10 Big Mistakes New Authors Make

by Truitt Collyns

hunt-and-peck-2

1. Limiting your marketing venues

With the rise of digital platforms most new authors know to take advantage of online social media marketing (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Breitbart), but most stop there. And in doing so, you prevent yourself from reaching so many key demographics: the elderly, Luddites, obese people with fingers too fat to type, the poor, convicts without access to electronics, people who never really considered owning a phone or computer, or even those who prefer spending time outdoors. But fortunately, there’s many other marketing avenues available even to the most inexperienced authors that will give your work the necessary exposure. Try, for example, taking a printed copy of your book to your local library and reading it loudly in a crowded area. If it’s a comedy, make sure to laugh boisterously at your own jokes, and if it’s horror, scream during the most intense sections. If time is not a factor for you, consider transcribing your first few chapters in chalk on the sidewalk, preferably in your town’s highest foot traffic areas. And if money is not a factor, skywriting is another option.

2. Writing for fun

Simply put, writing is a job, no different than being a doctor, plumber or general secretary of the United Nations. And just like those jobs, it’s a soul-crushing, mind-numbing endeavor that will make you question the purpose of your existence daily. And although if you have the talent and put in the hard work it’s likely to pay more than any of those jobs, it’s still not something anyone would consider fun. So if you’re going to quit your day job to write full time, make sure you’re doing it for the money and fame and not because you think it’ll be easier and more relaxing than teaching autistic children how to read.

3. Getting a professional book cover

You’ve all heard the maxim “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s one of the first things they teach you in school. That’s right: Even little children know that you’ve got to look inside a book to know if it’s worth reading. Yet new authors will pay hundreds of dollars to graphic artists to design a book cover, when that money could be spent on more important things, like food stamps, alimony or insulin.

4. Forgetting to cultivate your image

Just like musicians and actors, authors aren’t really selling their books – they’re selling themselves. Experts say that after the title and the first chapter, the most important part of your book is the author photo. Readers want to relate to the people telling them stories. Do you think Stephen King would be nearly as popular as he is if he didn’t inspire people by showing them that even hideously ugly people could attain fame and fortune? And what’s more likely: that people like Dan Brown for his sharp blazer/sweater combos, or for his writing? And JK Rowling showed millions around the world that you could be a successful author and a woman.

5. Disregarding the competition

Most new authors feel their work can succeed on its own merits. They tell themselves that so long as my story is well-written and people can relate to it, I’ll have done my job. But real authors know how cutthroat this industry is. To get ahead, you’ve got to be willing to go on the offense. Let’s say I’m a prospective buyer and I’m looking for a new sci-fi adventure story. Am I just going to pick a book at random? More likely, I’ll choose work by an author who doesn’t support ISIS, or whose writing doesn’t “suck a bag of dongs.” People forget Robert Ludlum rose to prominence after publicly decrying Tom Clancy’s use of “underage orphan ghost writers.”

6. Forgetting to tell your publisher to get an IBSN

7. Putting page numbers in the middle of pages instead of at the bottom

8. Not paying tribute to any of the myriad satanic secret societies to which so many agents and editors at New York publishing houses belong

9. Using the “hunt and peck” method of typing.

10. Forgetting that agents and publicists are open to bribes, blackmail and extortion. 

Five Tips for Writers Considering Self-Publishing – And More Tips

by Truitt Collyns 

cash money

Let me set the scene – perhaps it’s a familiar one. You’re sitting at your desk one morning, an open bottle of vodka to one side, a loaded pistol to the other. Your manuscript has just been rejected by your favorite publisher, such as, for example, Dragon Eagle Publishing. But even though a full day of raucous drinking and gunplay should cheer you up, it’s not going to introduce your masterwork to a larger audience.

So perhaps it’s time to consider self-publishing. But first,  reflect on why your story was rejected in the first place. For example, did you know that more than 75 percent of manuscripts Dragon Eagle receives are rejected solely because the author had an ugly-sounding name? Names like Jett, Shadow, Kirisitiana? That’s your aiming for – none of this John, Herman, Virginia or Gertrude nonsense. But it’s not always the name. For example, maybe you had some beta readers – friends, family, co-workers – appraise your work. Did any of them describe it as “bad,” or “not good,” or “not worth publishing?” Have any refused to talk to you since? Well, maybe that’s a sign you still need to make some minor tweaks.

But let’s say you got a great pseudonym, a clever title and a story people can at least feign interest in to maintain your personal relationships. Here’s some tips and information about the world of self-publishing we hope can guide you.

1. Do your research

This is probably the most important step your self-publishing journey because not all ebooks are created equal and not every solution is going to work for your project. Therefore, when you Google “How to Self-Publish My Ebook” don’t just look at the first page of results. This is going to require you to go to all the way to page 6 or 7. (Unless, of course, your settings are different and you don’t just get the standard ten results per page).

2. Your local neighborhood library is a great resource…

… of cheap labor because of its large homeless population. You can have these people write and post reviews to Amazon, Lulu and Goodreads, create ad copy, and even design covers if you hit the jackpot and stumble across a former art major and mother of three whose house recently burned down due to faulty wiring.

3. Promote your book

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Once your book is ready to upload, you’re going to need to spread the word. So get to it.

4. Remember that books aren’t sandwiches.

This is an important one when considering your audience and their needs. Keep in mind, sandwiches are just something to provide humans with nourishment and energy. Books are also not washing machines, tiny umbrellas you put in cocktails, nice fleece blankets or 2008 Honda CR-V’s. A person who needs those things doesn’t necessarily need your book. (Books are, however, a well-maintained ceiling fan).

5. Consider marrying into a rich family, or waiting until you make your first million, to start publishing

6. Or, failing that, consider all possible corporate tie-ins

7. Make sure you’re using the subjunctive correctly

8. Enter every contest, even if your book doesn’t fit the topic. Trust me, the National Jewish Writing Society doesn’t want to read any more about the Holocaust.

9. Be the smartest, loudest and preferably tallest member of every writing organization you join.

10. You’re almost there.

So you’ve done everything we’ve said. You did your marketing research and promotion, you’ve created a cover, everything’s formatted, you know who your audience is and you feel success is on it way.

Well, you couldn’t be more right, because the next thing you’re going to do is hit the “Cancel Publishing” button, not upload your book to the platform and ask for a refund if you need to. Because you’ve passed the test and shown Dragon Eagle Publishing you’ve got what it takes to make it in this business.

Send everything to us and we’ll get the contract prepped and ready to sign. Welcome to the Dragon Eagle family, Mr. (or possibly Mrs.) Writer. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

 

47 Novels by Chinese-American Women You’ve Got to Read This Month

by Ding Yunyi
If you’re anything like me, you spend your whole day surrounded by books because you’re a research consultant for a publishing firm. But even if you’re not like me, you still probably get through a couple dozen books every month, which means you and I are not so different.
In this column, I’ll be writing about some great, recent novels worth checking out. Each entry will be categorized in some manner, sometimes by genre, sometimes by era, and in this case by the race, gender and attractiveness of the authors.

Best of the Best

Where Has the Time Gone?  by Daphni Jiang
A heartfelt drama about the childless marriage of two time-travelling vampires
The Women of the Chrysanthemum by June Wang
A young floral shop opener is haunted by spirits of the women who were turned into fertilizer and sold to her
How to Survive As A Woman in America by Zhou Ni Meng
One woman’s travelogue through American medical procedures and fitness culture
Behind Closed Eyes by Sasha Connie Chung
A woman discovers a terrible secret about her husband: he’s blind
Journey to the East by Chastity Ding Wo
A farcical comedy about two divorcees’ road trip from Tallahassee to Jacksonville
The Year of the Pig by Dawn Rae Chen
One woman’s quest to go an entire year only eating pork products
Touch of Silk by Chen Rui Dang
A coming-of-age story about a tensile strength evaluator in a Jiangxi textile factory
Riding the Red Dragon by Britney Speers
An erotic novel about a yoga teacher who has sex with dragons
Bootlegs and Knock Offs by Misty Stone
A love story about a big city girl with an affinity for stylish footwear and leaving work early
Fifty Years on the Great Wall by Michael Yu
A middle-aged literature professor called Humbert Humbert is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather

The Rest

Feminist Lit:

The Boy Next Door by Jackie Lin
The Good Women of China by Donna Evans
The Bad Women of China by Eve Adamson
The Sexy But Otherwise Mediocre Women of China by Fei Yi Mei
China Dolls (6) by Cao Xi Li
China Dolls (11) by Jessica Bangkok
Sense and Sensibility by Autumn Qiu
Harky Porter and the Philanthropist’s Stoat by Jing Kong Rao Ling
The Complete Works of Charlotte Bronte by Chao Xie
Short and Thick by Madeline Jiang
They Called Me Leprosy Face by Jane Qiong
All the Thick Girls by Li Li-Li
Mrs. Rick Shaw by Hai Lin
The Secret Life of a Short and Thick Girl by Lina Fei
Diaries of a High School Dropout (And North Korean Refugee) by Kim Kim
I Am China by Rui Zi Xuan
I Am Also China by Judy Xin
I Am Also China II: Escape to Delpulon by Judy Xin-Rui

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller:

Guangzhou Girl by Melissa Xu
Beijing Bitch by Melissa Xu
Shanghai Skank by Melissa Xu
The Filthy, Slutty Whore of Chongqing by Melissa Xu
Murder Beneath the Orient Express by Janet Chao
Journey to the Murder Beneath the Orient Express by Janet Chao
The House By the Geothermal Hot Spot by Bonnie Fo Fonnie
Green Tee by Ba Nana Fanna Fo Fonnie
I Have Diabetes by Wei Fu Bin Fee

Horror / Fantasy:

Children of Midnight by L’oreal
Zardoz by He Si Si

Z is for Zhizhisidi by Georgia Brown

The Wrong Side of Infinity by Lucy Li

Eat Shit and Die by Ching Chong

The Farmer’s Daughter by Stephanie Wu

 

The Party Leader’s Daughter by Stephanie Wu
The Speech Pathologist’s Daughter by Stephanie Wu
Dyscalculia by The Female Confucius