What makes an author? And why so many?
By Guest Blogger Michael Parker
When I look at other writers, they always seem to be successful, cool, best-sellers, prolific. They have
All writers suffer this problem to some degree, although there are others who manage to find a way around it. Ian Fleming once said that it takes about six weeks to write a thriller; the editing and grammar corrections can be left to the professionals. Jack Higgins admitted that he wrote a thriller in the space of one weekend. He went into his room on the Friday and came out on the Monday with a best seller. Hard work though.
Rejections are as familiar to most writers as sunrise and sunset, and I suspect that almost all writers have
Some of the most prolific best sellers over the years have been pure dross, but they served the market’s hunger for depravity, celebrity or whatever else had nothing to do with talent.
I asked the question: What makes an author? I believe they are born with the talent. They are like musicians, artists, surgeons, scientists etc. They have something that cannot be manufactured: the ability
I know how to write, but I probably have no idea how to market myself. And that’s the rub: not knowing how to market your work, or not being able to afford the services of a professional publicist. So now I can say thank goodness for Amazon and Kindle.
I launched myself on the Kindle Select programme when the feeding frenzy happened earlier last year
But let me give you a kind of snapshot of my writing career, which is a hobby by the way. I had my first book (NORTH SLOPE) published by Macmillan of London in 1980. I thought that was it: I’d made it with a top publishing house. They rejected my next book (HELL’S GATE) and it was four years before SHADOW OF THE WOLF was published by Robert Hale of London.
From that moment I was floundering, trying to get my work published but no-one was interested. I gave up, left manuscripts gathering dust on the shelf, became inspired (my wife claims the credit for that) and continued to write. But I got fed up again and let it all drift.
Then in 2006, Robert Hale, with whom I had had no contact for years, agreed to publish HELL’S GATE.THE BOY FROM BERLIN (December 2011) has been taken up by Harlequin Books and is available in paperback in North America and Canada. They have also agreed to publish another of my Hale books, THE EAGLE’S COVENANT, which is due for release in November this year (2013).
So finally things are looking up. But getting back to the subject of marketing; what is it I’m doing wrong,
Having been down the traditional route of publishing, I find the Amazon deal quite exciting because of the potential to climb up the ladder. For those of you who have not experienced the traditional way believe me it’s no fun. Finding an agent or a publisher was like looking for hen’s teeth in a chicken run.
And if you were lucky enough to get published, the hardback book was set at a fixed price with no
But now most of that is being swept aside by the Amazon and eBook revolution. The only problem withtraditionalist who has been through the school of hard knocks in the literary world, it’s a shame that I now find myself among the bottom feeders of the so-called electronic slush pile. But I’ve been among the bottom feeders all the time really; the difference now is that I can literally control my own writing destiny. I’ve just got to get to grips with the promotion and marketing.
But for those of you out there who are trying, I wish you luck. I will always have faith in my own ability, but one thing writers should understand is that you need a readership to be successful. In the old, hardback days that meant having at least five published novels to your credit, and that was no mean feat. Today you need a lot of luck, and not just be a decent writer.
For more on Michael Parker and his writing, check out his website http://www.michaeljparker.com
Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Parker