Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Ending Your Story

I'm a writer and this is a writer's blog.

I spend a lot of time here talking about my upcoming book but not about writing in the real sense and I'll tell you why. I don't think you can teach anyone how to write. I think writing is such a personal thing that it's almost impossible to teach someone because it becomes like teaching someone how to be like you. My writing is so personal, it's like trying to teach someone how to become Gregory. That's an impossibility because I'm a unique individual and to teach someone to be me is like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

The funny thing is that to be a writer it's best not to be taught to be one. To be a good writer you have to be yourself and see the world as you do, and once you come to grips with that you can be a writer in your own right. Maybe someone can show you a few techniques, which you will learn on your own just by reading the works of other writers, or you can make your own techniques. What the hell? Who's right when it comes to writing? There are tons of rulebooks on the subject, but do you want to know the truth? Only the reading public can say who's right and who's wrong. All of these books on the subject of writing can take a long walk off a short pier because you can skip all of their rules and if you become a bestselling author, all that literature proves to be just what it is, swill.

I'm not saying to ignore everything. There are some good suggestions out there, but for the most part you have to write your own story, and if a hundred people say it sucks, then you should ask them why. Maybe you do suck. But you have to be you. You have to write for you, and then if someone wants to share your journey with you then you can build a fan base. That's if an editor will allow you access to your audience. Editors and agents are the gatekeepers, and they stand in your way by deciding what is good and what is not. In fact, they don't even do that anymore. They decide what will sell a lot and what wont. They don't even read your material anymore.

But that's for another post. The thing that I'm talking about today is how to write a conclusion to your novel or book. Well, I'll tell you how I write a conclusion to my book and you can either take it to heart or ignore it, that's up to you, but this is my writing lesson for today. Conclusions. They are the stuff of your novel, because without a conclusion you have nothing. Or is that true? Can you finish off a book and not 'tie up all the loose ends'. I seldom try to tie up loose ends simply because that is not life. Stuff is messy in life, people don't always climax after sex, the bad guys are not always killed, or killed in a way that equals their badness, liars are not found out, cheaters are not caught, justice is not always swift, the only sure thing is from a quote from the bible, which I will paraphrase, “the victory does not always go to the swift, or the prize to the wise, because time and unforeseen occurrences befall them all.”

What am I trying to say is, it doesn't always work out in life, and some of the messiest things occur out of left field, good, bad or otherwise. So if you are coming to the conclusion of your novel, you don't always have to make sense. People will understand it because they've seen it before in their lives. The bad guy does not always have to get caught, the good guy the accolades, the woman the pregnancy that she wants, the child the spelling bee. You can mess things up and not tie up ends and who's to say that you are wrong? This is your story, end it how you like. Just don't wind up the book too tightly because it feels false if you do that. It's not life as we know it.

We are used to failure, to falling short of the mark, we are used to the wedding ring falling into the drain, or being caught by our wives or husbands when we have an indiscretion. The cops stop you for a blown tail light on the only night that you've been drinking in ten years, and you never win the lottery. Keep your stories real. You can just end them anywhere. Don't wander around looking for the 'appropriate' ending. Some writers do that, and find that they can't finish their work. That's probably because the work is already finished and needs the three letters FIN put at the end of it. But no, they roam and wander like men in the desert, looking for that miracle oasis of a finish that will wrap up their novel succinctly. This is a lark, a canard. There is nothing like this. Nothing in real life that is.

End it. Put it out of it's misery. The reader might want it to end too. Don't string them along, don't drag them behind the car just because you don't know the address of the end. Just stop and end it. I like to end my stories on harsh notes, on unfinished notes. It's just me. I don't try to imitate anyone. I'm writing because this is my journey.

Take your journey...remember to end it.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On Setbacks

More setbacks.

More delays. More time to sit on my hands, which I really refuse to do. I'm constantly working on my writer's platform while I'm waiting for my editor to come back to me with my finished manuscript. That's what's so disheartening, but on the same coin, it builds me up. How do I explain this?

Well, I want the book finished, wrapped up and sent to distributors and out to the reading public. That is my foremost desire. Everything else, everything, from the web-page, to the cover designer, to the head-shot photographer and the virtual book tours are waiting for one person, my editor to finish. This is disheartening.

Although everything is in stasis, I am not. I refuse to sit still just because someone else is proving that my project is not important to them. With this being said, I move on to building up my writer's platform. A writer's platform is everything that draws readers to your book and your name. In the old days they called it a marketing campaign. Now they call it a platform. While I'm waiting on my editor I'm working on this platform. I'm choosing who to go to for my virtual book tour, I'm picking magazines to run ads in, I'm spreading my name across blogs-sites to get it out there, I'm going to review sites and preparing them to receive my book whenever it is completed to write reviews for it, I'm building an email marketing campaign and the materials that are to go into it, I'm building a Facebook marketing campaign that will have a tiny ad aimed at my target audience, I've built a Facebook page for the book, and a twitter account to let my fans know what I'm up to, and I'm working on a Google Ads campaign which is similar to the Facebook one, as well as an Amazon one.

What I'm saying is that I am working on my marketing and as soon as I get the final piece of the manuscript in hand, I'm ready to explode all over the place. The marketing is critical because they say that it is impossible to sell 10,000 copies of your book. Well, not impossible, but it's a watermark that's incredibly hard to reach. I'm hoping to push my book to reach that number and more. But 10,000 is my trigger number for the second book of the series to be launched. Once I get there, I want to automatically launch it like a rocket and follow behind the momentum of the first one with it.

Whatever happens, I am working, and the above builds me up.

I'm not going to sit around on my hands and I definitely will not stop just because I am being forced to wait on someone that I don't think cares like I do about my work. But who's supposed to care more for a project than the one that spawned the project themselves? I should be understanding that this is the way things go and recover and move. And that's my plan. To recover and move.

Setbacks only allow one to build infrastructure and nothing can stop a person who has more patience than a corpse. I am confident that my moment will come and when it does, I hope to be ready to make things happen.

I wont sit still, and I won't stop working.
I move on.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

On the State of Publishing's Future

Happy New Year.

Yeah, that's just how I feel. I am happy for the first time in my life. Everything is falling into place and I like that. The thing about being a writer is that you spend much of your time alone, in a chair, tapping on the keys of a laptop, computer, typewriter, trying to make your voice heard. That's the thing, you have to be a solitary man to do this (or woman), and you have to give up a lot of life to this art if you want to be taken seriously.

I know, all the successful writers out there have the opposite to say, some never had a difficult time in making it to the top, but they are the exceptions to the rule. That's the funny thing about life. There's always another recourse to follow. But I can only give you mine. Writing takes time, and it takes a devotion to the craft. You may never get noticed, you might be noticed right away. But whatever the case, things are moving fast, and the fastest are benefiting from it. And the slow...well they are just slow and don't deserve the worm.

I work every day on my craft. I work hard and diligently. I want to be taken seriously. I don't want people to hear that I'm a writer and say to me, oh that's just a hobby. It's not a hobby and I work hard to prove that. That's just the way that it is. I think that hobbies are fine, and some people have turned their hobbies into writing riches, and some have been plugging at this all their lives and are still not published. The beauty of it all is Legacy Publishing is on its way out. Every day they bleed until they are bled white. Sad to say, that's the case and it's a passing that is, in my book, long deserved.

Many writers claim that there will always be the Legacy Publishers. They will co exist side by side with the new wave of indie publishers, just like the music industry is still strong even though indie musical artists are proliferating. My question is why do they use this business model to compare to the publishing model? They are not the same. The music industry still holds sway over the key ingredient to the masses. Radio. As long as Djs don't go out there and play indie music, the average person will never know of them. The music marketing machine has a lock on radio and magazines. Local indie bands don't stand a chance of being heard over all this background noise. The music industry's dwindling profits come from the digitization and proliferation of their music without having a hand in it. They are losing in sales, not in marketing.

Unfortunately, for Legacy Publishing, they haven't been real marketers of books by even their own lesser known authors. When it comes to marketing anything but their top ten bestsellers, they could care less. What little they could do for them is all that they do for them. They want their new authors to go it on their own, and they do...they have to, because they have to sell scads of books to see any kind of profit, since the publishing company is taking the lion's share of the profit.

Social media is the new word for authors now. Also Search Engine Optimization and Virtual Book Tours and personal reviewers are spouting up like weeds in a forest and the big publishing companies are still using television, radio and poster/billboard campaigns to spread the word. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is far to stupid to realize where all the food has gone. It didn't follow the migration, but instead is loitering around at the same ponds, rivers and high weeds where it's prey used to feed. It missed the boat so to speak.

Yes, I'm saying it now, as the Legacy Publishers numbers shrink the proper business model to compare the current upheaval in the publishing business is that of the business model of the dinosaur....