Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gossip- The more personal the better

There are certain people we want people to talk about. And those are the people in our book. If our characters are truly memorable people will talk them up. And if they are truly memorable their recognition will draw more readers. Think James Bond. Most people know what he drinks and where he;s from. Many people have heard of Rambo, who even though he is known from the movies he started out as a character in a written story. And many of us familiar with urban fiction remember Winter Santiaga.

How do we make our characters stand out? Simple, make them appear larger than life.

1. Our characters should be strong willed: They should go for what they want and not be victims. They shouldn't be just sitting around awaiting for things to happen to them. They should be making things happen. And they should be saying things that make readers wished they could have said them.

2. Our characters should have larger than life feelings and thoughts: this is done in many ways. Like real people they should have conflicting personality traits. Generous with family, but stingy and conniving with business competitors. Or how about generous with customers but stingy with family. A character like this would stick out.

But also our characters should be lovable. the fact of the matter is the better we know people the more inclined we are to like them. And the best way people can get to know your character is to see him in action,. Show him reacting to other people and doing things. Let us see who he is. 

One of the best books I've seen on this is: Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Mass. It's also good to read novels with characters you love again. This time read them as a writer to figure out why these characters are so loveable. Because if you can make people love the characters in your book, you are on your way to taking your writing to the next level.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I was asked by my nephew what made my writing different from all the other black writers out there. My answer was both simple and complex at the same time.

I told him that my writing was a fusion of Literary Urban Fiction. He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. He knew what Urban Fiction was, but literary sounded kind of white to him.

So I broke it down even further. I write Urban Fiction stories about black folks with jobs. He looked at me like I was talking crazy. You see, my nephew is a street dude. His life is filled with the stuff that most Urban Fiction writers and gangster rappers talk about.

"Life in the hood ain't about dudes with jobs," he said.

I laughed and looked him in the eye. "Where do I live?" I asked him.

He laughed and said you live right here in the hood, so you should know better..."

He started to laugh. The realization came to him that not only did I live in the hood, but I had been on the same job for over twenty years. And like most people in the hood I wasn't born with the job.

What I was trying to make him understand was that when many people think hood or Urban Fiction they think of a certain lifestyle of certain people. They tend to forget about the majority of people who live in the hood. We may break some of the drug, gambling and vice laws; but for the most part we are law abiding citizens who go to work. Well I tell those stories.

My first book, "God Helps Those...by Alan Cramer was written seven years ago. I called my self the New Voice of Urban Fiction back then. Not realizing at the time that I was starting something new. Something I now call Literary Urban Fiction.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Stalker by Alan Cramer

Brutal, horrifying and shocking.

That’s what they’re saying about Alan Cramer’s newest story. The Stalker is about a woman being stalked and attacked by a vicious psychopath. Nikita Jones first day as a school teacher ends with her being stalked and tormented by a sexual predator of the worst kind. Worse than your worse nightmare. This story will make you scared of strangers and want to sleep with the lights on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why your books won't sell

This post is a copy of a post I put up on amazon. it was in response to a couple of authors who complained that their ebooks weren't selling.

Like any other business, if you didn't get in on the ground floor, you are going to find it hard. Many of the best selling authors have many books. No one should expect to write one book and sell millions. It's not going to happen like that any more.

All the indie people who have sold a million on kindle have many books.

And this is a business. If your books are only for sale on kindle that might be another problem. Word of mouth sells books. Amazon is crowded, you might have to go some place else to get noticed and read by strangers who are the best promoters of your books. i say books because you have to write more than one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are you a writer or an author?

I recently read a post on Dean Wesley Smith's blog. It was about the difference between being a writer and being an author. To put it simply he states; a writer is one who is writing, but an author is one who finished the book and is trying to sell it.

I kind of hate writing, but I love being an author. In other words I hate writing, but I love having wrote.

As my number of finished books pile up, I feel a sense of pride. I like those monthly royalty checks from amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The author in me feels quite proud.

But author's tend to rest on their laurels. I see other authors trying to sell their books and getting stuck on that book. The book sells or it doesn't sell, but they just keep on pushing that ONE book. In other words they stop writing.

This seems to be a bigger problem for independent writers and authors. I guess people with publishing contracts are forced to keep on writing. But us self published types often loose motivation after one or two books if they don't sell a million copies or downloads.

But when I look at the independent success storeis like Amanda Hockins or John Locke one thing remains clear. They wrote. They had more than two books written before they made it big.

I was going to write some more on this subject but I'm reminded that I have another book I really need to be working on right now...

Keep writing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Self Published African American Authors: Has Equality Finally Come?

Amazon.com’ has forever changed the publishing game. Their kindle format allows African American author’s inexpensively to publish their own books and distribute them world wide. It used to cost thousands of dollars to print books, now independent books like “God Helps Those” by Alan Cramer have the same access as the big publishing houses.

Amazon.com’s  kindle format allows books like “God Helps Those” to be read on personel computers, Ipads/Ipods, BlackBerry and Android smart phones. Not only is distribution world wide, but books like “God Helps Those” can now be held in the palm of your hand.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If you can't read...you can't write

It's been said that authors should read more than they write. One main reason, reading well edited books and stories helps you learn how to use language correctly and effectively. Often you can tell how well read a writer is just by reading his writing.

One reporter used Sarah Palin's book as an example. Even though he felt she was ditsy, he felt her writing showed that she had been well schooled and read a lot.

If you want to write Urban Fiction and haven't read Iceberg Slims stuff you are missing a great opportunity. This is the first writer of urban fiction and has sold over six million books. his first book, Pimp was eventually translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and Greek.

Some may feel his stuff isn't like what they are writing today and they are right. He wrote books that sold by the millions. He did things that no other writer was doing at the time. Most of us can't do that because we only read one type of book and basically copy it to be on the safe side.

But if we read other types of fiction, we might be able to stretch past our writing comfort zones and produce new classics. But it starts with reading.