The Copy Trick to Leveling Up Your Writing

(Image: One of the polygraphs used by Thomas Jefferson, a portable version —… Neat “machine.” I saw it in person visiting Monticello once and was excited because I’d just read we know what we seem to know about Rome thanks to Cicero, who seems to have made copies of all his correspondence. Jefferson has always been a hero of mine, and the more I learn the more important he seems to be, even as other figures diminish in my eyes, but that’s another blog, of course. For this post I remembered Jefferson’s polygraph, as it literally penned two copies of what you were writing.)

I read once that you tend to write like you’re reading, meaning if you’re reading Clive Barker and writing at the same time you might be surprised to see your writing resembling Clive Barker, for example. And then I found it to be true! We pick up little mannerisms, sometimes, from those around us, and so on, but it seems true enough that any of us might be liable to mimic or pick things up just as we might influence those we hang with in the same way. But when it comes to writing this is kind of neat. In fact you can use it. For one thing, you might not jump around too much in your reading if you’re cranking out those last few chapters of your own book, at least not too wildly in terms of style of what you’re reading. And it’s a neat way to inform, guide, and influence your own writing — Read someone you admire the writing of while you write or edit. (The larger lesson is READ! Those who read a lot never feel like they do, those who don’t care to read much might not make the best writers, obviously, right?)

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Good Writing

STEVE MARTIN SAID, “Comedy is making people laugh without making them puke.” That, in essence is what good writing can be, striking a delicate balance that entertains and informs in most of our cases, without breaking milieu, being more interested in our subject than interested in ourselves, and just talking genuinely. As Hemingway said, and I paraphrase, “All first drafts are shit,” so it’s important to also understand good writing is developed, rarely simply spewed. But by flowing through a first draft and an optimum number of passes in editing, you too can bring out your inner writer in the best light and get results with your writing.

“Great writing” and “great writers” are other subjects.

Good writing depends on your genre and purpose.

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Starting a Video Podcast Live Stream: An Open Letter to Robert

Hey my friend!

Let’s please reschedule our call of tomorrow (Will the next Friday, 4/28/23, same time 12:30 p.m. there work?) but do send me any current questions and here’s an update for video podcasting so far (more to come of course):

This is what I’ve concluded so far as the best way to get started with a video channel on YouTube. I am taking into account cost and ease and the ability to do a number of things. Continue reading “Starting a Video Podcast Live Stream: An Open Letter to Robert”

A “Healthy Book” and a “Seasoned Book”

In writing about creating credibility with a book, I realized I have TWO standards to go by based on experience, and a caveat.

First, the caveat: A book created for credibility without taking at least a minimum of best practices into account can BACKFIRE, or actually cost you credibility. There are pretty good and painfully amusing examples. When I explain what I consider a “healthy book” just consider those elements NOT being present in the “unhealthy” one, and you’ll understand.

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How to Make $10,000 Right Away with Your Book

When I was a partner in a small publishing house we had a client, Matt, who became a friend, who was also creating our website (which was $10,000, but has nothing to do with the title of this post — then again, maybe it does, please read on). He had previously written and published a short book he made available on his website as a PDF, but was not yet published broadly otherwise.

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Author Websites

Do you need an author website?

  • Are you trying to sell just one book and that’s all you plan to have? — Then you might not need a website (although you might need or want one), and you might not need an email campaign either.
  • Are you trying to sell just one book with more planned or have several books? — Then yes, you need an author website.
  • Are you working on becoming (or are you) a full-time author? — Well, definitely.

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How to Sell More Books

I JUST KNOW when the live podcast starts in a few weeks MANY of the questions will be exactly, “How do I sell more books?” The one time I gave a presentation from stage (2015 in Irvine, California at a conference) it was the first question asked. A former client called a month ago and asked the same thing, and we only had a few seconds to talk, so I really didn’t get to answer him. And you know how you think of the perfect thing to say AFTER you had the chance to say it, sometimes? What I needed to ask him before anything else was, “What have you tried?” Continue reading “How to Sell More Books”