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A Myth and a Puzzlement

I’ve often heard creative folks claim that producing art quickly or in bulk leads to lower quality.

It’s not true.

Creativity is like a muscle. Use it more, make it stronger.

Yes, muscles get tired. When’s the last time you spent so much time in creative pursuits that you were in any danger of creative burnout?

I just spent February writing 25 songs besides working on my novel and writing here and at my personal blog. Being more creative leads to being more creative. I’ll be physically exhausted long before I’m creatively exhausted.

Quality? Sure, some of the songs I wrote aren’t keepers. That’s the nature of the beast: not every song is. But when I write 14 songs in a month, 3 or 4 are excellent. When I write 25 songs in a month, 7 or 8 are excellent. Not only more excellence, but a slightly higher percentage.

I believe that if I wrote 100 songs next February, I’d create 20 or more that were as good as anything I’ve ever written.

Are You Not a Writer?

The first thing writers tell me when I say “blog weekly, two or three times if you can” is “I don’t know what to write about.”

You’re a writer, aren’t you? If the goal is to get people to part with their money for your writing, how about showing them, often, what you’re capable of?

Wrote a nonfiction book? Blog about all the stuff that didn’t make it into the book, about everything you’ve learned since it was finished.

Fiction author? Easy: make up new fiction. No, I didn’t say write a batch of deathless prose every day. Just write.

Blogging regularly is not that hard—you’re a writer.


Inviting Critics to the Arena

I may not refer directly to information presented in Brené Brown’s 99U presentation but you may find it interesting anyway.

Not pizza
A food analogy. Always a good place to start:

Join Me for Pizza

Imagine I invited you over for my amazing homemade pizza. Everything from scratch. You are, of course, delighted.

You’ve mentioned my pizza to a couple friends and wonder if they might come along. I’m feeling expansive, so why not?

By 4:30 Saturday, it’s a disaster. The sauce isn’t thick enough. The toppings aren’t grilled properly. The crust doesn’t rise enough.

Which of these options makes the most sense to you?

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Authors Starving in China

sproutsIf you’re old enough, you remember a scene, whether in real life or on TV, of a parent telling their food-fussy child “Eat your sprouts; there are children starving in China!”

(If only the kids could send their Brussel sprouts to China. But I digress.)

Do hungry children in another land make it more important for your kids to eat well? Perhaps there’s a thin, very thin, connection with showing appreciation that we don’t go wanting. Try telling that to a kid facing a pile of Brussel sprouts.

How often have you heard an author decry the lack of quality in self-published books, saying that lack of quality hurts us all?

Let’s mull this over, shall we?

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What Are the Biggest Changes in 21st Century Publishing?

Control over launching. Nobody has to wait to be picked.

Control over quality. You choose the editor, cover designer, interior layout, marketing. All of it.

Control over profits. You have a hope of affecting sales by the other things you control.

Expectation. Publishing a non-fiction is rapidly becoming an expectation for an entrepreneur. I frequently ask folks who’ve shared something brilliant “Where can I buy your book?”

Next question: When are you going to do something about it?

(Because this is such a short post, I’m including an incredibly cute photo of my Little One from a long time ago.)

Aw; isn't she cute?


Marketing Your Books in the New Age of Publishing

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1126065 by BarbaraDin http://www.sxc.hu/profile/BarbaraDinA longer diatribe about marketing your self-published book. This is a year-long class, which I’d be glad to give if y’all are interested.

Publishing is in the greatest upheaval since Gutenberg. Supporters of traditional publishing will tell you it’s the only choice, or you’re not a real author.

I’ll take the opposing view: the only rational choice, from both the artistic and commercial perspectives, is to pick yourself, own the process, and reap the rewards. Here’s why:
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Book Quality Sanity Checklist

Authors need reassurance, just like everyone. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy dandy checklist to tell you if your book was any good?

Okay, I don’t have one. But what about a list of the quality checkpoints of a superior book?

I don’t have that either, but Sandy Nathan does: Winning Book Contests. Yes, it says “book contests” but the details are applicable to your book whether you enter a contest or not.


Traditional Publishing: Keepers of the Quality?

Another of my least favorite arguments proffered by supporters of traditional publishing:

Have you seen all the junk that comes out of vanity press? Traditional publishing avoids that.

No, it doesn’t.
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