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Tips and notes to writers Tips and notes to writers
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-17 11:17:40
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Advice to writers, in no particular order.

-Writing is mostly about observation and reflection. The more stuff you observe, the better. The more you think about the stuff you observe, the better.

-You can observe people, you can observe events, you can observe ideas, you can observe physical or meta-physical things. You can then describe those observations, and add some of your personal thoughts in there.

-Then you have to connect those observations with your readers. That is, you need to know what the average reader knows and how the average reader thinks. And what the average reader needs to know or learn.

writ001_400-How do you seduce readers? Most best-selling authors have had observations so vast and so subtle that readers are attracted. JK Rowling, a former teacher and student, made observations about school so vast, detailed and subtle that her novels in “witchcraft” school settings are attractive to many students (and a few adults). Students see Harry Potter as a reflection of some of what goes on in their personal school life. Tom Clancy, John Grisham and Stephen King have made observations about life so vast and detailed and subtle that those with interest in warfare, legal affairs or thrillers find them attractive.

Now, I'll answer the decade-old, million-dollar question: why do so many authors fail to gain a following?

Here are a few reasons:

-Narrow observations: Some authors don't look at life, or their field of expertise, in great detail. Most readers tend to do away with generalities, and want the details of the big picture. They want keen, astute observers.

-Narrow-minded reflections: readers tend to want authors to look into the different “schools of thought” without being too judgmental about any school of thought.

-Narcissism: You know that guy or girl who tells you the story of their life a million times and next time you meet him or her you'll get to hear them tell the story of their life yet another time. People tend not to want to read about the story of your life.

-Jealousy: some people hate other people because those other people have achieved things that they haven't. So there are many books out there about how “Trump cheated” or “Tiger Woods really shouldn't be playing golf” or “Israel should be wiped off the map.” Criticizing people is easy, especially when they have way more achievements than we do.

-Psycopathy/lack of coherent thoughts: some books and articles read like the twilight zone, with no logic, no coherence, and a succession of thoughts with no clear thread or link between them.

-Finally, letters in disguise: Some people write books or articles only hoping that their crush will read them. Some people write book or articles only hoping that their sworn enemy will read them. Now you can expect sales to flop.

-The “producers” effect

Could you write a book so bad yet that sells really, really well? That can happen.

There are a few Youtubers who ramble about nonsense, usually conspiracy theories, often involving the Jews or the CIA in some way. The Jews this - the Jews that.

Oddly enough, they often write horrible books (incoherent, no logic, very hard to follow) and yet they advertise their books so much on their popular YouTube channels that their books end up selling rather well...

-Why do most books flop?

Books don't always flop because they are poorly written or bad books or something.

Books tend to flop because of reader consumer behaviors.

Readers tend to set themselves priorities. There are basically two types or readers broadly speaking: those who read “popular books” and those who read “specialized” books. And many readers will mix reading popular books with specialized books.

Now if your book is not a “must-read” and does not fit into any “specialty” (popular genres are zombie novels, horror novels, apocalyptic novels, science fiction novels, romance, detective etc.).

If your book does not fit into any “specialty” or fits into an “obscure” specialty then it could have trouble selling.

The most famous examples of good books that flop are fiction (and non-fiction) books that deal with politics, with history, or with religion or sociology/ethnography. Those genres tend to have a limited crowd, because the topics tend to be taboo in most societies.

Other famous genre of literature that tends to flop: “ethnic” literature. Especially when “ethnic” literature is written by “immigrants.” That is let's say you're Bolivian, live in Canada, and decide to write an ethnic novel about Bolivians and Bolivia. Could be a very well-written novel. But two problems.

First off, the books sales system in Bolivia is not great. Most book stores in Bolivia sell “used books” or “imported books” and most book stores don't pay attention to book displays and don't try hard to promote books.

Second off, no one in Canada or around the world is really that interested in what goes on in Bolivia. So your book will have to be more relevant to people's concerns and interests.

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