Sunday, March 31, 2013

Amazon Buys Goodreads

So I heard the news that Amazon recently purchased Goodreads for at least $150 million.

Some people are going crazy about this.

They're saying that Amazon is manipulating the market.

Honestly, I don't see such a big deal.

People said the same thing when Google bought YouTube. Everybody got crazy for a while and then it died down.

There's only one thing that might happen that I am not too keen on.

Since Google purchased YouTube, I saw a bump in advertising clips. After a while, it became tedious to watch a 40 second funny cat video when a 2min 30sec advertisement was mandatory. Now, you can skip some ads but it's still a pain in the butt.

I just hope Goodreads isn't littered with ads left and right.

Today, I use Goodreads as a way to promote my books, update my readers and add another book to my reading list. I also use it to log what I'm reading. So far, I've read a total of 434 books and plan to read more.

If Amazon wants a slice of social marketing then I think they are playing it smart. 

What do you think?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Goodbye, Old Friend

Quite recently, I had to remove something that has been with me on my writing journey since I began.

It was my writing desk.

I had the thing since 1998 when I had a desktop computer and now, in 2013, I have to say goodbye to it.

I admit, I was hesitant, but my nostalgia for the thing has worn off.

Have to make room for our new baby and besides, now that I have gotten rid of it I'm really digging the extra space.

If you are a writer and feel that you can't part with certain objects that you believe contribute to your work, know this: You can write anywhere, with anything, at any time. Nothing limits you.

So long, old friend.

(P.s. The desk was literally on its last leg. While me and a high school friend were moving the thing out, one of the legs came loose, held on by one bolt, just swinging in the breeze. You just never know when things are gonna fall apart on you.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Is The Nook Cooked?

There have been a lot of rumors going around that Nook sales are falling.

Specifically, they've fallen by 25 Percent.

That's a big chunk of loss.

This reminds me of one of the saddest days of my life; the closing of Borders.

But where Borders had fallen short was the eReader revolution. They had no eReader of their own so they couldn't afford to stay.

I feel that if Barnes and Noble doesn't do something soon, we won't see them wink out of existence completely but we will probably see the amount of stores nationwide reduced.

What they could do would be to offer something different. Bring something new to the table, why don't you?

They could update their Nook to be more user friendly.

They can request Nook owners to offer ideas.

They could offer exclusive titles or a book list under the Barnes and Noble imprint.

Or they could offer deals on ebooks to correspond with what a customer likes reading, like a buy two eBooks get one free. That would be interesting.

Or they could lower the price of their eReader to compete with Kobo and Kindle.

Where they go from here is anyone's guess.

But my two cents? Change fast, change now or you'll be swept up in the tidal wave.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Inside My Writer's Block

Some writer's don't believe in writer's block.

But what you have to realize is that some have a certain brand of writer's block.

Mine happens to be 80 proof Self-Doubt Turkey.

Let me explain.

When I write, I'm either 80% confident or 80% doubtful.

The mix can go either way, especially if I'm in the middle of a story. I tend to write in spurts and there are times when I'm super-energized-I-have-to-write-now modes and other times were I fizzle out, get bogged down, lose sight of the story thread.

Maybe your self-doubt voice sounds a little bit like this:

Wow. This is a great story. Yeah, it's something else. Man, I just did 15 pages. I should come back to this.

1 day later...

Crap. I've written myself into a corner now. Those pages are good...what if the next 15 pages are terrible. Oh man. Why did I do this? I should come back to this when I'm in a better mood. I feel kinda down.

2 days later...

I cannot finish that story. There's just too much detail there already and anything I write now will just be useless rambling. It won't make sense. It'll just be filler. It'll confuse people. They'll hate it. I hate it already and I haven't even finished it. Why did I even try?

3 days later...

Anything other than perfection is crap. There's no saving this story. What a waste. 15 good pages that I can't finish.

Here's what I have to say to anyone who hears this little voice of doubt.





Maybe then you'll break through the barrier of writer's block.

I've written two novels, a few novellas and sixty short stories.

If you've written once, you can write again.

Stay strong.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The First Taste

Stephen king once wrote, and I'm paraphrasing here, "If you can pay a bill with your writing, in my eyes you are a serious writer."

Let me tell you about my first real writing boost.

My first royalty check from

The first time I got a royalty check from amazon came at such a crucial time. We were struggling with bills and living paycheck to paycheck. It was two days before I would get paid and as far as I knew, there was next to nothing in our account.

But, for the sake of curiosity, I looked at our account. And lo and behold, there was money there. Not a big amount but just enough to where we could have a meal that night. The royalties from my books had been direct deposited. I was in awe.

When I told my wife she just said, "Oh...okay...great...we can use that now."

And we did.

I drove to our local Jewel, walked inside and searched the shelves. I settled on spaghetti with traditional red sauce and a couple of cans of pop. I was in a complete haze, still skeptical that I was actually PAYING for food with MY WRITING.

After I checked out, I drove back, we settled down, cooked the food and ate our meal.

Two days later, I got paid by my regular job.

Best part about it, we had leftovers for the week.

So yes, I was able to buy small meals with the royalties I've made with my writing. But it means a lot to me. That first taste was the sweetest.

And that's why I still write.

Because I know that someday, I'll be able to pay my electric bill, a phone bill, a car insurance bill or even a rent bill with my writing.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Fixer

Editing is such a foul word to me.

For me it conjurs up two concepts:

Cuts and Sacrifice.

I've read a great number of horror stories of well-known writers who have brushes with editors. Believe me, they're not pretty.

I was discussing this whole thing with my wife one night.

"Y'know what word works better?" I said, "Revision. That, to me, means that the story evolves, like a Phoenix from the ashes."

What's more, my wife and I have a special bond.

She's seen me at my most best and at my most blocked.

Every once in a while, I'll read something to her. Lately, she's been liking the plots I come up with and has offered to give my stories a once over with her eyes.

One thing you should know is that my writing journey started when I was a Freshman in highschool. I was working on a novel and tried to be very specific with it. Back then I thought you had to overload a novel with two things: Description and Exposition.

My wife read it, bless her heart, and she loved the core story. But when she suggested deep changes into the book, my ego flared up. I was appalled. Then again, back then, I was still in my infancy when it came to writing. However, it was a learning experience that had a lasting effect. Every time I write a story, I have her in mind. Would my wife be wowed by this? Would she like this part? Like this line?

So, with every project, I give the writing a meticulous glare.

Now my wife and I have worked out a very cool system.

First, I read said story out loud to her. Kind of like a performing an audio book.

Second, I give her the text.

Third, she goes through the text and balances, sharpens and carries the flow of the story.

Honestly, this is the happiest I've been with the entire process.

Just recently, I looked over a couple of her suggestions and were blown away with how well they worked within the core of one of my stories.

"You know what you are, babe?" I say with a smile. "You're not an editor at all. I'm gonna call you The Fixer. Here I come with this bright shiney new car and you go in there and tinker with the engine, grease a valve, rotate the wheels and you make it run smoother. I love it."

So, if you hate editing, find someone who knows you, really, really, really knows you and have them be your personal Fixer.