Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Story: What if the data suggests you're wrong?

I've got a science background, so reviewing, evaluating and trying something new are almost second nature to me. I do it automatically, without consciously thinking. But in the writing game, I've been trying to think things through more thoroughly than I would if this was just 'for fun'. I'm trying to make this a career, so I need to look at it like a business, which means properly evaluating. Unfortunately, my data is small so proper evaluation isn't possible, so I've got to go off what I feel the data's saying...which isn't very scientific, but all I have!

I only have a few books out. They've got varying lengths because of how the story worked, or the format I wrote them for. Most are written in first person, present tense because that's what I most like to read, what I felt comfortable with, and how I wanted to write. Then I was asked to write Lana for the Housewives project and I had to write in third person, past tense. I managed with a fair bit of help :)

There's always been a lot of discussion in writers' circles about people who HATE first person and say that they'll never read a book written in that format. I've always ignored those comments as best I can. There are a lot of successful books written in first person. How could they be successful if people refused to read first person? It didn't seem possible. books have sold about 200 copies in their lifetime. Except for Lana, which has sold about double that number.

Double that number!

I know that's not a big number of books...but it's twice as many as my other books. Twice!

Lana is in third person. My first book in third person. Do you reckon people have bought it because it's in third person and nothing else I write is?

I don't know.

It's part of a series with 10 other authors, some of who have big readerships, so the extra sales could have come from there.

But what if it's because of the third person thing? What if I've been wrong all this time?

I can't tell for sure because these are small numbers, I only have a few books, and I don't know why the sales are different...but I have to give it a shot that I might have it wrong. Maybe I need to write in third person.

I have another book that's part of a multi-author series in the pipeline, and it's also in third person, plus this time I even managed to add a male perspective not just the female. But I think I'm going to write my next stand alone book in third person. Bugger that I have 25K already in first, but I have to give this a go. I have to see if I can up my sales. I'm not writing really successful breakout novels, so maybe those in the 'middle of the pack' should be sticking to what works for the masses. So I'm going to give it a go.

I'll no doubt be checking figures and reevaluating again and again and again. I'll let you know how I go. I can always go back to first person - or write each story however I feel it's needed. Let's see how we go :)


  1. Forgive me Cate -
    It's been a whole week since my last visit... it's been a very busy week! (There - that sounds like confession doesn't it?) :) But now I've caught up.
    First on 'pain' from the last phallic Friday, I've never tried it (surprise surprise). I think if hubby tried to spank me on the butt with a hairbrush in the heat of the moment I'd probably slap him right back and I don't think that's how it's supposed to work :)
    But - on the whole 1st person/ 3rd person. I don't think this is what it's about. I truly don't. Think of books like 50 Shades and Twilight? They're all first person stories. What about Hunger Games? I haven't read those so I'm not sure if they're first or third. Surely it's about the book? It has to be doesn't it? It's that bloody great 'discoverability' thing - not about first or third. Lana would have benefited from the increased pull and promotion of the various authors, I'm sure of that - and Escape put a lot into promo for it also.
    I have no idea, but I have now written 3 x third person books and 1 x first person (Fairway) and it's Fairway right now that it doing the best of anything I've ever done by far. The book I've written that isn't romance and doesn't yet have a home is a mix. First person present for one character and third person for the other 2. There are 3 POVs.
    I would say that surely it has to be write what you want to write? I know in the 3 person book you mention that possibly in an anthology, 1 book in first might be too much of a break from the other 2 in third. But if it's all your own book, you write whatever you like and if it's good (which your books always are) then it will find a way one day.
    *steps off soapbox and heads to read Wildlife Wednesday*

    1. Nothing to forgive, Miss Lily. I too have been away for a week. Sometimes you need a break ! :)

      Yeah, the spanking back isn't quite how the fetish works - but you could always start a new fetish! :)

      I don't know what the answer is. Publishing is a great mystery to me still. The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know!.

      I've not thought about writing for a week now, so I'll see what happens when I start writing again.

      Thanks for your views and for sharing your results too. It helps to discuss I think - even if we don't find an answer!

      Cate xoxo

      PS I have LOTS of new wildlife Wednesday pics...of things I don't know what they are! I went diving and snorkelling on the reef!!!

    2. I'm sure I saw on FB you said you'd been snorkeling, then there was the Kuranda markets merkin phone - wow you gotta frame that one! Hope it was a fun holiday. Look forward to more. :)