Ah, Hope!

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

–Emily Dickinson

Long before publication, a dear friend read Flight of the Wren. She said, “They’re probably going to make you cut out all the poetry.” (Or words to that effect.)  I was ready for that.  For those that haven’t read it, one of the main characters is a total nut for W.B Yeats, and quotes him frequently. In truth, it’s only about a dozen lines scattered throughout the novel, but it seems like a lot compared to most YA novels which feature, on average, about zero lines of poetry. Continue reading “Ah, Hope!”

The Feckless Muse and a book called Spark

Spark on shelfThose who advise would-be writers often say, “write the book that wants to be written.” I can only guess what this is supposed to mean. Oh, I know it has something to do with writing what comes naturally. Let the story come to you. Don’t force it to be something it isn’t.

I’ve never had any luck with that approach. I’ve tried letting stories come to me. Mostly I ended up standing alone, watching stories as they frolic away into the distance.

In truth, I don’t think books want to be written. I don’t think stories want to be told. In fact, they can be downright obnoxious about it. They fight you, grudging every page. Oh sure, sometimes they’ll lead you on, let you get up a good head of steam. But then they throw on the brakes, and you spend the rest of the day trying to figure out whether a particular adjective makes your subordinate clause look fat.

When you first start a story, it’s not that bad. You’re confused maybe, feeling your way in the darkness. But the new story lets you in. It even allows you to blaze a modest trail, hang up a few lanterns, establish a base camp. Continue reading “The Feckless Muse and a book called Spark”

Psst…Hey. Give you a dollar if you read my book.

Okay, no, not really. I won’t do that. Because that would be smarmy and pathetic and also a truly unsustainable business model. But will I spend a dollar to send a potential reviewer a copy of my book in the hope that she might review it?

Oh yeah. Have done, will do. And I’ve gotten some nice reviews out of that tedious process. Sometimes, on quiet days, I take them out and admire them for a while before putting them back into their box. I can’t expect you to get as excited about them as I do but to me, they are treasured mementos.

BUT they don’t, in and of themselves, sell books. They really don’t. Even the ones on actual book blogs with actual readerships, the so-called high profile reviews (or what passes for high profile in my low profile neighborhood), they do not drive sales. Maybe, somewhere down the line, the accumulation of reviews will boost my books above the Amazon waterline, make them visible. Maybe.

Spend some time reading up on the subject of what makes people buy books. I’ll wait.

Back again? Okay. Here is probably what you found. The things that make people buy books are, in order of importance: Continue reading “Psst…Hey. Give you a dollar if you read my book.”