24 August, 2016

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one blog post

By |2023-06-09T11:00:20-07:00August 24, 2016|Resources, Social Media, Writing|Comments Off on The journey of a thousand miles begins with one blog post

I have a friend who is deeply passionate about a certain subject. My friend’s spent years reading every book and article written on, and watching every documentary made about, the subject. He’s studied and thought about it deeply. He feels that he now has something to contribute to the global conversation. But, my friend doesn’t have any academic credentials in the subject. He’s not a member of any online (or offline) interest groups. And, he hasn’t yet written any books or articles on the subject. His study has been done mostly in isolation.

He recently asked me if I thought anyone would read books or articles by him on the subject. I had to answer, “I don’t know.” The question was impossible to answer with a definitive yes or no without some knowledge of his potential readers and without having read his yet unwritten writing.

I did have a recommendation, however, as […]

22 August, 2016

Yes, you can become an author!

By |2023-06-09T11:00:33-07:00August 22, 2016|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Yes, you can become an author!

Writing is simply a number of sentences strung together. Remember the paper chains that you made as a child? One slip of paper rolled and wrapped around another until a chain was formed that stretched from one end of the room to the other. That’s how you write your book.

Create small, manageable writing goals. Start by just writing a single paragraph. That’s all. Just one simple paragraph. You can do that, right? If so, your first goal has just been accomplished!

As a writer, it’s easy to get swamped by the mountain of things to do before your book gets finished. Add to that the burden authors today must carry of promoting and marketing their books, and it is so easy to get discouraged.

There is a solution, however! It’s simply this: Create small goals that can be easily accomplished. A friend once shared with me her story on her experience of […]

10 May, 2016

The Perfect Is the Enemy of the First Draft

By |2023-06-09T11:00:45-07:00May 10, 2016|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on The Perfect Is the Enemy of the First Draft

Many writing coaches recommend writing the first draft of a blog post, chapter, or scene as quickly as possible without stopping to rewrite or edit. The idea is once you’ve got that first draft down, however imperfect, you’ll have broken through your writer’s block and procrastination, and accelerated the entire writing process. That’s not how I do it. I rewrite each sentence several times before moving on to the next. I pause to fact check, to look in the thesaurus for the exact right word, to get more coffee, to watch of few minutes of “Better Call Saul”…

Though I knew it would be difficult for me, I decided to try the technique to create the first draft of this article. I started my timer and set about getting four hundred words down in the shortest time possible, without rewriting or editing. My subject: The First Draft. It took me thirteen […]

8 March, 2016

In praise of editing

By |2023-06-09T11:00:58-07:00March 8, 2016|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on In praise of editing

Years ago I was reading the bestselling A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (on which the 2015 motion picture of the same name, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, is based) and found a typo on one of the first pages. The word the was spelled “th”. How could this be? The book was published by Random House, one of the Big Five! How had all of their copyeditors and proofreaders, not to mention spell checkers, missed it? How had the hundreds of advance copy readers failed to report it?

I told one of the editors here at Wheatmark about my discovery. This editor happened to be a voracious reader. She started circling all the misspellings, typos, or instances of bad grammar that she found in any major publisher’s book she read, and flagging the offending pages with […]

8 February, 2016

Ten Steps to a Finished Book

By |2023-06-09T11:01:09-07:00February 8, 2016|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Ten Steps to a Finished Book

At Wheatmark we’ve worked with thousands of authors, and based on this experience I am proposing this ten-step process for writing your next nonfiction book. This process incorporates blogging in advance of your book’s release, so that you get a head start on building an audience for your book.

1. Make a chapter outline of your book. All you need is enough detail to describe what you are promising to give the reader in each chapter.

2. Get input on your outline from a trusted reader or editor. This should be someone who is a reader of the type of nonfiction book you are writing. Revise the chapter outline based on their input. Repeat as needed.

3. Now that you have a finalized chapter outline, write each chapter as a blog post, immediately posting each chapter on your blog as you finish it. Point all of your followers on social media to each […]

11 January, 2016

The Egg That Hatched The Martian

By |2023-06-09T11:01:14-07:00January 11, 2016|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on The Egg That Hatched The Martian

By now many of you have seen the popular science fiction movie released in October, The Martian, starring Matt Damon. I’m sure that many of you have also read the bestselling book of the same name by Andy Weir on which the movie is based. But, I suspect, that many of you don’t know the story of Weir’s journey from aspiring author to publishing phenom.

Weir’s lifelong ambition was to become a published working science fiction author. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he wrote a couple of sci-fi novels and submitted them to multiple agents and publishers. He even took a couple of years off from working as a computer programmer to focus exclusively on his writing career. Unfortunately, he received rejection after rejection from both agents and publishing houses.

Weir went back to work as a programmer, but, undeterred, continued writing, posting his writing on his own blog at […]

26 October, 2015


By |2023-06-09T11:09:39-07:00October 26, 2015|Authors Academy, Writing|Comments Off on Procrastination

“Procrastination.” In many circles, it’s a dirty word.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today,” it’s said.

All of us are guilty of it, though… at least a little bit, from time to time.

For many of us, one of the activities we’re most likely to procrastinate over is also one of the most important: writing.

You see, all of us can benefit from writing regularly, whether it’s for our business goals, to tell a story that needs to be told, or simply to pass on family history to the next generation.

But regardless of subject, it can be hard to get motivated and start, continue, or finish a project—particularly a lengthy one, like a full-length book.

There’s something about staring at that empty page…

Here’s a quick tip for you if you’re stuck on a book project right now and can’t seem to make any progress.

It’s an old trick I learned from my […]

9 October, 2015

Writer’s Block

By |2023-06-09T11:10:19-07:00October 9, 2015|Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Writer’s Block

Hypergraphia is a behavioral disorder I sometimes wish to be stricken with, if only temporarily. People with hypergraphia have an intense and uncontrollable desire to write, and usually churn out page after page, hour upon hour, day after day. Sometimes what they write is chaotic and disorganized, but other times they write The Brothers Karamazov or Alice in Wonderland. (Both Dostoevsky and Carroll are thought to have had hypergraphia.)

I, unfortunately, most often suffer from the opposite condition, writer’s block, sometimes called hypographia. We all know what a serious condition that can be! If left untreated it can lead to the loss of followers, a reduction in the quality and quantity of likes, being an unpublished writer, reduced earnings, and generalized anonymity. Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there. Just type “writer’s block” into your search engine and you will see what I mean. There are […]

29 May, 2015

Is the self-publishing stigma fading?

By |2023-06-09T11:12:17-07:00May 29, 2015|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Is the self-publishing stigma fading?

My colleague Roger forwarded me this article the other day.

It asks the question: “Is the self-publishing stigma fading?”

The author who wrote it notes that he jumped on the indie bandwagon back in 2010—“when the concept of being an indie author was still relatively new.”

That made my colleague Atilla laugh, since he helped launch Wheatmark back in the year 2000—ten years before that!

Anyway, the author’s point is essentially “yes.” The self-publishing stigma is fading… but it may never go away entirely.

I enjoy articles like this, but I’d take the author’s point even one step further: I think indie authors, or self-publishers (or whatever you want to call them), actually have an advantage in today’s market.

Case in point: check out the article at this link, which tracks e-book sales.

(My thanks to Simple Marketing System client Ginny Lieto for bringing this article to my attention!)

This article talks about the disadvantage that […]

5 May, 2015

There are only two words to describe this

By |2023-06-09T11:12:36-07:00May 5, 2015|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on There are only two words to describe this

Several readers—including Wheatmark client Yasmin John-Thorpe—sent me the link to this article last week.

As I said in the subject line of this email, there are only two words to describe the piece, which is all about Author Solution’s (ASI’s) business practices:

“Horror show.”

It’s a lengthy article, and I recommend reading it in its entirety.

I also recommend forwarding it to any and all of your friends and colleagues—in particular, any one you know who’s contemplating self-publishing.

The only reason ASI is able to so easily prey on authors is a lack of knowledge on the part of the writing public—especially first-time authors.

Unfortunately, some of the US’ top trade publishers are complicit in this “deal with the devil,” including, of course, Penguin/Random House, who bought ASI three years ago.

You can read about the quotas the salespeople at ASI have to hit each month to keep their jobs, and you’ll also discover how many […]


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