March passed by like a blur like Marches always do. Can you remember March? I always struggle in the year. A lot has bitten at my time apple this month so my novel progress was lower than expected. I managed to cram in a few days of good work towards the end of the month but there hasn’t been a mass of progress.
Now that I’m not recording word count, so much as repairing certain elements, I am continuing along the vein of tightening up the structure. I am still replacing as many “Thing” “Very” and “Like” words as I can. I am also trying to simplify and bolster areas that need it.
My novel is growing now in terms of chapters. First draft reached 11 and by means of spreading things out into better sections I have now reached 15 chapters (and growing). I’m more than half way through the novel and it is proceeding well.
Promotion is going to be a big sun on the horizon, something that any self-published writer has to think about a long way in advance. There is a lot out there and a lot to cover, many different strategies to try, lots of pitfalls to avoid.
A Focus on Consistency
The Second Draft is a lot more relaxing now that I don’t have the burden of having to fill the holes. I can now carve off chunks of this novel without too much concern. One thing that I’ve noticed along the way is that I’ve strayed from what I wrote in earlier chapters. Certain characters that I introduced I have forgotten the names of later on or didn’t make a big enough fuss about during the time I wrote about them. I can now enjoy filling out the characters more.
I’ve been over to Amazon and had a look at the kind of genres I might try to slip my books into, looking at the best sellers in those genres and looking at the negative comments they are receiving. In fact, the negative comments were a period I spent a few hours looking at because I was mesmerized by the detail that some reviews went into with regards to what they lay out.
That first book is always bound to get some dislike, leaving some people disappointed. There are a few things here that you have to take with a pinch of salt.
- Personal taste
- Following clichéd conventions
- Not following norms
- Basic errors
- Bad science
- Lack of characterisation
- Unrealistic responses and relationships
- Throwing in the kitchen sink
- Weak endings that setup for the sequel
Many reviewers criticise the novel unfairly in some regards because it was not what they wanted. There is no real way around that. My thoughts here were maybe that the novel was promoted in a scatter gun approach and so those who found this novel on Amazon were disappointed when it didn’t hit the spot.
Following Clichéd Conventions
Some of the complaints mentioned that the novels were tropes of other popular intellectual properties. Unfortunately now due to a certain amount of saturation, this is inevitable, it is a matter of finding a unique path within these conventions and somehow eliciting something fresh among the copycats.
Not Following Norms
There are some complaints about going off the rails as well. Fewer than staying on them but still a few gripes.
Of course we are talking bad editing or no editing. This means spelling mistakes, poor grammar, and other fool mistakes. These negatives feature as the core gripes and have the most vicious ferocity aimed at the author. This is common for those people who are either cheap or deluded about their writing ability. You need some form of editing. Getting people to read the novel is also important because many heads can sweep up obvious mistakes.
Many science fiction fans actually like science that works. However, going to shallow or too deep into the details can be a recipe for negativity in the review.
Lack of Characterisation
Shallow characters are a cause for concern amongst reviewers. Back stories are the watch word. Being cold and lifeless is great for a zombie but not for key characters.
Unrealistic Responses and Relationships
Stilted conversation, overly friendly characters and pouring in too many minority relationships has the reviewers in arms.
Throwing in the Kitchen Sink
In short form means cramming too much into too short a time frame within the passage of time. This can also mean over embellishing facts that don’t need more than a sentence or two.
A classic one liner that provides no help whatsoever. There is no counter to this.
Weak Endings that Setup for the Sequel
Unfortunately this seems to be a convention that many Hollywood films seem to be adopting so it is no surprise that this kind of strategy is appearing in novels. Weak endings are disappointing but when they are setup for sequels as well reviewers can be cynical. Tips here are to ensure that the book stands on its own feet before attending and setting up the next.
Not on the List
Complaints about suspect 5 star reviews are also an area that negative reviewers mention frequently. Amazon have a dim view on shillabers (shill for short) so it is best not to invest in dodgy methods of sales. Often there are those that are cynical about how certain novels managed to attract so many 5 star reviews. This following link is a great way to spot fake reviews on Amazon.
Starting to think about Books 2 & 3
I won’t lie in the fact that I am thinking about making this novel a series and I have devoted a small amount of time to exploring themes for books 2 and 3. Nothing is fixed so far because I want to garner some feedback from readers of the first book before committing too much.