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...