Video: Five Reasons You Should NOT Self-Publish Your Book

July 21, 2016 Video Blog, Writing Comments (0) 603

One of the most frequent questions I hear from other writers is whether it’s a good idea to self-publish their books.
Trying to break into traditional publishing with a big or small house, or even just finding an agent, is a long and frustrating process that involves just a ton of rejection.
You’ve worked hard on your book, and you just want to find some readers. Self-publishing seems like a way to bypass a lot of hurdles and start your career.
I get why it’s tempting, but here are five good reasons I think you should not self-publish.

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The Tortured Cake Metaphor

December 7, 2015 Writing Comments (0) 773

 

It’s been a while since I posted something here other than a cartoon, but I had a few thoughts I wanted to share about writing–by way of talking about cake.

Have you ever baked a cake? It’s more challenging than you might think. Many bakers will tell you that “cooking is an art, but baking is a science.” Getting the right flavor, shape, and texture means carefully balancing ingredients (chemistry actually comes into this, because a lot baking is about balancing pH), methods of mixing and combining ingredients, baking time, and sometimes advanced tricks like freezing layers between baking. Continue Reading

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The Graveyard Slot is available free at Medium!

October 29, 2015 Writing Comments (0) 715

My zombie-tastic short story The Graveyard Slot is now available, free in its entirety, over at Medium. Here’s how it opens!

Richie’s TV was on the fritz, and Mom was parked in the living room watching her American Idol or The Apprentice or So You Think You Can Castrate a Dachshund or some other bullshit. He had to pull the old Magnavox from the back closet of the basement, its plastic belly bulging with tubes and capacitors. It was hidden behind three dusty boxes of old magazines that Richie relocated, swearing under his breath. When he wrapped his arms around the Magnavox, strands of sticky spider web clung to his hands like a mummy’s wrappings. They tore free with a sound like Velcro, and Richie swore he felt hairy legs scramble across the backs of his fingers.

Medium is a great site for readers, and I’ve been experimenting with using it to publish fiction. This is the first time this particular story has been available anywhere for free, and I hope you enjoy.

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#PitchWars Mentee Blog Analysis

August 16, 2015 Blogging, Writing Comments (7) 1511

Let’s begin with the reason there’s a mentee blog hop at all: If you’re looking to enter the publishing industry, you need to have an online presence. There is some disagreement as to what exactly that presence should be (in particular, whether actively blogging is worth a writer’s time) but nearly everyone agrees you need some presence to help market yourself and your work, and that you shouldn’t wait until after you are published to start.

It seems like that message got around, because it’s been less than 48 hours since we opened the #PimpMyBio blog hop and we’ve already got over 100 listings. As I went through and stalked mentees, I got curious about how people were making use of the web, and so I thought I’d take a survey and quantify some trends. The following is based on a review of our first 107 applicants; I will update this data periodically as the list grows. Continue Reading

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PitchWars 2015: #PimpMyBio Contestant Blog Hop

August 14, 2015 Writing Comments (149) 23188

Hi there, fellow writers! I’m delighted to announce the third annual PitchWars mentee blog hop, affectionately known on Twitter by the hashtag #PimpMyBio. Dannie Morin, 2015 mentor and host in our first two years, asked me to take over this year, and I couldn’t be more excited.

First and foremost, one point must be made explicit:

** This is not an official Pitchwars event and is in no way required. **

This is something fun, a way for contestants to show some personality, get to know one another, and cheer each other on. As it happens, I know some mentors take the time to read contestant bios, but you do not have to write a bio to compete in PitchWars.

Is that all clear? Good, then let’s proceed.

1. So how does this work?

It’s pretty simple. No doubt you’ve already read the mentor bios [All of them, right? I thought so.] and now you have a chance to write your own. If you want examples, you can look back at my bios from PitchWars 2013 and PitchWars 2014, or look at any of the 136 other examples from last year. Then follow these simple instructions:

1. At the bottom of this entry you’ll find a link widget. Enter your name (as you are identified in your PitchWars queries) and a link directly to your PitchWars bio (ie, not to your blog’s front page).

2. In your bio, please link back to this post (again, directly to this post! Not to my front page, which on any given day may or may not have anything to do with PitchWars!)

3. Share a link to your bio on Twitter and other social media [rumor has it there are social media sites other than Twitter] using the hashtag #PimpMyBio.

4. Please do poke around and read other contestant bios! Cheer each other on, follow other writers on their blogs and on Twitter, and just generally be a font of positive energy! This is supposed to be fun, after all.

2. Do I have to write and share a contestant bio?

I think we covered this already, didn’t we?

No, you don’t. But you may want to consider this feedback from 2015 mentor Dannie Morin:

…even though the hop is NOT official, it does help us as mentors. Reviewing my bio probably tells writers I’m sort of a weirdo and smartass and some people might not be looking for that in their mentor (though I cannot for the life of me fathom why!) Your bio, even though it is primarily just for fun, is a reflection of you. Don’t ever put anything on the internet that’s not! Once it’s online you can’t take it back, guys!

For me, a writer’s social media presence is important. Are you blowing up at people, being rude, sharing inappropriately personal details in a public forum? For me, that tells me we might not be a good match. Do you handle adversity well, have a great sense of humor, and take writing seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously? For me, that IS a good match. It might not be for another mentor, but it works for me.

On that note, I am also going to plug three pieces from author and past PitchWars mentor Rae Chang, “The Art of Killing Your Chances,” “The Science of Appearing Unrepresentable,” and “Don’t Be This Person.” You’ll find invaluable advice on how to behave, not only during PitchWars, but in general when navigating the series of complex tubes that make up the Internet.

3. What if I don’t have a blog or social media presence?

Then you’re not prepared to enter the publishing industry in 2015. Go create a Tumblr.

4. What if I’m afraid of criticism?

Okay, I totally just included that question as an excuse to drop that Lucille GIF.

5. Chris, why aren’t you participating?

I don’t have a manuscript ready. I’m still querying the manuscript that I entered in PitchWars 2014 [which one mentor told me she didn’t select because it was “as ready as it was ever going to be”], and I’m about a quarter of the way through writing a new one. That’s why I’m putting my bio-writing energy into composing this overly-long, GIF-laden blog hop intro.

6. How’s that query process going?

7. Just kidding, there is no #7. On with the blog hop!

**AND HERE’S THE LIST**

(and the widget to add yourself)

 

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