Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why all the rules? From eBooks to Writing.

I went to New York for Thriller Fest and had an amazing time. As I talked with people and writers, agents and publishers they all seemed amazed that StoneHouse Ink has done so well even though we are only a year and a half old. The funny looks and long talks made me think.

Why is publishing easy for some and to others it is this huge mystery?

I think I figured it out. I am dumb... that is to say, I didn't know much of anything about publishing or writing or eBooks so I made it up as I went. Running a business from the clean mindset of just trying new things, experimenting and not letting the old rules bog me down, made the difference.

Here is the truth of it all. It really does not matter how the Big 6 have done it... does not matter how publishers think it should be done. If I have to print a book and go eBook later I say no lets go eBook first and print when we have sales. They say you can't do it on your own and outsell them. We outsell them all the time and most of our marketing is free.

All the terms, Traditional, Self publishing, Vanity, all mean nothing. It is a book, a product. How can we sell that product? If you look at it in these simple terms you will see that it is not any different then any other business.

Let us move to another subject. Writing.

Ah... yes, you must have a degree, have a background in English or be super smart to write a book. Let me say that in a different way. You have to have these things to get a big deal and sell enough books to make a living.

Character A must have a conflict with Character B and Character C has to Blah, blah blah! Foreshadowing, conflict, rules and all the things that you need to know to tell a story. I agree a lot of that is important but writing is the art of telling a story. imagine sitting around the camp fire and hearing different stories. Some tell it in a way that you feel like you are there and others tell it and it lacks the punch. This is the base of story. everything else can be taught.

But what if you have no training? What if you just like stories and want to give writing a go? What can you do?

A ton!

The great writers in our world are the people who DO. They learn as they go as the best teacher is yourself. Write, write and write some more. But if you never DO you never will DO anything. If you party every weekend, go out and mess around instead of putting in the WORK you will never be anything more.

J.A. Konrath worte the perfect blog post about this. From publishing to writing to all the new ways to get content, it comes down to as Nike says: Just Do It!

Here is what Konrath said:

Are You Writing?
I've got some bad news for you.

Right now, you're reading one of the most relevant, controversial, popular, and opinionated blogs about the world of publishing, and it is an epic fail on your part.

You want my sales. That's a statement, not a question. Or if you're dreaming even bigger, you want John Locke's or Amanda Hocking's sales. You want to make enough money to retire within the next 12 months. And you've dropped by my blog to learn how.

Maybe you've been following me for years. Maybe you just discovered me via a Twitter mention. Maybe you heard about me from a friend who said you should come here. If that's the case, your friend wasn't doing you any favors.

Because this blog is a time suck. There are hundreds of entries to read, and tens of thousands of comments. It's easy to get pulled in and waste hours, days, weeks.

Here's the bottom line: every minute you spend here is a minute you aren't spending on your writing.

You want my sales? I've got 40 different ebook titles currently selling. I'll have five more by the end of the year.

Amanda Hocking? Eleven so far. That Locke guy? Eleven. My writing partner Blake Crouch has more than 20 titles. That's why he's making over $30k a month, and you're not.

You'll notice Amanda doesn't comment here anymore, when she used to with regularity. Blake will pop in every once and a while and leave a comment, but he doesn't stick around.

That's because they're doing what you should be doing.

They're writing.

I'm lucky enough to be a full time writer, and I'm fast enough that I can waste my time here and still churn out more publishable words than most. And while it tickles me to get hundreds of comments to my posts, and though my message is no doubt being heard by many writers who are benefiting from it, the best thing you can do for your career isn't reading A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

The best thing you can do is write. The more, the better.

How many words have you written today?

There is only one rule is you want to be a publisher or a full time writer.


When everyone else sleeps you stay up to finish that chapter. When all your friends go out you work your business. I do not ask you to do this forever, but for a short time and once you begin to see the pay off you will be the one going out and drinking in the sun on a exotic beach somewhere as your party friends work for their boss and fight traffic so they can afford to party on Saturday night.

Now is the part where you choose your life. What do you want?

Now, go do it and don't let the rules bog you down... Cheers


  1. Terrific post...and it's not just because I'm a part of Stone House that I am saying that. Wait I'm a part right? I love that at Stone House Stone Gate that the rules are not set in stone. Pun intended. Hmmmm...with that said I may go break some of those rules since the boss deemed it ok.

  2. I, too, was at ThrilerFest and watched as Aaron explained what he was doing to those who thought they already knew the only "right" way to succeed in publishing. I can easily see the trad publishers following StoneHouse Ink's unorthodoxed lead.

  3. So I'm not just a huge nerd staying home Friday nights to write... I'm actually working toward something? :) (I know, I'm still a huge nerd either way.)

  4. Hi Aaron: Thanks for sharing Konrath's post and your own words. I recently purchased his ebook (it's massively saturated with wisdom nuggets). I utterly marvel and am inspired by self-published authors because, with the sigh that only a teacher can utter, "they are the future."

    Fear is a major battle, but courage is the cure. I really look forward to sharing more information about publishing, writing, and rolling in the dough. That's why we do all this, right? Oh yeah, because we love it too.