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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Being AWOL and Why I won't re-publish my book.

Yes, Yes, I know. It has been over a year since I have typed anything on this blog. In that time, I have been focusing on my family and drifting aimlessly through daily life. I apologize for neglecting this blog, and I promise to do better. I think I've said that before, though.

My book, THE ACOLYTE has seen resounding success. If you consider the fact that a few people actually read it and said they liked it to be "success." I enjoyed writing the book, and I still love the story, but I admit that I made errors along the way. The first error was impatience. I was in such a hurry to publish, that I did not properly proofread. I did one round of editing and that was all. (Yes, I know. That is rule number 1.) Enter ego. "I'm a good writer," I thought, "Surely it is fine." WRONG. My book is rife with errors, mostly made by spellcheck, but unacceptable, regardless.

Second, even if it were edited to perfection, I didn't have the patience enough to find an agent. (See a theme forming?) So, I self-published on Amazon and Smashwords. In hind sight, maybe not the best idea, especially considering the errors from impatience trap #1.

I could take the book down, edit it, and re-publish, but I am not going to at this point. Why? I am taking the advice of my wife who, trying to get me out of a funk, told me to think of it as a lesson learned and it was time to move on. So, I will leave it as it is, a colossal series of mistakes, as a lesson to myself that I am NOT as good as I think I am, and maybe to other writers who may think the same way I did. (Of course, if anyone wants to edit it just for the credit, I'll be happy to talk with them. See how lazy I am?)

So, while I do have another book in the works, for now I will not be diving in head first as I did with THE ACOLYTE. I love to write, but for the time being, I will be focusing most of my efforts on writing to help support my family, instead of trying to realize a childhood dream of being the next Stephen King. As to what this blog will become is anyone's guess. Most likely ramblings of whatever my half-insane mind spews out. What it won't be is a marketing tool for a half-assed novel. (Unless a budding editor takes me up on my offer above.) I guess we will see.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Free Book!

My novel, THE ACOLYTE, is free on Amazon this weekend. So, grab a copy and tell all your friends. Enjoy!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Here It Is!

My first novel, THE ACOLYTE, is now available on Amazon! I hope that you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I also have another short story out, so when you get a chance, check them out and leave a review.


I know that I have been slacking with the blog, and I promise to do better. I am happy to say that I did get several responses from my request that you guys send me some of your own work to showcase. I have several poems and a short story that I will put up soon. You guys are awesome and talented people. Really, one of the poems in particular blew me away with it's dark and gruesome subject matter. I'm sure that you will all love it too once I post it.

Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me, and encouraged me while I finished the novel, I hope that it lives up to your expectations. As always, comments and complaints are always welcome here. Have a safe and fun Memorial Day. Remember to hydrate. We don't want to have to go back to work hung over!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Interview with Monica Leonelle and a Big Giveaway!

Author Monica Leonelle is doing a blog tour to promote her new novel, Socialpunk, and is making a stop here at Bartleby's Bookshelf to be interviewed by yours truly! Not only that, but she is doing an awesome giveaway, which you can enter below. (Trust me, you will want to.) I received an advanced copy of Socialpunk, and while I am not going to review it here, I will say that it is definitely worth reading and I will be one of the first in line when the second book in the series comes out. So, without further ado, here is my interview with Monica. Enjoy,  and don't forget to sign up for the giveaway.




Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire (http://proseonfire.com) and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit (http://proseonfire.com/free-writer-toolkit).










What author has had the biggest influence on your own writing?

C.S. Lewis has had a huge influence on my writing, especially for my Seven Halos series. The way he incorporates his Catholic religion into his children's stories is interesting.   I really enjoyed the Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well, and the concept will be the basis for a serialized fiction series I'm doing, tentatively titled The Seven Seas.

For the Socialpunk series, I was heavily influenced by Cory Doctorow, Chris Anderson, Seth Godin, and Kevin Kelly, who talk a lot about copyright and other social and tech-related topics.

 What is your writing process like? 

I'm a "burst of energy" type of person rather than a "little every day" type of person. So I will write a whole book in a week or two, then go back and edit it all in a week or two. And then I won't write as much for the next few weeks. On an average day I probably write a couple thousand words, during a book writing session I write closer to 5000 words a day.

I'm also a huge outliner. I will outline my entire book by chapter, then by scene, then by paragraph. I think this is essential for writing an addictive book or a "page-turner." It's also essential for writing a ton of words very quickly. When I edit, I have a list of about 20 things I edit for that pertain to marketing psychology. For example, one of the things I edit for is tension, or whether I'm opening and closing plots in every scene. I think most writers would do better in the marketplace if they edited for marketability. Yes, line editing and beautiful prose can help, but really, The Hunger Games isn't exactly great writing. Yet the books are an international phenomenon. Because it's a great story with lots of marketability.

I'm an editor myself (specializing in the marketability of books) but I also run my book by an editor... it's just the right thing to do. You can't rely on self-editing alone.

I'm really big on creating fascinating hooks. If you are a writer you can find out if your first 1000 words are hooking here: http://proseonfire.com/post/20340477218/prose-on-fire-first-1000-free-email-consultation.

 What are your thoughts on the new Indie Publishing craze? Will traditional publishers ever be really eliminated?

There are two types of authors—writers and entrepreneurs. The former flock to traditional publishing and the latter flock to indie publishing. It's silly to think that traditional publishing will ever be eliminated; that's like asking if car washes will ever be eliminated. Yeah, you can wash your car in your garage. That doesn't mean you want to.

I am currently on the fence as to whether I should self-publish, or go the traditional route. What advice would you give someone in my position?
  • Are you an entrepreneur or a writer? What I mean by that is, do you want to do the marketing and publishing work yourself? Do you want to build an audience yourself? If you do, going indie will appeal to you.
  • Do you prefer to work within systems or do you prefer to make systems? Querying, waiting for an agent, waiting for a publisher—all those are part of a system. If you would rather plow right ahead and do things exactly the way you want, indie publishing is for you.
  • Are you patient or impatient to see your book published? The former is traditional publishing while the latter is indie.
  • Do you need the money or do you have money to invest? If you need the advance, you should go the traditional publishing route. Though, the advances seem to be getting slimmer anyway. If you're willing to invest the money for a greater payoff in the future, try the indie route.
There's also the small matter of getting accepted to traditional publishing to begin with... indie has no gatekeeper. Though, if you can't get accepted to traditional publishing, you probably won't do as well with indie anyway.

When you're not writing, you are an authority figure in the marketing community. Should writers learn marketing even if they plan to go the traditional route? Won't the publishing companies handle that?

The publishing companies don't typically handle that, unless they've given you a huge advance or you have a track record. Every once in awhile they bet big on author, but not as often as you'd think. So writers should learn marketing because they are either going the indie route or they are under fire to sell through on their advance with a traditional publisher. You can learn more about marketing your writing with my Free Writer Toolkit here: proseonfire.com/the-free-writer-toolkit.

More importantly, writers should inject their marketing directly into their manuscripts. Writers often think of marketing as this separate thing from writing, but it's not at all. 80-90% of books are sold through word-of-mouth and most of the marketability of a book is right there in the manuscript. So even if you are going the traditional route, if you are serious about getting published you should hire an editor to go through your book and see how marketable it is. Traditional publishers are looking for marketable books. It's a business and they need to make money.

Why should my blog readers buy Socialpunk?

The book is original and fast-paced and like nothing you've ever read before. If you enjoy stuff like The Matrix, Inception, Minority Report, or the Terminator movies, you might like this book too.




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Friday, April 6, 2012

Patience

Patience is not a virtue that currently I possess in large quantities. When I want things, I want them now. Not now, yesterday. I have, on more than one occasion, paid more on shipping for something that I've bought than the item actually costs. Just because I want it the next day. Yeah, I'm that bad. I know that this is a fault, and I accept that. But now that I find myself waiting to hear from literary agents, my impatience is causing me a great deal of distress. There is nothing I can do to speed up this process. No "overnight delivery" fee that I can pay to make them answer.

That is why I am glad that read this post over at Jeff Goins' blog: Patience Is a Writer's Most Important Virtue
It is a great post by Suzannah Windsor Freeman, author of The Busy Mom's Guide to Writing. It is exactly what I needed to read today. If you suffer from a lack of patience, I highly recommend you read it. It will put things more into perspective, at least it did for me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Either Agents are Liars or You Are Not Ready

Okay, so maybe "liar" is a strong word. Exaggerators? Maybe.

As you know, I am editing my novel which is going well, but definitely more work than I thought. (I forgot that I attempted to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to write a few chapters. They will have to be completely re-written.) And it's kind of boring. I don't like it. So, in order to keep my spirits up, I allow myself to research agents after I finish a block of editing. It's like a reward. Yes, I find the research fun. It gets my hopes up and makes me feel like I am closer to realizing my dream.

Of course, part of that research entails finding out what the agents want to see and what they don't. I get the query letter. Having some business experience, I understand the reason for it and the need for it's brevity. I am comfortable with the format. It is, simply, a business letter. I get it. What I don't get, and honestly find hard to believe, is the number of reports by agents of receiving anything other than even a semi-professional letter. Every book, blog, and interview I have read talks about agents receiving queries on colored paper, hand-written queries, printed in crazy inks and fonts, and formatted in unusual ways. Even on things such as Post-It notes. They make out like they get them all of the time. Really? All the time? I can understand the occasional oddity, but on a consistent basis?

Either agents are exaggerating the number and frequency of these, or there are a lot of people who are just not ready to be professional writers.

Yes, I said you are not ready. If you send an agent anything other than a well-written, printed query then you are just. not. ready. Like I said, nearly EVERYTHING I have read about landing an agent warns against this, so even a half-assed search should stop you from sending your query on lime green paper, printed in purple ink, and sprayed with grandma's perfume. You wouldn't send out a resume or a legal document out that way. (I hope.)

 It's just hard for me to believe that we live in a world where "Mike the Situation" is one of the highest ranked Google searches, but you didn't even bother to Google "How to get an agent?" before you sent out your query? How did you even know where to send it? You must not have put that much effort into your research. Unless, you think the rules don't apply to you. Either way, you are not ready to write professionally. And if your not in it to be a professional, then why bother with an agent in the first place?

So, which one is it? Deep down I hope the agents are telling the truth. (It would cut my competition.) I am not an agent, though,  and don't have one to ask. This is just what I think. Any agent, or writer who had a query like that work for them, is welcome and encouraged to comment.




Friday, March 16, 2012

My First Guest Post

Okay, so, you remember the website I told you about? The one with all of the cool info on landing an agent and other writerly stuff? Yes, the one I won the 2012 Guide to Literary Agents from, The Agent Challenge.  (On it's way and will probably be in my grubby paws by the time you read this!) Well, I was perusing over there this morning and what do I find? ME. (Yay!) My first guest post! Go check it out, I'll wait. The Agent Challenge: Death by Editing.

Being my first time, I was understandably nervous. I stressed and second guessed myself the whole way, which come to think of it, is not really that unusual. It turned out to be a really cool experience, and I had fun. Deidre was gentle and the process was smooth. I did, however, send her the post with a title that was way too wordy, but we (okay, she) turned it around and it is now infinitely better. Lesson learned. Put more thought into your title. And since I am trying to come up with a title for my novel, it was a lesson learned at just the right time.

Serendipity. Again. If things keep going this way, I'll start to think there might be something to this "positive thinking" thing. Now, go.  Get back to work.  I've got a lot more editing to do.