Do y’all remember that I originally started this blog to document my progress as I wrote my first book? Or that I actually started writing my second shortly after finishing my first? Yeah…about that. You likely also know that I haven’t even glanced at my WIP in many months. But I think it’s time.
I’ve known for several months now that I’d revisit my story at the start of 2015. I don’t have a particular reason for waiting so long, but I had no reason to look back any sooner. See, I’m in no rush. I’m not over here thinking I’m writing the greatest novel that no one will ever know about. I’m just writing along and seeing where it takes me.
Let’s refresh just a bit. My current WIP is my second book around Andrew Banks. Someone who is mildly controversial. (I’m poking fun at some of my reviewers). He’s a Houston area PI and he has this girlfriend who goes by the name of Sydney. Ha. That’s all. But really, I’m something like 30k words in and I stopped just as Andrew goes on a trip out of the city following a lead.
But enough about that, what are you currently working on? Book one? Book two? Book 38?
Photo Credit: The Best News
I don’t know about you, but my characters tend to have a little bit of free time during the course of their stories. In my experience reading PI novels sometimes all one can do is wait and see what happens. And I’d have to say that that’s also the case in most stories. I mean, Harry Potter has plenty of free time in his stories, right? And if a boy wizard who has Voldemort after him can have free time, then so can your characters.
Now let’s see. In my first book I had my characters go for a run, watch sports on TV, watch the news on TV, lay out by the pool, read, and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember off the top of my head at two in the morning as I write this. To me, that sounds pretty normal. For them to be doing things that you’d expect any typical person to be doing at a given time. But your character probably also has hobbies. See, that’s the thing. I’m NOT only talking hobbies here, I’m talking what is actually described in the text. Sure it’s nice that your character likes long walks on the beach at sunset, but that’s not the discussion we’re having. I’m talking about actions.
So tell me, what do you have your characters do during their free time during their stories?
Oh, Andrew also enjoyed a nap and had a quick gym session in my book.
Photo Credit: Bigger Pockets
The title of this post was my attempt to differentiate myself from every other person who has already written about judging books by their covers. I don’t think my title is very catchy. But eh. That’s okay. Let’s get on topic.
No matter what you say or what anyone else says, we’ve all judged books by their covers. Every person who has ever walked into a bookstore without knowing what they’d walk out with has done this. Now I’m not saying that every book you or I purchase has been because of its cover, but I’m sure there are a few on your shelf that you bought simply because you thought it looked pretty. That’s okay. I’m sure I’ve done it. But there have probably been dozens more that you chose not to buy because you thought the cover was a turn off. I have to say that I’ve also done this. But why? Let me tell you what I think.
You walk into the store and move toward your favorite section. You immediately find a few of your favorite authors but soon realize that you have all of the books on the shelves. Then you start walking up and down the aisle. You find a handful of books that you’re considering taking home with you.Then you find a nice place on the floor or one of those big comfy chairs and read all of their blurbs and titles and check out the covers.You’ve never read any of the authors and you don’t want your buying decision to be made based solely on the book blurbs. There’s just not enough there. You don’t know if the books are in a series or anything about the writing styles of any of these authors. You’re going back and forth between every book trying to come up with valid reasons for each. But then, you glance at your watch or phone and realize that you have five minutes before you need to be back in your car to make that doctor’s or lunch appointment. It all comes down to the covers now. You lay them all out and make a pick, and probably take an additional one for good measure. The others are quickly replaced on the shelf and out the door you go.
At least this is what I’ve done whenever I’ve gone to the bookstore to find something new.
But browsing for me is not walking up and down the mystery aisles at the store. Browsing is now randomly searching for the next books in just about every series I’m reading. I don’t look at the covers or the blurbs or anything but the price. I’ll eventually have to buy them all if I intend to continue the series, but usually the cheapest will win. Makes no difference what the book is about because I already know I enjoy the series and the author and the stories I’ve read.
Whenever I do decide to find something new the process is much the same. I’m sure you know that Amazon has Top 100 bestseller lists for everything in books. I’ll usually go to the Mystery, Thriller, Suspense or Private Investigator lists and go to the end of the list. I don’t want to see the super high bestsellers that have just been released, but the books that are selling well even though they’ve likely been out for years. But that’s not very often I have to do this because I have so many series I’m always wanting to continue.
So the point of this post is to acknowledge that I’ve absolutely judged a number of books by their covers, but probably not as much as you have. Tell me how come you do it whenever you do.