Independent vs. Traditional Publishing

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The other day on twitter a fellow writer was tweeting about how one of his co-workers was critical of his writing status. “When are you going to become a real writer?” he had asked. Implying that independent publishing was an also-ran in the publishing world.

I responded by telling him to ignore such an ignorant comment, for it was made by someone who knows nothing about publishing.

Independent publishing has done wonders for so many writers who otherwise would’ve found themselves forgotten by the gatekeepers.

In the past ten years it has seen a massive influx in sales, and many independent published writers that I know have outsold traditionally published writers.

What does this mean for you and me?

It means that the stigma that was once associated with independent publishing is gone.

So the next time someone tells you you’re not a “real” writer just because your book isn’t published by a big press, make sure you set them straight.

Or better yet, just ignore them.

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Finding a job that defines you.

It’s a tough one. Some of us love our jobs while others are just using them to get that all-important paycheck. So what’s a professional to do?

I’ll admit it, I’m lucky. I work for a company that values my writing and editing skills, I use it to motivate me when I come home to write/edit my fiction.

But what about those folks who don’t have a job they love?

Fortunately, there’s an answer. And it’s so easy, anyone can do it!

Work for it. Wherever you are in life, find a way to transition yourself from where you are to where you want to be. Take classes, get certifications. It’s time-consuming and hard work but whoever said this would be easy.  In this world of instant gratifications that’s a tall order for some, but not if you really want it.

When you go after something worthwhile, the challenges are going to pop up whether you like it or not. If they don’t, then you’re not trying hard enough.

I flunked out on my initial Business Writing test. Yes. But I took it again and guess what? I passed with a B.

So listen to your heart. What kind of job out there will make you happy? Knowing what you want is the first step to getting it. It’s cliche but so very true.

Then ask yourself if you’re willing to put up with the struggle to get it. If the answer is yes, then you’re on your way to a new future.

Why artists should get out more.

As a writer I know the stereotypes that come with the territory. That writers need to be holed up in some dark room writing until our brains fall out of our heads.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, if you’re a writer or any other type of artist churning out work for fun or profit, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to go.

Easier said than done right? True, but let’s take baby steps folks. Finding a job that supports you that you love is the first thing. If the company you work for fosters social events then attend and find others that share your hobbies. Or join a meetup group and find folks there.

Being isolated may lead to more writing time, but not always the best quality writing. The best writing comes from interacting with the world itself, and imbuing your writing with the human condition.

And if you’re able to make a few extra friends and hobbies along the way, more power to you!

The value of mentoring.

I’ll admit. I went throughout my writing career for years without a guide or mentor. Then through many personal errors, I learned the best way to gain a mentor was to show interest in other people’s work. The trick is not a superficial interest just to gleam information from someone more successful, but to LEARN.

As a writer, one can be considered an artist, so it’s important to find other artists, usually those who’ve been able to elevate their craft. This way you can learn from them and they can point out your mistakes. Last week I had the opportunity to visit a successful author and his wife. Just interacting with them was valuable in itself. They took time out of their schedule to help me see my mistakes so that I can elevate my craft. Not because my writing wasn’t good, but because it has the potential to be much better.

It’s also good to help others who aren’t as developed as you. You might ask why. Well it’s because you get the opportunity to teach them and help them learn from your mistakes. So it win-win for everyone, and you can’t beat that.

 

What influences you?

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As a writer I get asked this question a lot: “What influences you?” Well many things actually: family, upbringing, favorite shows, etc.

In my experiences, most of the writers I know were influenced the most during their childhood. These experiences, combined with other occurrences along the way helped shape their writing skills.

I would say whatever influences you to write, allows you to bring forth your best writing, since it comes from your true self. For example if you’re sarcastic, comedy might be your thing, or if you were exposed to reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy, you’d write within this genre. Exceptions due occur, and by no means is my statement set in stone.

So what is your passion? And what has influenced you the most in your life?

Making the most of Winter Writing.

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With some of us living in cold climes, winter can really get us down. I’ve already been hit with half a foot of snow, with more on the way. In the past this would be a one-way ticket to depressive thoughts of cabin fever. But as a writer it’s important to see the benefits of inclement weather.

For example, for years I let the weather, an external force, influence my inner-self. The best part of myself where authentic writing comes from. As years went by, and I slowly matured, I began to think less of the external conditions, and focus more on what my imagination had to offer.

This same approach works best with everything else in life, not just your writing. Because if you’ve already got yourself down from something that has nothing to do with who you really are, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.

Enjoy the rest of your January, and use inclement weather time to crank out your best work!

When adversity strikes Authors

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As many of you know, I’ve been working on my latest novel, The Leopard Apocalypse, which is the 3rd and penultimate novel in the Leopard King Saga, my flagship Historical Fantasy series.

I’m coming to the very end of editing, and nearing the stage where I send the book out for beta-reading before sending the final work to an editor to polish off the book and make suggestions.

Normally this would be a happy time for any author. Especially for a novel that is close to 200K words and has taken half a decade to complete.

But adversity struck last week when I realized my funds for interior artwork and editing services was not adequate to continue.

It’s a major problem, and will undoubtedly cause delays. I still have hope of publication in early to mid 2019.

So what do you do when you’re nearing the finish line, only to be slowed down by inadequate funds?

Well, the only thing to do is remain calm, and try and do as much work you can to move the editing process along, even if that means the interior map and editing stages may have to take a back seat.

So for now, I’m in a jam, but like all setbacks, it’s only temporary.

Do you have a story you’d like to share about an issue that has delayed a project when you were so closed to completion? If so, I’d like to hear about your experiences in the comments section.

See you next time!

What are your Fall Writing Plans?

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Well Summer is almost over (bummer, right?) and with that the hot, humid writing days.

Things are looking up for me. I recently got hired as a Technical Writer for a Defense Contractor and am looking forward to my first day at work this week.

But what about you? Now that summer is over what are your writing plans? Are you working on a short story, novella or novel? Is this your first work? Are you considering going the self-publishing route or traditional path by seeking a publisher/agent?

I’d like to hear from anyone.

Here’s to the end of summer and the beginning of a productive fall writing period!

The long, and painful road to success

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Alex Ovechkin, Captain of the Washington Capitals, an NHL Club based in the USA, lifts the Prestigious Stanley Cup, one of the most important sports trophies in the world.

I must admit, these past few days have been pure ecstasy for me. Especially today, June 12th, 2018 when the entire city of my hometown, Washington D.C. created a spectacle honoring the achievement of its hockey club, the Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup, the holy grail of North American Hockey, that has been awarded to NHL champions since 1892. It was the first championship for the expectant Capitals, and the first major sports title for the Washington, D.C. area since 1992. The parade today made me think real hard about my own journey, especially where my writing career was concerned.

Why am I blogging about this? Well, if you think writing, or art for that matter, is connected with the Capitals’ first championship, you guessed correctly.

But the story would make little sense if I didn’t delve deeper into the Capitals’ once-turbulent playoff history. A past filled with so many tragic seasons where the club under performed in the playoffs despite high expectations. To make matters worse, every year when the playoffs rolled around almost always resulted in another premature exit at the hand of one of their rivals, thus adding another sad page to the club’s tortuous playoff mishaps.

Honestly, this team wasn’t even supposed to win a Championship, let alone make the playoffs. But this group of resilient players persevered, and managed to overcome the decades-long playoff failures that had plagued the club since the late 1980s.

This is where art, or writing for that matter, comes into play. You can write for many years, and wrack up an unhealthy load of rejections along the way. Just like the Capitals you can gain strength from your failures, instead of letting the failures define you.

It’s cliche to say it’s the journey that counts, not the destination, but the fact is that there is no greater teacher of life than the failures you encounter, and a team I have followed since I was a 13-year-old boy proved that to me.

So learn to accept failure as a healthy gauge that can be your compass to bigger and better things.

Just ask the Washington Capitals.

What are your Summer 2018 Plans?

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Well with Winter 2017-18 in the books, and Spring moving along, we can all start looking to Summer 2018. I’m now working on the Outline For the 4th and final book of my Leopard King Saga series, The Leopard Resurrection. In addition, I’ll soon begin the arduous process of edited Book 3, The Leopard Apocalypse.

Last month I earned my Business Communication Certification from Duke University and now I am taking another online course on Technical Writing. Whew! Just writing all that down was hard work. LOL.

So what are your Summer 2018 plans? Anything you’ve started working on or would like to begin? I’d love to hear from everyone in the comments section below.

Here’s to a strong Spring finish and a great transition into Summer!