I try not to blog too much about my book, but I feel as if I must now. Why, you ask?
Because, well, I’ve finally done it. Elithius, Book One: The Red Captain is officially ready to go!
You know that feeling when you finally finish editing your book? Yeahhhhhh…it’s a great feeling!
It took me a bit longer than I liked, but I officially completed the makeover of my series (previously called The Golden Lands). What was originally four very short books is now one normal sized book. I have a new, official cover. The prose has been edited, the plot polished. I’ve changed scenes to be more realistic, changed names to sound cooler, and added in some new themes that will play a MAJOR role in the upcoming books.
So The Golden Lands is no more. Elithius is finally being unleashed.
If you read The Golden Lands, I would highly encourage you to still download/pick up Elithius. A lot has changed, and so it’s important that you remain up-to-speed on everything that is occurring in the series.
I haven’t officially published Elithius yet, so hold your horses.
But guess what? I’m enrolling Elithius into Kindle’s Storytelling Competition. Ultimately, it sounds like a panel of judges will decide who the winner is, but the ratings and reviews you get from fans are extremely important! Be sure to show Elithius some love if you get the chance. I promise I will price Elithius as low as possible (even though I wrote a post about how you should SELL what you write).
Well, for the sake of gaining reviews and ratings for the competition, I’m going to forsake my own words. If I can make Elithius free or $0.99, I will.
Stay tuned for more updates and thank you for the support!!! I’m honestly so honored to be a part of the community that I’m in!
I’ll be sure to let you know when Elithius is officially published!
What do you think?
We rarely write about other people’s problems, or struggles, or battles. We write about our own. We express ourselves through our characters, through their lives and moods and emotions. Screaming, laughing, crying, longing, fighting–we do all of these with our characters. Not because they are people that we can share these feelings with, but because these characters ARE us. They are a part of our mind and soul. And the struggles, the questions, the desires our characters have…they are our own.
The sum of the characters and storyline, with all its messages, themes and metaphors, tells us a lot about the author who created these things. I think that, more than we realize, we are truly studying an author’s mind, his background, his soul (or hers).
How well do you know that author you claim to love? Have you ever tried to wonder what made them write the way they do? Have you ever sought to discover the secrets they tried to release to the world, or the part of their soul crying out to be heard?
I was at Candidates Day today. It’s basically when you get accepted to a college and they invite you to check out their programs and campus one last time before you decide to go there. Do you know what their theme was?
People are stories. Every person doesn’t just have and story: every person IS a story.
That’s why being an author is so beautiful…so human. Because we share this truth and give it to the world.
I am a story, and I am expressing my story, myself, through Elithius.
What’s your story? Where are you going? How will it end or change?
What do you think?
Let’s face it, there’s a lot we can blog about. We can blog about sports, cooking, TV shows, movies, books, politics, anime, and all the subgenres for each of these topics. In an online world where ALL of these categories exist, it’s nice when we’re able to distinguish an “otaku/anime blog” from a “baking and fashion blog”.
So if we really want to please readers, we have to actively indicate and continuously support the type of blog we claim to have.
It all comes down to a few important questions:
What is my target audience? Who am I trying to appeal to? What IS my blog about?
Choose Wisely and Decisively
I once thought that my target audience should’ve been anime-watchers. I liked anime, my book series that I’m trying to promote is “anime-esque”….so why not try to attract fellow anime lovers?
It was a good idea…for a little while. But then I had a problem: I didn’t watch enough anime to blog about it.
It’s true. As much as I love anime, I really don’t watch enough of it to have an anime-based blog. It was good that I was centralizing my blog and making it about one topic in particular…but I just hadn’t chosen the right one. I just wasn’t meant to blog about anime, even if my book series had an “anime feel”.
So I changed my style; I changed my target audience. I observed other bloggers and decided who I wanted to be like.
And that’s when I stumbled upon my true target audience: Bloggers like me who are trying to promote their books.
That’s who my target audience was/is. Because these kinds of people are people that I can relate to; I’m going through the same thing; and there’s plenty of people out there who will be interested in my blog now. It was a win-win-win!
Determine carefully not just what you think you SHOULD blog about, or who you SHOULD try to reach; just focus on who you CAN reach to the best of your ability. Believe me, you’ll reap the rewards!
What is My Blog About?
Of course, this is related to what we just talked about above. Perhaps the proper question is, “What am I trying to accomplish through my blog?”
We all have goals, and we’d like to see them reached. But sometimes the best step to reaching our goals is understanding what we want EXACTLY.
I’d love to have a thousand anime-lovers following my blog. But that wouldn’t accomplish the purpose of my blog. In order to fulfill the purpose of my blog, I need people who are interested in what I write, people who enjoy ME as a person, and people that I can follow and enjoy back. I need a community.
I need people who care about me and my book series.
And that’s the answer: the purpose of your blog should be to create and join a community of like-minded people with similar goals.
Stay focused on this goal, this purpose, and don’t waver. There are a lot of things to write about, but stay true to who you are and what you represent.
If I started blogging about politics, wouldn’t that confuse some of you? Obviously, I’m welcome to. This is my blog, and I can talk about whatever I want. But it wouldn’t be something that appeals to my particular community.
Thus, the goal is to remain on track. Keep pursuing your goals, and keep fulfilling your purpose.
Are you trying to attract scientists to your blog? Crime-Mystery lovers? Do you just want people who will listen to you, pray for you, or cry with you? People who will buy your book?
You need to answer these questions in order to be a successful blogger.
Last But Not Least…
If you’ve identified your target audience, great! But the last thing I would advise you to do is not hammer people with stuff that’s all about YOU. Building a community is about OTHER people, not just yourself. Don’t just yap to everyone about your book, or your personal views on this, that, or the other. Write content that is useful and interesting to other people (while still relevant to your blog), and you’ll be amazed at how much people appreciate it.
To build a community you have to be a part of it. Plain and simple.
What do you think? Who is your target audience?
“Hey Dom, can I have some advice?”
“What can I do to gain an audience for my book?”
“You can blog?”
“And after that?”
“Blog some more?”
One month later
“Hey Dom, I’ve got 10 followers! What should I do now?”
“Great job! Keep blogging!”
Three months later
“Dom, nobody liked my last post! I haven’t received any comments at all this week! What should I do?”
“Just keep blogging.”
Six months later
“Dom! I did it! I hit 150 followers! Now what?”
“Blog some more.”
Another six months later
“I don’t get it, Dom. I have 200 followers, but I hardly get any traffic. I just don’t get it. Any ideas?”
One year later
“BAM! I did it Dom! 2000+ followers! Can’t believe I made it this far! Your advice was so helpful. Could you just summarize what you’ve taught me?”
I don’t know how many people actually read let alone NOTICE chapter names. When I was younger, I thought J.R.R. Tolkien’s style of writing was the archetype for all fantasy writers (some would say it is), and this extended to his chapter names. I was infatuated with the clever, descriptive, and even “noble” sound of his chapter names.
All of that being said, it’s interesting to note that chapter names are far less common nowadays. Now, I’m no “writer-statistics-specialist”, so you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see people giving their chapters names anymore. I think this can be for a number of reasons (see the “Cons” part of this article). But I believe one important reason is that readers don’t like long chapters anymore (or maybe they never did, and writers finally started making chapters shorter), and so now the average novel has twice as many chapters as a novel would’ve had fifty years ago.
Why does the number of chapters in a book influence whether or not they get names? Well, who wants to waste all that time thinking up names for 25+ chapters? Honestly, naming chapters that are between 6-9 pages long is annoying.
I’ve already started listing some cons, so let’s take a look at some pros.
Pros of Naming Your Chapters
What usually grabs your attention when you pick up a random book at a bookstore? The colors of the cover, obviously the image of the cover…and maybe the name?! Names are great because they have the power to incite certain feelings within the reader. Obviously, the titles of books are able to do this, whether they elicit feelings of curiosity or excitement, but chapter-names have the ability to do this too.
Think about it. Oftentimes, when we begin a new chapter, we are either continuing to write about an event that happened in the previous chapter, or we are opening up a new scene/new setting. Chapter names are able to help us accomplish this; they give the reader an understanding of what’s going on, meaning that we don’t have to waste time explaining it to them.
Suppose you were reading a fantasy novel, and the story was changing from one setting to another. Which arouses that fantasy-magical sort of feel?
Chapter 6: The City in the Treetops
The second title makes you think of what? Really huge trees, so big that they contain buildings? Lots of crazy architecture? Perhaps Elves, or other woodland creatures?
Seriously, names can make images and ideas EXPLODE into your mind.
Chapter-names are also great for setting “the feel” of the entire chapter. Consider these two titles.
Chapter 25: The Final Battle
That first title doesn’t give any description concerning what’s about to happen. That’s fine, if that’s what you want as the author.
But which title do you think makes the reader excited? Which one sets the tone? Which one makes the reader go: Oh my GOSH, this is it!!!
Names have power. They are great for setting the tone and inciting feelings in the reader, feelings that you want them to have.
*Point goes to chapter-names*
The only other (main) reason I think chapter-names are good is because they give your book a sense of orderliness. It’s convenient for readers to know in which chapter they last left off, and it helps them to remember in which chapter so-and-so dies/gets married/eats brussel sprouts/etc.
Cons of Naming Your Chapters
We’ve already determined that people like short chapters nowadays, so it might seem silly to name all 35 of your chapters, when they are each only 8-12 pages long. Sometimes there isn’t enough action in each chapter to merit a name. You don’t want to have chapters that are 3 pages long, and you get stuck naming them things like “No Honor, No Glory, Only Blisters in Unfortunate Places” (ahem, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini).
Also, naming your chapters also runs the risk of being too descriptive. Ever read The Children Of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien? (probably not, because you’re not a nerd like me!)
Well, this book by far has some of the WORST chapter names. Three chapters were named: “The Death of (insert name of important character)”.
Great. Well, we know that (insert name) dies.
If you don’t trust in your ability to name chapters well, don’t name them at all. It’s better than being stuck with a name you don’t like, or a name that gives information away.
Another reason not to name chapters is a matter of taste. If you think chapter names sound too “old”, then don’t have them. If you want your story to be wrapped in mystery, or you have a story full of surprises, maybe chapter-names aren’t for you.
Remember how we decided chapter names give your story order? Well, sometimes they can give your story too much order. Chapters that are long (and long enough to merit a name) can end up becoming a story within a story; each chapter forms its own little short story within the book.
If you strongly dislike this idea, and you prefer your chapters to run together, then maybe you shouldn’t have chapter names. If you have a story where chapters are really only present to give your reader a break, then why waste time naming those chapters?
Elithius (my story) doesn’t have chapters with names, as of now. I simply have too many chapters to name them all. Also, there are plenty of surprises and plot-twists in my book, so I prefer to keep the element of surprise. My story is fast-paced and really runs together; there isn’t time for each chapter to have “a story of its own”. And there’s nothing wrong with that; that’s just how I want to “play my hand”.
When it comes to chapter names, how do you play your hand?
I hope this provided some helpful insight into whether you should name your chapters. As always, I love to hear what you think.
What do you think? Thoughts?
So I’ve been most graciously nominated for the Blue Sky Tag by Jaylee Morgan, over at https://jayleemorgan.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/blue-sky-tag/
Be sure to check out her blog, she’s quite an accomplished writer for only being in her teens! (I mean I’m only a teenager too, but whatever.)
I really like the idea of the Blue Sky Tag, since it’s basically a chance for authors and bloggers to interview each other.
So here’s how the Blue Sky Tag works:
Thank the person who tagged you.
Answer his/her 11 questions.
Tag 11 people to participate in the Blue Sky Tag.
Give those 11 nominees 11 questions to answer.
(That’s a lot of 11’s!)
The Questions and Answers!
What’s your favorite writing style?
That’s a tough question. I used to prefer writing in a thicker, more old-fashioned and wordier style. I tried to use big words and describe everything in a grandfather-ish tone. Did I like that style? Sure. It really enabled me to be creative and delve into whatever parts of my story that you I to delve into.
But that’s not the way I write now. My style is more short and quick, with a lot of repetition. And it’s very fast paced. There’s a lot of emotion. I’ve decided that I like this style better; it’s expressive, without feeling as if it’s dragging on. (This paragraph is a good example of my writing style!)
Who’s your favorite author?
Another tough question! I would say Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon (AKA the Inheritance Cycle) because I’ve reread his books SO many times. I grew up with those books. That being said, I know he’s not the BEST author. I prefer Brandon Sanderson’s story-telling to Paolini’s. But I would still have to say that Paolini is my favorite author.
What’s your favorite time of the day to write?
As weird as this sounds, I’m really particular about lighting and ambiance when it comes to when I choose to write. I prefer to write in the late afternoon/sunset, because the lighting is just SO perfect. Sunset is able to encompass every emotion I need for writing: peacefulness (for the happy moments in my story), intensity (because it’s getting dark outside), determination/heroism (because the sky looks awesome!). I’m still able to write during other times of the day, but late afternoon/sunset definitely puts me in my prime!
Where do you like to write the most?
Well, wherever the lighting and ambiance is best! Either in my room at my desk, or in the living room of our house. Both spots provide for excellent ambiance, as well as a decent amount of privacy.
Are you a planner or a pantzier?
I like to plan things out! Especially in regards to how I plot my stories. I’m still flexible, because you have to be when it comes to editing your book. I would say I’m a planner *rubs hands together greedily*(muhwahahaha!!)
What are your go-to snack foods for a writing streak?
This is going to sound boring and old-personish, but I don’t believe in writing on a well-fed stomach. It makes you feel too…cozy. When write for a long time, I usually like to remain focused, and food distracts me, because I’m a teenaged guy 😉
If I snack on anything though, it would be cheez-ITs!
What’s your favorite style of music for writing?
Hmm…do I have a favorite? Not sure. I usually just listen to whatever I’m in the mood for, or whatever puts my mind in the right spot. I’d say, for the most part, I listen to epic instrumental music (like trailer music), or soundtracks (like Lord of the Rings, Bleach [the anime], etc.).
Outlines: yea or nay?
Nay! I would consider myself a planner, but outlines takes things a little too far. If anything, I might keep mental outlines. But real, hardcore outlines? NAH!
Do you ever kill characters?
Sure. Lots of characters. It entertains my psychopathic mind.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Finding time. Or convincing myself that I actually DO have time. I’ll admit it, sometimes I get lazy. I need to get better at motivating myself.
Why do I write?
Lots of reasons! Because I love it. Because I’ve got an awesome story to tell (and proud enough to say it!). Because it’s how I grow as a person, connect with others, with humanity, and make a difference in the world. And because I’m able to praise God through my writing, and maybe bring others to Him through it.
Those were great questions! I know this might sound lame, but I can’t think of better questions to ask other writers, so I’m going to ask these same questions to whomever I nominate!
My questions (which I stole from Jaylee Morgan)
- What’s your favorite writing style?
- Who’s your favorite author?
- What’s your favorite time of the day to write?
- Where do you like to write the most?
- Are you a planner or a pantzier?
- What are your go-to snack foods for a writing streak?
- What’s your favorite style of music for writing?
- Outlines: yea or nay?
- Do you ever kill of characters?
- What’s the hardest thing about writing?
- Why do you write?
Burresor at https://seekinggoddailyblog.wordpress.com/
W & W Sawday at https://wandwsawday.wordpress.com/
And more! (Possibly, if I remember :p)
I’m excited to see your answers! Cheers!
“BLOGGING…HUH!…WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…”
Ever felt like all of your blogging efforts are fruitless?
Join the party.
We have something to say to the world; we want to hone our writing skills; we have an awesome book idea and we think everyone should think it’s awesome too. That’s WHY we start a blog. And then we join the blogosphere and we find that there are eight-bagillion (BAGILLION!) people fighting for everyone’s attention.
Blogging is almost always selfish, in my opinion. Why? Because it tends to be about everyone trying to sell something. And I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. The problem just becomes, “Are you good at (selfishly) marketing yourself?”
Of course, what if you AREN’T good at marketing yourself? What to do then? Do you find another venue? Do you just give up (like me)?
Everyone would love to become a part of that lofty group of bloggers that seem to have all of the eight-bagillion bloggers following them. The problem is, we don’t know how to get there. Like so many popular authors, we are waiting for that one blog post that will make it big time: that one blog post that everyone loves.
But even our greatest blog-posts fail to receive the attention that they deserve. And that is why this is so hard. Because, eventually, we lose heart when our greatest works of art are treated like trash.
It seems as if the answer to this problem is just to keep blogging, in hope that one of your blog posts will eventually make it big. Or you just have to stay consistent, and your popularity will slowly grow over time. Or maybe you aren’t like me, and you don’t even care about popularity. Whatever the case, blogging can sometimes be a source of doubt. I know it has been for me.