farces-of-nature--too-good-to-be-true-800x600In some ways I am hopeful this blog gets fewer hits than my normal postings. I see at least twenty to thirty of these kind of ads/offers/scams (and yes, dirtbag authors who write books to their own compatriots to make a quick buck before enough writers realize it’s just the same old rhetoric.

I am working on a longer book than the one I have out to help writers (and lest you think I am attempting to pimp myself or my book here, if you honestly don’t want to spend the $1.99 the book costs, put your email in the comments and I will send you the MOBI file, free of charge. I only ask that, if it does make your book better, you tell others about my book). Later this year, I want to put out a book to assist new writers in navigating the shark-infested waters of self-publishing, from day one to day ????

INKvNEWx900Until then, I try to share bits and pieces here on this blog. Why would I give away “trade secrets”? Because I believe—no, I KNOW—there are plenty readers out there for all of us. Readers aren’t like car buyers. They don’t buy one unit and keep it for 3, 5, 10 or 20 years. They buy a book, read it, perhaps buy another book or two from the author if available, but they are always looking for new talented authors to read.

So why shouldn’t we help each other? I wish there had been someone when I started who wasn’t telling me to buy his GREAT BOOK on how to become a bestseller (which was really a bunch of crap about getting Twitter followers and scamming the system). When I finally did run into a few honest, hardworking authors who also understood that the only way to survive and get out of the jungle and to the readers was to join hands, THEN I really started selling some books.

So I figure if you’re reading this—or at least many of you reading this—are relatively new to the “selling” part of writing. In fact, some of you reading this may have been at this for some time with some not so fantastic results (I sat on my first book for 90 days before realizing no one was going to buy it unless I climbed aboard the Marketing and Branding train.

i-judge-grammarLesson Number One: Writing the book is the EASY part. By far. I hate to burst any bubbles out there, and I am not saying your book, it’s quality, and your writing are not intricate in your long-term success. What I am saying is that long-term is a long way off. Write a great book. Make sure it is polished and proofread and edited as much as you can before putting it on the digital shelves (because the hundred nails in the coffin are a hundred people that complain in the reviews that the book had tons of typos, terrible editing, bad grammar, and horrible dialogue). You can’t afford that kind of bad press, and the worse news is that there are plenty of n’er-do-wells out there on the big, badass Internet, just waiting for your book to hit the shelf unprepared.

Lesson Number One.Point.One: Make sure your book is ready, and then check it again. And perhaps again. Walk away from it for a week or two. Sit down in a hot bath (or wherever you do your reading) and try to read it just as a reader would—open every page; read the dedication; read everything. Mark it up as you go along, but only the egregious mistakes or typos. You really want to read your book as a reader would (but of course you need to use the time to identify mistakes to be corrected).

Lesson Two: If you find you are not able to get into the book for all the errors, typos, plot changes you’d rather make, your book is not ready. It’s okay. We never really feel like they’re ready, but reading it, you’ll know. If you’re HONEST. Don’t skip over a crappy part and pretend you didn’t see it. You’re only hurting yourself (and the poor reader who coughed up $2-5 for your book and will be telling every person he or she meets “don’t read I.M.A. Writer—he SUCKS!”).

patienceLesson Three: Be patient. Be the kind of patient you never thought you could be. Sign up for yoga or meditation classes or just sit in a dark room and practice not worrying. Very, very few independent authors experience overnight success. Oh, you’ll feel sometimes like they all do. Why? Because they’ll tweet how great they are; they’ll blog about reaching the Top Ten on Amazon (for an hour, during a sale). Don’t let it get to you. Their success or failure has nothing to do with yours. It takes time for the bulk of us–especially the talented ones. Because the ones that rocket to the top for a day? Most I’ve read STINK.

covetLesson Four: A reiteration of #3. Do not let others’ success or failures affect YOU. You will succeed on your own tenacity, willingness to learn, acceptance of constructive criticism (and the ability to separate constructive from unconstructive), thickening skin, and your ability to write prolifically. Which leads into…

Lesson Five: As an independent, you need more than one book out there. That doesn’t mean you should wait to publish until you have more than one book, but don’t expect one book to carry you to the Promised Land (actually, there is no land promised to us—that comes later in the list: Try not to have unrealistic expectations, particularly early on). Stephen King can write one book every 2-3 years. He’s a household name. YOU, on the other hand, even if brilliant and entertaining as heck to a bunch or readers, will be forgotten in 3-6 months. Ergo, you’re going to have to pump out some books. Consider breaking down that 300,000 tome into three 100,000 word tomes. Consider novellas. One of my books (not even called a novella) in one of my series is 30,000 words. I’ve never seen a complaint; in fact, it’s always been one of my readers favorites. Which segues to the final lesson for this posting…

Less-is-MoreLesson Six: More is not necessarily better. In fact, in writing, more is almost never better and is almost always worse. Don’t spend 50 pages describing the forest. Yes, show don’t tell, the Golden Rule, but show as efficiently as possible or you will lose your reader. Don’t use twelve dollar words where a one dollar word will do just as well. If you had to look it up, so will most readers.

That’s it for today. I am going to try and blog a bit more about the constructs of the industry, what works and doesn’t work, and here’s a little hint: I’m doing it to kill two birds with one stone. I would like to write these, let’s call it a chapter at a time, and also have some good fodder and a foundation for that longer book I was talking about. So if you keep checking in, you can get whole book digested, once again, for nothing. I don’t write my “be a better writer” type books to make money; I want to get them into the hands of the really decent writers out there who just need a bit of help, either with their writing, navigating the processes, or both.

Beyond that, dear reader/writers, WRITE ON!

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The blank page is dead…long live the blank page.

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Rubber Chicken Arrow Through Headv2Author known to use spontaneous satire, sarcasm, and unannounced injections of pith or witticisms which may not be suitable for humorless or otherwise jest-challenged individuals. (Witticisms not guaranteed to be witty, funny, comical, hilarious, clever, scintillating, whimsical, wise, endearing, keen, savvy, sagacious, penetrating, fanciful, or otherwise enjoyable. The Surgeon General has determined through laboratory testing that sarcasm can be dangerous, even in small amounts, and should not be ingested by those who are serious, somber, pensive, weighty, funereal, unsmiling, poker-faced, sober, or pregnant.) For those who enjoy and/or revel in the utterance of profanity, the author reserves the right to substitute “fish” for “fuck” without fear of repercussion, mental reservation, or purpose of evasion.

 

 

 

10 Responses to New To The Biz? Want To Sell 10K Books Per Day?

  1. Wayne says:

    Rob, my man, this is a great idea, and I’m gonna get a copy as soon as it’s released, but as your friend, I request you hold off on starting it for a little longer.

    You have three books that I’m aware of that you are writing, you have a 9-to-5 (even if they aren’t your hours), you’re marketing your books, you’re researching, plus you have a loving wife who loves attention from you. I don’t want you to burn yourself out trying to balance all of these things.

    Please finish the ghostwriting one, then the next James Pruett, take a break, and then write your other two books?

    PS: I’m reminding folks to buy your book. I don’t know if you noticed the plug I gave you on Facebook, but a writer I follow asked for some of my favorite books, and I made sure I called out Black Beast. (pauses to think) Ya know, I think I talk about that way more than your others, even though I refer to Ink more. Sorry about that. I’ll push the others more. 😀

    • rsguthrie says:

      Hey, don’t worry. I have my list of priorities. The ghostwriting gig is first, all the way. The others will be later in the year. That’s why the blog will help—I blog when my pipes are clogged; it gets me back in the writing groove. And if I blog about the writing process, not only do I unclog the pipes and perhaps help a fellow author or two along the way, I also have some good material later in the year for the second book on writing.

      And you know how much I appreciate you promoting my books. Always have, amigo! 😀

  2. Caleb Pirtle says:

    Everybody has questions. We’re all looking for the man with answers. I’ll buy the book in a heartbeat. Writing takes four to six months. Selling is a lifetime.

    • rsguthrie says:

      I tell you, Caleb—had they told me how hard was the marketing and branding and selling, I might have just kept my words to myself! But now that I’m in the game, I plan to stick it out. Confucius had it right: choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. 🙂

  3. Rob, as you must know, I’m excited about the book you’re working on as is my friend, Maria. I cannot wait until it comes out. I know it’ll be on the New York Times best seller’s list. I had to take this opportunity to wish you the best!

    Ellie

    • rsguthrie says:

      Thanks, Ellie! I can tell you this: it is already blossoming into an EPIC story! And I appreciate your vote of confidence. Every bit helps to turn about this shark eat shark biz. All the best to you and your writing! 😉

  4. Tony Washington says:

    Thank you for sharing such vital information. As I venture forth with my writing, I am trying to take proven lessons to heart. You make the journey easier.

    T.L. Washington

    • rsguthrie says:

      Thanks, Tony. It is really appreciated to hear when some advice helps someone along the same trail. That’s the hope! Good luck in your own travels. 🙂

  5. Chick J says:

    Just found you from BookBub. If I like your book I will order your book on writings. I am so thankful on getting a Nook. I have found so many new writers I would have never notice. (I just discover Michael R. Hicks and Jeremy Robinson.)

    • rsguthrie says:

      Thanks for the response, Chick, and I am really glad you found me (and I you)! 😀

      I think you’ll like Blood Land. It’s actually based on the town in which I grew up. Please let me know! (And keep me up to date on your own writing!)

      Best,

      Rob

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