Category Archives: Publisher’s Advice

TJ Redig Guest Post: Platform, Platform, Platform!

The following gluten free message for authors (trad or indie) comes courtesy of TJ Redig, creator of the Scrivener Soapbox, where I had my first ever podcast interview. He also has a strange new supernatural thriller out and it looks really cool: The Philosopher’s Load. Be sure to check it out.

Platform, platform, platform!

It’s no secret that agents and publishers want to see one thing (besides, you know, being able to write a good story) from querying writers: a successful platform. That’s how I ended up developing a podcast. Side note, I eventually decided not to go the traditional route, but the same rule applies. If people don’t know about you, they’re definitely not going to know about your novel.

The idea for Scrivener Soapbox was born during a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis where I had enrolled in a multi-week course taught by Dawn Frederick from Red Sofa Literary and Editor Jake Klisivitch on the traditional publishing process (e.g., querying, contracts, cover design, platform building, etc). Overall, I found the class to be an incredibly valuable experience for anyone deciding between the traditional and self-publishing routes. Dawn actually sat down with me later on to review a contract I had been offered by a small press for The Philosopher’s Load. Thank God too, because I can’t read legalese.

That was one heck of a tangent. Regarding how I’d build my platform, I had an ace up the sleeve: recording experience. Many years of my life were spent as a musician living way under the poverty line, eating canned beans just to survive. I had accumulated a great deal of equipment and studio knowledge over that time and at one point had a fully functional home studio for demos (you want to shell out the bucks for a real studio and engineer when you’re doing EP/LPs). All the gear has since been sold off, but I knew exactly what I’d need to make a quality production and laid out the figures in a blog post. You could drop the webcam from the final figures too. I stopped doing video when factors outside of my control (e.g., the quality of the guest’s Internet connection) affected the recording’s overall quality

Giving authors, many of whom were relatively unknown but had incredibly interesting stories, a soapbox to talk about their work was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. One, I got to hear from others what worked and what didn’t (often in great detail after the recording ended). Two, I met a bunch of genuinely interesting people. Three, my name got catapulted into the social media stratosphere. Despite being a podcast host, I’m actually a pretty quiet person, so that third benefit was the most valuable.

Here’s the number one, far and away most important thing I learned: A traditionally published author has to sell a lot more books to make a living than a self-published author. I’ve talked to successful writers of both camps and it’s incredibly clear that the far more lucrative route is self-publishing. Increased exposure can come with the traditional route, but you could also end up with a publisher who does nothing to promote your book and yet takes a substantial amount off the top.

Learn more about TJ Redig by visiting his website: TJREDIG.COM.

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Filed under Indie Publishing, Podcasts, Publisher's Advice, Writing Market

Open Letter to Indie Authors

This is pretty good.

Jena Gregoire - Home

Open Letter Graphic

1/6/2014 – AN UPDATE ON THE UPDATE – I have been approving 100% of the comments left on this post.  I haven’t hidden a single thing.  I have received exactly FOUR pieces of negative feedback on this open letter, three of which were about my use of profane language.  Due to this, I feel it necessary to issue this warning:  I say ‘fuck’ a lot.  If you don’t like it, take a hike because you’re not going to like what you’re about to read.    Sorry to be a bitch about it but this is MY blog.  That’s like going to someone’s house and ragging at them because of the way they do something in their own home.  Had I posted it on YOUR blog, you’d have the right to complain about it.  Instead, you’re posting the comment just to have something to say.    

GOING FORWARD:  WE HAVE ALREADY…

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Filed under Indie Publishing, Publisher's Advice, Submission Tips, Writing Market

Great book I found on bad writing

In my experience, books on writing haven’t been that useful to me. The ones I’ve read make a big deal about stories having a beginning, middle and end. Or they tell you things like “write every day” or “write what you know” or “use active voice.” Timeless advice found in any book on writing, but nothing new. Stephen King’s book was good, but mostly because I was interested in Stephen King. He had a few good tips in there, especially on editing out things like “that” and what not.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a great book recommendation at my favorite editor’s blog (the Editor’s Blog). It’s called, “How not to write a novel.” In it, the authors go over all the things they hate to see in submitted works by the unpublished masses (like me). Not only don’t they pull punches, but they actively ridicule anyone who makes these mistakes (without naming names). It’s actually pretty funny. Just this morning, I got caught off guard by the observation that some writers dredge up vocabulary from “the darkest regions of the dictionary.” This caused me to snort, which caused my hand to jiggle, sending coffee dribbles spilling onto my shirt.

I’ve read about 2/3 since yesterday and I have to say: I’ve done many of the things they’re talking about, at one time or another. Recently, I committed the crime of writing what they call a “benign tumor.” A benign tumor, according to the authors, is when you write a scene that extends the book, but if you cut it out, absolutely nothing happens to the story. Imagine the good guy going to kill the villain and taking 5 pages to talk about a detour he was forced to take through a nice part of town, musing how after he kills the villain maybe he’d move there. Benign tumor.

Enjoy.

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Filed under Publisher's Advice, Submission Tips, Writing in general

A must read from an editorial assistant’s blog

Though her blog hasn’t been updated since 8/2011, I can’t stop reading through old articles.

Here’s one with 10 great mistakes writers should avoid:

http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2009/05/ten-writer-mistakes.html

And here’s a summation of all her “must read” publisher related posts:

http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2009/10/publishing-related-backlist.html

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Filed under Publisher's Advice