Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Writer Unboxed

Writing ~ in Spite of Everything . . .


We live in “Interesting Times“… Writing ~ in Spite of Everything . . .

Humanity is going through trials and tribulations never before imagined by the human race…

Personally, I think all these disorders are becoming fearfully dangerous because humanity is purging itself of the ideas and systems that aren’t worthy of our new role as a Global Family—the ideas and systems that run on greed or privilege or pure egotism—things that favor a few and punish many…

I think it’s the last thrashings of systems and movements and entrenched beliefs that are “…lamentably defective…”.

Some writers are thriving in this atmosphere—using the chaos to fuel their stories…

Some writers are wilting on their literary vines…

Some are trying to write; but, so much negative is happening that they’re honestly swamped by feelings and thoughts that render them wordless…

Some are paralysed by doubt and fear…

Some, shamefully, are trying to make a buck off the backs of others’ sufferings…

But…

The purpose of this post is to help you write ~ in spite of everything—even if your everything is just a constant rush of common mundane emergencies.

There was an article on Writer UnBoxed a few months ago that spelled-out methods to arm yourself against having your writing hijacked by “life”…

The article’s called, Survival Pack or How to Keep Writing No Matter What; and, I’ll now do my normal excerpting to encourage you to read the whole thing :-)

The article begins with:

“What if life never got in the way of writing? What if I told you there was a way to guarantee you’d always be able to write? (Even if you have ‘writer’s block’. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even on those days you can’t get out of your own way.)”

And, just before sharing a personal case study, the author says:

“…maybe you’re so far out of the writing life, so off your writing game you can’t imagine finding a way back to your work in progress.

“Or even to writing—at all.”

Then, a list of Survival Pack ideas is given (there are example life problems along with how the survival pack idea was applied…):

1. Plan Ahead. Look at your calendar a day or week in advance.

2. Create an optimal work environment—physical, emotional, and mental.

3. Predictable Problem—make a plan.

4. Disaster Planning—plan for the truly unexpected.

Don’t let the brevity of that list of Survival Pack ideas make you think there aren’t any powerfully effective techniques in this article…

The author continues with:

“Sometimes small fixes aren’t enough….Things are really tough—really tough—and the pressure is on. Writing is truly last on your mind (or maybe not on your mind at all).”

That’s followed by the author’s personal example of a time when her husband’s depression was affecting her writing.

This is not a light-weight article…

However, here’s the author’s deceptively simple summation:

“It’s all about choice. I can choose and you can choose, too. We can do this.”

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“Looking for Truth in Time of Hype” ~ Are Writers Doomed?


Three things before I get fully underway with this post:

Looking for Truth in Time of Hype ~ Are Writers Doomed?

Image Courtesy of Michal Zacharzewski, SXC ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/mzacha-39017

This is a link to posts on this blog by or about Roz Morris

This is a link to posts on this blog by or about Mark Coker… 

This is a link to posts on this blog by or about Porter Anderson

All three of those people are involved in an article on WriterUnboxedLooking for Truth in Time of Hype.

Porter Anderson wrote the article—Roz Morris is frequently quoted—Mark Coker is also quoted

Porter Anderson Knows Media—Roz Morris Knows Writing—Mark Coker Knows Publishing

The article is primarily for writers struggling to make their way in the rapidly shifting BookWorld (with all the hype about “Branding”, “Platform”, Traditional vs Self-Publishing, “Promotion”, failing bookstores, etc., etc., etc.).

Here come the excerpts (but, if you’re a writer, you really need to read the full article…):

‘There’s Never Been a Better Time To Be A Writer’

Roz Morris’ comments on that quote:

“I’ve seen this mantra frequently over the past few years in blog posts, conference reports and news items. And I don’t disagree there’s been a lot to celebrate.”

“But from what I see right now, this time is also tougher for authors than ever.”

“Indie authors feel it in their book sales. Hands up, who is in a forum where the chief discussion is “what can I do about my dwindling sales?” “Anybody else had a dismal month?” “Should I drop my book’s price, put it on Kindle Unlimited, write something more popular, send out more emails, spend $$$ on a marketing course?”

“The traditionally published authors I know are faring little better, with shrinking advances, ill-supported launches – even the authors who have awards to prove their worth.”

A quote from Mark Coker:

“The market for ebooks has pretty much gone flat. And so we have a problem here…. There’s a glut of high-quality, low-cost books, more books than readers will ever possibly be able to read.”

Then, Porter Anderson comments on Mark’s quote with:

“That’s something, coming from a man who says his company is:

‘Publishing 360,000 books working with over a hundred thousand authors in small independent presses around the world.'”

A bit later Porter says:

“Publishing a book was never a contest. Presenting one path or another as a cause or a movement has never panned out as anything but…hype. The real goal, by whatever means you pursue it, is to get your work in front of the right audience and, we must hope, find some decent remuneration for all you’ve gone through to do that.”

And, if you do read the full article, you’ll know how important this comment from Porter is:

“You’re no traitor to the ideal of a publishing success if you speak candidly about the struggle. We all need to hear this much more than we need to see great phalanxes of grinning indies, sunglasses flashing as they pull down those “good livings” off their books.”

Then, Porter says this (which generated one Official Slew of Comments…):

“How frequently do you think authors feel they can share their experiences honestly? Do you feel the pressure to make it seem you’re doing better than you are? If you tend to sugarcoat your own experience for others, do you find that it’s helping your sales? —or your outlook?”

And, since I’ve been covering Reading, Writing, and Publishing on this blog for over 5 years, if you want more info on any aspect of those excerpts (or, what you might read in the full article), do put a few keywords in the search bar in the upper right or check out the Subject Index Links in the left side-bar—you more than likely will find more information :-)
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Authentic Book Promotion ~ Does It Sell?


Let me first address the issue of book sales.

Promotion for Writers

Image Courtesy of Adam Page ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/atom_balm

There are many things an author can do to increase the likelihood that their book will sell.

However, none of those actions will guarantee sales…

Some writers think landing a traditional publishing deal will assure book sales.

Not so…

Perhaps, if you’re an extremely famous person, your book will sell—perhaps…

I wrote a post last year that led to six different ways to think about the task of promoting a self-published book—Breaking The “Rules” of Book Promotion—showing that originality and authenticity could help boost sales and certainly will let you sleep more soundly…

There’s also a recent post over at Writer Unboxed, by Jane Friedman—The Online Presence That’s a Natural Extension of Who You Are and What You Do. (Is It Just Fantasy?)

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“To begin to inspect this problem—and a beginning is all that’s possible for this blog post—I’ll discuss a few writers who exhibit the following qualities:
*Their writing work is clearly central to everything they do. Or think of it as: writing as guiding star (as it should be).
*Their voice, online or off, is authentic.
*Their online presence and engagement is unique to them and, at least from my POV, sustainable and meaningful.”

She shares the efforts of five extremely different authors, then says:

“All of the authors I mentioned—who are quite different in terms of their success, genre, and personalities—are able to focus on their writing and maintain an online presence, while appearing to remain whole. Each has found the right approach based on their strengths and goals, and you can do the same.”

If you’re a writer floundering in the Sea of Promotion, head on over and check out the whole article.

If you have all that stuff taken care of or don’t care a fig about it, share the link with a writer-friend :-)
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Favorite Writing, Book, and Publishing Blogs


I have no idea how many blogs there are for Readers, Writers and Publishers.

But, I’m wondering how many folks have a few favorites in those categories.

“Writing” blogs are the ones I tend to not read—something about being well-along in years and deeply fond of my own way of doing things

“Book” blogs can be of two kinds—blogs about things like bindings, covers, fonts, paper-quality, etc. and blogs that specialize in doing reviews of books.

“Publishing” blogs seem to be sprouting up like zombies in a B-grade movie. There’re the ones defending Traditional publishing, the ones glorifying Self-Publishing, and the ones that vacillate between the two.

And, there’re two varieties of each of those types of Publishing blogs—the serious/sincere ones and  the ones that focus on wild speculation about what will happen Just About Any Unexpected Time Now.

I only have a handful of blogs I like to keep going back to but there are so many that might be worth reading that I know nothing about.

Then, there are some I used to read but suddenly have reason to “rediscover”.

I use Google Alerts to find news, articles, and blog posts I can talk about here.

This morning, I checked my saved links and pulled out Lost Sight of the Game? Find it Again. by Victoria Mixon—Great Post but, as sometimes happens, while reading it and pondering how to report on it, I changed my focus.

I’d noticed something on the blog, called Writer Unboxed—I’d been there many times in the past but forgot that this blog has over 20 regular contributing writersperhaps, it can be one of my favorites :-)

Other blogs that are my favorites (plus a few non-blog links) are in my BlogRoll, in the left side-panel under those pictures of our Readers

If you’re the kind of reader who likes certain blog posts but never makes a comment, I do hope you’ll find a hidden reserve of courage (or, at least Daring) and mention some of your favorite Reading, Writing, and Publishing blogs in our Comments.
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