Random Friday


Still offline, so leaving you with some writers on writing, words of wisdom, whatever you want to call them! Have a great weekend!

It always amuses me when the status quo preaches about how the gatekeepers of New York, in their valiant efforts to curtail the so-called Tsunami of Crap, boast how they’re responsible for safeguarding literature and culture and are solely responsible for bringing books to the masses.
The opposite is the truth. The Big 5 are censors. For decades, their paper book distribution oligopoly limited what was available to readers. Their “curation”, which they’ve touted as a feature, has actually been a gigantic bug. A censorship bug, which prevented readers from deciding for themselves what’s worthy and what isn’t.
It’s so liberating, so intoxicating, to be able to write the kind of book I want to, without being subjected to the whims of the gatekeepers. Imagine if the Internet only allowed certain websites to be published based on what a select handful of people deemed appropriate. We’d have a far smaller, much less interesting World Wide Web.
Yet, even with the number of websites surpassing 1 billion, we can all still find worthy URLs that interest us.
Self-publishing doesn’t lead to a Tsunami of Crap. It leads to freedom, more choices, better prices, and the opportunity for more writers and readers to indulge in their whims and passions.

Joe Konrath

It takes a certain personality type to persevere through the solitude and negative feedback. I often say I’m a writing junkie, but more accurately, I’m a storytelling junkie. I consume and create story in equal measures. Take my stories away, I’ll wither and die.
Most people have a real life that writing gets in the way of. I have a writing life that real events interrupt. Most writers who have committed a novel or two find the writing life not to their taste.
Solitude and making things up is not for everyone.
Nor should it be.

Kris Rush

And here’s the best news of all: I don’t have to be a bestseller to make comfortable money. In the past, if I had wanted to stay home and write books full-time, I had to hope I could sell my books to thousands of people. Now, I can make good money selling to hundreds. And hundreds of people is do-able. It might take some time to get there—I put my first story up on Amazon in 2009, so I’m into year 5 here—but it can be done.

M.C.A. Hogart

We will never stop taking risks.
And we keep writing and putting up new work. And that’s the most important of everything.
We do our best to keep up with everything new coming into publishing, but we don’t chase every fad. And we don’t write to market. We write what we love.
And it seems to work just fine in the long run.
We have fun. We make a lot of money. That’s also fun.
And we do our best to help others find their own road, even if it is different from what we are doing. Every writer is different. And thankfully these days, there is no one path.

– Dean Wesley Smith

You don’t have to be perfect. Just perfect for yourself. You can achieve this personal perfection by having your own yardstick of what success means to you. But the important thing is that the yardstick have notches that take into account successes that are big as well as small. Think that writer who sold several thousand copies on Kindle is successful? Great. But if your own pdf has been downloaded 67 times, that is no small feat either. Imagine, at least 67 people in the world have thought your words worth paying their hard-earned cash for. And at least 67 people in the world have benefited in some way from your creation. To me, that sounds good.

Devyani Borade

Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.
Raymond Chandler

Sunday Surprise


Let’s start the new year well! Words of wisdom and writers on writing to take home. Here’s to 2015 filled with more wise quotes!

How do people find your work? By having choices. Some people might like the cover on your very first novel, and buy it for that reason. Some people don’t find you until your fifteenth novel. Some people like your short stories or, as some of you have pointed out on a recent blog of mine, some of people find your fiction through your nonfiction.

Write. Write a lot. Then write more.

Don’t even bother to try to be “discovered” until you have a body of work. Not one novel. Not even two novels. Maybe not three or four or five. Worry about being discovered after you’ve published a good handful of novels or short stories or plays or nonfiction books. Enough to fill a computer screen when someone is scrolling, looking for something to read.

I am not telling you to wait to publish.

Got that?

I think you should publish the very first thing you finish. If you want to be traditionally published, send that very first thing to editors who might buy it. If you want to be a hybrid writer or an indie writer, then publish that thing after it’s gone through a first reader and a copy editor. Get it out into the world.

You might not sell a single copy.

You might sell hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands.

The only way to know is to make the work available.

But first, you have to do the work.

That work is writing.

Write what you love. Tell the best story you can. Then, once you’ve finished that story, start a new story. Make it even better than the first.

Kris Rusch

Self-publishing is not a gold rush.

Success at writing requires, in addition to long hours and hard work, a lot of luck.

Check out my advice to aspiring writers, there on the left hand side of the front page. Check every interview I’ve ever given and any blog post where I mention what authors should expect. I’ve beaten this drum louder and longer than any other drum, including my love of self-publishing. I say it all the time. You have to write because you love it. You can’t expect to make a living at this. Luck is involved. Most won’t make it.

Hugh Howey

This revolution isn’t about Konrath making a million dollars a year. 

This revolution is about writers, for the first time ever, having power.

We have a choice. And it’s our duty to make ALL writers aware of this choice.

Visit www.authorearnings.com. Fill out the survey and petition. Link to it. Tweet it. Discuss it on Facebook. Speak out and tell your peers what your experiences are. Even if you make $10 a year, you’re not a failure. Failure is giving up. Failure is handing your fate over to someone else. Failure is not arming yourself with information.

Ebooks are forever. Understand what copyright is. Understand that money flows toward the writer. Understand that the more control you have, the less likely you are to be at the mercy of others.

The first step, in any revolution, is making the exploited aware of how they’re being exploited. We have a growing body of evidence that shows self-publishing is good, and legacy publishing is exploitative.

We need to share that evidence if we want change to happen.

Tell your stories. Be proud of your accomplishments. Stop succeeding in silence.

Joe Konrath

If you want to make pictures or write stories, no one can stop you.

You do not need to be a pro to be happy. The pursuit of the pro career for which some people simply are not suited has led many people to great unhappiness. I was not suited for a career in music, despite 12 long years of banging away at it.

Know thyself.

It isn’t a question of whether or not this is something you want to do: the question is, can you make a living at it?

You don’t have to make a living at art to enjoy making art. Give yourself the freedom to make art without the burden of art making you.

Colleen Doran

In this modern world of publishing, there is no one way, no right way, no perfect path.

My suggestion is to keep your eyes open on the publishing side, look around, try one way or another, and be willing to change if something sounds right.

Do a writing plan and a business plan as to where you want to be in five years and figure out if the plan is realistic for your writing.

Write to passion.

And never listen to anyone who tells you there is only one right way.

There is only your way.

Experiment, learn, find it, and have fun.

Dean Wesley Smith

Sunday Surprise


And it’s WoW Sunday – or writers on writing, words of wisdom, whatever you want to call it. Enjoy these writers’ quotes and have a great Sunday!

But the one position I never write from is the one-book writer. It’s a position I honestly don’t understand. And that gets me in trouble with some of you who read this blog. Some of you think I don’t do enough to support my “book”; some of  you believe I don’t understand what it’s like to be a beginner (what, was I born fully formed from the forehead of Zeus?); some of you think I could never understand how hard writing is.
I understand all of that. What I don’t understand is why some of you believe that your book (singular) is a sacred and holy text. Why you believe that once you’ve published your one book, you’re done.
Kristine Katryn Rusch

I have never been able to understand how people can complain about being lonely or bored; there are so many interesting things to do, so many fascinating people to know. I love my work, and I hope to go on doing it till I drop at the age of 99.
– Barbara Mertz

The one thing a creator can bring to the table when everybody else has all the money and power is a centeredness and the ability to walk away. Never sit at a table you can’t walk away from.
– Joss Whedon

The key to success is keeping at it until you succeed. For me, that took over twenty years of hard work, and I still fail all the time. If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough.
Keep writing, keep experimenting, try to learn from your failures, and never give up.
Joe Konrath

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. — Ira Glass

Sunday Surprise


…and it’s the writerly wisdom of the month! Enjoy these writers’ quotes and have a great Sunday! 🙂

In fact, long ago I set a goal: if I’m going to write something, I want it to accomplish two ends: the project must be commercially viable, and I have to have fun doing it.

Sometimes, I admit, I worry far more about having fun than about making money. I tend to mismanage my career. If I only wanted to make money, I’d write as commercially as possible, sticking to a single genre. I do neither. In any case, there are good reasons to write for fun.

– David Farland

Just continue to write, writer.  Find your audience.  Don’t waste your time on promotion.  Write, write, write your a$$ off. That’s the best promotion there is. Forget about Twitter, spamming Facebook walls, getting all your friends and family to leave you glowing reviews.  Don’t do it.  Just write.

Indie Books List

Write a lot of good stories. Not beautiful words. Good stories. Remember, fiction gets translated into a variety of languages, and in those languages, your original words get lost. Only stories get translated, stories with great characters, great plots, and unforgettable moments.

– Kris Rush

A writer knows they’re successful when they personally feel like they’re successful. That may sound like cheesy mumbo jumbo, but it’s true. Depending on one thing to be an indicator for success is unhealthy whether you reach the goal or don’t reach the goal. Success isn’t static, nor is it solid. As long as you keep moving toward the next thing you personally want to succeed in rather than trying to succeed in something that holds more public value to you than personal, you’ll be successful. (…)

Give yourself goals to achieve, but don’t write your books solely to reach some general indicator of success. Write your books because you love writing them and you want people to love reading them. Give your books your best effort and, when/if you succeed on a public level, it’ll come as a pleasant surprise.
As long as you personally feel successful, you’ve succeeded as a writer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

– Tiffany Cole

So the indie publishing movement near the end of 2012 is still in some flux, as it should be after only three or so years in this new electronic-added world. Many writers are doing books or backlist titles themselves, but at the same time indie publishing is seeing the early adaptors starting to get discouraged and dropping out.
Again, this is nothing new in publishing. To make a career in publishing, you have to be ready for a long haul, often over decades. Most writers who went indie two years ago didn’t want to do that, didn’t find the “gold” they were promised after a ton of wasted promotion efforts, and have stopped. Nothing unusual at all. Writers starting off and then quitting was always the way it was even when I came into publishing back in the dark ages. Nothing different. But now it’s not quitting after fifty rejections, it’s quitting after three books up and very few sales.

– Dean Wesley Smith

Sunday Surprise


no guests, no artworks, so some more writers wisdom… Have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂

I started writing a new book last week. I’d been between projects with other writing-related activities taking up my time. What I didn’t realize until I immersed myself in Chapter 1 was that I need to write. It’s a stress-release for me. If you’re a writer, you write because writing is like breathing. You simply have to do it.
But will it make you rich? If you’re looking at the success stories of the few rich and famous authors, you’re going to feel like a failure from Day One. There are no overnight success stories. No shortcuts. A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. And nowadays, when the odds of a new author breaking into the Big Six are getting slimmer and slimmer, and the mid-list authors are going the way of the dodo, I decided to investigate alternate publishing methods.

– Terry Odell

 

I spent too many years neglecting my muse. I believed creativity was finite, that when I gave my creativity to my employer, there was none left for my art. But creativity is not a fossil fuel of finite supply that must be transported in pipelines and on ships and driven around in automobile tanks. Creative thinking, I’ve learned, begets more creative thinking.

– Patrick Ross

 

Focus on learning how to tell a better story while at the same time learning the business. If you keep writing and learning, eventually you will be a big name writer with a lot of books out and will have to give this same advice to the next generation of writers.So my suggestion is to stop whining about how big names have all the advantages, and start focusing on learning how to write better stories. Stop spending time on promotion and spend the time on the next short story or the next novel. Your best promotion is always your next book.

– Dean Wesley Smith

 

It turns out that I was entirely wrong. I was missing what I really wanted. One of the major reasons that I write is to connect with readers, not publishers. The truth is that I couldn’t care less whether New York editors and publishers like me. I don’t want to write for them. I want to write for you. The other undeniable truth is that readers could care less that my books aren’t put out by a big publisher. They read for the content, not the publishing house emblem.

– Jessica Park @ Indiereader.com

 

Here is what most writers forget. You are the boss of your own story. Not the other writers in your critique group. Not the famous author whose workshop you were lucky enough to get into at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Not even your mother-in-law who comes into your house while you are at work and vacuums the mattresses because somebody has to protect her grandchildren from dust mites. When it comes to applying feedback, you — and only you — are the one who gets to determine what stays and what goes in your story. And that is a good thing.

– Joni B. Cole

Sunday Surprise


And let’s start the new year with some writerly quotes! Here’s to a productive writing year to all the writers out there!

I love writing. I loved it for the 12 years where I didn’t sell a single thing, and I’ve loved it for the 12 years I’ve been a professional. I have all the conceits that every writer has. I think about my characters as if they’re real people. I dream about scenes. I secretly believe my stories are the best in the world. I laugh at my own jokes, cry at the emotional parts, and often dislocate my elbow patting myself on the back after a good bit of dialog or a fun twist. Being a writer does more than define me; it isn’t a job, it’s a way of life. And when I put my life out there for the world to see, I want it to be the very best that I am capable of. I want readers to enjoy it as much as I have. I want every chapter, every scene, every sentence to be deliberate, to convey exactly what I want it to convey.

– Joe Konrath

 

Agents and editors think they know what readers want. They don’t always know. Readers know what readers want, and they’re expressing their wants by buying books written by indie authors. Give yourself a hardy pat on the back if you’ve completed a manuscript, but the big applause goes to our devoted fans and readers. Without them, we would be nothing.

– Carol Davis Luce

 

The point here is that you do not have to feel as though you are in competition with the entire world. You don’t NEED the entire world to be a successful writer. What you need is an audience—just enough of an audience, mind you—who reads your words, is changed by them and wants to come back for more.”

– Tracy Hickman

 

An audience can’t be goosed. The audience must be built. And then it must be nurtured. Audiences aren’t fickle. They’ll return when they see a notice of something new from one of their favorites. But if their favorites cease to produce, the audience will move onto something else.

Because you must remember one thing about any audience: its free time and its entertainment dollars are finite. So if you fail to produce work your audience loves, eventually your audience will move onto other things. It won’t abandon you: audiences are very loyal. But your audience will think you abandoned it.

– Kris Rusch

 

It’s hard to fault his dollars-and-cents logic. But when I start thinking along these lines, I try to take a step back and remind myself that I never got into this business for the money in the first place. I became a writer so that I could do what I wanted, and if I reach a point where my “success” as a writer keeps me from doing what I want to do, there would seem to be something seriously wrong with the turn my career has taken.

– Lawrence Block

Sunday Surprise


… and it’s more writers quotes! To interrupt the series of interviews with fellow Wyrd Worlds authors (but we shall continue, so stay tuned) – here’s the monthly feature of words of wisdom or writers on writing! 🙂 Have a great Sunday!

People fret about the disappearance of one ecosystem: the closure of stores, the slimming down of book sections in newspapers, or Oprah cancelling her book club, and don’t take into account the diverse, decentralized, vibrant system that is taking its place through crowdsourced reviews, hugely popular book blogs, Kindle fan newsletters that have fifty thousand subscribers, Kindle owner Facebook Pages with thirty thousand fans, e-reader forums with tens of thousands of members, huge social networks exclusively for books, as well as the millions and millions of conversations about books and their authors which are happening every day on social media, and by email.

It’s a chaotic and messy recommendation engine, but it’s also one that allows word-of-mouth to spread like wildfire. And it doesn’t care who published the book.

– David Gaughran

To become a professional fiction writer, you must become a major risk-taker without fear of failure or a care in the world what anyone else thinks of you or your writing.

– Dean Wesley Smith

Because all that tells me is this: the more I write and publish, the more readers will want what I write.

And oh, that makes me happy. It keeps my butt in the chair, and my fingers on the keyboard. It also makes me a bit crazy: I have more stories to tell than I could ever get to. I’m typing as fast as I can—and having a ball.

That’s what all the writers who’ve decided to embrace this new world will tell you. We’re having fun, some of us for the first time in years. (To me, writing has always had to be fun or there’s no point in doing it.)

– Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I don’t know if I have a specific point or conclusion, I’m just kind of rambling here. I guess my point is, everyone is passionate about at least one thing. Even if it’s a passion for the desire not to be passionate about anything. If yours is writing, creating, building, and dreaming, embrace it. Live through the pain, celebrate through the joy, and know that every up and down feeds your love for the written word.

– Loralie Hall

This joy, this enthusiasm, having it hurt when I can’t sit down to write, that’s the way it was over thirty years ago when I used to hammer stories out on an old typewriter. It was what made me write a novel in longhand back when I was in high school. This is what sparks the light in the eyes of students who come to my classes, and fuels the secret smile writers have when alone and an idea strikes them.

It’s been gone for a bit. I am so thankful it’s back.

– Michael Stackpole

Sunday Surprise


So, I skipped August, and in spite of the list of guests, I thought I’d restart the “WoW Sunday”, which, for the newcomers, isn’t what you might think, but Words of Wisdom or Writers on Writing – a collection of five writerly quotes. Which goes well between writers’ interviews, don’t you think? Here’s this now monthly feature for your eyes only – five writers’ quotes.

Don’t buy into the myth that writers are a dime a dozen. There is only one you. As long as people crave stories, as long as we need books, we are going to need writers. These days there are so many more ways to publish and so many more ways to connect to the readers. The future is bright.

–  Agent Wendy Lawton @ Books&Such

That is what I have been saying now for a year, and it scares hell out of me to have a major publisher agree. And base his very survival and the survival of his company on being right.

I had honestly hoped I was going to be wrong. I still do, because in my opinion, the best writer is a writer who has choices, who can move into a future and write what he or she wants, and sell it either directly to readers or to a publisher. That is how it is working for me and Kris and Mike and Barry and Joe and a number of others who follow here. We haven’t gone knee-jerk indie or defend-the-fort traditional.

The best is using both indie and traditional at will. The writer’s will.

– Dean Wesley Smith

I am not one of your professional patriots, you must understand. I am not a flag-waver (I don’t even own a flag) and I eschew nationalism. I’m a globalist, who believes that human beings should not divide themselves into any divisions less than “human being.” Let everyone be merely different facets of an overriding humanity.

– Isaac Asimov

I have this strange feeling that if writers spent more time on their own craft, and less time worried about how others do things differently, there would be a lot more good books being published from all directions.

– C.S.Splitter (R.I.P.)

My advice to any writer who plans to be published whether its self or traditionally: start networking NOW. Don’t wait til your book is published. Don’t wait til you have a deal. Start talking to people, start being friends and care about others around you. Draw them into conversation and encourage them. It pays back in so many ways and you know what? It makes you feel good. Because being good to others – knowing that you made someone else smile is way better than just one sale. But the real point here is that – if people like you and genuinely care about you – they will be interested in your writing.

– Cambria Hebert

Surprise Sunday


A month ago I did a writers wisdom post or writers on writing or words of wisdom (used to be called WoW Saturdays for those who’ve been following this blog for a long time). I thought it was time to share more of those… I still have plenty on file! So, for your Sunday, here are some wise writers’ quotes!

So many of the writers I work with I just know will never be successful because they simply lack the self-belief to push on with their ideas and deliver their stories in their own way irrespective of what the world thinks. They come to seminars by people like me hoping to find other people who will magically turn their ideas into winners for them. It doesn’t happen. Editors and producers do not descend from heaven and fix up half-arsed stories. If they could do that, they would be writers themselves. Delivering a complete and excellent story is YOUR job.

– David Baboulene

I suppose formal training does different things for different people, and all of us get interested in the process once we’re involved, but one absolute truth I am certain of is that the only essential training for writing is reading. If you are starting to write and you haven’t read a thousand books first, you’re not ready. To be a writer you must be a reader. After that writing is simply about personal confidence.

– Lee Child

What I mean by that is new beginning writers are so worried about sentences and pretty words and nifty grammar and pleasing their workshop that they forget they are storytellers. They are woking to become entertainers. Beginning writers just forget about readers and how readers are the real judges.

– Dean Wesley Smith

The world wide web has spawned an unpleasant epidemic of idiots who are quick to criticize, insult, dismiss, and reject without any accountability. These folks really believe their nearsighted and downright idiotic opinions are not only correct, but need to be voiced in public.

– Joe Konrath

And much, I should add, does not. Mr. Locke writes incisively and persuasively on finding one’s ideal target audience and giving them what they want. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I already know what I write, and I’ve long since worked out for myself that it is not my job to give my readers what they want. It is rather for me to please myself first and write the books I want to write. That’s how I came by those readers in the first place, and it’s the only way I know to serve them well.

– Lawrence Block

Surprise Sunday


I had actually written a rant, but I decided to go back to my original idea – the internet has no privacy and it was useless to make it public. So I’ll spare you my grumpiness and offer you a few writers quotes instead. Have a great Sunday!

The value of structural understanding is in story optimisation and problem resolution, not as a creative starting point. Ideally, your ideas will pour out and there will be no problems with the story you have written; in which case who cares what the structure is? Creativity first, always and forever. Structure secondarily, and only as a tool for analysis and repair.

– David Baboulene

I don’t understand it when writers talk about having to be disciplined and asking about how to “find the time” to write, and wanting a method for getting going. I can’t help with advice there because if you need help in these areas you are probably not motivated correctly to ever be a writer. Writers must be desperate to write – driven – hungry – forcing themselves to leave their writing to go and do other things, not the other way around.

– Lee Child

The old method was to just write and submit and when your craft started climbing some of you stories started breaking through the editorial roadblocks and got to readers. That system was pretty clear for most, but wow did it fail writers with very unusual voices or stories that did not fit into certain genres.Those writers never did get through the system for the most part. Like I haven’t got through the system yet at Asimov’s.

– Dean Wesley Smith

This “indy” publishing revolution is not, contrary to the belief of many, abo0ut money. It’s actually about independence. With independence comes responsibility; and it’s this need to accept responsibility that scares a lot of people. And I’m not just talking about writers. It scares publishers, too, because, up to this point, they’ve thrust all the responsibility for whether or not books sell on the authors. If the books don’t sell – despite a lack of publicity or merchandising, crappy covers, unrealistic ebook price points and a nihilistic pricing and returns policy – the fault lies with the author. We all know this is true. As John F.Kennedt said, “Victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan.” If a book does well, everyone within the publishing company knows it was their brilliance that made it do well.

If it fails, it was the author’s fault . (Or the fault of tasteless readers in the fly-over states who can’t recognize brilliance.)

– Michael Stackpole

You’ve worked your butt off for years to get this right, and now you’re there. You’ve built up instinct, talent, and experience. Those things aren’t anything you can buy or have someone teach you.

– Michelle Davidson Argyle

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