Advice to Authors From NY Times Best selling author Christopher Pike!
|October 31, 2012||Posted by Jenn under Uncategorized|
I know, today’s post should be something either scary or funny but it’s actually a serious post.
As y’all know, I grew up reading Christopher Pike and his books got me through a lot of rough patches in my life.
For that, I will always adore him and his amazing work.
Without them, I would have never been an avid reader that later discovered Indie Authors that I admire, love and promote with a passion.
You see, I know quite a few Indie authors and thanks to my amazing boss (Lizzy Ford), I now know the business.
Being and Indie writer is probably one of the most hardest jobs out there.
They put a TON on the line.
These authors strive to make their dreams a reality, they put their heart, soul, blood and tears into their work.
It’s not an easy business, once you write your book, you’ve got to find a good editor, cover artist and formatting.
Then you’ve got to figure out how to market it.
How to reach the readers.
There’s much more involved but I won’t go into a rant.
Suffice to say, they work their tails off trying desperately to make their dreams come true and one day be a best seller.
It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.
It can be down right discouraging.
I’ve had some even talk of just giving up.
But I beg them not too because their work is amazing.
And now, I give them a reason NOT TO GIVE UP.
This message was posted on Christopher Pike’s Facebook page and now I’m going to share it with you…
Where to begin? I can’t remember ever deciding to write a specific kind of book. I’ve said before that usually the story comes to me as a powerful image of a character or as a strong idea that I can’t stop thinking about. This is the opposite of looking at what’s selling and trying to copy it, of trying to mimic what’s popular. I’d probably have a much larger readership if I did that but, then again, I only like to write books that interest me.
Now, you’re probably thinking that’s easy for me to say. I’ve sold lots of books. You’re probably struggling to publish your first book. You want to know how to get published. The easy answer is you need to write a “good” book. Does it have to be “great?”
Well, great is tricky.
The first book of mine an editor bought was Slumber Party. It was a good thing I sold it. I was about to quit writing. I felt like I was on the outside — everything I wrote kept getting rejected. After several years of being sent form letters, I knew I could write, but I still kept getting rejected.
I was still trying to write a “great” book.
Why did Slumber Party sell when my other masterpieces were rejected? Slumber Party is a simple story with easy to recognize characters. The prose is not brilliant but it’s competent. The book is clean — it’s a fast read. The climax isn’t extraordinary but it’s satisfying. Slumber Party is a “good” book. It sold right away and so did Weekend.
Yet my third book, Chain Letter, became a bestseller. Why was it so popular? It had a great hook. It relies on it’s hook. But the hook is not what most people think. Chain Letter did not become a bestseller because everyone has received a chain letter and are afraid of them, although that fact didn’t hurt. The hidden hook in the book is that the main characters are forced to confront their secret fears. To pass the chain letter on, they are required to parade their secret embarrassments in public.
Did I know I’d come up with such a clever hook when I first wrote the book? Not really — I basically stumbled upon it. Write long enough and you get lucky now and then. Chain Letter isn’t a great book but it’s a very good book, and the latter usually outsells the former.
I said I was about to quit writing when I sold Slumber Party. Many of you probably don’t believe that but it’s true. I was writing to get published. I wanted to be a writer, I did not want to work a nine to five job. I hate nine to five jobs. I was highly motivated — I wrote practically every day. To get published requires that kind of dedication. You’ve got to go for it — if you want to sell books. If you don’t, if you’re happy just to tell stories in the privacy of your bedroom, that’s fine. But that was not me.
I mentioned following your own vision. Now, once again, I’m going to contradict myself. To get published it’s important to read lots of books. To be exposed to many styles. To see what you like. To see what kind of styles work for you. Learning from other writers is not the same as copying them.
After I sold several books, my own “voice” began to emerge. This happened spontaneously after writing for roughly a decade. It took that long. It’s possible you’re a genius — that your voice will emerge with your first book. I’ve seen it happen but I haven’t seen it happen very often.
That brings me to the point of criticism. Today a fan wrote about a terrible review she had just read of Witch World. She had already read the book — I had sent her an ARC, I had a few — and loved it. And she was furious at this reviewer. But the reality is Witch World is an experimental book. It doesn’t just go out on a limb — it breaks the branch off while trying to leap into the sky.
That is as it should be. Criticism goes hand in hand with praise. If your husband or your girlfriend or your writers group hates your book, it’s all right. It’s part of the process. If you have talent, and if you keep writing — and you will never know if you have talent unless you keep writing — then one day the criticism will turn to praise. Of course, later, it will probably turn back to criticism but hopefully by then you have enough royalties to live on.
No one I’ve ever met can tell you how to sell a book. It’s too tough a question to answer. You might sell your first book; it might sell a million copies. You might have more guts than I did and keep writing until you sell you tenth book. It might only sell a handful of copies, and that might drive you crazy. I know how that feels – I’ve been there. But it’s like Joseph Campbell used to say, the only way in life to be truly happy is to “follow your bliss.”
What does that mean to a writer?
It means you keep writing.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
But what Jessie doesn’t realize is that Jimmy is the least of her problems.
In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble, and who never seems to lose. Curious, Jessie wants to know his secret, and in response, alone in his hotel room, he teaches her a game that opens a door to another reality.
To Witch World.
Suddenly Jessie discovers that she’s stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible, and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she’s lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?
#1 Bestselling author Christopher Pike offers up another classic edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that keeps you guessing right until the last page.