Thursday, 22 July 2010

Wtf Indie Authors, You Are Killing Yourselves

Seriously, Indie Authors, what the fuck?

I have just been on Smashwords, reading synopsi, and they is bad. Yes I has bad grammar too and oh my gosh no commas but this is I getting in the swing of things. Look, if your book has a shit synopsis, I will assume the book is shit. So will most readers.

If the book is thought to be shit, people won't read it. You are losing readers before they even look inside the book. The writing inside might be ace but no one will know.

These synopsi are really bad. They have bad grammar, repetition, punctuation in some cases and, quite often, they make no sense.

I'm going to look at some of the most recurring problems.

The Really Fucking Irritating Vengeance Twaddle Shitty Problem

This one really bugs me. It needed that title. Don't get halfway through the synopsis and suddenly out of the blue announce your hero wants vengeance. Vengeance is a consequence, the direct result of an action. Tell me the action. Your hero wants vengeance against the church. What? Why? Did a priest sleep with his dad when he was a choirboy? Did the pope call his mum a whore? If you don't tell the readers the reason, you have to accept that we will imagine our own. Usually these are more interesting than what you were going to tell us anyway.

The Fucked-up First Sentence That Needs To Be Nuked

Most first sentences in these synopsis should just be cut. So many of them are, like, well, basically piss. Write your synopsis, and then get rid of that first sentence. It really needs to go. Seriously. Trust me.

If You Wouldn't Say It In The Book, Don't Say It About The Book

Words like "In Addition" are crap. Don't use them. Same goes for repetition.

Don't Tell Us What The Book Isn't Fucking About

Okay, really, really, really can't fucking believe what I just read. I just picked a book at random (no names, right,) and read a great interesting synopsis about the third world war. It sounded seriously awesome. Right at the end it said "...scattered pockets of survivors emerge. [This book] follows one community." If the book follows the community, the synopsis should be about the community. If the synopsis is about the war, then the war is what I will want to read about.

Names and Nouns - don't fuck them up

Just read one synopsis. [Name]finds[something][somewhere]. His father accuses the boy of playing a prank.

Who is the boy? Is it the character you just named? You know, but your readers don't. That's a key point, actually. It seems that synopsis writers often forget that the readers know nothing about the story. You do.

Make Sure the Sentences Make Sense

Gone is anonymity. Here is a direct quote. "Before running back upstairs, the tree speaks to the boy." The tree can speak and run? This is the same synopsis as the nouns and names issue above, and it had further problems. And it wasn't the worst I've read.

Okay, there's loads of other issues, but I'll only do one more.

Stop Trying So Fucking Hard To Be Enigmatic
When he/she/it investigates h/s/it discovers a secret. Seriously? They wouldn't have to investigate if there weren't secrets. What they are discovering is the answers to secrets. For fuck sake, when you write a mystery or a mysteryX and you can't make the synopsis suspenseful why would you expect me to give up my time reading 100 pages of suspense-less mystery?

Okay, detox time. Calm down, it's only a synopsis. No, wait, it's not; well, okay, it is, but what is a synopsis? When you consider it, what is the synopsis really? It's your very short marketing pitch. It's entire point is to sell your product, but with the problems above they are actively NOT selling your product. And I don't just mean they aren't attracting people. You are getting negative equity here; your synopsis is making readers who would buy your book decide not to. And that is never a good thing.

I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to rag on fellow Indie Authors. It's hard enough being the underdog facing the might of NY Publishing and saying "Yeah, your books are piss. Mine's better," without having your peers ridicule your products. But I'm not ridiculing your products, I simply want to help you market them better by writing a better pitch.

Here's what I will do. We'll rewrite a famous novel using the issues above, to help you see what we mean.

The vengeance twaddle, Names and Nouns, Enigmatic, and just plain shit

Harry Potter didn't even know he was a wizard, but now Lord Voldemort wants vengeance. The boy is at school studying magic, but Hogwarts is full of secrets, and only by getting the philosopher's stone can Harry stop Voldemort's nefarious plan to return to life.

Wtf? HP didn't know he was a wizard. Cut the word even out because character space is limited and words are tight. Why does Voldemort want vengeance? Wait, it says later Voldemort is dead. How can he have vengeance. What is going on?

Everyone knows Harry Potter, right? But if you didn't know it, would you buy that book? I wouldn't, and not just because I come from a nation of tight arses. It sounds crap. Not saying the book is crap, just the pitch.

Okay, guys, here's the deal. I was going to go on for a bit about what you can do to solve these issues, but we're running this post long, and because of the blog setup (the posting bit being narrow) long blogs are bad blogs over here.

But fear not, my wee laochs, I'll be back soon with a further blog to help those that need it. Til then, if you can't be good, be fierce.

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