Imagine What your Novel Could Be

It’s been a while since I posted.  Mostly because I’ve been busy trying to get my professional life back on track.  Add to that my recent disgust for most of what I see in the world of Indie Self Publishing and I’ve been somewhat put off.  But it has stopped me; my latest ‘work in progress’ is coming along nicely at 40 thousand words.  I figure another month tops before I have a final draft.  (Which of course is far from the FINAL draft)

So what has me pissed?

Let me put it this way.  The subjective / objective battle that one always deals with when looking at his own work makes me aprehensive about talking about these details BUT after everything, I know that my books, if at worst would not be something that you would want to read, are written with a high standard of grammar, structure, logic, logical order of events etc.  They are readable.

I have had about 200 Indie published novels pass through my Kindle in the last 2 years.  Some of them I bought, some were gifted to me and some I downloaded for free via Amazon.

Of those 200 novels I was able to finish exactly ONE.

So why were these Indie novels so bad or impossible to read?

1.  Misinformation / Factual details.  Imagine a murder mystery in which the Heroine finds her friend dead in the bathroom with ONE wrist cut.  Dead after a 5 minute separation.  OH, MY, GOD.  It takes hours to bleed out from slit wrists (plural) and that’s when it is done correctly -Vertical cuts down the length of the veins.  So …. lost me before the second chapter.

2.  So much extraneous information not related to the plot.  I don’t need to know what kind of Kotex or whatever femine hygene products the Heroine uses.   I kid you not.

3.  A plot so complicated and convoluted that even Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t be able to untangle it.

4.  It’s all TELLING.  One long blah, blah, blah to inform me what is going on.

5.  Bastardization / perversion of idiomatic phrases and euphamisms.  I did a post on this earlier.  Thinks like the nip of time etc.

6.  Bad grammar.  Bad punctuation.

The list goes on and on.  And  I will be honest, I am guilty of a few of these issues myself – I’ll admit it.  This week I started to reread my Novel ‘LOBO’ and I found 3 typos and one Character Name Snafu … (The Character’s name changes from Pedro Marquez to Pedro Marcos and then back … apparently no one caught it … HAHA)

So if I am guilty of these same sins, how dare I stand on my pedestal and point my finger?  What hypocracy?

The difference is that I’m more broke than old Grandma.  I do it all myself because I don’t have any other choice.  I don’t have a big income or a pension coming in that allows me to spend a fortume on this hobby / second career.

Yet I see writers with all these HORRIBLE issues that make their work totally unreadable and they have spent a fortune on everything except the important stuff like ‘THE WRITING.’

EXTREMELY expensive covers.  My covers cost me $100 a piece.  They are done by a pro graphic artist and they are very professional.  But they aren’t works of art.  They are functional, direct, concise etc.  But they use stock graphics, not an original painting.

How about paying big money for Kirkus reviews or other services that cost hundreds?

How about paying to join book clubs?   Groups that pay each other to review each other’s work.

Big money to pay various services to promote the book.  These services range from $10 into the hundreds.

The list goes on and on and on.

And the final kick in the teeth is the writer who has paid for or has developed a personal army of sicophants that will either buy or review and tweet, promote the writer’s books at no charge.  Nice talent to cocowash people to do your bidding – basically the idea behind most social media.  But it’s all for nothing if your book sucks.

If you have sold 10,000 copies of any self published book and you haven’t been noticed and contacted by a Traditional publisher, it’s because they realize that your book sucks.  Simple as that.  They are aware of the big sellers.  They are ready to swoop in and offer you a deal.  IF (that’s a big IF) your writing is any good.  And considering how bad some writer’s on the bestseller list are … well you get the picture.


Sowhy wouldn’t an Indie writer with a budget spend his money intelligently?  I’d say it all comes down to Human Nature and Motivation

What motivates you to write?
Money?  Please leave my blog now and never return.
Praise from friends and family?  Leave now.
The hope to write something of quality which transcends the human condition and becomes an eternal part humanity?  Ok, now we’re on the same page.

Not that making a buck is an evil thing.  But with so many writers ready to sell their souls for success, between quality and quantity, the former loses out most of the time.

Take writer David Morrell as an example.  He released ‘Murder as a Fine Art’ in 2013.  The second in the Thomas De Quincy series came out two years later.  Just think about that.  24 months between novels.  Even with giving 6 months to book tours and promotion, that’s 18 months of writing, editing, re-writing, research, and all the other details that do into creating a work of literature.

Most Indie writers I have been rubbing shoulders with are releasing a novel every 6 months.

So here’s the trick.  My last word on the subject to an Indie writer.  Ask one of your fans what they thought about the end of the book.  Even throw them a bit of misinformation … they will reveal whether they read the book or not.  I’ve been doing it since I began.  I’ve yet to catch anyone in a lie.  They read my book.  Can you say the same?
But hey … you’ve got a rocking book cover.

Nuff said.

David Gordon Burke
Find my books here.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

“All books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hours, and the books of all Time.”

“I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I’d rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas.”

“What people want, mainly, is to be told by some plausible authority that what they are already doing is right. I don’t know know of a quicker way to become unpopular than to disagree.”

“Evil is more famous than goodness.”

“Popularity is teenage heroin.”



Sales Slump – Enthusiasm Test

It’s been a while since my last blog post.  Mainly, I have been diverted by tons of personal issues combined with a horrific slump in sales of my books.  December and January were brutal.  I might have sold one book each.  This is were your passion for writing is truly tested.  And I have to admit, I didn’t really stand up to the test with determination.  I was devastated.

But I wonder how many of Amazon’s Indie writers actually do well in those months.  An Ebook is hardly the sexy gift one is expecting to see on Christmas morning.  “Oh, I got you an Ebook – just turn on your Kindle.”  Not exactly the stuff of which Christmas cheer is made.

Thankfully, February has been much better and I saw sales and page reads via the KU-KOLL system at Amazon.  So that has reset my determination.

But there are many other benefits from writing and self publishing.  One is credibility.  In the non-fiction world, a book on Amazon gives you a certain ‘leg up’ on the competition.  This has come in as a great help this week since I am doing the rounds once again to find work as an English teacher.  I doesn’t hurt that I have published seven different books on the subject.


Another great thing is the networking.  My books have been the focal point of some new friendships.  I have a mutual twitter follower who is establishing a non-profit organization in India – Varun Aswasthi  … He reached out to me for advice on both how to build his organization and his twitter following.  So aside from writing entertaining books (I hope) about dogs, I get the satisfaction of lending a hand.  



So the moral of today’s post – even if your books aren’t selling, there’s still a reason to keep going.  And that next book may just be the one to put you over the top.

Good luck and keep writing.

David Gordon Burke
Find my Books here!