Zoe Sugg, also known as Zoella on YouTube, has announced that she will be writing her second book on her own. Why is this news to anyone? Well, it shouldn’t be. But last year there was a lot of backlash when it was revealed that she had the help of a ghostwriter in writing her first book. But anyone who knows anything about publishing knows that ghostwriters are always the ones writing celebrity books. And this girl was treated differently from everyone else.
So now she’s writing her new book herself. I’m not going to sit here and say that the book will be any worse or better because of this new revelation, but I think it’s a little ridiculous that she even has to do this. I’m starting to think that people who don’t write think that any and every celebrity is perfectly capable of writing a book, which is baffling to me.
BUT I’m sure that she’ll do just fine and her fans will be satisfied that she wrote it herself, while the rest of us don’t particularly care who writes what.
What do you think? Is this a good idea for her?
On this day in 2014 I published Is There a Proper Chapter Length?.
First things first, I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird. I know, I know. What have I been doing. But in my defense, I’ve never tried reading all the classics like a lot of other people. I just read what I read when I read it. Also, I just bought the book from Amazon. Ha. Because it is one of those books that I’ll read at some point. I doesn’t have to be next month or next year, but I’ll read it eventually.
But I do know just a little teeny tiny bit about the book. Every person who knows anything about books has heard of Scout and Atticus Finch. But honestly, besides knowing that there’s a legal aspect to the book, I know nothing. So don’t go ruining it for me! Seriously. That’s how you get blocked on WordPress.
So now to the present. Turns out that Harper Lee wrote another book way back in the 50s. Set in the same town as To Kill a Mockingbird and around some of the same characters. Most notably, Scout. This new book is called Go Set a Watchman. Based on what I’ve read from numerous articles, the story follows an older Scout as she returns home to visit her father. That’s about all that I can find at this point. But really, does it matter what the book is about? The book could be about dinosaurs taking over America and ruling the world and people would want to read it. Why? Harper Lee.
The book is set to be released on July 14 of this year. The first printing alone will be two million books. Will you be getting your hands on the new book? I might, if two things happen. First, if I get around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird prior to the release date. And second, if they decide to release it on Kindle. Since we all know how long it took for her first book to make it to eBook format. And because I don’t buy hardcovers.
I’m off to start her first book! Kidding. It’s not here yet. There are dozens of articles noting the new book’s release, but here’s one from The New York Times.
You need to know two things before reading on to have any idea what I’m talking about. First, Zoella is a very popular YouTuber. Second, her novel Girl Online had the best opening sales week ever for a debut novel in the UK. It was just released at the end of November.
Okay. If you don’t know what the fuss is about, well that’s what I’m here for. I’ve read blog post after blog post and article after article criticizing Zoella for her book. Why are all these people criticizing her? Because she used a ghostwriter. See, I have a theory. The criticism she’s getting really has nothing to do with that fact, though she had to release a statement on Twitter admitting that she had help. No. I think UK readers have issue with the fact that her book has outdone JK Rowling in some way. Because this young online star is somehow unworthy of selling a lot of books. What bullshit.
Just about every article I’ve read mentions JK Rowling. “Zoella outsells even JK Rowling and Harry Potter” or “This 24-year-old has best debut sales week ever in UK; besting JK Rowling.”
I know some people have issue with the use of ghostwriters. That’s fine. But why is this girl somehow being treated differently than other “authors” who have used them in the past? Oh. Because she sold a lot of books. The funny thing is that readers really have no idea how many authors actually use ghostwriters. No idea at all. Because some publishers and authors are a lot more open about that fact than others.
Lastly, I have no issue with her great opening sales week. As a matter of fact, I think she should be congratulated. I mean, she has more than six million YouTube subscribers. Did you think that she would release a book that didn’t sell well? Come on. JK Rowling was a debut author. Zoella is a debut author with millions of fans and followers. I’m quite certain that the author of the Harry Potter series is perfectly fine with not having the record for most sales in the opening week for a debut novel. (If she ever had it in the first place.)
So everyone needs to calm down about all this. Zoella has built up a brand of herself over the last few years on the internet. And now she gets criticized for wanting to write a book. No. I’m not a fan of celebrities “writing” books, but this girl is getting way too much negativity thrown her way when she’s doing something that so many celebrities have already done before her. She’s not even the first YouTuber to release a book. Just stop.
You can check out Girl Online here.
You can check out Zoella’s YouTube channel here.
Okay guys, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that writing is just not my top priority right now. I’m in the midst of figuring out something that I believe is far more important. I have a WIP that currently sits at 30k words that I haven’t worked on in months. I honestly don’t even think about the story anymore. Fellow bloggers have told me to start something new or do this or that and I’ve said that I didn’t think abandoning my story would help. That was until very recently.
I’ve openly admitted that I know several writers who are all-around better writers than I am. I don’t see anything wrong with that. And I also said last week in this post that I could see myself working on a book with a number of writers I currently know. Well it looks like it might actually happen. I’ve never tried writing with anyone else, but this particular person is immensely talented and I imagine easy to work with. I don’t know what she’s doing wanting to work with me. Ha. The best part is I know some of you know her. She has a blog too. AND the person I’ll be co-writing with is…Jess from LikeStarFilledSkies! You should be following her blog. Right now.
So Jess and I are still thinking about all the things you think about when you begin a new story. The MC. The setting. Plot. And a million other things, but we likely have a name. You don’t get to know that yet. You have to wait for it to become a bestseller. Ha.
Anyway, finally something (someone) is getting me back into writing!
Photo Credit: Water for Sixth Grade
See! I promised you guys that I’d get back to some great book posts today. And this is one of those posts that I definitely ask for your input.
Let’s see, there are four parts of a book that can be seen without ever reading a page. The title. The author. The blurb on the back. The cover. I’m sure I’ll be hitting on those other topics at some point, actually I know I will be, but for now let’s just talk about the title. You’ve worked months upon months writing your masterpiece. You finish it! Celebratory glass of wine! Or bottle if that’s what you like. You likely spend a few months getting it out to beta readers and revising and rewriting and then……YOU’RE ALL DONE! Uhhh not quite.
You’ve spent all that time working on the actual story and not particularly worrying about a title, because how hard could it be to come up with the perfect title for the book that you know inside and out. Hard. You come up with a short list of potential titles and realize that they’re all pretty much the same thing. And they all suck. You ask some of your beta readers to offer up some suggestions and you realize that they’ve already spent hours giving you feedback and reading your book. They don’t care.
Now you’re stuck.
Then weeks later after you’ve already battled depression and forced yourself not to think of your book just sitting there in your desk drawer collecting dust, it comes to you. The perfect title! You rename your Word document and jump up in the air. Tears may even be streaming down your face as you run over to whomever it is you run to screaming that your book has a title.
For me, I actually had about half of my story thought out before I ever started writing. I came up with the title before I ever typed a single word. One of the things that I’ve asked some of my readers is whether they had any idea where the title actually came from. Some did, some didn’t.
So tell me how you managed to come up with the perfect title for your book. There have got to be some great stories to be told about this particular topic. So tell me!
Photo Credit: YA Highway
If you all haven’t noticed I love my posts to ask you questions about books or writing or publishing or something in between. It gives me a chance to interact with every one of you who chooses to offer your insight. And I do mean insight, because yes I’ve written a book that I love and am working on my second, but I’m always looking for advice on how I can become a better writer and I’ve already gotten so much from you guys just in the last month or so from your comments and feedback. So let’s talk about naming characters, shall we?
There are SO many aspects to a good book, right? The first line. The title. The people who made it happen behind the scenes. The storyline. The dialogue. AND the names of all the characters. I would never go so far as to say any part of writing a book is easy, but writing the actual book is probably the easiest of everything. Somewhere in there we have the difficult task of naming characters. It’s not the most difficult thing you’ll do, but you best believe that it won’t be the easiest.
Honestly, I kind of cheated when it came to naming characters in my first book. Cheated, you’re thinking. How?! Hold your horses. I named several characters and based them, in part, on real people I am lucky enough to know. If you’ve followed my blog since last year then you already know this. My reasoning was that these people are important to me, and their names are already perfect! I mean, I just let their parents do the hard part twenty something years ago. I couldn’t just let a perfect name go to waste. No. That would be bad writing. Here’s a list of some of the character names in my first and second books:
Now this list isn’t exhaustive and I won’t tell you which names I came up with and which ones I didn’t. That makes it more fun. But four of the names are the exact names of people I know. And one is just the first name. I dare you to figure out which ones are not real.
So you know my philosophy, stealing, now I want to know yours. How do you name your characters in your book? And tell me some names you’ve come up with and we can compare!
Photo Credit: Peecho
This is my third post about writer’s block in as many weeks. BUT this time around it’s a tale of victory rather than defeat.
That’s right! I told you guys in the last writer’s block post that my manuscript hadn’t been touched in weeks. Actually, I came to find out that it was more than a month. Which made me sad. Last Saturday night I actually got some writing done! The funny part is that the chapter ended up going in a direction that I hadn’t even thought of until I sat down to write. Maybe that’s all I needed to do?
Anyway, I wish I had something interesting to tell you all about why that day was different from so many before it. I don’t. Honestly, this is what happened. Saturdays are definitely my laziest day of the week. I typically get off work and go home and sleep for several hours because I’m so tired. I did that last week, but this time around I spent hours thinking about my beloved manuscript that was getting dusty from lack of use. I thought about it all day long. I watched the hours tick by and thought it would be another day of nothing. Then I simply opened my manuscript about 10:30 that night and sat there staring at it. Then I wrote.
You see, this experience was far more than not having any creative ideas for my story; I was fighting a fight within myself. All along I knew I needed to write, but I dreaded starting. I knew it would be difficult. I knew it might not be what I originally planned. I knew a lot of things except for what I wanted to write, until I did so.
So don’t sit there and think about why you DON’T want to write, think about why you do. Then do it.
Before reading this post, I highly suggest you read my post titled Self Publishing with CreateSpace: My Experience from a little while back. In that post I offered a timeline of every aspect of the self publishing process.
Now, onto the subject matter of this one. The paperback edition of my book was released on October 29 of this year and the Kindle version soon followed on November 7. Are there things that I could have done that I haven’t to help get the word out about my book? Yes. But have I sat at home doing absolutely no promotion whatsoever and expected readers to somehow discover, buy, and read my debut novel? No.
I’ve offered the Kindle version of my book free for a total of three days since its release. Those three days alone resulted in 6737 readers downloading my book. Which is great, but the same methods that I’ve used to promote my free days have not helped me sell more books at the always affordable $0.99 price that it currently sits at. I still have my blog tour coming next month, but my sales expectations for that are no longer what they once were. I have no idea if I’ll sell any books during my three week long tour, and that’s why I’ve come to the decision that I have.
I’ve decided that I will not self publish my second book under any circumstances. All of my fellow authors know this means there’s a chance I don’t find an agent and/or publisher for my book. I’m now prepared to face that challenge because I simply haven’t been able to gain any traction with my first self published book. It’s unfortunate.
I don’t even know that I feel like an author right now. I mean, so what if I managed to string together 21 chapters and bind them together and call them a book. What’s that gotten me after five months of writing and rewriting and then two more after the book’s release? Not much.
I mentioned a few posts ago that I would be going on a blog tour to help promote my first book. I also mentioned that I would have the details of said tour at some point. Well, I have them to share.
I’m using Sage’s Blog Tours for my tour and it will span the dates of January 6-27. You might be thinking that I have plenty of time to find tour hosts and stuff like that, but since my tour will have a heavy focus on reviews it really isn’t that much time at all.
Before I give you the link to possibly become a tour host, I’d first like to tell you guys what I’ll be needing (even though it’s clearly displayed if click the link.)
The tour will be 15-20 stops and I’m hoping for at least 3/4 of those to be reviews. Of course, I’m not the one working behind the scenes to make that happen, but that’s at least what I’m hoping for at this point. So should you have some desire to be a tour host then you’ll obviously be receiving a FREE copy of my book for review. So there’s that!
The remaining stops will likely be a combination of guest posts made by me or author interviews. Also, it helps if you currently write reviews, so if you’d like to be a host but you don’t review books then feel free to allow a guest post or schedule an interview. It goes without saying that your blog must be book related to participate.
If you’re interested all you have to do is click here! Check out my cool banner.
Every self published author sets out with some goal in mind as far as how many books he or she would like to sell in a given period of time. I’m no different. My first month has finally come and gone and I would now like to take the opportunity to give you all a little information about my first month goal and where my sales were relative to that goal.
Let’s first start with my first month goal. Again, every author sets his or her own goal, so this may be very different from the next author. I wanted to sell 75 books my first month. And I was well on my way to that number early in November, but I ultimately fell a bit short. My final number as of writing this is 74. This includes my selling books in person, paperbacks on Amazon, and the Kindle version. Normally this might be a little disappointing. But you’ll recall that I had a day a couple of weeks ago in which the Kindle version of my book was free. Well I won’t include this number in my ‘sales’ pile, but I certainly keep it in mind. When I add in that day along with books that were given away to those who helped make the book possible my number now reaches 287. Which is quite fantastic if you ask me. My book is in the hands of 287 readers. And several being in the UK, Germany, Canada, and Italy. That’s just cool.
So yes, I fell short of the first month goal I set for myself long before my book was released, but by no means was the first month a failure. And I’ll take a couple of books with me to work today to see if I can hopefully reach that 75. Wish me luck!
Also, I’ve started work on the next chapter and will have that to share with you guys either tomorrow or Monday.
Lastly, I had the opportunity to speak with someone working in law enforcement yesterday who loved my book! He was able to point out even the most minute details and could easily answer every question I had about his reading experience. I can honestly say that talking with him has been the best feeling I’ve experienced in my short time being a writer. Someone in law enforcement likes my detective story!
Don’t take his word for it, make up your own mind! Take a look at the Amazon product page.