so I have been told. No where do people discuss those who just write conversation pieces.
3) Failure to hook the reader from the beginning. The first sentence of this book contained a lot of words, and they were all written in English yet somehow they didn’t seem to go together in anyway that made sense. It was run on, it confused me. Give me crap, and I go looking for crap. Give me magic, and I look for magic. I wont tell you which side of that you should be on, but I read the thing six times and it made less sense each go.
So now the lesson: Today make friends with writers! And remember: Friends don’t let friends use clipart!