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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Listen . . .


No one wants to listen to advice from an author who hasn't sold much of his or her work. Writers want to hear from those elite authors who've ended up on The NYTimes Bestseller List or have actually repeatedly and impressively sold their novels in large numbers, causing the average reader to remember their names, not just the title of their books. Who can blame them?

Perhaps these special authors have discovered the secret key or code to producing, marketing, and selling fiction. Notice I didn't say "good" fiction. Because, honestly, sometimes what sells well isn't written well, uses a clichéd plot, stereotypical melodrama, and/or cardboard, smarmy, or super-hero characters. What does this mean?

It means many things. A specific audience was ripe for picking up that drama, comedy, thriller, or period piece and the writing techniques were inconsequential to the subject of the book. There was just enough emotion, laughter, blood, or lace and swords to capture a significant part of the reading population at any given time. The simplicity of the story gave a good many readers just what they wanted for entertainment, escape, and excitement. Somehow it worked.

Could other writers follow their successful leads and reap the same benefits? We see those attempts frequently from publishers wanting to cash in on what appears to be working, i.e. Amish/Mennonite novels; Vampire novels. Trends that work for a season flood the market until signs of saturation reduce the inventory.

I'm not one of those authors who qualifies for giving advice of any kind concerning writing endeavors. In spite of that disclaimer, I will say I've learned that different types of writers exist, and some of them will do whatever it takes to be published. Others not so much. E-publishing has given the second group opportunities to fulfill their writing pleasures be they good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. Everyone has an opinion about who should or shouldn't be published, but it's almost become a moot point. Those willing to compromise and meet the needs of editors/publishers to secure a contract find a certain satisfaction in obtaining their goal(s).

Having said all that, I've found, for myself, authenticity matters most to me. The heart or the head, and very often it's a combination of both leaning heavily toward one or the other, dictates how authors write their stories. Big surprise I lean toward the heart - which isn't always a good thing. However, writing a novel must immerse me in its deep waters, only allowing the gasping eruption surfacing back into my current reality in order to function in the day-to-day. The story absorbs me into each personality and produces the voices and circumstances of those individuals. It has to.

So how's that workin' for ya, you ask? Well, it works for me. However, it hasn't produced bestsellers or an author who will give you advice or pretend what she has to say will in any way affect how you choose to write your novels.

Nicole Petrino-Salter spent over 30 years within the Thoroughbred horse racing industry. Now she writes love stories with a passion. Devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, her family, friends, and pets, you can find her most days on her blog where she welcomes your visit. Author of the novels The Famous One, Breath of Life, Hope of Glory. Raw Romantic Redemptive


  1. Another good post, Nicole! Love the note about authenticity.

  2. Thanks, my friend. Appreciate you.

  3. I'm with Normandie. Authenticity matters. You can be a fabulous wordsmith and tell a captivating story, but if it doesn't ring true, I won't care for it. So, when I write, the stories have to be authentic, even if it costs me opportunities.

  4. I've found that no two authors will give the same advice for writing success. Except for one: work hard and don't quit. No kidding. The fact is that the best advice or instruction I've received has been from unpublished or little known authors. KM Weiland comes to mind. No one has ever heard of her outside our circles, but her writing instruction is outstanding. The writers on this site as well as others in the CBA have provided me with the best advice I've ever gotten. Yet it's likely that none will ever be a household name (I hope it happens, but we all know the odds of even becoming a full-time author). One thing I do love about the community of writers, especially Christian writers, is the absolute love we have of reaching down to help those traveling the road behind us. If anyone is making this journey alone, it's by choice, because I'm convinced that there are more published authors willing to offer help and encouragement than there are new writers seeking it. Thanks for the post Nicole.

  5. Bren, your authenticity has finally paid off. Thank you, my friend, for sharing many of the same opinions and reading choices.

  6. Ron, so glad to see you about to appear regularly here. You're valuable.

    I've found two kinds of authors/professionals too. Those who will do anything they can to help and those who ignore you unless you have a name they recognize.

    I know K.M. Loved her A Man Called Outlaw. One of the best covers EVER! She writes a lot of historicals and fantasy now which aren't my preferences. She's a thorough instructor for sure.

    Appreciate your thoughts as always, Ron.

  7. Nicole, just read this and totally agree. Took me a while to nail down that I'm not willing to bend to the trends just to get in the door, tempting though that may be. I'm more interested in telling those stories I want to read myself--sometimes filling holes I see in my reading demographic. Might never make me a fortune, but if I know I give my all for each of my books, and didn't settle, I'll NEVER look back with regret.


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