Friday, February 24, 2012

Update and Advice

Nothing posted since August on a blog for a crew of writers. Shameful.

I, for one, have been writing. Five volumes of the blog are up in e-book as well as "Talking Them Through: Crisis Communication with the Mentally Ill and Emotionally Disturbed" and "Drills: Training for Sudden Violence."

"Force Decisions" a citizen's guide to how cops decide to use force is due out from YMAA in a couple of months, and two videos later in the year. Still haven't seen the rough cuts so I have to assume that I'm not photogenic at all and David Silver is trying to salvage something in post-production. Damn, should have done videos when I was younger and prettier...
I'm going to give y'all some advice on writing for a living:

1) Do some non-fiction. I am clearly the least talented writer in INK. But I have the most sales. Look at a magazine rack. How many fiction magazines are still publishing? Compare them to the hundreds of magazines on non-fiction subjects. And each of those mags has a deadline and a page requirement. Every month they need stories. If you can write half-way decently, if you can do basic research and especially if you can supply some pictures, you can get published. And paid.
Corollaries: 1a) Strangely enough, you write a few articles on the same subject and people label you an expert. Kind of sad and scary if you think about it.
1b) It is still a professional writing credit that goes in your cover letter and possibly on your resume. Nonfiction can help you sell your fiction.

2) I'm still working on this, but diversify your income streams. Royalties are cool and I have every intention on living off them some day. E-books may become a big part of that. Add magazine articles. When you are successful or if you have or develop an expertise, you can teach classes on line.

3) e-books for the hard-to-place stuff. "Talking Them Through" and "Drills" were too short to be practical for traditional publishing. Doesn't matter for e-formats. If there is a super-niche market you want to reach, e-books are likely your only hope.

4) Recycling. I did blog compilations and I've been doing a series of articles for Concealed Carry Magazine that might make a stand-alone short book. You can sell stories separately AND gather them into collections. Be careful, though. I despise it when someone just repackages the same information over and over so (except for the blog compilations) I try not to do that. Even in the blog compilations, I added thousands of words of new material to each one. And put a notice right up front that most of it was available for free at:

5) Get the word out. Unless someone happens to be cruising Smashwords in those three minutes where your newly uploaded book is on the first page, no one is going to buy your stuff because no one knows to look for it. Your networks will start things rolling. Some people will buy it because they like you or want to support a friend. If it's good, though, that will turn into word of mouth, and that will keep people looking for other things you have written. No one can buy a product if they are unaware of the existence of said product.

6) Quit dithering. This is for two people whose names shall not be mentioned but have the initials Kami and Carole. Spending hours reworking cover art and years rewriting is time spent not writing, no matter what you tell yourself. You guys are fundamentally, magically dispassionate with my work and as such you give me great advice and produce great covers. You are gifted writers and artists. Start acting like it. Quit agonizing and get the work done.

And I said that last one was for two people, but it applies to all y'all and you damn well know it.
Current works available on Amazon:

And Smashwords:


Kami said...

rabble rabble rabble rabble rabble!

Well ....

Okaaaay. I guess I'll tryyy to follow some of your suggestions.


C.S. Cole said...

All great to hear and yes, Kami, tryyy to follow some of his suggestions.

Unfortunately, mental illness issues here at home with S have all but knocked my legs out from under me. I am trying to keep at it, and keep from feeling so isolated. I just haven't figured out yet how to disconnect my brain from his problems.

Rory said...

You can always call when you want a break, CS. Or just someone to talk at. Or beer.

Kami said...

Email works too!