Blending it all together – there’s one important ingredient…

I wish I could say I took this pic, but I didn’t. However, it does look eerily similar to the road we live on, so I’ll go with that. I’ve never experienced Fall like this, and seeing the leaves turning colors makes me think Mother Nature has a flair for art as she blends all the colors together in such a way that it takes my breath away.

I’m sure if the Cosmic Muffin handed Mother Nature an edict that said, “Thou shalt make bitchen colors on the leaves during Autumn,” I’m sure she would have handed in her wand and stuck to determining whether she was eating butter or margarine. But I think the old broad does pretty well with the leaves. They all just fit together.

I read a partial manuscript the other day that has those same ingredients. In fact, I really wanted to reject the work because I’m concerned about the topic being too impacted. But I couldn’t help myself. In spite of the fact that it’s a category that’s been written about to ad nauseum, this writer sucked me in. She blended in pace, flow, character development into a lovely pallet of gorgeosity. And let’s not forget VOICE…which is a big ticket item for me. Just like those trees that explode red in Fall and make you pull off the road just to soak it in, this author has a distinct color all her own that screams genius.

The problem with saying a story blends together is that it sounds simplistic. I can’t put my finger on any one detail that says I must have this book. In fact, t I probably shouldn’t have this book because I’m not sure it has the legs to swim to the top of a very big heap. There should be a section in the bookstores and libraries titled, “Yeah, it makes no sense to read this book, but do it anyway because it’s all that and more.”

So much of writing is by feel. You can take lessons on how to create a tantalizing plot, keeping tension in all the right places, making sure your characters are delicious, but none of it means you’ll actually accomplish your goal. Why? Because taste is subjective. Just because I love something doesn’t mean anyone else will. That’s why I have a team who can bring me down to earth when I go all gooshy over something. They are my wet boogers who say, “Yah, Pricey, you love the book. How you gonna sell it?”

And that’s what it comes down to. Will it sell in Peoria? as the saying goes. Something can be wonderful, but if I can’t put my finger on the exact elements that will turn readers’ heads, then it’s a no-go. Even if you self pub it, you’re still facing the same hill of selling your book – probably more because you’ll be a team of one versus a team of hundreds.

So when you’re blending all your lovely bits together, be sure you understand your book’s marketability. It’s the last ingredient that’s the difference between “SOLD!” and “I really want this, but I can’t take it.”

 

2 Responses to Blending it all together – there’s one important ingredient…

  1. Frank Mazur says:

    The magic of success is rarely out of the single circle of the artist. Where a publisher is involved, the second circle is approached and some publishers may see success at the same time they question their judgment for the risk they would take. For the self-pubbed, there is no risk, only hope—hope that some kind of shit beyond everyone’s understanding will make a run with their work.

  2. Hi Frank – long time no see. I like the sentiment of success being rarely out of the author’s control, but I’ve seen countless authors who self pub and find that the journey is hard, expensive, and lonely. I’m a huge fan of self-pubbing as long as the author knows exactly what they’re in for and understand how books are sold. Most don’t, and that’s the problem. Their dreams are never fulfilled.

    Now, does that mean a trade press is the end all, be all? No. We’ve all seen books that never reach their full potential due to publisher apathy or inability. That’s why it’s so important to do the research, so you’re aware of what you’re getting into.

    You mention no risk for the self-pubbed author, and I think it’s important to quantify the definition of risk. If you blindly toss your self-pubbed book out there and find low sales and lots of hard work, then chances are strong that no trade press will touch it. Seen this a thousand times, too. So the author spent huge amounts of blood, sweat, and tears writing their book only to lose it.

    I would consider that the biggest risk of all.

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