Friday, December 31, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: 2011 Here we come!

As we stare down the barrel of the end of the year I like most of you look back to the things I should have changed or done as well as the things I should do for this next year. Did I have a good year? Was it something I can look back on with a smile or a deep regret?

The new year holds not only great opportunity but a overpowering fear as well. What will we do? How will this not end up just like all the rest and drown in a sea of forgotten memories.

If I could sum up this blog and the year it has been in existence, I think I would say this is the year of the eBook. My life is so different because of them, they are not only the future but they will bend the book world forever. The age of paper books is on the way out, and the eReader is here. The question is do the future readers want eBooks, will the publishers get on board or keep hiding their heads in the sand?

In the year ahead I see one thing that I feel confident of, one thing I believe will happen even if everyone thinks I am crazy. eBooks will overtake print sales by the end of the year and in the end of 2012 almost every household in America will have a eReader. Think of the TV, it was something only the rich had and now it is in every home.

I plan in this next year to take this blog to another level. More Author interviews, guest posts and book reviews. The fun will continue and all my crazy mind games will keep going... or will they?

Happy New Year!

Now get at it!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: Festivus Grievances.

I know that like most of you the time of Christmas and the surrounding holiday's can bring stress and sometimes are just plain miserable. Now don't get me wrong, time with the kids and all the songs in small amounts are great, but spending more time with the family can be all out crazy.

We humans are not build to sit and drink coffee with our third cousin and watch Harry and the Henderson's with Grandpa as he sleeps with a smoking cigar in-between his lips. The pressure of buying the perfect gift and the sugar high will do it to anyone.

Hence the invention of Festivus. Yes, the great and realistic break from Christmas and for the few who dare to celebrate it can be a wonderful and happy time for all.


Festivus, a holiday that rose to popularity thanks to the popular TV show "Seinfeld."

According to the website, "Seinfeld" writer Dan O'Keefe based the concept on family traditions started by his father.

The Festivus episode of "Seinfeld" includes this memorable exchange between Frank Costanza (George Costanza's father) and Cosmo Kramer:

Frank Costanza: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way."

Cosmo Kramer: "What happened to the doll?"

Frank Costanza: "It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born Â... a Festivus for the rest of us!"

Cosmo Kramer: "That must've been some kind of doll."

Frank Costanza: "She was."

Festivus traditions include the Airing of Grievances, a giant complaining session that takes place after dinner. It's followed by the Feats of Strength, a family wrestling competition.

Happy Festivus!

What you need:

The Festivus pole. The basics of the aluminum pole are explained by Costanza: "It requires no decoration. I find tinsel distracting, and "It's made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio." When its not being used, the pole is stored in his crawl space.

Feats of Strength:

The FOS generally follows the AOG. Under the Seinfeld orthodoxy, Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned. While there is an undeniable classic elegance to this, real world Festivus practitioners have developed other cathartic methods of discharging pent-up energy against one's fellows, including thumb wrestling and washer tossing.

The Airing of Grievances:

Like everything else Festivus, the AOG has evolved some wild variations, but the core of it remains lashing into others and the world about how they have been disappointments.

This usually brings participants into a circle of sorts in which each takes turns excoriating friends, enemies, relatives, acquaintances and strangers. When all who care to have taken a turn griping, there is no required hugging or making up.

So here is what we are going to do. Post something Christmas related, some kind of tragedy, annoying dinner date or anything else about the "Other" Holiday that drove you to Festivus.

And Happy Festivus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: The one book that changed it all...

As a reader and a writer I think about the one book that changed it all. What do I mean by this?

I mean the book that will not let you go, the one that keeps tugging at the back of your mind and no matter how many years pass it is still there. I can think of a book that had this kind of pull on me, the book that to this day will wake me up or creep in as I sit down to dinner.

The book is "The Oath" by Frank Peretti.

I have always loved Frank's writing and as I move into a different stage of my life I find that Ted Dekker and Bill Myers hold new joys and thoughts in their writing, but something about the Oath will never leave me.

It is a simple story about love, mystery and the truth. If you want to look into the mirror of life and see what might be beyond and into your soul I would read The Oath. It is not a new book but to this day I find myself being drawn back to its pages, lost in the story and each time I find something new about myself.

This year think of a book that you must tell others about. One that you just cannot let go. Tell me about it, what is it for you?

May you all have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.


A college professor turns investigator after his brother is mauled to death. The popular suspect in the nearby town of Hyde River is a hungry grizzly. The professor, Steve Benson, specializes in bears. To his surprise,the evidence casts doubt on the bear theory. When Steve decides to stick around Hyde River to unearth the truth, he finds more than he expected. The citizens of Hyde River keep some old secrets, and they will take extreme measures to keep those secrets private from outsiders.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


So, here we are looking down the barrel of the end of the year. Did you do everything you wanted to do this year? Did you write that book? If not why?

I, like you have a ton of reasons not to do what I want to do or should do. I look in the mirror and wonder if I will ever just do it instead of holding back. This year I did a lot, in fact, I did most if not everything I set out to do.

I do not say this to make you look bad or myself look good, but to help my little brain to kick it into gear as there is still one thing left to do with only a few short weeks left in the year. I have this hanging thing hovering over my head and I keep putting it off. Why you might ask? Well... maybe I just pull out a excuse like you do and carry on. Maybe I am scared or tired. Maybe I am just lazy.

Whatever the reason, the outcome will be the same if I do nothing. Will you have a book published next year? Will you loose that weight or quit that dumb job you hate? I don't know. Will I finish the two books I have been putting off? The answer is yes. How can I say this when I am scared, tired and lazy? Because I just told you. I put my own fears out there for you to motivate me and hold me accountable. So here we go and in the year 2011 I shall have three books published. Yes three.

Will I make it?

I say yes... besides... what's the worst that could happen?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: Attack of the Christmas crazies!

It seems that every year as we come upon this holiday season some weird kind of thing happens. Last year it was the big fight over the wording... should we wish people a merry Christmas or say happy holiday's? Will our greeting offend someone? What if by talking to someone and saying happy anything drives them to yank out a shotgun and blow you away based on you and your greeting?

And I thought we had freedom... oh, wait, that was three years ago.

We just came out of the Thanksgiving thing... it once was a day where we stuffed our faces and thanked God for all the food and slept in after the game. The Black Friday came into play and this year they now have the whole weekend for shopping and made a one day thing into three! Really? What is that about? Do we really need three days to shop and get the deals? Do we need to exploit everything? I feel like I was taken by some big fat guy in a dark alley... I feel so dirty now, as if we are losing everything that makes us... well, U.S.

I think we skipped the marketing for Thanksgiving as well and jumped right into Christmas right after Halloween... Was this me or did anyone else notice this?

Anyway... I went into a store that will remain nameless... it had a wall and was a mart of sorts. I was going into this store and in the past there would be a bell ringer standing there with a Santa suit or smelling of cheap beer or maybe both. This time I was confronted by 4 of them.

Bells in hand and a leather jacket with a skull on the back and a pocket full of little Candy Cain's for my child. They did not ring the bell and smile and give you that stare... you know the one. The "Please give us some money you creep, do it or the Christmas spirit will come into your house this year and burn it down!" Yeah, that look. Well, the look was there but also the walking up to you and doing the sort of blocking the door shuffle and give the kid some candy thing...

I did not know what to do. I felt like I was being robbed by a biker gang! Was I supposed to give them some pocket change or my kid? We somehow made it past them as some other unsuspecting shopper was in view and they moved on.

4? Really, we need 4 of them at each door. Come on, you and I both know that I am not the only one that knows what side of the door they are standing. We leave the store with a basket full off food and gum and pass on the other side much like the Hebrew Priest in the Bible story.

We could do this dodge and don't make eye contact thing in years past, but now... it is like walking through a gang of excited cheerleaders as we try to get out to the football field. I do try to give something and the guilt I feel by the looks and the idea of standing out in the cold do make me want to help. Yet I feel that in the past I was giving out of desire and now I get my extra change snagged as I walk through the pack of Santa-suit-wearing bikers.

Soon it will be a mob of fifty people that sing and dance as they go around holding up cars in the parking-lot. When will it all end? When will we just blend all the holiday's together and tell everyone to have one big party and spend the life savings on a new Wii?

So as we go out this Christmas, remember... bring lots of change and leave the kids at home. Remember to keep all loose clothing tied down, don't wear a hat, or anything that can be taken as you walk by. We want you all to be safe out there, remember to think before you act. We don't want anyone to go missing this year...

I think I am going to skip Christmas and just do Festivus.

Monday, December 6, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: Forget everything you think you know.

Take this post not with a grain of salt but take it in all seriousness. I am here to help you, to let you know that what you may be doing is not working.

What do I mean?

If you take the amount of people who submit to publishing houses and the number of authors that get a deal, you might want to be sick. The small number that break into this market are happy for a short time as they soon realize that they may never make a living doing what they love.

I grow tired of well meaning authors or writers who tell people to keep it up, to never give up and drive these destructive activities to continue. Do you not care for the feelings of these poor masses that dream of a publishing deal? Is the writing on the wall so small that you cannot see what it says? Why would you do something that does not work over and over again and tell others to do the same and it never worked for you?

Is this not the definition of insanity? To do the same thing over and over again yet expect different results. I look and see, I shake my head at this madness. Yet I beat the air, I box the wind as even after all this, most still walk down the path of insanity.

Is this a case of self deception? Is it the pride of having that great big pat on the back that comes from a "Real Publisher?" Or is it the fear of having a dream realized and the fear of real success?

I wonder if we do this to ourselves and like the feeling of searching for a publisher and scared to really do it. We might not want to have a book published, why else would we keep doing what we know will not work? Why would we keep knocking on a door of a closed business? Do we really want to make 9% on our book? Do you think so little of your own writing? Are you in the business of giving your life blood work away so the big publishers can ride you to the end and drop you off dead and bleeding?

I may be harsh but it is because the message is not getting into your brain. It is rolling off like so much water off a ducks back. But what can I do but keep on shouting from the rooftops. I must, I have found a new and better way and can say with confidence that I am an author. I make a living writing and that is a sad state as much better selling books out there do not bring the same freedom to others in my craft.

What is your book worth? Are you worth it or do you want to work a side job like most authors in this world? I only ask because what you say does not match up with what you do. Why am I being such a jerk? Well, I keep saying, showing and doing but it is not getting through. What more can I do? Do I need to sell a million books before you see and understand? I am not saying this in arrogance but in the hopes to help you my friend.

I end this thought with a plea... Please stop the madness. Stop sending out query letters and publish your book. Believe in yourself enough to take your dream and run. This year as we see the end and a new one begin, break free from the circle of slavery and as Nike says, Just Do It!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: I've fallen and I can't get up!

Snow and ice have hit our little town, and two days ago I walked through said snow to start my car. I do not like a cold car, thus letting it heat up seemed like a good idea.

As I turned to go to the mail box to put in the Netflix movie, I turned and all at once my right foot slipped right out from under me. It was a slow motion moment, my life flashed before my eyes and visions of a broken hip and the neighbor lady looking out the window at me, filled my head.

I wondered how this falling big body-235 lbs... down from 260-was going to feel to hit the hard street. Let me tell ya... it was not graceful or pretty.

I went down on my side and in the process I twisted my ankle. It hurt like a lot of cuss words, and I used a few of them as I hobbled toward the mail box to finish my task. I was not going to let a silly fall stop me from putting that movie into that box because I wanted to get the next one and waiting a day longer was not going to happen!

With each step I was beginning to understand my plight. This was not a small sprain and it could even be broken. But what was I to do? I felt like pulling out my red button that called the paramedics or clapping two times for my roller chair.

My ripe old age of 31 crashed down on me but I felt 60. Nothing makes you feel old like falling and hurting yourself over something so stupid. Who is the one always saying to Karissa and the kids... "Careful, it is slick."? Yes, me... Always the watchful one and I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar and standing with my pants down.

Later that day, I discovered the top of my foot was not doing good. The ankle was fine but something was going on with the rest of The Foot. I call it The Foot now as because of its lack of agility I no longer consider it a working member of my body. In fact I feel kind of betrayed by The Foot as it could have done a better job or at least put up a fight. But NO... It was asleep at the wheel and so I feel a time of reflection is in order, The Foot needs to know that this kind of thing is not acceptable.

The next day after a fight with The Foot I went to get The Foot adjusted by my chiropractor. If you want to know what that felt like... lets just say, the string of cuss words that were on my tongue at the time of the fall, returned. It was like hitting yourself with a hammer, waiting three days so the bruise was good and sore and hitting yourself in the same spot again.

I am still walking like a old man... 60 if you were wondering, and it hurts like... like... well I am sure you can gather what it feels like. I will suck it up as the Doc does not think it is broken. But I will whine and act like a old baby anyway. Why not? I fell on the ice, poor little foot couldn't take it... sleeping on the job... Anyway... careful, it is slick.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

CHAPTER TWELVE: Almost there!

This blog is almost a year old. The end of this month will be one year of blogging and it was filled with rants and posts and things of note and some crash and burns. I look back at how it all started and wonder if this was a good idea or some weird thing I thought of after watching a movie.

My plan is to break this up and release it as a eBook called The Worst Book Ever. That way if I get a bad review and they think the book sucks I will only laugh and say, "Well duh, did you read the title?"

Not sure what posts will make the cut or how it will look but in all I think it will at least make some, high-on-the-stool-literary-minds have a little heartburn. Will it make me a bunch of money? I don't think so, but will it be a ton of fun? Oh yeah.

From eBooks to why seat-belts are overrated, to what I might think at 2 A.M. This may prove to really be the worst book ever and thus dethrone my other books from that wonderful title. Should someone pick up a copy they will be sure to get a laugh and at times good info.

Here is to the future and to one more month of insanity.

Will the blog go on? Yes, I think it will and in the next year we will need to think up another crazy thing to do... any ideas?

Friday, November 26, 2010

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Weekend update.

In other news, it is found that eating to much food may lead to obesity.

A man was found in his upstate New York home, dead. He was discovered by the maid who said he seemed like a nice guy but sure liked bread. Turns out that was what he ate, only bread for the last five years. Guess that saying is right, "man cannot live by bread alone."

This just in, a new craze to cover all inside walls with a thick layer of fur has taken the county by storm.

This black Friday five people were killed in the biggest shopping day of the year. All five of them froze to death waiting outside a 7/11 gas station in hopes to buy the new extra-super-big-gulp-mug that holds 2 gallons of soda pop. Turns out the mug will not be released until Christmas.

Speaking of the weather, freak ice storms took over the northern states and socked in parts of Chicago, Alabama and Texas.

That's right Bill, some cold front. This cold snap hit hard as President Obama spoke in Nevada about education. He said, and I quote: "For more geography in the year 2011." He left the Eastern state to head back to the White House for Festivus.

In entertainment news, Pop star "Pink" donated 18 Million dollars to "The Human Fund" in honor of the children. After all, isn't it all about the children?

Our health is said to be our greatest gift. But for some living healthy is now "un-cool." The CFCA (The Center For Cool Americans)conducted a poll and found that 87% of Americans feel that having some sort of rash, STD, eye or lip twitch or some other unappealing sickness, is now considered cool.

In other news, Justin Bieber in his new book, (Bieber not Beaver), the young star tells all and reveals that he is in fact gay. This did not shock most of his fans but the picture of a nasty rash on his arm did send some shock-waves through the music community.

Here is Andy with more on this story. Andy.

Thanks Marge. Justin Bieber or as I like to call him, JB Beaver, has officially come out of the closet. Yes, yes, we are not that impressed with this revelation but the rash I must say is not only shocking but down right a ploy to pull more little girl fans away from Jo-Jo (Joe Jonas). I know that it is now cool to have some sort of rash or eye or lip twitch but to get infected on purpose just to be cool is in my book, lame and so not cool. I mean, what kind of message is this sending all the little girl fans out there? Is it cool just because some boy voice signer dude does it? Where does this kind of show stealing end? I know the boy is just cute and kissable. He may be fuzzy and like a little big eyed kitten but a rash? Come on people! Jo-Jo would never stoop so low and to me he will always be #1 in my book. Jo-Jo is a classy and studly musical magical machine. He could sing circles around Beaver and rash or no rash he is way cooler.


Thank you Andy, it is so sad how many of these young stars fall to the pressures of the industry. We can only hope that Jo-Jo can stay pure.

To top this update off and end the evening, we bring you the top story. You people out there might want to grab a seat, hold on and strap down because this is going to blow you away.

The directors of the hit series LOST have made a official announcement. They now under oath admit that they had no idea what they were doing and in fact made up the script each week in what they called a "Wing it" session. This stunning announcement took the country by storm and I for one was so upset that I burned my t-shirts, my LOST DVD collection, my LOST hats, mugs, floor rug, window decals, underwear, and bed spread. I was so mad i made my boyfriend repaint the car and take back my LOST decoder ring.

Thanks for being with us and we apologize for any hurt we may have caused by this news.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I care about writers and authors and in the end I hope to help them navigate the publishing waters. I stay up on the new trends and the way the publishing world is changing. I do all this because I want to help, to keep the frustration level down for all the writers out there that want to have a dream realized and become a published author.

Along with this, I am frustrated by other well-meaning bloggers and authors sending out ill-advised or out-of-date advice and thus keeping the crazy chain of writers going down the wrong path.

The big publishers are not taking new work. Their agents are not taking new work! Do I need to say this again? NOT TAKING NEW WORK. NOT LOOKING, COULD CARE LESS THAT YOUR BOOK IS THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD!

I am not trying to be mean but these are the facts. Small houses are taking new titles (well, some are), and some are looking. But this means low royalties and a ton of headache. But do what you will. Back to the main grievance...

If we know that these publishers are not taking new work WHY ARE YOU STILL TEACHING AND TELLING WRITERS TO WRITE QUERY LETTERS?!? Come on! Really. This is stupid, crazy and like banging on a store window after hours and wondering why they won't open up for you.

Look at it this way, if you are a big publisher and you receive an unsolicited query letter, what do you do? I'd bet you would have a big meeting with all your investors and grant 100k to this unknown project. After that, you publish and market this book, and spend even more money on bookmarks and posters to give out at Starbucks. Now you, the big publisher, have to try to sell this book in this market to people that would rather get it free from the library. Does this all make sense now?

So, the store is closed unless you are famous. Are you famous? Anyway, they are closed; the big agents are closed. The sane thing to do is to leave them alone, or you can keep sending in your perfect query letter and they will keep throwing it in the trash.

Below are some things you can do to ensure that you will never be a published author:

*Write and send out query letters.
*Go to all the writing conferences.
*Read all the how-to books on publishing.
*Hunt for a book agent.
*Talk about your book you are working on but just talk, talk ,talk...
*Join a local writers' group and sit with all the other non-published (and never going to get published) authors and in 20 years still be working on your book.
*Over-edit your book.
*Wait until your book is perfect.
*Perfect your book proposal.
*Don't market yourself until your book is out.
*Minimize eBooks and online social media.
*Look at your book as a hobby instead of a business.
*Write for the public and not for yourself.

Believe me, I researched all the different publishing options for a year and almost gave up. But once I saw what I could do, it changed everything. My advice? Find a small, out-of-the-box house and talk to a real person who will work with you on your project and make it the best it can be.

This is the time of the author; the writer can now hold all the cards. It is time to take back your power. Take it, own it and claim what is yours!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Out of the box, a call to big name authors!

I hear all the time this phrase. Think out of the box, or get out of the box! What does this really mean and why do we want to get out of some box that we all seem to be in? Is the box uncomfortable? Is it harmful? How did we even get in this box? Are we all born in the box and if so why is it bad when we were born in it?

All these questions hit me and I started to think about it and how it can help me and other authors or business people.

The box as we think of it, is the same old thing, the hum drum and the I was taught this way and I shall do it even if it no longer works.

Some examples in the writing world are this:

Write in your genre: I do not like this one. I write for me, and if my writing crosses over into one genre to another so be it. This thinking of staying put is because the fans expect to read something and if you do something different they will get mad. Well, maybe it is good to make a reader mad every once in a while. Shake things up. Again, think of why you are writing... is it for some fan or for you and are you just trying to sell a book or write what you love.

Now be smart about it... might not be a good idea to mix romance with a story about hunting. Just a thought.

Sending out query letters and trying to find an agent: I am still amazed by the countless authors that still do this outdated and fruitless thing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The game changed about three years ago and the big publishers stopped taking new works. They sent out their agents to hunt the book shelves to find the next up in coming book and these agents also do not take new submissions unless you have a platform or a huge fan base.

Do you have a fan base and a platform? Do you sell 10K books a year to start? If not the agents you can get to look at your work are not the ones you want. If the big bad agents can't sell a book to a big publisher what makes you think a small agent can?

I am not trying to be mean but unless you are already in with a publisher it is not smart to keep sending letters into a black hole and wasting time when you could spend that same time writing and selling books and building a fan base. Besides, even if you make a publisher take your work do you really want 5-10% royalties? How do you plan to make a living on 12-25 cents a book? Just saying.

Best advice, if you really want to go with a traditional publisher find a small one who "thinks outside of the box."

Authors or Publishers who think eBooks are a fad: This one gets me. I make a living because of eBooks. i feed my family and do not have to work construction because of eBooks. A Fad? Really? Wait... even if it is a fad think of how long it will take to fizzle out? 10-20 years? By that time i will be retired on that fad and wont care that it was.

Or I talk to publishers that are going to look into eBooks in five years. Hmmm, by that time you will miss the wave. Why throw away money and fans because you are scared of the future? I know... I know... you think you will lose money, you think you need to keep the price high. Just keep it up, remember a little company called Apple? Yeah... remember the music business? Yeah... now what if a Apple decides that all eBooks should be 2.99?

Just a thought. It is not about what you the publishing makes... it is what does the author make and what does the reader have to pay. The future of publishing is changing and it is about time. The kingdom of Random House and all the other big guys is coming to an end and the ones who will be better off is the authors and the readers.

Here is my challenge. This is a call to a big name author. By this I mean a Dan Brown, James Patterson, Jason Pinter, Andrew Gross ect... Here is my offer. Let me and you team up and I will give you 50/50 royalties on print and E. We can market online just as good or better and lets do a brand new book. I will publish your book and it will go out into the same stores as you are in now, i use the same distributors, the same binders and printers. My cover art people are just as good if not better. We will try a OOTB experiment and see what happens when a author gets paid and I mean really paid for his or her work.

This is not a joke. I really mean it. If you want to make more on each sale and sell the same number or more let me know. Imaging making 2-6 dollars on each book sale... Imagine having control of your cover and how your book looks. Imaging taking control of your future and saying Enough to the way things have been done for the last hundred years. This is the time to do something different, time to try something new. Besides, what have you got to lose? If the numbers are half of your last book well... no wait, you will still make more. 50% royalties!

All I need is one to try this and see... do you believe?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

CHAPTER TEN: When I grow up I want to be J.A. Konrath!

Come on, I know that that title is not really what I want to be when I grow up but it is fun to think about. Is the man some sort of superhero or a guy one should strive to be like? Maybe not. However, as a writer and a author I look at what he does and am glad that I am not the only one pushing this new world of publishing.

J.A. Konrath is not the end all be all, but he is someone that "Gets" what is going on. As other writers new and old play the game handed to them people like J.A. make up their own rules and only ask other people to join them.

When I started out as a new author I didn't see the eBook future for what it was. I thought it was a nice way to market and figured in a way Amazon was paying me to advertise. I wondered if the eBook sales would boost my print sales and therefore set out. Little did I know that eBooks were not a good way to market but the way to make a living as a writer.

Do I want to be like Konrath? Not as a person but as a visionary. I am a pusher... a pimp if you will of this new religion called ebooks. Come what may I will preach the message to the world because I see the frustration all around me on the faces of writers who are still playing the publishing game.

Why? Because I am a writer first and a publisher second. This is about reaching out to fans and making a living as a writer. Never before could we compete with the big names on a level playing field as James Patterson, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. "Sweet Dreams" is outselling a Stephen King novel... really! I don't say this to be proud or anything but to give you the idea that some guy in Boise Idaho can do this than so can you.

Konrath is convincing his other author buddies one by one to convert over to this new model. eBooks are not only a good thing for a new author to build a fan base but a amazing thing for established authors to kick their publisher out and begin to receive the benefits of all their hard work. Small publishers like StoneHouse Ink are the ones who will come out looking pretty after the dust storm settles because they get what is going on and bend to the market. Social media, blogging, and online sales not to mention new and very out of the box marketing.

But the real question is what side of the fence are you on. Will you stand with us and fight to give the power back to the author or will you fall with a great and terrible crash as the big 5 kingdom falls.

J.A. Konrath Bolg:

StoneHouse Ink:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

CHAPTER TEN: Off topic...

And here we go again! If you have been following this blog you will find out in a hurry that I tend to go off topic every now and again. Times like these and my wonderful personality lend to rants and posts of funny and offensive materiel. Can you dig it?

The subject today has nothing to do with books, writing or anything like that. It is the time we all go out to trick or treat and send our children into the dark streets dressed as a witch or a hooker and sometimes as a killer. So fun is it not? Wait, you mean getting candy from random strangers as your pre teen wanders around in a skin tight outfit so the creepy neighbor guy can look at her legs is not cool? Really?

Come on people! When was it ok to buy a hooker outfit from wal mart? They can go with their boyfriend the pimp, maybe we should give out Meth and dookies as well! I am making pot brownies this year and hope to hang with some Jr. High girls out back, want to come over? No just send your kid.

The holiday is lame to start with and laced with nothing of value besides making the candy people a butt load of money and giving me the creeps.

But wait! This year it falls on a Sunday so every one around here is not only going out on Sunday night but did it last night, tonight and on Sunday! When was this a three day event? Does that mean I have to cook more brownies?

Fine, fine you think I am over reacting. That is just proof that I am smarter than you. If you as a 30+ mom wants to go to a party dressed as a sexy nurse and gross out everyone around you because of the way to much skin going on, be my guest. As for me, I might hide out on the roof and dump freezing water on some kids parents just for fun this year... because when they asked for a trick or a treat I just gave them the trick.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CHAPTER TEN: The Old and the New.

I think I forgot that I had a blog for a week or so. With the Idaho Book Extravaganza and all the things going on in the book world I lost it there for a time. No worries, I am back or so I think.

This event was great and the thing that got me was the response from the classes. So many authors out there are hunting a deer that does not exist. The big publishers all seem to have this hold over the minds of us authors and breaking through is like trying to get a boy to stop jumping in mud puddles.

Here is what I got from most the authors I come in contact with.

Why? Well they are told from the start that the way to publish is to write well, submit a great compelling query letter and wait for a response even if it takes a lifetime. And to make matters worse they want to make everyone go to the approved agents who are not taking on new work or they cannot get the big guys to buy any of the books they are selling!

They think that the books they spent their hours and soul on are not good enough to be published. They are rejected over and over or not even responded to from the so called big houses. The "Lucky" ones who make a deal are taken on a ride filled with low royalties and empty promises. The end comes and they are left with their work gone and their dreams crushed.

The rest of the story:

I look at this and wonder why no one told this mass of authors and writers that all the rules have changed? Why did no one tell them that book agents are going away and the small publishers are taking their place? The publishing world is not just changing it is no longer the thing it used to be. And is that a bad thing?

I say no.

The big 5 have had their day in the sun, they controlled the hill for far to long and it is time for the indi presses and authors to take back what is rightfully theirs. Now I am not saying that all traditional publishers are like this. most of the small ones are great but this monster that needs to be fed called the book business is about to loose its food source.

Now for you authors that fall into this mess cycle I have good news. You do not have to submit to a agent. You do not need to go to a big publisher to have your dream of having a book on the market realized. You have the power now and if you will only take it back, if you will do instead of wait things will turn.

Here is how things can be:

Stress free:
You write a great book and you submit it to a small publisher one that is a out of the box sort. Maybe one that loves eBooks and social media. You go through the process with a real person to hold your hand and in the end you are able to see your dream and become a published author.

This new way of publishing is not the one where a group of 5 men pay you an advance of 5-10k and after that you make 5-7%. NO, this is not sell your soul and rights away to a big publisher. This is freedom and 50% royalties on all eBooks and high back end royalties. This is "Make a living" selling books and be paid by the fans not some high on a hill house.

Really, which would you rather have, a advance because you convinced 5 guys at a house or money every month because the public loves your work? Do you want 5k up front and .25 per book after that or do you want 5-10k every month because your fans are buying? Are you in this long term or just want the pat on the back that comes with Random House?

The other thing is most publishing houses are not looking for new titles. Most good agents (the ones you want) are not taking on new work. So you can keep submitting your letters to people that are not buying or you can take control of your own future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Holy cow! What in the world have you been doing Aaron? I follow your blog and after you send down some cool posts you drop off the face of the map! What up?

"You know, I am as busy as a fly on day three. I mean I get up and it is go, go, go and crash at night and hope to get a chance to read something before I fall dead to the world in my huge bed."

Whatever... you just think you are all that with your books and the new Nook B&N so gave you and now you are all like cool and junk.

"Deal I got to go to a slam the other night and filter out the smoke with my body so what more do you want? I really think you need a life and quit jibing the poor blogger who needs rest in a bad way."

Sure, you just want to leave us all in the dark. eBook are going crazy and we all want to know how to take it to the streets but you wont tell us the secret. Just sit up there on your high hill...

"-Hold it... back up now. You want something? You want something I think is a must, a event you must attend? Give you a shred of hope? Fine. The Idaho Book Extravaganza, in Meridian Idaho this weekend. Be there and don't bother me."

Dude... you rock!

"Peace out man."

Friday, October 8, 2010

CHAPTER TEN: eBooks and Bookstores

I am at the PNBA trade show here in Portland and most of the vendors here are publishers and book sellers and the attendees are bookstores. I attended some classes and watching this interaction between bookstores and the fear that is shown toward eBooks is something I wanted to touch on here for a minute.

I am a author first and a publisher second. Bookstores are way down on the chain and with the eBook world taking over the bookstores are left to wonder the future. Here is the facts and some thoughts and predictions.

The local bookstore will become what we now know as a record store. They will exist for used books and the rare books or signed copies. This will drive up the cost and we could see in the future books selling for 50+ dollars per book just because they will not be printed any more.

This future may scare some but some bookstore that get this future are doing the things needed now to stay in the game. Books are a way to get content into peoples hands. eBooks are just the new way to do this same thing.

Here are some ideas to hang in there and move the local bookstore to a local e-Bookstore.

Author events and community events. This is your link, what you have to offer to people that a online store cannot. You can bring in the author and connect them to the readers. This is powerful. But doing this needs to be 3 times a week or more and the involvement in book clubs and things like that are what will keep the business in your store.

Social media. Facebook, Twitter ect are the future. If you are not using these forms of advertising and reaching out into your world you are already behind the game. All i can say is this is a from of interaction that you MUST take advantage of... MUST.

Online stores. There are many ways to do this. Have a store where you can sell books and eBooks. This takes you from a small store to a worldwide store and you can talk and sell to people all over instead of just to buyers who come in to your store. Use the social media as your new way to talk and recommend books and all the things that make you special as a store. You can do the same thing and sometimes a better job online.

The key is REACH OUT! Be the place to hang out and the place to meet the local and national authors. But in the middle of this do not forget the local starting author. You are never to big or cool to have a local signing or help one person out. If you do you will be able to be around in the future even if it is online.

Friday, October 1, 2010

CHAPTER TEN: Book Extravaganza... accept no substitute...

I wanted to take a minute to let everyone know about THE event coming to Boise Idaho October 22-23. It is called "Idaho Book Extravaganza." This event will be the first for Boise and we have needed one for a long time now. We have all kinds of art in the park and Shakespeare festival type stuff but not much of anything for books.

Maryanna Young started years ago the "Woman's Fitness Celebration" and is not new to big events or books. She is a great person to boot. She is leading the charge and backed by Aloha Publishing, B&N, Hastings, Starbucks, StoneHouse Ink and Ampelon Publishing it will be the event to be at in October.

There will be vendor booths with local authors, agents, publishers, cover artists, web designers, marketers and more. Every half hour there will be classes with a wide range of subjects from some of the best speakers in the country.

Friday October 22, 2010

SESSION 1 Out of the Box Writing and Marketing 4:00 – 6:00

1. Vincent Zandri, (Best Selling Author and innovative book marketer) Out of the Box Marketing. 4:00-4:30
2. Donna Fletcher Crow (Author of 28 books) How to write a Realistic Novel. 4:40-5:10
3. Speaker to be announced 5:20-5:50

SESSION 2 Future of Publishing 6:00 – 7:30

1. Panel Discussion- Cutting Edge Trends in Writing and Publishing. Caxton Press, Stonehouse Ink and others. Facilitated by Aloha Publishing 6:00-6:30
2. Aaron Patterson (Best Selling Amazon Author) New Ways of Publishing and Selling: E-books, Social Media and More. 6:40-7:05
3. Rick Carns (E Commerce and Non Profit Consultant) How One Non Profit Took Their Book Sales from $15,000 to $470,000 in ONE year. 7:10-7:30

Saturday October 23, 2010

SESSION 1 Authors 10:00 – 12:00

1. Shira Heikkola, (Community Relations Director, Barnes and Noble) How to get my books placed in Barnes and Noble stores and 10:00-10:30
2. Ron Benrey, (Author of Writing Christian Fiction for Dummies, speaker, attorney) The Paradigm Shift in Publishing. 10:40-11:10
3. Aaron Patterson, (Best Selling Amazon Author) The E World is Coming, Are You Ready? 11:20-11:50

SESSION 2 Fiction Writers 12:00 – 2:30

1. Janet Benrey, (Author and nationally known literary agent) How to approach an agent. 12:00-12:30
2. Andrew Garcia (CEO of CustomBook Trailers.Net) Creating Hollywood Quality Book Trailers on a Budget. 12:40-1:10
3. Robin Lee Hatcher (Best Seller Author, writer of over 60 published novels) Staying Organized in the Chaos of Writing to Publish. 1:20-2:10

SESSION 3 Non-Fiction Writers 2:20 – 4:10

1. Maryanna Young (Author and CEO of Aloha Publishing) Writing the Book You’ve Always Wanted in Thirty Days or Less! 2:20-2:45
2. Nick Zelinger (World Class Book Designer) Your Book Cover … Create That ‘Love at First Sight’ Look … And Grab Your Target Market’s Attention.2:55-3:20
3. Tom Roy founder of international sports ministry UPI/Jason Chatraw, former sports writer and CEO of Ampelon Publishing. Writing for the sports industry. 3:30-4:00

SESSION 4 Its All About Selling 4:10 – 6:00

1. Peggy Jordan, (Editor and Full Time Writer) Your Ideal Reader—the Key to Writing a Book that Sells. 4:10-4:40
2. Justin Foster, Personal Branding for Authors 4:50-5:20
3. Jon Colson, You’re Done Writing, Time to Start Speaking: Sell You Book to Any Audience With Confidence. 5:30-6:00

You can sign up for the classes online at their website.

Now that you know a little about what this event is all about I ask you to mark your calender and do not miss this event. It will be held at the Silverstone plaza in Meridian. Come and meet the people in the Bizz, and say no to cheap imitations!

See you there!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: The Papers back the Publishers... what a shocker!

New York Times... Wall Street Journal... Big Newspapers and the big publishers all have one thing in common these days. Can you guess?

They are on the underside of a run a way bus and attached to said bus is about ten pounds of C4. The Paper Bus is about to hit the "Bridge Out" sign and burst into a ball of flames.

I read this WSJ article that was passed on from Vincent Zandri and I did try... really I did but this is just so stupid and I had to say something. They must not allow comments for a reason online because this article is not only a head in the sand deal but had little to no research.

You can read it if you like but to sum it up, eBooks are killing the market and making it hard for authors to make a living. Royalties are going down or away and the big publishing dream is taking flight like so many birds. Blah and more blah...

This is not only the .2% of the truth but the writer missed the elephant in the living room.

The publishers have a world built around print. Newspapers do as well but they can change a little easier. This world is about to go bye, bye and they are freaked out! Not like I can't believe you are a guy now kind of freaked out but a you married your dog freaked out!

I am to irked to respond in a long detailed manner and most of you know by now what I think of all this. So to the point here it is.

eBooks are not going away. By 2012 they will have the strong chance of out selling print books. eReaders will pop up in every store including Wal Mart. Heck... they might just open up their own eBook-store and give Amazon a run for their money.

Publishers will downsize and go out of business and small advanced publishers that are not afraid of change but embrace it will take over and work with authors to build the bridge between marketing and connections. Author royalties will shoot to 50% across the board and agents will be no more unless they are eBook experts and help authors self publish.

Big time Bestsellers like King and Patterson will self publish back list titles and begin to publish with smaller presses and some will do it all themselves. Amazon will buy someone like B&N and try to make a run for world domination and force Apple or a new boy on scene to stop them and the battle will begin.

eBooks will be in every home like a iPod and soon schools will have them and all textbooks in a "e" format. A new wavy of eBook conversion company's will crop up and authors will have the pick and frustration of weeding through the good and the bad.

Experts like J.A. Konrath will lead the way and take a huge share of the market to the envy of New York publishers. Battles in court over eRights will begin and after 5-10 years things will calm down and the new line of eReaders will emerge blowing up the thing we all know and love...


This is a end of the world situation to some and a rebirth to others... Just depends on the side of the fence you are on. IO suggest that you come to my side... we have cookies.

Monday, September 27, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: Dating all over again!

Remember going out with a someone new or if you liked someone and wanted to get to know them. You asked their favorite color and what soda they liked. Wanted to know about their life, family, loves hates and all the worthless info in the beginning needed to be told before getting to the good stuff.

I used to feel like I was doing the same thing over and over again with new people and after a bit I didn't care if they like Pepsi or Coke. It was this dance that seemed to be done with the care of a new car going through the car wash for the first time.

But talk to someone who dated a lot and had to go through this same routine over and over and see what they think. It can be a pain... Really... you like blue, cool... you I like red. No I don't like potato's... i know how un-American.

Ii find that the hardest thing about writing a book is this same dull lifeless thing I want to get to the good stuff... the action, the romance and the plot. I feel like what the main toon looks like or his hair and eye color is just to darn boring. Who cares if he is fat or tall or had bad breath? I know what he looks like and sounds like, why can't you just read my mind!? (said the woman)

But alas... it seems I have no choice... I wonder if I can just leave it out and let the reader make up their mind on who he or she is...

Reading book like a starving kid on the backside of the Africa, I know something of this process. I find that even reading it is a drag... the introduction is the same every time... "He was tall and had a thick jaw with close cropped salt and pepper hair." come on! And as the author goes through every person in the room in this manner after the 15th person I want to throw the book in the trash.

It is like dating all over again... Maybe that is why I like to write series... I can skip so much of the first date... blow past all the description and get the the meat of the story not to worry if the reader knows why so in so hates clowns.

some creative ideas is to introduce someone and just give one detail. Add in the missing info as you write dialogue... Simple and it spares me and you from this aggregating first date every time we open up a new book. But that is just me... and we all know I run a little off the clock.

Here is to the first date...

Friday, September 24, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: Face to face with Facebook

If you live in 2010 the internet and social media is a part of your life. We have gone from a phone on the corner in a booth to cell phones to kids having phones and clubbing together on sites like Myspace and facebook. Twitter and Digg and others are all forms of what we call social media.

Now the question comes up about the use and what this new way of getting in contact with other humans is doing to us long term. It is good or bad? Are we killing real people to people or face to face contact? Is there a way to cope with this new media or will it destroy us?

All good questions and many more are asking with every passing day. I use these sites to market books and things for my business but i can't help to have personal mixed in to this bag as well. Most will use it for personal use and to connect with friends and strangers that are now friends just because facebook said they are.

Here is my thinking.

The first thing is we all know people and friends in a sort of way. We hang out, go bowling or see a movie and maybe ice block down Simplot hill. We know what we know through conversation and experience. But we also have ME time. Time where it is just me with my own thoughts and now these thoughts are online for everyone to see.

We find out things about friends and family we would otherwise never know. Things we might like and others we won't. were we ever meant to know each other this well? I wonder if we are getting to know each other a little to well.

I know that it is hard to be "friends" with real friends and family on facebook. We want to have some things hidden, some things just between us and the strangers we know on this weird land of the online marketing mix of crazy things told. Do i really want my mom to know what dumb thing I did today or every date I go on and how it went? Do I really want a church member or a close friend know that i really think their car is a lame color and only a idiot would drive THAT!?

We will say anything on a status and there is this pressure to say something cool or clever. Some thing to make us look good in front of the world on facebook. Are we a creeper or a friend hog? Do we fit in and it seems we are in high school all over again.

As we adults try to fit in we tend to have no stop to our status updates. We respond to every argument and but in to conversations and carry on in a immature manner. We have all done it and it is so hard not to jump in the middle of something just because it is there. So how is this good for us? how does this help?

It does not and in most cases if we do not ask like adults it can cause bad things to happen in relationships, not facebook ones but the face to face ones. We say a dumb thing it grows and in a day we have a post a mile long and piss just about everyone off. How do i know this? Well I only speak of things i know of...

No matter what we think of facebook or its member social media outlets. The thing we all know and hate is not going away. Therefore we must manage it and learn to use it and be adults. My wife and I went through and "cleaned out" some "friends" and cut the ones that we didn't want to have see our every little detail of our lives and the ones that never had anything good to say.

So rule one if you want to late the facebook run in one piece: Be uplifting and fun. Don't have posts telling everyone that you have a gun to your head once again and you are going to pull the trigger and your life sucks. we all want you to just do it so we all can move along with our lives... no really, be you but hold off on things that will be a bummer to everyone else. I BLOCK YOU... i hide you so what is the point?

Rule two: If someone you know is weird and you never knew it or they think something you had no idea they thought or they are a snob and you were blind to it. Just be nice and say nothing. Now if this weird person you call a friend begins to bash you or something thy should not by all means step in... but hold off if you can and jump in the mix only if you feel like taking it to the mat.

Rule three: Don't be to open and out there. some things are personal and keeping that in mind will help to keep your life simple. If you had a hot date or woke up to find you wet the bed, that might not be facebook worthy if you know what I mean.

Rule four: Think. I know... it is hard and might hurt but take a moment and think about what you respond to and what you say. This is a great time to be a help to others, a friend in the real aspect.

Rule five: lighten up. If you take it easy and don't jump on every living band wagon you see things might be better for everyone in your "friend" list. think about the reason you are on facebook. Is it to see grand kids or just to hang out. Are you there for business or pleasure. Remember who you are talking to and think about what they are there for. If we all cut each other some slack things might just be fun and the fights would go down.

In time facebook will be another Myspace. The older step sister is now all but dead and soon FB will be replaced with the new better model. This technology is not going away and we as social media consumers need to learn to adapt and work withing the walls of this world online. Maybe more of us will take the time to meet our online friends, if we did we might learn some more about each person and be better off for it.

Oh... and please stop the pictures of yourself in the mirror or holding out your camera phone... that was so last year Myspace... get with the times!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: The Business of Writing

I talk to writers all the time and one thing I notice is that most of us are full of desire and inspiration and passion. Art in all its forms is from the soul and like standing naked on a busy street. Our heart and soul is out there for all to see and it is scary.

Because of this most artists are not business men/women. We tend to be a bit introverted and care more ab out hiding away with a book or a paint brush in hand instead of in front of lots of people.

This fact is not a good mix to sell books. It is a bad thing if you want to make a living at this writing bizz. Now we cannot change who we are but do not be shocked if selling is hard and the book never goes anywhere.

Writing is a business. It must be looked at as a selling marketing product moving business if we are going to live off the written word. If you doubt this, take a look at thousands of authors that have a book in print and after selling to family they are now the owner of a lot of garage fodder and Christmas and white elephant gifts to last a lifetime.

If you had invented a great soap you would need to do things to market your soap and move product. Why do we look at books different? Is it not a business? Is it going to just get into people's hands by the sheer fact that we wrote it? Did the greats and bestsellers just sit back never doing anything?

Take a large and needed step back and get outside of your own emotions. This is a business, you are selling yourself and a product. If people like you they will buy your product. If you treat your writing like this you will sell books and thereby make a living doing what you love.

If you want to write for a living this is a must. Forget winning the lottery, forget the magic eight ball and all the schemes like book reviews and awards and a standing in the literary community. I will never be a part of the snobbery of this crowd because I lack the skill to hob nob with these great minds and my writing in their minds is hack and sub-par. Do I care?


Most this crowd will sit on a high hill and never go anywhere and never sell many books. I am interested in selling books, reaching people and doing what I love. Are you?

The praise of fans and the writing groupies will not sell more books. Yes the pat on the back may feel good but how will that pay for a box of diapers? Can I give the power co a book reviewed by NY Times or some hot shot reviewer?

Market your brains out, go to anything you can to get you and your work out there and work it like it is a real job, if you do one day it will be your real job.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: The Publishing lie.

There are all sorts of lies out there. One I love is the real-estate lie. This is where you talk to an agent and no matter what the market is doing, "It is a great time to buy!" These people are so involved that they can't see past their own hands. They tell themselves the lie so much that they now believe it.

A lie that is going around now is the eBook lie. Publishers, bookstores and authors are all telling themselves that the eBook craze is just a fad, we will always have paper books and so on... I bet the record people said the same thing about the 8teack tapes and the tape people said the same thing about the CD.

Things change, we are not losing a book but gaining a new way to read said book. We used to have all our print on a scroll... what about that? Now the book is on its way out and shutting our eyes and hoping it will all go away is just as silly as a child holding their hands over their eyes and claiming you can't see them.

The other publishing lie is "If your work is good enough a publisher will pay you for your work." Really? Who? Yes some small publishers will pay, or the big ones if you are famous. But this trend is on the way out as well. publishers can no longer risk the money and so the advance will go away, (and is already) and the back-end royalty will go up. This is a different world and with POD and short run printing the need to print thousands of books is no longer needed.

The future is "You will get paid for your work, when you sell books." If you paint someone will buy the art and you get paid. If you build a house, you get paid when you sell the house. Now, why is it that we think we should get paid on a book before we sell anything? The publishing world has pumped out this lie for so long they now believe it and all the authors think the same thing. Now the big guys like James Patterson, yes, no much will take their fat advances away, but for all the new boys on the block it is a whole new game.

Think about this... I know of many authors that sell way more books then me, and have more out. But they get like 6k a year or that amount over 3 years. These writers are living the dream getting paid from a publisher and having the idea in their head that they got paid cuz they and their writing was good enough. Now, take a little guy like me and some of the authors we publish. We don't get paid a dime until a book is sold, but when it does we enjoy a high royalty return... up to 50%. what does that mean? Well I must sit in the lower bleachers in the writing world cuz I am not good enough... I didn't get a advance but guess what? My books are selling and I am making a living.

So I ask you... is it better to get paid a advance up front and low back end or no advance and large back end? I guess it all comes down to your work being good enough... not to a publisher but to the public. I do not give numbers to brag, I know and most who know me are aware that God is the one who does this, I have no control and He is the one who gives me everything. That being said let me hope to wake up some of you authors out there. Here is what you are missing because you got paid, you were good enough.

Average monthly return, just eBook. $3000.00 per month. Last month return on 2 books just on Amazon. $5600.00

Now, this is my numbers, we also have other authors that are doing close to this kind of return and are growing, some may pass and I hope they do pass my numbers. But what does this mean to a established author? Take what you sell and bump your royalty up to 50%. What do you get? Now see if that number is worth forgetting the advance and getting a higher royalty. Just a thought...

Now think beyond what we are looking at here. Think of Amazon...lets just talk eBooks, forget print, that is the icing on the cake. If you can sell say 2000 eBooks per title a month @ 2.99 and you have 5 titles. Most of you established authors have more but we can start here. It is about volume not price...

So 5 X 2000=10000 copies sold each month. Now take that and you get say $1 buck per book. That is 10k a month. Now that is just Amazon, what if you start selling well on the iPad, and the Nook, and the Kobo. Lets say half the numbers, that is 3 stores more... 1000 copies each making 3000 copies a month X 1 is another 3 grand putting you to 13k a month.

This is just eBooks... now think of your print books and think of a royalty of 30-42%. Are we getting the mind turning? I hope so...

This is how my mind works... I have 2 books out. I average 3500 a month / 2 = 1750 per title just on Amazon. I have 2 more books coming out in the next 6 months... if I can keep that average that brings me to 7k a month. Write 2 more in a year and I am at 10500 a month... See how it works?

but I am not getting paid for my work... I have no advance... I am not good enough to get a book deal. I guess I will just have to live with my failure... I know it is sad but I will try to make due... if you feel sorry for me you can send me some money... makes checks payable to...

please do not let them lie to you... if you can make a good living writing and leave something for your family after you are gone why would you not do it? This is all stuff that will go on month after month... Hope this helps...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: What to expect when you're expecting...

Are you expecting? Is the baby growing? I am not talking about a baby but a novel. The idea grows in your mind and you toil and labor to bring it to life and soon it will be born. Only there is one little difference. The friends and family will not coo and say how cute it is and in secret think that the poor child inherited all of the parents bad qualities.

A book is the inner most part of the mind and emotions and it is hard to let the thing go. And once it is out it is even harder to keep all the reviews and things said as business and not take them personal.

So, to help in the process here are some things to expect once your book comes out.

1. Lot's of pats on the back, hugs and "Good Job" and I can't wait to buy it's.

2. Even more of the above list but still not many buyers.

3. Some sales and some reviews start coming in, most of them good because they are co workers or friends.

4. The sales go up and you feel better about talking about your baby. The bad reviews come in, the more books out there the more people read and the more people you find who do not like your book.

5. Now you understand that this is not just a simple "Hey I think I will write a book" kind of thing. This is the real deal and you have to decide if this is a option for a lifestyle or just a hobby.

6. You make up your mind. If you decide to go on and write more and make a go of this thing you begin to dig deep and better your craft, market and attack!

7. If you decide to make it a hobby you kick back and may write one book every 5 years, sales dip and taper off.

8. We are almost at the one year mark, most of your friends have forgot you wrote a book and some of your family read the thing. But life is good because you are now selling outside of who you know... there is a future and it is bright.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: Wedding Photography tips

So in the effort to keep some happy I am not going to go over the happy wedding. I decided instead to give some good advice for any want to be photographers out there that may want to do a wedding someday. Now, I am not the expert but I have done a few weddings and know how these things go.

The idea is to be invisible and to get in do the job and get out. Kind of like a spy or a hit-man. This will go into some detail and hopefully help someone out there.

1. Amount of photos. Well, 200-300 should do fine, if you know what you are doing this will give you all the shots you need and not take forever. Also think of the time you save everyone with the editing process, it is easier to go through 300 photos instead of 2000. Besides, anyone can take a camera and take 2000 pictures and accidentally get a few good ones. You should be able to take a few and get good ones, or just wait till you can to take on a wedding where someones one time event is in your hands.

2. Plan. Yes you should and must have a plan. If you do not have a wedding check sheet you are going to look and will be unprofessional. This sheet will tell you what the Bride wants, what shots she wants and when she wants them taken. Most weddings will come in two parts. Before pictures (The bride and groom not seeing each other) And after shots.

Before shots will consist of a 45-60 min time frame, again if you cannot do it in this time frame pick it up, the last thing you want to do is have everyone hate you after the wedding. You will go to the list and start with the groom as the boys will be ready first. Groom and the guys, then just guys, then guys and the girls, groom and girls, girls and guys and groom. So on like this and get one on one shots with groom with each of his party. Do this same thing in order with the bride when she is ready.

After shots will be a limited time frame. You have a waiting group of people that want to see the happy couple and want to eat. Give yourself 20-30 min, no more, if you cannot do this again, get a job at Wal Mart. This is the time to get the kissing one on one shots with bride and groom. Do this last! Have a plan and have the grandparents and all the family meet right after the I DO's even have them announce it as they leave. Take the whole group family and all and do the shots and peel them off so once they are done they can go. Wedding party next and get them all in and go down the list. Then they can go and entertain the guests and then get the two just them and the kissing junk. Guess what, you are done and everyone is happy, the rest of the shots you can get in and around the next two hours without having to make people stand around. There are lots of wedding sites with these lists and they have great contracts to build your own from as well.

3. After. As you do more weddings this process will come second nature. But in the beginning do all you can to make it happen or you will not get asked to do any more. Also, stick to your price, if you gave a quote stick with it and do it for that price. A Bride is emotionally charged and you do not want to take advantage of her. Now the fun part, editing. Go through and do your thing and get them the pictures when they come back from the honeymoon. You are on your way.

4. Dealing with others with cameras. I have been shadowed, followed, hovered, stalked and all that. This is part of the process, everyone will want to get a shot of the bride and so on. Deal with it. If you are confident in your work do not worry about it, most people will stay out of your way and remember you are getting paid they are not. Smile and ask if they got the shot, take the time to be nice and set up the pose or whatever and allow them to see how it works and take pictures as well. The only time I had this where it was a problem was in a dark place where the flash would mess up my flash is I shot one second after the other person. But outside of that just learn to get along and have fun.

5. How many cameras? I would say you need 2 shooters. It is really hard to shoot a wedding alone, ask any professional. With two one can pose and one can shoot. In the wedding one ca be u on stage and one down low, that way you get all the shots and see everything. The last thing you want is to miss a great shot like the bride running down after the kiss or a moment when he looks into her eye with that look ect... If you do not work with someone put a add in the paper or something, or train a friend. You will be the main but have a 2nd shooter just for the wedding itself and someone creative to pose if you want.

6. Go to everything. I go to wedding rehearsal, dinner, party, everything. This will give you so much more to work with and the wedding party will see you care. I once got tipped 300 bucks from the father because we took the time to be there and he was grateful.

Well hope this helps and go out there with a plan and have fun.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CHAPTER NINE: weekend update...

So, here we are in the great state of Montana. It is Missoula the one city that has more bums and hippie's and bikers than dogs. Seems if you keep giving a bum money they tend to hang around... just saying.

trip went well, kids were okay and only had one child blow out his jeans with poop. Yes, I said poop. It was bad, just ask my wife, she had to clean it up... no way I am getting near that thing!

Ever hear of the family bed? It is where everyone in the family sleeps in the same bed, the kids and all! well, we are on this thing... sort of a mattress but smaller and it almost fits me by myself... so with Karissa and a kid or two on top of that... well lets just say, last night I saw Karissa sleeping half on and half hugging the side. It was funny.

Kale is in our upper chamber... (more like a closet jammed with sewing stuff, boxes and other things) and he is a loud sleeper with moans and farts and all that cool little boy stuff. He is supposed to be on the floor but he somehow ends up in our bed like thing every morning.

The bride to be looks like a Zombie that has not slept in weeks. I saw her floating around yesterday and I dodged her and ran away... better not to take a chance. So, far we only had one death. The brother of the bride was killed for mentioning that he did not want to pick up his tux on Friday, but wanted to do in in the morning. I saw it all... she was like "What?" and the blood started flying... now who is going to stand up in his place?

Not I...

I have managed to avoid knives, guns, and other objects that may be used against me in case someone in the planning or the wedding party finds out I might not show up... I was thinking of going to a movie... I heard that Eat, Pray, love was bad... but in my case it may be the best darn movie of the year!

Life goes on... well not for the poor brother but it was his bad... should have kept your mouth shut... bummer dude!

I'll let you know how the movie turns out...

Monday, August 30, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: the beginning and the end...

With a long drive in front of my little family and two, yes two books on CD calling my name, I have mixed feelings about this upcoming Montana trip. My sister in law is getting married and we are going to help out and I am going to try to get in the way and be a pain, it's what I am good at.

Now the kids will make this experience memorable and I plan to have a camera on hand to capture the moments that will be implanted in the minds of all who attend this affair... What ever do you mean oh writer dude?

Let me tell you my predictions for the wedding.

Here we go.

Us, (My wife and I) Will arrive frazzled from the trip and be welcomed into a room in the upper chamber... yes, much like Jesus. We will drag our kids, 5, 2.5 and 1.5 into the mad house with children running a muck and wedding plans yet to be ruined... I mean fulfilled. We will have the great privilege to wake up at 6 AM to the sound of singing... or maybe a door slamming or maybe a child falling from a high bed. I will welcome the day with a smile and joy in my heart.

The kids will be so happy due to the long trip and the short nap we all call night time... they are so resilient these ones, a little sugar and a slap on the rump and they are ready to meet the day.

The day will move at breakneck speed with me and others somehow not being run over as the plans for the big day begin to take shape. There are decorations to be made and set up, dresses to finish and tuxes to pin and men to feed. I will try to keep my children from running into the highway and in the middle of this give a kiss to my wife who is not stressed one bit, amazing as she is...

Life will take us to the wedding try-outs, some will make it and others will not. some will take a walk down the aisle even though they all know how to do it and the wedding layout and all that, will be hashed out between a thousand girls and some guy in a suit. He will not have much say or at least no one will listen to him, he is after all, a man.

The day before the big day, fear and the "Oh my, I forgot to..." will hit and sleep will be impossible which will insure a great day in the morning. The kids... (ring bearer and flower girl) will rest with palm leaves waving over them and wake up refreshed and ready to do their duty. (I will be waving the palm leaves...)

The wedding is in Montana. Now we all know what is in Montana. Yes, sheep, but that is not what I am talking about. The view! Yes, mountains and rivers flowing all around and a abundance of trees and lakes for the poor to enjoy along with the rich. Now the fun part is with this view just about everywhere you turn (and most of it free mind you,) the wedding is a hour away in a paid location that... wait for it... backs up to the same free mountains and rivers. Yes ladies and gentlemen... a paid location, a paid lawn in which this splendid wedding will take place, now mind you it has a house on it, a rather large one that must have been paid for from past wedding goers. I for one can't wait to see the view... but I digress... I am just a simple guy... I know not of these wedding things... so I am sure I missed the importance... anyway... we move on. Oh an you MUST know the cost...well let's just say I could buy a reliable used car for the price being paid for 8 hours of use...

Wedding day, and we are all ready for this day to end, the wedding party is ready for one reason and the bride and groom for another.

The time is here and as the party walks down the aisle and stands on the little tape X we all wait for the flower girl and the 2.5 year old who will be walking at the very hour that he on most days except a wedding day, would be in bed taking his afternoon nap. Yes... I think you can see where this happy little story is going.

The little boy who is not a happy boy at all but a grumpy, angry tired boy holding a pillow and jammed into a tux on a hot afternoon surrounded by food, grass and the woods will walk down the aisle. Ha... I pull out my camera and wait for the bomb.

Now see it through his little eyes... he sees the green grass just begging to be pulled and jumped on. He smells the cake and little nuts and sees the red punch calling his tummy. He it hot, tired, and is wondering why he is in a suit holding a pillow with no one to throw it at. He is looking at the person at the end of said aisle calling him to walk down the long row and he thinks...

Well, now, I am not sure what he thinks... I can only guess. I with my camera ready and sweat pouring from my back hope and pray he sees a big leg of chicken at the end of that aisle and not his doom. Well, we will see what he thinks now won't we... and for the rest of you, just wait and watch for the article in the local papers, or check out the video on Utube.

Here is to the happy couple... may you laugh and remember that this is the beginning and the end.

The beginning of something new and exciting and the end of something that was new and exciting... funny how life does that to us.

P.S. I do say all this in jest... I am sure Kale will be fine... hee hee maybe with a Red Bull and the flower girls throwing candy instead of flowers... anything to help.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: Misconceptions, marketing and mass madness most mock

I talk to authors and writers everyday and one thing I am finding or hearing a lot is this: "I want to be published by a traditional publisher because they will market my book for me." or "POD or Self-published authors have no help marketing."

This opened up a world of questions and tells me that if these are your thoughts you do not understand publishing. Here is what I mean.

Publishing is a business, writing is a art but if you want to do it for a living or even if you don't but just want to have people read your book, well these all have one thing in common. You need to get your book into peoples hands. To make a living and to be a well read author.

To do this you need to market your book or books. The misplaced idea that a traditional publisher will do all the marketing for you if laughable if not absurd. Most of these publishers are spending their money on a sure bet like Dan Brown or James Patterson. For all the rest you may get some bookmarks and a press release but that is about it. If you do not believe me as someone that is published by a "BIG" publisher and see what they say.

The best person to sell your book is you. You have the passion, the ideas and people don't look at the author as a salesman, you are a artist and therefore you can sell them the book and say just about anything and get away with it. Now just so we understand each other... No matter how you are published most of the marketing will be on you. If your book does well or fails will be on you in the end.

I am finding out that the writing community is split up into groups. One group is the "High Brow" group. These scholars are made up of professors, poets, book critics and they play in the literature area of the game. Most of these well meaning people have never written anything or are still working on their masterpiece and it will never see the light of day. Some do finish and go on to win huge literary awards and bask in the glory of the five other scholars who tip a hat in their direction.

I am not in this group and would not want to be in this group even if I was the best writer of all time. They know nothing of marketing and will only aid you if your work is up to their standards. These look at writing as art and even if no one buys the book or understands the writing, (This must be a requirement) they look down on the ones who actually sell books.

Group two is the write a book to fit the need sort of like if Vampire book are hot they will write a vampire book. I call this group the "copycats." They do not care to copy others and try to ride the wave and most of this writing is lame with no thought going into it at all. I am not in this group but do see some of what they do to market and take note. You can see this author a mile away, no matter what you like to read this book is for you. "Oh, you like romance, yes this book is a amazing romance." You like science fiction, yup, this is a... oh, a western... yes, got shoot outs, it is all in here. It is hard for some to understand that their book may not be for everyone.

Last group is the "Realist." This is the author that writes for fun and enjoys the art of telling stories and does not take themselves to seriously. They are looked down upon from the High Brows as armatures and not worth their time. Yet these sell the mass majority of books. Their novels are not filled with large words because they write for the masses which do not speak with said words. They understand who their market is and sell to them without trying to force their work on someone who will not like it just because they think they are the best writer to walk the earth.

I think it is funny how many people are down on James Patterson because his writing is not good or he is boring and predictable ect... He sells more books and writes more books and they are mad because they can't sell one. It is not a matter of beautiful writing or content, it is a voice and speaking to people. The people hear him and will keep coming back for more but it is not because of the writing. This fact is what makes so many authors and book crazy people mad. He sells well because he markets well. He sells millions because he is out there selling himself. It is not about the writing, it is about the marketing.

Selling books is a business and if you don't understand that you may never be able to make a living writing. I know a ton of authors that write better and I know I have so much to learn and I am earning everyday. However I sell books. Not trying to be arrogant but why would you want advice from someone who can't sell a book? The reason I sell books is because I market. I talk to people and do book signings and get out there. If I had a bar of soap I was selling I would go to dirty people and try to talk them into using my soap.

You my author friend have a bar of soap. Who wants your soap? Why is your soap the best? Now go to the dirty people and sell them your soap! Now if your soap sucks... you will find out quick enough and work on the formula and make better soap. But sell like this is a real business. Because it is...

I am a perfect example of this... not because I am any better or because I have something you don't have. You should look at me and my books and say, "Wow, if this hack can sell books, so can I!" Really, i mean it, you can do this, but don't spend your life waiting on others, (Big Publishers) you are in control, if your work is good they will come. I never even tried to submit my books to a publisher, I emailed one but soon saw the error in wasting my time when I could write and if I made a big splash they would come to me. Now I have them calling me because they want a piece of the pie... make a splash and turn them down for a change... it might be fun.

Monday, August 23, 2010

CHAPTER EIGHT: My head hurts...

I always get a headache when i go through a novel and get it ready for the printing process. 125k words and sitting for hours can make the old brain go to mush. I also am in the middle of a lively discussion on Facebook, it is fun and good to talk and think. Sometimes we believe something just because we always have.

This blog is not a single minded kind of thing. Most of this is my open thoughts and stuff I learned and maybe something I pass along might help someone else. That being said I want to say that if you do not agree with me that is fine. I do not require you to agree with me, this is after all my opinion... and you know what they say about them...

I get content from life experiences and other people and just from inside of my pea brain. It all gets put through the meat grinder and what comes out is this. Now if you think I might be talking to you or that something here is to a single person you are mistaken. I pull all sorts of things and sometimes seeing a kid scream in the store will spark a thought and a email will get it going again and by the time it is out here it came from many different places.

This comes from Rants mostly, they are more personal and not just info on writing but these are thoughts and ideas done tongue in cheek and if you know me you know I am a sarcastic person. If you want to tell me all about your leg and how it hurts or whine about your dog, give it a go.

This is after all the worst book ever!

Just so everyone is clear... I do not hate anyone... well, there is this one guy... never mind. Besides people like our beloved President (And I still pray for him)I think people are okay in general. Stupid most of the time but what do you do? I am part of this human race so I guess we are all in this together.

So here is to the home stretch... over half way there, soon this blog will be compiled into the worst book ever and the best of the years post's will be a part of one jumbled up book. I will have a lot of work to do to get it all to fit and to be put into some sort of semblance of order. Maybe subjects for chapters... that way the writing stuff can be in one and the e-book in another... something like that... any ideas?