During a conversation with other writers yesterday, I became shocked, SHOCKED, at how many think that they are so good that they don’t need further study or guided practice. At how many choose beta readers for a pat on a back instead of real feedback. At writers that don’t revise. At writers that think that BOOK REVIEWERS don’t have useful critiques and are only good for marketing and promotion (I always take reviews to heart. Someone went through the trouble of pointing out strengths and weaknesses. I won’t disrespect them by ignoring it). At writers that don’t read. At the pure arrogance of thinking that you are at the height of your powers and don’t need to grow anymore. It’s the height of elitism.
Could you imagine a professional musician that doesn’t practice for hours a day? Can you imagine a doctor that doesn’t follow new breakthroughs in medicine. Can you imagine an athlete than doesn’t practice or go to the gym? Can you imagine any job where you don’t try to improve on it?
On Saturday I gave a lecture and workshop at Pine Plains Library, in upstate New York. This was my second straight year presenting for IAD. Instead of most presenters that I’ve seen, who give lectures on publishing and marketing, I focused on the actual craft. It doesn’t matter how great a writer you are, you can always be better (myself included), something so many writers forget. Being an author is a combination of narcissism and humility, and the second part is what helps you grow.
A general version of the lecture “The Hero’s Journey: It’s No Myth” is available on my website, but I was a teacher, and I’m best when I work out loud. I make jokes and obscure references. I bring props (usually toys). In this case, I brought tissue paper “plot points” and threw them back and forth with the crowd. I used a Snoopy Snow Cone Machine as a brainstorming prompt.
I miss teaching.
Tomorrow is Indie Authors’ Day, and I am giving a presentation and workshop at a library upstate. To celebrate, I reduced the price of The Watchmage of Old New York to 99 cents! That’s 75% percent off! This is only for a few days, so if you like Historical Fantasy with complex characters, historical accuracy combined with a fantasy world woven into it, and a heavy dose of whimsy. You want this book.
Also, if you like my blog and want to support me, 99 cents is a good way to do so.
And if you’ve read it, please leave a review and tell your friends about it. Writers survive on your support alone.
Making art is supposed to hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, dig deeper.
Indie Author Day is coming up, and I will be giving a presentation for a local library on writing (as I often do). But I cringe whenever I hear someone call themselves an “indie author.” Here are some reasons why. Feel free to add your own (or refute mine) in the comments
No author works alone: “Indie” comes from independent, and there is no such thing as a truly independent author. While writing the first draft may be a solitary endeavor, everything after that is a group process. An author has beta readers, editors, proofreaders, layout artists, cover artists, promotional groups (like RaveReviewsBookClub, which I belong to), and so on.
To call yourself indie is to say that these people don’t matter. Of course they matter. They make your book better, and to say that they aren’t a part of the process is arrogance. You do not create a book in a vacuum.
I’ve been meaning for a while to write an article about the Battle of Stony Point, which took place July 15-16, 1779. I live about 5 miles from the battlefield site and I am there all the time (lots of pokestops and two gyms). i was hoping to get it up before the anniversary, but that ship has sailed.
Fine, whatever. It gives me time to go deeper detail.
Yes, I know that it’s not NYC history (Stony Point is in what’s now the city suburbs, as am I) but it’s nearby, a cool story, and I saw that they tried to recreate it on Turn: Washington’s Spies and got some details wrong for the sake of the show.
I know that it’s very tempting to use real people in your books, and if it’s veiled well enough, there’s no problem with it. But when you include real names of friends, family, or fans that you want to reward…don’t…just don’t
Most of the time it’s not veiled, and this is where the problem is.