Once Bitten . . . You Stop Sticking Your Hand in the Cage

pet the catIn her blog today author Lia London tells a harrowing tale of lies, betrayal, fraud — that wasn’t her latest book, it was her previous publishing efforts.

In a Facebook group I’m part of, someone asked for recommendations for a web designer. I dropped my name on the list, already 100 posts long.

The “where should I host my site?” question is asked often, garnering the same list of responses each time: “GoDaddy!” “Anywhere but GoDaddy!” “HostThingy” “ThingHost” “HostHost” “Hostess Cupcakes” “Charlottezweb” (because I’ll never skip an opportunity to promote Jason’s marvelous hosting, even if it gets lost in the crowd.)

We’re re-watching Longmire from the beginning, hoping the long-awaited 4th season will start the night after we finish the cliffhanger of season 3. In last night’s episode Walt tells Henry the reason he’s pulling fingerprints from a car’s steering wheel instead of having one of his deputies do it: “If you want something done right, you do it yourself.”

Rather than debate the debatable truth of the statement, let’s talk about why we believe that.

… more … “Once Bitten . . . You Stop Sticking Your Hand in the Cage”

Funds for Writers

Hope ClarkTom Bentley mentioned Hope Clark in a recent post. I thought I’d share his comments. Her site and newsletter are intriguing.

Hope Clark has long sent out a writing newsletter that’s been chockablock filled with writing tips, grants and other publishing opportunities for writers. I’ve subscribed for years, and am always delighted, particularly with her thoughtful editorials. She’s also a mystery novelist of some acclaim.

Greenback Blues

While many of my songs are about Best Beloved, this one is not.

Although the lyrics reference any number of U.S. Presidents, the astute observer will note that it is not even remotely about politicians.

Without boring you with musicological details, the intro to this song is a challenge when we perform it live. While many of my other songs can be shifted up or down as much as a full key, those where I play the harmonica don’t have that luxury. Mostly because I don’t own enough harmonicas.

Someone called Ireland the land of happy wars and sad love songs. This song always feels like a little of both.

Greenback Blues

You should have married Andrew Jackson
I know that you think more of him than me
I’ll bet Ben Franklin would be fine with you
And that’s fine with me as far as I can see

Alexander Hamilton is only half as much
As Andrew Jackson in your twisted mind
George Washington‘s just peanuts; Abe Lincoln‘s not much more
But Grover Cleveland would be quite a find

Too bad Woodrow Wilson don’t circulate no more
Got your hands on him he’d never leave
But gimme just one Roosevelt to call a cab
And I’ll be gone for good you’d best believe

What if I Want to Raise the Price Later?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/875056 by Andrew Steinle http://www.sxc.hu/profile/andrewcsThe common perception is that a low price is hard to raise. It’s just not true.

It’s hard to resell the same thing to the same buyer at a higher price, sure. That’s why we whine about the price of gas, like that’s gonna do any good.

But if I sell my book to you for 99¢, and in a year when I’ve finished 5 of them and am famous for being Chandler reborn, do you really believe I can’t set the price of that selfsame book anywhere I like, and sell copies all day long to new readers?

In fact, would those early readers not tell everyone they know “I knew him when he was 99¢, and he’s worth every penny of ten bucks, go buy the book” ?

7 Reasons Copyrighting Your Art is a Waste of Time

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/666175 by Daniel Duchon http://elduchon.es/blog/Someone stealing your book seems to be every author’s nightmare.

Let’s think this through:

  • someone finds your book or song
  • they think it’s worth stealing in its entirety
  • they publish it as their own
  • it becomes a big hit and makes them lots of money

For that to happen, we have to get past all this:
… more … “7 Reasons Copyrighting Your Art is a Waste of Time”

What if I Don’t Want to Play by the Rules?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1404388 by Andreas Krappweis http://www.sxc.hu/profile/KrappweisWhen my middle daughter was taking an interest in music, I tried to teach her some piano basics, and a bit about music theory. Nothing elaborate. Things like chord patterns that work well, melodic structure, lyric writing.

She dismissed it all. “I know what I want to do, and I don’t need all that stuff.” To me, her playing sounded like she was just picking two keys at a time, stringing pairs of sounds together, vaguely timed against some clock that didn’t exist.

No lyrics. She was a poet, and I guess the lyrics were going to stay in her head, not come out of her mouth.

Fast forward 5 years. I mentioned that, at the time, it sure seemed like all she wanted was to “let her genius flow unhindered” rather than learning a few basics that could turn her meandering into real songs.

She said, “Yeah, I was just being lazy and pretentious. I need all that stuff. Will you teach me now?”

Her lyrics never fail to make me cry or laugh out loud. Her melodies are mature. She’s a decent piano player. And one of the finest singers I’ve ever known.

Lateral arabesque to a location somewhere in my head.
… more … “What if I Don’t Want to Play by the Rules?”

What Does It Cost to Make a Living as a Writer?

picture http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1220297 by Guillaume Riesen http://www.sxc.hu/profile/thegnome54Some authors hope their first book will make enough money to encourage them in their writing dreams.

Not likely.

More likely, you’ll spend a lot of time, money, effort to get it finished, and see very few sales.

If you’re writing to make money, go ahead and give up now, before you waste all that time, money, effort.

… more … “What Does It Cost to Make a Living as a Writer?”

Free: It’s Not a Price, It’s a Strategy

Some insist that you have to give your first book away. Others claim that free means “worthless” and they won’t do it.

Free is good. If I’m talking to a prospective client, and I can impress them with my expertise and enthusiasm by mailing them a copy of one of my books that’s pertinent to our conversation, I’ve spent $7 on marketing to get what could be a $2,000 client. If I email them the Kindle version, I’ve spent zero.

What’s important to remember is that free isn’t a price. It’s a strategy.

Just posting a copy online with a price of zero is not strategic.

images http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1120086 by Laura Morariu http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lauralucia
… more … “Free: It’s Not a Price, It’s a Strategy”

How do I keep people from loaning my book so I don’t lose sales?

You don’t.

You are in business to help people. Of course you need to make a living, and you’d like to make a good one, but if your business is only about money, you’re in the wrong business.

If you’re truly in business to help others, to make the world a better place, the more people you help the better. Your goal is to spread your message. Plant as many seeds as possible so you can reap the biggest harvest.

Not all seeds grow. You can’t know — can not know — which ones will grow. The math is simple: the more seeds you plant the more seeds grow and the more you reap.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1093345 by shawnisa http://www.sxc.hu/profile/shawnisa
… more … “How do I keep people from loaning my book so I don’t lose sales?”