Authors: Taking Charge of Our Future in a Time of Uncertainty – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with an amazing blog post about authors taking charge of our future in a time of uncertainty. Thank you for a great post, Kristen! You’re amazing.


Authors have certainly endured our fair share of upheaval. We witnessed a business model that had barely changed in over a century collapse in less than a decade.

Many of us felt the initial seismic activity back in the 90s when the big-box stores obliterated the bookstores we’d known all our lives. Witnessed the places we learned to love reading shutter one by one.

Those aisles where we daydreamed that maybe…just maybe one day WE would be on those shelves? Vanished.

We retooled the dream. Imagined our books in large hardback displays in the front of a Barnes & Noble. Or, perhaps on a kiosk next to the coffee bar at a Borders.

Then that went away as well.

Now, thrust into a digital age where anyone can be published and it seems there are too many hats for one head? It’s hard not to get discouraged.

But, writers are a tough breed.

 

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Thirteen Reasons Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers – Written By Kristen Lamb

 

Kristen Lamb, in her own inimitable way, published a blog post comparing authors with serial killers. I love Kristen’s posts, her fantasy, her creativity, and her humor. Wonderfully done, Kristen!


Writers really are a strange breed and just so y’all know? The normal ship sailed without you a long time ago so relax. Your family or friends might not ‘get’ you but your fellow writers do.

I love being a writer. It’s a world like no other and it’s interesting how non-writers are simultaneously fascinated and terrified of us. While on the surface, people seem to think that what we do is easy, deep down?

There is a part that knows they’re wrong. That being a writer, a good writer, is a very dark place most fear to tread.

Happy Friday the 13th! *evil laugh*

In fact, I believe somewhere at the FBI’s BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit for the non-writers), there’s a caveat for the profilers. If they think they’ve profiled a serial killer, they need to stop and double-check to make sure they didn’t just find a writer.

Hint: Check for empty Starbuck’s cups and candy wrappers.

Writers, if you are NOT on a government watch list? You’re doing it wrong.

Seriously. I once spent an entire afternoon googling Fort Worth hotels to find the right one with a balcony to toss someone off of. I was like the Goldilocks of Murder.

Nope doesn’t face a street.

Not high enough to be fatal.

Don’t want them landing in a pool.

Apparently, ‘normal’ people do not do this, which is why being normal is totally boring and for luzrs 😛 .

So, before friends and family turn you into the FBI, here’s a handy list of ways we writers are often mistaken for serial killers.

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Pitch Perfect: Can You Sell Your Story in ONE Sentence? – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb provides us with a blog post about pitches, writing with her wonderful talent as well as great humor, as usually. Thanks so much, Kristen!


The pitch is one of the most vital components of any kind of sales, book sales included. Now, I know a lot of writers either start having apoplexy at this moment or they mentally check out.

Sales has nothing to do with my story. I can just pay someone else to worry about sales.

Um, no. Sales has everything to do with our stories, and ultimately we’re responsible for success or failure. It’s okay, though. I’m going to walk y’all through this.

We actually sell all the time and don’t even realize it. Sales is built into our nature.

You like my dress? Thanks! It has POCKETS! I got it on sale over at Dress World.

I love my electric mower. Trick is to hit Home Depot on Labor Day. End of summer. Best deals.

We sell ALL THE TIME. The trick with book sales is simply learning how to sell with intention and skill.

Plain truth is that, if we cannot convince someone our book is worth forgoing binge-watching Netflix, meeting the girls for mani-pedis, killing zombies on X-Box or watching funny cat videos? Then we won’t make it very far as authors.

The pitch is a key component of survival in, well…everything. Have a crush? Want that date? The pitch better be good. Why should he/she go out with you and not someone else?

Car companies pitch us with luxury, comfort, safety. Insurance companies pitch us on lowest rates or that they’ll take care of us when we’re in a jam.

Cosmetic companies pitch long lashes, smooth skin, full lips, and grocery stores pitch value, freshness, and time-saving additions like ordering on-line.

As writers, our pitch should have a lot in common with all other successful pitches. Notice I used the word should. The pitch that goes the distance has a very clear structure. Those who believe they’re the exception or cut corners do so at their own risk.

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Fiction Addiction: How Great Storytellers Put the “Meth” into “Method” – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen informs us with her new post about how great storytellers put the ‘meth’ into ‘method’. Thank you, once again, for your educational blog post, Kristen.


Fiction, when crafted to hit that psychic sweet spot, is highly addictive. Which is why soap operas, daytime shows (e.g. Judge Judy & Dr. Phil), and ‘reality’ programs are all going strong with no sign of slowing down.

‘Days of our Lives’ is more like ‘Decades of Our Lives.

Drama is always in demand. In fact, we’ve even added a brand new term to our cultural lexicon to reflect this modern reality—‘binge-watching.’

Between Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, and the bazillion specialty channels delivered via Roku? Then add in all the devices where audiences regularly inhale ebooks, podcasts, audiobooks, blogs, videos, etc.

Let’s just say cultural appetites for stories in all their forms—from hard-boiled documentaries (Making a Murderer) all across the spectrum to the epic high fantasy fiction (Game of Thrones)—has never been so insatiable.

***I know we’ve spent the past couple posts deep-diving the publishing industry, and I PROMISE to blog about other changes ahead. Alas, I figured it was time for something a bit lighter, and yet still salient to being successful in this industry.

Good news is that audiences crave stories, and they are always hunting for their next fiction addiction no matter WHAT is going on in the publishing world.

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The Death of Ye Olden Bookstores & the Author Identity Crisis – Written By Kristen Lamb

As a follow up of the famous ‘Barnes & Noble’ fall, Kristen Lamb provides us with a great blog post about the consequences it might have on us authors.

Thank you so much, Kristen!


My last post, Barnes & Noble SOLD: Goliath Has Fallen & What This Means for Writers, was a long and detailed journey explicating precisely how we’ve all ended up at this spot in history—writers, readers, bookstores, booksellers, publishers, investors, etc.

The big-box bookstores are dead for good until some @$$hat forgets what a bad idea they were and resurrects them again.

In the meantime…

Now that Borders is a distant memory and Barnes & Noble a recent casualty, many of us find ourselves balancing, terrified, on the precipice of the unknown.

This time of transition possesses a particularly acute terror reserved for pre-published and published authors.

Yet, in light of all this upheaval, I challenge authors to learn from New York Publishing’s—‘The Big Six’s’ mistakes.

One mistake in particular.

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Barnes & Noble SOLD: Goliath has Fallen & What This Means for Writers – Written By Kristen Lamb

O-M-G. Kristen Lamb informs us about the latest news: Barnes & Noble SOLD!

Thank you so much for the information, Kristen!


Goliath has fallen. The leviathan Barnes & Noble, the big-box chain that reinvented retail and defined a generation…is no more.

SOLD!

Reuters announced early last Friday that the hedge fund Elliot Management Corp. would be purchasing the former book giant for roughly the equivalent of Kim Kardashian’s jewelry allowance ($683 million including debt).

This bold move marks an end to the once-dominant book retailer’s status as a publicly traded company.

After almost a decade of abysmally stupid business decisions and plummeting sales—and me blogging and b#@!$ing about it the entire time—this buyout feels like a mercy killing to me.

Someone might finally save Barnes & Noble from itself.

***I secretly suspect this buyout was the only option left after Mary Kay declined to sell cosmetics alongside records, movies, toys, stationary, gifts, knick knacks, coffee, candles, essential oils and everything else NOT BOOKS.

#sarcasm

Now that the former mega-retailer’s fate is in the hands of the Elliot Group, perhaps Barnes & Noble can go back to being a…wait for it…wait for it… *whispers*…a bookstore.

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Bad People Make Better Stories: Crafting the Perfect ‘Unlikable’ Character – Written By Kristen Lamb

Today I found a phenomenal blog post about crafting the perfect ‘unlikable’ character in a story. Kristen Lamb published a blog post in her own inimitable way, to teach us how to create a character that makes our story interesting. Thank you, Kristen!


Bad people make better stories. Why? Because I cannot say this enough, ‘Fiction is about one thing and one thing only—PROBLEMS.’

Who better to create a lot of problems than damaged, broken, unlikable, foolish and possibly even unredeemable human beings?

***I use the term ‘human beings’ for all characters because aliens, otherworldly beings, and any ‘thinking’ creature will possess anthropomorphic (human-like) qualities.

So why do ‘bad people’ make better stories?

Perfect people, first of all, are unicorns and don’t exist. Secondly, they are boring. Thirdly, we can’t relate to them because we aren’t unicorns (just deluded we are ).

What’s the story killer with perfect people? To be blunt, these characters have nowhere to grow. Since ‘perfect people’ handle every crisis with a level head and can be trusted to always do the right thing, the reader won’t ever worry.

If the reader never worries, guess what kiddies? You don’t have a story, you have a lot of words.

Villains are a whole other post. So is the Big Boss Troublemaker (our core antagonist responsible for creating the overall story PROBLEM).

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