HOW READERS TALK TO EACH OTHER
BY P.S. BARTLETT
I often talk about finding readers. Tonight, I started reading back over a synopsis I was working on and decided it's a little difficult to generate interest in a novel without at least letting readers in on what they're getting for their time and money.
For a little while, I sat here with my heavily lidded eyes and a cup of coffee, and figuratively stepped outside of the author and back into the reader and recalled conversations with friends and relatives when we would ask each other that all too important question about a book they've read; "So, what's it about?"
I rambled on as they can all testify to, starting at the beginning and many, many minutes later, it dawned on me giving a synopsis of a 376 page manuscript is HARD. Okay, if you are a writer, it isn't as if you didn't already know that but even when you try to tell someone about a television show or a movie you watched, how do you explain something you enjoyed and are excited about without blabbing on and on until you've practically ruined it for them?
I've read many other authors' advice on how to write a synopsis without giving it all away but honestly, when you compare the telling with the doing, it's like telling someone how to drive a car and handing them the keys.
So, here I am about to give you my best shot at a synopsis for "The Blue Diamond," because I want you to get excited and one: of course buy the book when it is released on October 1st and two: be interested enough to perhaps even support my Pubslush campaign so that I can afford to market it to the masses.
There is also a three, which is the cherry on top; I want you to recommend it to your historical fiction, romance and adventure loving reader friends! After all, from everything I've read and from experience, word of mouth is absolutely the overall best way to find your readers.
So, without any further babble from me, I give you my heart, my pirate alter-ego, my female powered tale of fortune and romantic woe...a best effort synopsis of "The Blue Diamond - The Razor's Edge."
First, the blurb:
Ivory Shepard didn't want to be a pirate when she grew up but she didn't plan on being orphaned and alone at thirteen with her three cousins either.
After a Spanish raid in Charles Towne left them with nothing, Ivory held her cousins together, trained them to fight for their lives and led them to a life of quiet refuge on the banks of the Ashley River. Out of reach of the hands of unscrupulous men, they found life on the farm a tolerable substitute for the traditional alternatives life would force onto them—until the night the pirates showed up.
Setting foot on that first pirate ship was nothing compared to the life of freedom and adventure awaiting them, once Ivory and the girls were through playing nice. Only one man believes he can stop her and he won't need a ship full of guns to do it.
If it were only that easy…
The quick and simple aka the "Let me tell you real quick 'cause I'm in a hurry!":
When four young women take a leap into the Golden Age of piracy, they not only survive, they thrive and blaze a trail of freedom and adventure. The greatest quest of all begins when they capture a merchant ship smuggling diamonds, of which Ivory happily relieves them, as well as the ship itself.
However, she isn’t the only one who knows the diamonds exist—most of all, the large and valuable blue one. In the end, her true mission becomes trying to prove she can have it all on her own terms; true love, the blue diamond and her freedom.
Now for the big ramble aka the "Damn, you have to read this!" aka a phone call between myself and my sister-in-law Kim and how that would play out if I were simply telling her about the book as a reader:
P - Hey girl, let me tell you about this book I finished writing over the weekend.
K - Okay cool! What’s it about?
P - Well it takes place around 1700 and there are these four cousins. Wait, think Charlie's Angels meets Pirates of the Caribbean but anyway...they came to America when they were little with their great aunt and uncle and settled in Charles Towne, South Carolina but when they were like, thirteen, the Spanish raided the town and murdered their aunt and uncle, leaving them orphans.
K - Awww...so then what?
P - Well, they had to work as maids and what not but the eldest one—her name is Ivory Shepard, well, she more or less protects them and teaches them how to take care of themselves and how to fight and what not. Apparently, she’s been doing more than cooking and cleaning to earn a living but anyway, they manage to save up enough money to buy a little farm on the bank of the Ashley River—that’s the river that..
K - Whatever, just tell me what happens.
P - Okay, well, one night, these pirates are raiding the farms along the riverbank and they come to hit the girls’ little farm but the girls see them coming and take care of business! So, they put their heads together because they know the pirates won’t take what happened lying down so they get ready for another attack but what happens is, they end up going with the pirates to Jamaica to start their lives over as free women. Of course that’s after Ivory kicks the captain’s butt and…
K - Holy crap! How old are they?
P - They’re like in their late teens when this happens. This is just the background stuff Kim but the story starts out when they’re already established as pirates themselves and Ivory has this ship called the Blue Diamond and this other pirate—super hottie too, imagine Henry Cavill here okay?
K - Who?
P - Henry Cavill, the guy who plays Superman nut!
K - Oh! Ohhhhh…..
P - Anyway, so he blows her ship to bits and she escapes in like a dinghy but ends up floating around for days before he sends his men to capture her and he holds her prisoner in his house in Kingston which is like across the bay from port Royal but anyway, she has a bounty on her head of fifty thousand pounds and he makes a deal with the guard that if he turns her over, he’ll not only collect the reward but he’ll get a pardon for all of his own pirating. In my imagination, she’s like January Jones—just thought I’d tell you that.
K - So what does she do? Does she get away? What’s the reward for?
P - Well I can’t tell you everything but over a few days while she’s held captive, something sparks between them and holy crap girl, they hook up one night and it’s like fireworks on the fourth of July!
K - Hot stuff aye?
P - Oh yeah but well, you know they are both pirates so there’s no such thing as happily ever after and neither one trusts the other so regardless of the cherry bombs and sparkles, he’s not letting her go.
K - Get out of here!
P - No, seriously. He’s hell bent on that money, even though you know something’s going on there beneath the surface and the tide could turn at any moment.
K - Oh haha, I see what you did there. So does she get away or what?
P - Seriously? You want me to tell you the whole damn book? What’s the point in that?
K - Okay well at least tell me a little about the other characters.
P - Okay well Maddox has this quartermaster named Alphonse Green. Another super hottie, he’s Jamaican and well, let’s just say there’s some history there with Ivory’s cousin Cassandra. Cassandra or Cass as they call her is the voice of reason in the bunch. Then there’s Keara who’s like a little drill sergeant and keeps everyone in line. Then there’s Miranda, she’s the lover of the bunch but she gets herself in a bit over her head with her love of the men lol
K - Damn, I have to get this book…
P - Wait, I haven’t even told you about the diamonds yet! That ship Maddox blew up to get to her belonged to an English merchant company and apparently, they were smuggling some diamonds and Ivory took them when she took the ship. In the bag was this one big blue diamond worth a whole lot of money girl.
K - Ahhh…so that’s where the blue diamond comes in.
P - Yes. Well, let’s just say that she’s not the only one who knows about the diamonds and the plot thickens as they say.
K - So do the cousins rescue her or not?
P - Wait, I didn’t tell you about Richard. He’s Maddox’s cabin boy aboard his ship, the Black Cat and he’s so adorable and sweet—sweet on Ivory that is, and I didn’t tell you about Zara his housekeeper either.
K - Never mind, just tell me when I can get a copy of the book!
P - Well, it comes out on October 1st but since I love you, I may let you read it now.
K - Hand it over or walk the plank, Peg!
P - Now you know pirates didn’t really do that, right?
K - Book, please?
P – Check your e-mail. Bye!
THE KIND OF WRITER I WANT TO BE
I’ve believed since I dedicated myself to this journey two years ago that I knew exactly what kind of writer I wanted to be. Since I wrote the first sentence of my first novel, that dedication hasn’t wavered.
I’ve had no formal training in this profession but I’ve done a ton of research, logged countless hours writing and I’ve dug in my heels. I’m not going anywhere.
I write fast. I think fast and once I set my sights on a goal I rarely give up unless I’m personally not satisfied with my level of performance or the quality of work I’m doing. So far, I see no reason to quit. As long as I keep breathing, moving, growing and evolving as a person, I’ll never stop.
It is important to me to produce quality books. Since I am still learning every day what that means to me and how it relates to my writing, I believe I can only keep improving. I’ve always loved writing and although I spent most of my adult life working, raising children and just trying to keep my boat right side up, I chose to put my aspirations on the back burner and take care of my family. I do not regret it one little bit. Through that journey, I learned so much about myself and gained volumes of experience at just being a human being. I’m proud of whom I’ve finally grown up to be and I need to be proud of the work I do too.
It’s a long road from writing your first page, to publishing. You will be knocked back more times than you can imagine. You’ll be told over and over again that your book “just isn’t what we’re looking for at this time.” Roadblock upon roadblock will rise up in front of you but you have to keep pushing on. Family problems, day job, responsibilities and oh, that little thing called sleep will feel like a ball and chain at times but no matter what, you can’t give up. If being a published author is truly your calling or at the very least, your goal, allowing anything to stop you is not an option—no matter how long it takes or what road you take to get there.
The most important thing to me is that I write what I want to read. I want to write words that feel like warm butter on a hot roll. Words that get inside of you and either make you squirm or rise up inside of you and escape with a smile. Words that stick in your head and come to mind when you least expect it. I want to write stories that when you close the book, you want more. The reason I know how important writing what I want to read is, is because I’ve tried writing stories that may fall into one of the hot selling genres and I couldn’t get through the first chapter. You’ll know you’re writing what you want to read, when closing your laptop feels like kicking a heroin addiction.
I don’t want to write about what everyone else is writing about. I don’t need to sit at the cool kids table to feel good about myself. I know there are lots of genres and I know which ones sell the most. No, I’m not crazy and of course I want to make money and be able to write full time but I have to do it in a way I feel good about inside. I have to do it on my own terms. I have to tell a good story with characters you want to meet and know, and talk to again and again. I believe at some point I’ll be able to put almost anything into words but it has to be my anything, not what’s hot at the moment and not just because I want to be with the in crowd. My readers are out there and as long as I keep looking, I’ll find them and they’ll find me.
I want to stand out. I have this crazy dream that my stories will one day be considered as some of the best ever. I’ll stand by that. I believe that and soon, I’ll live that.
PUBSLUSH CAMPAIGN INFO
I finished my PubSlush campaign last night and it has been approved! First, here's a little video to give you more information about PubSlush and their mission.
I'd be ever so grateful if you'd go take a peek at it and perhaps even register as a fan to receive updates on my progress. :) Just click on Ivory below to go to my PubSlush Profile.
Although the official launch date isn't until September 1, 2014, I'm so excited and grateful for this opportunity to be able to take part in such an innovative concept in crowd-funding.
If you follow my blog, you know I won this opportunity through a an E-Mail that Blew My Mind – Second Place in the PubSlush-BookLogix Pitch Contest!" for my new book, "The Blue Diamond - The Razor's Edge." I'm very proud of this book, as I've moved my writing in another direction and although I was afraid in the beginning to take such a leap, I'm still in the genre I love but trying out a different angle and story type--romance and adventure.
September 1st was a be a pretty big day all the way around because that is also the day I found out that "Fireflies" has won second place in the Paranormal Fiction contest on Reader's Favorite!
There are so many wonderful books in my category and as cliche as it sounds, I'm so thrilled to have been chosen for second place.
"The Blue Diamond" will be released on October 3, 2014! You can get your copies at the links below: