Monthly Archives: March 2016

Welcome to the game of self-publishing – my draft Prezi for Melbourne Writers’ Group

Next Tuesday, 29 March is a new milestone in my budding author career – I will be presenting to Melbourne Writer’s Group on the basics of self-publishing. If you happen to be in Melbourne, please feel free to come to Cafe Republic at 160 Toorak Rd, South Yarra at 6pm.

If you can’t make it due to the late notice and prohibitive costs of international travel, I’d love for you to have a look at my draft Prezi.

game of self publishing

I would also love to get your comments and suggestions – it was really hard to come up with just the right amount of “how to self-publish” content for 30 minutes. The Prezi is meant to be a prompt, rather than a comprehensive guide, as I will be talking and showing live applications as people ask questions. I have plugged my blog several times, which I hope is ok, since I am speaking strictly from my experience. If you know of any other online “self-publishing in 30 minutes” guide, please let me know!

The workshop is aimed at people who have never published, but it would be great to hear from both not yet published and self-published writers. If you’ve self-published already – what were your main lessons learned? If you’ve never published – what scares you the most?

Wish me luck!


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

How to Get Amazon Reviews Before your Kindle Book is Published

Aaah…a loophole around screwy Amazon rules…good to know for when I launch Indiot.


Coming on April 20, 2016! Coming on April 20, 2016!

I screwed up. I admit it. But sometimes screwing up turns out to be a great thing. Like when Alexander Fleming screwed up and accidentally invented penicillin. My screw-up wasn’t that important to humanity, but I bet a lot of authors and small publishers will be really excited to find out what I did, and how they can screw up exactly the way I did!

First, some background. Last year I wrote a book called Entropy, that has done pretty well. And since late last fall, I’ve been working on a sequel, called Duality. (Click that to pre-order for Kindle.) As with the first book, I’m using CreateSpace to do a print-on-demand paperback version that is to die for. I absolutely love the quality of these CreateSpace books. And I’m using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to make the Kindle version. I’m not doing…

View original post 597 more words


Filed under Shizzle, Inc.

Out of writing shape

Is happiness a good enough excuse for not writing as much as you thought you should or could? I was kind of depressed a couple of weeks ago, and then really happy last week. The end result is still the same – falling behind the plan. The bad news is that my tracking spreadsheet looks like this:

Tracking Indiot 11 March 2016

The good news? After two weeks of editing and cutting frustration, procrastination, relaxation, and a whole bunch of other flatlining activities, I finally wrote 3,000 words today. I feel both exhausted and hopeful because something occurred to me.

I’m just unfit.

Not physically, although that one also needs work – I’m out of writing shape. After finally lifting 3,000 words off the ground, I know that I can do it again. I have the vision of what it might feel like to be “writing fit” – to have the discipline and confidence of sitting down and writing a few thousand words without feeling out of breath or close to a stroke. It’s just like exercise – you have to start somewhere, and then do a little more every day, until it comes naturally.

I know I can do it because I had a similar epiphany with physical fitness.  I used to be all soft and pudgy when I moved to Australia from the US almost eight years ago, your typical office worker. I frequented all you can eat buffets and worked out by reading while pedalling on the stationary bike. It was not until I started lifting weights that things began to change. I remember the first time I noticed muscle definition in my arm one morning while brushing my teeth. The first time I ran after a tram and caught it, and the first time I felt the “corset” of the core muscles working even as I walked. Then there was a huge mental leap, too – to accept that I was not genetically fated to be pudgy, that the body I had was the result of my choices, and that I could be an “antelope” as I liked to think of myself.

A lot of people don’t know what it feels like to be fit, and I now accept that I simply don’t know what it feels like to be able to write two or three thousand words every day without fail. All I can say is that I had one hell of a writing workout today.

Hope to see some definition in my writing arm tomorrow!


Filed under Shizzle, Inc.

How many words a day should you write, and other things I’ve learned in my first week as a full-time writer

It’s Friday night here, In Australia, and Week 1 of this full-time writing experiment is drawing to a close. If you’ve seen my work plan, I was supposed to have written 20,000 words. So, how did I go?

Well, I’ve had five leisurely breakfasts on my balcony.

IMG_2806 (1)

Oh, you want to know about the word count? Well, that’s complicated…

I estimate that I’ve written 15 to 20 thousand words over the last five days. The reason I can’t report the number with my usual precision is that I’ve deleted so much of the already-written text, I’m only 2,739 words ahead. That’s less than my planned daily quota. In fact, today I’ve worked for eight hours and ended up with about 500 words less than I had last night. Blin!

I am, however, very pleased with my current efforts. To start with, I overcame a major writer’s block – Monday was hard, as I went into some kind of shock of “this is it, sit down and produce a masterpiece.” I did sit down at my new desk, but managed to push out only 1K of words, and I could tell they were not gold.

Tuesday morning was a bit better, but my afternoon and evening were taken up by babysitting my niece and a writer’s group. I managed another 1K of pedestrian dribble.

It was Wednesday when I decided to stop forcing myself and to get reacquainted with my own work. I started writing in September, and it’s been so long that the manuscript read as if a stranger wrote it. A dull, tired stranger with a dayjob that sucks all of her creative energy, living nothing for character development, leave alone comedy.

Conventional writing wisdom dictates that you’re not supposed to edit your first draft until it’s finished, but I had no choice. There was every writing faux pas imaginable – from telling instead of showing, to boring filler fluff, to characters that reacted inappropriately and/or inconsistently, to finally (gasp!) a Deus ex Machina.

A magical thing happened on Wednesday, as I mercilessly slashed paragraph after paragraph. I started falling in love with the story again. I finally knew I was on the right path when, after I cleaned up and rearranged a major scene, I had goosebumps reading it. I could not stop working that day, finally forcing myself to go to bed around midnight. I then got up at least twice to turn on the light and write ideas on a huge whiteboard I have in my bedroom, so that I can finally go to sleep. It didn’t work very well – I woke up at 4.30, tried the whiteboard trick again, but had to admit defeat and make coffee instead.

The week is technically not over, so I should be able to add to the pile in the next two days, but currently I’m at 36K words. Entertaining, quality words that I would not be ashamed to send to a structural editor or beta-reader. Considering that Shizzle, Inc ended up being only 79K words, I’m almost half-way through Indiot.

I’m not only happy with the current progress, I’m very hopeful that I might have learned something about how I work. Forget all the rules – if editing helps you avoid writer’s block, then edit. If it paralyses you, then don’t even look at the first pages. How many words should you write every day? Well, that’s also up to you. I could not help but google this and found a pretty interesting article detailing average daily word output of famous authors. The morale of the article is that you should find your own pace.

The only thing I can add to that is that you should have fun, too.


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing