How do we gain traction as writers and as writer-publishers? Know your audience. Connect with your audience.
The first place an author should connect with audience is the trifecta – title, cover, blurb. The next place is on the page. Chapter one should open with what appeals to your audience and draws them in.
Space opera fans want to go to space. They want to explore new worlds and meet new civilizations. They want adventure and discovery. They love the unexpected.
So when a crit partner tells me to go more emotional or romantical in chapter one, I reject that advice. Those elements can have co-star roles, but they can’t take center stage. That’s sending the wrong signal to my audience, repelling them instead of attracting them.
The first time I rejected advice and went with my gut and knowledge [I’m a science fiction fan as well as creator] was kind of scary. I’ve grown a lot since then as an author, and now I listen to myself more often. What I know is important and isn’t something I should ignore. Ever.
An equally important voice I listen to is what my audience expects and wants. Now that I have a fan base, knowing what they want becomes more specific and easier. They tell me, and I listen. This is how I know the most valuable commodity in my tool kit is my mailing list. I send a message, many of them write me back and we chat.
My new series, which starts this summer, The Rifters, has more of a paranormal/urban fantasy slant than science fiction, but I used what I know about my fan base and developed elements in the story to appeal to them. It doesn’t mean a Backworlds fan will then read The Rifters, but there’s nothing wrong with making the effort. There’s nothing wrong with using reader data right at my fingertips. It’d be rather unwise not to. Yes?
My uber fans might be willing to try the first Rifters because they like my writing style. So it’s smart to add things in that might keep them hooked. That crossover of elements in Backworlds and Rifters could get Rifters fans to read Backworlds.
Our readers or potential readers are the only people we have to woo. We do not have to impress or cater to the entire planet of readers. If we do, we fail our true audience and our story. Twilight wasn’t for me, but I recognized that Stephanie Meyers connected with her audience from chapter one. That is what we all have to do.
This is my January post for IWSG and IndieLife.
by Jay Noel
The Mechanica Wars: Savage Machines Are Afoot…
At the age of twenty, Kanze Zenjiro’s bloody footprints mark the bodies of those who stood in his way to protect the throne of Nihon. Now, the tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and they send their steam-powered giants and iron spiders against him.
Zen embarks on a quest that takes him on the most dangerous journey of his life. To succeed, Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns. He is called upon to somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.
- “This is like no other steampunk story I’ve ever read.”
- “Samurais, steampunk machines, ninjas, pirates…this book has everything except for zombies.”
- “I love all the allusions to mythology of this book. Reminds me of some King Arthur mixed with The Odyssey.”
- “Asian-inspired steampunk How cool is that?”
- “The action is intense! I couldn’t put it down.”
Find Jay Noel
- Twitter handle: @jnoelwriter
- Goodreads: https://www.
- My book trailer link: http://youtu.be/
M. Pax News
Sorry for the lack of links this month for the memes. Although I enjoy the unexpected in my entertainment, I don’t care for it at all in real life.
I had a hard drive failure 12/15. No warning, no acting wonky, pffft, dead. That weeping you heard in mid December, that was me. Fortunately, I back up current projects by emailing a friend every day. So gmail saved my ass as far as the most current versions of Worlds on Edge and The Rifters went.
My most skilled and talented Husband Unit saved more of my ass. That man used DOS, yeah DOS, to save all of my documents. All of them. Phew! I hadn’t backed up since June. With that said, large chunks of photos are MIA. Sniff. So yeah, you know what my resolution for 2014 is. Back up!
I have a new hard drive installed, a new version of Windows [I’m now on 8 and I kind of like it], and a newer version of MSOffice [MS no longer supports 2003 – thank you River Fairchild]. Anyway all of my previous links, etc… were lost.
I’m furiously working to get the first draft of Worlds on Edge finished [should be done this weekend, early next week at the latest], so am being lazy about looking up links. Forgive me.
So yeah, I signed a contract and paid money to my editor. Deadline is February 10th. Once the first draft is done, I still have the revision to get through. It won’t take too long. Revisions for the Backworlds are about word choice and tracking details. In some ways, series are easier that way.
Official release will be March 24th. If any of you would like to help with a shout out that week or any time after, I’d be most grateful. SIGN UP
Sorry for being yappy. Hope you all had a great holiday and one free of a hard drive failure.