Monday, December 15, 2014

Terry Brooks and His Writing

I have, for the most part, enjoyed reading the writing of Terry Brooks.   He is one of my favourite fantasy writers, and he is also one of the main reasons I've became a writer.  Lately however, I've found myself going back to him and feeling a bit disenchanted by his newer works.  I still have fond recollections of the Sword of Shannara, and the other two books which are part of his trilogy, but the rest, of this huge series I'm left with something less than joy.

It began with a small change, and it was then when I felt I was not 'transported' to his world, but rather re-reading something he had already written.  This is understandable since he had at one point, three distinct series going.

The one thing which I am unsure of is one of most recent of his series, what a reader might call the "back history of Shannara" where he merges two series of his stand alone series.  He's also gone farther into the future, but it has left me with more questions than answers. While this is new to me as a long time reader of his books, it shows some wonderful imagination and creativity on the part of Terry Brooks. This being said, should you read the first published book by him he does use a lot of adjectives and adverbs where a simple noun or verb will do just fine. One of the more helpful books he has written is Sometimes the Magic Works. For any writer this is a good book to have as he gives his own ideas and suggestions for writing. I enjoyed it and the suggestions, but it is a starting book, not something for a more advanced writing book. Still a good book to have.

The reason I enjoy Terry Brooks writing is because it is varied and different, and because of some very good memories of my own very first book I bought- which was a Terry Brooks novel.

Of all the trilogy series on Shannara he's written; I still enjoy the first three Shannara books. (The Sword of Shannara , the Elfstones of Shannara and the Wishsong of Shannara.) I am currently re- reading his newest book from the Landover Series.  I enjoy every minute, a glass of hot chocolate and memories.... but the question can be asked by many if Terry Brooks is a good writer?

After all he has published upwards of 30 bestselling books. He is what most writers want to be-- a published author. Is he a good writer? His novels follow a formula, but at the same time he has published books which are listed on the New York times bestseller list.   In this regard, a person who doesn't have his sort of success should not complain about a formula.  These days I suspect he is like most published authors who have seen success, they don't want to loose it.

There are reasons to write in the same genre, he knows it well- he knows what his fans want to read, and he is not about to change that. This does not mean he is not a good writer. He does not want to rock the boat, there is a difference there. After all he had Shannara and Landover which are two successful series and the Word and the Void which he combined with Shannara. There is his mistake-- the combination. I do not think that many of his readers enjoyed it as much. He might have left it alone and seen more success.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Google Ads, and Writers

On the Internet, when we want to look at anything we go online to a search engine, most likely Google, and use keywords- and then go to a website that we believe fits fits our needs based on what we read. This is why people publish what they publish so that people can find information with ease.   This is why as writers we have to think about summaries and how people think about us.

Most people don't see themselves as readers, but as gatherers of information. When we go to that website-- or blog or whatever-- it is because of the writing or the summary and because we might find something we need.  Another thing a reader might find is monetization in the form of ads.  There is nothing wrong with this, many social networking sites use this method.  

Writers need to earn some money, and most need to earn a few pennies to make something of their career as a writer.  It's hard enough to write and publish a book, but it's even harder when the platform a person is using doesn't get them something for their work.

The reason for this is: Google AdSense and Google AdWords work together to make an 'ads by Google'. This is not vital to writing or to many writers, but as a means to create income outside of publishing a book, when you use the AdSense ads.

Most readers will gloss over the ads, these Google AdSense ads, but the question you can ask is where do they come from? 

How does one go about making money with them? (By having AdSense on their website or by having other products people can purchase. Such as books and other items because otherwise a person is simply not going to earn money)

How does one go and "get" these ads, should a person want to create some? 

Google AdWords is your answer, and as a writer you should not need to use this but you will need to know about this since it works much in the same way as other social networking sites use ads, or tweet promotions, to gain more exposure to readers.  In some cases it helps a writer find out who and where people follow them.

What you publish online does make a difference in terms of what you gain when you work both programs together- you can pay to create an Ad on Google AdWords, but you will spend more money than make if you do not use Google Analytics and understand where and who your readers are.  This is not for all writers, but it is something to know and understand as a means to create a small income.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Can Facebook and Twitter Help Authors?

I've written at length about how Facebook and Twitter, and other social media can hurt your bottom line or create a challenge for an author to continue to have book sales.  I've also written about how they can lose you your hard earned money if things go wrong.

I've not dug deep into the idea of how these social media giants can help you.  I suspect it is because I am by nature a cynical person, or it is the fact what I have done in the past hasn't worked out as well as I wanted it to.  The question, isn't how things work, but how can it help an author build an audience?

Notice, I didn't ask how it can hep them sell a book.  I don't think social media is there to constantly promote a book of yours, but it's there to promote you as an author.  It's there to get people to come and read a blog post of yours and find some meaning to what you say.  It's sharing a bit of who you are to others who are interested in you- as an author.

Since I've been doing more author book signings, I've noticed on important fact about the power of helping authors and social media.  My Facebook page is growing, as is my Twitter following, but I try to keep it balanced, I don't promote my book beyond having a link pinned to the top of my Twitter tweets, and I try to comment to other authors I follow.  It doesn't seem to be a big thing, and I limit my social media efforts to about 20 minutes a day.

If I'm not putting as much effort into promoting my own book, why, you might wonder would I suggest these sites will help an author?

It's the fact they offer a large area for communication, and when I posted where I was going to do an author signing, it allowed more people to ask questions, and gave me a lot more confidence in knowing there would be a few people there who would be coming to buy a book or have a book signed by me.  This confidence, in turn, made me more open to saying "hello" to anyone who would pass by and nod in my direction.  I haven't given up on my dream to have a long lineup of people wanting my book signed in a huge bookstore, but that will happen in its own time.

It helped a lot with direct book sales in this method, as I often wouldn't know when to expect a person coming in for a signing, and I also wouldn't be able to recognize them on the spot if they weren't a person who would like or comment as much on either site.  In this case, I've heard from many of the people who work at these bookstores that I've done well in terms of selling my book when I am not a big name author.

It boils down to the fact I am simply telling people in my social network there is something happening.  I mention it, and then I go on to the next bit of news that comes across my feeds based on whom I follow.  I try to be a good citizen on Twitter and Facebook, and tell others of some pages or people they can follow if they are following me.  It's a bit of a service, but it works wonders for me, and it means a lot to the people who I mention.

It helps me long terms since more people find me, and also can be assured I am not going to bombard them with tweets and posts of "buy my book."  I'd love to have people buy and review my book, but that's not the point of social media, the point is being seen as a person and as an author, but not as a person who constantly plugs their book.  It's shouldn't matter where you publish, but how you present yourself. Having something to say is the most important thing.

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