Should we read outside our favourite genre?

Well, should we? Or is it an exercise in futility?
Let’s see. Why do we read fiction?
To get entertained.
To immerse ourselves into other worlds and for that time lose ourselves into another existence.
We watch movies or plays for much the same reasons.
Now some readers are quite flexible and able to enjoy all sorts of fiction.
Are you one of those?
Most readers though have their particular favourite flavour.
I belong to that category. I’m a diehard romance reader and there’s no better way of unwinding for me than taking up a shiny new genre book and forgetting everything else for some hours. I can read murder mysteries with relish too, though the drawback is you can’t quite put one down without knowing the end. That plays havoc with your daily routine.
When taking up thrillers or other genres, I find they can be enjoyed in small doses but I tire of them quickly.

Have you felt like that? So keeping that in mind, would it better if we just don’t step out of our preferred niche? If we stick to what we enjoy most?

Am I wasting my time reading other books that most probably I won’t read with much fervour? With so many books around I don’t lack for choice. So maybe I should concentrate on enjoyment and not exploration?

Here’s my two sides of the debate. Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Pros of reading your favourite genre fiction:
Entertainment value
Well, that’s pretty much obvious.
Must for writers
To learn :
Structure
Reader expectation
What has being done What’s trending
Finding like minded friends

Cons of reading the same genre
Becoming niche You’ll lose sight of the new happenings in other genres.
Writers beware! Like a dish which is bland without spices, your reading experience is pallid without exploring other genres. Reading vastly different genres like sci fi and romance can  provide you with that twist in your fiction and new ideas with which to refresh your story. (Check out my sci fi story in collection Unexpected Valentines. Readers have really loved it.)
Bored with it We need change. We can’t eat pizza everyday. Well, maybe some of us can! My kids for instance. But getting a balanced diet is important too.

The good thing is we have crossover or combination genre fiction to tide you over the change and gently take you out of your favourite genre. Want thrills and romance? There’s romantic suspense. Paranormal historical? Fantasy romance? You name it, it’s probably been done three hundred times already.  If not, you could have a go at it.

Which is your favourite genre? Do you like to explore different genres? Are you comfortable stepping out of your favourite literature zone?

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Three Tips for Promoting Your #Writing

This post is for writers who want to promote their work and are new at it.

Promotion is a necessary evil in a writer’s profession. Like it or not, if you want the world to see your work, you have to wade in these muddy waters. If you are someone like me who dreamed of hiding in her cave and churning out words, it can be a rude fact to wake up to. Believe me, I didn’t relish talking about myself at all as necessitated for so called platform building. Talking about the book was a little easier. However, as I started to make friends and meet like-minded people during the book promotion whirlwind, I began to sort of ease into this stuff.
For those beginning to test these waters, here are my two cents worth. Hope these tips will help.

>>Write consistently
So you have a new book out. If you have been on the social media for some time,  you will be looking for interviews and guest posts to put the word out for your new release. Having a pile of blogposts to write can play havoc with your schedule. My advice: Rather than releasing ten posts in a week, space them out. Do a post a day or four a week but don’t lose sight of the fact that you are a writer. Don’t stop working on your next book.

>>Make time for social media regularly
This can seem a contradiction of the first. But the truth is, just like you can’t stop writing,  you can’t stop blogging or tweeting or updating facebook status or whatever it is that you are fond of doing in the way of social networking. The key factor here is to do it in small bites. A ten minutes twitter break while writing. Using the  half hour of post lunch relaxation for blogging. You get the drift. Fix a limit for networking and stick to it. I know it’s hard. So it’s okay to let go once in a while. We’re humans, not mechanical timers that can be set to go off at a particular time 🙂 But do try to exercise restraint 😉

>>Share others’ work and support them
The more you step out for others, the more you will receive from them in your turn. And really in the writing world there is no competition. At least my writer friends haven’t heard of it; kudos to them! 🙂 Writers are among the most supportive lot in all professions. So do try to do as much as you can for your writing buddies.

These are the skimmed cream equivalent from what I’ve been learning. More in later posts as I learn the ropes of promotion especially in the world of self publishing.

Hope you found this post helpful. Do share your own promo tips in the comments 🙂

Review versus rating

If you are a writer who has published, you must have had your brush with the reviews and ratings for your book. We all love a five star, don’t we? But it strikes me as I course over the reviews of my book that sometimes even a low rating is okay if the reviewer has appreciated your book and directed the right type of readers or readers who are likely to have a taste for that type of fiction to your book.

So I’d like to ask all authors out there – which is more important to you? A good review or a better rating? Would you be happier if you had a higher rating but the reader left some criticism that you couldn’t digest or a low rating like the situation I described above?

Review versus rating…let’s hear your take on it!

Guest post On Words and Sentences blog: Summerita Rhayne on the dos and don’ts of writing romance fiction

Nikita Jhanglani invited me to share my thoughts about the dos and don’t of writing romance fiction. Here’s my post on her blog Of Words and Sentences – Nikita Jhanglani.

Here’s an extract:

Nikita Jhanglani:
According to you what are the dos and don’ts of writing a romance novel that every aspiring author should stick to.

Summerita Rhayne:
Hi Nikita. Thank you for having me on your blog and giving me the opportunity to share my views here.

The absolute dos that a romance novel needs are these:

Two main characters. My books are M/F romances so they involve a male and female but that is up to the author.
A happy ever after. That is a must. In all romances, things must be resolved and the couple must confess their love and the desire to be with each other forever. Nowadays, a happy-for-now is replacing the HEA in some lines but speaking of personal preference, I go for the mushy endings, both in reading and writing romances. The happy-for-now mostly works if the story is in series form.
Emphasis on emotional conflict. Romance novels are character driven and not plot driven. There’s nothing more off-putting in a romance than characters jumping from one event to another without rhyme and reason. What I find gripping in a romance is the emotional ups and downs. The core question in any fiction is how a character chooses a particular path instead of another when the personal stakes are high but it’s asked most eloquently in romances.

The don’ts are all relative in my point of view. You need them according to the publisher you are working on. Some publishers require Alpha males who are filthy rich so that the fantasy element is fulfilled. Some will require you make the heroine beautiful so the attraction-at-first-sight trope is fulfilled. The list is endless.

Here are the don’t s which I follow:

Use secondary characters sparingly. In romance novels, secondary characters are distracting. Especially if you’re writing a novella upto say 50k words, you just don’t have space to do justice to your main characters let alone complicating it with others. However, secondary characters add fun to the story and provide support to your main cast…Read the rest here

Thanks to Nikita again for hosting me.

Do share your views on the post, folks!

Guest post by Sundari Venkatraman – Tips on being a self-publisher and being successful 

Today I have author Sundari Venkatraman on my blog. She has recently released her new book ‘The Runaway Bridegroom’ on Amazon which is her third self published book. Please welcome her for her chat about how to be a self published author and be successful in this tough market.

Take it away, Sundari! 🙂

…..

Thank you Summerita Rhayne for asking me about my favourite subject!

As I have mentioned during many interviews, I had tried to get my books into traditional publishing for 13 years. Later, I managed to publish one book through Indireads. But even before Double Jeopardy, I had four and a half books to my name and had published all of them as weekly series on my blog. Luckily for me, Indireads refused to publish these books for whatever reason. When Rubina Ramesh suggested self-publishing them on Amazon, I jumped at the chance. Exploring the option with help of Rasana Atreya’s blog on self-publishing, I found that it’s a very simple process where I needed to invest in a cover and editing only. After that, all I had to do was upload the book and market it.

 

On being successful, I think it was nothing short of a divine plan. I am a fan of social media and have always been active on my blog (Flaming Sun has 5,91,008 hits as I am writing this); facebook, twitter and google+. Having worked for a couple of websites under the Network 18 umbrella, what I realise is that the only way to promote yourself via social media is to promote others.

 

  • Visit blogs and post “relevant” comments (believe me, people know when you post something inane without reading the article)
  • Share others’ posts when you find them relevant or interesting (just ‘like’ing is not enough; that does not help spread the word)
  • “Shout” about other authors’ works (you can be truthful and talk about those that you genuinely found interesting but take that extra few seconds to actually spread the word). When your twitter account is connected to facebook, the post automatically gets tweeted.
  • Create an author page on Amazon and encourage your friends to ‘like’ the page
  • Add all book reviews that you have written to Amazon page. The reviewer ranking works to an extent. I prefer to add on Amazon sites of all countries as the reviewer ranking varies with each one.
  • Most importantly, get yourself a blog tour. I get mine done through The Book Club and believe me when I say that sales soar after the tour. It’s a great help as many bloggers get together to review, spotlight and interview the author. Then there are those guest posts that are gaining popularity. People are keen to know what makes the author tick and a one-question plan works better for blog readers than a lengthy interview.

And the rest, as they say, is history J

…..

Thanks for sharing your views and experiences, Sundari. It’s lovely to know about your positive and encouraging attitude and I’m with you on this that authors helping authors can multiply visibility for all involved.

This post is a part of the tour for Sundari’s book, ‘The Runaway Bridegroom’

 

 

 

 
THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM
by
Sundari Venkatraman
 
 

Blurb

 
Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.
 
Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about  Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?
 
Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance. 
 
When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know what she wants? 
 
Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness? 
 
Buy @
 




Meet the Author
 
 
Sundari Venkatraman has authored four ebooks so far, The Runaway Bridegroom being the latest. Three of her books, namely, The Malhotra Bride; Meghna and The Runaway Bridegroom have all been self-published on Amazon under the banner of Flaming Sun. All three books are regularly seen on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers’ Contemporary Romances list. 
 
A great fan of Mills & Boon romances over the past four decades, Sundari has always believed in ‘Happily Ever Afters’ and all her books promise happy endings. 
 
The Runaway Bridegroom talks about ‘Child Marriage’, an evil perpetrated even in the 21st century in a country like India. While a large number of the country’s population live in the cities and lead modern lives, there are many who follow old customs unaware of the negative impact on the lives of the younger generation. 
 
The book is a work of fiction and of course does not preach. The author has but made an attempt to bring this ancient custom to the eyes of the modern public around the world while bringing a simple solution to the protagonists, the victims of child marriage. 
 
“I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I loved writing it,” says Sundari Venkatraman. 
 
You can stalk her @
         
Check out the Blog Tour Schedule Here 
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This Tour is Hosted by 

 Blog hosted by Summerita Rhayne, author of sensual romance, Against All Rules

Guest post by Author Aditi Chopra – Plot vs Characters #writingtips

Today I have author Aditi Chopra on my blog, talking about the importance of plot versus characters in writing. Please welcome her.

Take it away, Aditi!

……

As a writer, do you develop plot first or your characters? For some authors, plot is very important whereas others spend a lot of time on character development. I am fairly new in fiction writing profession, but if I look back at my stories so far, I have invariably always spent my initial time on character development. For each of my stories, I always honed in on the main character – her profession, her needs, desires and personality traits. I asked myself why a reader would find this person interesting. I then went on to develop the appropriate plot.

I believe that as readers, we always invest in people (characters). There are some characters that we completely identify with and there are some characters that we can’t connect with. But invariably what intrigues a reader is the character. If the readers like a character, they will invest time in reading the story.

This doesn’t mean that the plot is not important, it most certainly is. As writers, we definitely need to spend appropriate research and time in plotting. But if you were to ask my preference, I do spend more time or my initial time in character development. If I can bring out my character’s personality in my plot, I am happy with my story.

……

Thank you, Aditi! I agree with you one hundred per cent. Relatable characters or at least characters whose motivation you can understand, are the life and breath of a story. Wish you all the best in your writing! 🙂

About the Author

Aditi Chopra writes NRI (Non-Resident Indian) fiction and non-fiction books. Her fiction stories are rooted in Indian tradition and yet very modern. You can find her at www.aditichopra.com

Tips on #MarketingYourBook – A Guest Post by Adiana Ray

Today Adiana Ray, author of Rapid Fall, is on my blog with some advice about how to market your book.

Take it away, Adiana!

Not really sure if I am the right person to comment on this as I am still taking baby steps myself. I do believe that marketing is a very, very key element in the success of your book what I find frustrating is the lack of empirical evidence showing which tool really works. There are all these self styled pundits on the internet who promise to show you ‘nirvana’ on Amazon but they are singularly lacking in actually linking back increased sales to any step that has been taken besides saying you need to drum up interest on the internet. It is extremely difficult to actually deconstruct the eyeballs/ footfalls or even actual wallets to come up with who is buying your book and why? Without any idea of the dynamics of the target market, resultant strategies are conjecture at best.

Having ranted, there are a few points I would put forward:

Firstly, treat your book as a product; do not get personal about it. Go about selling it as you would say a hotel or restaurant service after all at the end of the day what you are selling is entertainment.

Secondly mixed media seems to be the way to go in promoting your book. You have to get attention and divert it to your product. I think Amish has shown us how successful that can be.

Keep it simple. Don’t get carried away by your own eloquence on the flip side do not talk down to your would be readers either. If your message/ promo/ snippet is too long or too complex there are going to tune off. You are just a click away from oblivion.

Finally, you are going to be bombarded with ways to promote your book on the internet. Don’t waste your time and resources by running after too many. Zero in on your possible mix and be consistent in staying with these tools/avenues/ elements on a regular basis for at least a few months to see if they work. If they don’t, tweak it a bit and move on.

 

Thank you, Adiana. I agree everyone has their own preference for social media and if it’s not working, one should concentrate on what one enjoys doing rather than forcing things.

Great having you here Adiana.

Hope you found Adiana’s advice useful too. Have any marketing tips of your own to share? 🙂

This post is a part of blog tour hosted by The Book Club

 

Rapid Fall

 

by Adiana Ray
 

 

The Blurb
  Sonia and JD’s tempestuous attraction is as stormy as the rapids at Rishikesh. Not even a dip in icy waters can douse the sparks that fly when they are around each other.

JD’s recent divorce, however, has left him commitment phobic and bitter, and he doesn’t seem to want more than a physical relationship. At heart, Sonia is conservative; can she bring herself to accept a modern ‘live-in’ relationship, or will she push him away with her demands for a commitment?
 
Buy @
 
Watch It 

 

Meet the Author

 

The Author’s Thoughts

 

‘Sixteen and counting’ are the number of cities that I have lived in so far. I like to think of myself as a ‘Metronaut’. The myriad city cultures, the food, the hustle and bustle, the people are all elements of life that I thrive on and if you can have an ‘Astronaut’ why not a ‘Metronaut’ after all there are so many more of us out there?I believe in the Zen tenet that every situation has a 1000 truths. It helps me write and it definitely helps when I am dealing with my two children. I like reading, I like cooking, I like travelling and I love sitting like a mindless zombie in front of the TV and if anybody says anything to that….Aha! a 1000 truths come in very handy.I also write under a pen name M.X Steele. Why? My daughter thought Adiana Ray was too boring a name.

I do hope you enjoy reading all my work because I believe passionately that though we writers love pontificating and are totally in love with whatever we write; at the end of it all it is the readers that matter and above all what we write has to be ‘entertaining’.

 
You can stalk her @
                  
Check out The Book Club Tour Schedule 

 

This Tour is Hosted by 

 

This post was hosted by Summerita Rhayne, author of Against All Rules.