Total Pageviews

Monday, 30 September 2013

How Do You Know If Your Book Is Any Good?

This is a scary week for me and it's a week I have been dreading for some time. And because of this I've almost had a month of sleepless nights just thinking about it.

This week is the week where I start my second draft of my first fiction book.

And no thought terrifies me more.

Gone are the days where I wrote my first two non fiction books and sailed through each process without a cloud on the horizon. Gone are the days where my confidence bloomed at the thought of writing more books. Writing is really simple, eh? All you have to do is think up a plotline and write it down. Once you have that sorted everything else will follow, right?


Oh help.

Writing my current book has only proved one thing. That I have a strange vivid delusion that I am a good writer. I mean people have raved about my first two books and posted 5/4 reviews about them so surely this will boost my confidence when I need it the most. But no sadly not.

When authors write their first book what on earth goes on inside their minds? I mean you read it and re-read it like several million times but how do you know if what you've written is actually any good? Who tells you that apart from one or two potential beta readers? And how do you know whether to trust their opinion? For all you know they might have just had a wild night out on the town or just returned from laser eye surgery.

So I guess I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. I have my first draft out in front of me but no idea where to start with my second. Character development, plotline and pacing are a few things whizzing round at the front of my very fragile brain right now but the first thing I need to do is take a deep breath and calm down.

So, tell me - how do you feel when you get to this stage? And how do you tell if your book is any good? Do you re-read it several times like I have done to look for obvious errors or do you just plunge straight into the second draft?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

What Makes a Good Work Ethic?

This question has intrigued me for some time now so today I've decided to blog about it.

As a writer I can say a good work ethic is vital for success whether you decide to self publish or go down the traditional route. But what makes a good work ethic and why do certain people seem better suited to it than others?

These days I can personally say that it is much harder to maintain a good work ethic than it was ten years ago. The current recession hasn't helped matters and the zero hour contract that so many businesses can now implement doesn't do much to inspire your confidence either. But I don't think the recession is entirely to blame. What matters is people's attitudes. And this is the reason why I've spent so much time thinking about this question.

As an ebook author I network with many, many people around the globe. Most of them are American and I have noticed it is these people who have the strongest work ethic. Many of them seem driven with their goals clearly mapped out. And as someone who resides in the UK I can say that this attitude is completely alien to some people who live over here.

I don't know whether our crazy welfare system is to blame for making so many people lazy and feckless but as I get older it seems the concept of hard work is becoming a thing of the past. I know this may be a fairly sweeping statement to make but I strongly believe that Great Britain isn't so great anymore.

I believe to have a good work ethic you must first accept responsibility in your job role. If something isn't working then try to do something about it. So many people seem to have the attitude of saying that this isn't my problem so I'm going to pass it on to someone else. But if everyone has this attitude then the problem isn't fixed.

I've had the goal of being self employed now for many years because I truly believe I am suited to this way of life. If like me you're a hard working person who never gives up and have so much drive you can be a Formula One racer then sooner or later you're going to be a success.

Now it's over to you. What in your opinion makes a good work ethic?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Do Your Dreams Inspire You? Remembering 9/11.

Let me start off by saying that even though I am across the pond from my American friends, I will never forget this date. Only this morning I saw tribute photos of Manhattan shared between my English friends, so I think I can safely say that most of England is thinking of those horrific events that sadly happened twelve years ago.

In a way those circumstances tie in with my blog post today. Even though that day happened more than a decade ago, I can still vividly remember watching the awful scenes on television as if they only happened yesterday. Of course, there is so much media coverage of the Twin Towers that I'm sure it's impossible to forget them. And there has been countless programmes on those events ever since.

But that unimaginable horror inspired so many people not to take life for granted as you never know what's around the next corner. I'm sure no one who worked in the World Trade Centre could have foreseen what was going to happen that day, although some did say they had vivid dreams about terrorist attacks and the Twin Towers.

And it's dreams like these I want to focus on today's blog post.

I remember reading several interviews from people saying they had dreams, or more accurately - premonitions, about these terrible events. In my mind, even the wildest of dreams could not have foreshadowed 9/11, so these images had to be premonitions. Now I'm a great believer in this phenomenon, so I do believe these stories.

As writers, premonitions/dreams have a significant impact on us. I know lots of writers, myself included, who have dreams about their next book. I suppose when you're constantly think about plotlines and characters these things are bound to come up in your subconscious. And you consequently dream about them. But how many of you can dream up an entire book? These vivid dreams wake up many a writer, and they can't rest until they have these thoughts down on paper.
As of yet I am yet to have one of these dreams. So far I have only dreamt of certain parts in my book, and I envy those who can dream up an entire plotline. It must be so nice to go to sleep every night and piece together your book. And it's the only situation I can think of where you can say you're working even when you are sleeping!

So, do your dreams inspire you?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Will You Only Review a Good Book?

Recently, over the last month or so, I have read quite a few online articles about book review trolls. Trolling, as the word is best known, is all about writing things to provoke people and deliberately upset them. And I feel this Internet phenomenon is only expanding as the years go by.

Trolling started out with creating abusive comments and leaving them on tribute sites to intentionally hurt bereaved families. I think this particular matter is one of the most savage and evil things to be born out of Internet usage, along with child porn, terrorist websites and other nasty issues. The Internet certainly has a lot to answer for in this modern age.

But sometimes people can take matters like these a little too much to heart. Of course, most people don't want to be nasty just for the sake of it but what do they do when they are asked to write a review for a product that they simply didn't like or couldn't stand? Do they just write down their opinions without a worry in the world, or do they point blank refuse to write a review unless it is positively gushing?

Goodreads is a site that comes to my mind when thinking of a place where nasty 1 star reviews are more common than a cold. But I don't think people should live in fear of being called a troll just because they want to give a low star rating.

When I first started out as a writer I was very conscious of this fact. I always lived by the rule of never giving a book a review unless I liked it. But now I think I am changing my views after reading some appalling books myself. And these books are not even written by an unknown indie authors: they are written by world famous best sellers!

This subject, when I think about it in detail, raises another question. Am I more likely to give a low review to a best selling author than a struggling indie? And I suppose I am.

I'm not saying this is right but I can't help but think that a low review is not going to affect these world famous best selling authors half as much as it potentially would an unknown indie.

My first book in particular has got some pretty nasty reviews but I think their content has actually helped sell the book so in some cases they actually works in the authors' favour. I suppose I would write a low review of an indie author if their book is formatted terribly or has so many spelling errors and grammatical issues that it's almost impossible to read. But again I think that mentioning these things would only help the author because at least they would be aware of them.

So, what do you do? Do you only write reviews of books you liked?