A Radical Response to Piracy


Since ebooks went mainstream (thank you, Kindle), book authors are now finding themselves in the same awkward spot that musicians have been in for over a decade. Readers can bypass bookstores, Kindle, and everything else, and own your book without paying a dime to you or anyone else. You’re being ripped off! What do you do? How are you supposed to react when that huge project you labored over and poured your soul into and sacrificed other parts of your life for, is made available to the whole world for free? The standard reaction of most writers is outrage and frustration. Even [Read more…]

Writing From Home


I’m a work-at-home father of two and a full-time writer. I write for blogs like this one, I write books, and I write whatever print freelance assignments come along in between. I’m not here to tell you what an unbelievable challenge working at home can be. If you’re reading this blog, I’m sure you already know. Instead, I’m going to share with you some strategies for overcoming the work-at-home obstacles. In the many years I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed a phenomenon that’s utterly unique to stay-at-home workers. I call it the ATOOTC Principle. We stay-at-home workers desperately long to [Read more…]

Being a 21st Century Writer


If there’s one thing lacking in the publishing and journalism industries these days, it’s certainty. The world of writing and publishing is changing day-by-day, and no longer can you be a successful writer — whether your craft is journalism or novel writing, whether you’re writing for print or digital — merely by virtue of being talented. There are entirely new skill sets required for the modern successful writer, and whatever kind of writer you are, you’re going to find that these skills are a must. You want to be a 21st Century writer? Here are three hats you must wear [Read more…]

What’s a Book Writer to Do?


I’ve had five novels published professionally, through an internationally-distributed publishing house. I’m contracted for one more, which will be hitting stores next Summer. And like all good authors, knowing that there’s an end in sight to my current contract, I’m on the hunt for a new one. After my first three books, getting a second contract for three more was easy. My books weren’t bestsellers, but they sold enough to turn a profit for my publisher, so getting a new contract was a no-brainer. Yet now, suddenly, after almost six published books under my belt, landing a new contract is [Read more…]

Google Editions


Google Editions is coming, and you best be ready for it. Google is about to go head-to-head against Amazon over the ebook marketplace. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky speculation. It’s fact. Originally planned to launch this summer, Google Editions has been met with endless delays. But the Wall Street Journal seems to think it’s almost here, so it’s time for a primer. Until now, ebooks have been a closed system. The ebook marketplace is heavily dominated by Amazon and its Kindle device, which boasts about two-thirds of all ebook sales. Everyone else — Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iBooks, Borders’ Kobo, etc. [Read more…]

Novel Ideas


Fiction writing ain’t what it used to be. We live in a new world, where dozens of online tools are available to make the process easier and faster, helping you organize and work your way through the process with ease. Let’s take a look at the usual steps to writing a novel, and how various online tools can simplify them. Traditionally, the first step in writing your novel is Brainstorming. And the Internet offers plenty of options for brainstormers in the form of “mind-mapping” software. There’s MindMeister, a visual tool for mapping ideas that’s accessible via your web browser or [Read more…]

Times, They Are A-Changin’


Far be it from me to harp on a single issue every week. There’s a whole lot more to publishing in the 21st Century than just ebooks. But ebooks are the hot topic in publishing right now, and it’s proving an impossible subject to avoid when I settle down to write my FWJ column each week. This week saw some surprising news and predictions about the future of the ebook marketplace, and these details are far too juicy not to share and contemplate. For starters, did you hear that that the New York Times is planning to compile and publish some [Read more…]

Why Amazon Rules the Future of Publishing


A few weeks ago, Amazon announced another new service they’ll be offering through their ebook store called Kindle Singles, which is meant to appeal to writers who want to publish something in that magical “in between” word count that comes between standard magazine article length and standard book length. The target size for Kindle Singles is 10,000-30,000 words, but Amazon will accept up to 50,000. With this one simple idea, Amazon has demonstrated why they’re still king of the ebook marketplace — despite the likes of Barnes & Noble and Apple nipping at their heels. The reason why is simple: [Read more…]

All About ‘Pubit’ – Barnes & Noble’s New Self-Publishing System


You may have heard this week that Barnes & Noble has upped its game when it comes to the fight against Amazon’s Kindle. Amazon has its Digital Text Platform to help writers self-publish their work both in ebook form, and now Barnes & Noble has Pubit, which does the same thing, but claims to be far easier and offer more advantages for writers. Is Pubit all that and a box of chips? Depends on how you use it. Let’s look at the details. Price The pricing for Pubit structure is set to a graduating percentage of revenue that authors keep, which [Read more…]

Print-on-Demand for Dummies

For weeks, I’ve been telling you all about the virtues of ebooks, why they are not to be feared but embraced. How they are the future of publishing. Today, I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t abandon print yet, and detail three of my favorite print-on-demand services. Schizophrenic? Maybe (but only because the publishing industry is these days). True? Absolutely! eBooks Are the Future, But the Future Isn’t Here… Yet eBooks are the new hotness. There’s no denying it. The turnaround time, writer compensation model, and the speed with which they can be bought and owned is unprecedented in [Read more…]

21st Century Marketing Ideas


Writers have always been faced with the question of how to reach readers with their work. 21st Century writers who want to be successful must also find ways to involve readers in what they do. Make them a part of the process of writing or promoting your book, and they’ll be invested in you and your work. One writer who’s particularly good at this is Robin Sloan, a scifi fiction writer who’s particularly adept at 21st Century marketing. He’s come up with some of the most creative ideas I’ve ever seen, where marketing, writing, and social media interaction with his [Read more…]

Serialized Novels


People often ask me how I first got published. For years, I hated answering that question. Not because I disliked the way I entered the business, but because it was so unusual at the time, that others would be very unlikely to emulate it. That’s not the case anymore. My first book started its life as a serialized novel that I published online. I had conceived of my own ezine at the time, where we published reviews of art and entertainment from pop culture. We also posted short stories and poems. And I had this crazy notion to create and [Read more…]

Join the eBook Revolution


As technology advances, art always finds new ways of taking advantage of it. For Music, vinyl records were the first major format to catch on, until cassette tapes came along. Years later, we ditched out cassettes in favor of CDs. Today, the format of choice for most music lovers is the downloadable MP3. The technology got better — with new benefits such as higher quality recordings and instant distribution over the Internet — and the entire art form grew because of it. Movies started out as silent black & white films, then graduated to sound and color. Today we can [Read more…]

Social Networking for Writers


Time was, all writers had to do was write. We did the cool creative end of things and left the business and marketing to other, more qualified souls. Today, writers can no longer afford to leave their fan base out in the cold. Thanks to the Internet, there are more words than ever competing for readers, so breaking through the clutter requires more than eye-catching marketing. It requires interaction. I know “marketing” is a scary word for some, but I promise the kind of marketing I’m talking about is nothing to be afraid of. You don’t have to come up [Read more…]

The Brave New World of Writing


Nearly ten years ago, iTunes forever changed the music industry. The familiar business model of buying CDs made up of ten tracks or more was replaced by the ability to download individual songs. The record industry was thrown into turmoil and it took years for executives to figure out how to do business in this brave new world. Today, the publishing industry is going through the same digital revolution, thanks to the advent of ebooks. Just weeks ago, a big name literary agent decided to bypass traditional book publishers to work directly with Amazon.com and its Kindle ebook reader, giving [Read more…]

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