Readers’ Favorite reviewers see books they wouldn’t have bought!
Make sure yours isn’t one of them. Comments from other authors on this post would benefit us all, so please add one.
Common Mistakes Made by Fiction Writers
Have you ever wondered why your work isn’t selling? You have a great cover and a tempting description, which leaves Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, where you have seconds to persuade a potential reader to click “Buy”. Consider which opening would interest you most.
1. Janet was blonde with long wavy hair and a curvy figure, and her beauty did tend to attract unwelcome attention. For that reason, she preferred to take taxies, but tonight, she’d opted for a breath of fresh air. If anyone she didn’t like approached, she could put her self-defense training into practice.
2. Janet walked faster, and the footsteps behind her speeded up too, the thumps of heavy shoes on the sidewalk echoing the pounding of her heart.
A hand grasped her long plait, and a hot breath scorched her ear. “Keep quiet and I might let you live.”
Ignoring pain when blonde hairs came out by the roots, she turned to face her attacker and kneed him hard in the groin. “Get lost, scum.”
Head-hopping confuses readers. This means opening with, for example, Janet, but showing the thoughts of her attacker. Janet can assess them from what she can see and listen to what he says to keep the story going. What the author must not do is state the thoughts in the attacker’s head, like this >> The bitch had hurt him, and if she thought she was getting away with it, she was wrong.
So, you’ve hooked your reader. Amazon allows books to be returned for fourteen days.
Too many POV (point of view) characters make it difficult for the reader to remember them all. Told in the first person, there will only be one POV character, but most authors choose to write in the third person. Two characters are very easy to handle, particularly if one is male and the other female. Six or seven must be brought in at intervals. Some books have huge casts, but it is possible to show the majority from one of the POV characters.
Research is vital. Everything from the name of the transport system in Chicago, and the hours it runs, to whether you can drive past the statue of Eros in London’s Piccadilly, and don’t rely too heavily on Google. Join Facebook – an important platform for an author – and make friends all over the world willing to answer questions.
“A car” tells the reader nothing about its owner. Think about the information imparted by “a rusty old Ford Focus with a missing wing mirror and brake lights that didn’t work” or “a black Lamborghini coupé polished until he could see his face reflected in the paintwork.”
Editing, and this includes traditionally-published authors; mistakes do slip past professional proof-readers, but the buck – the returned book and the poor review – stops with the author. Always reread your work yourself. “But I had a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite”. All that means is the typos were too few to draw the reviewer out of a great story. One poor Amazon review can stop sales dead for months.
Depressed readers – go to Books I’ve Loved – they avoid most of those ghastly mistakes.