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Posts Tagged ‘Best Sellers’

Quick Ways To Lose Valuable Trust

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Selling books is just like selling any other product.  First you have to have something to sell.  Then, you have to convince people to buy it.

One way to convince people to buy your book, or any product for that matter, is to establish trust with your potential readers.  Trust is valuable.  It is so valuable, that it should be guarded as though it were the most precious thing in the world.  Give your potential readers a reason to distrust you, and you may find it hard to ever sell another book.  Or, at least sell enough books to make writing worth your time.

There are some really quick ways to loose trust.  But, in our zest to sell our product, we might not even realize that we are doing them.  That is dangerous.  So let’s look at some of the ways we lose our reader’s trust, shall we?

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Three Most Common Reasons For Manuscript Rejection

July 26, 2012 Leave a comment

So, I have been picking the brains of friends of mine who are authors or are/were in the publication field (literary agents, editors, etc). I have been doing this because I see a lot of people compiling lists about why manuscripts get rejected. I read these lists because I want to give myself the best shot I can at getting published.

But what I seem to be finding is that a lot of those lists are really bunk, or at least these lists are subjective and often contradict one another. Don’t start your story too fast. Don’t start your story too slow. Too much description. Not enough description. Too many characters. Too few characters. Too much dialogue. Not enough dialogue.

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Using Passive Voice Is Not Wrong

February 21, 2012 2 comments

Ok, time to vent on a pet peeve of mine; people who claim that using the passive voice in writing is wrong. It is not wrong. In fact there is nothing grammatically wrong with writing in the passive voice. Yet I just had another encounter with another author, unpublished of course, who swears that the passive voice is grammatically incorrect.

What is the passive voice? Passive voice is when the object of an action becomes the subject of a sentence. For example, saying “Why was the paper written on by you?” is perfectly grammatically correct but is passive in its voice. The paper is being acted on and also where one expects the subject to be. One would expect the question to be asked, “Why did you write on the paper.”

The two sentences however have the same meaning. But the first is slightly more advanced, potentially leading to someone with a lower reading level being confused by it. That’s ok though. And here is why. Because repetitive, predictable sentence structure in prose is boring. I have read enough of it. And a lot of it exists in so called “Best Sellers” that numb my brain with robotic English.

I am here however to say that it is ok to throw in a couple passive sentences as long as they are not overly clumsy. Of course, writing too much in the passive voice can indeed be awkward. If half of your sentences are passive people are not going to like that. But if you judiciously make 3% or so (that’s just 3 out of every 100) sentences in the passive voice, it breaks up the inevitable monotony of your structure. By being smart about when you use the passive voice, a reader probably will not even recognize that you have pulled such a sentence out of your bag of tricks.

Most successful fiction authors seem to have their passive voice sentences down to a very low number. But they do not eliminate them. Remember all this next time someone tells you such a sentence is “wrong”.