Posts Tagged With: Robert Bidinotto

More Choices for Authors

Yesterday I started a series of posts on marketing. I want to expand on two items that you will find discussed in most marketing guides like those I reviewed: Writing more and KDP Select exclusivity. Continue reading

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When Violence Fails Writers

A couple months ago, the New York Post wrote concerning television shows — ones otherwise known for their writing — pushing violence to new levels, raising the ire of even dedicated fans. The article notes that these shows seem to be in an “arms race” to see who can outdo each other.

I don’t think the Post is being prudish here, and I get that everyone has their tolerance levels, but at some point gratuitousness becomes a crutch that replaces good storytelling. I suppose everyone’s answer to, “How far is too far?” is a bit different, but those answers are no doubt reflective our own beliefs. The article also ponders how much television is reflective a cultural norms — or is it not reflective of any majority? That’s a whole other discussion, but right now my focus is on the writing, as this applies to books as well. Novelist Robert Bidinotto wrote on how he addressed this issue:

My stories deal with rough, tough people doing a lot of vicious and violent things. However, fiction always has dealt with unpleasant subject matter, yet the finest narrative artists have never found it necessary to descend into gore-fests, or to detailed descriptions of degeneracy and perversion, in order to write tales about evil that are compelling. (Think of Fyodor Dostoyevsky [Crime and Punishment], for example.)

Art is all about selectivity in presenting reality. Artists do not have to show everything, let alone dwell on it, in order to focus on the most important things.

This dovetails in my previous discussions on details in books: Finding balance between too much or too little.

The craft — the art — of writing demands learning to balance details and to avoid crutches. Also, violence and the unpleasant aren’t to be avoided, but there are thoughtful ways to present it. Regardless of where you choose to draw the line in your books, choose craft over laziness.

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Writing Dangerously

Around the web today, Morgan L. Busse writes about “writing dangerously,” knowing that this means she is “not going to make everyone happy.” Mike Duran tells writers that it is good to know when to ignore writing advice and stay true to your story. And finally, Robert Bidinotto discusses the challenges of writing gripping fiction.

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Done Writing? Now Sell it.

Bestselling thriller author Robert Bidinotto has posted a video of his presentation, Ten Most Important Ways to Market Your Ebooks. Watch as Robert explains writing your story, to who and how you should be marketing your book and much more.

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Publishing Numbers “Wildly Wrong”

Didn’t have a chance to post this weekend, so I’ll send you over to Robert Bidinotto’s article, “New Data Demolish Key Claims by Big Publishers.” Therein he discusses the data released by author Hugh Howey which reveals some interesting insights on the state of publishing.

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Can Your Book Entertain and be Thoughtful?

Robert Bidinotto recently wrote:

…one cardinal rule, taught by many fiction instructors, is: Avoid expressing your personal views about politics, religion, and other controversial issues in your fiction. Your job as a novelist, they say, is solely to entertain—not to “preach.” If you get up on your soap box, you’ll only alienate many potential fans. To attract a broad readership, you should suppress the desire to push divisive “agendas.”

True art, which writing is, doesn’t shy away from controversy. How it is presented, however, is what sets apart good writers from the not so good. The not so good come off as preachy, overbearing or use drive-by attacks. You know the scenes, Robert does too:

In static scenes on porches, in drawing rooms, and around dinner tables, characters don’t converse; they deliver speeches and soliloquies. Too often, these wooden, one-dimensional “characters” are little more than premises with feet.

It doesn’t have to be way. The trick is to incorporate issues and ideas organically into the story:

I rejected the belief that there’s an inherent contradiction between entertaining fiction and thought-provoking fiction…I think many opinionated writers fail to entertain because they engage in extraneous pontificating, rather than make their ideas integral to the stories themselves. The trick is to weave a provocative theme or premise into the very fabric of your story, making it the thread that connects your characters to each other and to the events of the plot.

So when writing your stories, look for the characters who start speaking like a professor or some sort of activist. Sure, you have stuff rattling in your head you want to tell people. Everyone does. We all have strong beliefs. No one is going to listen if we lecture them. However, if you explore it thoughtfully, making it integral to your story, then even those who disagree with you will not be turned away. Most of them anyway.

You can’t make everyone happy, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your integrity either.

Categories: Books, Fiction, Writing | Tags: | 1 Comment

What Would You do for a Review?

The on-line world has changed publishing: E-books, access to millions of books, independent publishing. It has also brought with it “fake reviews, purchased reviews, review-swapping schemes, attack reviews.”

Robert Bidinotto discusses this in his most recent post. He lays out his policies for reviewing books, posting reviews and asking for reviews. A very good set of points that all authors should adopt.

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Bad Deeds

Tired of the System run by the corrupt that protects the corruption? You could call Batman. Or you could find Dylan Hunter.

In Robert Bidinotto‘s Hunter, we were introduced to investigative reporter Dylan Hunter who has, let’s just say, a bit of a past. Nor does he like when the criminal element gets away with murder.

In Bad Deeds, we find Hunter and his woman friend Annie on a much needed holiday in the towering forests of northern Pennsylvania. It’s not long before they find themselves in a middle of a war as ecoterrorists attempt to take down the evil corporate gas drillers. Soon, the trail leads to the cesspool of corruption known as Washington, DC, where the Hunter finds himself up against those who will do anything to cling on to power. They believe themselves untouchable. Hunter may have a thing or two to say about that.

Is this second installment, Bidinotto has built on the first and taken the story to a new level, as any sequel should. Readers find themselves in a “ripped from the headlines” tale that is all too plausible. Political games and money trails are all too the norm in our world. As are cover-ups and the near immunity of politicians from the rules the rest of us play by. This all unfolds in a page-turning fashion that exceeds Hunter’s last adventure. Of course, in the tradition of all memorable thrillers, Hunter finds himself in some over-the-top situations. At the same time, there is much to provoke thought in the thinking reader. When will more people become fed up with the status quo? Maybe not necessarily in the way Hunter goes about justice.

Then again, when are we going to stop letting the corrupt define justice?


Categories: Books, Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Promoting Your Book, Off-line

Writers dream of big newspaper ads, displays in bookstores and maybe a radio spot or two. Truth is, most books are not marketed like a movie release campaign. Authors also quickly realize that they hold much of the responsibility for getting their book noticed. Often this requires willingness to do some old-fashioned networking.

Ren Garcia, the mind behind the League of Elder series, writes that nothing is off the table:

“A key component of spreading the plague that is my brand is showing my smiling face: craft shows, bake shows, car shows, any place I can set up a table is fair game.” And then there is the convention scene where it is easy to be overlooked, but as Ren writes, “For me, the greatest value of attending a convention is the contacts and genuine friendships I make. I walk around and talk to the authors and show genuine interest in their work. I listen to them.”

Robert Bidinotto, author of the Dylan Hunter novels, details that something as apparently mundane (in our electronic world anyway) as business cards can effectively spread the word about your book. He explains:

“…by far the best way to use them is person-to-person. Every time you meet someone new, they want to know what you do. ‘I’m an author,’ you say, and hand them your card. If you have a spiffy-looking book cover, your card will impress them and very likely generate questions.” In other words, be proud that you are writer and let people know. He adds: “But you don’t have to wait around to encounter strangers. You are constantly running into strangers: store clerks, waiters and waitresses, barbers and hair stylists, people sitting next to you in coffee shops, the clerk at the post office window. You can initiate a conversation, quite naturally…” Read the rest of his post for an amusing little lesson in bringing your book up to complete strangers.

So instead of waiting for the big movie trailer for your book, explore every and any opportunity to make your epic story known.

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Indie Publishing vs. Vanity Publishers

There is a difference. As Robert Bindinotto explains, vanity presses are:

…companies that make their money, not by selling an author’s books to paying customers (readers), but by selling expensive publishing services to authors themselves. They couldn’t care less how many books are sold; they care only how many authors they can enlist to buy over-priced “packages” of services.

It used to be that these companies (“… including AuthorHouse, Trafford, iUniverse, Xlibris, Palibrio, BookTango, WordClay, FuseFrame, PitchFest, Author Learning Center, and AuthorHive” among many others) were on the forefront of internet-based self-publishing. That all changed when e-books meant anyone could finally get their books in front of anyone else. As Robert writes:

“You do not have to buy ‘self-publishing packages’ costing $2,500 to $10,000 or even more, from companies that promise you the moon in promotion, marketing, and advertising . . . but never deliver. To cite my own example: I self-published HUNTERall for under $1,000.

So there are changes all through publishing, even in the sector that changed it all. What path have you taken or will take with your book? What have you experienced and what will you do different next time?

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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