Saturday, July 16

A Quirky Success Story

I love reading about success stories, so I owe a thank you to PG over at the Passive Voice Blog for posting about Brunonia Barry's article, "Adventures in Self-Publishing".

Brunonia was one of the pioneers of self-publishing, having published her first book, The Lace Reader, in 2007.

She writes:

The Lace Reader has been pretty successful. It’s a New York Times and international best seller, and it was the first American novel to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival Baccante Award. It has been translated into more than 30 languages.

I don’t believe that any of this would have happened if we hadn’t self-published. Obviously, I am thrilled that we did it the way we did. The self-publishing to big publisher success story gave the book a marketing hook that it would not have otherwise had. But there was so much luck involved along the way. All told, this was a very expensive process. When our invoices were tallied, it cost us more than $80,000. Even so, we did not have the kind of marketing budget it would have taken to sufficiently spread the word to readers. Without a great deal of luck and timing, we could easily have lost our money.

Her story, her path to success, is fascinating reading.

Friday, July 15

How To Get Smashwords Files From Your Computer To Your iPad

When I bought my iPad the first thing I wanted to do was transfer Kindle books from my computer to my iPad. It's easy to do this with kindle books on your Amazon account, but not so easy to do it with books downloaded from Smashwords. Well, if you have a PC, here's what you do (hopefully it isn't very different for a mac):

1) Attach your iPad to your computer with the cable provided and launch iTunes on your computer.

2) In iTunes there is a blue ribbon on the right side of the screen with headings like LIBRARY, STORE, DEVICES, etc. Under DEVICES you should see your iPad. Mine shows up as "karen's iPad". Highlight this.

When you highlight the name of your iPad the main window will change and, at the top of the screen you will see the headings: Summary, Info, Apps, Music, TV Shows, Podcasts, Books, Photos.

3) Highlight "Apps"

4) The screen will change to show the apps you have on your iPad. The apps that allow file sharing will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Highlight the Kindle app.

5) At the bottom of the screen, on the right-hand side, you will see an "Add ..." button. Press it.

6) There should be a folder named "My Kindle Content" in your Documents folder. Navigate to it.

Open up this folder, select the mobi and mbp files of your choice and lick "Open".

That's it! The book or books of your choice will now be downloaded onto your iPad.

If I've missed something, let me know.

Wednesday, July 13

Azul Media Player for iPad: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the reasons I bought my iPad 2 was to have a portable device that could play video files. Some folks listen to music when they write -- and I do that as well -- but my favorite thing is to listen to old TV shows I've watched dozens of times. I don't feel any curiosity about what will happen next, but I like the background noise.

Anyway, when I bought my iPad I was new to the apple universe but the App store was easy to navigate and I found a media player quickly. Perhaps too quickly. I'm not going to say which media player I bought, but I wasn't happy with it because it didn't play AC3 sound files. There is a file conversion program that will convert sound files into another format, but I didn't have good results.

I began to think about spending $100 for a media player I could hook up to my television but I didn't want to spend the money, and I wanted something portable, so I decided to try The App Store one more time. After reading many reviews, chose Azul.

* insert trumpet sound *

Every AVI file I have tried to play on my iPad using Azul has worked perfectly! Interestingly, even some of the converted files that the other media player had trouble with, Azul has been able to play just fine.

Azul Website
Azul on iTunes

Tuesday, July 12

Mike Bennett: One Among the Sleepless

Careful, this podcast is addictive. I was going to listen to just one episode, to get the gist. Then I was sucked in by Mike Bennett's marvelous voice and prose and, before I knew what had happened, found myself listening to episode number four.

I've been interested in podcasting lately and have thought about using the medium to record a short story and wanted to get a feeling for what sort of podcasts were out there so I stopped by After listening to Mike's podcasts ... well, he is definitely a tough act to follow.

"One Among The Sleepless" is a contemporary fiction novel set in Brighton, England about sex, death and noisy neighbors: a thriller with a rich vein of dark humor that flows from both the narrative and the dialogue of the characters. It's a largely character-driven story; the people and their various shifting relationships compel the plot forward through sometimes subtle, sometimes brutal plot twists towards the final, nail-gnawing climax.

Mike Bennett has other podcasts up on his site, and even a few videos.

Mike Bennett
One Among The Sleepless

How To Get A Free Canadian ISBN Number

One of the great things about being a Canadian writer is that ISBN numbers are free. Unfortunately, the process of obtaining an ISBN can be frustrating and, until today, I hadn't found a good step-by-step guide.

Randolph Lalonde has written a brilliant guide to what can be, especially the first time, a bewildering process.

Here are his steps for obtaining an ISBN number for an electronic book:

Step 1: Head on over to
Step 2: Click “Join CISS” (CISS stands for Canadian ISBN Service System)
Step 3: Click Yes – I Accept (Unless you disagree with the conditions on that page)
Step 4: Fill in the publisher registration information. If you’re an independent in Canada, you’re still considered a publisher, so you’re in the right place.
Step 5: Click SUBMIT and follow the instructions on the following page. There’s nothing complicated there. You’ll eventually be asked to wait for an email from the administration.
Step 6: You should receive that approval email on a workday (Mon-Fri). If you get an email telling you that your account wasn’t approved, read it carefully for a reason and either re-apply (if you chose a publisher name that was already in the system, or filled in the form incorrectly, for example), or give the number in the Email a call if there is a more complicated problem. [The current number is 1-866-578-7777 (Select 1+7+3), and God help you.]
Step 7: After you receive the Email with your ISBN prefix and publisher name (keep that Email forever!!) head on back to and login using your new username and password.
Step 8: Edit your profile if there’s anything you need to alter.
Step 9: Click on MANAGE LOGBOOK (Left hand panel)
Step 10: Click ASSIGN NEW ISBN
Step 11: Fill in the form according to the particulars of your product.
Step 12: Send a copy of the product to Library and Archives Canada. The current address is on the site, I won’t post it here just in case it changes.

There are special instructions for eBook publishers, I verified these with the Government rep on the phone, step by step, even though she was impatient and rude during the entire process.

Step 1: For eBooks the Product Form is [Electronic Book Text]. The term EBOOK is not in this site’s vocabulary yet, but I was told via Email and on the phone that “Electronic Book Text means eBook”)
Step 2: You skip [Product Form Details] entirely, don’t change it.
Step 4: Enter in the [Title] [Subtitle] [Subject] [Publisher Name] normally.
Step 5: For [Projected Publication Date] enter the date you expect your work to be published OR the date it was published.
Step 6: I was told I didn’t have to fill in [Publication Date] but I did anyway because the website insists. I suggest you fill that field in, otherwise the site will probably reject the form.
Step 7: Set [Publication Status] to [Active]
Step 8: Leave [Number of Pages] at 0, since eBook pages are different from one reader device to the next. (The rep on the phone told me 0 is the correct setting for eBooks as well).
Step 9: Leave the Replacement ISBN Information section empty if this is the only ISBN you’ll be using for the eBook. If you’re using this ISBN to replace another, please email the administration through the form at the top of the page. I’m not going to make any assumptions regarding that option.
Step 10: Fill the [Contributor Information] in normally. If you’re the author, select [By (author)] and fill in your name. Skip the rest of that contributor form unless you have to add other contributors by clicking the [ADD] button.
Step 11: Select the language the book is written in under [Language Information].
Step 12: Under [Rights Information] leave it set to FOR SALE WITH EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS IN SPECIFIED COUNTRIES and select [Canada]. According to the representative, only the Publisher sees this setting, and it has no impact on international use of your ISBN. I asked more than once, which she found really irritating.
Step 13: Skip the entire section called [Supplier Information]. (The rep was insistent that I didn’t change or enter anything into that section).
Step 14: You should get a message telling you that you’ve successfully created an ISBN for your eBook. Click on [Manage Logbook] to see it listed on your account.
Don't forget to submit a copy of your work to Library and Archives Canada (Randolph Lalonde has instructions for that as well).

For writers in the USA, I've also written an article with information about purchasing ISBN numbers in the States.

Good luck!

Getting Your Free ISBN In Canada, by Randolph Lalonde
Library and Archives Canada

Until Death: My First Urban Fantasy Novel

I'm excited! It has taken me about two years, but I've finally published my first full length urban fantasy novel.

Here is the summary:

Darla longs to work magic but when, on her 18th birthday, a demon reveals to her she is a sorcerer, one of the most powerful creatures of magic that can exist, she discovers that nothing comes without a price. Long ago, the Council of Mages declared that sorcerers were too powerful to exist and hunted them almost to extinction. Her family pleads with Darla to renounce her powers, but can she give up what she has sought for so long? Faced with a choice between death and giving up the only thing she has ever wanted, Darla desperately searches for a third option. Perhaps, with the help of a good demon, she can discover how to change her fate.

Until the end of the month I'm running a promotion on Smashwords, giving the book away for free (offer ends August 1, 2011).

Here is the first chapter:

Nervous, I peeked into the break room. It was vacant. I realized I had been holding my breath and exhaled. Hands shaking, I set out my spelling regents, lit incense, purified the area, grounded and then readied myself to cast the spell. It would work this time. It had to work. If it didn't ... I shuddered. I couldn't think about that, it could jinx the spell.

I cast a circle of power, starting in the north then working my way through east, south, west and then back to north. Feeling the circle close I called the guardians of air, fire, water and earth. As the last guardian was invoked I felt a stirring of power, like a light electric charge, infuse the incense laden air.

It was an encouraging beginning but I'd come this far before only to have the spell fall flat as a soufflé on an artillery testing range.

Shaking myself -- no negative thoughts! -- I began the main spellwork. Since all spellwork is fueled by magical energy I needed to raise some. There are as many ways of raising energy as there are magical practitioners. Certain ways are faster than others but almost any repetitive activity will work if you stay focused and keep at it long enough. I love to sing and dance and so used my body and voice to shape the rising currents. This was another reason I wanted privacy.

When the hum of building energy plateaued I began to weave the spell. The idea was that at some point the energy would peek and, at just that point, the last part of the spell would be spoken and the energy raised would be directed into it to fuel the working. If there wasn't enough energy, or if the timing was off, the spell wouldn't have a power source and would be as useful as a cell phone with a dead battery.

This last bit was the tricky part, the part I had never been able to pull off. People were beginning to whisper that I was a mundane -- a person not able to bind energy into a spell. Sure, I could invoke spells someone else had bound to an energy source and stored in an object, a wand for instance, but even a mundane could do that.

As I sang and danced around the break room I could feel the tingle of magical energy glide over my skin. The energy was building. I smiled. It was close. So close.

Keeping my awareness on the magical currents, I uttered the last words of the spell and gave the push of will that would drive the two together, sending the spell to feed off the energy raised and release itself into the world. Only a little more ... There! As I uttered the last syllable of the spell I felt something begin to swirl around me like a breeze. It was working!

And then .... nothing.

At the last moment a wash of cold radiated from my solar plexus, driving the hot airy currents of energy down, grounding them. For a moment I felt the spell reaching for the hot energy, hungering for it, but then it began to unravel.

I fell down on my butt, tears in my eyes. Why! Why did this always happen? I had been so close that time. So close. But close is never good enough, is it?
Noises outside the door, garbled words. Eli's voice. Crap! I lunged toward my spelling supplies and tried to extinguish the burning incense. I wasn't supposed to be spelling in the break room. It had been banned last year after a neophyte practicing an implosion spell had destroyed half the school.

The door opened. My supervisor, Eli, was talking with someone in the other room. "... means we don't have much time, call in Wallace and ...," It took Eli a couple of seconds to notice what I'd been doing in the break room. "What the hell? Waters you know neophytes are banned from spelling in here and, besides, aren't you supposed to be working? Being part of the work-study program is a perk, I can take it away. Is any part of that unclear to you?"

I cringed. To say that Eli was not my biggest fan was the understatement of the century, perhaps the millennia. "I know, I know, it's just that everyone was out and I thought I'd practice."

Oliver, a third year neophyte like myself, pushed into the break room after Eli, fixed me with a malicious eye and grinned. Oliver was the kind of person who lived to create discord. "Don't worry boss, we all know she's a mundane, ain't nothin' going to happen."

My blood froze. Mundane. I felt blood rush to my cheeks.

"Shut up Oliver, when I want your opinion I'll let you know," Eli said.

"Yea Oliver, eat shit and die," I said.

"That's not what he said." Oliver's eyes were an icy blue that became lost in the doughy whiteness of his face. When he became upset, which was often, angry red blotches mottled his skin making it look almost scaly.

"Sure it was, you just weren't listening," I said, grinning at him like I didn't care about him or what he had said. That was false of course. It was stupid, but I did. I knew he was saying what people were thinking, that I was one of the pitied few who would never develop the ability to bind a spell.

Mundanes were social outcasts. Of course there were justifications for treating them as less than. Mundanes, by definition, couldn't bind a spell so certain professions were automatically beyond their reach. Obviously a mundane couldn't become a mage, but that was just the tip of the discrimination iceberg. Any profession that used magic in any significant way -- and most did -- was closed to them.

I'm a runner, a regent runner. Or at least I will be when -- make that if -- I graduate from The Runners Institute in six months. I go out and get magic workers what they need for their spells, no matter how exotic or ... let's just say 'unconventional' and leave it at that. Runners go wherever the regents are so we routinely end up in hostile conditions, whether that is near the mouth of an active volcano in Ecuador harvesting new lava or gathering hairs from a lion's tail at midnight on the new moon. We need to be able to protect ourselves from extreme conditions and extreme predators, not to mention poachers: those people from rival agencies who want to sabotage us by stealing our regents and our customers. For all those reasons and more, we need to be able to use magic.

If it turned out I was a mundane and not just a late bloomer ... well, it was bye, bye career and hello McDonalds.

Just as Oliver was about to come back with what he thought of as a brilliant retort -- probably something along the lines of 'suck it Waters' -- the emergency siren went off. That was bad. The only time the siren went off was if a nuclear bomb was about to explode or a demon servant was on the loose.

Eli walked over to the intercom and pushed a button. "Wallace, come in." He waited. Oliver and I stood where we were and looked at him, unsure what to do. Eli nodded at something someone, presumably Wallace, had said. "Meet me in the communication center." Eli paused a moment longer and then barked, "Now!" I jumped.

Without waiting for a reply Eli clicked a button ending the conversation, then he punched the big red button on the wall, the one that would project his voice over every speaker in the school. "Listen up! There's a demon servant out there carving up our city. Just like the drills people. We hang back to let the police and first responders in and then we back them up, giving them whatever support they need. No one panic and we're all coming home." Eli closed his eyes and I saw his lips move in a silent prayer, then he swiveled on his heel and walked toward the door.

Cleaning the break room of my ritual apparatus went from being a very high priority to completely forgotten. "Eli, who's my partner, I didn't get an assignment." My partner had dropped out of the program months ago and Eli had been dragging his heels assigning another one to me; if I didn't have one I wouldn't be allowed to participate. Partners watched each other's backs, kept each other safe. No one without one would be allowed out on this operation.

Eli was almost out the door before he reluctantly stopped and turned back. He smiled at me but the smile was no more than the corners of his lips curling up, it didn't reach his eyes. It was a mask, a mask I'd seen him wear dozens of times before telling someone something they didn't want to hear. "We've got this covered but, if you want to help, we're going to need all the Brimstone charms we can get so we'll need grave dirt and it better be old. Go to Jamison's Cemetery on 5th ...,"

I felt my pulse spike and I clenched my hands into fists. "Please don't keep me out of this Eli! This is the first demon servant to run amuck since I've been in the program, I want to at least observe runners in action. I won't interfere, I promise. I need the experience!" Truth was, I just wanted to be treated like everyone else. What with my powers coming in a bit late -- okay, really late -- I wanted some reassurance that I was still on track, still part of the team.

Eli scowled at me. "We need people who can do magic, and that's not you." He turned to leave. "Radio the dispatcher when you have the grave dirt," Eli said. As he spoke Eli walked out of the break room and into the hall, his gait oozing with purpose.

Oliver was staring at me, his too-blue eyes boring into me. His smirk was back.

Oh no he doesn't! I ran to the door. " You're keeping me out of the action because you think Oliver was right, you think I'm a mundane. Okay, maybe my magical powers have been a bit slow in coming ...," Oliver snorted and looked at the ceiling, "... but I can handle myself! And, besides, even if I was a mundane ... which I'm not! ... I have a gun and know how to use it and I have pre-invoked amulets and talismans that even a mundane could use. Not that I am one. I get the job done and I should be treated the same as every other recruit!"

Eli stopped walking down the hall, turned on his heel, and glared at me as he ran his hand through his graying brown hair. People like me had put the gray there. "Waters, you really don't want to get into it with me. Not now. I don't have time for this."

"Maybe it's your loyalties he's not sure of," Oliver said, his mouth turned up in a cruel smile. "After all, most demon servants are mundanes. Eli doesn't want your help because he can't trust you not to have sympathy for the poor misunderstood demon servant and screw up when you're needed." He looked at me, studying me, relishing the effect the information was having.

I felt as though my face had been slapped. "Is that true?" I asked, turning to Eli. "You all think I might side with the Demon Servant?"

I felt my heart pounding, felt the blood in my cheeks.

Oliver smirked. "Why not? Don't tell me you've never thought of making a deal with a demon for some magical juice, even just enough to appear normal?"

Oliver was a dickhead, this much was not news, but I had never, ever, thought even he would accuse me of contemplating making a deal with a demon, for any reason. In order to draw on one's own life-energy the demon had to change you, transform you to be more like it, and that tended to drive humans insane. You had to be stupid, or desperate, to sell your soul for a death sentence and I was neither.

A dangerous cast had crept into Eli's gaze. "Waters, you want to be treated the same as every other recruit?"

"Yes," I said, but I wasn't sure anymore. Eli's voice had a feel of barely repressed rage that made me think I'd gone too far.

"Good. That's it Waters, you're outta the program. I don't know why I put up with your shit as long as I have, I need to have my head examined ...,"

"... but ... No. Hold on Eli, I didn't mean ... Don't do something you'll regret."

Eli laughed and it was laughter that I can only describe as bitter. "Oh, I don't see myself regretting this. Waters, it's true that no one wanted to partner with you. That sucks for you and I'm sorry but sooner or later you've got to face the fact that you can't do magic. That's okay, it doesn't make you less as a person but to work here, to be a runner, you need to be able to bind energy into a spell and cast it. Eli shook his head and shrugged. "Yes, okay. Yes. If you really want to know the truth, no one wants to work with you and I can't say I blame them."

Tears stung my eyes.

Eli paused and took a deep breath. I may not be precognitive but I knew I didn't want to hear what he was going to say next. "That's why, as of now, you're out of the program."

It felt like someone had just slugged me beside the head with a baseball bat. I swallowed but my throat wasn't working right. I staggered forward, going nowhere, my eyes seeing shapes but not understanding their significance. I reached out as though to steady myself. Dizziness. The world was turning white. I crouched so as not to fall. I would not give either of them the satisfaction. A moment later I realized Eli was still talking.

"... seen it coming, but we still need grave dirt for the brimstone charms. Since you're no longer in the program I'll pay you what I would pay a real runner for the job, which is a 25% cut of what The Runners Institute makes. Consider it your severance package, just be sure to deliver it before sunrise. I mean it Waters. If we don't receive the grave dirt by sunrise, don't bother," Eli turned on his heel and strode down the hall.

I wanted to yell at him, to scream obscenities, but I was frozen. Cold. Mundane. I ran the word around my mouth and tasted bitterness. Was that what I was? Who I was?

I didn't remember getting into my car, I was just suddenly sitting behind the wheel holding my keys in my hand staring off into space. I considered blowing off the job and going home.

Pam, my adoptive sister, was getting a Ph.D. in Magical Studies next week and her academic supervisor expected her to land a mage's apprentice job soon after. It was a great honor, only the most powerful magicians were considered for those positions. If she was chosen she would work closely with a mage. Sure, she would be an unpaid laborer and general lackey for years until the mage judged she was ready for her initiation trials but, if she passed, she would become the first female mage in history. I was glad one of us was making something of herself.

I sighed, started the car, and headed toward Jamison Cemetery to gather some very old grave dirt.

* * * *

Get the book on Smashwords for free until August 1, 2011.

Sunday, July 10

John Green: Unpublished book hits #1 on Amazon

I wanted to title this blog, "Nice work if you can get it," but -- although true -- that wouldn't have been informative.

From The Wall Street Journal:

In a feat that even the best-selling writers might envy, young-adult author John Green's latest novel is No. 1 on and Barnes & even though he's still working on it from his comfy La-Z-Boy in Indianapolis.

Here's how it happened:

Mr. Green's runaway train started like this: On Tuesday afternoon, he posted the title of his new book on Twitter, Tumblr and the community forum An hour later, he upped the stakes by promising to sign all pre-orders and the entire first-print run, while also launching a YouTube live show. Mr. Green discussed his plans for signing the book and also read a section to give viewers a sense of what "The Fault in Our Stars" would be about. (It's a story of two young cancer survivors.)

The announcement then assumed a life of its own. Fans began to make and post hundreds of potential dust jackets for the book, which doesn't have one yet. They also turned to Twitter and Tumblr to discuss pre-ordering the books. The book then began a steady climb up the charts, says Mr. Green. It hit No. 1 on Amazon before 9 p.m., and No. 1 on Barnes & an hour or so later.

John Green has over a million Twitter followers and over half a million people watch his YouTube videos. Very nice.

Tweeting from a La-Z-Boy, An Unfinished Book Hits No. 1


Circles, hangouts and huddles, oh my!

Writers can be out of the information loop, so focused on their little patch of the news world that big news events can take them by surprise.

Or perhaps it's just me.

Until yesterday I had never heard of Google+. Since then I have diligently read up about it (see the links below for articles I thought were informative) and am very excited.

Facebook never worked for me, perhaps because I have groups of friends with very different interests. My writing friends aren't interested in my personal life and many of my closest friends don't read, so you can imagine how interested they are about developments in the book world!

From what I've heard about Google+ it also seems to be an especially good fit for a writer who has more than one pen-name. Writers can organize their readers into groups and send each group only the information they would be interested in. Less spam might mean more satisfied readers, and that would be great.

The Google+ Project
What is Google+?
Google takes on Facebook with the Google+ project
Google Makes Facebook Look Socially Awkward

Saturday, July 9

How Do You Know If Your Book Is Good Enough To Be Published?

Here's what Dean Wesley Smith has to say:

1… How many words have you written in fiction since you started trying to write? Mystery Grand Master John D. McDonald used to say that all writers starting out had a million words of crap in them. I started selling stories just short of the million word mark and have sold some of my stories that I wrote between half-million and that first million. However, because of a house fire, I can’t look back on any of the words before that.

But if you have a bunch of stories done, maybe a novel, and have been working at writing for a time, I think you are more than safe to let readers be the judge.

2… Realize that you may have paid your storytelling dues in other areas besides fiction. Say if you have written a couple dozen plays and had a couple produced, your storytelling skills are probably pretty good. If you’ve been a reporter or worked nonfiction. Things like that. Lots of other areas transfer over into fiction writing. In that case you might be writing quality fiction right from the first hundred thousand words.

3… How much are you studying writing to become a better storyteller? If you only have three how-to-write books on your shelf and have never even listened to a professional writer speak at a conference, you may be way ahead of yourself in thinking of publishing.

Publishing and telling stories that readers want to read does take skill and craft and it takes some study to even learn the basics. For example, a couple of the writers who attended this last novel workshop brought first-written novels, and wow were they good. But the key is they had spent a lot of time writing other things and were avid learners, which is why they were here in the first place.

In other words, in short, what I am talking about is a learning period, and the learning must go hand-in-hand with the typing.

It’s called “practice” in any other art. In writing you need to practice as well.

But when in doubt, put the story up and let the readers decide. Writers are always the worst judges of their own work.

And readers who pay money always trump any other source of feedback.

So grow a backbone and trust your work and get it out there, either to a traditional publisher or electronically and POD published.

And, just because it is too good not to quote, here is Dean's advice to beginning writers:

1) Never stop writing and learning. Never think you know it all after a few sales. Never believe you are good enough. Learning in this business never, ever ends.

2) Get rid of the early words, the first hundred thousand words. Then after that keep your work for sale somewhere, either on editor’s desks in New York or self-published or both. You are like an artist with your work hanging in an art gallery or a musician working a small bar. You are practicing and earning from your skill as it grows. It might not be much at first, but if you keep learning and practicing, the sales and the money will come with time.

3) Don’t be in a hurry. This is an international business. You can’t get there overnight. Put your work out for sale one way or another and then focus on the next book. Never look back. Leave the book up and alone.

4) Grow a backbone. Believe in your own art without cutting off the learning. No writing is perfect and maybe a few people out there will think it works just fine and enjoy it. No book is perfect.

5) Never do anything that gets in the way of the writing. Stay away from stupid, time-wasting self-promotion beyond your own web site and social media, and just write the next story and the next book. In other words, be a writer, a person who writes.

6) And most of all, have fun. If you are not having fun while at the same time being scared to death, get off this roller coaster. The ride only gets more extreme and more fun the farther you go along the track.

I would encourage you to read the whole article, here's the link: New York Works as a Quality Filter.

Amazon Buys the Book Depository

I know this is old news, but when I first heard about Amazon's acquisition I didn't know the Book Depository was considered to be Amazon's largest rival. This makes me think of a story I heard not too long ago. In the 90s Barnes and Nobel offered to buyout Amazon and, when their offer was rejected, the comment was made that Barnes and Nobel was going to crush Amazon but that it wasn't personal. Perhaps the story is entirely fictional, but I kinda hope it's not; it's just too good.

I don't mean to suggest that Amazon is perfect, but because of places like Amazon many independent writers earn a decent living and that's wonderful.