NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SHIT (for free – correction, I Do)

Steven Pressfield is giving away a free download of his new book, Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit.
You should download a copy before the free offer expires. I really like and admire Pressfield’s work, both his historical fiction and his non-fiction.

The War of Art was superb. I added it to my personal library. Everyone should read it.

This will likely be another excellent tool for writers.

I can’t wait to read my download of this new book. I’ll start it this weekend. Afterwards I anticipate that I’ll add it to my personal library as well.

 

No strings attached.
No e-mail address required.

Brand new and FREE from Steven Pressfield

NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

…picks up where The War of Art left off.

Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit - by Steven Pressfield

.EPUBDownload your free Nook/iTunes/Kobo e-book here!

.MOBIDownload your free Kindle compatible e-book here!

.PDFDownload your free
PDF e-book here!

We’re giving it away (for a limited time) because we want people to read it. Simple as that.

Want more information or a paperback? Click here.

Thanks from Steve P. and everybody at Black Irish Books.

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YESTERDAY – TUESDAY’S TALE

SOME OF WHAT I WROTE YESTERDAY (based either on memory of conversations or events of years past or new experience)

I slapped him on the shoulder in a friendly manner and smiled, but I was deadly serious.

“For God’s sake,” I said, “don’t do that. Don’t be a modern man. Be an actual man. Yeah, it’s always hard, and it don’t pay much most of the time. But at least you’ll be alive. Really alive. And in the end what in the hell else matters?”

from my novel The Modern Man
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It was as quiet and peaceful and warm and sunny a day as I had ever seen in my entire life. And that was fine by me. I had sure seen enough of all the other kinds of days.

from The Modern Man
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He topped the small hills that ringed the border to the north and the west and looked out before him. The blue and the green covered the land so thick that he couldn’t see the ground. Not anywhere.

It was an ocean of grass that stretched out forever, with no shore to be seen.

from my novel The Basilegate (Larmageon describing in his own mind wandering the “Blue-Green Sea” just beyond the borders of Kitharia – inspired by my hike in the forests and across the fields today; everything is in bloom and as thick as blood, especially the grass)
_______________________

“My son, as the Lord taught us, you cannot save the world alone. But if you at least set out to try then neither shall you ever fail it…”

from the Basilegate (The Abbot of Studios writing to the Viking Christian convert Drakgarm of Gotar)
________________________

Nothing Works if you won’t.

from the Business, Career, and Work of Man
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There is no sin in seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. The sin lies in either avoiding pain merely to seek pleasure, or in seeking pleasure by inflicting pain.

from Human Effort

THE RETURN, AND THE SEARCH

I’ve been absent from blogging for the past few months for a number of reasons. Including being very busy with my business,  to attend to personal matters (homeschooling my youngest daughter, helping my wife advance in her public speaking career and new job, clearing land, rehabbing my wrist, etc.), and in order to write my novels and books. But I’m going to try and slowly return to blogging as I seek an agent for my writings and investors for my business ventures and inventions.

CURRENT WORD COUNT: 5056

My current Word Count on my NNWM novel the Old Man is now 5056.

Here is my Summary Page: The Old Man

By the way I am looking for a good Agent(s) to represent my fictional and non-fictional writings, my poetry, and perhaps even my songs in the near future.

To all of the other participants in NaNoWriMo I hope you are doing well, good luck, and Godspeed with your novels.

THE OLD MAN BEGINS…

I’ve cleared my entire calendar for November in order to write my novel for National Novel Writing Month. Aside from some type of emergency, and I don’t anticipate one (though you never really do, do ya?), writing my novel will be my chief priority this month.

So my blogging and other social media efforts will likely lag as a result. So will every other non-essential pursuit as the novel will be my Essential Activity for November. Fortunately I anticipate a very quiet month which will allow me the opportunity to write completely without distraction.

I’ve decided to go with THE OLD MAN as my chosen novel.

I intend to produce between 1500 and 5000 words per day, depending upon the day and the way the story proceeds and progresses. I already have much of the plot, all of the sections, and a few of the scenes sketched out.

Because of my broken wrist I will be writing the novel out in long hand on long notepads and my daughter will be typing it for me. I begin as soon as I’ve had breakfast and I walk Sam (my Great Dane) as it’s been raining this morning and prevented an earlier walk.

Congratulations to all of those pursuing writing their novel this month.

Good Fortune and Godspeed.

See you at the end of the month if not sooner…

THE DANGER from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

Part of me greatly adores and admires words, as they are man’s chief means of communication and the primary treasure of his High Word Hoard. Another part of me, an equal part, absolutely distrusts and detests words as they are the means by which far too many men habitually deceive themselves and the rest of the world, and mankind’s primary method of excuse making in order to avoid noble and just action.

(As a writer) I am like a man caught in the grinding maw of some bizarre and fantastic creature who is sometimes angelic, and sometimes demonic, yet always dangerous.

 

WHICH NOVEL WOULD YOU PREFER?

This year I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. And this year I have several good ideas for a potential novel I’d like to write for NaNoWriMo.

However I am trying to solicit the opinions of others on which idea and novel they’d prefer to read. Of the three novel ideas/plots I’ve I’d like to write for this November and that I have personally shown to family and friends so far I have the following results:

13 votes for The Old Man

10 votes for The Cache of Saint Andrew, and

4 votes for The Wonder Webs (all have been kid votes)

So I’d like to ask you, as my readers and internet friends, which novel story would you prefer to read: The Old Man, The Cache of Saint Andrew, or The Wonder Webs?

Right now I’m leaning towards The Old Man but still have a couple of days or so to finally decide. So if you wish to voice your opinion then just let me know. If you want to tell me your reasons that would be appreciated as well.

 

The Old Man – The Old Man is a mixed genre novel/novella consisting of three or four related stories about the same character set in different eras and story genres. In the story the child or children of a deceased man discover some old and unknown recordings which reveal their father in a totally different light and engaged in a fantastic set of secret lives. One section of the book will involve the science fiction genre, another the fantasy genre, another the detective/espionage genre, and the fourth the horror/weird genre. Despite the complexity of the story and the various genres it should be very easy to research and plot.

The Cache of Saint Andrew – The Cache of Saint Andrew is a literary genre novel involving a white man who marries a black woman. Although I did eventually marry a black woman the book is not autobiographical because I first had the idea for the novel in college and began writing it in college and I didn’t marry until I turned thirty, and at the time I began the book didn’t ever expect to marry. The story involves an older established, fairly wealthy white man who marries a younger (college student aged) black woman. The book describes their courtship, marriage, and the things that eventually dissolve their marriage, such as the loss of their first child shortly after childbirth. The novel is called the Cache of Saint Andrew because of the fact that the man, for years, plants secret messages inside the cache of a grave marker at the Orthodox Church of Saint Andrew in North Carolina. The Cache of Saint Andrew is actually the third book I ever started writing and the first one I started writing as an adult, but I put it aside to start my first business. I have replotted it many times but never actually finished it. It will require fairly complex plotting although I already have the main story well sketched out.

Wonder Webs – The Wonder Webs is a young adult book I first started plotting out a couple of years ago in a writing class. It involves a fictional city, park, and zoo based upon Greenville, SC. It involves three main characters, two boys and a girl of late Middle School/early High School age. It also involves a secret “underground world” in which dwell three magical/supernatural spiders who are capable of building “Wonder Webs” or webs that help miracles occur. This book will be very complex to plot because of the characters involved but especially because of the complicated background/world involved, which is multi-faceted.

 

 

 

 

 

IN NEED OF

IN NEED OF

I am in immediate need of the following things:

1. BETA READERS for my fictional writings and novels and (if you wish) the poetry and songs that I intend to publish. I want only brutally honest opinions, and I want a wide range of readers/reader-types. (There will be no pay but I will exchange favors and see to it that you are provided with free copies of the finished works). Confidentiality regarding my writings will be expected of course, and I will restrict my beta readers to maybe 6 to 8 people, but I will treat you right. If you are interested in reading my literary writings, my popular fiction, my poetry, my song lyrics and my other Work then please visit my Literary Blog Wyrdwend at this link: https://wyrdwend.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

2. A good, decent, hard-working, and ambitious LITERARY AGENT (to match myself). If you are interested in representing my literary writings, my popular fiction, my poetry, my song lyrics and my other Work then please visit my Literary Blog Wyrdwend at this link: https://wyrdwend.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

3. An EMPLOYEE TEAM for my start-ups. (People to run the businesses, handle marketing, and run day to day operations while I and my partners handle funding and investors, etc.) More on that later. If you are interested in reading my business and career writings and in following my start-ups or my consulting and invention work then please visit my Business Blog at this address: https://launchport.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

4. A TEAM OF BUSINESS BUILDERS/DEVELOPERS AND INVESTORS (start-ups primarily but we may also handle brokerage and turn-arounds on rare occasions) to be put together to found and profit from new business ventures. More on that soon. If you are interested in reviewing my business and career writings and in following my start-ups or my consulting and invention work then please visit my Business Blog at this address: https://launchport.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

5. PARTNERS to work with me on developing and designing (CAD and prototype designs) my inventions and app designs. If you are interested in reading my business and career writings and in following my start-ups or my consulting and invention work then please read my Business Blog at this address: https://launchport.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

6. GAME DESIGN PARTNERS who can take the games I’ve designed and/or written and either build physical products out of them or in the case of computer and video games program basic builds that we can use to pitch to game studios. If you are interested in reading and reviewing my game designs and work then please visit my Gaming Blog at this address: https://tomeandtomb.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

A brief word of explanation on the above:

Beta Readers – I tend to write my fictional works, short stories, and novels in the following genres: children’s stories, detective and mysteries, espionage, fantasy and myth, historical fiction, horror, and science fiction. My current novel is a high fantasy/myth about Prester John and the Byzantine Empire. I tend to insert a lot of historical and literary references into most of my works. I would not expect my Beta Readers to provide me with detailed critiques or edits, though if you wished to do so that’s up to you. I’m really just looking for basic opinions and do you like the plot, stories, works, etc., and do you have any advice for improvements? As I said I’m open to favor exchanges and free copies of my works.

Also, when it comes to my songs I write the lyrics but I have no real time right now for composing. If you are a composer or lyricist and you wish to enter into a song-writing partnership with me then we will split the credits and your contributions and shares of any successful songs will be protected by contract.

Literary Agent – I want a literary agent with a wide range of interests and one with whom I can develop both a professional relationship and a personal friendship. (I much prefer doing business with people I enjoy.) I want a literary agent who is ambitious, as I am, and one who can help me make my writings successful so that we may both profit handsomely.

Employee Team – more on this later but I’m looking for a good employee team as well as a strong, tight, efficient, and profitable team of administrators, managers, and officers.

Business Builder/Investor/Investment Team – more on this later but I need good people from all areas/sections of the country, and possibly members from outside the US, who can look realistically at start-ups and help develop and fund them into successful enterprises. Backgrounds in brokerage, business building and development, communications, entrepreneurship, investment, and deal-making most desired. But we can also look at other backgrounds. Realistically risk will be high, and loss always possible, but profits should be considerable on successful ventures. This will be both a business creation and development and investment team, sort of like an Investment Club but with a far wider range of interests and with more hands on developmental involvement.

Invention Partners – partners in design and prototyping and product development. We’ll start out with my inventions and maybe yours as well and possibly graduate to taking stakes in other inventions and related businesses if the idea seems solid and viable.

Game Design Partners – people who can take my game designs, and your own, and build programs or physical products out of them. Depending on how much you contribute we’ll take profit shares on sales of the games, regardless of whether it is by the game or we sell the designs outright. As with the inventions your work will always be attributed in the design and protected as a share of profit by contract.

Finally you should know that in working with me my very basic and fundamental Worldview is that I am a Christian by religion, spirituality, philosophy, and nature, a Conservative (with some strong Libertarian leanings) in cultural and political and social matters, and a Capitalist when it comes to economics and monetary affairs.

Therefore I am a disciple and proponent of the teachings of Christ (Truth, Justice, Personal Honor, Honesty, and Fair Treatment of all based on individual behavior are extremely important to me, and I tend to like Charity and Philanthropy), God is my mentor and my best friend, I am Conservative in nature and very much believe in Hard Work and Personal Effort and Individual Initiative and Self-Discipline, and I am pro-Business, Development, Entrepreneurship, and Wealth. I also like to see people exploit their own talents and benefit and profit thereby. I set extremely high goals for both myself and others, and I expect much, but think I am fair and just to work with. I do discriminate and unapologetically so, but not regarding matters of background, class, race, or sex. I only discriminate between good and bad behavior, and between industry and laziness. As a boss or partner I will not long endure intentionally bad or destructive or self-destructive or foolish or apathetic behavior. I am not at all bothered by failure if you seek to improve and advance the next time.

If that all sounds fine by you and you are interested in any of these ventures then please contact me via email or by my Facebook or Linked-In pages or through my blogs or other webpages. We’ll begin Work.

OUT OF TIME – HIGHMOOT

I’ve been noticeably absent from blogging lately. I’ve been trying to build myself back up to at least one post for each of my blogs per week.

I’m still recovering from a broken wrist but my main problem(s) at the moment are that I have two start-up projects running simultaneously, I am writing two books (one fiction and one non-fiction), and I have an invention I am trying to secure investors and a manufacturer for.

And I’m looking for a new Literary Agent. A really good literary agent.

It seems like my entire weeks worth of free time is consumed by Monday…

PLOT BOARD FOR THE BASILEGATE – HIGHMOOT

I meant to put this up for Tuesday’s Tale, but work and other things interfered so I’m putting it up here today for Highmoot.

What you see below are the creation materials (or some of them anyway) for my four novels of the Other World, specifically the first in the series, The Basilegate.

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Actually I have 1200 to 1500 pages of research materials (mainly historical but also containing other materials) for all four novels already, most of it on CD or DVD and on computer files on my main work system. The rest is in hard files, collected notes (post it notes in the big white container that say BOOK I), in my notebooks and sketchbooks, outlines, timelines, etc.

I laid all of that out on Sunday and had my youngest daughter take pictures of it. This week I am taking all of that material, my chapter outlines for the first book (Basilegate), my notes, etc. and transferring it all to my Chapter and Plot Board. You might think of this as a Case Board by which I’ll run the plot and structure of my novels (in this case, the first in the series) as they progress. I already have about a hundred or so pages of the first novel finished, and various sections of all of the novels completed (as first drafts anyway), not counting the various scenes I have sketched out for each of them. My overall aim now is to collate and compile and arrange all of these scenes and what I already have written into a coherent and consecutive and consequential novel storyline, and thereby push on to finish the first novel while simultaneously arranging all of the other serial plots.

In this collection you will see all of my files, notes, the plot board itself (before being arranged), notebooks, research materials (on CD and DVD), some of the maps I’ve created, and the poems, songs, and music I’ve written and arranged to be included in the books/novels.

(You might ask, “Why does he have the AD&D and 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guides as apparent research materials?” Simple, not for the research itself, but because these two books are the best fictional writing guides I’ve ever read. Anywhere and on any fictional subject. If you are a writer and you do not have these writing guides then you really should, they are simply superb and extremely useful for all kinds of story arrangements, including plot arrangements.
You might also ask, “why the harmonica?” Well, because I often like to play the harmonica when I become stuck on some aspect of the story. It helps me think.)

Once I’ve gotten everything fully arranged and up on my Plot Board in proper Order I’ll take a new set of photographs and post those here too. I’ve been working on this novel series for years now, and as a general idea for a decade or more, but I’m finally in a position to push on and finish all four books now. I’m now satisfied that all of my major research and preparation work has been properly conducted and finished and I’m now ready to finish the novels without anymore large-scale or wholesale plot revision. Just minor tinkering at the edges left really, and then the finished writings.

Which is a big relief to me as I intend this novel series to be one of my Magnum Opae (one of my major Life Works – I literally cannot say Magnum Opera as that construction seems wholly silly and inappropriate to me in English).

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WRITING FOR E-KIDS

As someone who writes books for kids, and enjoys writing books for kids, I both enjoyed this article and found it quite useful.

How to Create Picture Ebooks for Kids

Picture ebooks

Today’s guest post is by Laura Backes of Children’s Book Insider and Picture eBook Mastery.


Until recently, creating ebook versions of children’s picture books was something publishers reserved for their best-selling authors and illustrators. If you wanted to self-publish a picture ebook, you either needed to be a whiz at writing code, or you paid an ebook creation service to do it for you. (That said, it was possible to find a few services targeted toward publishing books for kids on Apple devices, such as Book Creator.)

Last September, Amazon released KDP Kids’ Book Creator, which allows the average Joe to create illustrated children’s books for the Kindle and upload them directly to Amazon. These books can be designed in the landscape format (to mimic the layout of print picture books) and can include text pop-ups that enlarge the text with a tap or a click, making it easier to read.

Side note: Using the KDP Kids’ Book Creator means you’re publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. You can choose from several royalty structures within that program, and also choose whether or not to be included in KDP Select, which gives Amazon exclusive distribution of your ebook for a certain time period in exchange for marketing perks.

While the KDP Kids’ Book Creator still has a few rough spots (which Amazon is presumably ironing out in response to user feedback), it’s a good start. Those of us who have worked in children’s publishing for years recognized this move for what it was: a game changer.

Just how much has Amazon’s new free software changed the game?

With the release of the Kid’s Book Creator, as well as the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet, Amazon is investing in illustrated ebooks. And they need content.

So now comes the big question. Are you ready to ride this wave?

Not every self-published picture ebook will make it. Many will slip into oblivion as soon as they’re released.

Does Your Book Have a Fighting Chance?

Here are some positive signs.

You have a book that appeals to a niche market. Often publishers reject a manuscript simply because there isn’t a big enough audience to justify their expense to bring it to fruition. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the book shouldn’t exist. You’ll just have to make an effort to directly reach the consumers searching for the specific topic in your book.

If your story features a child with certain food allergies and how he must navigate snack time in preschool, you can write guest posts for parenting blogs that focus on these issues, or even blogs about nutrition and cooking. Many mommy bloggers welcome guest posts about all aspects of child care, and you can mention your book in your bio.

You already have a good online following. Jessica Shyba’s popular blog Momma’s Gone City, featuring photographs of her toddler and puppy at naptime, prompted publisher Jean Feiwel to offer her a two-book deal. Naptime with Theo & Beau was published by Feiwel and Friends in February, with a huge social media campaign using the hashtag #theoandbeau.

Could Shyba have chosen to self-publish the book and do the same thing? Sure. These days, authors and illustrators reach readers directly via their blogs, Twitter feeds and YouTube channels. Even if your blog is attracting the kind of people who would buy your picture book, you still have a potential customer base.

You want to begin establishing yourself as a professional author or illustrator. Waiting for an agent or editor to say yes can take months or years of submissions. Getting two or three picture ebooks out now means you’re working on creating a name for yourself and building a platform. If you do these books well, and market them smartly, you can build a reputation that can lead to more opportunities and possibly traditional book deals.

You have taken the time to study your craft. The quality of your work will be compared to those authors and illustrators who appear on the bestseller lists, so it must stand up to the scrutiny. Take classes in picture book writing and design, attend workshops, join a critique group, hire a professional editor. You want, and need, for your book to garner five-star reviews on Amazon, and not just from your mother. 

Why Your Book Might Not Make It

Your book has been rejected 25 times and you’re tired of submitting. Self-publishing won’t fix the flaws in a manuscript that had received nothing but form rejections from editors. Nor will it camouflage an ill-conceived story or writing that doesn’t appeal to the intended audience. You first need to figure out why the manuscript was rejected, and fix the problem.

You don’t have a solid marketing strategy. Complain all you want, but there is no way around it—if you want to sell books, you’ve got to market. And this goes for authors who are traditionally published as well. Don’t expect to post a link to your book on all your friends’ Facebook pages and call it a day.

You lack quality illustrations. This is crucial if you want your picture ebook to attract an audience. Remember that your first sales tool is your cover, and your second sales tool will be the first two pages of your book if you have Amazon’s Look Inside feature. If your illustrations look amateurish, the overall impression you’re giving potential customers is that this is not a professional product.

If you’re not an illustrator yourself, get the best illustrations you can afford. Start by checking the rates of some experienced illustrators. You can search the Illustrator Gallery of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, or find freelance illustrators at sites like elance.com.

If you decide to design your own illustrations, it’s wise to take a graphic design class so you learn the basics of font choices, image placement, and how things fit together best on a small screen. And speaking of the smaller screen, remember that the images should be clear and without too many tiny details so they can be easily viewed on a Kindle or iPad.

At the very least, the biggest hurdle toward successfully self-publishing picture ebooks doesn’t need to be the technology. Trust me, the KDP Kids’ Book Creator software is easy to use. Hundreds of authors and illustrators have already taken advantage of this opportunity, and are selling their books on Amazon—and they’re not all young upstarts who could use an app before they were potty trained!

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Laura Backes

For 25 years, Laura Backes has published Children’s Book Insider, The Children’s Writing Monthly. She is the co-creator of Picture eBook Mastery, an online course on how to use the KDP Kids’ Book Creator software to produce, upload and market picture ebooks on Amazon. To get her free, four-part mini video course, “Yes, You Can Publish a Kindle Picture eBook!” go to www.pictureebookmastery.com/yesyoucan. Laura can be reached through writeforkids.org.

PLATFORMING

Author Platforms 201 – Part Two – Consistency

Starting last Tuesday and continuing today and next week I will be exploring the issue of author platforms and how to get one.  At the conclusion of this series of blog posts, The Steve Laube Agency will offer a downloadable document that will include the three posts plus additional information and resources.

__________

Last week, I talked a little about the need to develop a “message platform”, which must be in place before you get a website, Facebook page or start any social media effort.

Today I am still not going to talk at all about how to use Twitter or Instagram or any specific social media. Media is the vehicle to communicate. Maybe at one time “the media is the message”, but in the 21st century, with ubiquitous media, “the message is the message” and that is where it belongs.

Today we will continue to explore how to determine what your message platform is and what you need to begin implementing it.

Most people have heard the term “branding” or “brand management” as it relates to consumer products like breakfast cereal and cars. Simply defined (so even I can understand it), effective branding limits creative expression within certain boundaries. If you are a label designer for Campbell’s Soup, there is a template you use to maintain the Campbell’s brand so anyone can recognize a product at a glance.  An artist who desires to express herself creatively would view that job as a start, but probably not last long in that highly controlled environment.

Authors are brands as well. When anyone, from an agent to a reader looks at an author some immediate thoughts will come to mind, whether positive, negative, clear or confusing. Of course, you desire to project a positive and clear image, but often times, the way we operate is contrary to that.

I am not talking hypocrisy or sinful behaviors or walking the talk. I am referring to having a consistent message, delivered creatively, one that attracts readers and followers and meets the expectations they have for you.

Toe-stepping alert#1: Many less-than-interesting messages from authors have been posted in various media because “I need to post something today, but I can’t think of anything right now.” Until you become truly a rock star and people really want to know what kind of shampoo you use, don’t lose focus and talk about things that lack connection to your message. (Unless your message platform is about hair care, then shampoo is fine)

Whether you recognize it or not, you have a theme to what you write.

  • A novelist might have an approach that shows how characters can learn from mistakes.
  • A non-fiction author might use extensive research to undergird whatever they write and is known for attention to detail.
  • Another novelist shows how people go about their lives unaware of the spiritual world in the background.
  • A writer of Bible reference works desires to make the Bible understandable to everyone.
  • A writer of children’s books might want parents and children to interact about important things.

None of the above are necessarily the topic of a book…they are an author’s approach to their writing. That is their message platform, which is the first step for developing the author platform we hear so much about.

Toe-stepping alert #2: Most authors have no idea what their message platform is until someone else tells them.  If you try to figure it out yourself, you are engaging in a form of self-deception. We never see ourselves as others see us. Ask someone who will be honest. Don’t ask close friends or family. They will be nice and usually agree with whatever you say.  “Of course, you are smartest person in the world”. Thanks mom.

Bloggers, columnists, talk-show hosts, comedians, teachers, pastors and others who are responsible to deliver regular presentations make it a habit to always be on the lookout for illustrations and content. In many cases, they carry a small notebook with them everywhere they go, ready to capture a thought. Of course, these days, a number of people use a notes app or voice memo function on a smart phone. Use whatever you want, but do it.

Eyes and ears open, antennae up.

Look for stories to support your message platform everywhere. Let’s say your message platform is to highlight the good things people do for one another every day. That’s an easy one. You look for people doing things for one another.

Toe-stepping alert #3: If you don’t write or record the idea immediately, you will forget it. I don’t care how smart you are or how much you can memorize, the first time your phone rings you’ll forget what you were thinking about and the thought will be gone like a coin dropped on the couch.

Suppose your core message is harder to define. This is where asking multiple people is extremely important. Tell people to be straight with you. Anything else will not be helpful or at best, will send you off on a rabbit trail.

Finally, the framework for all message platforms is a commonly used item. A calendar. There are dates that mean something, like MLK Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, your grandmother’s 100th birthday, the anniversary of the day you got your driver’s license, etc.

By mapping out your message framework with a calendar, you will have a much easier time acquiring a specific message than if you try to figure out something without it. An idea from this afternoon might be great for next Spring or two years from now.

Toe-stepping alert#4: If you do not consistently plan your platform messages, then you will have regular moments of brain-freeze and you will shelve your carefully crafted platform for something less-than-important. The more you waste the time of your devoted followers who expect something from your core message platform, the less devoted they will become. (Unless you are super-famous, then we want to know what flavor of hummus you like best)

Next week, I’ll close this series of blog posts with a specific approach you can view the way you conduct your author marketing.

But if I forget what to write, anyone want to know how I feel about buying food from vending machines at rest stops along interstate highways?

Author Platforms – Part One

– See more at: http://www.stevelaube.com/author-platforms-201-part-two-consistency/#sthash.w12ysvl6.dpuf

BOOKS ON THE MARKETS

Just finished ordering the latest copies of the Writer’s Market and the Songwriter’s Market.

Only cost me seven bucks. Because I had Christmas cards I had never used.

Now all I have to do is order the Agent’s Market and I’m set for the year.

THE CAREER

Yesterday I spent most of the day writing client reports, preparing presentation materials for a speech, creating new documents for my Business, doing research and so forth.

Whereas I often greatly enjoy my business there are also times I grow tired of it and so today, after lunch, I will spend the rest of the day plotting out the last two novels in my fantasy/Myth series The Other World, drawing maps, and creating materials for by books.

I look forward to this with a great deal of enjoyment.

There are also times I greatly enjoy my Career.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

A good one from a friend of mine…

Goal Setting for Writers (Firsts in Fiction with Aaron Gansky)

In our latest Firsts in Fiction program, Aaron Gansky and I chat about how writers can set goals for the new year and how goals for writers differ from goals of others.

Firsts in Fiction is a weekly netcast designed to help new novelists and other writers of fiction get a proper start. It’s also a fun place to hangout. It is broadcast live at 6:30 pm Pacific each Wednesday on Google Hang Outs. The show is posted later on YouTube, http://www.aarongansky.com, and here at http://www.altongansky.com. The audio version can also be heard on iTunes or Stitcher. Click on the Firsts in Fiction tab above for more.

Enjoy.

 

– See more at: http://altongansky.typepad.com/writersconferences/2015/01/goal-setting-for-writers-firsts-in-fiction-with-aaron-gansky.html#sthash.m2NM0lNa.dpuf

IF YOU LIKE…

If you like Wyrdwend then you might also like my other blogs:

Launch Port my business, career, capital, investment, and inventions blog

The Missal – my personal blog

Tome and Tomb – my gaming and hobbies blog

MY EARLY WEEKEND

MY (painfully) EARLY WEEKEND

I am reading a book called Story Physics by Larry Brooks which I am not only finding immensely enjoyable, but enormously beneficial and useful. I’ll discuss that in detail later.

I have also been reading my new Dungeon Master’s Guide, in great detail, page by page, and quite slowly. Again, I’ll discuss that later.

At the library yesterday I got several new books to read: two new Spook’s Apprentice (Last Apprentice) books, The Fury of the Seventh Son, and A New Darkness.

(A New Darkness is supposedly about a female Spook named Jenny – I’m looking forward to reading about a Spook who is a chick, wondering how she will deal with various evil creatures, especially the physically powerful ones. For those who don’t know, these books are written by Joseph Delaney and are my very favorite set of modern children’s books short of the Harry Potter books. Mainly because Delaney’s books are so gritty and down to Earth and even realistic given the fictional subject matter. And to tell you the truth, if I lived in such a world, I’d be a Spook.)

I also got a book entitled Dangerous Women, edited by GRR Martin and Gardner Dozois, and about, you guessed it, dangerous women. I got it primarily because it has a novella by Martin on the death of King Viserys Targaryen, the end of the dragons (in Westeros), and the resulting civil war which led up to the Game of Thrones. I often find the events prior to the Game of Thrones books (such as the Dunk and Egg stories) to be far more interesting than the GOT books. However, it looks as if the book might contain some other interesting fiction on dangerous women as well.

Finally, as far as fiction goes, I got the science fiction novel, The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter Hamilton. I know nothing of it as of yet. However, having recently read Great North Road (also by Hamilton, and which I thought had some very solid police and detective work in it, as well as some fantastically useful futuristic/mundane invention ideas), and the Dark Between the Stars (by Anderson) I am trying to read more modern sci-fi writers. I also got a new 52 Green Lantern Corp graphic novel.

For research materials I got a new lecture series, Singers and Tales (about the history of oral tradition poets and storytellers, such as scops, bards, skalds, etc.) by Mike Drout. Drout is my very favorite lecturer on languages, literature, Anglo-Saxon, poetry, Tolkien, and English.

I got some great books on Venture Capital and Capitalism, a book on career advancement called Trajectory (looks quite useful) and I am almost finished with a book on business and career by George Anders titled, The Rare Find. I have added The Rare Find to my own personal business and non-fiction libraries.

Yesterday I also went to see the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, and I enjoyed it but I will post on that later, not right now.

I plan to post on some of these subjects in detail but for this morning I have a very painful neck and back injury which is also very debilitating. I have had my neck and back injury since Wednesday but it has become progressively worse over the past few days. Ever since I broke my back about every six months or so, especially as the Winter weather turns cold and wet, I will suffer such an injury for about a week or so.

It has taken most all of the natural pain endurance I have to type this post and eat breakfast. So, after I finish breakfast and take a pain killer I may very well spend the rest of the day in bed.

Have a great weekend folks. And a pain-free one.

THE MIDDLE WAY

I planned it all for everything
But nothing was what came,
Then started out at once from here
To find it all the same

Once I took up all my time
Planning my whole life,
That never got me anywhere
Or very much but strife

I’d sometimes head out sans a plan
That never went so well,
I’d some of this, and some of that,
But rarely did excel

I recall these habits old and lost
To wonder where they led?
Neither ever led to(o) much
Or kept me warm and fed

Now I see them as extremes
And both as incomplete
Neither one quite workable, and
Filled with dead conceits

Today I plan for what I should
Not for what I can’t,
Flexible at either end
There is no “must” or “shan’t”

Your life is yours so plan it well
That is some Wise advice;
But life is unpredictable –
Opportunity’s Device

So make your plans and work them well
Til better comes your way,
Then be ready thus to pounce
Without a planned delay.

What’s your brand, author?

THE TRUE BRAND

I agree with both the original post and the comments made by dpnoble (on the comments page).

I think the question really comes down to this, “what is exactly is meant by a brand (as dpnoble said), what does it represent, and how is it expressed?

Is a brand an expression of the inherent nature of the formulating individual (or individuals in the case of a company or corporation) and does the individual who created the brand adapt that brand over time to changes in their own nature and personality and achievements (in which case to me that is a perfect Brand or Marque for that individual), or does the brand-creator seek to create a static, unchanging, unadaptable, unreal, or “fixed brand or image” to which they seek to conform themselves for the sake of the brand no matter what they are really like?

If a brand is a Flexible Mark that expresses both individuality and flexibility over time (as well as makes a statement about certain unchanging things, such as ethics and morals and character, etc.) and that establishes a natural association between the brand itself and the actual individual who created the brand then I think branding (in that sense) is both perfectly logical, and entirely valid and profitable.

If branding is merely the fixing of a stale and static image or artificial set of characteristics to which the individual attempts to conform or comport themselves, then branding is to me a very big mistake and likely to be highly ineffective as either a business or a personal tool. The brand will eventually become transparent and noticeable for it’s overt hypocrisy rather than for its integrity and truth. What you really want is a True Brand that is not separate or divorced form whom it truly represents.

The Man should be the Brand, the brand should not be the man…

E-ASING UP

Do Readers Really Prefer Their Dusty Old Paperbacks To E-Books? The E-Book Industry By The Numbers

Today, 23 percent of all male adults and 33 percent of all female adults in the United States read e-books. In fact, the global e-book industry is worth a whopping $8.5 billion.

This still pales in comparison to global print’s $53.9 billion so it’s little surprise readers still prefer holding those dusty old paperbacks. 46 percent of U.S. Internet users said they only read printed books while 15 percent read more e-books than printed books. A mere 6 percent of Internet users said they exclusively read their books in electronic format.

What does all that mean for the industry? Are e-books going to be the final nails in the coffin of conventional brick and mortar bookstores in the near future? Far from it. The pace of the digital revolution has slackened with e-book sales growth falling to just 5 percent in the U.S. 2013. Revenue has also stagnated at just over $3 billion…

I APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT

Today is a sort of celebratory day for me. I have just submitted my:

200th post on my Literary Blog – Wyrdwend

100th post on my Gaming Blog – Tome and Tomb

50th post on my business and Capital Blog – Launch Port, and

earlier this week I posted the 370th post on my Personal Blog – The Missal

I want to thank all of my readers (all around the world) for your support and loyalty and I promise you continued improvement and even greater and more useful content in the future.

THE MODERN WAY from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

The modern artist is on rare occasion entirely right. The modern scientist is on many occasions completely wrong. The difference in relation to everyone else is this: the artist, even if he is sometimes entirely right, has no guarantee of any kind that he can convince anyone of it, except himself, whereas the scientist, even if he is completely and habitually wrong can easily convince millions of the gullible that he must be correct.

PAY ME NOW OR PAIN ME LATER

I am a writer and an inventor and a businessman as well. I love being those things; each one is a part of my nature. I love reading, I love researching, I love conducting scientific experiments, I love inventing, and I even love writing. But all of those things share one over-riding and pathetic defect. They are primarily sedentary pursuits. And I detest sedentary pursuits and our modern sedentary society.

That is to say that reading, researching, putting together business-projects, experimenting, writing, and even inventing to some greater or lesser degree (at least when you are writing up your invention) requires you to be bound to a particular spot, either sitting or standing in place while you conduct and execute your work.

I despise that necessity.

By nature I am a man who likes to be moving. I’m built that way, it is my nature. I much prefer to be in motion. If I could research and read and experiment and especially write and invent (I can create most easily while in motion – it’s the writing everything up I hate) then believe me I would do so. And believe me on this as well, I am working on inventing devices that allow one to do whatever work one desires while on the move. But that is for a future day, for now the sedentary requirements of what I do – well, let’s just say again, I detest those aspects of my work. Entirely detest.

Now if I had my druthers, and could get away with it, I’d spend all of my time and every day walking through the woods, running cross country, chopping wood and clearing land, hiking, riding horseback, and exploring the countryside. I wouldn’t get any real work done that way but it’s what I’d like to spend most all of my time doing, and the way I’d like to do it. I’ve often thought as I age that if I had to do my life over again I’d probably very much like to be a farmer, rancher, or maybe even a cowboy. Physically I’m cut that way.

Mentally, however, and probably psychologically as well, there are deep impulses in me to create, invent, to study, and to write. I just absolutely hate the sedentary parts of all of that.

My only real solutions to this dilemma are to dream of the day when I can transfer my thoughts straight to some device so that I can write a novel as I chop wood and clear land, or invent as I explore, or simply to endure the pain (and sometimes it is real agony due to the various injuries I’ve received over the course of my life by not being sedentary) of sitting in a chair or standing around in one spot while I disgustedly screw with some modern input method, like a keyboard or microphone set. Sitting in one spot is a real pain in my ass, no pun intended, and standing in one spot is a pain in my back and neck. One way or another it hurts to be still. So I’m still looking for a real solution.

Well, actually, there is one more solution. I go out and exercise and train for about an hour to two hours each day. Engage in really strenuous exercise, not only to recover from the strain of sedentary work, but just because I can’t really stomach being sedentary. Not physically, not mentally, not emotionally, not psychologically, not spiritually. And yes such strenuous almost daily exercise does hurt me, and often greatly so (sometimes because of my prior injuries), but if I don’t do it then I suffer both physically and mentally from that lack of exercise and motion.

When I am not active or allow work to consume all of my time I wake each morning stiff and my back is killing me (where I once broke it), my knees ache and overall I feel terrible. When I do exercise strenuously, and I have recently started experimenting with doing so about 4:00 in the afternoon right before dinner, then I hurt during that time and while eating dinner and while recuperating, but by the next morning I awake feeling fluid and loose and warm. I rise and move easily, and generally I just feel great. So, it’s pay me now or pain me later. Or pay me in pain so I get paid later. Take your pick.

Yet, either way, I still wish that I could do what I want without all the sitting around. I absolutely hate all the sitting around.

WHERE AND HOW DO I BEST CREATE?

Where and How Do I Best Create?

I decided tonight to participate in a writing prompt that appeared on this site, the Daily Post:
This was the specific prompt I am responding to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/writing-space/

“Where do you produce your best writing — at your desk, on your phone, at a noisy café? Tell us how the environment affects your creativity.”

I altered the name of the prompt a little bit from, “Where do you produce your best writing?” to “Where and How Do I Best Create?”

Although I am a writer, I am also an inventor, and a game designer, and a businessman, and I’m aware of how I create best in all of those disciplines.

Some real amount of creativity is required for all of the functions I listed and with me I have particular environments or actions that are most conducive to creativity in each particular sphere of activity, but the environments or triggers for each of those activities tend to vary. For sentence the triggers for my creativity when I am inventing tend to be different from those when I am writing. Individual triggers may overlap but different fields usually produce different methods for me.

First of all a bit of background regarding creativity as I see it – and to me where you create is directly linked to both what and how and how well you create. I have studied creativity (the subject in general) and my own creative habits and tendencies for decades and have gotten pretty good at knowing what best stimulates creativity in me.

Secondly I live in the country and pretty far away from any city, or even town. I purposely choose to live out in the country and would never choose to work in a city at any creative function. I lived in a city for a brief period of time when my wife and I first married and found that particular environment anti-creative.

I would and do visit cities to work cases (criminal cases that I still assist on occasionally), to meet clients or investors, to see a film, attend a concert, visit a library, go to an airport, or just to see the sights. I would however never work in a city. So for me almost all creative undertakings are done in the country and most of those near my home where there is plenty of land to wander and wildlife to study, track, and watch. But noise, pollution, congestion, distraction, all of that is the very opposite of a creative environment to me.

Third, I tend to create first in my mind, working out most of the aspects and details of what I am creating in my head, then go over and over the subject again, committing it to memory, then later I write it out in sketch books or on notepads or notecards, and finally I transfer it to my desktop computer. I have tried other methods, and other technological aids, but most don’t seem to work for me very well, if at all. So that’s my normal pattern. Construct first in my mind, work out most of the details, commit to memory, then write out my notes, and finally commit it to my computer where I can edit and revise.

As for how I commit whatever I am working on to memory see this post: https://wyrdwend.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/the-memory-palace-matteo-ricci-and-the-city-of-agapolis/

So, all of that being said by way of introduction here are the places I best create and the circumstances that tend to spur on creativity in my case.

1. Business or Investment – if I am working on a business or investment project either for myself or for a client I tend to do best by simply driving around town in my car looking at businesses or by stopping at a public place (like a mall) and people-watching and observing commerce. This is the one exception to my No-City Creativity Rule. In this case I like to make close observations on how people are interacting and how and in what directions commerce and human activity tends to flow. I try to look at it from an objective point of view, as if I were a disinterested observer. Then I commit to memory what I saw or occasionally I will make notes, make a comment into my digital recorder, or I will ask my wife and children to make notes on something I or we have observed. Every Friday that it is possible I/we have what I call an Idea Sabbath. The wife, the kids, and I will take that day off for nothing but Idea Generation. These are the occasions I use for business and capital creativity. Sometimes I will also use these outings to make close observations of people (people watch) so that I can later use what I have observed for fictional character development.

2. Game Design – if I am working at game design or development I do best by imaging the game in my mind and then trying to play out various scenarios in my imagination to the logical conclusions. This is where the City of Agapolis comes in very handy. I often design best by lying in bed in the dark and the quiet, by meditating, by lying in a hot bath, or in the sun. Sometimes I do quite well at design by listening to music, mostly Art Music. For the most part though I design best in quiet and peaceful environments. I have done some really good design work at night in the yard while stargazing through my telescope or by simply sitting in the dark in my yard at night listening to the night wildlife and birds.

3. Invention – I usually do my very best inventing while walking in the woods or riding my bicycle in the country. Either activity allows me to clear my mind completely and to make close order observations of everything around me. Most of my inventions are spurred on by making observations of Nature anyway, or by having conversations with God while I walk or bike or hike, and on those occasions God will often point out to me something I had previously failed to notice. This almost invariably leads to a good invention idea.

4. Poetry – I often write my very best poetry after reading, often after reading history. I also do extremely well at writing poetry after I am physically exhausted. So, often I will run or train or work out heavily, then go take a hot bath (followed by a cold bath) and while I lay in the tub I will commit to memory whatever poem I am writing in my head (poetry is extremely easy to memorize because, well, it’s poetic), then after I get out I’ll write it down. Sex with the wife also often leads to good poetry, and sometimes good songs. Point is my best poetic compositions are usually related to states of extreme physical exhaustion and or states of extreme physical relaxation.

5. Songwriting – songwriting for me is usually spurred on by listening to music, by becoming distracted by something, by play, or by athletic activities, or even by driving in the countryside. Though sometimes it can occur in my dreams or come out of almost nowhere. (Or it seems that way to me anyway, see: https://wyrdwend.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/everyone/) It also seems to often occur just before and just after sleep. Songwriting often hits me a couple of days or weeks after carefully listening to a song by someone else and closely examining and then thinking about the lyrical structure of the song I listened to. Like with poetry I can go days, sometimes weeks, without writing a single song and then I will write six or seven or even more in just a few days.

6. Writing Fiction – writing fiction for me is almost always connected with Work and the Land. I write my very best novel material and short stories and things like that while working the land. If I am chopping wood with my axe, if I am cutting grass, or hauling dirt, or clearing brush, or using my slingblade, or working outdoors then I will write well. Usually the entire time I am working outside a story or novel is running through my head and I can either write out entire scenes or develop whole plotlines as I work. Physical work is fully conducive to my best fictional work and I can write far more easily while my body is at work than I can by sitting still at my desk (which I tend to hate anyway). So as I work I also write out the piece (or to be more accurate I usually imagine the characters and scenes) in my head, commit it to memory, then when I finish I will come in and write it all down. If the story becomes so involved I fear I can’t remember it all correctly or I start producing particularly good character dialogue I’m afraid I’ll forget then I come inside immediately and write that down. But it all begins with physical labor and working outdoors.

Those are the environments and situations and techniques regarding how I tend to create, and create best. I could mention a couple of other efforts, such as when I’m working on a scientific project or paper (and my best scientific work tends to be a sort of combination of how I best Invent and Write – Nos. 3 and 6), or how I might still work a case, which tends to be a combination of Business creativity (such as revisiting the crime scene) coupled with Design creativity but overall the techniques and environments I listed above pretty much sum up my methods of creativity depending on what form of creativity I’m pursuing.

Overall I almost never associate creativity of any kind, or even a specific creative pursuit like writing, with being sedentary, or with something like sitting in a café. To me creativity is an active function, whether that activity is physical, mental, or psychological.
Mostly I associate activity and motion and movement and work (actually making things physically happen) with creativity. But to me being sedentary and inactive seems the very antithesis of real creativity. So just sitting my butt in a chair is one technique I find hard to stomach. I guess it’s the way I’m built but I detest the standard conception of the sit-around creator, or the sit all day drinking coffee writer.

I’m sure that there are writers who do very well that way or in that type of environment, but me, I prefer an axe in my hand or some land to wander while I write.

THE OTHER BLOGS

Today I had to be gone for most of the day. But yesterday I established my other blogs: LAUNCH PORT (the blog of Open Door Communicationsmy business), TOME AND TOMB (my game design blog), and I began importing my personal blog, THE MISSAL, onto the WordPress platform.

I haven’t yet made any posts to any of those blogs, I’ve only been working on their appearance, design, and structure, but I do have enough content already written that if I wished I could make one post each workday and still have about a years worth of articles to submit without any problem at all.

I expect to have each blog up and running with their first posts submitted by about the first or second week of July, 2014.

After that I begin cross linking those blogs to WYRDWEND, and then I go to work on my new business websites. By the way you’ve probably noticed that I’ve upgraded the template and improved the overall appearance of Wyrdwend as well.

I’ll keep you informed as things develop.

Thank you for your patience.

Jack.