Be True to Yourself!

Here is a partial comment from an Amazon reader about a book that has over 200 five star reviews. “By chapter 2 this book felt like it was written by a very young writer, lacking the experience that seasoned authors have. The story was plot driven, and there was no depth to the characters.”

Someone once said of writers, “You have to get through a certain amount of life to reach the point of being a believable author. You have to smoke too many cigarettes, drink too much whiskey, and have failed in a certain number of romances before you can really write.”

There is, in my opinion, a lot of truth in that. How can you write about real pain if you have never experienced it? How can you write of love and obsession if you have never lost a true love? How can you write about hate, fear, personal demons, failure, or success if you have never felt those emotions? How can you write about darkness if you have never seen the light?

Okay, the book described above had 200 five-star ratings. That means that a lot of people bought it and, apparently read it. What does that say about the reader?

It takes two people to make any piece of writing “popular” if that is the real desire of the author. It takes a writer who writes on the LEVEL of a particular reader. If, indeed, this book described above lacked depth of character and was still a best-seller it was because the buyers didn’t give a crap about the characters and just wanted a quick and easy read.

Every writer to be somewhat successful has to find a “niche.” Something different from the plethora of books out there to choose from.  James Patterson, arguably one of the most successful writers is a “formula” author. Pick up any Patterson book and plug in different names and you will have the same book as all the others. Many people like that. Danielle Steele is a “formula” author who has a staff who writes “her” books because she has taught them her formula. I hate to generalize, but I will say that ALL romance writers are formula writers. (My grandma LOVED romance novels.) There are others I could mention, but you get the idea. I’ve personally known one of those authors whom I met when I was a young man. He was quite successful in a day when profanity wasn’t allowed in books.

Let’s be frank. There are some readers who are much like the children who never tire of seeing the same cartoon over and over and over. They like knowing what is going to happen. I don’t know the psychology of that phenomenon but we all know it is true.

However, let me be clear. DO NOT for the sake of “sales” or “reviews” attempt to copy formula writers. Every author must be true to himself or herself. You are who you are. You are the sum of your experiences, not the life of someone else. Whether you sell one book or ten thousand books – whether you turn out a book every month or one every five years IT DOESN’T MATTER! If you try to cheat on yourself you will fail. Write YOUR book or YOUR story, not someone else’s. And write it as if you were painting the original Mona Lisa.

About johnbeckmanbooks

John Beckman, a retired meteorologist, was known as “Johnny the Weatherman” in a career that spanned forty years. He forecasted the weather on WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, at WFGA-TV in Jacksonville, FL, and for thirty-three years in Atlanta at WSB-TV and WXIA-TV. Also a well published author Beckman now devotes full time to writing fiction. He currently has several eBooks on Amazon.com, "Tropical Knights," first in a series of adventure/mysteries about a sailor and his lovely CIA cohort on a mission to save America. Now available the sequel, and second in the series: "Tropical Daze." The third Jack & Amy adventure is "Tropical Rage" which became available on 30 April 2014. All of his books are highlighted on http://johnbeckmanbooks.com and available from Amazon.com. . .
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