Reaching

Back in the coffee shop. Getting ready for a productive morning of writing. I’ve got edits and more edits and an outline I need to finish, but I spent a little time getting caught up. Scalzi has this lovely piece about friends that I’d put up on my mental-nightstand; he posits that, despite the currents of mid-life, he’s made more and better friends than he would have otherwise. I appreciate his observations about conventions in this article, and to tell the truth, his words make me want to get back to Detroit and elsewhere. I think, “Hanging out in hotel bars, staying up late with deep (and not so deep) conversations about work and life” might actually be my favorite thing about this business. It’s not something I do too often and when it happens it’s usually memorable and a breath of fresh, adult air.

So I find myself drawn to a theme. Myke Cole makes the cogent observation; he writes “to not be alone.” This blog post feels a lot like a mirror, reflecting an image of my feelings back. Hell yes, most of the time I feel alone and so, despite being surrounded by people in a little coffee shop on a tiny island, I write lonely. But always, I’m writing because I wonder what you’ll think of what I’ve written.

It’s a strange business this. With the recent release of Immortality Chronicles I’ve been watching, with a touch of jealousy, as authors and readers post “in the wild” pictures of the anthology. The sense of accomplishment I feel when I send off a manuscript for publication feels somewhat incomplete because, in the back of my brain, I’m haunted by the simple question “Will they like it?”

The “wild” shots of a book, made possible only through the invention of social media, seem to be closure to that loop. Crazy, can you imagine life for authors before everyone had a camera in their pocket and an internet connection? In any event I know I’m looking forward to seeing more covers with my name on them showing up on Pinterest.

This reminds me of some really useful insight. Jane McGonigal has a new book out. SuperBetter is the pulp version of her excellent health game and its one of those things I can’t recommend enough. One of Jane’s key messages and possibly the one that I find the most helpful is a reminder that “You’re surrounded by potential allies.”

Writers this is important for you because you likely feel like a voice in the wilderness too. Here’s the catch, you can’t be the one to refuse the help.

Scalzi is right, this business is just jam-packed full of friend potential. If it is more difficult in mid-life — and I agree it is — to make and keep friends then at least in one respect science fiction writers and lovers have a huge advantage over the rest of the world. We’re most likely near our potential dearest.

It’s been three weekends that I’ve missed my writing group now. Guys, I’m kicking myself as much as you might be poking needles into voodoo dolls of me. I know that you deserve my full measure of attention, and I appreciate your patience. Things have just been crazy here. I will be there next Sunday. And Melissa, thanks for the kind words. They picked me up right when I needed them.

Same goes for the rest of you. Feeling a little isolated sitting in front of your keyboard? Start by reaching out to the people who will lift you up.

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Don’t Forget to Dream

D.S.I Helium 3 Transport Vehicle by Adam Burn

I’m sitting in the coffee shop; A-bear is playing his heart over at preschool, and I’m just not getting into it this morning. Derp move number one, I’ve been tugging at my chin hairs while I read from the ever expanding athenaeum of “Advice Offered to Writers on Writing and Stuff.” The truth of the matter is that I’m not sure what I’m going to write next, and my Twitter feed has once again delivered up this highly distracting narrative in which I willingly participate. Hunched over and fuming, once more, it occurs to me that this is not a good way to live your life.

More importantly, it doesn’t seem like a very productive way to spend your precious writing time.

It’s probably not helping that the new baristas have changed up the music, and I’ve since had to plug my headphones in and crank up the subtle white noise of Coffitivity. Yeah, that’s right, I’m listening to “Morning Murmur” — a recording of a coffee shop while sitting in an actual cafe drinking coffee — how’s that for bathos?

“So what, precisely, is the problem Matt?” you ask.

Well, I started with this blog post from the esteemed and successful Chuck Wendig: Peaks and Valleys: The Financial Realities of a Writer’s Life. Realize, in no way is this me jumping onto his current cluster event. Rather, it’s me taking a critical look at why I seem to come away from his advice posts feeling defeated and ready to quit.

This post and the advice it references are just one member of a distinguished lineage of columns I’d like to label “The Stark Reality Collection.” I’m starting to wonder if it’s even possible for authors, especially those in the SFF community, first to begin making a living from their work and later not tell the world how hard it’s going to be. Often I come away from reading this stuff convinced I’ve done everything wrong. I live in the wrong place, I know all the wrong people, I didn’t go to the right school, or workshop, I write the wrong things, and I put my pants on the wrong way — that’s how wrong I feel.

Defeated before I begin, my options seem limited. Maybe I should just take Wendig’s intimation and “move on to more stable ground.”

Here’s the thing. Fiction moves me. Let me say that again. FICTION MOVES ME. I love a good story. Terry Pratchett’s farewell piece The Sheperd’s Crown recently reduced me to a blubbering mess more than once. And I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from my recent readings of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Wild Shore Triptych.

I know that I’ve discovered my earthworm. I know that my stories are good enough, and my writing is compelling and entertaining. And yes, I love doing this, even when it’s fucking difficult.

Standing up to assert these strong feelings of self-determination and conviction I rip the headphone out of my computer and nearly dump hot coffee all over my lap. “But really,” I say to myself taking a calming breath. “I don’t need anyone to tell me how hard it’s going to be.”

Want to help successful-author-making-a-living-from-your-words? Stop telling everyone about the big pile of shit we can look forward to wading. That’s the thing about piles of crap; they’re apparent. Everyone knows that they’re there, usually because, much like yourselves, we’re busy trying to clean it off our shoes.

Better, tell us what moves you. Why did you stick with writing even when you weren’t sure when your next meal was coming? What do you do in the morning to warm up for writing? What inspired some piece of fiction we can’t put down. How do you deal with criticism fro your readers or even your editor? Writer’s, especially the good ones, I’ve realized have developed strategies to exceed the piles of crap life leaves on our paths.

I write a lot, I don’t sell a lot (yet). I know that I’ve yet to develop a “real” audience. The numbers necessary to lift me out of this valley just aren’t there yet. This is the sole reason I keep looking into the Library of Stark Reality. I’m looking for feasible ways to grow my audience as I get ready for near term release dates. Want to help? Tell me about the concrete things you did to expand your audience.

And while I acknowledge that it won’t always be easy, this morning I’m resolved that as I build my author platform and find more readers, I will endeavor to imagine with audacity. The boundaries that limit me aren’t worth talking about except when exceeded.

 

The Day I Knew I Would Make It

I have come to discover through earnest personal experience and dedicated learning that ultimately the greatest help is self-help; that there is no other help but self-help— doing one’s best, dedicating one’s self wholeheartedly to a given task, which happens to have no end but is an ongoing process. I have done a lot during these years of my process. A swell in my process, I have changed from self-image actualization to self-actualization, from blindly following propaganda, organized truths, etc. to searching internally for the cause of my ignorance.

The Warrior Within : The Philosophies of Bruce Lee (1996)

This is my third attempt at this post. But this time I know exactly where I’m headed, what I want to say.

This morning the company, where my wife has worked a mere six weeks, shut its doors. An unfortunate turn of events for all involved, something juxtaposed next to catastrophe for us. We’ve been struggling since I got sick. Every time it appears we’ve found our stride something or someone trips us up. I think worse, we’re both exhausted. That’s just the way it is, the only thing left to do now is take the next step along the path. Acceptance does not matter.

I just took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Always an adequate salve when the need arises. It’s hot and muggy once again so I walked as fast as I could, trying to whip up a cooling breeze without breaking a sweat.

This go at writing feels about the same. Walk only fast enough to get the breeze without overheating. Pacing is important, it makes the long road possible and the dream achievable. And despite all the ups and downs of employment, health and finance, I still have a dream. I am dedicated to the practice of writing.

Thursday I will rise long before the sunshine and head to airport. I will board an airplane and head to DetCon1. There is momentum in this run, maybe not much, but who can afford in the marathon that is life to sit and lose the race?

The New Grand Strategy

As things so often do, change has come to my family’s doorstep. Tess and I have been adapting rapidly and re-prioritizing and as a result we’ve instituted The New Grand Strategy.

Movement

Colorado is my home state, and being here on the Western Slope has been enjoyable, however, the old saying “you can never go home” hits the nail on the head (to mix metaphors). That is to say, we’re planning on relocating. Soon. Tentatively, we imagine we’ll end up back on the West Coast and of the possible locations where we might settle Seattle and the Sound, we feel, might work out well.

As the potential for (yet another) move entered our conversations we’ve really had to think about the parts of our lifestyle and careers that we’d like to emphasize. As much as I love the landscapes of the Rockies and the Canyon country that sits at its feet, none of this enhances my situation. In fact, while I still get out into it, the pattern is that trail heads are often out of reach for want of time and resources. So I spend an inordinate amount of time pining away for something I am not independently wealthy enough to obtain.

Yep, I’ll probably never again be a working Wilderness Guard. And I’ve made my peace with that, as best as I can. The West Coast has some advantages for us as a family — jobs in our industry, culture in which we can participate, friends we love and miss, public transportation we’ll use, and, yes, even some amazing landscapes which, when viewed through the lens of air pollution currently settled on the Grand Valley, seem very attractive if at times a little moist.

Health

I tend not to talk or write about this much, but my health has been generally good. I haven’t had a seizure in more than a year and I haven’t needed medication to control the seizures for more than eighteen months. (thank the gods above and below). Ultimately, that little episode has resulted in a renewed and enhanced focus on my health. I like to think about it as if I were playing a video game and needing to manage my resources to stay alive through each successive encounter (groan, yeah I’m a nerd).

In the upper right corner of my consciousness are three Health levels — PHY, SPI, MEN — in the past I focused on my physical health, much to the exclusion of my spiritual and mental health. I guess I figured, with naiveté, that if I could run thirty miles at the drop of a hat the other aspects of my being would necessarily take care of themselves. Unfortunately, not so.

These days I apply a great deal of attention to these levels, so, if there was some good that came from that period of my life it resides here. Believe me, seizures are terrify.

Employment

Now that my health is stable and my memory is better we have decided that it might be a good thing for me to put myself forward once again. Yes, this is a call for action. Finding employment is never easy, and I’m spreading my résumé around the internet liberally, but I’m hoping to harness the power of social networks here too. I have many friends and acquaintance and I’d love to impose upon you, especially those of you with whom I’ve previously worked. You know what I am capable of and the best endorsement I can imagine comes from you.

My résumé is posted here. And, as usual I am always available via phone call and email. If you know of an operations engineering position or project management role, I thank you in advance for passing it along.

Self-Employment

If you read that last section and wondered to yourself “What about the boy? What about the writing?” you’re not the only one. Care of the boy and more words will continue to happen. This has been my full time occupation for a while now and relative to anything I might do in technology I enjoy it a great deal more. This should come as no surprise. Said no stay-at-home parent ever, “Gosh, I’m rolling in too much cash. I suppose I should toss another load of laundry in and roll myself hipster cigarettes with spare $100 bills.”

UP SLOPE is nearly complete. It will be delivered to the editor thereafter, and you should expect to see it on Amazon soon. I have several additional projects that are in various stages of outlining, including book three in the sports in space series. I am anticipating writing this one a great deal and it’s been a real struggle not skipping ahead to this project while I’ve got some things to take care of with UP SLOPE.

Even if my word count drops a bit, the writing will continue.

Excellent Article on Forbes

Oh yes, please strip away the mystery. Really enjoyed this article. Plan on reading it again, and then maybe one more time just to make certain the meaning sinks in.

Michael J. Sullivan, author of HOLLOW WORLD gives some excellent advice for indies as well.

Run a Giveaway – Sullivan gives away advanced reader copies (ARCs) of his books on Goodreads up to 6 months before the book is available in print.  This gives the books more value to contest winners who read them before the general public.  “I was only giving away two copies but 2,700 people entered and I got the member names for all of them,” Sullivan told me.  In addition, each contest entry generated a story on that person’s activity feed on Goodreads, which became free advertising for the book.

Build a List – In Sullivan’s world, building readers can be a one on one chore, but the numbers add up quickly.  “I used to go to malls and stand in a bookstore for an event for three hours and I’d get 5 people to read my book.  But then they’d write back to me and some of them would become fans and recommend my books.”  Goodreads makes the same process much easier.

Participate in The Community – Sullivan stresses a central point about communities – they treat others in the community best.  The secret to being promoted within a community like Goodreads is being a good citizen and participating not just as an author but as a reader.  Sullivan was also one of the first authors to friend virtually every reader who gave his books positive ratings.  As a result he now has over 51,000 reviews of his books on Goodreads.

 

Don’t Be Jealous

The next person who tells me to “just keep writing” is going to get a punch in the nose. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme. Okay, not “maybe,” it is extreme. So don’t worry, I probably won’t punch you if you tell me to keep at what I’m already doing. But here’s the deal, friends. Since setting out on this path last Summer, all official-like, with the intent to make a go of writing as a career, I have written. I have written when I felt sick. I have written when I was tired. I have written, written, written. I have written from odd locations and under unusual circumstances. I have written. And, as a result of all this writing, I’ve got a pile of words. Some of which I have even edited, packaged, and am trying to sell.

Writing (and reading) are what I do. I take care of chores around the house so I can write. I take advantage of opportunities when my son can go play with kids his age in order to write. I move my calendar around, ask for help from friends and relatives, and re-prioritize my finances all so I can write. I’m writing plenty and I will continue to write.

What I’m discovering is that, just like any other small sole proprietorship (save dealing crystal meth), getting this thing off the ground is a lot of hard work and, more importantly, disappointment. And despite constantly stoking the fire of my small business it feels much like I’m blowing on punky, damp wood. I am trying to understand what I am doing wrong, but honestly, this thing sometimes feels a lot like failure.

Being an Indie is Hard, Really Hard

Society has stacked the cards against self-publishing authors. It is possible that you all have way too much to do, too much taking up your time. A friend posted this image on Facebook today and it illustrates at least in part what mean.

As I got closer to getting “The Big Red Buckle” ready for publication I started to think seriously about the many ways I might get the book into the hands of readers. This blog went through an iterative remapping process (still underway), I re-worked my trail running pages into author pages, and started pouring the foundation of my social media presence as an author. I researched different methods of getting my pages to market, considering the pros and cons of a handful of services. I pulled money from savings to finance imprints and editing.

And I guessed that of the 515 friends I have on Facebook I might expect at least 5% of you guys to say “Oh hey, look what Matt did this time. I might try his book just so I have something to tease him about.” So far 2% of you have earned that leverage.

Come on nerds, if a bowl can get 50k likes why can't my book get 100?

Come on nerds, if a bowl can get 50k likes why can’t my book get 100?

But I understand. I get up in the morning and crawl toward the coffee pot, too. I write to you today at the foot of a mountain of laundry — washed, dried, and folded waiting to be carted off and put away — there are so many thing to be done. So I am eternally thankful to the 2% of you who have bothered to put off your favorite re-run episode of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix in order to spend an evening with my book.

But this next part is for those of you who have expressed interest in this path. If you’re not up for the disappointment of staring day after day at sales numbers that never move, don’t envy me. Not even a little bit. If you’re not interested in trying to find out what will hook people in general, let alone your friends and family, by experiencing failure after attempted failure, then this is not the life for you.

Closed Doors

One of the things I’m discovering about indie publishing is that while some doors have been removed there are a lot of closed doors out there still. While the old game of submitting your work to publishers who will only accept something if you’re a “good bet” is a thing of the past, my experience is teaching me that readers may not accept your work. What this means to you as the writer, and the sole risk taker in your own little enterprise, is that the door just got moved. It is still there. The reading public just controls the knob now. And this means that you’re competing with all sorts of entertainments and distractions, head to head, for their attention. The question, “how am I going to get them to open my door?” keeps popping up.

Then there is the traditional publishing segment of the market. This part of the publishing world has its own institutional inertia. While there are cracks in this particular door it still presents a significant barrier to the self-published author.

For instance, North America’s premier genre guild Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America won’t even consider you unless you meet their bar of selling some number of pieces to a select list of traditional publishers.

“To become an Active member of SFWA, applicants must demonstrate either:

  • Three Paid Sales of prose fiction (such as short stories) to Qualifying Professional Markets, with each paid at the rate of 5¢/word or higher (3¢/word before 1/1/2004), for a cumulative total of $250, minimum $50 apiece; or
  • One Paid Sale of a prose fiction book to a Qualifying Professional Market, for which the author has been paid $2000 or more; or
  • One professionally produced full length dramatic script, with credits acceptable to the Membership Committee.”

And, as if often the case, even other authors may exclude indie authors from consideration. As an example, John Scalzi (who I am a big fan of) has been reviewing and promoting other’s fiction via his blog feature “Big Idea“. He only does this if you sell your book traditionally or if you happen to already be a super successful Indie.

“Works must be published by a third party, i.e., not self-published (Amazon Digital Services, Smashwords, et al are distribution platforms, not publishers in the usual sense). This third party publisher must publish more than one author, must have an editorial staff that is not comprised of the author or their immediate family, and have a Web site which includes its current author slate and immediate release schedule.

“In very rare cases self-published work by authors with substantial, successful previous publishing history will be considered.”

In some small way I can understand why SFWA and Scalzi might not want to deal with the zombie hoards of self-published “authors” out there. Quite often I feel that my book, and my voice, are completely drowned out in a sea of other writers all grasping for “brainssssss” of readers. And I’d hate to be on the receiving end of that fire hose of submissions and requests myself. But it’s a door, a closed one, nonetheless, and it makes life out here in the zombie wilds just that much more difficult.

Incidentally, while I’m not eligible to be a SFWA member my work can still be nominated for the Nebula by members in good standing. As a quick aside, if you’re a SFWA member who would like a copy of “The Big Red Buckle” before February 15th, my email is right here.

The Final Issue

Sometimes, what you must necessarily do and say as an Indie feels a whole lot like panhandling. Really, it does. I find myself swallowing my pride very often lately. Begging for reviews. Or just your spare change.

This is an uncomfortable sensation. I deal with it the best way I can, which is often to write more. Usually with a scowl on my face and potentially a chip on my shoulder. But I like to write so eventually the scowl melts away and the chip falls off.

If you have considered writing for a living and you cannot humiliate yourself to close the deal on a $0.99 ebook than this is not the right career path for you. Also, don’t judge me.

Conclusion

Last Wednesday, while I was sitting at a table typing up a storm at the Rec Center, a lady sitting on the couch in the lobby across from me asked a couple of questions. She was being polite and nice, initially all she wanted to know about was the bluetooth keyboard I use with my iPad. It turns out that her Mother, in her eighties if I recall correctly, loves to write and so, as these sorts of conversations go, we ended up chatting about independent publishing.

Since then the topic has been riding me hard. I’ve even been a little grouchy about the current state of my book and ever so reluctant to keep writing more “sports in space” if “no one is ever going to be interested in the topic” (boo hoo for me). Maybe I should focus on teenage vampires or zombie crushing monster truck kids? But for me, that sort of writing would not be very much fun. It is not what I like to read and it is not what I will write (although monster trucks in a zombie story, I mean, why hasn’t this been done?).

I’m about 30% done with “Up Slope“, as of last night, so it is entirely possible that my Fat-Bike, sci-fi, action adventure will be pressed by April. By that measure, I feel like I am an instant success. In a very short period of time I have completely changed how I live my life, and how I write (from technical documentation and project planning to science fiction). It is not a hobby or pastime. And I’m producing a book about every quarter.

Sales, I know, will come with time, and exposure, and with all the help that you guys will lavish on me. If you haven’t already bought my book, maybe some day you will. That is a fairly heartening thought. Something to look forward to.

Self Publication Mistakes

There exists a very gray space for “indie” authors. Acting as your own advocate, you must find the sweet spot between advertising your book and bothering your potential readers. I have spent a great deal of time recently watching other “indie” authors in a variety of locations to get a better idea of how to find this balance while expanding readership. Here are some observations I’ve made along the way. What works and what crosses over that line.

Misleading Key Word or Hashtag

I learned my lesson about this one a while ago. I wrote a blog post during the hight of my seizure period in which I complained about “A Fucking Wall of Secretaries” in which I complained about running into officious bureaucrats and busybodies that were universally in my way while I struggled to find help, a diagnosis, and even (a hope in vain) a cure. In 2012, it was the single most searched on post of mine, but not because the rest of the world was running into a similar wall of phone-answering boobs. Rather, some of you watch porn and you search on the terms “Fucking” and “Secretaries” … a lot.

I’ve noticed that there are a number of “indies” out there seeking to capitalize on this phenomenon. About once a day I see this one.

The problem with this strategy is that if you happen to attract Anthony Weiner with this bait, he is unlikely to actually bite your hook. You won’t sell any books to someone searching for “#sex” unless you happen to write erotic graphic novels.

One Book Wonder

In a recent industry guide I picked up, “Write, Publish, Repeat“, the authors, Sean and Johnny, spend the better part of a chapter building an illustrative narrative about anyone’s experience going into an old fashioned book store (the kind with walls and shelves). Within the narrative, they describe the several layers of book marketing that happen for someone searching for their next read. You walk through the door and there will be some choices, usually best sellers, sitting on a table right in your path. They are there because someone, the publishers and their authors, want you to see those first.

Maybe there’s nothing there for you, so you wander over to your favorite section. Genre fiction. Along the shelves you’ll notice that there are a few books with their covers out, but most are only spine out. Maybe you’re interested in a particular author so you side-step down the aisle. Maybe you’re looking for the next in a particular saga. However, in this “indie” marketing mistake, none of that matters because you’re actually experiencing a hallucination. The hallucination is an after effect of the book some overzealous author fired from a cannon at your head when you first got out of your car in the parking lot of your favorite Barnes & Noble.

Yep, there are people out there that write. And then, once the writing is done, they try to sell the crap out of that book. They load it up in their social media shot guns, yell “pull” at the top of their lungs, close their eyes, and pull the trigger. Over and over and over again.

And frankly this sort of self-promotion is annoying. Regardless of the quality or price of your book, the only thing it does is turn people off. It is like trying to attract flies with highly concentrated sulfuric acid or win friends by punching strangers square in the mouth.

And of course I see “indie” authors making this mistake on Twitter all the time too. It has gotten to the point that as I scroll my feed I simply blank them out, already knowing what they’re going to say. I know, when you are the only one at the helm of your little writing and publication company, it can be very tempting to imagine that the aggressive sell might work. You know your book is *that* awesome, if everyone would just cough up the equivalent of half a cup of coffee they too could know the wonders of your imagination.

But folks — and I’m reminding myself right here, right now — if you want your reader’s love and affection, you’ve got to take your time. You’ve got to seduce them. You’ve got to romance them in 140 characters or less. You gotta, gotta, gotta show a lil tenderness. Just try, try a little tenderness, yeah yeah yeah.

Indifference

So you have worked hard. You have written your book or your trilogy or whatever. And you have enough in the way of connections and leverage that as soon as your magnum opus hits the shelves, you have already hit several best seller lists and you’re making plans to attend “WorldCon Where Ever” because there will be a little metal rocket waiting for you when you arrive. And hey, good on ya! Because that sort of fairy tale actually happens so infrequently that it is phenomenal if only for its rarity.

But maybe your modicum of success goes to your head. Maybe you never were a very nice or considerate person in the first place. Or perhaps you are too privileged to recognize what a good thing you have. It is a rare thing when authors actively scare away their fans à la Orson Scott Card style. Most of us will just lose our enthusiasts because we simply fail to recognize that they exist.

This marketing failure is best illustrated by its negative. There are a few very notable examples of what I mean. Near the top of that list are folks like Hugh Howey and John Scalzi. These guys both have earned enviable positions within the publishing world. Yet, both of them have a well oiled socialization mechanism that does two things for them.

First, it keeps them human. Your fans really like to know that you do the same things that they do every day. If they’re like me, if they aspire to your level of success within this business, they’ll want to know the details of each little fuck up or struggle. And you can tell them about these things via your blog, or Twitter, or whatever. They’ll listen.

But with guys like this, who annually receive millions of hits on their sites, it is unlikely you’ll ever get a reply email. Yet it still happens. Even these guys at the top of the game will take a moment to listen to their fans, to their followers. And I think, in some way, they gain something from this interaction, although I suppose no one really expects anything from them.

But then there are guys like Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, and Michael Bunker who are all working very hard at their craft, but who have more nominations than awards. These three examples have built a large and flourishing fan base, but routinely find time to reply to their email, hold twitter conversations with strangers, and are quick to provide a word of encouragement or even publicly acknowledge someone else’s work. That my friends is the stuff of greatness.

Incidentally, if I didn’t mention you here, please don’t take it personally. It is New Year’s Eve and I have had a couple glasses of wine, so much of this is simply coming off the top. I know these authors perhaps better than others (because I’m a fan) and so its easy for me to talk up, not only their work, but also their contributions to other writers. This message is for those of you who *DO* acknowledge their readers, keep up the good work.

Finally, if you’re reading this and wondering “Where are all my readers going/gone?” then you may be illustrating the consequences of not taking care of your readers. Think back: have you ignored someone because it just seemed like too much time or effort to respond? Get followed on Twitter, but refuse to follow back? How about your blog? Do you have followers that you refuse to read? They are all little slights, but even well beyond high school ignoring someone who is just trying to, at the very least, be friendly with you is a fine way to create a foe. They wont forget the slight.

Conclusion

Yes, here is the resolution part. Having thought about these things, in apparently great detail, I also resolve to do my best to remember them. The difficult part of this whole thing for me is the business side of this small business. I can write my fingers off day after day, but ultimately that’s just step one. After the editing and copy work, comes the selling of the books and stories. My intention is to build a loyal if small fan base, and write a mountain of stories. I don’t want to cross that line with any of you, straying into the territory of annoying author/self-publisher, but I sure would love to see more of you reading the stories I have to tell.