Hey everyone! Welcome to phase 5 of The Story of Michael. This event marks the end of a long month for me. It has been one of the most eye-opening, difficult and rewarding phases of the process so far.
First lets start by saying thanks to everyone for coming. I really have grown accustom to sitting in front of this screen every 2 months and going over a lot about my experiences with writing The Story of Michael.
Many of you have become regulars to these events so I’m grateful that you are still coming to learn about creative writing. This phase includes some pretty interesting experiences that I have encountered in the past month. These are things that have probably affected the release date of my book by a couple months at least. It seems that after getting to such a ‘completed’ work with The Story of Michael, I have started to learn how much needs to change for me to publish a greater work of fiction. Essentially this means more work on my end. It’s been hard. I have experienced a severe lack of motivation and even feel stuck because the work load seems unbearable. Regardless, I think this brings us plenty of topics to talk about that will interest everyone.
Tonight we are discussing:
- Creating a brand
- How to ask for help
- How to take Criticism
Creating a brand for your book
Since I went into business for my self, this is something I have been helping small businesses and start ups do to grow in their market. A brand is everything. Essentially a brand is what you would call an object or thought if it were a person. For instance, Coca Cola is a trustworthy, tasty cola that has been around for a long time. Adjectives like ‘trustworthy’ are typically associated with a person or group, so you can see the shift from company to brand.
Brands are living a breathing. Today, lets talk briefly about discovering your book’s brand.
Unlike many companies, the brand of a book like The Story of Michael, is brought to life by one person, me. The soul of the book summed up into a few words. My words are coming to the surfaces as I write and create, but because the meaning of my book is so important to me, I find it hard to describe.
That being said, my vision for the book makes sense to me. The brand IS the book at this point. And, the books brand, I am discovering, is still in development. I know that can sound a little unclear, but lets talk a little bit about the benefits of having a clear brand. When you complete a book it should be clear from the get-go what is different about it. Most importantly, the first chapter and sleeve covers are going to be your selling points. Things that I consider part of the books
Examples of a Book’s Brand:
- Writing style
- character profiles
- time period
The closer you come to successfully developing your brand the quicker you become known as an author instead of a writer.
Two types of brands for books:
- Author brand — This is what is created when the author writes he seeks out his unique vision and carries it out.
- Responding brand — The responding brand is who reacts to the style of the author. It becomes relationship. A set of expectations are met when the author delivers on promises made to the audience.
This is slight bit of brand theory thrown into the creative writing arena. Hopefully it helps bring some perspective to how your book is perceived in the marketplace.
Lets now talk a little bit about..
How To Ask For Help With Your Book
Writing a book is a lot to ask of yourself. So how do you ask someone else to help you? First of all, you should never expect them to do any of the writing for you. No one wants to feel like their contributing to a someone who can’t even write for themselves.
Here are some places to look for help with writing.
- Your family
- Your friends
- Online writing communities
At this juncture with my book, I have not thought it necessary to go to an editor or consultant yet, because I feel my book is not very close to completion.
Because I surround myself with fellow Internet-savvy creative people, I have been able to find some great help with the prologue and first 3 chapters of my book. So thank you guys for the great help! I have read all of your criticisms over and over.
I have to admit, I have been dreading sending out my work. I have had all sorts of emotions. Mixed fears of rejection, misunderstanding, and being told I’m not to be a writer. Well when you get a good group of individuals reading your book because they want to see you succeed, it’s easy to tell that what they say is for the best.
This leads into talking about..
How To Take Criticism
I have never liked hearing my ideas shot down. I’m sure a lot of you are the same way. But to my surprise, this is now how any of the people reviewing my manuscript treated me. They were all kind and truthful. Honestly, it was cool to see so many people turn around and want to be involved.
Taking criticism is a something you have to get good at.
My whole life I have been pretty outgoing and said what was on my mind. This meant I was corrected a lot by parents, teachers and so on. But I was also told there is beauty in uniqueness and creativity. I don’t think small. Most of my ideas are larger than life. So, getting feedback on some of them meant listening to some harsh tones.
What you have to realize as an artist, is that you have to desensitize yourself from other people’s perception of your work. You do this in order to uncover the true meaning of their criticism. Without going into too much detail, lets talk about some strategies that will help you take criticism well. Remember, with self publishing, you can literally print your book no matter what people think of it.
Tips on How To Take Criticism:
- Spread out criticism throughout as many people as you can. This eliminates the need to focus heavily on one certain element of the book that one negative comment could shut you down.
- Ask people that genuinely know about the field, or have a greater than normal interest in writing.
- Ask average people average questions. It’s important to get the perspective of average readers, but don’t expect them to read into your book the way you do. Get their honest opinion about a few things then move on.
- Send out different portions of your book to different people.
- Promise yourself you will not be offended by the review, no matter how harsh.
- Pick out practical advice from the garbal of “It just feels long.” or “I really liked John!”. These statements can be translated to “Shorten” or “Expand the character John.”.
- Collect and treat all feedback as though it is gift that you will open when you need it.
This list could go on. Basically, you are going to need feedback and the best way to use it is to think of everything in practical terms. There are no emotions, just directions.
National Novel Writing Month
Ok, last but not least, I wanted to let you guys know about a special event that happens every year. It’s called NaNoWriMo (short for National Noval Writing Month). This is an event that pushes and motivates writers to knock out an entire novel in one month. There are prizes you can win. You go to the website and sign up. After sign up you enter the information about you novel. As the month progresses your goal is to meet 50,000 words by November 30th.
I am not able to participate this time, because I already have over 50,000 words. But, I think this program could be exactly what some of you guys will need to get things moving in the right direction.
It starts today, so I highly encourage you all to join in!