Trying to Publish with SOOP

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Sorry that I haven’t blogged in a while! I’ve been rather busy with work, Basilica Press, a free author platform service that I founded a few weeks ago, and promoting my book Sealed, which I’m going to tell you about in just a minute.

I don’t know how much you guys have seen about Sealed. If you follow me on Twitter, you likely see a lot about it. It’s a fantasy book about how one teenager’s attempted suicide results in the world almost being destroyed by the coming of the Anti-Christ and the Great Tribulation that is described in the Book of the Revelation to Saint John the Evangelist. The book shows the teen, Ashton, fighting against the creeps who actually want to bring about the Tribulation as well as the depression that almost caused him to end his life to begin with.

I’m not even done with Sealed, but I’ve already been offered a contract by Wizards Keep Publishing. I actually turned it down to stay in the program that I’m going to tell you about in just a moment. It was very generous, and I really like the people at Wizards Keep Publishing. In fact, I just sent a synopsis for another book to them today! Fingers crossed!

I’m currently in a program run by Something or Other Publishing LLC (SOOP). It’s a really unique publishing model in that it’s in between self-publishing and traditional publishing. While I don’t have to pay a dime, I have more control over how things are done. I also have to promote my book a bit more.

The main thing about SOOP that I like from a nerdy marketing standpoint is that it requires an author to get votes for his book to show that people will be interested in buying it should it be published. It’s a great way to force an author to build his platform, and it also gives SOOP the security of knowing that they aren’t going to publish something that will be bought by four people -my mom, grandmothers, and a random guy who likes the cover then leaves a crappy review.

I would really encourage you to check out the SOOP model! It’s not for everyone, but it’s been working for me! Also, if you could vote for my book, I’d pretty much love you for the rest of my life and give you a one hundredth stake in my soul! Okay, not really. That’d be super creepy, but I would be very grateful! While you’re there, could you also vote for two books written by my friends? Check out Reckless by Zeke Kuenzi and The Rod of Iron by Wade Fransson. If you vote for their books too, we might be able to negotiate on how much of my soul you get 😉

Let me know that you’ve voted in the comments below along with your Twitter handle so that I can give you a thank you shout out!

Yeah, I’m a Freak

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Okay, I must make a confession. I love KISS, and “I’m a Freak” has to be one of my favorite songs ever. If you’re unfamiliar, basically my man Gene Simmons comes to the conclusion that he’s freak along with the fact that he’s perfectly fine with that. I believe that writers need to come to the same conclusion.

It isn’t normal to sit hunched over at a desk for hours when you could do outside and enjoy the sunshine. It isn’t normal to be so obsessed with an intangible idea that you can barely converse with real people. It isn’t normal to have five different notebooks within arms reach at all times. Admit it! You’re a freak!

Being a freak isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m a freak, and I love it! Being a freak means that you aren’t ordinary, that you aren’t average. Being average sucks! Being average means that you’re plain and nothing special. Being a freak means that you’re different and special. Donald Trump is a freak. For one his hair is rather freakish, but also, is it normal to own over a hundred companies and be a billionaire? Lebron James is a freak! Can you or anyone you know do as well as he can on the court?

Being a freak isn’t a bad thing, and I believe that we all need to realize that as writers. Being normal sucks. People don’t like freaks because they know that we’re more interesting and that we have a lot more to offer. Next time someone gives you a look for scrawling on a legal pad during the big game, tell them that you’re a freak and that they need to get over it. You’re different in a good way. Accept it and rock it like my man Gene!

Promoting Yourself Through Short Stories

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We all know that we have to promote our writing in order to succeed, and for many of us, such a thought is tantamount to thinking about going to the Secretary of State or going to a funeral, but promoting yourself can actually be a lot of fun!

Recently I came into contact with a publisher who will be putting out a horror anthology for Halloween 2015. It got me thinking, and I came up with an idea for a short story that I hope to submit to him soon. After a little more thought, I realized that I could tack on much more to the idea and create an entire book. I now plan to write the short story and publish it in his anthology then write the rest of the book and publish the short story as the prologue of the book.

Although this option of promotion can be a bit complicated, it’s definitely worth a shot. It does a ton to get your name out there, and it even gets people interested in your specific book! You obviously can’t use this method of promotion for a book you’ve already written, but definitely consider it when you begin to work on your next project!

If you’d like to know more about the anthology and publisher to which and to whom I referred, check out http://www.kensingtongorepublishing.com/#/anthologies/4583360944

Celebrities to Imitate As a Writer

Have you ever wished for someone to use as a role model as you seek to produce a good book and market? Look at people who are already very successful. You’ll definitely want to look for experts in your genre to learn the basics, but there are risks involved with imitating an author. For this blog, I’ve chosen celebrities who, while all authors, are better known for their endeavours.

Donald J. Trump Sr.

Donald Trump is a billionaire. He has beauty pageants, hotels, a TV show, books, his own clothing line, a private jet nicer than Air Force One, and one of the worse hair cuts ever. (Sorry, Donald.) Why would you want to imitate The Donald? Mr. Trump makes sure that EVERYONE knows about his successes. When promoting your writing, you need to make sure that everyone possible knows about it. Don’t be shy, and don’t worry about being seen as proud. Those who really like your writing aren’t going to care. Share reviews that make you sound like the God/Goddess of Writing! Also imitate Mr. Trump by connecting with your fans. He is well known to reply to his fans’ tweets. I’ve gotten a reply from him twice! Although I doubt he remembers anything of what I wrote to him, just the gesture makes me a huge fan.

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons is a rock star, an author, an actor, the owner of a sports team. He also has one of the biggest tongues you’ll ever see. So why would you want to imitate my man Gene? Gene has produced one of my favorite songs, “Freak.” Eventually you’ll have to realize that being a writer isn’t normal. Being normal means that you sit on your butt and watch TV, work a boring job, and really are no different than most of the rest of the world. Being normal sucks! Being normal means you’re average. Gene has long ago accepted that he’s a freak and that being a freak is actually a good thing. Being super successful and creative isn’t normal, so if you are, you are, in a way, a freak. Don’t ever think to yourself that you wish you could be a normal dude who likes sports and has an average, easy job. Being normal is a really nice way to say that your just as mediocre as everyone else.

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers passed away recently, but was one of my favorite celebrities, being a comedian, winner of the Celebrity Apprentice, and author. Why would imitating Joan be helpful for an author? Joan would say WHATEVER he wants and basically tells anyone who disagreed where to shove it. Never censor your writing or make it more politically correct so that you don’t offend someone. Just write what you think. Write what your heart tells you. Writing that has been made all pretty and nice pretty much is complete garbage. Life isn’t a fun waltz through a garden of daisies. Readers expect and want some rawness.

Hope you’ll take these tips and use them to become more successful as an author!

*While I am a fan of all of these fans, I do not wish to leave you thinking that I condone everything that they have done and support. 🙂

Sealed

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Check out this idea I have for a book! 🙂

Okay, so there’s this legend in which King Solomon imprisons a demon in a jar for 1800 years. I might tweak the date a bit to suit my purposes. Solomon is able to do this because of his ring, the Seal of Solomon, that was given to him by God. Because he was the wisest man to ever live, he supposedly even had control over demons, who apparently helped him build the First Temple.
My premise is that the demon inside the jar is the demon who will possess someone and make him the Antichrist. Basically the book is about a guy having to find the jar and stopping religious zealots from releasing the demon because they believe in a post-tribulation rapture, meaning that after seven years (I think) of them releasing the demon, Jesus Christ will rapture His Church. The man wants to stop them because he doesn’t want billions of people to die in the Tribulation, he doesn’t think it’s right for them to basically “force” God to send Jesus back, and he wants the lost to have more time to come to repentance. At the same time, however, he in a way wants for the jar to be opened as he has lost someone close to him and longs to be with him again. As he is a Catholic, he believes that if he commits suicide to see the person again, he will automatically burn in Hell. He knows, however, that if the jar is opened, he will see the person again in Heaven in seven years. I want this to kind of have a Dan Brown effect with the gray area of the reader wondering whether it would be right or wrong to release the demon.
There’s more complications that involve how the demon is still sealed in the jar up to 2,984 years later and how the guy can keep the demon from being released, but I don’t want those to distract from the core idea.
Hope you guys like the idea! Let me know what you think! 🙂

Haters and Losers

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Who are haters and losers? Do you know people who seem like they can simply never be happy for you, people who can always find something negative to say about your writing, or people who act as though your writing is a waste of time or insignificant? I think we all know people like that. I know I do. Those people are haters and losers.

Why are haters and loser wrong? Aren’t they right? Doesn’t your writing suck? Haters and losers are never right. There is a huge difference between offering an honest opinion or a critique and being a hater and loser. Haters and losers are a problem because they don’t want you to succeed. Someone giving you an honest opinion is often right and almost always wants you to succeed. If he didn’t, why would he spend the time to tell you how you might make your writing better? The goal of haters and losers is to distract you from your work with their hate. They are losers who know that they themselves could never dream of accomplishing what you’re endeavoring to do. As insecure little wretches, they believe that they will be proven worse than you should you succeed. They therefore will do everything they can to distract you from your work using hate.

Haters and losers threaten to distract me, but do they threaten my actually writing? Of course they do! Not only does it make you sad to be the recipient of a ton of hate, but it also can make you change your writing in hopes that it will please the haters and losers. Haters and losers will never be please. Don’t even try. They hate on you not because they dislike what you are actually do but because they are doing something you can’t. There isn’t any need to change your writing for anyone. Don’t ever give in to the temptation of changing your writing to please someone, especially not a hater and loser.

So I get that haters and losers are a huge threat, but what should I do about them? Should I just give up? I’m just a nice guy trying to write. How am I supposed to go up against someone who actively hates me? It can be hard to deal with haters and losers, especially if you are a nice person. To deal with haters and losers, you are going to have to take away your halo for just a second. First, realize that haters and losers are LOSERS in addition to haters. These people are insecure wretches. While I think everyone is created equal, you are more confident than these people, which will make you more successful if you don’t give in to their push for you to give up. Second, learn from Cornelius Vanderbilt. Mr. Vanderbilt didn’t just pay people back. He ruined them. Please don’t take this suggestion the wrong way. I’m not saying to destroy anyone’s life. I am saying that there isn’t anything wrong with pointing out to others however much of a loser those hating on you truly are. Lastly, remove yourself from haters and losers. If you were in a burning building, you would kinda sorta want to leave, right? Having haters and losers all around you is like thrusting your writing into a burning building. Just walk away from them. Don’t be a rude jerk, but don’t talk to them about your writing. If they bash it anyways, don’t associate with them at all.

All of the measures listed above may sound extreme, but this is your writing. An attack against your writing is an attack against you. FIGHT BACK! I practice all of these steps when dealing with haters and losers. Lately it seems as though I’ve beaten the haters and losers. These steps work. Use them to save your writing and your emotions from the negative effects being abused by haters and losers can have.

Tell me about your haters and losers. Maybe we can think through some ways in which you can still be kind but also not let anyone treat you badly! 🙂

Ask and You Shall Recieve

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I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “ask and you shall receive”. Some people would obviously be ridiculous with the phrase and go up to Bill Gates asking for a billion dollars, of course, but I’ve found that often times you can get a lot by doing nothing more than simply asking. How does this principle apply to writing, you might ask? Let me show you.

As you guys may have read, I’ve decided to put Branded on hold for a bit and work on a less complicated thriller for which I have a lot more figured out. Like most thrillers, this one has required that I do a lot of research. Generally I research by simply reading tons of articles about the subjects in which I’m interested, but this time I’ve added a different approach. I asked people for help.

In the thriller on which I’m currently working, Freemasons play a prominent role. Well, I’m not a Freemason myself, so it’s a bit difficult to know much about the Fraternal Order, and unfortunately the Internet offers mostly articles designed to rip the Order to shreds. At this point, I decided to do something I had never really thought of doing before. I simply sent a few emails to a small group of people prominent in the world of Freemasonry. To my surprise, a few of these very busy people actually were able to write back to me with exactly the information I needed!

The moral of this story is that when researching, don’t hesitate to contact experts on the subject. They are experts because they love talking about their specific field. They aren’t going to mind helping you unless you are very rude or they are overwhelmingly busy. Do remember, however, that they are experts and that they are busy. Don’t waste their time with questions the answers to which you could easily find on the Internet, and above all, be polite and very grateful. I hope this strategy will help you as you research for your books! I know that it’s certainly helped me!

Current Plans for Branded

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A lot of you have read about the book on which I’ve been working, Branded, so I thought I’d give you guys a little update. To keep it short, I’ve decided to put it on hold for a while. I’m a big believer in only writing a story when you believe it’s ready, so I plan to let my ideas for it simmer a bit until I’ve figured out at least what I’ll need to know in order to produce a first draft. After all, I’m not Dan Brown, at least not yet :), so I think it would be best for me to get a bit more experience in the genre of thrillers before going after such a complicated concept.

While I continue to think through things with Branded, I’ve begun to do research for another book, the idea for which I really love. I haven’t come up with a title yet, so I’m just going to give you guys a small hint. The book is centered upon a legendary relic. Leave a comment below with both you guess for which relic my book will involve and a link to your blog! I’ll be happy to mention anyone who gets it right in my next post about my writing! 🙂

Let History Inspire Your Writing

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Have you ever wondered why we study history? It’s just stuff that people did a long time ago. Isn’t that kind of boring? Why can’t we learn about what’s going on now? After all, that’s where we all are. We all know that we study history in order to not repeat the mistakes made by our ancestors, but have you ever thought that perhaps we also look to the past for ideas?

Why would we look to the past for ideas? Aren’t we far more advanced and civilized than the people of the past? Why would we look to the Greeks for ideas? Those people ran around naked during the Olympics! What could we learn from the Romans? They cheered as gladiators slaughtered dozens of lions! Have you ever heard of politics or maybe concrete? We get much of our political ideals from a Greek man named Aristotle, and we got concrete from the Romans. Without both of those, the world would obviously be much different.

I look to the past all of the time for ideas, and I would suggest that you do the same if you ever run low on ideas. What if you don’t have time to read history books or texts written by the great philosophers of old such as Seneca, Plato, Confucius, Socrates, and Thales? I don’t have time either, but I can still look to the past for ideas using a tool that I believe to be invaluable.

Go to Wikipedia and type in October 3. You will instantly have at least a hundred different historical events from which you can procure ideas. The best part is that you don’t need to read pages upon pages of boringness. I do this often to come up with ideas as well as to create writing prompts for my Twitter followers.

The nice thing about these summaries is that you can use them without writing historical fiction. Perhaps you take a look at the First Battle of Philippi in which Marc Antony and Octavian, the future Roman Emperor Augustus fight a decisive battle against Julius Caesar’s assassins in 42 BC. There a lot of ideas that you could come up with based off of this short summary. Perhaps you write a story about a son following his father’s murderers around the world until he can catch up with them and kill them. Perhaps you write a story about two leaders of a failed revolution running away from those against whom they had rebelled. There are obviously many more things you could do with simply this summary, let alone the hundreds you can find just researching the historical events that took place on one particular date.

As you search for ideas, I would encourage you to look at the past for ideas. This is one of the easiest ways to come up with new ideas. As I always say, all you need do is pick some particular fact and obsess over it. A lot of historical events don’t seem as though they have any significance with regards to our everyday lives, but if you think through them, you will find that they do in fact. People care about writing that has some significance to them. History is significant. Base your writing off of it.

Color

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I’m sure you would agree that writing is an art form. In fact, you probably get offended when people dismiss it as a hobby or past time. I know I do. If writing is an art form, why don’t you use color? “Please,” you think, “are you suggesting that I revert back to my junior high years of using eighteen girly colors whilst filling a post it note that just happened to be bright pink?” It sounds ridiculous, but I am!

Think about textbooks or sections of a phonebook. Why do you think sections are color coated? It should be obvious. They are color coated in order that the reader might find things quickly and easily. This same idea can be applied to your writing. Perhaps your villain’s dialogue is blood red whilst your hero’s is a happy light blue. Perhaps you separate chapters by using different colors whilst writing each. What about stories that take place in multiple locations? You can color coat those too!

Why do we all love fall? Well, if you’re anything like me, you love it because it’s an excuse to eat donuts, apple pie, and apple cider, but most non fatties love fall because of the change of color around them. Change is a good thing. Change stimulates thought. Consider changing the color of your text for each paragraph.

Why would you change the color of your paragraphs? When things are stagnant, people get bored. That’s why literature changes all the time. One of the most threatening things to productivity is the loss of momentum. If you get bored, you will likely put down your pen, shut down your computer, or hop on Twitter like I tend to do and thus destroy all the momentum you’ve built up. I find staring at black text for hundreds of hours whilst working on my books to be rather boring. Therefore, I change the color and find that the extra splash of color keeps my attention more than plain black text.

One last idea for how you might use color to organize your writing is to use various colors that symbolize the mood of a scene. To me gray is a bland and depressing color. Perhaps you could make the words you use in describing a funeral gray. Yellow seems to be a glorious, happy color. Perhaps you make the words that make up a scene that tells of the ultimate triumph of your heroes yellow. Perhaps a romantic scene that takes place on the beach late at night could be colored blue. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what color you choose, but it is always a good idea to categorize your scenes so that they will be easy to distinguish and easy to edit as well as to instantly set the mood whilst reading through your work based on the color you chose for it.

Being organized is one of the most important elements to being a successful writer. Using color is both a fun and easy way to effect this. Remember that the exact method you use to organize things isn’t really important as long as you do organize your work in a manner that helps you create a story of which you will be proud and a story that will hopefully be publishable.