Tag Archives: writing

Writing is like Owning a Mall

For a business owner, one of the hardest goals to achieve is to duplicate your income. For brick and mortar stores, like fast food restaurants or furniture stores, the only way to double your income is to duplicate your location somewhere else.

Like franchising.

The great thing about being a writer is every book you write is akin to another franchised storefront. Some of them will generate more income than others, just like some fast food joints are more profitable than others.

Yet, writing is a bit different. It’s even better. It’s not only like you’re opening another store, but, because of the collective nature of your work (people often read authors as much as they read stories), it’s as if you’re opening more stores in your own mall.

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When people visit your site with a list of books, or Amazon (or other ebook retailer) and see your author page, writing a number of novels is like opening up more shops in the same mall. While the customers are checking out one your “stores,” if they’re interested, they’ll stroll over and check out the one next to it.  And, if you write a novel series, its like creating a series of restaurants located one after the other in your mall, all designed, as a whole, to give you a complete and satisfying meal.

Thanks to the advent of ebook readers and reading apps for phones, there has never been a better time to be a writer in human history. And, because of the availability and freedom associated with the current business model, there has never been a better time to generate “franchisable” income from your work.

Now I just have to finish writing that first novel so I can open up the first of many stores in my mall.

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Podcast 13 – Marketing and Finding Your Voice

Pete Bauer and Dorothea Bauer talk about the various marketing research and strategies they plan to employ with the release of their first book.  They’ll also talk about the process of finding the correct voice for a novel and how that impacted the other work.


Running Time: 32:27

  • Writing Systems
  • 10 A.M.
  • Don’t Waste Inspiration
  • Approaching from Plot vs. Character
  • Production Schedule
  • Marketing Phases
  • Marketing Strategy
  • How are your Customers Interacting with your Product
  • – Problem Recognition
    • Marketers are Problem Solvers
    • Customers Search for Problem Filler
    • Customers will Research
    • Customers will Try out Product
    • Customers will do their own Evaluation
    • Creating a campaign for each of your Market Segments
  • Bridging those who have Aged Out
  • Marketing Validation, Awareness & Growth
  • Marketing Research & Testing
  • Finding Your Voice
  • Novel Approach
  • Character Introduction
  • Purgatory

 

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Writing as a Business

Whether you are independently published or traditionally published, the majority of the ownership for your success falls on your shoulders.  It is up to the author to write good stuff, build a fan base, establish beta readers and street teams and marketing plans.

It’s why real writers treat writing as a business.  It’s where the term authorprenuer comes from.  If you treat writing as a business, then your books are your product.  They require planning, time to execute, and a marketing plan.  There should be sales goals, expenditures, statistics, and analysis to know whether you are hitting your mark.

In an attempt to take what I have in my head and turn it into something tangible, I threw together a production schedule.  It’s aggressive.  It’s a rough draft.  It’s more of a what-if than a real plan.  But, by doing so, it put into sharp focus just how much work lay ahead of me.

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From the sample graph, you can see I’ve documented in fiscal quarters which month I will write, which month(s) marketing research needs to be done and when each subsequent marketing phase would occur.  I also added time for research and overlapped the release of the beginning of a new series in the middle of the release of the first series.  I don’t know if that’s a good idea, but I know I don’t want to wait until one series is over before kicking off the second one.

However, by performing this simple exercise of playing around with what-ifs… if I release the novellas three months apart and the novels six months apart, I’ll have 20 novels in seven years.  And for that to occur, I have to write everyday for the next seven years.

Let me say that again.  I have to write everyday for the next seven years.

If anyone ever tells you being a writer sounds easy, show them a schedule like this and let them fully digest the work involved.

As I mentioned, this schedule is a draft.  A guess, at this point.  But, it was eye-opening to do it, to see how much time I’d have to write a novel, when I could be writing two at the same time, and added research time frames as well.

Looking at this I’m both excited and daunted, both of which make me feel like my head will explode.

There’s a 99% chance the actual production schedule won’t look anything like this.  But, you have to start somewhere and, looking at the next seven years, I’m glad I got started sooner than later.

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Life After Gabby

The completion of the Gabby Wells storyline will take me some time.  A couple of years.  Not including the time it took to convert screenplays into novels that have since been tossed, just getting the novellas written, edited and published will probably take a year in total.

We’ll release the novellas, one at at time, every three months.  That will give me a year to write as many of the Gabby Wells novels as I can, and we plan to release those every three to six months, depending on how fast I can write them.  If I could have all of those novels written by the time the first novella is released, that would be great.  That’s a lot of words in a short period of time, but that’s the goal.

But, I do plan a writing life after Gabby Wells.

Gabby-HeaderUp until my adventures in novel writing, I expressed my creative storytelling through screenplays.  I did that for over 20 years and many of those stories I plan to turn into novels.

The first non-Gabby story I will probably write is based on a screenplay I wrote called Redemption.  It’s a horror story and my wife’s favorite thing I’ve ever written.  I plan on that being the first in another series of books that involves a nun and modern takes on horror themes.

Plus, there are non-series stories I’d like to tell too.  I have another screenplay called Martyrs that I would love to turn into a novel.  It involves a young girl stuck at her father’s office as it is overrun by terrorists.  And a novella from a screenplay called Forgiven, about a young woman driving across the country who happens stop at a gas station while it’s in the process of getting held up.

And there’s more.  A lot more.  Many, many stories.

I just hope I have time to write them all.

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Word Count and Wreaking Hovac

Been very efficient this past week, typing out over 12,000 words.  I’m nearing the end of the first draft of Lost & Found and I must say I’ve really enjoyed putting Gabby through hell.

Writers have an odd relationship with the characters they love.  They create them, cherish them, give them hopes, dreams, goals, loves and then expend all of their energy trying to destroy every single one of them.  Not all at once, of course.  Just a little bit at a time.

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When I started this novella I didn’t intend to make Gabby’s life so miserable.  It just sort of turned out that way.  And for the better, from a story perspective.  In crisis is where we see what someone is truly made of, what friendships really mean, which convictions are founded in stone or sand.  I’m not sure how much suffering still awaits Gabby in final chapters of Lost & Found, but I’m sure it’ll be just a little more.

As long as it makes the story stronger, its worth it.  She won’t mind.

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Writing is a Lot Like Golf… or an Ex-Girlfriend.

Writing is a lot like golf. It only takes one good swing to keep you hacking away for another 18 holes.

While working on the first draft of Lost & Found I inadvertently setup a really awesome situation.  The options were limitless.  With that came pressure not to screw it up.

So, I tentatively started into the scene, worried about letting myself (and the reader) down.  Yet, as the scene unfolded, the goals, the obstacles, the failures and the victories became clear to me.  The words were visual and creative and descriptive and effective. (A lot of ‘ives’ I know).

I was so excited when I was done.  I felt like I hit a homerun in the bottom of the 9th to win the game.  Or, to stick with my original analogy, hit the ball off the first tee with force, driving it straight and deep down the fairway.

Remember, preceding this moment of zen, I had been whining on this blog about how much of a struggle the writing process had been for me; having to write the outline backwards, writing words and hoping most of them would remain in the second draft.  Stuff like that.

golfIt’s like I had spent the previous day slicing the ball, digging it out of hazards and high grass and fishing it out of the water, with triple bogies and impatient foursomes behind me screaming to let them hit through.  But that one drive made me sign up for a lifetime membership.

That’s how addictive this writing thing can be when rare moments of inspiration hit.

It reminds me of painful relationships I was involved in while in college.  You date a girl.  She’s cute.  She likes you.  Then she stops calling.  You wait by the phone. Nothing happens.  You still wait by the phone.  Nothing happens.  You see her in class, she barely acknowledges your presence.  Then, one day you happen upon her in the cafeteria and you share a lunch.  You laugh, have a good time, she touches your hand, thanking you for picking up the tab.  Your heart flutters and you forget all of the anguishing minutes waiting by a silent phone.  You have hope once again that your relationship can be saved.

It’s that kind of false hope, but in writing, it’s more like fleeting awesomeness.

I may never get another one of those writing nirvana moments for the rest of this novella.  Or the next one, for that matter.  More than likely all of the future words I ever write will by 99% work and 1% inspiration.

But, it doesn’t matter.

I had one of those extraordinary moments where it all clicked.  Like hitting that perfect drive or the touch of a thoughtless girlfriend; momentary joy that makes all of the prior and future suffering not so bad.

I have the second half of the novella ahead of me.  And, for the first time in a few weeks, I’m really looking forward to writing it.

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Impatience

One of my continuing challenges I have is my impatience.  I am impatient with my career.  I am impatient when I read.  And I am impatient when I write.

One of the things I have tried to temper when I began writing novels were my expectations.  Ignorance is a bad guide and I have learned from past experiences that hoping to accomplish something is very different than knowing how to accomplish something.  Basing expectations on hope will set you up for failure because it is not tethered to the real world.

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So, I spend a lot of time learning how a thing should be done before telling myself when I should accomplish that thing.  That being said, I’m still behind schedule.  If I had stuck to my original (and ignorant) plan, I would be publishing my first novel this week.  Gabby Wells: Water & Blood was originally scheduled for release on June 4th.

Then I started learning more and more about self-publishing.  I started reading a lot and listening to about ten podcasts a week and learned about sales funnels and permafree and mailing lists and building tribes and street teams.  That led to the idea of writing a novella as an entryway to novels.  That led to writing five novellas.  And that has altered my expectations.

All of the changes have been for the right reasons, but my impatience doesn’t really care about that.  It wants to be done.

I’m also an impatient reader.  I fight the urge to skim through in order to find out what happens next.  I must force myself to digest every word because, now writing novels, I know how much time and effort each of those words represent.

But my impatience doesn’t really care about that.

It is no surprise, then, that I am an impatient writer.  In my first draft I am very much a heads down, get from A to B as directly as possible so I can move onto the next thing that happens.  Only after the plot is complete do I go back and look for the many ways I can elaborate character or intention.  All of those layers take time.

But my impatience doesn’t really care about that.

So, as I am knee deep in daily writing, fighting to go straight from A to B, I force myself to try and be patient.  I know what is supposed to happen in all five novellas.  I know what is supposed to happen in all five novels.  I just can’t wait for them to be done.  Unfortunately (actually, fortunately) those pages are waiting on me, an impatient writer, to fill them with the stories I see in my head.

As much as I remind myself, my impatience doesn’t really care that.

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Word Count & Novella 3 (Really 2)

I finally finished the first draft of Skyway, one of the novellas of our five novella series.  It’s placement in the series has shifted, as I mentioned before, moving from novella #2, to novella #4.  The current word count is just over 40,000 and will probably need another 2,000-3,000 when all is said and done.

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That means the third novella I’ll be working on, titled Lost & Found, will actually be novella #2 in the series.  I’ve sketched out the storyline and will now work on a chapter-by-chapter outline before diving into daily writing.

As for the first novella, The Homecoming Incident, which also still happens to be novella #1 (haha), it has been out with our teen Beta Readers.  Quick tips about teen Beta Readers.

  1. They don’t understand the concept of time.  Agreeing to read it in two weeks has meant trying to get them to do it four weeks later.
  2. They don’t give detail.  We offer our beta readers an anonymous survey to fill out so they could be free to share their true feelings.  Teens, however, aren’t really chatty, especially in a survey.  You get a lot of “I like it.” Or “It was cool.”  But, not a lot of detail, like you get from adult Beta Readers.

Lesson learned.  On future surveys, they’ll be longer and ask very specific questions that will give us the info we need.  Since they’re our target demographic, we’ll be patient.  But, be forewarned 🙂

Two novellas down, three to go.

 

 

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Independent Publishing

It’s time to dump the term “self-publishing.”  Lets call it what it really is, independent publishing.

A decade ago, the only legitimate way to get your book to the masses was through the traditional publishing houses.  Sure, there were some print-on-demand options available, but the quality of those books suffered in comparison.  The marketplace also did not support or encourage print-on-demand as a valid, legitimate publishing option.  It was for people who couldn’t get a real publishing deal.

booksAmazon changed all that.

With the advent of the Kindle, the acquisition or CreateSpace and Audible, and the growth of the Amazon online store as the number one seller of books, Amazon has both cornered and exploded the market on publishing.

Their approach has been brilliant and free market at its core.  They provide book lovers three popular ways to digest the material, ebooks (Kindle), paperback (CreateSpace) or through audio books (Audible).

They allow anyone and everyone to upload their latest and greatest novel or non-fiction book.  They don’t screen for quality or marketing or value.  They let the free market do that.  They let authors control their pricing and allow authors to control their marketing.  They let them change the covers on demand or update the book to fix errors without issue.  They give the control to the artists, not intermediaries.  For providing this marketplace, Amazon takes 30% and authors are glad to give it and pocket the remaining 70%.

Like movies, where there are studio made films and independent films, publishing should be looked at the same way.  If your book is not published from one of the top traditional publishers (the studios), then it is independently published.  Readers aren’t going to care whether its small press, self financed or made on a shoe-string.  Readers are only going to care about the quality of the product, the same way film lovers care about film.

So, let’s finally bury the “self-publishing” term, one often used as an insult by traditional publishing supporters.

We’re independent publishers.  And we’re not going anywhere.

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Word Count & Nearing the Finish Line

Getting over the hump sure has helped.  In a little over a week I was able to write 10,000 words and probably have another 3,000 ahead of me before putting Skyway aside.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the scope and placement of Skyway has changed and the ripple effect of those changes won’t be completely felt for the next few months.  The biggest challenge is that Gabby’s faith journey in this novella will be different than intended and I won’t know exactly where she is in her faith journey until I write the two other novellas that precede Skyway.

Therefore, I’ve left the faith aspect in Skyway purposely vague and will fill in those gaps when I see where Gabby is and where she needs to be in the grand scheme of these five novellas.

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This novella has been a challenge, but for all of the right reasons.  I can’t wait to finally put it to bed and start working on novella number two… well, the new novella number two.

 

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