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If It Were Easy, We’d All Be Best Sellers

July 13, 2019 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , ,

 

 

From a Cabin in the Wood featured author is DT Krippene. DT is a contributing author in the recent BWG’s paranormal anthology, Untethered.  A man buys a house for a price that is too good to be true, until he discovers the bizarre strings attached in “Hell of a Deal”. He’s also contributed articles for the Bethlehem Writers RoundTable with “Snowbelt Sanctuary”, and “In Simple Terms”.

A native of Wisconsin and Connecticut, DT deserted aspirations of being a biologist to live the corporate dream and raise a family.  After six homes, a ten-year stint in Asia, and an imagination that never slept, his annoying muse refuses to be hobbled as a mere dream.  DT writes dystopia, paranormal, and science fiction. His current project is about a young man struggling to understand why he was born in a time when humans are unable to procreate and knocking on extinction’s door.

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p style=”text-align: left”>You can find DT on his website and his social media links.
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If It Were Easy, We’d All Be Best Sellers

DT Krippene

 

Writers have an abnormal predilection for planting themselves in a chair like a lone desert cactus, surrounded by nothing but sand, and wait for the words to rain. How is that even remotely natural?

After a writer’s conference last year, I took some time to reflect on what I’d learned, what I’d heard before, and why the hell I was still writing.

Our keynote speaker was NYT Bestseller, Bob Mayer, a former Green Beret who wrote the Area 51 series, as well as 70 other titles in fiction and non-fiction. We listened to advice on the standard elements of plot, story structure, character, the importance of tight narrative, and dangers of going off on tangents that don’t move the story. Anyone who has read my article from last year, ‘The Perils of Captain Tangent – a Pantser’s Writing Journey‘, knows I have an issue with side stories that end nowhere.

Only Five Percent Even Finish a Book

Bob shared a harsh lesson given to soldiers wanting to be Army Rangers, one easily applied to writer success.  “Everyone stand up, look at the person on the right, then look at the one on the left. Only one of you is going to make it.” He reminded us that only five-percent of all writers ever finish a book, that five-percent get to the point of publishing the book, and five percent of those people ever get anywhere with it. In simpler terms, earning enough to buy a case of Yuengling beer is like winning the lottery.

For writers who’d never heard it before, the eagerness visibly drain from their faces. Reality bites. For me, the message I took away had less to do with sobering statistics I already knew, or the writing process I’ve been refining for years.

Harness the Chaos

Growing up, I had an imagination fueled on nuclear ether.  I tried to harness the chaos of that imagination by penning it on paper. A bit intense when gripping a pen, my fingers cramped within an hour.  I got a D+ in high school typing class, unable to master a typewriter without buckets of whiteout and erasable bond paper.  It would take access to a modern word processor and the ability to backspace and delete with impunity, before I struck up the nerve to start writing again many years later.

Thirty-plus years traveling for corporate America offered ample opportunities at boarding gates, on flights, and hotel rooms to write. While living overseas, I landed a non-paid gig writing articles for a local travel magazine. It was fun, and I acquired a small fan base.

Back to last year’s conference, they asked, “Why are you writing, and what’s your goal? How passionate are you about what you’re doing?”

Hell of a question. What do I want to be, besides thirty-years younger?  I remembered a book I’d read about rebooting life when the distraction of a workaday world subsided.  It asked similar, tough questions like, what gave me passion in my younger years.  What was it I dreamt of as a kid?

The answer: I enjoyed times alone inside the chaotic ether of my imagination. After rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, I wanted to mine that creativity and put it in words.

Stories are easy, but . . .

The stories came easy, but understanding the mechanics of plotting and structure was a different breed of cat. I can quote the basic laws of chemistry, but dangling participles was something I learned on the fly.  My first 300-page attempt was a laughable exercise that encouraged (I am a writer, I am, I am, I am), and depressed me (Dear Occupant, thank you for your submission, but …). Not having a pedigree that comes with a Fine Arts education, I had a steep hill to climb.

The journey took me on a rediscovery of subjects I’d glossed over in secondary school, like grammar.  The proper use of commas was enough to send me to the nut house. Thankfully, Word spell check kept me from giving up entirely.  I networked with authors and joined writer groups. Surviving a critique process from fellow writers is not for the weak-hearted.

I went to conferences to learn about the business of getting published.  Rejection by the hundreds required the skin of a stegosaurus.  With the prolificacy of traditional and indie publishing (an unending tsunami of content in Bob Mayer’s words), being published today is akin to the lone salmon swimming downstream against the horny hoards going the opposite direction during spawning season.

“Old dogs must learn new tricks”, Bob Mayer said.  Exhuming a passion, buried for decades in a lead-lined box of adult obligations, can be one of the hardest things in a person’s life.  It felt good to hear a professional corroborate what I had to learn on my own.

 

It takes Passion.

It takes Perseverance.

It takes Risks.

 

I’ve published a few short stories, but have yet to find a market for the five books I’d written. A wonderful agent tried to market two books I wrote a few years back, but no takers. It amazes me that she still answers my emails after those first attempts. Her advice to me – keep writing.

Don’t have to ask me twice. Hell, I can’t help myself. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. I lost count how many times my wife caught me pacing a room with a blank look, lost in a scene inside the kaleidoscopic pandemonium of my imagination, when I should be cutting the lawn.

I just finished my sixth novel. Given the commentary from trusted beta readers, I still have some work to do. It isn’t because the story sucks. It’s about making it as good as it needs to be.  I’m getting closer.

I’ll end it here. I have a story to edit. Have to make my own rain.

Oh, and the hyperactive muse who won’t let me sleep at night, is egging me to start a new idea.

Hmmm – wonder if I can do both at the same time?


DT Krippene

A native of Wisconsin and Connecticut, DT Krippene deserted aspirations of being a biologist to live the corporate dream and raise a family. After six homes, a ten-year stint in Asia, and an imagination that never slept, his annoying muse refuses to be hobbled as a mere dream. Dan writes dystopia, paranormal, and science fiction. His current project is about a young man struggling to understand why he was born in a time when humans are unable to procreate and knocking on extinction’s door.

You can find DT on his website and his social media links.
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest 


 

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5 Tips to self-publishing your mother never told you by Jina Bacarr

November 11, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Psst…have you heard? Everybody’s doing it. Self-publishing.

It’s hip, it’s cool…it’s like winning the lottery.

Right?

Hmm…maybe. Maybe not. It’s the wild, wild west out in the land of Amazon, Smashwords and Nook. All you need is a dusty, old manuscript from under your bed, a sexy cover and a few .html codes and you’re dancing with the stars.

Oh, what fools we writers be.

It ain’t that easy.

Here’s the deal: You’ve written a good story and your manuscript is in the best shape possible–critique groups, professional editing, etc. Now what?

No doubt you need a good cover and nearly flawless formatting, but don’t give up if you haven’t gotten it all together. Before you push that old manuscript back under the bed with the dust bunnies, it is possible to hitch your wagon to the self-pubbed stars and join in the land rush…or should I say, digital rush.

I did it. I self-pubbed a holiday novella and a short story. There are many blogs that can help you with various aspects of the biz, from J.A. Konrath to Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward (I highly recommend both!), but here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Jina’s 5 tips to self-publishing:

  1. I formatted my manuscript myself with help from Marie Force’s blog–I especially found the info about “tabs” and indenting .33 on the first line helpful.

  2. I bought my cover art from Dreamstime.com They have quality photos and high resolution. You can choose from 12 million photos available on their site.

  3. Be prepared to spend time learning how to format. It’s a high learning curve, but I’ve found both the Amazon (short video) and Smashwords guides to be helpful if you’re willing to make the effort.

  4. Be realistic about your goals. No one can predict how a book will do, but reading the Kindle forums and following other authors can give you an idea of how they’re doing. I follow OCC’s Dr. Debra Holland’s blog–she’s been open and forthright about her experience in self-publishing and her sales. Another OCC author, Jacqueline Diamond (author of 90 novels), has recently self-published books from her backlist and knows the value of promoting her books (she made the top 100 in Regency on Amazon).

  5. Write another book or story right away. Quality and quanity are both important in self-pubbing. You need product to sell. Imagine if a shoe store opened and all they had to sell was one shoe style?

Which reminds me of Cinderella and her glass slipper.

Putting your self-pubbed book out there is like Cinderella going to the ball. She had a team of cute little mice to make her dress (editing, cover and formatting) and a fairy godmother (Amazon, Nook and Smashwords) to make the magic happen.

She also had the moxie to get to the ball. That’s where you come in.

Be like Cinderella. Don’t be late to the self-publishing party.

You’ll never know if the glass slipper fits until you try it.

Best,
Jina

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Build A Writing Network With LinkedIn

May 18, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Jenny Hansen

Everyone is talking about Social Media and I’ve got several friends scratching their heads going, “What does that even MEAN? And why do I need so many DIFFERENT KINDS??”

(Note: Prepare for the CAP-bold-fest, I just downed half a pot of coffee…)

There’s a simple answer to “why so many?” You want to go to where your people are. It’s as simple as that.

Maybe you want to network with dairy farmers or high school kids. It’s a pretty good bet they’re going to be hanging out over on Facebook rather than Twitter. These are two demographics that have proven to be firmly grounded on Facebook. Remember, Facebook is focused on hooking up with the people you already know.

Twitter and LinkedIn are both geared toward hooking up with the people you want to know.

(Like editors and agents…just sayin.’) If you want to BUILD your network, you are simply going to do it faster on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter, according to Social Media expert Kristen Lamb, is like one big cocktail party. You can “walk through” and hear snippets of all kinds of conversation. And, as long as you aren’t creepy about it, you are invited to join in. How cool is that for all us busybodies, er…I mean writers. (slinking to the next paragraph)

LinkedIn is more like attending a big conference – you’ve got people you’re scheduled to meet with, and they know people who know people. (All these conference types are even MORE impressed if you dress nicely and have a creative name badge. In LinkedIn terms that means fill out your profile as fully as you can.)

There are people you might meet at any event or conference that will be important in your career. It’s a really good idea in today’s world to ask these people which platform they’re on so YOU CAN FIND THEM! Better yet, get their email address. You can use it to find them on LinkedIn, Facebook OR Twitter.

If you meet someone who says they’re on Facebook and they are your dream editor, make tracks to hook up with them over there. Ditto to Twitter and LinkedIn. It is always a good idea to follow up quickly so there’s hope that they still remember that you sat in the row in front of them during the Dean Koontz event at the Romantic Times Convention.

Note: Bob Mayer and the team at Who Dares Wins Publishing are offering some really good workshops in May and June about how to really get the most out of a conference, and how a writer can market. They sound awesome, but I’ve already decided to learn how to write about sex in May from our own Louisa Bacio.

Why LinkedIn?

I could give you the corporate version: LinkedIn is a very easy passive way to build your social network with individuals that you might already know, as well as those you meet in the course of your networking events.

Bleck, bleck, bleck.

Even though it’s true, it’s bland and doesn’t cover the real magic: Through LinkedIn’s Status Updates, Reading Lists, Groups and the amazing Answer feature, you will have the opportunity to be a solution provider.

Now THAT’S sexy. Every opportunity you get to be a solution provider is golden.

Every time a writer is offered a free, easy chance to establish themselves as an expert in any given field, in my humble opinion, they need to RUN to take advantage of this. LinkedIn gives you the chance to both ask questions and provide answers, and look stellar in the process.

Click here to find out more about LinkedIn Answers.

In LinkedIn you can have your entire writing resume on display, along with recommendations of your work, even as you network and build your platform.

LinkedIn can be a Traffic Firehose

Check out this Chart of the Day from a Business Insider article that was published earlier this month. That’s some impressive stuff. LinkedIn is adding features all the time that are targeted at driving traffic. Like every other social media company, they want to be your platform of choice.

(Are you salivating yet? This is BIG.)

Getting started

  1. Go to http://www.linkin.com/
  2. Choose your LinkedIn account type

Note: Anyone can sign up for a free Basic LinkedIn account. Free accounts allow you to invite available connections, manage your own profile, join Groups and sign up for LinkedIn events.

Free accounts do not allow you to send InMails (which let you send mail to anyone whether you are connected or not), see all LinkedIn contacts or organize your contacts beyond a basic name listing.

For the LinkedIn users that want to use the application more fully or for targeted tasks like job recruiting, there are several other business options available for a monthly charge.

How to add connections

You can allow LinkedIn to check your existing address books for your current email addresses or enter your contacts manually. It is easiest to allow LinkedIn to comb through your current address books for your various email applications (Gmail, AOL, etc). You will get a list of the people you know who are already using LinkedIn and can invite them to connect with you.

Note: If you don’t want to do this when you begin, you can return later to the Import Contacts option, which is located inside the People You May

Know area (it’s always available in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn home page).

What do you do once you’re connected?

  • Listen
    Listening in LinkedIn means watching the Status Updates that show on your home page each day and commenting on them. Particularly if you are in the market for an editor, agent, or new job, these updates are a treasure trove of conversation openers.
  • Read
    In LinkedIn, there is an application to discuss and recommend what you are reading. When you use this application, it will update your home page. People will comment, and you can do the same on the books they recommend. Part of why we love books is BECAUSE they are so easy to bond over.
  • Browse
    Be sure to look around in LinkedIn. You’ll come across the greatest stuff just poking around. Explore the LinkedIn toolbar at the top of the page to see your Connections, Update your profile, or look for Jobs. Incidentally, all the recruiters I know say they find the best talent through LinkedIn. I found my current job through LinkedIn, as a matter of fact.
  • Find Groups that have other people with the same interests as you.
    Some people take an opposite track and join Groups with members that have knowledge that you WANT. On the right hand side of the LinkedIn toolbar, there is a search that defaults to “People.” Hit the drop-down and choose Groups. Type in your interest, whether it is writing, parenting or gardening. Trust me, you will find cool groups.

Other helpful tips:

  • All the usual rules of social media apply – excessive marketing, stalking and lying are not appropriate. (Yes, I know it’s your resume – you STILL have to be honest.)
  • You do not have to be introduced to anyone you are in a Group with.That means that you can request connection with ANYONE in any group you belong to. Read above…I’m not encouraging anyone to get their weird stalky vibe on, but this is the perfect chance to go where your target audience is and rub elbows with them. I’ve met amazing people this way.
  • Browse the People You May Know section on the right side of your screen every few weeks. New people show up in there based on things like who has joined LinkedIn or which searches you’ve run. I nearly always find someone I’d been wishing to have as a connection.

There are a gajillion things I’d like to tell you about the program but Goal One is to get you signed up if you’re interested and give you time to get comfortable. You can also feel free to ask questions about the program in the comments below.

If you need more help to get set up, here is a link that gives great step-by-step instructions. 🙂

In the meantime, how many of you are on LinkedIn already? Do you like or dislike it? What do you love-love-love or hate-hate-hate about the platform?

Take care,
Jenny

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