Category: Uncategorized

Dec 22

Melodee’s Rules for Authors — Number Twenty-Three

 

 

Number Twenty-Three

Listen To Your Readers, Not The “Experts”

 

Of all the rules, this could very well be the hardest one to learn and—more to the point—follow.

We all want the approval of someone we consider to be an expert of some sort or another. That expert might be a teacher, a respected or admired peer, a critic, or even a particular publisher. It might even be someone else in an entirely unrelated field, but it will always be someone that we see as important to us.

Most people see successful writers as arrogant. I don’t get that confusion. We ARE arrogant. I really don’t care if I hurt someone’s feelings, though I will never deliberately hurt someone. If the truth hurts their feelings, that is not my concern. The fact is that the truth can hurt. I’m about as politically incorrect as you can get. I think that 99% of the people in the world take life far too seriously and are looking for ways to assert their right to have everything sugar coated for them. As Sergeant Hulka said, “Lighten up, Francis.” In short, the only person I need to impress is me.

And yet even I sometimes catch myself wondering how someone will react to one of my actions.

The simple fact is that we all, as authors, must do what the little voices in our heads tell us to do and shut out those who would force us to compromise our individuality.

This in no way contradicts Rule Number Twenty-Two…I am not talking so much about what we write as opposed to how we write. In a word, voice.

One very common definition is:

“The author’s voice is the style in which a story is presented, including, among other things, the syntax, diction, person, and dialogue.”

Each writer has their own voice. Mine is different from yours. Yours is different from, say, Stephen King’s. Stephen’s is different from Niven’s. You get the idea. No two writers will have the same voice.

Generally speaking, your voice is made up of a staggeringly large number of things…your past, your present, your education, your experiences, your dreams, your nightmares, people you know, people you admire, the time and place in which you live, books you have read, books you have written, and a myriad of other things all go in to the forming of your voice. Looking at this, it’s clear why no two writers will have the same voice…after all, no two people have all of these things in common.

We are all individuals.

And it is your voice that all of the experts—no matter why they are in that category—will want you to change.

And it is this change that you must resist.

In a nutshell, an expert will want you to change so your voice is more like theirs. Think about it…we all believe our voice is the best one out there, and the experts are no exception to this rule. So, since they have the best voice, you would be better off to make your voice more like theirs.

Bullshit.

Your voice is the best for you. Your voice is the only thing that sets you apart from all of the other writers out there. It is your voice that the readers like and plop down their hard-earned cash for.

People, ignore the experts…there are but a few of them and they aren’t buying your books anyway.

Listen to your readers…there are literally billions of them and they ARE buying your books.

Read the letters (paper and email) from your readers. Take to heart the things they say, especially if you get more than two letters saying essentially the same thing.

Watch the many mailing lists on the Internet for what your readers are saying there.

Watch blogs where readers post and pay attention to how they react to things, especially about your books.

When you do a signing or other personal appearance, talk to the readers. Besides, taking the extra time to talk to the readers will piss off your agent/representative…you know: Time is Money.

In other words, stay in touch with your readers. Be active…or more correctly, be proactive.

I wish I could give you some concrete examples, but I can’t because the number of variables and variations are far too great. I’ll just say that you will know when the readers like something and when they don’t like something.

Trust me…you’ll know.

And never forget to ignore the experts. Never read reviews…all that will do is piss you off. Never ask another writer how to word something…that will blend your voice with theirs. Never ask an English major how to word something…you’ll end up sounding like a text book. Automatically reject any re-writes by an editor…they have no clue how to write and even less idea of what your voice is.

(Let me clarify that last bit…if a good editor finds a problem, they will never offer a rewrite. They will simply say that the section needs to be rewritten and leave that up to you. If the editor does offer a rewrite, trash it and rewrite the section yourself, in your voice.)

Always remember that it is the readers who are paying you, and listen to your boss.

Keep Loving!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2017/12/22/melodees-rules-for-authors-number-twenty-three-5/

Sep 24

Rules for Authors – Number 21

What follows is one of my Rules for Authors.

These rules are things that all real authors should make a part of their mentality and are words to live by. Trust me…

After more than twenty-five years in this crazy business, I have learned these things well and they do make a difference!

No. 21 – Never back down from an editor. Someone else will buy the book.

The best way I can sum this up for you is to say that the author (aka YOU) knows best what makes the story work. No one else—most especially an editor—can do a better job than the author (aka YOU) at making the story and characters strong.

Now, with that said, let’s look at the details…

First of all, I am NOT talking about things like spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If you are using a modern word processor and haven’t done stupid things like adding “special” words to the dictionary or crazy things like adding or editing the grammar rules, your software should catch nearly all of these issues. Maybe…

For example, in the dictionary of nearly all decent word processors, you will find the words “for” and “fro”. How often in a typical book is the word “for” used? At least several hundred times in most cases. On the other hand, the word “fro” is rarely used. Actually, I can’t remember a single time I have ever used it, but I don’t do a lot of historical work. The fact is, however, that the spell checker will not catch the error of typing “fro” when you mean “for”. Even though “for” is a preposition and “fro” is an adverb, most grammar checkers will miss the error, too. There are two ways to fix this…after you write your story, do a search for “fro” and make sure that you really meant to use that word. A better solution is to go to the dictionary and remove the word “fro”…now, “fro” will be flagged as a spelling error.

But I digress…

What I am really talking about here is story content…no decent (or better) editor will try to change your story. Sadly, there are an awful lot of bad editors in the business. I can promise you that at some point in your career an editor will come to you and ask you to change your story, usually with some statement like, “…this will work better for the reader…”

In a word, bullshit.

Typically, if you are fairly new to the business or to the publisher, your refusal to make the suggested changes will be met with a reply like, “…well, I’m not sure we can publish the book the way it is…”

Fine. Just reply, “Good deal. I can sell it for more to someone else, then. Have a wonderful day. Bitch.”

If your book is worth the electrons storing it, the publisher will come back and say, “Sorry…here’s a new editor since you and Jane Doe have some kind of personality conflict. It won’t happen again.” If not, shop it around some more.

If you know something is right, stand your ground. Do not give in just to get the book published. If you have an agent, get them involved right away. The sooner the better because they can often avoid the power struggle that may ensue.

If you have an actual representative, this situation will never come up because the editors know better than to play these kinds of games…this leads to the representative pulling perhaps tens of millions of dollars worth of books and giving them to someone else.

Let me give you one small example from my works…

Anyone who has read my works—or even my blogs—knows that I write “OK” as opposed to “okay”. I once had an editor who hated this, and she insisted that I change all of my “OK” to “okay”. I started off pointing out to her that “OK” or “ok” is preferred over “okay” in more than a dozen dictionaries. She still wanted it changed and started doing a search-and-replace on the manuscript. I simply changed them all back to “OK” and sent it back to her.

At this point, the dingbat actually told me that she couldn’t publish the book with “OK”. I just sent the E-Mail to my representative. My rep pulled more than 200 books from the publisher that encompassed nearly 100 authors. The explanation to the publisher was that their editorial staff was a pain in the ass and not worth the effort.

The same day, the publisher came back and told my rep that all was fixed, I had a new editor, the old editor was now flipping burgers someplace, and please come back with your books. My rep then demanded an extra 2% on the royalty for all of the books to cover the angst factor, and the publisher was happy that was all it cost them.

A happy ending for everyone…well, except the idiot editor. I hear that she might make over-night shift manager next year.

When should take such a hard line? That’s easy…

Whenever the editor wants something “fixed” that changes the story or impacts your voice, this is the time when you should not back down.

Ever.

It is your story and voice that sell. These things set you apart from the myriad of other authors, and to compromise these matters is to literally sell your soul.

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/09/24/rules-for-authors-number-21/

Sep 21

Freaky Friday for 21 SEP 2012

Welcome to Freaky Friday, a time when I ask you one question and you get to answer in any way you like.

Feel free to be as concise or as detailed as you like. Remember, this is an adult website!

All of these questions are based on actual questions asked of clients by marriage/relationship/sex therapists in various settings and cases. Yes, mental health professionals came up with these!

There will be a new question posted every Friday, so be sure to mark your calendar!

 

 
And here is this week’s question…

Would You:

Watch your partner have sex with another person of your gender?

Keep Loving!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/09/21/freaky-friday-for-21-sep-2012/

Aug 29

You make my speakers go BOOM BOOM…

I don’t know about everyone else, but I absolutely love music. It can make you smile, laugh and sometimes even cry. Some writers use it to help inspire their muse. Artists have even been known to use it while they create their masterpieces. Whether it be on canvas, in sculpture or a mural, there are just so many ways to show the world our creative side.

My personal music tastes vary so greatly that I don’t think I can choose a ‘favorite’ type of music. When I was young my very first concert was Rick Springfield. Yes, that Rick Springfield. LOL. Hey it was a long time ago, what can I say? Then as I got a little older I was a HUGE Motley Crue fan. With that came all sorts of hair bands, Poison, Def Leppard and Kiss. Although I don’t really think you can call Kiss a hair band. Then I started growing up. I know what you’re thinking, Grow Up? My goodness why?? I know, I know.. it happens though, and with maturity and leaving the ranks of high school came my love of country music. As I’ve gotten older – which is only 29 by the way, regardless of what my drivers license says *wink* – I’ve broadened my musical preferences that much wider. Just when I think I would never listen to a certain type of music someone releases something that changes my mind.

My tastes are eclectic and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Music can inspire the mind, awaken the body and touch the soul. For those of you who know who Luke Bryan is, you understand where I got the title of today’s blog. His song, “Drunk On You” coins that phrase in the title and I think it can be applied in many different ways.

So, open your ears and your heart to the wonderful inspiration music can provide us. Oh and did I mention that I’m giving away an eBook today? Leave me a comment below telling me what one of your favorite songs this summer is and what you love about it. I’ll draw one random winner on the morning of 8/31/12 and that lucky commentator will win an eBook copy of my June release When Promise Meets Passion.

Also, I invite you all to take a peak at my new website and blog. They’ve been updated and are all sparkly and shiny. And if you’re on facebook, I love to be “LIKED” so please visit my FAN PAGE. You can see all my Siren Bookstrand titles HERE and all my Silver Publishing titles HERE.

Thanks everyone for stopping by! I hope you have found something that makes your speakers go BOOM BOOM.. 🙂

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/08/29/you-make-my-speakers-go-boom-boom/

Jul 25

Here’s to Happily Ever After in today’s crazy world…

Nearly one month ago I was a guest here on Melodee’s blog and wrote about chaos mixing with creativity. The basis of the post was trying to find a way to hurdle over those obstacles life throws at you every day when we are trying to get a laundry list of tasks done on a daily basis.You would think that in the past month things would have slowed down, at least a little. However, that just wouldn’t be the way Murphy – the evil law maker – would have it. LOL. Luckily since my last post I have been fortunate to experience something wonderful! So, while it’s made my schedule even more hectic and chaotic, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Drum roll, please…

July was filled with more than 4th of July fireworks for me…I GOT ENGAGED! To a very wonderful man – might I say – who’s been in my life for quite sometime. He did the whole kit and kaboodle too. He got down on one knee, said the most wonderful things and even made the ladies at the table next to us cry. It was absolutely perfect and I feel so lucky to have a real life prince charming to come in and sweep me off my feet. As romance writers we all write about happily ever after. Our heroines always get their man in the end. Isn’t that what we all want after all? That perfect someone to make everything worth while?

If you have already found your soul mate, hang on tight and don’t let go. Love is a precious commodity that too many take for granted in this day and age. And for those of you still looking, you will find it! If this adventure of falling in love with Mr. Right has taught me anything, it’s that there is someone out there who is the perfect fit for each and every one of us.

My days are still hectic and there are still countless things to do which I can never seem to get through, but at the end of the day I have someone encouraging me through the chaos, someone who makes sense of the craziness and makes it that much easier to grin and bear those mountains we must climb. So, open your hearts and let love find you!

Thanks for having me as a guest, Melodee. I had a fantastic time sharing my news! For those wishing to be just a little bit Impetuous, please follow the link below and read about my newest release with Silver Publishing!

Happy Reading everyone!!

Places you can find Nicole:

Blog –  Website –  Nicole’s Yahoo GroupTwitterFacebook

 

Permanent link to this article: http://melodeeaaron.com/blog/2012/07/25/heres-to-happily-ever-after/