Monday, September 07, 2009

Going Digital

Contemplating doing something new (for me, at least). Have a novel that I'm considering putting on Amazon's Digital Platform. This allows authors to set a price and have their work available for download on Kindle.

More to come on that. I've been reading their website and I'm intrigued.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I've Learned

I sold my first book nearly five years ago. I'm asked on a fairly regular basis by aspiring writers to judge an idea they have for a book. Or sometimes they want the inside track on how to get published. Sorry, but there is no inside track. I don't have it, and no other author does. But I can share what I've learned in my short time in the business.

1. There's a lot of luck involved. The right book to the right editor/agent at the right time can make all the difference. There is hard work and talent involved in making something like the Harry Potter series or Twilight a phenomenon, but luck plays a huge part, too. Making millions in this industry (or hundreds of millions) is the equivalent of hitting the Powerball lottery.

2. Ignore writing books. That's right. Keep walking past the writing reference section in your local Borders. With the exception of Writer's Market and a good style/grammar guide, leave them alone. Why shouldn't you buy the latest writing book that tells you how to write a megabestseller? Read too many books on writing and you start to suffer from what golfers call "paralysis by analysis". Outline. No, don't outline. Never open a book with weather. Never write on Tuesday during a solar eclipse. Pretty soon instead of writing you're staring at a blank page, frozen. The best writing books are the novels you have on your bookshelf. Read them. Learn from them. Figure out what the author did and how he did it.

3. The world at large doesn't give a shit that you wrote a book. Store clerks will be indifferent. Customers in a bookstore will get whiplash trying not to make eye contact with an author holding a booksigning. Must not look. Will be forced to speak with author. And as for book signings, they are mostly a waste of time. May the self-promotion gods not strike me down for that last statement. Unless you are a well known author with a large following (or can bribe your friends and family into coming), you'll probably spend most of the time at a table. Waiting. That's not to say you shouldn't promote. Write a blog. Meet other writers. Get online and participate in forums. Put excerpts and free stories on your website.

4. In the name of all that is holy, don't get in it for the money. For a first time, mass market paperback deal, you can expect between $2500 and $5000 for an advance. And around an 8% royalty rate. Write because you can't stop telling stories. Because you're always composing something in your head, turning things into plots, playing "what if." Keep writing because you love it, and if you make money, great. If not, be glad you've been blessed with a talent and use it.

5. Don't quit. There'll be rejection. Lots of it. Even after you're published. Keep writing. Always.


Take the above advice for what it's worth. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Latest Novel

Long time since my last update. My latest novel is done, after a round of revisions. Sending it to my agent today. If all goes well, hopefully I'll have a book out next year.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friend

Nobody died.  I was thinking about one of my favorite authors and how much I used to love his work. When I first discovered this writer, I went out and picked up all of his titles and pretty much devoured them. 

Last week I checked his most recent book out of the library. I read ten pages and had to put the book down. The description felt forced. The author was trying too hard. The relationship between the male and female leads consisted of little more than cutesy dialog.  I wondered what had happened to one of my favorite writers.

I'll give his next book a try.  But somewhere along the line things seem to have changed. This author's creepy, keep-you-up-all-night thrillers are a thing of the past. The latest book wasn't the same.  It was like seeing an old friend after a number of years and finding you've drifted apart. Anyone else experience this with an author?

On the flip side, are there any new authors you've read and are excited about? Someone whose work you just have to read?

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Ending

Finished writing the ending of my latest project (which is actually a rewrite). Now I just have to go back and type in the parts I wrote in my notebook. The notebook has its ups and downs. It's portable and allows me to sneak in writing time. Waiting rooms are a perfect place. I don't really need to know what bitchy things Jennifer Aniston has to say about Angelina Jolie. So the latest copy of People can gather dust while I get a few pages written.

After typing in the material from the notebook, I'll give it a once over, tying in old and new material. Then it's off to my agent for a look.

I keep telling people I hope to sell it. They ask me why this book would be any different. I hope they're right, but with publishers scaling back and the economy in the tank, you never know. I'll just keep writing and think positive. Sometimes that's all you can control.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Recent Reads

I haven't read much horror fiction lately.  I've been reading more crime novels and thrillers as of late. Two that really kept me coming back were Good People by Marcus Sakey and Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski.  I found myself thinking about both books in between reading sessions and couldn't wait to get back into them. Good stuff. I also got Swierczynski's The Wheelman for Christmas, and it's on my TBR pile.  Check them out.

The weather here isn't doing much to help Buffalo's reputation as the snow capital of the world. It's damned cold. I pumped gas today and took my glove off for about ten seconds. My skin actually hurt. Right now it's a balmy six degrees. I'm afraid to check the windchill.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year

It's been a crazy 2009. Dealt with some troublesome relatives.  Watched my oldest son struggle with school to the point where we decided to home school him.  Today was the first day of me working with him and it went great. 

On the writing front, working on revising my latest novel. I had sent it to my agent and he gave me a thorough editorial letter.  His comments were dead on, so I'm in the process of tearing the guts out of the novel, keeping the good stuff, and tossing the junk.  Hoping to make a sale with it. 


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