Is My Novel Funny Enough To Be Lad-Lit?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while. Now that the first draft of my novel Not Famous is complete, I’m choosing to revisit it. One common description of lad-lit is that is contain a lot of humor. Lots of lad-lit I’ve read is definitely meant to make you laugh-out-loud.

If we go back to High Fidelity, Nick Hornby’s debut novel… It’s often described as comedy… but, I’m not so sure that it is. I mean, it has light, humorous moments, but it’s hardly a comedic novel like, for example, Nick Spalding’s Love… series.

The one thing I may not have developed enough in the story to make it proper lad-lit is the humor. Of course, humor can mean humorous situations or funny dialogue, and I’ve tried to sprinkle both throughout the novel, but sparingly. Off the top of my head, I can think of two scenes written with the purpose of injecting some humor. An awkward moment caused by a dog running wild, and a scene involving the return of Nick’s one-night-stand. There are jokes and probably some funny lines of dialogue here and there, but humor was not something I wove into the story as a dominant theme. The humor that does occur is for comic relief purposes… to lighten up the story while also driving the plot.

My beta-reader is now nearly half-way through my novel, and so far I’m hearing that yes, the scenes I’ve written to be funny are in fact funny. Which is really the best that I can ask for, as I’m not specifically trying to write a comedy, but a good story that isn’t overloaded with crazy antics and situations meant to tickle your funny bone. Perhaps that’s enough.

I hope so.

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The Last Promotion for ‘The Last Stop’

As I previously mentioned, earlier this week I decided to run a free Kindle promotion for my short story, The Last Stop, a paranormal thriller about six strangers on a train. In the past, I’ve tried to plan promotions in advance and get the promotion listed on various promotion websites. I didn’t do that this time, I just logged into KDP, said I wanted the book free on May 23-25, and let it do its thing. Why? Well, my novel is going through beta-reading right now, and the novel and the short story are completely different genres, and I figured promoting the short story might hurt me long term. So I simply decided a blog post and a few tweets would be enough. At best, I’ve achieve maybe 40 downloads during a free promotion.

This time I got 288 over the three days.

How did I get nearly 300 downloads? I have no idea. But, I’m happy about it. Very happy. Obviously. Why? Well, in the past few weeks I’ve been regularly blogging and tweeting—something I wasn’t doing before. That’s the only thing I can think of that would make this promotion so successful. Of course, my blog’s reach isn’t huge (I got more downloads than blog visits over the course of the promotion) and Twitter isn’t exactly huge either… but something happened.

Anyway, even before the promotions unexpected success, I decided this would be the final promotion for it, as I don’t want any genre confusion when Not Famous is finally published. So, I hope you took advantage of the free promotion while it lasted!

A Surprisingly Successful Free Promotion for THE LAST STOP

The other day I set up a three-day free promotion for my paranormal thriller short story, The Last Stop. Like most of my free promotions, I expected to move a few units a day, and top out no higher than, say 40 units. The decision to setup the free promotion was somewhat whimsical, and I didn’t even have time to submit to any Kindle promotion sites to help it out.

Yesterday, the first day of the promotion, I didn’t think much about it. But, late in the day I decided to check the ranking… and was floored to see The Last Stop ranking in the top 1,000 free books on Amazon. Holy crap! How did that happen?

As of this post, it is #701 over in free Kindle books, and #2 in Free 90-Minute SF/F Short Reads

This has never happened before. As I said, I’m used to a handful of books moving, and I’ve honestly been pretty happy about it, considering I never used any paid promotion sites to get downloads. Of course, this time I didn’t even use free promotion sites to get downloads. Speaking of downloads… how many did I get?

When I logged into KDP on Amazon, I was shocked. When I first checked last evening, there had been 155 downloads! I’m not even sure I’ve had 155 download, paid or free, ever. Downloads continued through the evening, reaching 224 for the entire day.

Today is looking pretty good so far, too. I woke up this morning to find a dozen downloads already. Crazy.

The question is, how did this happen? I have no idea. I’ve been waiting for a successful free promotion like since for a long, long time. Of course, I wasn’t thinking it would happen this time. In fact, since I’m getting closer to publishing my novel, which is a totally different genre, I wasn’t even sure I should be promoting The Last Stop anymore, but, I figured I’d do one last promotion.  I’m glad I did, but I still can’t explain how it’s doing so well when all previous promotions never performed like this.

Using Google, I couldn’t find any blog sites that took notice. I got a couple retweets on Twitter… but not until the evening. If there’s someone out there who used their reach and influence to give my short story a boost yesterday, I thank you!

‘The Last Stop’ Free on Kindle!

For the next few days my paranormal thriller short story, The Last Stop, is free on Kindle. Nick Cole, author of CTRL ALT Revolt! and coauthor of the bestselling Galaxy’s Edge series, calls it “A perfect 30 minute Twilight Zone read for your next commute on a subway. Or your last…”

Six strangers find themselves on a subway train that seems to have no destination. Defying logic and reason, this train has no beginning and no end. These six strangers will find themselves pushed to the limits, overcoming fear and suspicion of their fellow passengers as they attempt to explain the unexplainable circumstances of being trapped on an endless train while trying to find a way off before it’s too late. It’s a train ride they’ll never forget, if they survive.

The Last Stop is free through May 25.

Guest Blog: Why We Pound on the Publishing Door

The following is a guest blog from author Amie Gibbons.


amiegibbonsWhy do fiction magazines reject so many of the stories they receive? Same answer as the one promised in the title and I’m going to answer up front. It’s because we’re all still children on the playground, clamoring for approval.

You want the longer answer? Keep reading 🙂

Three years ago, I was submitting short stories to magazines, waiting for one to bite, even as I started to plan the beginnings of going indie.

I got rejection after rejection. It’s the name of the game. We write, edit, submit, and get rejected. The magazines take maybe 1% of what they receive, usually less. I liken it to getting struck by lightning. Why do they do this? Are they just jerks who enjoy leaving people out? Continue reading

Considering My Cover Design

Lately, I’ve been having second thoughts about my book’s cover design.

I love it. Completely. One-hundred percent. But, as I’ve been considering how to market my book, I’ve been wondering if the approach I chose might hurt the book.

The cover as it is now, is a photographic cover featuring the main character’s love interest in the story. It took me a long time to find the right photo that fit the character and the story. The moment I found the photo I knew it was perfect.

But as my novel gets closer to reality, I wonder if I steered the cover’s design in the wrong direction.

Let me explain, look at the following covers by authors in the same genre:

           

What do they have in common? They’re all illustrated, with a dominant color background, often using silhouetted characters. When I look for books that I might like, book covers like these typically stand out as ones for me to look further into.

Does my cover need to be similar or not? I still love the current, photographic cover… but something today is telling me an illustrated cover should be explored.

So here’s what I’m going to do. In addition to the cover I have now, I will have a second one created, similar in style as the ones above. I will ask my beta-readers first which cover best reflects the book, and if I’m still not sure, I may put it to a vote of readers of this blog.

Beta-Reader Update #2

My trusted beta-reader has some new updates for me regarding her read-through of Not Famous. She is now a third of the way through. The overall response was very positive, but the primary issue was the following:

You never gave any physical descriptions of anyone. I don’t know what the characters look like!

I was surprised. She was right! While I have mental images in my head about what the characters look like, I never really establish those images for the reader.

I will definitely fix that in my next draft.

The other issue, one I knew before even handing it off, was some issues of redundancy… some are probably a result of the seven years of writing and rewriting and not fleshing them out… others are meant to establish character quirks that I hope will be considered important enough to keep.

Of course, I was really happy when she said, “I am enjoying the story. I do want to know what will become of the relationship [between the main characters].

If I’ve managed that so far, I’m happy!