Today YA author Jade Varden joins us – here are her tips on writing and marketing.
Jade – over to you.
Advice to newbies: Read a lot. Find out what sort of stories you like. Re-read your favorites. Read, read, read.
Your best and worst marketing tips: Market your book by giving people something they can use. What does your book offer them? What questions will it answer? Will they laugh or cry or think because of it? Think about that, and you’ll know how to market it. Don’t market your book by saying “buy this book.” Be more creative than that.
What YOU look for in a good book. I look for a strong main character that I can feel something about. Good or bad, I want to feel something for the character.
The importance of good and consistent characterisation.A character has to stay true to their established personality, but character growth is also important in books.
How to find beta readers. Use forums to find them. This is a great resource for connecting with other authors and readers.
Please tell us a little about yourself. (A couple of lines.) Lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself with my writing. I’ve been trying to branch out into new genres, and I’m really enjoying it so far.
On average how many books do you read a month? What genres do you enjoy? I don’t really have much time to read beyond doing my own proofing. I love the YA genre, but I’m eclectic. I read mystery, horror, romance, anything that looks good.
When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot? Which factors do you overlook? (if any). I look for character and plot development. Pacing is also incredibly important. I don’t want it to be too slow, but not too fast either.
What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? I don’t think they should do it.
Do you feel it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review, is this a factor which influences your choice? No and no.
A lot of readers comment about a book with all 4 or 5 star reviews and nothing below as being suspicious? What do you think about this? I think people probably do this a lot. It’s much easier not to write any text, right?
Do you give negative reviews? I give constructive criticism. It has been interpreted as negative in the past.
Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? If the plot sounds interesting, I’ll definitely go outside my comfort zone.
Are your characters based on real people? All of them are based on real characteristics that I’ve seen in people, but only very rarely is one of my characters wholly based on a real person. I pick and choose from people I know and even strangers.
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but that’s an amazing idea.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? Research is huge when it comes to writing a book, and you need to do as much as you need to do to answer all the questions your readers might have. I don’t necessarily enjoy research because it is time-consuming. I look for credible resources only. Encyclopedias, university websites, newspapers. Don’t use Wikipedia.
Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I absolutely do. Indie authors have taken an alternative path, and anything different is suspect.
Do you read work by self-published authors? Absolutely!
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Read. Connect with readers. Edit.
What are your views on authors offering free books? It’s a great way to promote.
Do you have a favourite movie? Gone With the Wind
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I’m afraid of the shower.
What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I love, love, love ebooks. It’s just so easy.
When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away? The blurb. I’ll always flip a cover over to get to the blurb. If I see any errors in the blurb, I’m out.
Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?I don’t, because I want to avoid spoilers. However, I will look at general ratings and if a book has a ton of really low ratings I might think twice.
Do you “judge a book by its cover?” I do up to a point. I’ll only turn away from a book if the cover is really poorly done.
Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books? I usually don’t know much about the author personally when I go to read one of their books.
If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be? Gone With the Wind, Flowers in the Attic, Valley of Horses.
Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? I don’t think there’s any question that they are.
Some readers believe all 4 and 5 star reviews on a book must be fake. What are your thoughts on this? I think that sounds ridiculous.
About the Author
Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not crafting mysteries in her books, Jade also blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish. Jade currently makes her home in Louisville, Kentucky, where she enjoys reading and reviewing indie books by other self-published authors. Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. Visit Jade’s blog at http://jadevarden.blogspot.com/ for reviews, writing tips, self-publishing advice and everything else you ever wanted to know about reading and writing books.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JadeVarden