If you write for a living then you might want to think about repurposing some of your articles and putting them into book form for Kindle. Amazon Kindle allows you to publish your book for free and sell it online using their platform. People who write fiction and non-fiction publish their work on Kindle, but is it worth the time and the trouble? The quick answer (at least from my point of view) is yes. You may sell a few copies and make coffee money or you may be one of the lucky ones who hit Kindle at the right time with the right book or books and you’re making a decent living thank you very much.

 

Where the Truth Lies

It is true that some people never sell anything on Kindle, others sell a few copies a month and still others make some real money. Whether it’s worth publishing on Kindle will depend on what you are expecting:

  • Instant fame -forget it
  • Making a fortune – only in a very few cases
  • Making a living – depends on how much you want to earn and also how many books you publish
  • People with 10 books or more tend to make a regular income, even if it’s not enough for them to give up the day job

So What Can You Do?

If you want to achieve any kind of success on Kindle, you need to produce the best book that you possibly can. Get a decent cover if you can afford it and make sure that your book is edited well. Everyone misses something. I got a 1 star review from a very disappointed reader because I’d taken my book down to make some changes, and then uploaded the wrong draft, which had two glaring mistakes on the first page. All you can do under these circumstances is to apologise in the comments, take the book down and make sure you upload the right file.

It is estimated that around 80% of us claim that they have a book inside of them, and I’m talking full length novels here, but only around two percent of that number actually complete the task. Writing a novel and putting it up on Kindle is an achievement, whether it sells or not. I’m one of those people who just about makes coffee money for the month, but I know that when I get more books up there that is more likely to improve.

 

Bottom Line

The bottom line really is to ask yourself why you write. Most writers would write even if nobody read their work, let alone paid money for it. So you have to ask yourself how much does your writing really mean to you? If you keep on writing and publishing, who knows, you might one day hit that pot of gold at the end of Kindle. If not, at least you have left a trace of your presence for other to see, not something that everyone can say.

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If, like me, you’ve decided that writing the one novel is not sufficient time to really get to know your main character, and to put them through more trials than the most hardened criminal, then your only recourse is to turn that novel into book one of a series. One of the problems that I have found is that you really need to know what motivates your character, probably even more than you suspect what your own motivations might be.

I’ve been reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and his way of dealing with characterisation is to drill down deep. You really need to know your character and their life history, but at the same time you need to avoid info dumps of back story. Some of a character’s back story is, no doubt, essential to your story but as Brooks says, it’s better to drip feed the reader some of that information rather than interrupt the narrative flow.

 

Thinking Like Your Character

You need to know a series character well enough to think as they might think in every situation. In my opinion, writers are to some extent slightly schizophrenic when they’re in the middle of writing a story, particularly a story with a central, series character. Unlike my character in the Lambeth Croak Series, I don’t always see the future problems I might encounter, Bev on the other hand, is always pessimistic when she’s told that a job is a walk over and simply requires a paper chase. What I don’t get is why my series character has more common sense than her creator – and there is the problem. I’ve found that since I started the second novel I have two voices in my head a lot of the time, my own, slightly scatty one, and Bev’s more temperate one. Jazen Terrell argues that ‘series characters should be likeable’ not sure that is the case with mine, or with Sherlock Holmes. Sometimes I think readers take to a character because they are quirky and prickly rather than wholesomely likeable – although I agree with a lot of what Jazen has to say about series characters.

 

Revealing Character Over Time

A mystery or crime series has to show deeper levels of character as the series progresses. The character arc has to stretch over a number of books and more of the character is revealed with each successive case or story. Keeping a series bible is a great idea as it’s all too easy to forget some significant details in future books. I tend to write a lot of character and plot notes in a notebook, not a series bible as such, but somewhere to go when I forget something. How do you deal with series characters?

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when the writing stops

How on earth do you get going when the writing stops. We all talk about writer’s block from time to time but what about when the writing quite literally comes to a stop. Like this writer, I sometimes write poetry as a way out of the block but for once, even this strategy has failed me.  I wrote the first blog post in weeks some days ago and it really was a bad post you should find it beneath this one. I could cite all kinds of things, like most people I have my share of trouble and this year has a been a bit spectacular in that area so far, but I have never come to an almost complete halt before.

Write Every Day

I, like every other writer have no doubt heard that writer’s block doesn’t exist, you just have to turn up at the machine every day and open a vein or something similar. I have written on a daily basis since I was studying for my doctorate,it was the only way I could keep on top of things. As a freelancer I know that if I don’t write I don’t get paid and I lose clients – even that didn’t break the back of whatever was stopping me writing. For a person who has no trouble writing 1500 useable words an hour, I could barely manage a quarter of that.

I’d been having trouble with my second Lambeth Croak book for a couple of months, I’d almost finished and then I couldn’t seem to write any more, everything I wrote was deadwood. Yes I’ve had a lot of other things to contend with, like most other people out there so I don’t intend to bring that on as an excuse. The fact is that I have been virtually unable to write anything worth reading for a while, apart from a short story and one bad poem. I’ve tried free writing, something I’ve used for years and come up with nothing but rubbish. But I think that the light switched on again today when I came across a post about tools for writers.

750 Words

750 words is a free tool for writers and is based on the Writer’s Way notion of morning pages, something I used to do and have tried to keep up with but never really understood, until today, that free writing for 750 words or three pages allows you to get underneath to what Natalie Goldberg calls the Wild Mind, that part of the mind where pure creativity breaks through. So, I think I have found the answer to my problem that you have to go for 750 words at least to get anywhere. I have to say that the first five hundred of those words were like pulling teeth and then the flow started again. If you are interested in using this tool, you can find it, and several others here How do you cope when the writing stops?

 

 

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