Posts by drollins

8. How to write your best selling novel, by a best selling author.

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Articles, How to write | Comments Off on 8. How to write your best selling novel, by a best selling author.

Getting your book published. I wonder if you’ve skipped forward to this part because, like the people who jump ahead to the conclusion of a murder mystery novel, this bit is the point of it all for you. Well, like the revelation in a whodunit, the answer to getting published really has no worthwhile context unless you’ve read the previous chapters. But as you’ve cheated and you’re here, you might as well read on. “Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message. You never know who your readers might be.” – Margaret Atwood The answer to your question is, yes, the butler did it and, yes, you can get published. In fact, as I said on page one (or two), getting published has never been easier. But at this point it might be worth asking yourself again why you started writing in the first place? Was there a story you were burning to tell? Were the voices in your head refusing to leave you alone? Were you hoping to write an international best seller so that, having been retrenched, you won’t have to sell your house? Were you after fame and glory? Was the attraction of lording it over you own world as God way too seductive to pass up? Perhaps it was one, all or some of these reasons. Whatever the motivations were for spending the last 12 months hunched over the word processor (rather than hitting the pub) will determine your level of satisfaction over the way in which your book is published. But first, let me give you a little insight into publishing as it stands right now. Printed books are making a bit of a comeback. The growth in eBooks has stalled. Unfortunately, they’ve stalled at around 10 per cent of the volume, which is probably the lion’s share of the profit for bookstore owners. Publishers, though, are much happier than they were, even if many of the book chains have gone. (In Australia, there used to be four big ones: Borders, Angus and Robinson, Collins and Dymocks. Now only Dymocks remains. There has been some carnage in the US too with the closing of Atlantic, Coles, Borders and others.) I’m not at all sure how much of book sales are impulse purchases, but when the retail environment is a quarter what it was, there are far less opportunities to buy. It could be that the demise of these bookstore chains and the stagnation of eBooks means that the market has stabilized and that this favors the remaining book stores, who now have a more viable business with 75 per cent of the competition skittled. I’m sure there’s a point of view about that in publishing boardrooms. None of this augurs particularly well for new authors determined to have their point published the old fashioned bookshop way. While bookshops are still ravenous for new titles, as are publishers, that hunger is probably for more Michael Connolly, Kathy Reich’s and Dean Koontz product (and the like) than it is for new blood. Many publishers these days simply don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. And the ones that do add the manuscripts to the slush pile in a closet and there they pretty much stay, because there’s not enough margin in the publishing business to hire readers to work their way through the pile, looking for the cream. If...

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Cooper, now posting on Instagram

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Articles, News | Comments Off on Cooper, now posting on Instagram

My buddy, Major Vin Cooper, late of the USAF OSI, is currently in Syria (I think…he won’t confirm in as many words) and posting daily on Instagram, when circumstances permit. I gather the posts are vaguely relevant to a novel I have written, titled, KINGDOM COME, which is set in Syria, among other places. So, if you’re interested, catch up with Vin on Instagram @vincooper04....

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The Kingdom is Coming

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Articles, News | Comments Off on The Kingdom is Coming

I said it would become available in November, but that was before reality got in the way. As of the end of November, it’s in typesetting and pagination. I’m hoping it will hit shelves and e-shelves sometime in the last half of January. When I know for sure, I’ll let you know. Sorry for the massive inconvenience. I know you’ve been losing sleep wondering what happened to it...

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6. 40 Words on Grammar.

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Articles, How to write | Comments Off on 6. 40 Words on Grammar.

#6. How to write your best selling novel, by a best selling author. If it feels right, start your sentence with and. And starting it with but is okay too. But, as I said, only if it feels right. (Your high school English teacher who taught otherwise didn’t know shit from fava beans). Please, though, don’t forget your commas. Like doesn’t make sense without them. Next: #7: The nuts and bolts of the writing...

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7. The nuts and bolts of the writing process.

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Articles, How to write | Comments Off on 7. The nuts and bolts of the writing process.

#7. How to write your best selling novel, by a best selling author. While any number of people will tell you they have a great idea for a book (yes, yes, we’ve established that), a reasonable percentage of folks are aware that getting started ain’t easy. Indeed, as Stephen King said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” (Actually, and not surprisingly, Stephen King has said a lot of memorable things about writing. One of my favorites is, “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” He’s right. It is. Bigly.) The biggest enemy you’ll encounter when it comes to getting the job done is procrastination. It appears in all kinds of forms, many of which are completely underhanded and subversive like, “Oh, it’s gonna rain. I’d better go clean that gutter.” Or Ding! “Look, another email and this one has an exclamation mark beside it. Better open it.” Or, “Damn, I have a cold and can’t concentrate.” Or, “Hey, it’s Christmas Day.” Whatever the excuse is, stop. What you need to do is focus. It’s as easy and as difficult as that (and your kids have plenty of Christmases ahead of them, right? What’s the big deal?) “Write drunk. Edit sober.” – Ernest Hemmingway To get your book written, you will have to employ some hard and fast rules and stick to them. Every writer who manages to complete a manuscript more or less every year will tell you they are very disciplined – they have to be to stick to that schedule. Break it down. Your average novel is around 120,000 words. That’s 120,000 divided by 11 months (forget December. If you’re married with kids, it gets swallowed completely by the monster called Christmas. Yes, I know, bah humbug). That’s around 11,000 words you have to write each month. Or around 3,000 words a week. You can keep the math going yourself to get a daily word count. It doesn’t seem so onerous. But miss a few days here and there and the word count has to go up if you’re to stay on track rather than slide down the slippery slope. When I’m focused and working on a novel at the exclusion of everything else — something I’m less able to do these days for a number of reasons — I look to bank around 2000 words a day on the hard drive. That’s 10,000 a week, 40,000 a month, etc. It’s kind of Herculean when I look at it on paper. It’s a hell of a pace to keep up, but I managed it for around ten years. In fact, I once wrote a novel from go to whoa in four months. But then I developed a deep vein thrombosis, which became a pulmonary embolism, which put me in intensive care for 3 weeks and should have killed me. It’s impossible to keep that kind of pace going. These days, I’m happy if I save anywhere upward of 1200 words a day. If I’m working on another project (like this one, for example), I will go back to my novel daily and at least try to advance the story. Even if it’s to read the last chapter and edit it. Invariably I get sucked into the story and add to it also – that’s just the way I work. “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” -Douglas Adams And just to put to the sword one particularly onerous excuse I’ve heard people yammer who have yet to write their book — but will someday, they assert —...

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