Peeling the layers:  What I learned from Scott Dikkers, co-founder of The Onion, about publishing

20190127_001321

“Ready, fire, aim.”  Don’t be a perfectionist.  My problem is that I spend way more time writing than I do editing, so my project this summer will be to finalize the edits on my novel, Because of Mindy Wiley (https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/).  This will mark my seventh time editing it. I’ve put off finishing it for years–partly because I wanted to wait till I had a Master’s in English, but also because every time I went back to my book, it was like reconnecting with an old friend.  Since I never read anything I write (once it’s in print anyway), I think a part of me feared parting with it forever.

Publishing e-books for Kindle on Amazon is worth it.  The large publishing houses take 70% in royalties while Amazon takes only 7%.  Of course, with self-publishing, you have to do your own marketing, but all you need for that is an internet connection and an online presence, and I’ve already been branding myself for years (it’s the whole reason I started a blog)

Don’t skimp on the cover.  If you’re not familiar with InDesign, you’ll want to hire a designer to create your cover and lay out your book.  (Now I wish I had taken the time to learn how to lay out the newspaper while I was on The Corsair.) I will either have to wait till I get my degree in graphic design or wait till I can cobble together the money to get my book professionally done–whichever comes first.  Of course, there’s always Kickstarter.

Don’t spend the money getting your manuscript professionally edited.  I had seriously considered doing this through Writer’s Digest or inquiring my professor friends to see how much they would charge.  Dikkers said he caught all his mistakes just by reading his book aloud–only 225,000 words to go!

If you want people to notice your book, you need to have popular keywords in your book’s description (and don’t forget to test those keywords).  It’s basically the same principle as a hashtag. You get seven of them, so use them wisely (and remember that each word can be more than one).

Send press releases of your book to blogs.  There are many online tutorials that show you how to write in this medium.  I’ve thought about writing a mock press release as a blog feature.

There needs to be “reader magnet” in the book, such as a free first chapter, novelette, novella–basically, a hook to get your reader to buy your next book.  I already have visions of a prequel dancing in my head.

My book goals:

⦁ To sell enough copies to not only get on the New York Times Bestseller List but also enable me to fund a recurring creative writing scholarship at my alma mater.

⦁ To be turned into a TV-series for HBO.

⦁ And finally, the best of all:  For my name (or the title of my book) to be the answer to a “Jeopardy” question (or a “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle).

 

Advertisements

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #452: Game

question-1243504_960_720

For the Non-Gamer

She watched “Wheel of Fortune” to make herself feel smart,
“Jeopardy” to humble herself,
& “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” to realize that anyone
could be one.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-452

For board game lovers:  https://sarahleastories.com/2017/12/04/mondays-will-be-different-sweet-little-nothings/

For “Wheel of Fortune” lovers:  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/09/02/writers-digest-wednesday-poetry-prompt-321-theme-gripe/

For “Clue” lovers (or “Cluedo,” as its known in the United Kingdom):  https://sarahleastories.com/2015/05/01/poem-a-day-writers-digest-challenge-30-theme-bury-the-blank/

 

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #321, Theme: Gripe

So my husband and I are fans of “Wheel of Fortune.”  We even play the Xbox game, and it can get heated (especially if I “buy time” by buzzing in like I know the answer and take the full 70 seconds to figure it out).  He says it’s cheating–I say it’s smart.

I chose to gripe about the most benign show in existence–“Wheel of Fortune”–the game show that makes you feel brilliant after watching “Jeopardy”.  (Btw, a “fickle wheel” is how AT&T describes the show in their synopsis.)

The Fickle Wheel

Buying unnecessary vowels,
calling letters that have already been called–
it’s not using your noodle, is all.

Listening to the host without the most,
who holds the female contestants’ hands to the Bonus Round,
makes me want to wash my hands and whiskey-wash it down.

Contestants who jump up and down after every triumph,
who use flowery adjectives to describe their significant others,
who rattle off all their kids’ silly, pretentious names,
are just a few of the many gripes I have about America’s game.