Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Aspiring Writers

O.K., If You *Really* Have to, Go Ahead; Write a Book and Publish It . . .

Six years ago, when I’d finished my novel and went through what I’d resolved as the best way to publish (for me…), I was pretty freely telling everyone to write and publish—immediately, if not sooner…

Those six years have seen me do a massive amount of research into the reading, writing, and publishing Scenes—all so I could write this blog…

Before I share four articles that should make most writers think in some new ways, I’ll share just a bit of what I said back in May of 2013 from what I consider the Most Important Post on This Blog:

“An extremely small percentage of writers sell more than 500 copies of a book…”

“Yet, writers can find tons of posts and articles and web sites that are based on the mistaken conception that Any book can sell like hotcakes if the author will do X, Y, Z, and, if possible, D, U, and P…”

And, a quote from someone I quoted in that post, bearing on why I call it the most important post here:

“…in business school there’s this point made that if you interview rich people who have won the lottery, you might come to believe that playing the lottery is the only way to become rich. I thought that was interesting. One of the things I’m constantly trying to point out is that we’re not doing nearly enough to highlight both median and failure modes, because that’s where the real lessons lie. As for myself, I find message boards where new writers struggle to sell more than a few copies interesting, and where I harvest data about the low end.”

There’s much more of critical interest to all writers in that post; but, while I hope you’ll go there now and read it and take notes, I’ll finishing writing this post so you have more to consider when you return :-)

So, from the running-around-shouting attitude I had about the book world six years ago , I’m a bit more mature; mostly from having so many assumptions shattered on the rocks of the Truth about writing and publishing and promoting books…

I suppose I could say these next four articles are what I wish I’d read six years and one month ago :-)

First, I’ll share an article called, The Art of Receiving Criticism.

After relating her Before and After experiences of criticism (and, how she now Carefully selects who should give their opinions on her work), the author says:

“Oscar Wilde once commented that to critique a work of art means creating a new work of one’s own. Critique, in itself, is a form of artwork. We wouldn’t demean another person’s writing like we do their critique of our own work. Why should we receive it with any less openness than we would a Van Gogh painting?”

The next article I’ll share is called, Warning: Discoverability Dependency is Hazardous to Your Fiction Marketing.

Discoverability is the buzz-word for doing things to help folks find your book; and, some “experts” will hit you over the head with the idea—I can only suppose they want to scare you so you’ll believe it’s the Only thing you need to do…

A core idea from the article:

“…don’t use discoverability as an excuse to avoid human interaction or to be passive in your marketing. Seek out the right people, don’t just wait.”

The next article could cause quite a bit of resistance from some writers…

It’s called, The Myth Of Reviews, and details some compelling ideas about reviews Not being a magic pill for sales.

Here are two excerpts:

Here’s the thing: If you want more reviews, sell more books. Only people who read the book will review it. If you’re seeing more reviews, it means more people are buying your book.”

“My opinion is that reviews only matter in the edge cases – those situations where the potential reader is either on the fence or is looking for confirmation for the decision they’ve already made. If you haven’t hooked them with both the cover and blurb, the reviews aren’t likely to convince somebody to overlook that pair of sins and take a sample.”

The next recommended article is from a site called, Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity.

No excerpts for, Mega-List of Free Promotional Sites for Self-Published Books, since that title says it all…

And, if you want to give yourself some Bonus Credit, check out this post about what Jane Friedman has to say about Publishing (plus a few other important things…)…
Did you know the image up there is an “ancient” printing press?
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“Best Books” 2015

I’ve been in a heavy reading-mode since I’ve been engaging on Wattpad—the place to find authors you like before they become well-known…

Yes, there are some folks posting on Wattpad who are famous; but, the bulk of what’s there is “aspiring”.

Yes, my last two comments about Wattpad are crass generalizations; but, Wattpad is a complex place

GoodReads is also a complex place

For now, I’ll just say that GoodReads is the place for readers to discuss books and, because of that, find books they may want to read.

I guess the main difference between the two sites is that Wattpad is primarily “not-published-elsewhere” reading and GoodReads is “previously-published-elsewhere” reading.

Wattpad has a system for finding out what readers like best called The Wattys.

GoodReads has The Choice Awards.

So, if you want to read what a huge bunch of readers of “aspiring writing” liked, check out The Wattys.

And, if you want to read what a huge bunch of readers of “established writing” liked


I think I’ll list a few of GoodReads’ Choice Awards right here (fairly random choice):

Harper Lee ~ Go Set A Watchman

Neil Gaiman ~ Trigger Warning

Aziz Ansari ~ Modern Romance : An Investigation

Erik Larson ~ Dead Wake

And, just to be fair, I’ll list a few of the Wattys (random choice again):

@MelancholyMango ~ Misfit (Phan AU)

@LaDameBlanche ~ A Dark Imperfection

@ScarletteDrake ~ The Persistence of Memory

@Rhythmwithlove ~ Never Enough [LH]

Kinda cool the way Wattpad has the @ user names

Also, kinda cool that Wattpad has winners in all these categories:

Late Edit: Just found out about BEST MULTICULTURAL BOOKS OF 2015

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Are You An Aspiring Writer?

Naturally, folks who’ve already been published could consider themselves aspiring writers.

Aspiring Writers

Image Courtesy of Rae Grimm ~

Looking at the word origins of “aspire” in my Oxford English Dictionary, I find “to breathe before”

So, even though a person writing their first book is usually considered an aspiring writer, I certainly need to breathe (a lot) before I write my seventh book :-)

And, to make even more sense of this aspiration, the root of “spira”—breathe—can also mean “fill with spirit”

So, all you aspiring writers out there, even the ones who haven’t yet sat down and tried their hand at this thing called writing-on-purpose—“being” a “writer”—gather ’round and consider:

Some Questions for The Serious Writer . . .

The Successful Writer

And, How Writers Handle Criticism

Just a few past posts on this blog that those who want to arrange words with a bit of spirit might find valuable

You could also check out the Subject Index Links, over there in the Side-Bar, for other topics

And, I’ll also share a video with four aspiring writers—Orna Ross, Jessica Bell, Roz Morris, and Kevin Boothtalking about How To Write A Book

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