The Poor Man’s Guide to Amazon Kindle Publishing

Most Kindle Advice posts are written from an ‘I have arrived’ point of view. You can choose to take their advice, but you must then make the journey alone, working from the bottom using the advice of Zeus atop Mt. Olympus. Here, you will find a humble ‘I am on the verge of breaking out and am totally pumped about it’ point of view. I invite you to take this exciting journey with me.

After dutifully following all the advice out there, from an ocean of blogs and sites and forums, to Publishing E-Books for Dummies, to ‘Secrets to Amazon Kindle Publishing Revealed’ YouTube videos, etc, I have discovered something interesting that a wiser man might’ve realized sooner: not all advice is solid. Some of it works only for some people. I tried running a free (un-hosted) blog for my books. Useless. I tried Goodreads. Made friends, ran some forums. Pretty much useless. (Although, that might have been because I had only 1 book to flog at the time, and I did not possess much confidence.) The worst part is that a lot of the advice will cost you a bundle to follow, with little to show for your output. In August I spent $52 for a year-long site hosting package, including a $25 initial set up fee (like it costs the host anything to do that, pfft!). And that was a big spend for me.

Professionally Designed E-Book Covers Continue reading “The Poor Man’s Guide to Amazon Kindle Publishing”

3 Keys Every Writer Needs to Master

You could be the hardest-working, most imaginative writer, one who has mastered all 350 points in Strunk and White, and still not succeed in the writing world.

There are 3 intangible keys—or traits—you need to master if you’re going to survive—and excel. You want to break out, so do yourself a favor and learn here what took me years to discover in the most grueling, soul-draining ways.

Key #1: You must develop an almost psychopathic confidence in your abilities. (I explore this Key in depth in my upcoming parody/expose The (Psycho) Path to Success.) You will face rejection and the dark empty silent void of neglect. You can either be crushed and give up, or allow an overdeveloped EGO to metastasize in your soul. The hard truth is that no one’s going to be raving over your 200,000 word epic fantasy right off the bat. It’s not going to be a smash hit straight out of the gate. If you’re blessed, you might have a couple of family members who’ll agree to read it. But in a real and terrifying way, you are alone in this.

All the Best Writers are Bulletproof.

You need to develop impenetrable skin, indomitable confidence. No one will like your work until you love it first. Still, plenty of hacks adore their rubbish tales; so how do you know when your love is misplaced? Like any cancer, your ego will grow as you develop your skills. But at some point you need to decide in your mind that this manuscript you’re working on is Worthy. People need to read it. They will enjoy it. When you’ve convinced yourself of these things (assuming you’ve enhanced your skills and this is your third or fourth MS, polished to the fourth degree), then you can begin to champion your work. You have to believe in the worthiness of your work before anyone else will. Fifteen agents will reject it. Don’t let that devastate you. 12 agencies said NO to Harry Potter before Christopher Little said YES. It’s a horribly subjective world. Develop the mindset of a psychopath if you want to survive it: My work is great, and so am I. Continue reading “3 Keys Every Writer Needs to Master”

How Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Broke the Cardinal Rule of Writing–and Still Became a Best-Seller

I recently finished Lev Grossman’s fantasy series, The Magicians.

For better or for worse this series brought something new to the fantasy genre, something that, however awesome they are, most previous fantasies lack: entirely realistic characters.

However, you cannot unequivocally say this is a good thing.

The characters of The Magicians are very different from the familiar ‘heroic’ types you find in LOTR, Harry Potter, Conan, The Name of the Wind, etc, or even the anti-heroes filling Joe Abercrombie’s and R.R. Martin’s grim-dark novels. No, Grossman crafts more realistic characters, the sort of real-world individuals we all know and hate. Quentin and his cohorts are self-absorbed, privileged, snotty, obsessed with booze and sex, and don’t seem to genuinely care about any other human beings. Basically, they are like most teenagers and twenty-something’s currently logging time in our world.

This technique, though, makes it easy for us to suspend disbelief and believe that these are real people. Their interactions with each other and especially with adults are all convincing to the point of non-fiction. From his solid prose you can tell Grossman knew what he was doing in breaking this cardinal rule of fiction writing. You don’t make unlikeable characters—and you especially don’t make all your characters despicable.

But it is this very element that makes everything else more believable. Grossman took a huge risk here, but he knew what he was doing. And I think it paid off. Continue reading “How Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Broke the Cardinal Rule of Writing–and Still Became a Best-Seller”