Wednesday, December 7, 2011

99 Pennies

The e-book version of Diary of a Public Radio Slave is just .99 cents through December! I want to see if the whole .99 cent phenomenon works. I will also be compiling a list of places to promote your .99 cent book. So if you haven't purchased the book go do it! Now. Now I said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Year of Wonders

I just finished reading Alex Shakar's essay on his journey as a relatively unknown writer to hobnobbing with Joyce Carol Oates and Clive Barker.

  "It was midday on a Monday in early August of the year 2000 and the bidding on my first novel had reached six figures, then paused for people to track down more cash. I was 32. I’d never made over $12,000 in a year."

All the attention and anticipation leading up to his novel's release comes crashing down when 9/11 happens just eight days before the book's release. His novel, The Savage Girl, has now been translated into six languages so everything worked out. It's also the newest edition to my wish list on Amazon so he's got that going for him as well.

My favorite part of the article is when Shakar is on a shoot for Details magazine to promote the book and is dressed in an 80s getup and directed to:
"“And jump off that bench.”  She pointed.  “And throw out your arms and kick up your heels.”"

I've never kicked up my heels. I'm sure I'd probably throw out my back if I did.

The Year of Wonders

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comedy Writing for Network Television

A few weeks ago there was an article popping up everywhere about Saturday Night Life accepting freelance jokes for Weekend Update, and that if your joke was accepted SNL would pay you $100. The guy who was being interviewed had supposedly sent in thousands of jokes and only one had been used on-air. So how does one submit jokes to SNL? The article talks about a "fax list." A mysterious list that only really funny comedy dudes know about.

I felt pretty good after reading this article. Why? Because I had a joke on Weekend Update back in the 90's when I was still too young to buy booze. I was an intern at SNL when I was 19--that was my in. The joke was accepted after my internship was over and I was back home in Kansas living in my parent's basement. I sent the joke to SNL's fax machine. Because this was before email and the internet......I'm old.

SNL paid me $100 for the joke. Apparently NBC does not account for inflation since $100 bucks is still the going rate. I think I still have that fax number written down somewhere. I need to find it and see if it works. But I wanted to see if there were any other articles out there discussing this "fax list" and how to get on it.

The one article I found discussing this list is by Dan French. He breaks down what to do if you want to write comedy for a network television show. It's worth the read, although he doesn't specify how to get on the list. Here's what I suggest: If you want to write jokes for SNL or David Letterman, or C-SPAN, call their front desk and ask how to do it. Receptionists know everything.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Writer's Personal Websites

One of the things I enjoy about scouring "the internets" for writing related articles and stories is checking out writer's personal websites and blogs. If I read a short story that I love you better believe that I am going to Google the writer just to see if they have a web presence.

A lot of authors do, but many do not, and many have really butt ugly websites. So I've decided to use the "Writer's Personal Websites" label (the label is listed over on writingsucks.com) to link to an author's site who seems to be getting it right. My first pick is young adult author and "fairy slayer" Amanda Ashby:

http://www.amandaashby.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Hard Out There For A Pimp

Randy Susan Meyer's article on promoting a book, "From Writing Quietly to Screaming "Buy Me!"--Promoting A Book," sums up the task of selling your precious book, as she says, one book at a time. It's not the job most writers look forward to, and many including me, dread. Putting yourself out there, announcing to the world with a blow-horn or a parade float that they should buy your book is cringe worthy.

But as Randy reminds us, this is your dream so "suck it up" and get on with the Twittering, Facebooking and blimp rentals.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Diary of a Public Radio Slave now available in Paperback!

The book is now available in paperback on Amazon for $9.99--and of course it is still availabe as an e-book for $2.99.

It is almost Fall pledge drive season at most public radio stations. 10% of all revenue from book sales will be donated to public radio stations across the country.

I suppose you want to know what I am going to do with  the other 90%. Buy a candy bar? Buy a first-class stamp? Make wishes in a well? I'm hoping to make enough money to buy one box of diapers for the baby. If I have enough left over I may go to Arby's.

So 10% will go to radio stations and 90% will go to diapers and curly fries. That sounds about right.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Enhancing the Reading Experience

It's about time reading got some beats--bada bing bada boom. Booktrack.com allows you to listen to a soundtrack while reading on your IPad or IPhone. If you're reading about a whale swallowing a fisherman you're going to hear that briny sea water gurgling in the back of big blubber's throat. Well maybe not, but you might hear some ambient ocean noise.

Booktrack.com is being funded by a former CEO of Paypal as well as a member of Facebook's Board of Directors, so its got some star power and money behind it. I'm not sure if I need a soundtrack while reading my favorite book, but I think it's a great idea, especially for the kids/tween market. If someone can come up with that special sound a vampire makes when his skin sparkles in the sun I'm sure this app will take off.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kindle Singles

Described as "Compelling Ideas Expressed at Their Natural Length," Amazon's Kindle Singles  are short pieces of writing, closer to a magazine article than a book. I love this idea and it is another avenue for writers to publish smaller works. The downside is that there doesn't seem to be a submission process--there are only a few titles available that have been carefully selected by Amazon editors. So Amazon when are you going to make the process open to everyone?

The pieces are anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000 words, fiction and non-fiction, and range in price from $.99 to $4.99. I think the price might be a little high, why not $.25 for something that is 5,000 words? $1.99 seems to be the "go to" figure for pricing the Singles.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tips for Publishing on Kindle

Here's what I learned from my recent foray into publishing with Amazon and the Kindle:

1. Here is the address to get started: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin I'd go ahead and bookmark it--you'll be checking it frequently to see the status of your book once you upload it.

2. Keep your document simple. Single spacing, bolded chapter titles, and page breaks at the end of each chapter are about all the formatting you need.

3. The Kindle uses HTML for formatting. Even if you are a pro at HTML the thought of scrolling through 160 pages of code is not pleasant. I was able to use Word (you can use Open Office as well) to format my document without ever seeing any real code. To do this save your document as a "Web Page, Filtered" under "Save As." You can preview your document by adding a Web Preview button to Word. Under the top bar, the Quick Access Toolbar, next to the save and undo buttons, select "More Commands". Then choose "Commands Not In The Ribbon" and add the Web Preview button.

4. Upload your document and USE THE PREVIEW WINDOW. I uploaded and noticed that my spacing and headers were off when I looked in the preview window. I decided to go ahead and publish to see what it really would look like. That decision cost me 48 hours. If I had gone ahead and used the preview window to fix some of my formatting issues, and then published, I would have had a "Live" book much sooner. Instead I waited until the crappy version published, then fixed it, and then waited again. Each change you make, even deleting a space or comma, can take 24 to 48 hours to upload.

5. Give yourself a high-five. You've just published a book!