Evelyn Chartres Author

Message Received

Well I think I found a trend for my reviews on Amazon.

“I was a bit put off by the use of italics for slang words, but understood that it was to emphasise that the word was slang for the roaring twenties.”

–and–

“I couldn’t get past the first few pages because of all the random words that were unnecessarily italicized. Really drew me out of he story and made it impossible to read.”

I got the hint. Just had all of those italicized words removed from my manuscript and uploaded a new version to Amazon, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital. Fortunately Microsoft Word made that operation fairly painless!

Review woes?

Got my first review on Amazon today. Normally I’d be excited, but it came in at two stars. By itself that may not be a bad thing, however it speaks exclusively as to not liking how I italicize words that are slang from the period.

I have no idea if this book is any good or not. I couldn't get past the first few pages because of all the random words that were unnecessarily italicized. Really drew me out of he (sic) story and made it impossible to read. If that was fixed then who knows, might be a great book.

It is their opinion and they do say they don’t know of the book is good. Still, would have been nice to see a positive review first! Oh well.

Blank Page Syndrome

There are tons of articles on the Internet which talk about getting rid of writer’s block. Some offer a series of steps to follow, others provide a quick and easy trick and some even guarantee results.

I tend to avoid any article which covers this topic since there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in life. However, this an article by Robert Fulford of the National Post covers various opinions and solutions throughout literary history. This twist to the age old topic struck me as interesting.

It does mention some solutions authors and journalists found. However like anything, what works for them may not work for someone else.

On the Dimension of Characters and Worlds

I came across a blog entry from Stephanie Wood which spoke to me and became curious to see how many others would agree or disagree with the author.

For one, I tend to write worlds that have 3D characters in a 2D world. This means that my characters’ thoughts and emotions dominate the narrative, whereas the world I describe is mostly nameless. In the Portrait the city my characters inhabit is simply referred to as the City. I throw in a few breadcrumbs to identify them.

I know a lot of people seem to prefer the reverse, something I noticed that the Lord of the Rings had in kind. He would spend pages describing places, structures and their history. However, he comparatively glossed over the characters.

I certainly agree that there is room for both (and other writing styles). I was just curious to see what others thought about it!

Not yet Time to Pull out the Bubbly

I came across an article on the National Post by Colby Cosh titled Books gain a surprise victory in the war against bits.  To me, this seems to be an unexpected turn of events; print books have sold more this year than last year whereas eBooks have levelled off.  There are a few points I noticed.

A lot of the new sales have to do with new markets.  Adult colouring books being a prime example.

Related to the above, there appears to be a backlash by some groups against new technology.  Books have people who need to feel the grain of paper and apparently younger people are more likely to go retro.  See the National Post article by Andrew Coyne titled Making sense of the analog counter-revolution for more information.

Publishers spend more time making covers look better to get more attention.  This may raise the bar dramatically for Indie authors.

Also, publishers are moving away from discounting hard covers.  Instead, they aim to create the perception of their books being worth the full price.  Much of this is related to the physical nature of books making them ideal for collections.

Some books also do not work well on a KindleThe Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe, the author of the XKCD comic is a good example.  This book is built on a series of large detailed diagrams that are hard to reproduce on dedicated eBook readers.

This article implies that at least some publishing companies are not incompetent.  So we will need to wait a few more years before breaking out the bubbly.