A Bit of a Blog Break

A Bit of a Blog Break

I’ve been busy scheduling my social media for the next few months, and came to a realization: I’ve got a ton of existing content, and no one has seen anywhere near all of it.

As a result, I decided it’s time for a little break. This realization did coincide with another level of busyness. I’ve got some projects that have to be completed this week, so the blog needs to be back burnered today. And next Monday is my wedding anniversary, which means the break may continue for at least another week.

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, check out some of my many previous posts. Or take a break from the blog and check out my books on Amazon. Would love some more likes, shares, and subscribers.

Have a great week!

cringe

Top Ten Words or Phrases That Make You Cringe

So I've been looking at some topics for blogs, and I find all kinds of great ideas.  One of the more amusing ones is posting about personal stuff or pet peeves, so your readers get to know you better. This idea can work, but it can also be a disaster. I've seen...

Strictly Commercial In SE Asia

Three weeks is not a normal lapse of time between blog posts for me. I try to blog at least once a week, anyway, but from November 9th through November 23rd, I was on my first real vacation since 2015. The destination: my wife's native Thailand. This was my fifth trip...

A Little Pay Upfront…or A Lot More Pay Year After Year

So many writers think they should never pay for publishing. I don't blame them for thinking that way, but here’s how it really plays out. Authors are natural idealists, so of course we typically figure we can get a deal with a big publishing company, leading to smooth...

Writing Based on Experience

Recently, I’ve been writing more about writing, giving some explanations about why I write what I write…or, in the case of the three novels I’m currently promoting, why I wrote what I wrote. Brothers’ Hand, which takes place in the fictional town of Carverville, NY,...

How Authors Can Navigate Twitter

Way back in June 2016, I wrote a blog post about Facebook vs. Twitter. At the time, I had a whole six months of expertise as a guy running a business full-time, so no wonder I did such a great job! Well, okay, maybe I overstated my case. But the bottom line of that...
manuscript

Top Five Things to Check Before You Turn Your Manuscript Over

This week's blog post is for my writer friends. Everyone has a checklist of things they know they need to consider before publishing. When it comes time to turn that manuscript into a book, it's all too easy to get caught up in marketing considerations or thoughts of...
no more for the road

No More For The Road

I took my last drink 32 years ago. Hard to believe I’ve reached that many years of continuous sobriety. If you’d asked me the day before I stopped drinking whether I had an alcohol problem, I would have said No. Mainly because I didn’t think I did. What I had was an...
Whizzers

New Year, New Projects

"A goal is a dream with a deadline." - Napoleon HillI had this quote in my head today without actually remembering who said it. So I was a little surprised when I looked it up and found it attributed to Napoleon Hill. After all, I'm more likely to remember Charles...
Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones and Storytelling

Writing is a funny game. You make stuff up and it goes from your head to your fingers, then to a screen via keyboard, or a page via writing implement. But of course, we all know that's not the oldest way of telling stories. Really, stories began with cave drawings and...
editor

Need A Writer? An Editor? A Proofreader? How About All Of The Above?

Late last week I got a call from a husband and wife asking about vanity publishers. Yes, such predatory companies are still out there, preying on the hopeful. These nice folks asked me if it sounded legit when a "publisher" offered to put the wife's book out for a...
What’s It All About, Anyway?

What’s It All About, Anyway?

As far as service goes, it can take the form of a million things. To do service, you don’t have to be a doctor working in the slums for free, or become a social worker. Your position in life and what you do doesn’t matter as much as how you do what you do. —Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 

For this week’s blog post, I have an unusual goal: not writing about what’s going on out there. I know you know what I mean. Everyone is still thinking and talking about the same thing right now, and frankly, it’s exhausting.

But then, you may wonder, why would I intro a blog post with a quote about “service”…especially at a time like this?

Well, I think we’re all feeling particularly grateful to service workers around the world right now. So kudos to them. However, I’m actually thinking of other forms of servicefrom helping a neighbor to being a little extra kind to everyone around you.

 

To Love and To Work

I also think a lot of folks are wondering how to just get through the day, maybe not even considering helping anyone other than themselves. Maybe even rethinking life in general: what’s its purpose, what’s the meaning, if any, and what am I even here for?

Although there’s no reliable source material for it, Freud supposedly once said that the key things a person should be able to do well are “to love and to work” (lieben und arbeiten, in the original German).

Of course, at this point, you might fairly ask the question, “What is work?” With millions of people seeking some kind of unemployment benefits in the US alone, for many, looking for a job is the only work they have at present.

And that is work: filling out the forms, sending the emails, making the calls into systems that are, perhaps understandably, overwhelmed.

I think the effort is the important thing. Every day, we’ve got to suit up, show up, and do the thingwhatever that might be. And no, it’s never easy.

 

And The Love Part?

I’ve been both fortunate and unfortunate in love in my lifetime. Thankfully, I’m married to an incredibly wonderful woman who is the love of my life. I know not everyone is so lucky, and for those suffering a loss, or just lonely, believe me when I say I’ve been there. I wish everyone the kind of love I have now, but I also realize it’s a one-in-a-billion shot. I get that.

Still, love has many forms, from the love of family to that of a friend. So I encourage everyone I encounter to give as much love as they can, since it so often comes back to you tenfold.

In my most recent novel, Whizzers, some of the most compelling quotes come from a spirit guide by the name of M’Extezuh. At one point in the story, he passes along the following:

A soul may be buried in pain for a lifetime, but it is still there. And in that soul, in every soul, lies the secret of all existence, the answer people spend a lifetime seeking. The answer, of course, is love. Remember that each day if you can.

That’s really all the wisdom I have for you in the year 2021, at the age of 56. I hope it’s enough.

proofreading

The Improtance Of Poorfreading

So right up front, I know I'm taking a gamble with today's headline. I only hope most readers of this blog will be able to translate Improtance into Importance, and Poorfreading into Proofreading. Goodness knows Spellcheck tried to change them on me. The reason for...
political

Navigating the Murky Waters of Political Correctness

“If you don't have a sense of humor, it just isn't funny.”  —Wavy Gravy   When it comes to political correctness, I’m not convinced we should go back to the “good old days.” I mean, do we really want to go back to calling someone born to an unwed mother a...
drivers

Florida Drivers, Beware

This weekend I had to run out for essentials, which I’m only doing when absolutely necessary. But it seems like plenty of other people were out there, too, and I can’t help believing some of them just didn’t want to be bored at home. So when it came time for me to get...
serial

If You Don’t Write in a Serial Format, Good Luck With Amazon Classifications

This week’s topic is one near and dear to my grizzled, cynical old heart—adjusting to the nightmarish landscape of book classifications. Some writers have no problem with this stuff, and hey, more power to you. But as I wrote in What I’ve Learned In Six Years of...
dead

Celebrating The Dead

“The bus came by and I got on / That’s when it all began…”This week I was planning to write about some of my adventures (or misadventures) in southeast Asia. But the calendar tells me it’s September 23rd, and that’s a meaningful date in my history. So I’m going back...
Twitter

6 Twitter Tips for Authors

Those of you who follow my blog probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. Now that I’m closing in on 25K followers, I feel like I’ve got a little experience I can share that will be helpful. And with that, here comes today’s blog...
money

Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow…Right?

Recently, I was reading a post from an online trainer who coaches authors and other professionals. This trainer discusses the contrast between writing for money and writing for passion. In other words, the age-old conundrum: if you do what you love, will the money...
genre

Have You Ever Written In A New Genre?

When you don't normally write genre fiction, it can be difficult to talk to non-writer people about your work.I love the classics, and have always worked hard to create modern classics of my own. You could call them Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, or just...

Facebook vs. Twitter

The news that Microsoft will be acquiring LinkedIn just sent shockwaves through the social media world, immediately leading to speculation about Twitter. Is it going to be next? We all assume that Facebook is not for sale, but in our topsy-turvy media world, I suppose...
racism

Would You Like A Side Order of Misogyny, Prejudice, or Homophobia With That?

I didn’t intentionally set out to write a new novel addressing the rampant intolerance, Islamophobia, and racism in America today. I really didn’t. My novels always start with a character, or characters. Sometimes their actions get pretty hectic right out of the gate;...
You Can’t Do It All—And You Don’t Have To!

You Can’t Do It All—And You Don’t Have To!

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago called What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author BusinessOne of the points ran as follows:

Even if you’re traditionally published, you still have to do a lot of the heavy marketing lifting. As an indie, be prepared to do it all. You can hire someone for some things, but not everything.

Today is about all those other things.

 

The 800-Lb. Gorilla

For authors, Amazon is the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. Sure, some people buy books from other sources. But one way or another, you have to have an Amazon presence. I’m pleased to announce that I now accept Amazon Pay as an option for book purchases via this website. (Go here to see all of them.)

This is something I’ve been looking at for a while. While I wanted to have easy payment options on my own site, I also wanted to make sure people could navigate away from the site and buy their selection via Amazon.

The only problem I had with this method, as a business owner, is that you really don’t want people to navigate away from your site…especially to the world’s biggest superstore. Instead of buying the book, they might suddenly go, Oh, right, Amazon. That reminds me, I need to get some of those socks. Then they search for socks, fall down a clothing rabbit hole, and forget all about that book of mine they were about to buy.

Enter Amazon Pay. Okay, if they can click Amazon Pay on my site, then I don’t have to worry about the above scenario, right?

We shall see, friends. We shall see.

 

Another Gorilla

The other massive corporation you have to contend with as a business owner is, of course, Google. Again, I’ve struggled with the ever-evolving changes to Google Analytics, wanting to make sure I’m complying with all the rules and regs. Also, I thought it would be nice to have the latest version of Google Analytics, since the search behemoth kindly reminded me to implement their G4 (“more intelligent”) experience.

When I say I’ve struggled with Google’s changes, I’m not exaggerating. I found the old Google+ nearly impenetrable, and I’ve rarely tracked my web pages as a result. Lately, however, I’ve really wanted to do so, and that meant I’d need help. You know, hiring someone for those other things.

So today I got my guy to set that all up for me. Yes, I really needed help with it all—especially things like connecting the Search Console with the Google Analytics with the Page Speed. You know, the stuff that’s way over my head.

I’m still the CEO, and the head of the Marketing Dept., and the chief cook and bottle washer. But thank God there’s someone who has the tech expertise I lack who can do those “other things” for me.

MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....
creativity

Can Creativity Be Taught?

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Have you written a book? If the answer to the first question is Yes, but the answer to the second question is No, there might be a few reasons for this. One reason I frequently hear from potential ghostwriting clients is,...
scam

Is the American Dream Just a Straight-Up Marketing Campaign?

Warning: profanity ahead. I should just start all my posts with that from now on: profanity ahead. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed recently when I saw someone had tweeted something like, What's the biggest scam of all time? Patriotic Americans might be shocked...
maintenance

Closed For Maintenance: Me

Here comes the upfront apology for blog subscribers: I got nothing this week. It's not that I've got nothing to say. As anyone who knows me is well aware, I never, ever run out of things to say. Even my lovely wife has occasionally let me know, in relatively gentle...
balance

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #7: The Elusive Search for Balance

It's Labor Day today, and what are my wife and I doing? You guessed it: laboring! I've just finished a massive job, editing a manuscript for a 90-something client. Hey, God bless him, right? And God bless me for having the intestinal fortitude to get through the most...
indie author

What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business

As someone who’s spent the better part of the past 20 years making his living as a writer, I definitely have some opinions on what works and what doesn’t in this business. However, there is a subset of that 20 years, and that’s the novelist part of the equation. Some...
healthcare

Feeling Wiped Out? Get Up and Out!

I don’t really think of myself as a healthcare writer, although I did earn a living for many years by marketing a variety of healthcare services—from traditional to alternative medicine. These days, I’m more in the Author-Speaker-Publisher mode, writing books and...
cover design

The Importance of Cover Design and Interior Design for Novels

I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I'll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects. Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads...

Cover Reveal: Rides From Strangers

Rides From Strangers is coming! Today’s post is a reminder about the upcoming publication of my new short story collection, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the book. For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I will be...
department

Yes, I’m The Head of My Company’s Marketing Department

A few months ago, I wrote a post called What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business. The idea was to provide six bullet points, one for each year I’ve run my publishing company. Ultimately, I realized that each of those six points could use some...