Would you rather

On our video show, we try to ask authors interesting questions to get inside their brains a little bit.
Recently I thought of this one but I’d like to share it with you and get your thoughts.

Would you rather make $100,000 a year as an author/writer but you hate your job, you hate what you’re writing about, you hate the long hours, you hate your boss, you hate going to work every day.
Or
Would you rather earn$30,000 a year as a writer, work more hours then you would have any other job, obviously make a lot less money, spend more time with your family but call the shots on every single decision and for the most part be jumping out of bed excited to go to work every day and love what you do?

It’s a false choice because sometimes you just have to go for the money. Life dictates things. But reality might live somewhere in between.
Remember though if you can do it for a while and love it at 30 grand, you might be able to turn that into 100,000 and more. But you probably can’t if you go the other route. And that hate has an effect.

What are your thoughts?

Shh, Don’t Tell But… PART 2

Okay, so yesterday I said we should sneak over to Jenny’s blog and vote for me in the contest she was having.

A bit of FUN, shall we say.

Oh, and I also used these images for the whole SHH thing

That bikini chick wasn’t the best call for a blog whose subscriber base is about 2/3 women. I see that now. So allow me to make amends, ladies:

stud
Okay? We good?

Anyway, while I think everybody understands Jenny and I are pals, and that a little bit of fun is, well, a fun thing,

some of you took issue with me attempting to hijack her contest.

And, well… you were right.

Plus, apparently you can’t vote for me until Saturday or something.

But I can admit when I’m wrong.

Usually.

And I actually was on a video chat with Jenny that very morning. (We do a video show, you know? Maybe you’ve seen it. Funny stuff. Definitely worth a  watch. Here are some sample images :

WoTwF 4 Allison 6wotwf 3  (3) fWoTwF 4 Dan 1

 

 

 

See? Pals! But don’t take my word for it, have a look

 

Funny, right?

Well, so a few of you didn’t think it was such a hot idea to suggest helping me win – well, steal – the contest by, um, more or less cheating. Or by flat out cheating.

And that was a good point.

(Even if I now have to question your sense of humor.)

But I agreed because what I really wanted to do was encourage some of you to go check out her cool contest. And because my good friend at EDC Writing suggested there might be newbie writers getting into the contest, and since they’d be new and might come away with a bad feelings from my shenanigans, then my good-natured fun will have caused some damage.

Okay, I didn’t think of that. Sue me.

Cos I’m all about the newbies. I am. If you read this blog, you know that.

So…

Go ahead and get on over to Jenny’s place and just vote for the best contestant. Heck, maybe enter the contest, too. Why not, it’s quick and painless. But then VOTE FOR YOUR FAVE. On the right day, whenever that is.

This was NOT a ploy to surreptitiously get more of you to vote for me.

Probably.

No, no; I’m legit here. In fact, steer your friends over there. It’s a fun contest and it’s based on a cool idea.

I’ll be here, not cheating. Promise.

Shh! Don’t tell, but…

00 shh 2
Shh. No telling.

Okay, my friend Jenny is having a writing challenge thing on her blog and I entered and you can help me win.

Click that blue underlined stuff and post your own entry if you want but then vote for mine to win.

00 shh 1
Don’t let her know. She probably won’t see this post, either.

What you do is you email her and use my name – Dan Alatorre – in the subject line as the vote. (I’ll decline the prize if I win but I wanna win.)

00 shh 4.png
Okay, sue me, I’m a guy; couldn’t resist. And it’s not completely gratuitous – she’s shushing.

Okay? Shh. Don’t tell.

VOTE for your favorite submission (ME) by emailing: Sundayscribblechallenge@gmail.com which is on her blog link, so just click it when you get there. Place the lucky author’s name (ME) in the HEADER of your email.

00 shh 5.jpg
That one’s kinda creepy, though. Shoulda stopped at the bikini.

Pretty simple. I don’t ask for much. Go vote for me.

And do the challenge. And follow Jenny’s blog. Cos it’s kinda cool.

But mostly vote for me.

Thanks,

Dan

So Much Ignorance In One Article

no way.jpg

So much ignorance in one article.

For the link to the stupid Guardian article titled “For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way.” Click HERE. Because poverty rocks.

You’re going to read stuff like this on occasion. I’m fine with it being written, I just worry that somebody might believe it.

There are plenty of good reasons to self publish (see my brilliant 3 part series on that very topic, HERE, so this angry post makes more sense), but not according to some people–like this writer. Meanwhile, other successful authors have done it and keep doing it, so who’s smarter? Should you listen to people who say “I can’t do this so you’d better not try” or even “I never tried that so you better not, either?”

Uh, no.

I won’t self publish because YOU might look foolish, YOU might embarrass yourself, YOU, YOU, YOU… Shouldn’t it say I won’t self publish because I might embarrass myself, I might look foolish, I, I, I? As in, I am afraid? It sure sounds like fear when “I” is attached, doesn’t it? Of course it does. Because it is nothing but fear speaking. Well, fear and ignorance.

First, a few people who indie published that you might not know about:

Stephen King. Edgar Allen Poe. The guy who wrote the bestselling book that became the blockbuster movie The Martian, Andy Weir.

And a few names you might know as indie authors if you don’t live under a rock:

Hugh Howey, Chuck Wendig, Charles Yallowitz. There are plenty more.

The point is, many authors choose to self publish and traditionally publish, so why not?

But let’s address the stupidity in the article point by point, shall we? Because ignorance is lack of knowledge and stupidity is being incapable of grasping facts that are easily accessible.

“You have to forget writing for a living.”

Nobody I know as an indie author does that. Nobody. And I know hundreds, maybe thousands, of indie authors. You may spend time learning new skills like marketing, but it’s naïve to think that can’t be hired out. Meanwhile, by learning about it, you make yourself a better manager of your product—your book—as opposed to being a slave to the whims of your trad publisher. More on that later, but ask trad authors how often their book got pushed back because it wasn’t the hot flavor of the month, or because of budget restraints, or a new editor came in and wanted a bunch of changes. That’s after the author waited 18-24 months to get scheduled for release anyway.

I do know a person who quit their job last year after self publishing their first novel because the royalty money surpassed the income from their regular job. I know plenty of indie authors whose sole income is writing. And I know plenty who use their royalties as a nice supplement.

I also know a lot who don’t – same as trad authors.

“Self-publishing can make you behave like a fool.”

Lots of things can do that. Like writing a one sided article without doing your homework first. Or doing a video show with friends. Or blogging. Or TWI (Tweeting while intoxicated.) Or almost anything that features you on YouTube.

The indie author shoving their book in your face? Yawn. Because a trad author would never do that. Except they do. A lot. When they have to “help with marketing.” More on that later, too. We’re all gonna make mistakes because we’re excited and we want our friends to share our joy, and there’s no godlike trad publisher angel keeping you from doing stupid stuff, so forget that nonsense.

“Gatekeepers are saving you from your own ego.”

Because the god-angel bestowed unlimited knowledge upon them? Folks, the gatekeepers reading your book are no smarter than you. Maybe less smart, as is often the case. They aren’t out there creating unique, interesting stories, are they? Often they’re just chasing a trend or looking to fill an existing slot at Barnes and Noble as opposed to searching for creative talent, so let’s not pretend otherwise.

“Good writers become good because they undertake an apprenticeship. Serving your apprenticeship is important.”

Good writers become good because they write a lot and read a lot. That’s what the most famous writers have said, anyway, like Stephen King and others, but who are they to listen to?

“You can forget Hay festival and the Booker.”

Maybe you should. “Traditional publishing is the only way to go for someone who writes literary fiction.” Tell that to Hugh Howie – he’s currently sailing around on his yacht. Prizes are important to people who like prizes. Readers are important to writers. I’m not saying prizes don’t help with marketing, but if King and Howey both write books and only one could win the prize, does that mean the other sucks? Of course not. Write what your readers want, not what a prize selection committee wants you to write. That’s chasing the wrong goal. Think of it like the Academy Awards. Do they choose your favorite movie each year? They do not. Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark were blockbusters that went on to change our culture. They didn’t win the Oscar. (Star Wars was released in 1977; the academy chose Rocky as best picture that year. In 1981, when Raiders was released, Ordinary People won. See my point? Would you rather have created Indiana Jones or Calvin and Beth Jarrett? It’s okay, you can say who?)

“You risk looking like an amateur.”

You sure do. And since you are the boss and the secretary and the marketing department and the janitor, you can quickly fix whatever you may have done wrong. Ebook corrections are usually posted inside of 24 hours. You can also read a book about indie publishing first and not look like an amateur. So there’s that. It’s almost like the writer is saying you will look like an amateur. Actually, I think that’s what the writer is trying to say. (It’s also fair to say that thousands of successful indie authors and millions of readers of indie books disagree.)

The list of absolute crap books released by traditional publishers is embarrassing. Snooki released a book through a trad publisher, okay? Talk about looking like an amateur. You’ve caught typos in trad released books. In general, an indie author can release a book with less quality because nobody’s there to stop them, except the market place, which crushes them along with the crappy trad authors’ books. Reading the sample will cure you of buying a nonquality book 99% of the time no matter who releases it.

 “70% of nothing is nothing.”

This, to me, was the best part. The writer says she made nothing for two years as a trad published author. So apparently 15% of nothing is nothing, too.

She would rather languish in self-described poverty than look for ways to improve. Stockholm Syndrome, anyone? As Wendig said, publishers don’t always know how to publish your book. Ouch! Reality!

Look, as I stated earlier, this is a false choice. There’s nothing wrong with working at being published traditionally and indie. Wendig and others have written extensively about it. Hugh Howey has, too.

You’ll have to market in both – you, as a trad author, will still need to build a platform, still need to help market, still need to do signings… and I guess the trad god-angels wave their magic wands to create extra time for you to do that, right? Because working two years for basically nothing means you paid the bills with pixie dust or you had another job.

It’s not an “either/or” choice!

Both methods of publishing can peacefully coexist. And have. In the same author, sometimes. Wendig calls himself a hybrid author. I don’t know what Howie calls himself. Others call him brilliant. That works.

But by learning all that’s required to independently publish, whether you master it or not, you educate yourself enough to hold people accountable as they work with your book. That’s a skill worth having no matter which way you end up going. That’s choosing to step away from ignorance.

I wish more people would do that, actually.

Want more great articles like this? SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST! Get a FREE copy of “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew,” FIRST SHOT at new stories, and exclusive behind the scenes access!

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

 

 

 

Happy Easter!

I have a real barn burner of a post ready but since it’s Easter it’ll run tomorrow. Because it’s Easter. Because I don’t wanna spoil your nice Sunday. And because most of you won’t read it anyway because you’re spending time with family today. Which you should. So read it tomorrow and have fun with the clan today. Happy Easter.

Why Everyone Should Learn How To Be An Indie Author Even If They Plan To Publish Traditionally, Part 3

Part 3/Conclusion

I’m on my first sales call and my boss is watching and the homeowner has made a decision – but I’m not sure what he decided!

No, the homeowner says; they don’t do any financing. “The home belonged to my father, who just passed away. We are taking over the asset and we want to do the maintenance it needs.”

Really?

“The house has some roaches…”

Yes it does.

“But…”

I mention that I believe it saves you money if you get preventive maintenance done on a home pre-inheritance. Otherwise you pay taxes and it’s a better deal for you to do it ahead of time. He agrees. So I’m thinking Hey, pretty good – I got my pest control sale at rate card and maybe I’ll get it paid a year in advance. My boss will be happy.

So the shrimper goes, “Okay, I’ll buy the whole package. Let’s go ahead and do that. Can I write you a check?”

What!

Cha-CHIIIIINGGGG!! Are you kidding me? All three services? Three grand? Holy guacamole!

My boss is about to fall out of his chair.

I am, too.

I’m about to close a $3000 deal from a measley pest control lead. That never happens. Never. Okay, sometimes, but not very often. It’s kind of a big deal.

My hands are shaking because I’m new and excited, but I can act, so I play it off. I waited as the customer did all the paperwork, collected a check, and the last thing you’re supposed to do before you leave the house is ask “Who else do you know who could use a service like this?” You know, ask for referrals. Nobody does it much in real life, but my boss is there – and who’s my audience? So I ask. “Who else do you know who could use a service like this?”

“My brother lives next door.” He says. “My dad owned his house, too, and he’s in the same situation as me. So we need to get all three services for him as well.”

No. Effing. Way.

At this point my boss’ head is about to explode. He can’t believe he sent his new guy on a lead nobody wanted and I could come back with not just a pest control deal but three deals on one house and three deals on another house. Six deals, all paid in advance.

My hand to God, that is exactly what happened. It was like the best kind of sale you could make.

That was my first sale at that company.

Actually it was my first six sales of that company.

Now, we go back to the branch. My boss takes me out to lunch because I just made him a pile of money, but as he’s buying me lunch he’s like that was the best sale I ever saw in my life. He is worshiping me. I’m the trainee and he is like “You’re the greatest!”

I kinda walked on water with him from then on.

What did I just do for him? Aside from giving him a bunch of money, and some great numbers for his month, and a great sale, he now has a story to hit his existing salespeople over the head with. “None of you wanted to run this lead! I gave it to him he came back with $6,000 worth of contracts!” That was like a week or two’s worth of work for those guys. Off of one appointment.

Done before lunch on my first day in sales.

So the salespeople all kinda hated me a little bit after that, but the manager loved me. I knew who my audience was. I’ll also pat myself on the back because that story got around. I became a little bit of a legend at that company, which was solidified a few years later when I went to their President’s Circle as a manager.

Now, I told you that sales story for a few reasons. One, to make myself look good. (It feels good, I admit, but it also helps establish my credibility.) Two, to not pre-judge opportunities. Three, to help you understand if you spend time in each role of a job to where you know that job, you can tell if someone else is or is not doing a good job when they are doing it for you. I went to President’s Circle at that company because I could do that.

One of the other things I learned was by doing each job for six weeks, you know that job. You don’t know it well enough to do it all day every day but you know it pretty darned good. You know it to where if somebody is not doing the job you can go out and do it with them because you’ve done it. You can tell from asking questions if they’re doing it properly. You can ride along with them or inspect their work and see if they know what they’re doing.

I went on to have a great career with that company, and the most important thing I learned was you don’t get to pick your opportunities. You have to make the most of every one you can, that’s obvious from that story.

What else you do is you don’t turn down an opportunity because what you think it might be. As an author, I do that all the time. It’s still is my worst attribute. Sometimes I think I’m too good for something. I’m not, and I need to constantly remember that. The people who are willing to try this, that, and then other thing, no matter how small, are the people who are successful. (I work with one a lot, and she inspires me.) Never forget that. I was talented in other ways, but anyone can have talent. What you need is persistence. That’s just you deciding not to quit when everybody else quits or when you really feel like quitting. Don’t listen to naysayers. What do they know?

Book writing is your business. If you learn how to write a book, how to make it read great, how to market it, how to do social media, how to build an author base; whether you choose to do those things yourself or not, learn them. Whether you’re successful at them or not and decide to hire someone else to do it, you’ll be able to tell if they are doing a good job. You’ll know if they’re earning their money or if they’re ripping you off. You’ll know if they don’t know what they’re doing. And as long as you’re not lazy, you won’t get ripped off.

You will hear zillions of horror stories about “I spent $5000 and I don’t own the rights to my book” and “it never sold squat and I had to go to court” or “I could buy half a pizza with my royalties.” That does not have to be you if you learn all the aspects of the job. What is the best way to do it? Do it yourself.

That is why traditionally published authors should go through the hoops of what an independent author has to go through. To learn all the things involved in the book selling business. Because traditional published authors have to go do book signings, too. They have to have an author base. They have to have a media platform.

Same stuff as indies.

The marketing department of your publishing company may decide your book should be action-adventure when you think it’s mystery. That happened a friend of mine. But if you don’t know, you don’t know. And if you haven’t even studied these things, you’re unaware of what you don’t know.

It’s like when you go buy a car and see there’s a dealer fee and undercarriage prep. Just say, “I’ll prep my own undercarriage, thank you.” You know?

Knowing what is involved is good; being able to DO what’s involved makes you a power to be reckoned with.

Even if you still hire someone else to do things, you will be able to manage them. And even if you go traditional where other people are making these decisions, you can insist on having some input. You can know that you do or do not want to continue doing business with this publisher because they do or do not know what they’re doing. On day one, when you know nothing, they know more than you and you should take their advice; but if you can do this yourself, then on day one you’ll know some things, too. So you can ask intelligent questions. You can follow up. You can verify. You can test. You can observe. And you’ll know if they know what they’re doing. You won’t have to wonder.

You won’t be sitting there helpless when nothing’s happening. You can assume the reason your book is delayed again isn’t because the author platform is weak, it’s because the publisher doesn’t have anything left in the budget. And you can ask. Because maybe the publisher across the street has better funding.

You may not want to be a control freak, but you might not want to be powerless.

Want more great articles like this? But shorter? SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST! Get a FREE copy of “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew,” FIRST SHOT at new stories, and exclusive behind the scenes access!

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REBLOG me! And please SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.