The Scribe by Mark Ilses
January 29, 2019
We have interviewed many writers on The Scribe but Linda Lingle is our first romance writer. When I asked her what keeps romance at the top of the book industry, this is what she had to say.
I think it’s because everyone loves a happily ever after, and readers are willing to travel a circuitous road of pages to get there.
Differences in culture doesn’t stop us falling in love with those of others, and history shows us that the conquered will often fall in love with their oppressors. Given that premise, do you believe that true love conquers all or that the oppressed often ignore their feelings for the sake of their country?
Interesting question. I’d like to believe that love conquers all and I’ve written two novels based on that premise. However, I don’t think that it’s true in real life. I wish it was but, alas, the world is full of unrequited lovers. As for whether or not the oppressed will ignore their feelings and turn against their lovers for the sake of their country, I’d have to say no, not if it’s true love. People may betray a mere lover, but not someone who lives in their heart.
What’s the biggest obstacle you frequently come across in your writing?
Finding the right voice for my characters. I can write a hundred pages but it’s all crap until I find the right voice.
Tell us about your writing schedule.
I need to have peace and quiet when I write and so I generally write between 9.pm and 3.am, when my husband and dog are in bed and not likely to interrupt me. That being said, I don’t follow a set schedule. I only write when the spirit moves me. I’ve tried it the other way, where I write every day for a set amount of time, but if I’m not inspired I end up with crap. Consequently I’ve learned not to sit down in front of my manuscript unless I’m anxious to transfer something from my mind’s eye to the paper.
The one thing that a critic’s said of your work that really grated, and how did you deal with it?
I haven’t had any negative reviews yet, but I have had negative feedback. In one case, when a friend observed that my male character was ‘weak’, I was able to overcome my initial shock and defensiveness and take a good hard look at how I had drawn the character. Once I did, I had to admit that she was right, I’d over-emphasized his sentimentality. It was a hard lesson to learn.
The other negative feedback I had was during the editing process. Although I agreed with most of the edits, there were a few that nettled. I took a long time to consider the editor’s viewpoint and argued my position but, in the end, I bowed to what I thought was superior experience. I still wish I had stood my ground on some of the edits, because they nag at me even to this day.
I’m a firm believer that there’s someone on this world for each of us, we just have to find them. What are your thoughts on this?
I would agree, with this caveat: we don’t just have to find them, we have to recognize them when we do. All too often we let the right one slip away, generally because we think there’s someone better out there for us.
How do you advertise your work, and do you think it’s easier now or harder to do so?
I primarily promote on social media. I’ve learned to vary my posts by dressing them up with backgrounds from Canva and Snappa, and I discovered a couple of models on Shutterstock that perfectly represent the main characters in my books. I’ve invested a considerable sum of money purchasing photographs featuring these models and I use them to advertise the books. And, of course, I have a website that I constantly change and update. However, the most effective thing I did was create a book trailer using Lumen 5. More than anything else, that trailer seems to have captured the imagination of potential readers and followers. If you’re interested, you can view it here: ‘Dear Heart-Sweet Heart’ Book Trailer.
With almost 3.4 million eBooks on Amazon, how do you make your book stand out from the others?
Without name recognition, or an unlimited promo budget, it’s almost impossible to make a new book stand out in the crowded market. I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but I haven’t found it yet.
Lastly, what would you warn new authors to watch out for when marketing?
I’ve invested money for ads on book promo sites and to boost posts on Facebook and Twitter. The results were disappointing, so I’d actually advise new authors to save their money. And they should understand that until they build a brand and start attracting actual readers, the majority of their followers on social media are going to be other authors who are trying to sell their own books. In my experience, followers have not translated into readers.
The main problem with marketing is fatigue. When your book is first published you’re all gung-ho and full of enthusiasm, but as the months go by without sales it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. I never thought that would happen to me but it did. And when it did, I allowed myself to ratchet down my promo work and explore other options for bringing my books to the attention of readers. My advice is this: don’t give up, allow yourself to rest and get a fresh perspective, then go back out there and try, try again.