This month I’m reading two very different books for the book clubs I belong to. One is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the other is How We Made Our First Million on Kindle.  Actually, I haven’t started Hotel. That group meets at a later date than the one discussing How We Made Our First Million. Besides, I wanted to find out how the author made a million on Kindle. I now have 5 books available on Kindle Direct Publishing and I haven’t seen any deposits to my bank account that even resembled a million dollars. I do know there are writers who are making sizable amounts of money selling e-books, so it can happen.

Even though I haven’t finished the book about making a million, what I’m discovering is most of the information is what I’ve heard over and over. We need to set goals, and the number one goal is to write a good book. A good beginning will sell the book, a good ending will sell the next book. Also, you need a good cover since that’s often what first attracts a potential buyer. (Even with a traditional publisher, covers are important. I’ve had some great ones and some real duds. At least with e-publishing, if you’re the publisher, you have control over that cover.)

The other important aspects/needs for sucess mentioned in the book are Platform/Brand and Promotion/Marketing. Again, these are aspects of book selling that are commenly written about in how-to articles or presented as topics in writing conferences.  So why bother reading this book? Because even though much of the material in the book is information I’ve read or heard before, there’s always the chance I’ll learn something new. And even if I don’t, reading this author’s take on the subject has me thinking about what I do to promote my books. I must admit, there is much I could/should be doing that I’m not…which might be why those millions aren’t being deposited in my account.

Just as important as the book on how to make a million, I’m hoping the other book is equally helpful. When I started writing, I was told by my agent and by editors to read. Read books in my genre. Read books out of genre. Read lots and lots of books. Why? Because by reading other authors we can learn how to better do something or maybe learn what doesn’t work. I’ve learned from both poorly written books and well written books. Actually, poorly written books that are published by standard publishers gave me hope when I started writing. I figured if they could get published, I had a chance. The well written books often intimidated me, but I wanted to write like those authors. I wanted to emulate them.

So if you’ll excuse me. I need to finish this blog so I can get back to my reading.

Here’s to a great 2013 for all of us.


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6 Responses to Reading

  1. Thanks for the reminder, Maris. I often get so caught up in trying to churn out new material, I forget to take in what others are doing. I like to support the authors I know by reading their books. Good luck with that million!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to have one of my books earn a million dollars. I don’t think it will happen, but one can always hope (and keep trying to write that story that resonates with readers).

  2. Terry Odell says:

    I joined a book club when we moved up here (they invited me to speak and touted they had a great breakfast at their meetings!). After a year, I think I read 2 books I liked, but it was fascinating (and often surprising) to hear what made non-writers enjoy a book.

    As a writer, I can’t read without editing anymore. And I also recalled reading books I thought were poorly written but were best-sellers and thinking, “if this guy can get published, so can I.”
    Terry’s Place

    • Maris Soule says:

      Terry, the on-line book club I belong to is made up of writers. This local group is made up of readers. The responses are very different. As you said, once you’re a writer, you can’t read without editing or criticizing the basic elements of characterization, plot, etc. With the on-line group, we rarely all agree (like or dislike) aout a book, but that usually results in some interesting discussions.

  3. paula says:

    “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” was one of the books for Battle Creek Reads last year. Let me know what you thought of it when you get finished. I’d like to know the comments generated from your book club too. they always seem to be so astute.