How to self-publish a book

Occasionally, I get messages from people trying to break into the “traditional” (as in 20th century) publishing industry, and they always seem to be under some distress. In fact, the messages often come off like the pleading of abuse victims, with authors talking publicly on twitter sounding like battered women excusing their abuser. Everybody is aware of how lame it is to “pay” an agent (in reality, they pay you, and you better hope they are honest, unlike Chuck Palahniuk’s agent, who left him broke) to have coffee with someone at the publishing imprint, who then takes years to make…

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Stop Seeking Magic Fixes Your Problems!

This is it! This is what my entire existence on YouTube has really been about, now that I stop to think about it: There is no magical secret that will fix what is wrong or make you good at something quickly. Sorry, folks, you can’t learn to play guitar in six weeks. You can’t write a guaranteed best-seller in two days with the “secret story formula.” You can’t become a shredded bodybuilder in six weeks by learning this “one diet trick.” STOP LOOKING FOR EASY SOLUTIONS. The more advanced you get in any field, the more you learn that “secrets”…

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Converging Energy and the Blessings of the Hermit

I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts like this lately: This is widespread across my YouTube subscriptions, and I’ve talked to a few author friends who feel the same way, either about content or just work in general. I’m part of this. Prior to getting sick, I purposely took a step back from YouTube to focus on drafting a new book. I figured it was a natural time because it was summer and, more relevant to this post, I just wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about turning on the camera. That lack of enthusiasm has persisted, and while getting an illness is…

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The Millennial Obsession with Harry Potter

It’s a curious case – Millenials, particularly in the “literary” and “writing” (I use those terms as ironically as possible) community are constantly referencing Harry Potter, particularly when it comes to some of the basic parts of the moral play, such as Lord Voldemort, who represents whatever current-year evil they happen to be personally obsessed with (usually just orange man bad). Why? Why so much obsession with a children’s book series, to the point where people put their Hogwarts house in their twitter bio? Yes, you are so Gryffindor, Miss Keyboard Warrior! Here’s my basic explanation: Mythological vacuum Social reinforcement…

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The Dangers of Social Media in 2020 – what you NEED to know as a creator or a user

Following up on some recent videos and livestreams regarding social media, here is what you NEED to know as either a creator or as just a user (or both) regarding social media platforms in 2020: Terms of Service are a red herring. Each platform represents a technical monopoly with little or no competition The core functionality is severely damaged I’ll expand on these below, but here’s what this basically translates into: There is no behavior pattern that can keep you from getting banned The “alternative” platforms are not alternatives at all The service is set up to NOT give you…

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How Short Fiction Died (and how it can come back)

If you want the deep read, check it out on JD Cowan’s blog: https://wastelandandsky.blogspot.com/2020/07/what-are-friends-for.html The ultra-short summation is this: Science fiction short fiction didn’t lose popularity like wearing bellbottoms, it was destroyed through the actions of a small clique of contemptuous busy-bodies who took over the scifi magazines and shifted their subject matter away from what was popular towards what they wished to be popular. The result, of course, was a loss in popularity over time, but process repeated multiple times, until brands which were important in the 1930s are worn like skin suits by people who hate what was…

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3 Easy Ways to Keep Short Fiction Short

This was part of a response to a free audiobook of one of my short works (about 12k) words, which you can listen to for free below. The comment was concerning how to keep short fiction short. Writing short fiction is really a different beast than writing long fiction, and the skills are a different set. If you want to limit length, here are a few easy things: 1) Limit the scope. A few locations, or one, rather than many. A few characters, or even one, rather than many. 2) Keep it to one plot. “A” story only, no sub-plots.…

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The Book is Better

How many times have you seen a movie and though, “Man, the book was so much better,” or had a friend who read the book say the same to you? I can definitely say that the cases where the movie is better than the book are far outweighed by the reverse – probably in the range of 20:1. In fact, the only writer whose work seems to function better on screen than on paper is Stephen King, and even then there are plenty of books in his exceptionally large canon that are much better than their cinema counterpart (anyone remember…

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Twitter, the Land of Bad Bots

Before we start, here’s a meme for free: So, you’re an author, or perhaps consider yourself an “aspiring” author (don’t be an “aspiring” anything – read my latest book to find out why). You’ve been told social media is incredibly important, so you make a twitter account. Authors start following you. You follow them back! Some of these accounts have THOUSANDS of followers, maybe even HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS. This is how you build a social media following, right? WRONG. Let me give some of you new (not aspiring) authors and creators some critical advice: Success on social media is about…

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Apolitical™

Sorry, folks, the Apolitical™ brand is just that – a brand. I get it – you don’t like the politics being forced into your favorite franchises at the expense of story, gameplay, aesthetics, and the general effect of the medium itself. I get that female Thor is lame and super-buff She-Hulk is an eyesore. I know that it’s not fun to be lectured about global warming in the middle of a space-opera game, or to be forced to play a game as an uggo who’s bent on killing your favorite franchise characters – and will succeed. I know it’s annoying…

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