Category Archives: Books

Learn more about my books and occasionally the process of writing them.

IndieReCon Returns!

Dirty secret: It wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t know what an “indie writer” was. That’s changed in the last year or so, in part thanks to IndieReCon, a free online conference that I first “attended” last year.

This three-day conference is back for a third year, and it’s just as great as I remember last year’s was. It’s a shame I didn’t blog about last year’s event, but I’ll try to make up for it.

What is IndieReCon?

IndieReCon is organized by and mostly for writers interested in, or actively involved with independent self-publishing. That said, there’s a ton of information and inspiration available to traditionally-published and as-yet-unpublished writers.

The conference delivers a variety of speakers in a variety of methods to accommodate the variety of writers (and Internet connection speeds). Consider what I watched on today’s schedule:

Self-Promotion Discouraged

Most sessions last an hour, and several have giveaways associated with the speaker.  Now some of you might think that each session is more about marketing the speaker and accompanying products and services. I’ve been through a few of those types of webinar series, and really appreciate that the organizers (this year led by the British-based Alliance for Independent Authors) put an emphasis on the value for the audience. The de-emphasis of self-promotion is so strong, you have to hunt for the sponsor’s website (down at the bottom of the About page, if you want to know)!

Coming Attractions, and Reviewing the Archives

Thursday offers a bunch of practical sessions on self-publishing and reviews of the state of the international self-publishing scene. Here are some of the sessions that I’ll be checking into:

Friday features more “state of the scene” sessions, using Pinterest and live coverage of the London Book Fair Fringe Fest.

Miss an event? It’s all recorded and available to you. You can even access past years’ content under All Events > Archive.

I’ll say it again: If you are considering self-publishing, you’ve got to check this out. If you expect to make a living as a writer, you’ll learn a lot of great stuff. See you over there!

Chicagoans: Build Your Author Platform at IWOC

Excited to tell you that I’ll be speaking to the Independent Writers of Chicago (IWOC) on Tuesday, March 10th on “Building Your Author Platform.”

Freelancers Building a Platform

Build Your Author PlatformWhat am I going to talk about? Still working on it, but I intend to focus on:

  • The value of building a platform for freelance journalists
  • The value of writing books for freelancers of all kinds
  • An overview of the 14 steps to building a platform that Carole Jelen and I detail in our book
  • Reminding you why social media is critical in building that audience.

Of course, I’ll take questions, and give away a copy of Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules.

Networking and refreshments start at 5PM at the Gratz Center (Room 4A), 126 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago (just behind the Fourth Presbyterian church pictured below). My part of the program starts at 6PM.

English: Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago...
Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, taken from across Michigan Ave. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More information and advance registration for the event at the IWOC website.

Look forward to meeting more readers, and writers.

Related: Surprise from SlideShare

This morning I got an email from SlideShare telling me that my presentations were in the top 25% most-viewed on the site in 2014. The top two slide decks were:

Yep, you read that last one  right. My five-year-old talk did nearly as well in page views as my most recent outing. For that, I thank (again) my Aussie conference buddy Sarah Maddox. She was in my audience that day in 2009. Last February she was gracious enough to include the deck in her “Super Useful List” of technical writing tools. One of these days, I need to update that deck…

Let me also point out that the LinkedIn presentation also received a terrific boost from the Washington, DC chapter of STC.

All that to say that my IWOC slides will also be available at SlideShare after the talk. Feel free to share the deck with your readers too.

Holiday Greetings: World Needs More Writers

It’s one of my stock phrases: “The world needs more writers, and fewer wannabe-writers.” Sometimes people think I’m being the crotchety published author telling all the new independent and self-published writers to give it all up.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Two fundamental characteristics define writers to my mind:

Writers write, wannabes dream of being writers

If you want to be a writer, open up a word processor, text editor, or pad of paper and start putting words down in some permanent form. Now you have a copyrighted work! Develop your writing habit by repeatedly putting words down in some permanent form; every day is best, but don’t beat yourself over the head if you miss a day now and then. You won’t get better unless and until writing becomes a habit.

Writers look for readers

Wannabes who take the first step (develop their writing habit) too often believe their work isn’t good enough for others to read. Too often,  we’re our own worst critic, but let me say this as clearly as I know how: the only way to succeed as a professional writer is to get readers! You have to find — and grow — an audience for your writing.

Today’s writers have a multitude of tools and places to try out their skills, and new ones pop up regularly. If you want to hone your fictional craft, try WattPad, or enter a contest. If you just want to describe your view of the world, head to WordPress.com and start blogging. Use your Facebook or Google+ space to find others interested in the same things you are and write to them.

English: Professional writers recruit for Wiki...
English: Professional writers recruit for Wikipedia writing classes for public (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the way, here’s a secret: if you do any of the above, you not only have a copyright, but you’re a published writer. No longer a wannabe.  And that’s what I mean by needing fewer wannabes.

Know someone who needs help finding readers?

Build Your Author PlatformNow it’s time for the mercenary part of this post. Perhaps you know a wannabe-writer (or maybe more than one). For many folks, December is a time for remembering your friends and family members.  You know the definition of “friend,” right?

The people who know you best, and hang around with you anyway

Often you thank these people at this time of year with gifts. Have I got a great idea for you! It’s a collection of words that Carole Jelen and I wrote called Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules. It came out in May, and it will help the wannabes in your life find the audience they’ve dreamed of, regardless of what they wanna write about. It comes in electronic and paper format (the paper is easier to wrap; some outlets may even be able to wrap it up for you).

I’ve got some handy links to the book on my Books page. You can also visit the Build Your Author Platform website for even more places to order.

May you all have a wonderful holiday season, and a 2015 where all the wannabes in your life become writers.