The 3 Most Important Writer’s Weapons.

The 3 Most Important Writer’s Weapons.

To be a good writer you have to first, well, be good at writing.

Obviously. Because if it’s shit, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up.

So of course, the writing itself is the most important thing to any author.

But just because that is true, doesn’t mean there are other things that are very nearly as important if you hope to have any kind of success. They are three main things that fall into that category:

Title, Cover, and Blurb.

So you wrote a book. Maybe a good book. There’s only one question now:

Who gives a shit?

The biggest failing of writers, especially new writers, is feeling that your accomplishment of your book stands for itself and requires no special attention. You did something incredible–you did, in fact–you wrote a book. But readers, they don’t give a shit. Thousands of new books are being made all the time.

So the question then isn’t who gives a shit? But rather, how do I make them give a shit?

The answer is stated above. You choose an outstanding Title,  Cover and Blurb.

  • Your title should do one thing: tell them exactly what kind of story it is. And make them curious about it. Okay, two things. It does not help to have a literary-ass title that tells the reader nothing about the book. I don’t care if the title is somehow relevant to your story, Moonlight Parade is a god awful title for a thriller novel. Sudden Departure might be a great one for a thriller, though.
  • Your cover should convey genre, should evoke some feelings or again, curiosity, and it should be clean and professional looking. Do NOT underestimate the power of images. We are an image driven race. A good cover is priceless. A bad cover can absolutely sink you.
  • Your blurb should show some idea of who the hero is, what the conflict is, and what’s at stake. This is not a plot summary. This is not a foray into theme and mood. This should pique the readers interest, and you do that by showing them WHO your characters are and what they’re up against.

 

If you have those three things done well, and if you have yourself a good book when they crack the [virtual] spine and look inside, you’ve got a chance to do really well.

If you don’t have those things, well, then you’re fighting a mighty uphill battle my friend.

-Evan

 

 

Advertisements

Entertaining (and Short) Heather Graham Interview!

Entertaining (and Short) Heather Graham Interview!

Good friend of mine and author-superstar Heather Graham just did a HuffPost interview about herself as a writer and her new book. It’s quite entertaining. She’s also a ridiculously talented and successful author for y’all who don’t know her!

Heather Graham Huffington Post Interview.

 

Some quick hitters:

  • She’s published over 150 (WHAT?) books.
  • She wrote her first novel on a typewriter that didn’t have an “E” key. I would’ve thrown up.
  • Her choice of 5 people alive or dead for a dinner party is…unconventional lol.

Alright, have a good weekend everyone!

-Evan Pickering

 

My Words at 30.

My Words at 30.

 

God I still love this song. Such a classic.

I first listened to this song when I was somewhere around the age of 18. Twelve years later it’s still great.

I thought I’d be scared or freaked out by thirty.

But I’m pretty happy about it. I’ve got a lot of reasons to love where I’m at in my life. Looking back at all the things that I’ve done (get it?) brings me more joy than anything else.

There are many various ways to measure how my life has gone, but…

I have so much love in my life. And I have given so much love and happiness to others over the course of my thirty years. Of all the things that I’ve done, that’s really all that matters.

As a thirty year old man, I feel in many ways like a better, stronger, wiser version of my younger self. I’ve grown up in the ways that are valuable, and I’ve stayed young in the ways that matter.

I can’t ask for much more than that.


I think one of the strongest truths that I know now at my age is this:

Words mean everything. 

The words you tell yourself in your head will define you. Positive or negative you will make them real.

The words you say to others about yourself–sooner or later you will accept them as truth even if you didn’t in the beginning.

The things you say to other people and the things they say to you is the fabric all of humanity is built on. Say good things, meaningful things, useful things, funny things–be careful with the hammer that is your anger and frustration. Saying harsh or critical things is necessary in life. But do not make it something that gives you power or satisfaction.

Many people live in fear of saying positive, kind or flattering things to others. They only do so sparingly as if it somehow is a risk that makes us lesser, weaker or vulnerable. It does not. Do not believe the lie that kindness is weakness. Kindness is true strength.

Thank you to everyone that has made my 30th birthday something special. I love you guys. And to those that have never met me or do not know me, I love you too. I hope all’s well.

-Evan

 

BookBub — Day 1 Results!

BookBub — Day 1 Results!

So the glorious day has come.

Yesterday was my Bookbub, May 11th. A week before my birthday (woo). HOOD is on sale for $0.99.

Granted, I’m not exactly sure how it measures up vs. other people’s Bookbub promos, but…

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!

FEELS GOOD MAN.

Behold:BOOKBUB 1

Ranked #56 overall in Kindle at the highest, # 1 in Post-Apoc and #1 in Metaphys/Visionary.

BESTSELLER.png

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

So, for sales numbers: 2,438 books.

So what now? Basically, I try to keep promoting and spreading the word about the book for the rest of the week. Then I switch it back to 2.99 and try to make more moneys. Ideally this sort of visibility will catapult the book up to the top of the charts for an extended period of time and sales keep rolling in. At risk of sounding prideful, I think it’s a pretty damn good book (so humble) so hopefully word spreads like it did when I launched last year.

Once the week is over I’m going to post another thread to measure how the tail fares, and see if maybe I hit a USAToday Bestseller list (which would just be pure gravy IMO.)

Hope you enjoyed this clinic on over-sharing. I’m damn proud of this series. Book 2 had a bunch of sales too from this. ❤

-Evan Pickering

SHORT STORY: A Lover and A Fighter

SHORT STORY: A Lover and A Fighter

A lover and a fighter. That’s all a man is.

Our world gets destroyed all the time.

Shattered by our choices, the choices of others, or things completely out of our control.

As I drove my car down the broken, empty road, I realized the truth. As a man, I am fueled and driven by only two impulses. The need to love, to build a family, and the need to fight for something.

That one day a year ago, the love I had for so many years was gone. Shattered by so many choices and things outside our control. I thought I would be with her for the rest of my life. I knew what kind of ring she wanted. But as hard as we fought for each other it wasn’t enough. Our love had died. Like our world is now, I was broken and fighting to mend into something that resembled myself.

All I could do then was fight. Not wanton, hateful conflict, or violence for its own sake. I needed to fight for something, some cause, something meaningful. But I had nothing to fight for. I had no hobbies, no passions, I felt no fire inside me though I knew I wanted one. I had been one half of a whole, but she was gone. Now I was just alive.

Memories are your enemy.

As it would happen, the world was really destroyed not long after. It didn’t take long. I’m not exactly sure how it happened. Supposedly The oceans died and crops everywhere failed and food suddenly became a precious resource. In a few months the whole world tore itself apart in hunger. Civilization in all its majesty undone by the most primal of impulses: feed.

I had my cause to fight. It wasn’t a complicated one, but it made me feel alive. I woke up every day with purpose. I was empty no more. I fought to survive, to protect the people around me. They were good people. I only knew one of them before the end of civilization–My neighbor, Keith. He always wore the same hat both before the world ended and after. Black baseball cap with the Red Sox logo. At least he’s consistent. Pretty funny too. He’s a glue guy. Keeps smiles on the faces of everyone when we’re venturing forth under the hot sun, into unknown territory hoping to find friendly faces instead of hateful ones.

These are the kind of thoughts that make me reach for my AR-15 propped up against the driver’s side door just to feel the smooth metal body, just to know it’s there. I don’t like firing it. I don’t like that it is a part of my life. But knowing its there to keep me alive, so that I can use it to keep the others alive when necessary, that’s a feeling I can’t be without.

I had fired it too many times two days ago. We lost Angela in the fighting. Only ten feet from the truck. God, it’s the kind of thing that will drive you crazy.

I don’t know why they opened fire on us, even. Not like we have any food. Not like we wanted to fight them. Unless they wanted us for food. If so, then Angela… No, I can’t think about that. That way lies madness. Only thing we have is what’s in front of us.

But of all the things I’ve seen, there’s one thing I can’t shake. One memory that will not escape me. If it is even a memory, or some ghost of my mind. At this point, I don’t even know anymore. We were passing through this refugee town. We didn’t even stop. We’ve seen them before. Groups of starving people, no will left to fight and nowhere to go. They roam in packs and scavenge for food like old world hunter-gatherers. We drove through the crowd of people who rose to clamor at our truck, but were smart enough not to step in front. Most survivors didn’t think twice of running over someone in their way.

I looked out the driver’s side window and in the crowd I swear I saw her face. I think it was her. It looked like her. Tired, but steely eyed and surviving. At the time I thought it was just someone that looked like her. I didn’t even stop the truck. How could I? But I think… I think it was her. I think I saw the recognition in her eyes when she saw me. But she made no move. She just stared.

We drove on. We still drive on. Every day I feel the urge to turn around and go back. I want to find her. But there is no going back.

Memories are my enemy.

Lover and a fighter. That’s all I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longview

Longview

Ah, what a classic jam. Sounds like childhood.

If you could picture yourself on the timeline of your life, and you could climb up a great tower and take a longview in all directions, what might you see?

  • Backwards, we can see the path we’ve taken here. Messy, bending, rife with good times and bad. Hopefully more bad than good. This way lies madness. A short look back might bring a smile and some warm thoughts. But the longer you look the more obsessed you become with the choices you made.

 

  • To the left and right, we see what could have been. The places and people we might have gone and met, some catastrophic, some fantastic, some wildly different then what we know now, but probably many that are just different incarnations of our own life. This is a matter of curiosity, of warnings and possibilities, but still it only serves us to consider our choices now.

 

  • Ahead, we strain to see forward, but the fog, the great fog clouds what we can see. We think we see shapes and possibilities, we make guesses as to what is and plan what paths we might take through the fog, but we cannot see clearly no matter how much we try. Still, this is the direction we must face moving forward, pushing blindly into the fog and trusting our reactions and instincts to find one of many right ways on.

the_last_of_us_concept_art_early_light_al-01

I’ve lived most of my life thinking little of the future, enjoying the present and trusting in myself. I’m blessed to be able to do this, and it is by in large a good thing. But there is a caveat. It is vital, I believe, to be proactive in the present, and to imagine the kind of future-present we hope to have. And to be unrelenting in our pursuit of whatever it is. Our imagination is a weapon used for or against ourselves, and we must use it to envision the truly good and valuable things we want and purse them.

It’s easy to imagine all the things that can go wrong, all the reasons not to do something. But through our imagination of what can be is where we can achieve all great things.

Our lives are some small percent the perception of the present moment around us, and a huge percent all the things we imagine about ourselves; the stories we tell ourselves about our past and our future and what could have been.

Your thoughts can be a weapon used for or against you. Don’t let them cut you so deep you can’t push on. Longviews can be necessary, but don’t linger there too long. There’s plenty more to be enjoyed and done right now.

 

-Evan

 

My Guest Post ApocalypticFiction.com “Our Own Destroyed World”

My Guest Post ApocalypticFiction.com “Our Own Destroyed World”

Our Own Destroyed World

Doesn’t it feel like the end of the world sometimes?

For us, I mean. For us as individuals in our own lives. The longer we live, the probability that we make some catastrophically bad choice for ourselves will eventually reach 100%…

Click below to read more!

http://apocalypticfiction.com/guest-post-from-evan-t-pickering-author-of-hood/