Thursday, July 26, 2012

Saturday, July 28 is National Day of the Cowboy

Celebrate our western heritage on Saturday. There's probably something happening in your community, so Google National Day of the Cowboy and your city. I'll be in Redlands, California for a Read 'em Cowboy book signing event at Barnes and Noble. Music, western writers, and lots of events for kids ... what could be more fun. So this Saturday, ride a horse, watch a western film, read a western book, or just wander around the house in a cowboy hat.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Selling Your Books on Amazon

How to Stand Out in the Biggest Bookstore in the World

Amazon is a vast book market. The size is a magnificent opportunity and a huge challenge. Amazon offers over ten million titles and is predicted to sell 50% of all books by the end of this year. Amazon provides numerous plans for publisher and authors to assist in sales, but many of them are hard to understand. It has dominance in e-books, and has growing influence in book publishing, printing, and distribution. But this size and growth presents a problem. How does a single author get noticed?

(If you would like to listen to this presentation as a webinar, please follow this link to Book Street Cafe.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

“How do you write a book?”

I’ve written fourteen books, counting my ghostwriting assignments. I’ve also written regular magazine columns and probably a dozen technical journal articles. Because of this, a friend searched me out to ask me how to write a book. He explained his idea. His concept was good and I was enthusiastic, but grew increasingly wary as he continued to ask questions. Mostly he wanted to know about mechanics. What time of day did I write? Where did I write? How long? Did I use a novel template? How many words a day? How did I get inspired?

I was starting to get frustrated, so I asked him two questions. How much did he write? How much did he read? He did neither to any great extent.

I told him to relax a minute and listen. One time I was at a writers’ conference and someone in the audience asked how I got inspired. I was about to give a cockamamie answer, but decided to be honest. I told her if she was searching for a way to become inspired, she probably was not a writer. Writers love to write. I told her I could write for ten minutes or six hours. I could write in a noisy coffee shop or my quiet den. When I was writing, I never heard what was going on around me. Time evaporated. Writers don’t need inspiration, they need more time. I know a writer who has sold over one hundred million books. He’s nearly eighty, but still writes almost every day. He’s obviously not doing it for the money.

Writers never stop writing. If you do what you love, then you want to do it all the time. That’s why when a writer dies; his or her heirs discover at least one unfinished manuscript. Writers write right up to the end. (Robert Ludlum and a few others have apparently even developed the knack for writing from the grave.)

This is how I answered the questioner. She looked crushed. And as I conveyed this story to my friend, he also looked crushed. For the remainder of his visit, he no longer wanted to talk about his book idea.

I need to rehearse a cockamamie answer to that question.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Flavorwire Article: 15 Famous Authors on Why They Write

Flavorwire has published an article about why authors write. There are many links to source material which are fun to explore.

“The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it’s about and why you’re doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising… and it’s magic and wonderful and strange.”--Neil Gaiman

My own reason is much simpler ... There is nothing else I'd rather do.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Western Book Signing at Redlands Barnes & Noble

Saturday, July 28th is National Day of the Cowboy. In honor of this day, the Redlands Barnes & Noble will host a Western Book Fair. There will be western music, historical reenactors, Western art, and loads of kid events. The program runs from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Come and have some fun and pick up a signed copy of a Steve Dancy Tale.