Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Music and Writing

I don't know about any of you out there, but I've reached a point where I won't write without being accompanied by music of some kind. Before I used music as much as I do now, I averaged around 2,500-3,000 words every time I wrote. But now that music is more of a factor, I'm writing upwards of 3,000-4,000 words a day. All the proof of music's help is there.

Now I'm not here to tell other writers what they should be doing, everyone has their own way of doing things. But I've read article after article about the psychological benefits of listening to music everyday or while doing certain things, writing included. I personally have yet to hear about a writer listening to anything while they write, but seeing as I find it as beneficial as I do I figure I should be the one to say so. Sure, originally I found it kind of distracting to the process, but I worked through it, and stopped cranking the volume up to 11, light volume is definitely the way to go.

Another thing I seem to see in my own writing strategies, is that my writing is better when I listen to certain things at certain points, music that just fits the feeling the writing is trying to convey. I call these songs the book's 'playlist' because they are the ones I listen to the most often while writing that particular book, and it seems to change heavily when I start a new book. A new feeling requires a new playlist. Of course, the playlist doesn't necessarily have to change completely. I have had one song on the last three playlists I've created, it just seems to fit a portion of every one of the books.

So, long blog made short, I would suggest at least trying music out if you haven't already. And if you're listing to music while writing already, spread the word. I'm reading a lot of crap ideas that I've heard before, a lot of recycled garbage like always. Music is a writing strategy that not enough people talk about, and I think that's one of the biggest shortfalls in writing today.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Amazon Matchbook: What is it?

Amazon Matchbook is a brand new marketing strategy from Amazon (and I'm talking three days old new) that should be able to help you sell more books, or so it claims. The idea is to offer people a discount on Kindle editions of books after they buy the print version. Authors have the option to sell their books on discount for free, $.99, $1.99, or $2.99 depending on non-discount prices and on the choice of the author.

Now, I'm more of a seller than a buyer when it comes to books, but to me this idea seems a little odd. If a person already spent $10 on a print book of mine (that's what mine usually go for, but it could be less or more depending on the author) why would they spend extra on a Kindle edition, or even get it for free if they just bought it in print? I don't quite get it, but I didn't go to college for marketing, so maybe I just don't see the potential. Don't get me wrong, it seems like a nice idea, people will go for a bargain on just about anything, mindful or not. Wal-Mart runs specifically on that strategy. Whether or not it will work remains unseen, but I think it will, despite my early doubts.

A few authors out there seem to find some controversy in Matchbook for some reason. From what I've seen, its because they believe that they have no choice but to use the program or to abandon Amazon. Let me just say that is nonsense. Matchbook is activated one book at a time, through checking a little box in the royalty setting page on a book's KDP dashboard. Now the beauty of checking a little box, is that it can go unchecked or once checked it can be unchecked as well. There is an obvious and far from permanent choice to be made when it comes to Matchbook. Authors have the choice to start using it and stop using it whenever. The idea that authors are forced to use it is ludicrous.

My final thought it this: its a nice idea, although it may or may not be effective. I put it into effect on all my books, so we'll see how well it works. The effectiveness will only become apparent in good time.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Latest Project

As I've said in my last posts, I have published five books in my first year as an author, but I can't help but think that this latest project of mine, my sixth book, is better than the others. Obviously, I don't think any of my books are bad, but some are certainly better than others. Sometimes you just get that feeling about a project of yours, that its different than anything that you've done. That is the case with this latest book. I can honestly say this I haven't been more excited to write a book before. But enough of this anticipatory nonsense, let's get to the book as it stands right now.

The working title of this book is Delicate Rain. The synopsis goes a little bit something like this: "Rain Phillipa has always been an adventurous teenager, but when her adventures get her in hot water with the authorities as well as her family, she feels her only option is to run away. Soon finding herself in the heart of Kansas City, Rain is taken in by a secretive criminal operation who show her the life she's always wanted; drugs, parties, and violence quickly encapsulate her world. But when her family's search for her continues gaining volunteers and media attention and the secrecy of the criminal organization is directly endangered Rain can't help but wonder if this life of adventure and excess can really last forever."

Now, this story is still less than 10,000 words along, so this description is subject to some changes. But, based on how confident I am in the synopsis in its current form, I can say it won't change much. I will continue updating as things go on!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Self vs. traditional publication: Why the former is better.

Self publishing and traditional publication both have the same goal: to publish your work. But, despite this, they might as well be two completely different industries.

First off, traditional publication is the old school way to do things. It goes a little something like this: write, edit, throw your book away, pull it from the trash, rewrite, edit, die a little inside, edit, send to an agent, get rejected, send to two hundred more agents, get rejected, die more inside, give up, redo it all over again with a new book if you've got the balls to keep going. If you think I'm joking, I'm not. The route of traditional publication killed John Kennedy Toole after all. If you do manage to preserver through it all and land a decent agent and a decent publishing house for one of your manuscripts, don't expect smooth sailing ahead. The publishing company will send the book to an editor, who will suggest rewrites, and unless you want to muck up the publishing process (which is already averaging 1 to 2 years of time to complete) you'll just do them. Once your book is hacked into 'sellable' shape, they'll finally put it out for sale. So now, 1 to 2 years after winning a publishing deal, you think you're done, you think you can sit back and enjoy royalties, right? Nonsense. Unless you're James Patterson, you're paying your own way when it comes to marketing. The publishing house doesn't have time to sell people a book from an author no one has heard of, that's your job. Press releases, social media, blog posts, and alike is on you to put together. But, as I'm sure you're scoffing to yourself right now, let me tell you the life of a writer isn't that of Stephen King. You're not going to be a millionaire over night, or quite possibly ever. Traditional publication's royalties for first time authors is less than 15%, perhaps even worse than that. If your book sells well, happy day to you, you probably won't be dropped by your agent or publisher. If your book flops, may God have mercy on your traditionally published soul.

Self publishing is a whole other world. It is looked down upon because anyone can do it and there are a fair share of scammers out there. Let me just say, if you're looking at a place that's labeled as a "vanity press" punch yourself in the face. Vanity presses won't make you money, they will take your money and destroy your hopes and dreams, that's just a given. Now, this isn't just because I use this route, but I say the best place to self publish a book is through Amazon. While other places charge hundreds, if not thousands of dollars up front, Amazon is free to set up and publish through. Even better, your royalty can either be 35% or a whopping 70% if your book is over $2.99 on Kindle. Both of these are far better than the traditional publishing deal. The major downside to self publishing is that it's all you. Writing, editing, marketing, formatting, cover designing is all you. Editing is a hassle, don't think you're great at it because you can find typos in menus, your not such hot shit. Learning to edit takes time, lots of it, I'm still learning and probably always will be. People go to college for this stuff, it's not something you can skim the manual with. Cover design used to be the bane of my existence, until Amazon debuted their Cover Creator that is. It's only for e-books (Amazon's paperback publishing company, CreateSpace, has everything already figured out, it's free and easy too by the way) but it still is a great tool. Its easy, they provide you with many designs and stock photos to use, although I'd suggest buying stock photos from another site (so far in my publishing life, those pictures have been my only expenditure, the rest is all profit). Amazon and CreateSpace are by far the best bet for self publication in my opinion. Still not sold on my thought process? Well, the major upside I still haven't mentioned is the speed of publication. For E-books, once you upload your file and set prices, it takes 12 hours, 24 for paperbacks. I've been publishing through Amazon for 6 months and I've already published 5 books with a 6th on the way. 6 months isn't even enough time to publish one book the traditional way, not by a long shot.

Long story short, if you're a writer you can't be lazy. There's always work to do no matter how you choose to publish. But, keep in mind that independent writers are on the rise, taking their rightful spots on bestseller lists everywhere. Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey, and all the countless other independent powerhouses, I salute you and hope to be one of you some day soon.

Welcome to my blog

This, in case you are still for some reason or another unaware, is a blog. It's a blog about writing written by a writer. My name is Mitch Goth, I am a fiction novelist working through Amazon's publication system, and I am here to share my knowledge with you.

It always seems to me that writers just throw up whatever anyone else has said into blogs and articles about how to write or be successful as a writer. And, I won't lie, 25% of that stuff does indeed work and is insanely helpful to any new writer, but the majority is nonsense and trash. I've had many things work for me that nobody ever seems to talk about, so I figured I might as well start blogging about what I think works.

Yes, I am self published. If that makes you think of me as some sort of a lesser writer or somebody who doesn't know the business, kindly piss off. To the remainder who don't mind the route I chose or even more so enjoy that route like I do, I'd like to welcome you to my blog.