Self-Publishing Master-free

Just a quick one, via industry guru David Gaughran:

Iain Rob Wright has done something pretty amazing. He has created a pretty damn comprehensive course on self-publishing and marketing – over 50 hours of HD Video – and he has made it all free. Not the first bit free. Not free for a limited time. Not free if you also buy this, or agreed to be assailed by that.

The course is called ‘Self-Publishing Mastery’, hence the VERY CLEVER PUN above. I’ve signed up, mostly hoping for a quick and easy refresher on the state of the industry since I was last paying close attention. Having watched the first few sessions, the quality is very good, and Iain delivers the content in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. Also it turns out that yes, Amazon is still very much in business.

Worth a look for any aspiring author considering taking the plunge into self-publishing. Or lapsed authors emerging from hibernation, blinking blearily in the sunlight and asking passers-by what year it is.

Read more at David’s blog, or jump straight in here.

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Hello Stranger

Hello, stranger
(ooh) It seems so good to see you back again
How long has it been?
(ooh, seems like a mighty long time)
(shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, ooh)
It seems like a mighty long time

Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, ooh, indeed. It has been a mighty long time since I was last here. But now I’m–

“Oh my god we thought you were dead!”

Oh, hi! Well, no, I was just–

“Deep undercover inside the Yakuza?”

Not quite–

“Trapped in a well?”

Very pre-Batman Bruce Wayne, but no–

“Frozen in carbonite in Jabba’s Palace?”

I don’t think carbonite’s real–

“Letting life get in the way of writing, what with moving across the country twice, and changing jobs twice, and travelling a lot, and spending your precious leisure hours watching endless HGTV shows or playing video games instead of writing?”

No, that’s–oh. Yes. That last one.

tenor

Back in (gulp) November 2014, when I last posted, Mrs. Dan and I were still living in Washington, D.C. In early 2015 we moved to Kansas City for her new job, where we spent a thoroughly enjoyable two and a half years, made some wonderful friends, and ate several farmyards’ worth of barbecue. (Amazing. Do your tastebuds a favour and visit.)

Just three weeks ago we relocated again to Boston where Mrs. Dan is starting a PhD. Fancy! I’ve changed roles at work a couple of times too, which has been good and fun and challenging… and nothing you have any reason to be interested in.

WHERE IS THE NEXT BOOK, DAN. GIVE US THE BOOK. YOU CAN’T WRITE TWO OF THEM AND THEN JUST STOP.

giphy

(That’s actual footage of one of my more intense readers, by the way.)

With sincere apologies for the hiatus, I’m here to let you know that I’m back. Back again. Dan is back. Tell a friend. I’ve reinstalled Scrivener, reread ASCENSION POINT and VENUS RISING to remind myself where we’ve got to, figuratively dusted off the two-thirds written work-in-progress – CAUSAL NEXUS, coming to a digital bookshelf near you in early 2018! – and I’m back at it.

I’ll also be posting here more regularly with my usual mixture of superhero movie waffle and self-publishing thoughts – the latter as I try to catch up with what’s been happening in the industry in the last three years. (Are Amazon still in business? I should check.)

See you soon!

Writing—So Easy a Caveman Can Do It

More sage writerly wisdom from Ms. Lamb.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Sodanie Chea Original image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Sodanie Chea

Recently a Facebook friend shared a post with me regarding Indie Musicians versus Indie Authors. It appears our culture has a fascination and reverence for the Indie Musician whereas Indie Authors face an immediate stigma. We authors have to continually prove ourselves, whereas musicians don’t (at least not in the same way). My friend seemed perplexed, but to me it’s very simple.

We’re not even going to address the flood of “bad” books. Many writers rush to publish before they’re ready, don’t secure proper editing, etc. But I feel the issue is deeper and it reflects one of the many challenges authors face and always will.

People give automatic respect to a musician because not everyone can play an instrument or sing. Simple. It’s clear that artist can do something many cannot.

As writers, we have an insidious enemy. People…

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The Danger of The Not Quite Complete Outline

As I’ve mentioned in these pages before, when it comes to the ‘plotting vs. pantsing‘ debate I fall firmly into the former camp. I wouldn’t dream of starting the first draft of a book without having a well-defined outline of the high level plot, chapters to get from A to Z, and even the scenes that make up those chapters. I just don’t know where I’m going otherwise.

So when it came to starting work on my current WIP–Causal Nexus, which will be the third book in the Unity Sequence–the first thing I did was build that outline. Start to finish, all the characters, all the arcs, all done and ready to draft.

Or so I thought.

I started writing, and the first few chapters came with ease. Then, as I neared the end of part one (of three) I started to slow down. The words weren’t coming so easily, and I found I just wasn’t sitting down to write as much as I should be. For a while I assumed it was just life getting in the way; work being busy, too much other ‘stuff’ that needed doing, etc.

But then a couple of weeks ago I went to a work conference, where several colleagues who have read my first two books accosted me–in a friendly way–and demanded to know when the third one was coming out, because they were tired of waiting for it. Which is obviously a very nice thing to hear, and gave me a kick up the backside.

The day after I got home I fired up Scrivener and spent an hour poring over what I’d written so far, the character bios, the outline, the– wait, the outline. I realised that what I’d thought was a very well-defined incident at the start of act two, which kicks off the sequence of events that drives the story through to the end of the book, was in fact not very well-defined at all. Was damn near woolly, in fact. Vague.

I’m not sure how that happened; I can only assume I was in a rush to get down all the other exciting stuff that happens after that point. But regardless, I rolled up my sleeves and fixed it. Nailed those few scenes down so they made sense, flowed, and tied into other plot points both earlier and later in the story.

And what do you know? Now I’m back to full speed again. Seems that my being sub- or unconsciously aware that I didn’t-quite-100-per-cent-totally know where I was going next was making me tentative about getting to that point. Once I did–boom. Away I went.

The moral of the story here, my plotter friends, is that if you ever find your writing trundling along at less than your normal place, or worse, stalling entirely, take a good hard look at your outline. It might be a bit more… ‘pantsy’, shall we say, than you thought.

Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller

Ah, the media. What would we do without you. *slow clap*

David Gaughran

hitlerA juicy story broke last week, the kind that makes savvy sub-editors salivate over potential Twitter-bait headlines.

It had been discovered that Hitler’s pre-war memoir Mein Kampf was a digital bestseller, leading to a global bout of media hand-wringing and pontificating. One excitable commentator even suggested it was a sign the second Holocaust was imminent.

The only problem with this story is that it’s not true. At all.

Hitler’s “bestselling” performance was first reported by Chris Faraone at Vocativ under the headline Kindle Fuhrer: Mein Kampf Tops Amazon Charts. Then spread like wildfire.

Huge blogs and websites like Gizmodo, Huffington Post, GawkerSlate, and Salon reported on this phenomenon. Major newspapers also covered the story: the Guardian, New York Daily News, the Daily Mail, and the Los Angeles Times. Television networks got in on the act too, like ABC News

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Treadmill Desk is Go Go Go

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and be jealous!

IMAG0492_BURST002After about eighteen months of using a standing desk to work from home, and loving it, last week I took the final step in banishing the sedentary aspect of working on a computer all day. I’ve been following the trends in treadmill desking over the last year or so, and particularly the amazingly in-depth Treadmill Desk Diary. It was based on the recommendations there that I bought my desk and my treadmill. And the colours even match, which is a nice bonus!

So far I’m not walking constantly while I work, sometimes I just stand, but I’ve definitely been getting some good exercise. I’ve been keeping track of how many minutes I’ve done, and at what speed, and therefore my distance. The treadmill also has a calorie burn estimate, which is handy. From all of this I can say that in Week One A.T.–After Treadmill–I walked 36.1 miles and burned 5340 calories! Which is pretty badass.

If you’re interested in learning more about the terrifying dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, or ‘How Your Chair Is Killing You’, have a read of this report from the President’s Council on Not Being So Overweight And Unhealthy That You Die at Forty Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. If tl;dr, the headline is ‘Stand Up, Sit Less, Move More, More Often’. Which is really just common sense, but it does take a bit of effort to put it into practice. You don’t need to go the whole way and get the same setup as me–and that wouldn’t even be possible for a lot of people who work in normal offices, rather than at home–but try standing up to work once in a while. You might like it!