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Friday, January 28, 2011

Do a Little Bit Every Day

Getting Things Done
This Blog post may not at first seem to have anything to do with writing but it has everything to do with writing and getting your book finished, edited, formatted, published, promoted and re-edited.

Someone asked me some time ago, "How do you get so much stuff done?"

The answer is you do a little bit every day.  It seems like that is too simplistic but that is the secret to anything you are trying to accomplish.  I remember when I was younger I wanted to conquer the world Today!  My vision of everything was for the immediate result!  Time mellows us and our views and slows things down.  Nobody conquers the world in one day!  Or even two for that matter. 

I eventually realized it is the little bit I do every day multiplied by 356 days in a year and years of work, all combine to have huge returns of my little daily investments.
It's the little bit you do cleaning and organizing your house daily.
It's the little bit you do every day to stay in shape and take better care of yourself.
It is the little bit you do writing your story every day that will eventually add up to a completed novel. 
It is the little bit you spend with your family laughing and playing and sharing meals, that adds up to a life of love and  memories with your family.

Do a little bit of whatever it is you do every day!  The important part of this is to religiously do it every day, and over time the results add up.  I don't write every day.  I would like to, but alas life doesn't always allow that.  But I do something every day to contribute to my career as an author.
It might be editing a story, formatting another story, I might get a page written or a chapter written, I may only get a new story idea jotted down in a notebook so I will not forget it later.  Keep coming back to your projects at hand, a little at a time until they are completed. 

The results come slowly.  Most people give up on this project or that project after a couple of weeks and then start something new.  I know; I did that for ten years.  I would write on a story idea or work on a story outline, or come up with characters for this story or that story, but I was constantly switching between projects and I wasn't getting anywhere.  When I figured out that I needed to keep coming back to the main project and do more, do more, and do a little bit every day I started seeing my book come together and eventually I finished it.  Then I took the next story I wanted to do and did it again, a little bit everyday and after weeks and months it would get to the next phase. 

Last Sunday I finished the formatting and published my first book and then I downloaded it and in spite of all the reading and work I have to do with editing my second book and continuing to write my third book, I started reading "Whisper" on my Kindle.  I soon started coming across mistakes.  Even after my editor, and my going through painstakingly fixing errors it still was not perfect.  I realize no story will ever be perfect, but at least with Smashwords they allow you to re download updated versions of your work.  I have re downloaded three times this last week with corrections and re-edited versions of my previously flawless story.  After I have completely read through it on my Kindle and made all the corrections I can then I have decided I will let it stand on its own, for good or bad.  I will return my daily attention to editing my second book and getting it ready for publishing, and writing my third book.  By the way the third book is the next 'Wiley Randolph Novel,' the sequel to 'Whisper.'

Sold My First Book

I sold my first Book!  I knew immediately without asking who had purchased it.  My number one fan all along this journey has been my best friend Phillip Woody.  He bought it so he could forever say he was the first to buy my first book ever published.  We kid each other about "Why do I like you?"  He is continually harassing me about when is my next book will be finished.  He always gets to read the rough draft before it even goes to my editor.  As a matter of fact I completely finished my second book and sent it to my editor and I didn't even have a Title for it yet.  Phillip came up with the Title after reading the book.  So I will acknowledge him for picking the perfect Title for my second book.  I have received that book back from my editor and am currently making corrections to it every evening and spare moment I get.  The title of my second book is "No Rules Of Engagement", and God willing it will be E-published later this year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I am Published

Finally I am published.
It is only E-published, not the traditional method of going through an agent to find a Publisher to publish my book and turn it into a bound and wonderful real book that you can purchase at a book store, take home and read to eventually end up on your bookshelf.  But then again it's 2011 and we are in a brave new world of the digital age.  I shop and buy more real books using my computer than I do by visiting book stores and browsing.  I own an Amazon Kindle and try to get Kindle versions of books where ever possible because of the ease of carrying my entire library with me in an easy to carry package.  Many of the books on my Kindle will read the story to me while I drive back and forth from work, therefore increasing my reading or listening time and allowing me to get through and experience many more books during a year.

So if you do not have a method of reading an E-book you should take a minute and get one of the many free E-reader options which are available for your computer or phone.  Even if you don't do that, you can still purchase the book and read it on the website where I published it using their HTML option.   I have made 30% of the book available for a free trial so people can sample and try it to see if they are interested in it before actually deciding to purchase it.  You cannot do that with a traditional book unless you go sit in a book store and just sit down and start reading a book there.

To find my book goto http://smashwords.com/
Smashwords is dedicated to publishing E-works of authors for free.  They may be the ruin of the mess the publishing industry has created for themselves by the incredibly difficult process required to become noticed in the mass of people who want to be published and those who will actually become good authors. 

The link to take you straight to my book is
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/38922

For my friends, family and acquaintances I have created a coupon to download the book for free.
My primary goal is not to have published just one book and sit back and reap the profits and get rich.  That kind of thinking ranks right up there with "I will move to Hollywood and become the next super star of motion pictures and television, because I am such a great actor."  More often than not it is a pipe dream.  It does happen.  I read somewhere that Nicholas Sparks sold his first book for a million dollars right out of the gate as an unknown, but I am no Nicholas Sparks either.  Most of us are not extremely talented writers.  It is a craft which must be learned and you learn by doing.  This is my first book, the first of many more to come.  After I finished it I sent it to twenty two people to read and get back with me as far as editing, advice, likes and dislikes, etc. to help me grow as a writer.  Maybe three people read it and got back with me.  I couldn't give it away, and now I expect to throw it out into the big bad world and have people spend their hard earned money on it, when months ago I couldn't get anybody to read it for free.

No my goal is to have E-published it.  I am making some noise about it to people I know and asking them again to read it for free.  I ask them also to write a review of my book on smashwords.com and to tell their friends and family about my book.  Now I will maintain my blog, which I really enjoy.  Start editing my second book which I have back from my editor.  Continue writing my third book, while holding down a full time position with the company I work for, raising three children and trying to keep my wife from divorcing me because I spend every spare moment I have working on my laptop either editing and swearing, or writing my next novel.  The goal is to build a following from those who have read and enjoyed my book and subsequent books to follow.  So when I reach that million word point, and find my groove as an author that I do have sales and people looking for the next book in the series they are following.  That I might be able to approach an agent at some point in the future and say 'Hey I have this new series that I am ready to come out with, I am established with a following of faithful readers and fans, do you think you could find a publisher who might be interested in my newest series!'  That's the plan.

Monday, January 24, 2011

E-Published

As of some time between midnight of Sunday January 23, 2011 to 2 something in the morning of Monday January 24, 2011 I became E-published.  It is listed on
http://www.smashwords.com/
or my actual book is at
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/38922/

Please check it out.  If you read it please goto smashwords and write a review of it for me.
Feel Free to respond here with a comment or even send me an E-mail at StorytellerTDW@Yahoo.com.

One of my favorite authors asks everyone he knows to give him feed back as far as what they like or dislike about his books, characters, stories, etc.  He said this made him a better writer, more than anything else.  I really want to become a great writer so I implore you to praise, or criticize my work to help me mature and grow as a writer. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vocabulary

Vocabulary
I once read that the English language has more than 800,000 different words, and that the average person's normal vocabulary is barely 100,000 words.  That means most people who speak, write, and read English are only using and aware of one eighth of the words that make up their language.

I have an Internet site I have signed up with that sends me a different English word every day.

http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/

Please check them out.  Even if you are not trying to become a writer, if you speak the language and read the more words you become familiar with the more you will understand and be able to use them.  This sight gives you the definition of the word.  Examples of how it has actually been used in writing and the origins of the word.  Each day I get a new word with the definition and examples of how it is used.  Of course they are not all completely new to me but most are.

I actually copy and paste them into a word document and then run the spell check feature and add the words that Microsoft Word does not recognize, which is quite a few of them.  So slowly but surely as my knowledge increases so does the word processor I use to write with.
What word has the most definitions?
"Set" has 464 definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary. "Run" runs a distant second, with 396. Rounding out the top ten are "go" with 368, "take" with 343, "stand" with 334, "get" with 289, "turn" with 288, "put" with 268, "fall" with 264, and "strike" with 250.

Characterization

Coming up with believable characters. 
First off make them real, and real people are flawed.  Everybody has a flaw of some sort.  It may be physical in nature, a personality trait, a bad attitude, they don't speak well, evidence of some past injury, they dress badly or oddly.  It can be any number of millions of characteristics that describe real people.  So make your character real.  Give them some flaws through your writing.

A perfect place for inspiration is at your local shopping mall, or Walmart store.  Just open your eyes and remember what you see and notice about people and then give these attributes to your characters.  One of the ladies in my book club gave me a sweat shirt that says "Be Careful I may put you in my next book."  I use things from my own life, people I know, and am constantly, attentively watching people I run across in my everyday life for attributes to use with characters in my stories. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Admire Authors

I used to wonder why it took so long to get the next book in a series from one of my favorite authors?  I would impatiently wait for their next book to come out, wondering what could take so long?  It would take me maybe a week to read their newest masterpiece once it was published.  Having written two books now and still in the final stages of formatting my first book to E-publish it (hopefully within the week), I have the corrections back from my editor to begin the first edit/rewrite of my second book.  I am barely able to continue writing my third book because I have been so busy with the first two. 

Any author who is turning out two novels a year plus holding down a day job to pay the bills is working two full time jobs and is very busy indeed.  More than that and the author would be undergoing psychological help and facing burnout, take it from somebody who is definitely paying his dues and learning the ropes.  I totally understand when I read about authors who have somebody approach them with a story idea and suggest, "Hey, if you write this story we can split the profits!"  HA.  The Story ideas are the easy part!!  I got story ideas to keep me busy for twenty years, that I will be lucky if I ever get them all written and edited.  It is 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration (Edison said that) with stories, just as it is with inventions.  Let me tell you I hate Editing and Formatting!!!!  I enjoy writing when I get to.  It took me longer to edit my first book than it did to write it. 

I am not complaining!  I want to be a published author and would do all this if I get paid or not, it is truly what I was meant to do.  I am sorry it took me 44 years to figure that out.  But now that I am started it will be my passion until I die.  If nobody ever buys a book I write or reads any of my stories, I will still write them and publish them.  I know from the people who have read my work that even my first effort is good.  I know it is not great but I am getting better at the craft every day and I am purposefully saving my best stories until I find my style and groove and get close to the elusive 1 million word mark.  That is the point, according to several authors whose work I admire greatly, that it takes to make a decent writer if you are going to be one.  Before that point it will be pretty much polished crap, but we all have to start somewhere.

I only say all this to encourage other writers who may follow my blog and inform them of the reality of the task at hand.  I plan to continually update this blog with aspects and insights into the world of writing and publishing as I work my way through the system and process.  To discuss elements of writing, style, characterization, plots, time lines, story ideas, editing tips, English tips (the language I speak and write in), formatting tips, and encouragement for fellow authors.  So please stay tuned.  If you have any questions or areas of interest please comment and I will do what I can to help.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Introduction to Smashwords

If you have never heard of Smashwords let me be the first to introduce you to the leading platform for authors, publishers, readers and retailers for e-books.  Created in 2008 to serve authors to publish their work for free and help promote and distribute authors works via the world wide web.
check out http://www.smashwords.com/
This is where you be able to view my book in a few days, try a sample of it for free, and even download it for your reading pleasure.  In the weeks and months to follow I will adding blogs about the process, future books, the characters, story ideas, the process of writing, my favorite authors, and stuff about or related to writing.  If your new to this blog, please be patient as I am just as new to posting a Blog.  Very new to writing and learn much more everyday.  It is a brave new and exciting world out there that I am literally jumping into head first with my first novel, I have my second back from my Editor, and need to begin the process of editing.  I am going through the final stages of E-publishing my first corrected and polished novel.  So stay tuned . . .

Finished My First Novel

I have finished my first Novel and very soon will be E-published.  As much as I would love to see myself traditionally published and my books in real paper and bindings growing dusty on book shelves, from all the research I have done this is by far the best way to publish.  If you do not have a E-reader of some sort on your phone or PC or MAC, Please get one NOW.  There are many good ones available to download that are entirely FREE.

 
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