How to avoid the rejection blues – James Shipman @jshipman_author

How to avoid the rejection blues

On method would be to quit writing!  Not a good solution for must of us.  I believe the reality in the present writer’s market is that publishers and agents are changing gears.  While I’m sure there are still some that are looking for the first novel, unknown diamond in the rough, I read and see that others are shifting to the “cream rises to the top” mentality.  In other words, let writers battle to the top through their own self marketing efforts, and then approach authors who already have an established audience.  If this is true, then the chances of being selected are even lower.

My feeling for any new author is absolutely go for it by submitting to agents and publishers.  If you are picked up that is fantastic.  However on the other side, prepare yourself mentally before hand that if these are major houses you are very likely to be rejected over and over.  If that is the case take it in stride.  Prepare an alternative action plan from the beginning.  If you feel you are the kind of person that will get out there and work hard on your own, then do your research and prepare your alternative self publishing and self marketing plan.  When your product is complete, send it out to the agents and see what comes back.  If you haven’t been picked up within a certain period of time, then self-publish your book, work your marketing, build your audience, and get to work on book number two.

I believe without a doubt that any person can build an audience of 20,000 + readers.  However this takes time, patience, hard work, and consistency.  How much further you go from there will depend on talent, connections you make, and often downright luck.  When you get the rejection letters, it is going to feel bad, but you have to look at it from the big picture.  I know when I’m 85 I want to look back and be proud of my writing.  If I gave up I would be so disappointed in myself later in life.  For me, the key is to write and publish consistently for my entire life, beyond that, anything that happens is simply a bonus.

5.  The right and wrong way to promote your books online.

Marketing a book is almost more work than writing and editing the book itself.  Not only is it critical to consistently market your book, particularly online, but it is also critical to do so in an appropriate manner, otherwise you are wasting your time.

Appropriate marketing online involves reasonable direct marketing with a full measure of relationship and audience building in between.  I recommend building Twitter, Facebook and Goodread audiences (there are others but these are the ones I use).  This can be done overtime if you are consistent and within a year or two you will have a very good group of people you are interacting with.  You are probably not going to just publish a book and have a ton of fans (if you do sell one of those books that goes crazy, congratulations, and you don’t need my advice).  Probably your list of contacts will include personal family and friends and then many other authors and some readers.  As you are building this audience start communicating with them.  Certainly post about your book or upcoming book (or sale, event, etc.), but also post about things going on in your life.  Let people get to know you.  Also ask questions, make requests, tell people what you are working on next.  Evidence shows the more you engage your readers the more they will be invested in you as a writer.  Additionally, build relationships with other authors.  Like their pages, accept their friend requests, follow them and tweet about them.  People like reciprocity.

The don’ts are all about selfishness.  You will get nowhere incessantly spamming about your book and then refusing all interaction with other people.  If people follow you and you don’t follow them, they will notice. They will drop you, they will not support you.  If all you do on Facebook is advertise your book over and over, or if you post your book on other people’s pages or personally message them for the very first time with an ad about your book, you are going to anger people and you will get nowhere.

Again, if you get an agent, a major publishing deal, and you sell five million books, you won’t have to do all of this.  You can follow 12 people and have millions of followers.  For most people it is going to take more time and more effort.  Online marketing is about relationships, and about caring about other people’s work as much as you care about your own.  Best of luck to all of you.

6.                How to make your character’s believable.

I love character development.  I truly believe that strong characters are far more important than events to tell the best possible story.  So the question is how do you create these characters in the first place.  I like to start by making a list of the major and minor characters in the story.  The next thing I do is create a chart for each one of them.

Before I do a detailed analysis I then think about people that I know, and decide if any of my story characters can have similar personalities or at least similar traits.  I also try to have at least one or two characters in each book that have mental health issues, particularly personality disorders.  Characters are sometimes created very two dimensional.  They have a purpose in the book and they march through from point A to the purpose point, then march back out the other side.  Humans don’t act that way.  Not only do humans fulfill purposes but they also have their own goals and desires that might be completely at odds with what the author wants them to do.  Even deeper, they may have limitations that prevent them from achieving their own goals, and these limitations may send them on a third trajectory.  The more you have thought out and explored this level of detail, the richer your characters will be, and these struggles will add more detail and depth to the overall story.

After identifying the 30,000 foot issues for the character, I spend several hours with each one adding every possible detail.  I not only want to know their date of birth, height, weight, features, education, etc., but I want to know family relationships, where they’ve worked, things that have happened to them along the way.  Most of these details will never come into the story but if you don’t understand your characters on a very deep level, your readers will never engage with them.

The hardest part of writing a book, particularly a first book, is having the patience to develop the characters (and of course the outline of the book) to this level of detail.  We all want to get to the writing, but the more you leave unfinished the more you will find inconsistencies and lack of depth in the finished product.  It will take far more time and work later to try to rewrite a character and reweave them through the story, because you didn’t prepare enough at the beginning.    Best of luck to all of you and happy writing!

In 1453 Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. It has stood as the greatest Christian city for a millennium as hordes have crashed fruitlessly against its walls.

But Mehmet II, the youthful Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, has besieged the city. His opponent is Constantine XI, the wise and capable ruler of the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmet, distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizer, must accomplish what all those before him have failed to do: capture Constantinople. To prove that he deserves the throne that his father once took from him, Mehmet, against all advice, storms the city. If he fails, he will not only have failed himself and his people, but he will surely lose his life.

On the other side of the city walls, the emperor Constantine must find a way to stop the greatest army in the medieval world. To finance his defenses, he becomes a beggar to the Pope, the Italian city-states, and the Hungarians. But the price for aid is high: The Pope demands the Greeks reunite the Eastern and Western churches and accept the Latin faith. If Constantine wants aid for his people he must choose between their lives and their souls.

Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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