I subscribe to Audible.com because I enjoy getting credits for new audio books each month. A couple of days ago, my phone alerted me that I had two credits and I started shopping. There are several novels ready to go on my phone, so I browsed nonfiction. Which exposed me to Fiction Unboxed by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. Fiction Unboxed, though interesting, tasted like an appetiser to me. So today I started on Write-Publish-Repeat. I had heard of these guys from a friend of mine who listens to their podcasts and I had also downloaded the free “loss-leader” to their Unicorn Western series. (So far that series is fun, but I have not read the entire book, yet.)Similarly, I have not finished WPR. This is not a book review, but a moment I wanted to share just in case anyone is listening. I have read a lot of books on writing, marketing, and everything in between. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, which familiarized me with the Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule. The concept of “1,000 true fans” is not unknown to me, but rather something I dream about and flounder toward in reality with my marginal marketing efforts (and more marginal budget of time and money). So far I am very familiar with the message Truant and Platt are sharing, yet I am also really enjoying the book and feel as though they may bring it all together for an ah-hah moment. I have always believed that hard work matters, and that is a key message told often and early in their book.I will continue to listen to the WPR audio book. I have already recomended it to one my closest most talented writing friends, and he bought it. If everything goes as I hope it will, I may even write a review when I am done listening and post it. (Lately I have not been writing as many reviews. My life revolves around familiy, work, and writing with sporadic trips to the gym.)I hope your day is going well and getting better.Be safe,Scott
Ch-ch-ch-changesLast week, after two months without caffeine, I broke down and had a large, black coffee at Starbucks. They call a large a Venti, I think. As you might guess, my sophistication, or lack thereof, concerning coffee is rather obvious. All previous intake has been via my ten dollar coffee maker or gas station brew. Once in a blue moon I drank the good stuff. An expert barista, I am most definitely not.Why the return to artificial stimulation? Well, I believe (insert laughter here) that I can drink coffee in moderation, that is to say not right before bed. (For the last thirty years it was not uncommon for me to slam down a 44 oz of diet coke on the drive home from work and then hit the sack. And I did sleep. You bet. Weird, huh?) I am currently studying for a promotional exam while simultaneously finishing the first draft of my work-in-progress, a science fiction / steam punk masterpiece that I love dearly (Her Majesty the Queen).On go-juice induced berserker rage ended with 7,400 extremely raw words splashed across my narrative arc.
That first cup of coffee after so many weeks was markedly different than the previous lifetime of caffeine saturated experience. In the past, I just didn’t feel it. Consumed in moderation, or at least on a reasonable schedule, coffee is my new best friend. I will not be going back to diet soda, mostly for fear of the mysterious chemical cocktail that had me so addicted to the stuff–you know, making midnight runs for a two liter and drinking diet soda with every single bite of every single meal.Then I Realized I Had a ProblemThe coffee I made at home tasted bad and the stuff at my favorite gas station convenience store was not good. With nothing left to do but throw myself on the ground and curse fate, I turned to the internet to learn how to make good coffee. I started with Starbucks here. Taste TestAlong comes Monday morning. I don’t work until later. The wife just went to work and the kids are at school. It is time for some experimentation and a taste test. Since I am not a professional, or even skilled barista, please refer to the Starbucks link above for an explanation of how I made the two kinds of coffee by coffee maker and by coffee press.
ResultsDoes a coffee press really make significantly better coffee? Survey says, oh hell yes! The red cup, which you will see in the author profile picture guarding access to this top secret information at the top of the page contains freshly ground Starbucks coffee made in a press. I am fairly impressed with myself right now. And just to be clear, the red cup / blue cup comparison is merely because I like these two cups; it has nothing to do with the red pill / blue pill dilemma in the Matrix.
This is not only the secret to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and writing, but to life!
Writer’s ParadiseAround this time, I also started meeting with Josh Hayes (author of Second Star: Breaking Through and The Forgotten Prince) at Barnes and Noble or Mead’s Corner (a local coffee shop). We discuss writing, but mostly we set a timer and do writing sprints. This has helped my motivation immensely. I highly recommend the practice. Call me a complete writing geek, but I would rather do this than any other “social” activity.”Thanks for stopping by and reading this article. Please take a look at my author page and see if you or anyone you know might enjoy my science fiction or urban fantasy / horror novels.Have a great day!
Do you have limited writing time but big goals? Are you a writer? If so, are you meeting your writing goals? Writing is a passion, one usually cobbled together from stolen moments and highs of inspiration. But if you get the writing bug and you get it bad, finding enough time is often a source of frustration. Why write more? Because fans like to read more. That is my number one answer. I’m a reader as well as a writer. I’ve fallen in love with a series that I’ve stayed with for 3 years and am now anxiously awaiting the last book – which should come out in two years. That is a whole lot of anxious waiting! And let’s not talk about another story I love that currently exists as short stories spread across several e-zines and books. I have meticulously copied all of them to one spot. I am her number one fan. She has plans to write a book … someday. I want to cry. So yeah, keeping fans from becoming the frustrated and then jaded reader I am today is definitely a goal. When I was a teenager, a new book a year was acceptable. It still is, even though THAT was quite a while ago and long before ebooks. Now, a new book every six months is considered a professional target. More often is great. Fans want to be filled with anticipation – not angst. And professional is the other reason to write and release more books, great books. Because let’s face it, if you have any hope of making a decent income from writing, one where you can potentially scale back that full time job to write, you either need to write and release more or have a really good retirement plan lined up. I’m not a teenager anymore, but I don’t want to wait that long to write full time! So I committed myself to writing more and writing better because I not only love it, but want to make it a career. With a lot of trial and error, I developed seven key techniques and five writing tools that worked. How well? I wrote 4 ½ books in a year and they are the best I’ve written so far.
To be clear, I’m not talking about typing faster. Who cares how fast you typed a page if you end up deleting it? Meeting a writing goal of producing more novels in a year means creating a great story faster. And there are tips, tricks, and tools to do that. It is a paradigm shift to believe writing more in a limited time is achievable. It is possible. I’m proof. But I want to be more than proof. I want to help other writers do the same thing. Seriously! Writing time is a limited resource. Use it well. I’m serious about teaching this to other authors. So serious that I’m launching a pilot class to not only teach the seven techniques and those five customizable tools, but also to work one-on-one with the students to make sure those same tactics work for them. Everyone is different and in a different situation. I want everyone to be successful. Since this is a trial course with lots of coaching, enrollment is very limited. If you are interested in learning more please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to talk to you!(Webmaster’s note: try accessing Autumn’s course here.)
Autumn Birt – Author Short Bio Autumn is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war – not all on the same series though! She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, the Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy will be released in full in 2015 and will be quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, she is working on a new epic fantasy trilogy, Games of Fire, set in the same world as the Rise of the Fifth Order. If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release the first book in 2015 too. Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on twitter @Weifarer.
I have come to a point in my writing career at which I must admit my addiction. Oh, sure, there are worse vices, compulsions, and irrational behavioral problems than what I face. And to be honest, I really have no intention of changing.However, it is time to get organized.I have read a lot of books on the craft of writing. Today, I place them in a rough syllabus for further study. All of these titles contain valuable lessons and bits of inspiration. They are like family to me; often arguing and bickering to the point of ridiculousness. Sometimes, as I watch the debate, I see what many of the authors don’t seem to recognize–they agree more often than they think. In many cases it is a matter of semantics and syntax as much as true disagreement. There are complementary layers of greatness in these books on how to write fiction.My goal has always been to learn what I need to write well from the combined tenets of all the best writing coaches I can find. So here is the list in the order I am currently studying them (with no attempt to reveal which is my favorite; it is merely where I am starting today):Story Trumps Structure (by Steven James)I had the chance to listen to this author speak at OWFI and later started reading The Bower Files. If you have a chance to hear him talk, do it.Story Fix (by Larry Brooks)I just picked this one up because I really learned a lot from Story Engineering and Story Physics–which are on my list for further study.Story Engineering (by Larry Books)Although I wasn’t an outliner at the time, and still struggle with pre-planning stories, the observations in this book blew me away. I remember watching World War Z afterward and exclaiming “Right there! That’s the First Plot Point! Exactly like in Story Engineering!Story Physics (by Larry Brooks)This one goes deeper and expands on the ideas in Story Engineering.Blueprint Your Bestseller (by Stuart Horwitz)This book explains, in detail, how to break your book down into scenes and then put it back together in narrative order. The concepts are novel and powerful; it takes work to grasp everything but it is worth it.Book Architecture (by Stuart Horwitz)I wrote a blog article on this one here.Self-editing for Fiction Writers (by Rennie Browne and Dave King)It has been awhile since I read this one, so I won’t butcher it by attempting a summary here. However, it is a must read. One of the take-aways deals with “small scale telling” and is something I use everyday.Writing the Blockbuster Novel (by Albert Zuckerman)Where can you find a step-by-step breakdown of how Ken Follet writes a bestseller? In this book, that’s where.How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (by Randy Ingermanson)This is a step-by-step method that I have tried several times with mixed results. Some of the products of this method are awesome enough to convince me I need another look at it.There are many other books on my to-read (and to-re-read) list, but this should do for now.Please visit my Amazon Author Page here to check out some of my science fiction and urban fantasy.(Note: I have NO affiliate links with any of these books)
Three of my favorite books on writing faster are 5000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox,2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron, and Writing In Overdrive by Jim Denney. Each has valuable insights of their own, but also share a common theme. Fast writing is not bad writing. We don’t have to agonize over each word before moving on.Some legendary authors do it that way. I read that Kurt Vonnegut perfected each page before moving on. Personally, I tend to start from the beginning when writing organically, which results in the first three chapters being heavily polished. The words come harder after 30k words, because it becomes more and more time consuming to read from the beginning as the novel grows.It is a good method and I like it. So does the author of Story Trumps Structure, Steven James. Writing organically is sometimes fast and often slow, but there are many real advantages, assuming you don’t get stuck. I will talk more about this in a separate article.This article is not about plotting versus pantsting, but about productivity.The Number One Reason to Write FastThe best reason to write quickly is not just to make your word count everyday, but to find continuity. There is a high probability that a rapidly written story (a novel in one month or two weeks or nine days…) will need a lot of revision and editing. Parts may be destined for the circular file. But you will learn a lot about your characters and their journey. There is also a good chance that the first draft will be better (and more consistent) than you could have hoped for. As a bonus, all those rabbit trails might be the start of other stories with real potential.So try this to jumpstart your writing:1) Brainstorm an outline in one day; create a list of scenes and characters.2) Set that outline aside and refer to it only when necessary if at all.3) Set a high word count goal for each day am meet it.4) Do not edit anything.5) Take a break before revising.The results may surprise you.
This has been one of the hardest decisions I have made in years. After putting a lot of time effort and money into the Grendel Uprising project, I have decided to pull the first to episodes (Proof of Death and Blood Royal) from publication. My original goal was to publish one episode a month. Other projects and obligations have interfered. So today I removed them from Amazon.I will begin working on the Grendel Uprising projects after completing the final two books of the Chronicles of Kin Roland Series (Weapons of Earth and King of Hellsbreach).I’d like to thank everyone up to this point for their support and assure fans of the Grendel Uprising series that once complete, it will be a story to remember.Thanks,Scott Moon
Last week I did a soft launch of Blood Royal and experienced good results with this and other titles. Sadly, sales and shares have dropped off for the last few days. No worries, because I had already planned a KDP Free Day promotion for 8-7-15.Which brings us to the oft asked question; do free days still work?My experience is that they do, but not like before. There is simply too much competition. In a free market, that means the consumer wins. So to look at the bright side I reminded myself that I am more of a book consumer than producer. For every book I publish I must read between twenty to one hundred fiction and nonfiction titles, depending on the length and complexity of my work-in-progress.As usual, I am breaking some promotional rules. The best practice in the past has been to do at least two days free to build momentum. I think that works, but only if you have quality paid advertising on both days. Due to budget constraints, I am doing one day and using Bknights as my paid advertiser. With luck, I will combine Bknights with Freebooksy for my next promotion.Other writers do giveaways and actively pimp their newsletter. These are promotional methods I should use, and will, when I have more time. In the mean time I mostly write and play at designing book covers.In other news I am strongly considering putting up some of my titles for audiobook audition on ACX because my current narrator is between studios. He’s really good. Finding someone new has many dangers, but we’ll see, won’t we?If you haven’t scored a copy of Blood Royal, tomorrow (8-7-15) would be a good time to check the series out (keeping in mind that Blood Royal is episode 2).
Kin Roland and his companions move beyond the Battle of the Bleeding Ground to uncover the mystery of Earth Fleet versus the Mazz Empire. With the Crashdown wormhole closed, everything is changing. Aefel has friends in high places, in this case, the space station above Grendel. Are they willing to sacrifice everything to join him in a fight that can’t be won?
Today is going to be a busy but good day. I’ve committed to working on two projects. This seems like a bad idea, until I admit that I often have three to five stories going at once. And I am usually listening to an audiobook while driving and reading something on my Kindle phone app whenever I get a chance. So in the grand scheme of things, this is like focusing on the task(s) at hand with laser intensity.Last night I moved Weapons of Earth (Book Three in the Chronicles of Kin Roland) back into Scrivner. The complexity of the project requires a lot of notes. Scrivner, for all the headaches it causes me, is good for that kind of thing. I also have a really fun start on episode three of the Grendel Uprising series, Heavy Weapons. I would like to have WOE ready for publication by my birthday month in October and HW ready in September. It’s doable, I think.The reason I started the Grendel Uprising series, was to stay fresh. The Chronicles of Kin Roland is a four book series with two currently in print. Each book is about 85k to 90k. About 51k of Weapons of Earth is done. About 20k of book four, King of Hellsbreach, is complete as well. I really enjoy writing in this universe. It is a big project and a lot of work.For variety, I started the Grendel Uprising series with Proof of Death. The goal is to produce and publish one professionally edited story of 15k to 20k words a month. The June and July editions came out on schedule. I am crossing my fingers for August.Anyway, I should be writing fiction right now. So thanks for stopping by and have a great day.Scott
How Not to Launch a Book (or in this case a 19,000 word short story)There are dozens of things a writer should do when releasing a new book or novella. I know this because, like many modern day authors, I have read all the books on how to self-publish and promote. I know that releasing a new title should be a huge deal with lots of bells and whistles, ARCs flung to all corners of the globe, and swag piled high. There should be pre-scheduled reviews and paid marketing on all the reputable sites for the genre.Should be, but isn’t. Not this time.I love the Grendel Uprising universe. Creating it has sparked some of the most fun I’ve had in years. I just can’t wait to share the story, so as soon as I satisfied my editor and did a final proofread, I started the upload process. Blood Royal, Episode 2 in the Grendel Uprising series, is now winging its way through cyberspace toward an Amazon outlet near you.So let’s review. Proof Death is the first installment. Blood Royal is the second. The third, Heavy Weapons is a work-in-progress. The entire series has been outlined and is under constant development.So without further adieu, please welcome Blood Royal to publication.Grendel Uprising: Episode 2: Blood Royal Loyal servants of the Earth System Commonwealth must pick a side. The assassination of Emperor Dan Uburt-Wesson has thrown civilization into chaos and no interim government will have the strength to hold the galactic empire together. Rumors of betrayal and rebellion spread from star system to star system as the real battle begins in the most unlikely place. Official news sources have (wrongly) confirmed that every member of the Imperial family is dead. The formation of a new galactic order is imminent. The Earth System Commonwealth has outlived its usefulness.Only a handful of powerful people know that Aefel 70391, a decorated veteran of the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division, has located four juveniles that will change history. Can Aefel and his unlikely allies protect the Blood Royal? Has he chosen the wrong side?Grendel Uprising: Blood Royal sets the stage for a war of rebellion, domination, and what it means to be human in the age of the Earth System Commonwealth.The Grendel Uprising series combines science fiction and historical fiction. The setting is at once a world similar to England and Scandinavia during the time of the Danelaw and a pan galactic empire of advanced technology and deadly political upheaval. During a more prosperous time, entrepreneurs developed entire worlds as historical reenactment societies and allowed nature to take its course. Financial disaster took the planet of Grendel completely offline. There are precious few men or women who remember how they came to the alien world. Now they will face the godlike destruction of modern warfare.
GRENDEL UPRISING: BLOOD ROYAL: EPISODE 2Last night I received the final proofread of Blood Royal from my editor BZHercules. I have used her services for Dragon Badge, Die Like A Man, Proof of Death, and now Blood Royal. With all three levels of the Triangulation package complete–beta-read, editing, and proofreading–I have started my final proofread. I hope to publish the Blood Royal ebook within a few days.WEAPONS OF EARTH: THE CHRONICLES OF KIN ROLAND: BOOK 3In other news, I have decided to put Weapons of Earth into its fourth complete re-write. During the revision of the 50k words in the current version, I spotted a major character conflict/struggle that hasn’t been used to the fullest effect possible. This means that I will save 3k to 15k of the WIP and write the remained from scratch.My head is exploding with action and intrigue for WOE. With luck, I will have much of the basic outline finished in the next few days, at which point I will either start writing like a mad man or delve further into the plot, structure, and world building background. This one is gonna be good!OTHER WRITINGThursday and Friday are my best writing days, as far as available time. Clearly I have big plans starting tomorrow. In addition to the projects mentioned above I have ideas brewing for what I call my Secret Science Fiction Masterpiece (SSFM). My writing group has been hounding me to get to work on this particular premise, and I will; when it is as ready as it can be. Last but not least I have about 5k words already complete on Episode 3 of the Grendel Uprising series: Heavy Weapons. This story involves Aefel’s buddies from the First Armored-infantry Lightning Division as they chose between a corrupt general and their much loved leader, Aefel 70391. Some of their past exploits and battles are revisited with plenty of action.Best wishes,Scott
As writers, we must define success and hold the definition dear. To do otherwise is to invite depression. Creative types are vulnerable to all the highs and lows of the emotional rollercoaster. For example, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t dream of hitting number one on the Amazon Best Seller List.It’s fun, kind of like when my dad and I used to buy a lottery ticket at the beginning of a long trip and while-away the hours planning how we would spend the interest of the grand prize.The danger lies in vesting real emotion (and hope) in unreal daydreams. There is no forward progress, individually or as a society, without daydreams. But it takes maturity and experience to manage such remarkable enthusiasm.So my advice, to myself if no one else is listening, is to define success and remember the definition. I have sold more books each year than the previous year. All the experts agree that this is the road to success. There has to be a slow boil before a rolling boiling, yes?Recently, the world of writers has been a beehive of speculation about the new rules of Kindle Unlimited. Starting on July 1st, 2015, Amazon began paying authors and publishers page by page. Finding the rate of pay is a bit harder than it seems, because as in the past, it varies depending on how many pages are read each month, the size of the fund, and a writer’s individual share.The general consensus seems to be that the rate of Kindle Unlimited payment will be around one half of one cent, or $0.005. (Please check my math, I suck at it.) Last night I looked at the reported pages read of my five books and one story-story-novella and used my calculator. The result was a little over $14.00. As far as I can tell, the result is about the same to me as it was before the changes in the Kindle Unlimited program.I have just violated one of the big rules of self-promoting. I have risked exposing myself as not successful. The thing to do, say the marketing experts, is brag about all the money you are making. Allegedly, that makes it easier to sell books.So here it is. I am going to shuck it down to the cob for you, give you the Paul Harvey, the real deal in all my reckless honesty.
During this late date in July 2015, I have made about $15.00 in Kindle sales and $15.00 in Kindle Unlimited page-sales. With luck, I will multiply that by many thousands in the next three days!Sorry, let me get back on track here.The definition, the ground rules, the way I maintain my sanity is this. I love to write. I did it for thirty years without making any money and sharing it by way of a few beta readers and rejection letters from editors and agents. Now there are people who read my stories. I still love to write. Each year I find more financial success. And since everyone likes a happy ending, let me say that my audio book sales often surprise me.I don’t have to win the lottery. I would, as much as I love my job (most of the time), embrace the chance to earn a full-time living writing stories.It could happen.It can only happen if readers take a chance on an indie author like me. Will you take a chance? Maybe read something on Kindle Unlimited or purchase Enemy of Man, which is on sale for one more day at $0.99? Tell a friend?Best wishes. Have a perfect day.Scott
Changed by captivity and torture, hunted by the Reapers of Hellsbreach and wanted by Earth Fleet, Kin Roland hides on a lost planet near an unstable wormhole. When a distant space battle propels a ravaged Earth Fleet Armada through the same wormhole, a Reaper follows, hunting for the man who burned his home world. Kin fights to save a mysterious native of Crashdown from the Reaper and learns there are worse things in the galaxy than the nightmare hunting him. The end is coming and he is about to pay for a sin that will change the galaxy forever.
“Eating Smores around a campfire doesn’t necessarily solve writer’s block, but it might help.” – Scott Moon, camper
Most writers have other jobs that pay the bills. Many have families. Some have serious physical disabilities that make every task, including self-motivation difficult. I was reading an article about Andy Rathbone (who writes books for the “Dummies” series and has 15 million in print) when something jumped out at me. He said that when he was a college editor for the Daily Aztec, that he learned to crank out stories whether he felt like it or not. Journalism has deadlines. Writers from this background definitely have that going for them.Fiction writers? Well, we all think we are artists. We wait for the muse, even if we deny that is what we are doing. For example I might write a blog article instead of revising my latest work-in-progress for the umpteenth time. “Blogging is important. Gotta build that author platform, right?”Crush writer’s block with these easy steps:
Regarding blogging: I’ve found that creating worthwhile content as a fiction writer is difficult. There are thousands of writers, some better than others, sharing writing secrets on the web. What do I really have to say that might be helpful? The best way to avoid too much time suckage is to make a realistic determination of how much blogging is enough, then stick with that amount regardless of insecurity or verbosity. No bonus credit for five extra blogs when you are on a roll. Put that energy into your primary project, whether that be fiction or non-fiction.
Regarding family and other loved ones: Stephen King, once upon a time, wrote a book called On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. There is a section on closing the door. In short, set the ground rules with your family and help them understand how important writing is to you. They may resent it a little less if they understand it is your one true passion.
Regarding the muse: Again, Stephen King handles this one. In his book about writing, he describes his muse as being a task master. He works at the same time everyday. Period. He waits for his muse, so long as the task-master-muse shows up and punches the clock every day when he does.
Regarding unfairness: Sol Stein, in his book Stein on Writing, relates the story of Christy Brown, an Irish writer and painter who suffered from Cerebral Palsy and had the use of the toes of one foot. This made me wonder if my excuses were kind of lame.
Regarding momentum: This one is solid gold. How many times have you been surprised when your imagination took off? Showing up is half the battle. The Vice President of Musclepharm, Cory Gregory, started out working a hundred hours a week in a coal mine. He saved his money, became a personal trainer, and eventually rose to the top of the fitness industry, promoting events and developing sports supplements. He has a radical training program that involves squatting heavy every day. Okay, okay I will shorten this story. He explains that while following this program, a person will feel sore and beat up, but once in the gym will often set a personal best squat. (The last I check he squats about 700 pounds and weighs around 185 pounds.)
So this is how you crush writer’s block. Commit to success and limit distractions, even legitimate distractions like blogging. Get your butt in the chair on a consistent, or better yet, fanatically consistent schedule. Understand that other people have greater challenges to overcome than you do and act accordingly. Don’t take your gifts for granted. Last, but not least, remember that nothing succeeds like success. Do it every day. Build momentum. Achieve every worthwhile dream in your head.I write fiction. It is my passion. Without it, my world would really suck. So thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope you succeed brilliantly in all things. Do you have advice we might all benefit from? Please leave a comment or share this article and make a writer’s day.Thanks,Scott