It was a good week

I had a good week. It wasn’t phenomenal, but good in general. I hope you can say the same.

Writing-wise, it felt really good to get back into some of my old work. It’s been too long for some, but reading through it again, it reminded me of why I love to write. It’s discovering those little moments of truth that strike deep at an emotion. It’s not superficial. It doesn’t feel forced. It’s a genuine human emotion being felt by people, not characters. And that’s a powerful thing to be able to relate. We know what it is when we come across it, but to be able to put it into words is something else.

Another thing that happened this week was that I realized why I’d lost the fire to write. The irony is that it was something I’d warned others of and it’s, “Don’t get caught up in the minutiae of self-publishing.” It’s so easily done because you are responsible for everything. The problem is, you can spend a lot of time on all the little things, and forget to do the most important thing of all; write. I was so obsessed with what I thought I had to do, I didn’t bother doing what I needed to do. And, the whole process just stopped being fun. And that’s no bueno.

So, I’m going back at it with the intention of simply writing good stories and publishing them in their own time. Sure, I’ll post here (once weekly if I can) and on Twitter, but I’m not going to bother with a lot of the other things I used to do. The story and the writing are the most important parts. It’s what I fell in love with so long ago.

Thanks for swinging by. I hope you have a fantastic week.

Nope, that fire’s not a mirage

If anyone ever says writing is easy, laugh in their face and walk away. They’re insane and should be shunned like the delusional miscreant they are. While writing can be a joyful, fulfilling experience, it can also be filled with enough despair and self-doubt to make anyone go running for the hills.

I reached that point over a year ago. And, while it wasn’t the first time I’d reached that point, it was certainly the most extensive. Writing requires dedication and drive. But, somewhere along the way, I lost the fire. I felt like a hack. A pretender. Someone who just wanted to be a writer, but who lacked wherewithal to actually do what was necessary to be one. This, after having already published 3 novels. I just didn’t feel like it was in me.

I stopped reading. I essentially walked away from my writing. Even when I attended my writers group meetings, I felt like a sham. Just going through the motions in order to not expose the reality of where I was. Absolutely lost.

A few months ago, I started a new job. It’s been great and creatively challenging. And, despite working hours that would make writing a challenge, I started to feel the fire building again. I decided not to push it too hard. I started reading again. I jotted notes down. I reassessed some of my old writing. I started looking at the unfinished business of my trilogies. I checked my social media accounts. I looked at my Amazon reviews for the first time in forever. 5 new 5-stars for my first book. I nearly cried. People like what I write. I started a story and I owe them, at the very least, a conclusion to that story. And I know I have more in me. Most importantly, I started writing again. Nothing consequential. Still taking small steps. But, the fire is there. I just have to keep stoking it.

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 2/10


Tweets from the last week that you might find interesting!

Best Websites for Writers


The Writer’s Digest 2015 Writer’s Yearbook provided a list of 101 best websites for writers (available only to subscribers or folks who sign up for their newsletter). What follows is my own personal top list of websites based on their selections, with a few additions of my own. In no particular order:

1. – This is just plain old writing fun. Need a writing spark? Head over to story starter and click the button. Sure, what you get might be nonsense, but it might also get your gears turning. You never know what will spark your next story idea or plot development.

2. Grammar Girl – I am not a grammarian. Most people… even writers aren’t, but it’s an important part of what we do. Have a grammar question? Like, “Is my participle dangling?” Head here. Grammar girl has the answers.

3. Joe Konrath (or A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing) – I’ll admit it, reading Joe Konrath’s blog is one of the reasons I got into self-publishing. Over the years, it’s become a bit acerbic, but Joe tells it like it is when it comes to the publishing industry and his beliefs in the potential for authors to succeed in self publishing.

4. Preditors and Editors – This is a great resource, especially if you’re thinking of signing on with someone to publish your work. They’ve sniffed out the scams and the con artists. Should be part of any due diligence before giving anyone your money to do work for you.

5. Writer Unboxed – While I don’t visit this site as often as I used to, it’s really a great resource. Plenty of great content written by a wide variety of regular bloggers and contributers. A great community focused on everything writing.

6. Slushpile Hell – As a self-published author, a blog about query mistakes and submission pet peeves doesn’t hit home quite so hard. But, if you’re looking for a great source of what NOT to do when submitting to agents, this is the place to go.

7. – Looking for a writing job? This is a great place to start.


Now, a few of my personal favorites to round out the top 10 that didn’t make WD’s list.

8. Alltop (Publishing) – Alltop is an aggregator site that you can customize to show you any news from top blogs that you want. In this case, I use their Publishing site. It’s a great way to see all of the most popular blogs in one site, with the most recent article titles on the same page. Great for finding news to share or get ideas for your own blog posts.

9. Hugh Howey – If there was a “good cop” to Joe Konrath’s “bad cop” in the self-publishing world, it would be Hugh Howey. While Joe tries to beat everyone over the head with his (usually well thought out) anti-establishment rhetoric, Hugh is more about sharing his experiences and letting the reader decide what’s best. His Author Earnings Reports can be eye opening to those considering self publishing.

10. Writer’s Cafe (at – If there was an accomplice to Joe Konrath in convincing me to self publish, it was the Writer’s Cafe forum over at (formerly While the forum isn’t quite as it used to be (good things never last), it’s still an invaluable resource of self-publishing experience. Want to know if a marketing site is worth the money? Want to know how to price your novel? Want to know which 3rd-party distributor to consider? There’s someone there who has seen it/done it.


I hope you find this list useful! Any sites you recommend? Let us know in the comments section and thanks for stopping by!

Here Comes the New Year… Same As the Old Year?

I guess that depends on how you look at 2014. Good year? Yes, let’s repeat and grow. Bad year? Let’s not do that again, thanks. Meh year? Let’s make some changes for the better.

I had a meh year. I got some writing done, but nowhere near the amount I wanted to. I published Danny Dirks, which was great, but I’m struggling to get on with other projects now. The holidays were a complete waste of time for me. I got nothing accomplished and I blame part of that on simply being burnt out from my current job situation. The rest is just sheer laziness.

So, with some unintentional respect to Taylor Swift, I’m trying to shake it all off. That’s what a new year is all about, right? This strange feeling that something is starting over. That it’s an opportunity to change our habits by dropping the bad ones and making better ones. That, perhaps, we’ll look back this time next year and say, “Yes sir! May I have another just like it!” I need one of those. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a year like that. A great year. I mean, truly great, where I looked back and loved every minute. Maybe my expectations are too high? Or, maybe I’ve never dedicated myself to the changes that could make the year great.

Anyway, I’ve started reading more regularly, which always helps. Now I’ve got to get back into a regular writing schedule. In February, my regular commute into NYC will be over, so I’m hoping some things will get back to normal, but not the “meh normal”… the “working-to-be-better normal.” 🙂

So, how was your year? Good? Bad? Meh? And what are your plans for the new year? What, if anything, are you going to do differently?

Promoting on eReader News Today


I have an ad running today to promote my Kindle Countdown for Danny Dirks over at eReader News Today (ENT). I paid $15 for inclusion in their email list, a post to their blog, and a Facebook post. Their Facebook page has ~475k followers, but knowing Facebook, only 400 people will see that post. ENT recently changed their advertising format to mirror that of BookBub, but I don’t think they’re anywhere near the same scale (yet). At $15, I only have to sell ~22 books to recoup the fee. ENT’s book of the day feature is much more reliable, but nearly impossible to land. They have a one-time submission at the beginning of the year and then fill all of their slots in one shot. But, with a rate of $15, it’s hard to not give their new email venture a try. There are certainly more expensive and less effective venues out there. Stay tuned as I’ll post a follow up later this week for those interested in the returns.

Have experience with ENT? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

Honestly, Don’t Bother With Facebook Advertising


Many moons ago (ok, over the summer), I wrote a piece denouncing Facebook as a valid platform for investing your advertising dollars. Well, with the recent news of impending change, I’d say that piece is even more justified. Essentially, Facebook wants you, as an entrepreneur, to pay for 99.9% of your interactions. So, remember when you could reach a few of your followers just by posting a link to your book on Amazon? Well, not anymore. My recommendation? Keep your Facebook page. Post updates on occasion. But, put your marketing dollars and your social media energies elsewhere.

Self-publishing Isn’t…

…About Giving Up

Guess what? Despite what you’ve heard, self-published authors share the same goals and dreams as traditionally published authors. We really still all want the same things; recognition of our writing from readers and colleagues. We also still secretly want to see our books on the shelf in the bookstore. But, I get the sense that, to many, self-publishing appears to be a final decision. That is, once you self publish, there’s no going back. But that isn’t true! Self publishing is an option and a valid one at that. You can self-publish and still pursue traditional publishers with your other books. Better yet, if you establish a strong readership, you may be able to pick up a publisher more quickly. Of course, if you establish a readership, you might not need a publisher. And you can always do both! Hybrid authors publish both traditionally and through self-publishing venues. It’s not about giving up. It’s about making the right choice for each book you write.

…The Easy Way Out

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: “Don’t self-publish if you think it’s easy.” It’s not. You have to do a lot of work, or farm out a lot of the work. However, all of the rewards are yours and yours alone if you do it the right way. Professional editing, cover design, internal formatting, proofreading, and marketing will cost you money up front, but it will also allow you to deliver the same kind of content you would expect to find in a bookstore. Will a traditional publisher do all this for you? Sure, but most often you’ll have to give up all of the rights to your work, a huge chunk of your royalties, AND still do a lot of the marketing yourself (unless you’re one of those amazing top 1% authors). Self publishing isn’t the easy way out, but it can be very rewarding when it’s done well.

…Pretend Publishing

We’ve all heard it, “I don’t want to self publish because I want to be a real writer” or something like it. This one gets me. This one hits where it hurts. So, what you’re saying is that I don’t have “real” readers? That the ~90,000 folks who have a copy of my book are make believe. Hmm…I’m not sure who should be more insulted? Me or my readers? Let’s get something straight. I’m a real writer. I write novels and publish them through a worldwide distributor and readers buy them… with real money. That’s what makes a writer. Not some inflated ideal of third-party validation. Have you looked at the NY Times top 100? USA Today? Amazon? All are littered with self-published authors. I bet you might have even read one or two without even noticing. So, go ahead and keep waiting to be a “real writer.” Just don’t underestimate anything about the people doing it or the quality of work being created.

…For Everyone

Lastly, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Do your homework. Read folks like Joe Konrath, Hugh Howey, and David Gaughran. Self-publishing’s gurus have a wealth of knowledge. If you do choose to self publish, be sure to check out sites like Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. Great resources that will point you in the right direction for freelance help and steer you clear of the scams.

What’s your self-publishing experience been like? Share with us in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀