Tag Archives: amazon

Writing is more about patience than creativity

I had a few new readers reach out to me and it was strange that they had questions that were very similar.  They asked me about my inspiration and thought process when writing.

Normally, it’s a feeling I think all authors get that triggers the writing “itch” that we all feel the need to scratch.  I heard someone I respect say that we are driven by passion, educated by experience and defined by choice.  I truly believe this but our passion can sometimes drive us to make rash choices.

It is not always that simple to take a concept and wrap an entire story around it.  Writing – especially fiction writing is like a large piece of clay.  You mold it and shape it, removing the excess and sometimes filling in gaps after you think you are done.  I think some of the best writers equally patient as they are creative.

For many, the “art” of writing can take a very long time.  For others, they can visualize the entire story and after it is published, they go back and almost re-write it to add or subtract aspects of the original piece.

I tend to visit both sides of this fence – no pun intended.  Sometimes I have a thought that wakes me up and the entire story is encompassed in that thought and the words almost type themselves.  In other cases, like now, I found inspiration that is launching a new book series.  Each book is being written at the same time, but so far it has been 8 months and not one book is finished.  The storylines of each book were easy, but the “meat” of each story has taken a lot longer than any other work I have done.  So was the decision to make it a book series instead of one long book.

The important thing is to be true to yourself when you write.  If you are telling a story, tell it as you see it not as you think others will receive it.  Don’t be afraid to release a work you are proud of.  There is no such thing as a “perfect artist.” Someone will always find something wrong – whether it is technical errors or opinions of a reader.

When you are working on a piece… I would consider these aspects…

  1. Who is going to tell the story?  Is it you or someone else?  Remember this when you write it – they tend to shift gears during the draft and it can be difficult to spot by the author – so an outside review is always a good idea.
  2. Are you trying to send a message?  If so, what is that message?  The message does not have to be in plain view, it can be implied, either through the actions of the characters or the tone of the dialog.
  3. Be controversial… it can be entertaining.  Controversy is a good way to drive the emotions of the reader, but be careful, when you are being controversial in a non-fictional piece – remember you are an extension of your work and readers can sometimes take you too literally.
  4. “Too many words” is not always entertaining… so is not having enough words in your piece.  You want to make sure you have a balance.  If you are having character dialog, make sure you can express the character’s mood and mannerisms.  If you are narrating, make sure you don’t tell the entire story in that narrative.
  5. Don’t worry about the feedback.  If you like it, that is all that matters.  In some cases, you will receive great feedback, in other cases negative feedback and in other cases, no feedback.  As I have learned over the last few years, feedback is not why many of us write.  It is a good feeling receiving feedback, but it is a greater feeling when you are proud of the work you finished and you can’t wait to get it out to the world.

Good Luck to all of you whether new writers or current writers.


US… UK? and Beyond – What is the issue with eBooks outside the US

I am growing increasingly frustrated with Amazon right now.  So much so that I putout a feeler on social media to see where readers were getting their ebooks from (Kindle or iBooks).  The unanimous response was Amazon Kindle – which frustrated me even more because of the problems I was having.

I recently got wind of something I was ignorant about and maybe I still am.  I friend from Canada reached out to me not too long ago informing me about one of my books not being available in Canada.  As I looked into it I also realized that this was similar to what was happening in the UK and other parts of Europe.  I have a specific author page in the UK with Amazon, but as I look at the postings, it indicates that they are available in the US and not specifically in the UK.

Has anyone else seen this issue before?  If so how did you address this or is it even an issue?  I am curious and concerned as I have been having some major difficulties of late with Amazon and specifically Kindle Direct Publishing which has held up the release of other works I have written.  My hope is that this is just another situation where I don’t have all the facts, but if it is Amazon and there is no way to get around it, I may consider publishing all stories on my web site instead and using PayPal or other eCommerce service to sell the books.


Self Publishing Can Be Self Aggravating

I started publishing my short stories and books a little over a year ago and while I have been very happy with the interest and feedback I have received, I have to admit the process is a pain in the ass sometimes.  What I should say is the process is fairly simple, but the waiting and the support is what can be frustrating.

There are a lot of tools and other writers who have their own tips and tricks to self publishing – ALL HAVE  VALUE and you should consider reading a number of authors’ viewpoints.  Mine are exactly that… mine.  Some of you who have tried this process with Amazon have recently seen a few changes – especially after the merging of CreateSpace.

Here are a few things you should prepare before you ever publish.

The obvious is make sure you have an idea of what your message really is with your work.  No one has read your work yet, so the cover and byline are going to be the first draw.

Then consider eBook or Paperback… or both.  Depending on length and topic of your work you may consider one over the other.  Many people are gravitating more to ebooks, but there are the purists that still enjoy flipping pages and adding the physical copy to their library.  The other thing to consider is the contents.  ebooks are just as good as paperbacks, but including images… for example a graphic novel can be frustrating when you have to position everything perfectly for different e-readers.  It is also important to note that paperbacks will obviously be more expensive to create and will cut down on the royalties.

Next consider your cover little more in-depth.  Amazon has a great option built it for covers based on their templates.  For those who are more creative you can create your own cover, just make sure it fits the dimensions Amazon requires.  You should also think about the look of that cover – especially when you are writing about questionable topics, such as erotica.  Remember it is not a porn mag and being overly explicit when creating your cover can get your cover rejected. And consider the reader, especially when you are offering paperback copies. I doubt the reader would take the book out and read it on an airplane or in the park if the cover looks like a smut magazine.

Finally, have your work reviewed before you start the process.  Grammar is only one aspect, how the story is told is also important.  You may start a story in the 3rd person, but as you continue to write, you can sometimes put yourself in the story and it becomes a 1st person story by the time you are finished.  Take to other authors and consider a pre-release review of the piece.

Now the other issues around self publishing is timing.  It does take a little time to get everything reviewed before it becomes available.  For most writers this is not a big deal and to be fair – it is a lot faster than going through a different publishing firm.  the issues around timing are also centered around how you setup the piece.  If you originally setup the piece as an ebook and then go back and add it as a paperback, the time it takes to get that done and make it available is a pain to deal with.  I have gone to support several times and the canned answers that it is in review after 3 weeks – even though they say 72 hours – is frustrating.  Consider creating both ebook and paperback at the same time and you can control the publishing releases at that point, but it will get the piece reviewed and approved faster.

Always remember what songwriters do… #keepwriting.  Not everything you write will be accepted by your audience.  No singer has an album of hits, they have an album that has one or two and it keeps the fan coming back.  The same is true when you write.  Stick to your vision and your passion.  You are not going to please everyone, but like the game of golf, all you need is one good shot to keep you going and keep you coming back.