Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My return to IWSG

Proud Member ofI think I've been gone for almost a year. I can check the posts, but that requires work I don't want to put into this at the moment. Anyways, this was always a good way to discover new blogs and new people, and get advice on things. And I have some questions for everyone.
A few people have gone the way of the self-publishing route. Is it expensive? This blog is still more hobby these days, but the idea of writing a book and publishing myself has always been appealing. I still would have a lot of questions before I go that route though. What would the subject matter be? Most likely I would tackle that question the same way I decided what to write about here, but just writing. How much of a distribution would I would be looking for? And for that matter, who would the audience be? These are all answers I'll find over time, for now I just want to know, does it cost a lot?
What's up with ads? Every time I start a new project or get involved with something new, I never try to fool myself into thinking that it's going to be easy. Trying to find info on how to do something is always a struggle and a half. I've turned to the dark side and put ads up, because I want to use the money to support the charity thing. If anyone has any info on some of the words or phrases I should know, please tell me. The worst part about this is there's information that either assumes I know what they're talking about or they are literally making up buzzwords to confuse me into buying things. I do my own research on this stuff, but my speed is slow. I'll become a master in a hundred years, and in 3 months I finally figure out what keywords are bullshit. Anybody with some good starting points would be greatly appreciated.
Stop limiting yourself. Stop telling yourself that to be a successful writer, or person, or whatever, you need to pick one topic and exhaust all angles. It is an idea I've never understood. With different careers, jobs, skills, and tasks comes viewpoints and knowledge that would have remained hidden forever.  This advise comes curiosity of the fact that I've been reading about how to improve my writing and how to improve my blog. If I want to improve my blog, then apparently I need to pick one thing or topic and focus on that. Because people are coming to me for advise, or they want something from, and I need to give them a product that is reliable, focused, and well organized. If I to improve my writing, however, then I need to feel free to experiment with my style! Try listicles! Or typing blindfolded! Have you tried live tweeting your skydiving experience yet? And the blog I got that advice from was cooking blog. I'm constantly told that if I write characters that only have interests that are work or school and maybe a 'hobby' then the character is really a bland 1-dimensional stand-in. So why should writing be the same?
I have a line of reasoning here. The traditional idea seems to be that I'll write a science blog, I'll play with style, content and ideas until I get decent, then shares, advertising and word of mouth will make me into a success. Science is not a collection of "ain't-it-cool-facts" no matter what facebook tells you. Chemistry is so damn cool and pretty useful because the tools, tricks and facts learned there can easily be applied to cooking. Biology shows us that as a species, we are not that special, and life is diverse and adapts itself to live. And all of the sciences and all of the thinkers tried to show us one important way to live our lives: is the established rules the right way?
Where am I going with this? You can apply whatever strange, random knowledge you have to a new problem and find a new path never before seen. The world around us is diverse and has a lot to offer, it makes sense to use your writing to explore the whole world instead of limiting yourself to one narrow genre. You can also use that to find new audiences and people who have never seen you before. When you find a pattern and you find a grove, think about if it's the most efficient way, or creative, or maybe try the long way. Challenge yourself and the people around you, strive for the best out of your writing.
I keep forgetting I have twitter. Follow me there @aristotlemstk.


  1. Welcome back to the IWSG! (If it's been a year, be sure to sign up again.)
    We now have an IWSG website with a whole page devoted to self publishing. Plus I know a lot of authors who've gone that route and been very successful - be happy to send you some names.

    1. Yes, I would love to start reading some names! I've started finding some on the IWSG, but haveing a few more to read would be great. Like the changes that it's gone through since I was gone.

  2. Self publishing can be free if you do your own cover, formatting, and advertising. The Create Space PDF and Smashwords style guide both explain in great deal how to do this, well, except for the advertising. Just write that book and polish it to an edited masterpiece first and you'll be ready to rock.

  3. Welcome back!
    I had two contracts fall through, and that's when I decided to take matters into my own hands. Indie publishing can be pretty expensive, or free. It all depends on your level of expertise with the various components. I'm not a graphic designer, formatter (and each platform has different formatting requirements), and I'm not about to kid myself that I can be a self-editor. Whoever thinks they can self-edit a book good enough for publication probably doesn't think their poop smells.
    But it does.
    If you're going to self publish, don't do it half ass. Do it right. You are your brand, and if you don't invest in yourself, why should anyone else?

  4. Welcome back to IWSG!
    I agree, we shouldn't limit ourselves. As a rule, I use my blog as a place to chat. Sometimes I rant, sometimes I post photos, sometimes I celebrate holidays, and other times I discuss writing.

    I know little about self-publishing other than for a quality product, the amount of money you spend is inversely related to the amount time required to complete your project. Even if you can competently edit, format, and create your own covers without spending a cent, it will cost you dearly in hours and hours and hours of time.

    VR Barkowski

    1. Like your inverse rule. "Barkowski's inverse rule of self-publishing finace" or Barkowski's inverse.

  5. "Stop limiting yourself" Oooh, I struggle with that on a daily basis. Good reminder--that line caught my attention.

    Self-publishing is whatever you want it to be--within reason. Always, always, always know what YOU want to do with the book before you start and your cover is just as important as good editing. I did quite a bit of research before I decided to self-publish and while I'm happy with my choice, I"m still learning more about it every day, as well as the opportunities available for indie authors. There's a lot of work that's needed for self-promotion and it's easy to forget to keep writing in the middle of trying to keep up with twitter, blogs, etc. but it's worth it. I think. Good luck!

  6. Glad to see you back, Samuel. Great post, the kind that have made IWSG a great place to be. Happy IWSG.

  7. Hey, Sam...

    VR is write.... it all depends on what you're producing ... just make sure is QUALITY... Use and editor and cover designer. SUPER IMPORTANT. Even if you have a talent for editing still use a few CP'S and Betas... it's amazing how much we miss in our own writing..... Good luck!