Write What You Know

Guest Blog Post by David A. Lindsay

DavidI heard an urban legend, I don’t know how true it is, that Mark Twain advised a would be writer to “write what you know.”  And that writer did go on to become quite well-known.  I’ve written ten books so far, most of them on www.DavidALindsay.com.  My best selling book is so adult you almost can’t find it online, that’s on www.ForeverAndEverAndEver.net under a pen name – everyone who has read the first page of the free sample has bought the book.
“Star Trek: The Second Cube” is about the Borg invasion of the Klingon Empire and can’t be published due to trademark issues, so I give it away free with any proof of purchase.  My “Lost from Atlantis” series has the most universal appeal, about a 14 year old girl thrown back to 1197 A.D. Europe and she has to use her modern knowledge to carve out a niche for herself without being burned at the stake.  But I think the book that is most important, the one will endure the longest, is “Broken: What it’s Like to be Insane.”
Purchase Here

“Broken” is about someone I met a long time ago who was mildly psychotic.  She heard that I was both a writer and had a degree in psychology so she wanted me to tell her story.  I spoke to her at length and it took me three months to come up with a concept, something the general public could relate to, something that everyone could understand, a way to really know what it was like to be Her.

I wrote that “Microbook” – a term I coined which is basically a book that’s very short – all information, no fluff – why waste everyone’s time with a 500 page novel when you only need a few pages of information.  She read it, said it was perfect, and didn’t want to know anything about it ever again.  She found an exotic medicine, the first that actually works for her, and she has been stable for over a year now.  She prefers not to reflect on that part of her life and I don’t blame her.
Write what you know, write what you’re passionate about.  sculptorSculptors always say “The statue was always there, I just had to release it.”  I never understood that until I started writing.  It’s like mining – you mine until the vein runs out, sometimes you get gold, sometimes you get copper.  I Have to write, I couldn’t stop if I wanted to – the story Has to come out.  Sometimes the story comes so fast I can’t type it all out so I type out notes and fill in the details later when the stream stops, sometimes weeks later.
Good luck to you all.
If you’d like to learn more about David A. Lindsay, you can find him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, and his website.

Edit Like a Writer

editingI have been working diligently on book three, Avenged. And of course, this doesn’t just mean writing the missing parts, but it also means editing what’s been written. The one part most writers hate, usually because they never want to take anything out. It’s kind of like the idea of killing off a character that you’ve given life. Is it weird that I don’t have a problem with this?

I don’t hate editing. Now, I’m not going to say it’s my favorite, but I do enjoy it. I love going back over things because I get reminded of what I enjoy about the book. I get to see all of my favorite characters again! And there are a few. I get to go back and live through their pain. Sometimes that’s hard, but it reminds me of where I’ve been and where I’m going. I also get to see how far my characters have come. And to me, THAT is awesome!

It also reminds me of what’s coming next. THAT is my favorite part! Especially for this series. The Dark Road series deals with a lot of dark issues. writing-adviceA friend of mine described it as gothic work and believe you me, she’s one of the most honest and opinionated people I know. But when I think about it, she’s probably right.

And honestly, I think it’s the reason why Avenged is my favorite of the series thus far. I don’t want to give everything away, but I can’t wait to share some of the book with you or even the cover. I just the final cover from my designer and I’m so EXCITED about it! Not that I’m going to share it with you just yet, but I promise you’re going to think it’s just as awesome.

I don’t want to leave you empty handed. If you’ve stuck with me thus far, then I’m going to tell you a little about the upcoming book. It’ll release in a couple of months, so you won’t have to wait too long to get the whole thing.

Here we go!

AvengedAvenged will be filled with …. is the suspense killing you?

Hmm, maybe a little gore? Or a whole lot of answers? A bomb? How about a new character that’s on the run? Or a detective with a dark past?

What if I told you, it’s all of the above?

Book three will bring Bella and Jeremiah’s story full circle. It will also introduce a new character that IS related to a detective with a dark past. And because I LOVE cliffhangers, it will all lead into the fourth book, Burned.

I hope you’re as excited as I am. Though you may also be wondering what all of that has to do with editing? A lot actually.

Writer’s are notorious for NEVER thinking their work is good enough. c443490f9e3f86fb769e6442c9b3b793--funny-writing-quotes-writer-humorYes, sometimes, I’m the same way. This is why we need editors. As writers we can only take our work so far. While it’s necessary as a writer to go back and edit, it’s also necessary to have an outside pair of peepers look at our work. Because the fact is, they can take out all the crap and leave behind the best parts.

For example, I called my editor the other day because of a part she in Avenged that she told me she couldn’t get to work. I went back and I found the part and we discussed how she had changed it. I listened and understood that it worked better without the small heartstring I was trying to incorporate, especially when a few scenes later it re-appeared. Except in that scene it flowed better. She even read the changes she’d made, strengthening the scene and I’ll admit it, I cried.

She had taken out the crap and made it tight and gutwrenchingly beautiful.

Writers may be the heart and soul of the book, but editors are the spine.

Let’s Get Real

bigstock-Money-Laundering-Cartoon-Illus-64544617The other day I was going through my Facebook posts and I came across one that had a generator for self-publishing. I took the quiz just to see if it would even come close to what I had spent. It wasn’t entirely accurate, but it wasn’t too far off either. Later that day I’m reading some of the comments and I read this one where the author (and I use the term lightly) stated the lowest amount he came up with was $1800. He went on to say he doesn’t pay for editing, he just puts it out there.

I had to stop because the # 1 rule for writers is you NEVER forego editing. And there are a multitude of reasons why. imagesIn fact, if you’ve ever read Fifty Shades of Grey you know what I’m talking about. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. No writer is and no writer will ever claim to be perfect. Perfect does not exist in the world of writing. The closest any of us can get is “just right.” That means it is “just right” in the eyes of the author. No offense to E.L. James, but the writing was atrocious. I read the book once and it was enough to make me question if an editor even glanced at the novel before it was published.

That’s a major difference between self published authors and traditionally published authors. There is almost a guarantee that traditionally published authors have gone through the editing process. Self published authors don’t have to pay an editor to look at the work. Some, like our aforementioned “author” prefer to do their own editing. cross-eyed-kidHere’s the thing, writers can only look at their work so many times before their eyes begin to cross. It’s the reason a break is often suggested after the first draft. Then again after the second and third and so on. This is also one of the many reasons why an editor is NECESSARY. An editor can find things the writer can’t. They can correct grammar, take out unnecessary prattle, and strengthen the work.

The reason why some authors refuse to use an editor is cost. On average an editor charges anywhere between $0.015 and $0.035 per word. That may not seem like much, until you realize the typical novel runs between 70,000 to 100,000 words. This means an author can spend anywhere from $1,050 to $3500 for the edit of one book. Seems like a lot, huh? Yeah, it can cost a pretty penny, but if the editor is awesome (like mine), then the money is well spent. And this is only if the author self publishes.

Editing isn’t the only thing to think about. A self published author also has to consider their novel’s cover. There are a number of ways to handle this. One, the author may be someone who can put together a good cover, but let’s say for arguments sake they aren’t. The next option is to use a generic cover provided by some of these free sites an author uses for publication. tumblr_mwq9bqqHOD1t06k0mo1_400For example, www.createspace.com or www.draft2digital.com. Both sites offer a walk-thru cover set-up. The last and final option is to pay for it. Now, depending on who the author uses, this can range anywhere from $50 to $200. This is on top of the editing cost. And let’s face it, readers do judge a book by its cover.

There’s also the interior design, but that’s limited to two choices. Either the author learns how to configure their novel or they pay someone to do it. If an author chooses to pay for the interior design, it could run another $400 in cost. So if the self published author has decided to pay for everything, then they have spent anywhere from $1100 to $4100 to publish one book.

And that is just getting the book out there. You’re probably thinking, what’s left? They’ve done everything right? Wrong.

There’s still advertisement, which is always optional. Creating ads isn’t necessary, but it helps get the information about an author’s book out there. This doesn’t include free advertisement, like friends sharing information about the author’s book or readers who leave reviews. Mobile-App-User-Acquisition-Increases-Through-Aarki-Social-AdvertisingOr if an author gets blogs to review their book in exchange for a free copy. There are a number of ways to advertise and not all of them are expensive, some are even free. But if an author chooses to pay for ads, this cost could range from $150 to $500 or more.

Let’s review.

Editing: $1050 to $3500, Cover Design: $50 to $200, Interior Design: up to $400, Ads: $150 to $500.

In total, a self published author can spend between $1250 to $4600 to publish one book.

Suddenly it makes sense why a self published author might chose to cut corners.


Rating Success

successful-elearning-projects-tipsHow do you rate success? There is no easy way to answer that. It all depends on the person. Everybody looks at success differently. Depending on what is most important to a particular individual. If you’re someone who rates motherhood higher than a job, then you might consider yourself successful if you raise happy and healthy children. Or if you’re a person who focuses on their career, then the further along you get, you might consider yourself successful.

So what about writers? How do writers consider themselves successful? Again, that depends on the writer. The general consensus is a writer is successful when they are either renowned or make enough money to pay their bills. This isn’t always the case. In fact, some writers don’t do it for recognition or the money. They do it because they have something to say, a story to tell. And others do it because they want to make a difference.

For me, it’s when I get my readers to feel something. I want my characters to have meaning. I want my readers to connect to my characters. And believe it or not, but I’ve managed to accomplish it with a book that hasn’t even been released yet. 20768085_728880137313755_4841957368914823485_nDamaged, Book 2 in my Dark Road series, releases next month.  Currently it’s in review. My editor called me earlier today and she told me I made her cry last night. You can imagine I was a bit surprised, until she told me about the scene that broke her heart. Then it all made sense. It happens to be a scene that makes me tear up myself. Now, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say this, it’s a gut-wrenching moment between Bella and Jeremiah. When I reveal the cover on the 18th, I think it’ll all make more sense. Though I think the title is a bit of a giveaway.ebook (1)Though I think the title is a bit of a giveaway.

In the meantime, if you want to see how Bella and Jeremiah’s story begins, the first book, Addicted is now available for a $1.99.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0767N2TTB/

Barnes & Noble, I-Books, & More: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0767N2TTB/

Being successful makes me feel like I AM GROOT!


Working Hard

I have spent the past week working my butt off. On Friday I had a conversation with a publishing company that assists authors in getting their work out there. One of the things we talked about was how difficult it is for authors to really get noticed. It isn’t so much about the book anymore, it’s about how well the name is marketed. Which means the author’s work doesn’t stop with just writing the book anymore. If you are a new author, like me, you have to know the writing side as well as the business side. This means you need to be able to locate editors, you need to be able to publicize yourself (because the author is the brand), you need to find people to do your cover designs or any artwork to be included in the book (unless you can draw) and so on. The list doesn’t seem like it ends. What makes this worse is you don’t learn any of the business stuff in school. I’m in school full time for Creative Writing. Do you know what I learn about? You guessed it – writing. Now I wisely minored in Business, but the problem is that as a minor I don’t have to take half the classes a Business major does, which means I also learn less. Are you starting to see the problem with jumping into the writing market?