Today I was talking about J.K. Rowling with my mom. I was talking about how great of an author she is, but author is not the word that came out. I (accidentally, I might add) invented my own new word and called her an authress.
It got me thinking, why isn’t it author and authress? There actor and actress, waiter and waitress, host and hostess. I ended up googling the word and I can see some people have used it in posts, but why isn’t it a real thing?
This is the kind of stuff that runs through my brain when I haven’t had enough sleep.
And how most models are too skinny.
Whether it be your own or a friend’s book, here’s a few ways you can help get the word out there.
1.) Share The Book
My favorite way to share books is to give the book as a gift. If the recipient likes it they’ll recommend it to others and the book’s popularity will spread by word of mouth. Another way is to talk about the book on social media. Write a facebook status about it, tweet aboutit, blog about it, anything. You can reach hundreds of ears without a lot of work. You can also go to the coffeeshop and just read it, or read it on the bus on your way to work. Other people will notice the cover and maybe go look up the book at home to see what it’s all about.
2.) Face The Book Out At Bookstores
Head to all the nearest bookstores and rearrange the shelves so that the book’s cover is facing out to the buyers. We’ve all seen an interesting book cover poking out like that, and our attention is more drawn to it then to the other books. It’s a fantastic way to get the book noticed and it will for-sure get at least a few extra buys that way.
3.) Hit It Right At The Source
Leave awesome comments about the book on the bookstore’s website, on amazon, or on a book reviewing website. Most buyers will check out the reviews on a book before ordering it, so having an extra positive remark won’t hurt. Another way is to ask about the book. Go in to bookstores and ever if you know exactly where the book is ask an employee to help you. If enough people do this the employees will start to remember the book and maybe add it to the “employee recommendation” table. It works the same way at libraries. You can even reserve a copy of the book just so that the employees see it and recognize it. If they’re interested enough they’ll read it themselves.
Possibly the most important thing is to tell your friends and have them tell their friends! Nothing works better than a recommendation from a trusted source.
Brilliant advice–I had to share.
1. Deny, Defend, Debate
These are the normal human reactions to criticism. We reject what we don’t like; we justify what we do like; we argue about it all. These instincts are very human, yes – but they’re not all that helpful when it comes to improving our work (or ourselves).
For this reason, in many workshops, the author of a story being critiqued is not permitted to speak until after everyone else has shared their feedback. (Sometimes the author isn’t allowed to speak at all!) This forced silence keeps the deny-defend-debate monster waiting… and waiting… and waiting some more… so that by the time the writer finally gets a chance to open their mouth, that 3-D ogre may have given up and left altogether! At the very least, it should be lethargic or off-guard, allowing everyone’s feedback to slip by and reach the writer’s (hopefully open) mind.
Another technique I use to combat my own 3-D monster is to just say yes. No matter how much I hate a suggestion, or disagree with an edit, I force myself to accept it, to sit with it for a while, and then to reevaluate. After a few hours (or a few days), if it still doesn’t feel right, then I’m allowed to go back to what I had before. But more often than not, I find myself sticking with the changes my crit partners suggest.
All that being said, no matter how open-minded you try to be, sometimes feedback can be hard to swallow simply because of how it’s being delivered. Which leads me to…
2. “Goldilocks” Feedback
In other words, critiques are best (i.e., most helpful) when they’re not too broad, but not too specific either. And not too gentle, but not too harsh. Like Goldilocks, we writers need our feedback to be “just right” – somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, where it’s far more comfortable than either extreme.
Note that the “just right” examples incorporate the rationale behind the feedback – which allows a writer to understand the problem, making them more likely to accept the suggestion, or come up with their own solution.
I have two rules of thumb when I’m given the responsibility – and the privilege – of critiquing someone else’s work. First, I try to remember what type of feedback I find most helpful. Odds are, other writers will appreciate the same kinds of comments. And second, I always create what one of my professors liked to call a feedback sandwich. That means I start and end with the positives, and keep all the tough stuff in the middle. You’d be surprised how much “meat and veggies” a person can eat when they’re served between two delicious slices of “fresh bread.”
My brain does not like to do what I tell it to.
I can think up endless stories and worlds at any time of the day, but when it comes time to sit and actually write it down, it is a complete disaster. My ADD only acts up when I actually try, so if I’m not working hard I have no issues. Here’s a list of what my brain thinks I absolutely have to do in order to write.
1.) Wear comfortable pants.
Or no pants at all. I’m not one to wear sweatpants or leggings when I leave the house, but if I’m trying to write jeans are just out of the question. My waistband is too tight, uncomfortable lines are digging into my thighs, etc. So either it’s pants off or no work.
2.) Get rid of the animal.
Mr. Kitty becomes at least 10x cuter when I have stuff to do. He also becomes more loving. When I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie he hates me and tries to bite my face off. But, when I sit down at my magical desk and tell him to leave me alone, all of a sudden his undying love for him must be pronounced via belly rub, ear scratches etc. Solution? I have close the door to my room and lock him out.
3.) Fill the silence.
Silence is killer for me. I can’t even sleep in silence. I always have an audiobook or soft music playing when I lay down at night to help lull me to sleep. If I don’t, every item I need to put on my grocery list and every single thing I have to get done in the next month parades around my brain in a never-ending list. Solution? I made a playlist of my favorite songs that I play every time I write. I also have giant, super unattractive headphones to block out Mr. Kitty’s whining and scratching at the door. This is actually the best thing I’ve ever done to increase my productivity.
4.) Have snacks at the ready.
It’s like magic. As soon as I get 100 words into whatever I’m working on, hunger strikes. Foods I don’t even like all of a sudden sound like the tastiest snacks on the planet. So, whenever I sit down to write I always plan a snack to have nearby.
5.) Set the thermostat.
If it’s too cold or too hot, just forget about it. Nothing worthwhile is going to get done.
6.) Turn off the phone and the internet.
No mom, it’s not a good time to talk. No Meaghan, I can’t go get my nails done. When I sit down to write I suddenly become the most popular person around. Everyone wants to talk or go out only because it’s a bad time. Any other time my phone lays silent on the counter and my facebook notifications remain at 0. I find it extremely hard to say no to people, so I have to make sure they never even get ahold of me. Sorry WordPress, but I have to block you too when I write.
And if I get all of this done within a reasonable amount of time, maybe the I’ll actually get some good writing done. Maybe.