Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Burn Your Book

I'm not surprised that my more personal blogs get less views. (A lot less.) Other people might take it personally; I don't. When I blog about personal things, I do it for myself, because I want to get it out.

I'm a writer, and I write because it's my personal escape. I write because I love it. But let's face it, I'm not the best writer in the world. My stories won't end wars or start rebellions. I share what I write because I want people to escape with me. Maybe somewhere along the road, I can show them courage or integrity through my characters.

If I want to do that, I have to have readers to read them. And that gets me back to my first point. When I blog about personal stuff, I get less readers. I get less shares.

This is where you choose to continue reading or not. If you feel that you should write exactly what you feel and forget the business aspect of it, thanks for stopping by, but stop reading... because this will only infuriate you.

But, if you believe there is a business, i.e. a selling point to writing please continue...

We pick out our book covers and our style very carefully. We think about what title will catch the readers eye. We think about marketing, venues, themes, etc... But I don't think we stop to think about what makes our story itself sellable. Yes, I said it. Sellable.

There is a genre for almost every type of book, and if there's not, nowadays, we can just make one up. But for those of us who actually want to make a good living writing, we need to write books that can either cross genres or will captivate a large audience in a specific genre.

For those of you who blog, look at your numbers, are the more personal blogs the most popular? Or are the ones that talk about writing or "drama" more popular? Take my article Self Pub Suicide for example. What a stir that caused! Why? Because, for one, I had spelling and grammar errors that people wanted to roast me for (yes, it's true, I'm human). The second reason it was popular was because it's a hot topic, and I was on a rant. People came from all over to either stand behind me or stand against me. Truth is, I didn't even realize that I'd drawn a line in the sand.

That's my point. I drew a line in the sand. I stood up and yelled. People want to see the heart, the fire. When I write my "self realization" blogs, they seem sad. Sad is not fire. There are a number of things that are not fire.... lust, depression, violence. Those are more like matches. They burn for a moment, and then are gone into oblivion the next.

I say all this to point out that most of you have the evidence of what it takes to get people's attention. It's in your blog post numbers. Is what you're writing making people remember what it feels like to be on fire? Is what you're writing going to stir something in them? (Ex: Harry Potter's courage.) Or is it going to burn so violently that what you wrote will scar them? (Ex: American Psycho.)

Write fire into your book. Fire burns, blazes, and catches anything that's around it. Write the stuff that matters to you... and the rest of the world. Find a way to really put that in there. Then write it so that people see it... and I mean really see it. Then, you will have numbers that also burn and grow like fire.


  1. I would like to 'burn my blog'. Laughter creates heat, yes?

  2. As always, your points are so well articulated. A very thought provoking read, but your writing always is!

  3. @Luna Laughter is contagious. :)

    @Nerd2yaMother Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it. I aim to please... well, at least half of the time. ;)

  4. Thought provoking post! I love the Sing Music of Your Soul image.

  5. Hi Ash,

    I can't believe I missed your blog on self pub suicide.
    Just read it now, I was in Jamaica when you published it and didn't get round to catching up. Quite a stir you caused then. It's strange as I have been having the debate on this subject with my brother recently who wants to make it into the music business. He thinks I should go down the road of traditional publishing I am still undecided but I feel until I need to make the decision I don't need to.

    I get what you are saying in your blog above, now coming to editing my first draft I want to make sure people want to read it and feel the characters as if they were alive.
    I also get the blog post issue, being relatively new blogger it is difficult to know exactly what to blog about and get people interested. I also check the numbers when things are posted and what gets more numbers and what doesn't. When they don't get many readers I try not to be discouraged. I think in the beginning I was but now I am happy if even 5 people read it. Even if one or two comments are made I am over the moon.
    My last post has got many views and has been shared and that was about writing.
    I agree personal ones don't really get all that much attention.

    I will continue to write the personal ones though as like you - I like to write.

    Well done on this post - I enjoyed it.


  6. Very good reminder. I hate confrontation, so I tend to play things safe in life, and then I find myself doing that in my writing as well. Much always remember to add the fire.