What Makes A Great Character?

Businessman-Thinking1What makes a great character?  Someone who you’ll follow all the way through a story, his/her journey to overcome whatever dangers have been presented?
A colleague suggested readers are not interested in imperfect leads anymore, that part of the fantasy is indulging in the concept that there exists a perfect character that’s not only highly attractive, but also holds extraordinary abilities.  Was there ever a time when books followed an imperfect main character?  Sure, I’ve read quite a few books where that’s just the case.  From an alcoholic private eye who’s dying of cancer and decides to take on one last case, to a humble Hobbit having a grand adventure thrust upon him.  These sorts of characters are becoming less known in the modern realm of fiction, however.
A strikingly handsome detective who always out smarts the villain is a much more satisfyingsuperherowithcape read to many people.  These characteristics do not make our heroes great, but super.  Ever watch CSI and marvel at the fact that a small team of super humans can solve incredibly intricate cases in forty-four minutes?
Not everything in the world is so cut and dry, and not every person is so, well, super.  Often enough, a well rounded character is going to be a better one, in my opinion; someone who has faults, who makes mistakes, because these are the things that make a character relatable.  Likable, even.  You want to see them struggle, as morbid as that sounds, because you want to root for them to succeed in the end.  To overcome not only the obstacle represented in the story, but their own personal demons, their own private remorse and uncertain thoughts making them wonder if they truly are up to the task.  These are some of the qualities and imperfections I like to discover in a lead character.  They make me enjoy the ride, and sympathize with their journey.

The Coming Rain Part 3

Cover Reveal!

MonsoonCoverFinal.indd
This is the final cover design for Monsoon Morning by Hillhouse Graphic Design LLC.  They sent me a few mockups, including the above cover, and I loved it instantly.  It fit the sinister mood and atmosphere of the story very well, and after getting multiple opinions on the mockups, everyone agreed that this cover was the perfect choice!

You should be able to preorder Monsoon Morning on June 15!

The Createspace Venture: Part Three

DSC01471  Just in case you didn’t notice, that’s me holding an actual copy of The Truth About Alex!  Many of you already know that I prefer ebooks over physical ones.  They’re easier to shop for, more economical, and one Kindle can hold a gazillion books on it, which is a lot better than cluttering my house with stacks of novels because I’ve run out of shelf space.  None of that means, however, that the appeal of a print edition is completely lost on me.  I love the smell of books, and that very special unnamable sensation of holding what you created in your hands.
What I’m holding there is the proof copy of Alex.  CreateSpace has a FANTASTIC online proof reviewer, which I did make good use of.  It has a 3D cover/back view, and the pages turn and look as close to the real thing as I’m sure is possible.  Still, I ordered the proof copy just to see if everything would match what it looked like on my computer screen.  It did.  So, I went ahead and accepted the proof.
The next step involved assigning distribution channels.  I assigned The Truth About Alex to six channels.  The first three had to do with distribution through Amazon and it’s various foreign branches.  The other three were for availability on CreateSpace directly, as well as national public libraries and academic institutions.  No harm in broadening my horizons, right?
The transition to all of these areas, Amazon in particular, can take up to eight days.  Within the first few hours, Amazon was picking up my ISBN.  A few hours after that, it had a page declaring the book is currently unavailable.  Six hours later, it was available for purchase, but the book description was all blocky and wonky.  I’m not sure if this is just some overlooked glitch with CreateSpace or not, so I logged into Author Central to change it to something more legible.
Next, I logged into KDP and signed The Truth About Alex up for Kindle Matchbook.  That means if someone were to buy the print version of my book (for 8.95) then the Kindle version would be discounted.  I chose to make the Kindle version free for anyone who buys the print version.
As far as the price goes, you can change how much you are charging for your book at any time using CreateSpace.  I settled on 8.95 due to pricing trends for novellas, a quick search through Amazon showed me what people were charging for books around the same length as Alex.
As of this publication, Amazon has still not displayed the “other format” box on The Truth About Alex’s page.  I’ll have to wait a few more days before contacting them, because these things really do take time.
[EDIT] Amazon just now put the “other format” section onto Alex’s page.  If you would like to purchase a paperback copy, or pick up the Kindle version, click HERE!

Getting Into More Catagories With Amazon Keywords!

When a reader browses the shelves at a bookstore, they examine book covers, titles, and blurbs in the section of their interest.  Readers on Amazon, Kindle owners in particular, will often type phrases or words into the search bar expecting to find a book of interest in the list of results.  Independent authors are given the unique opportunity to select up to 7 Amazon keywords to use in hopes of attracting potential readers.

It helps to type in the words or phrases that you want to use in Amazon’s search bar to get a list of suggestions.  Another approach would be to simply google your keywords to judge the popularity of the topic.  There’s also a more direct method, and it involves putting your keywords IN your book title or subtitle.

Don’t forget that Amazon provides quite a few categories designed to be linked to keyword suggestions.  These are separated into genres, with the intention of helping your books sales rank.  Here are a few:

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Teen & Young Adult

Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense

Comics & Graphic Novels

For the full list, clicker HERE

The better the keywords, the more places you can show up in the Kindle store, which means better chances that your book will be seen.

These might help to land your book in more obscure categories, and better your chances at hitting more top 100 lists in the future!