Writers and writing: How does a writer come up with an idea big enough to carry through to 300 pages of a novel.?
It is a common question that is often discussed among writers. People talk of the creative act. But I don’t think that that is it. It is the original idea, fragmented though it may be, that is the important catalyst to start the journey. The writer may have little idea where the idea may bring him or her – but that’s not important. That will come in time and that is where the creative bit comes in.
And two years later the work is finished and you ask yourself – how did I do that – and it closes again and remains a mystery.
This youtube interview may help in some of this. At least I hope it does. Patrick.
How is it that writers can sit down in front of a blank page and two years later find that they have a 300-400 page novel on their hands? I have talked to writers about this but no one can give a satisfactory answer how this comes about.
In writing FEAR the idea started by looking at a drop of water falling from an icicle. Ninety thousand words resulted. Damn if I know how it happened. Maybe I need help!
Lots of other writers must have similar experiences. It would be great to share. What is it that triggered the start of as novel for you?
An English writer who had a novel published, with scant publicity from his publisher, had a plan. He would bring copies of his book from bookshop to bookshop to generate sales. In confidence he told me of his experience.
The publisher’s wholesale price was £7.50. Because he was the author he would be allowed a discount of between 35% – 40%. They settled on 40%. This meant he could buy copies of his book for £5 (ignore the pennies). He bought several hundred copies to test out his plan, and went from bookshop to bookshop.
Some shop owners took two copies ‘to see how things would go’. Others agreed to take as high as ten copies. These were exceptional. All deals were on the understanding of ‘sale or return’. And all demanded 35% on the retail price.
The retail price was critical if the author was to make a worthwhile return. So where to set the retail price? Too high a price and ‘sale or return’ would loom large. He settled on £9.99 (say £10). Out of this the shop would take £3.50, and with the wholesale price to him of £5, this meant that for each book sold the author would get £1.50. Compared to the ‘take’ of the others it seemed little indeed.
His difficulty was compounded further when he factored in his ‘time’ spent going from shop to shop, some at considerable distance from his home. And when he considered the transport costs in making deliveries, and the cost of return journeys to pick up unsold copies – the whole adventure became questionable.
His experience? He would never go that route again. It was simply not worth it.
Was he particularly unlucky, or do others have similar tales to tell? Writers benefit from hearing about such experiences. We can learn a lot from each other, so your comments would be most welcome on this, or on any other aspect of writing.
How does a writer decide on the price of his or her eBook?
Now, there’s a question! And that decision must be made by the author.
Clearly the intent is to maximize income. The price you set looms large in this ambition. So think carefully on this question of price. Set it too high and reader resistance becomes a factor. Too low and buyers may feel it can’t be much at that price – and pass. Who said life is easy!
If you are unknown, as a writer, no matter how wonderful you write, or what extraordinary epic you have produced, you need to grub down into the reality on pricing, and set your price at a lower level than established writers can demand. If, in time, you make it into the big sales numbers, then you can increase the price. And raise a glass as well.