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Career

So you’ve put out a book, or two, or three. You stare at your KDP dashboard and wait. And wait, and wait, and wait.

Crickets.

Your friends and family might have bought a few copies, but apart from that, nobody seems to care about your book. What’s wrong?

Probably one of these five things: (more…)

I’ve been flipp-flopping between being AI-positive, like Joanna Penn, and a complete AI-alarmist, depending on whether I’m thinking about this when the sun’s up or at 3am when I can’t sleep.

On one hand, AI is cool, ChatGPT is fun to play with, and Midjourney is amazing.

On the other, I’m a writer, and reading the news, you’d think ChatGPT is about to do with creative wordsmiths what Microsoft Excel did to accountants in the 1980’s and 90’s: slaughter us wholesale.

Then I read Ted Chiang’s thoughts on the matter. (more…)

Banner - rowersSo you’ve written a novel, or a story, or a comic, and you want to turn that into a career. What do you do now?

First, you need to assess your mental state. Are you strong enough to handle people seeing it? Commenting upon it? Critiquing it?

If not, don’t worry. Fear is a normal reaction. Listen to it, query it, figure out what you’re afraid of. You might need professional help here, or just a good friend that won’t hurt you.

But let’s assume that you have built up a thick skin. You can handle it. What then? (more…)

You’ve finished your first short story. You’re proud, maybe a little scared. And you have no idea what to do next. Should you start editing it? (no) Should you hire an editor? (no) Should you throw it in the trash? (no, no, and a thousand times no)

This is what you do (and I’m fully aware that I’ll get some hate for this, but this is how the writing world works):

You correct any obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, and you send it out to markets that publish this type of story.

Yes, unedited.

Why? Because right now, you’re likely not able to edit it. You don’t have the skills for it. Anything you do to it will make the story worse.

How do you get those skills? (more…)

Another Seth Godin post, because the man’s an underappreciated marketing and business genius.

When making a choice between two options, only consider what’s going to happen in the future, not which investments you’ve made in the past. The past investments are over, lost, gone forever. They are irrelevant to the future.

Sunk costs are the number one reason for inertia, for failing as a company. You’ve invested so much money, prestige, emotions into something that you can’t change course.

You’re stuck in the past, rather than considering the future. You’re working with old paradigms, trying to get your foot in the door at a Big 5 publishing house when you could just as well go indie, or go with small genre publisher, or share your writings for free and earn money from supporters.

There are thousands of options. Don’t be the one who holds onto hard-won knowledge that’s become outdated!

And read Seth’s take on sunk costs.

Banner - penEver felt like you want to tell stories, but can’t? That you’re sitting down, starting something great, all those characters dancing in your mind, but two weeks and fourteen failed starts later, you have nothing to show for it?

Maybe you like the idea of writing, but you’re having trouble doing the work. Maybe you feel, or have heard, that writing is work, and it should feel like work, and you’re not liking that feeling.

Maybe it’s making you doubt whether you are a writer at all, or should be one, or should give it all up and try out for that competitive TV-watching team you’ve heard about.

No, you shouldn’t. Because you, and all those more-or-less well-meaning people on the internet, are looking at writing the wrong way. (more…)

Banner Piles of MoneyTLDR: The increasing popularity of Kickstarter is a death-knell for traditional publishing, but great news for writers, both new and established, who’ll get access to better-paying and faster publishing options.

People, especially new(ish) writers, keep complaining that Brandon Sanderson’s kickstarter is going to hurt writers, publishers, and book-loving aliens from Mars.

I’ve seen arguments that it will make publishers less willing to pay writers, less willing to gamble on new writers, and less willing to publish non-best-selling books.

That’s great news!

Check this: the big trad publishers are dying. Have been for the past 30 years, and it accelerated as online shopping accelerated. (more…)

I have, at the time of this writing, received 829 rejections.

I’ve also sold 59 stories, most of them to pro-paying magazines, with another 9 out on submission right now.

If you crunch the numbers, you’ll see that I’m getting a 93,4% rejection rate. Which is actually quite good.

Let me explain. (more…)

Yes, that’s Brandon Sanderson. Check out this interview with him on CBS:

Banner Piles of MoneyI talked to a neo-pro indie writer who soured on the whole experience, having paid $460 for editing, formatting, cover, keyword research, and a bunch of other stuff to get his book published.

In his view, he’d never make that money back. Which is quite true. But that’s not his problem.

His problem is that he overpaid. A LOT.

I published my first self-published novel in November. Total cost: $0.78 for two stock images. (more…)