Picasso’s Women of Algiers Sells for Record $179 Million at Auction

You read that right. I’m not sure what I would do with nearly $200 million if I had it, but I definitely wouldn’t spend it on a single painting. But that’s just me. I kind of wish I had to face that dilemma. What to do with all that money. Eh. Anyway, this isn’t about the painting.

I’m not all that familiar famous authors, poets, or major literary works I haven’t studied in school, which is why I’m writing this. I’m wondering if any of you are aware of books or manuscripts or something similar that’s been sold at auction for a ridiculous amount of money. I’m not. I don’t even know if those kinds of things are sold at auction. But I’m pretty sure there’s a market for just about everything. How much would I pay for a first draft of a story that has been read by millions of people all over the world over the course of centuries? I wouldn’t pay anything because I wouldn’t be interested in that kind of thing. Or the letters written from an author to his partner in another country. Or the outline of a story. I still wouldn’t be interested. I might like to see them in a museum or something.

So, have you ever heard of a book or manuscript or anything from an author’s estate selling for this kind of money?

On this day in 2014 I published Writing Dialogue = Death.


Amazon Launches Kindle Scout


Remember this post from a couple months ago? I talked about Swoon Reads, a publisher that put the power of publishing in your hands by allowing you to comment on and rate excerpts of books yet to  be published. Based on the feedback received, the company would then choose which titles to ultimately publish. Well Amazon has gotten in on the fun with Kindle Scout, which just launched last week.

The premise is essentially the same as the publisher I mentioned above and in my previous post. Authors submit a never before published manuscript. Readers can read an excerpt within 30 days. Readers can nominate up to three books during the 30 day period and change their nominations at any time. Then, once the period is up Amazon will tally the nominations and decide which title(s) to publish.

But Amazon has upped the stakes just a bit. First, if your book is chosen for publishing you’ll receive a $1500 advance. You might think that is quite small, but you’re not getting any advance by self-publishing and most traditional publishers offer debut authors little to no advance because you’re unlikely to make it back for them. So you get the nice little advance AND you get Amazon marketing. I think this may be the bigger deal of the two.  A quick example of an author who I think has seen major benefits of Amazon marketing is Marcus Sakey. His first few books were published by major publishers and all well received, but they all have less than 100 reviews on Amazon. Which isn’t many. His two most recent books have been published by Thomas and Mercer (an Amazon company) and they have 1492 and 435 reviews, respectfully. If a book has that many reviews, then it’s sold a few more.

Also, the author will receive 50 percent e-book royalties, which is right in the middle of traditional and self-publishing.

But Kindle Scout of course has its doubters. I’ve read people saying that the books will be low quality. That it’s dumb because Amazon ultimately makes the publishing decision rather than the readers. These arguments are hardly valid. Low quality books are published every year by traditional publishers. It’s not about quality, everyone knows it’s about what they think will sell more books. And second, every publisher decides which titles will or won’t be published. This isn’t new.

I think there are some people out there who will hate any program that Amazon comes up with just for the sake of doing so. CreateSpace. KDP. Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Scout. It doesn’t matter, they just dislike whatever Amazon comes up with because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do. Well I don’t. I think it would be fun to take part in something like this. And if you nominate a book that is ultimately chosen for publishing, then you get a free Kindle copy of the finished product. Kindle Scout adds books everyday in all genres.

What do you think? A $1500 advance and Amazon marketing if you write a book that readers on Kindle Scout like. I say sign me up.

You can watch a Kindle Scout video and take a look at some unpublished manuscripts here.

What Writers Should NOT Post on Their Blogs


Photo Credit

No I’m not talking about personal information that shouldn’t be posted anywhere on the internet. That’s just common sense. I’m talking specifically about writers. I’ll give you a second to think about it before I continue to see if you can go ahead and guess it.

Didn’t think of anything, okay. I’m talking about excerpts from their work.This rule does not apply to those who plan on self-publishing because CreateSpace or Lulu or whichever company you use does not care about this. BUT for those of us who are crazy enough to think we can actually secure an agent and publishing deal with a traditional publisher, I AM talking to you.

Now I’ve never started querying agents or anything like that yet, but it is my understanding that agents and publishers don’t care if it’s on your blog or self-published or what, published is published. If parts of your story can be read for free online or by reading your self-published book, then I can’t imagine either wanting to touch that story. Why? Because it’s been published already.

Just think about if J.K. Rowling or James Patterson or (insert well-known author here) were to release the first half of their books on their websites or blogs. What if their readers read the excerpt and decided against buying the rest. It’d be a bad deal for the author, right? Now think of an agent or publisher who is considering your manuscript for representation or publication. If parts of your story can be read, then parts of your story have likely been read, right? Which means some people would go ahead and buy the rest and others wouldn’t. Makes no sense for either of them to really consider the work if potential readers have already been lost.

Actually, Patterson usually does something like this, but I’ve only ever seen it on Amazon and it’s usually less than 20 pages. I think.

So tell me, have you gotten to the stage of querying agents and ever been asked about what has or hasn’t been posted on your blog or website?

Lastly, I wrote my first ever guest post yesterday! It’s over on Kathy’s blog and it pertains to author stigma. Give it a read!

Coming up With the Perfect Title for Your Book is…..Nearly Impossible

Photo Credit: Water for Sixth Grade

See! I promised you guys that I’d get back to some great book posts today. And this is one of those posts that I definitely ask for your input.

Let’s see, there are four parts of a book that can be seen without ever reading a page. The title. The author. The blurb on the back. The cover. I’m sure I’ll be hitting on those other topics at some point, actually I know I will be, but for now let’s just talk about the title. You’ve worked months upon months writing your masterpiece. You finish it! Celebratory glass of wine! Or bottle if that’s what you like. You likely spend a few months getting it out to beta readers and revising and rewriting and then……YOU’RE ALL DONE! Uhhh not quite.

You’ve spent all that time working on the actual story and not particularly worrying about a title, because how hard could it be to come up with the perfect title for the book that you know inside and out. Hard. You come up with a short list of potential titles and realize that they’re all pretty much the same thing. And they all suck. You ask some of your beta readers to offer up some suggestions and you realize that they’ve already spent hours giving you feedback and reading your book. They don’t care.

Now you’re stuck.

Then weeks later after you’ve already battled depression and forced yourself not to think of your book just sitting there in your desk drawer collecting dust, it comes to you. The perfect title! You rename your Word document and jump up in the air. Tears may even be streaming down your face as you run over to whomever it is you run to screaming that your book has a title.

For me, I actually had about half of my story thought out before I ever started writing. I came up with the title before I ever typed a single word. One of the things that I’ve asked some of my readers is whether they had any idea where the title actually came from. Some did, some didn’t.

So tell me how you managed to come up with the perfect title for your book. There have got to be some great stories to be told about this particular topic. So tell me!

Stop Choosing Between Writing and Reading

Photo Credit: momitforward.com

I read more blog posts in a day than I’d like to disclose, and about 97% of those posts all pertain to writing, reading, or some other aspect of books like reviews. There are plenty of topics that are repeated by bloggers because they’re so prevalent. For instance, it would be fairly easy for me to find posts everyday about writer’s block. I’ll probably join in on that discussion at some point, but that’s not today. Today I’d like to discuss another topic that I’ve read about several times and have personal experience with.

If I write, then I can’t read. But if I read, then I can’t write.

This is the age-old question an author faces when there is only a limited amount of time for writing and/or reading. The author is forced to ask himself which is the more pressing of the two. Do I want to finish that great book I’m almost done with or do i want to sit at my computer with my head in my hands searching for the right words to put to paper? Or, I have a few great chapters I REALLY want to write before I forget them, that book on the nightstand can wait a day or two or seven.

I’m constantly reading about writers who don’t feel that both activities can be done within the same day or stretch of a few hours. STOP TELLING YOURSELF THAT! Sorry to raise my voice but I really feel that this point needs to be made. If you are VERY limited in the amount of time that you have for reading/ writing, then okay, doing one of the two is better than doing neither. But if you find yourself constantly forcing yourself to pick one over the other for no apparent reason other than to do so, then stop it. Right now. When have you heard of an author who doesn’t read? I’ve read about bestselling authors who read several books a week! All while writing. Now, I understand that it’s different when they don’t have a regular job, but the number of hours they spend writing is not something any person can accomplish.

The point I’d like for you to take from reading this is that you don’t always have to choose one over the other. If you have a great book that you’re finishing up, then go ahead and finish it and your manuscript will be there waiting for you once you’ve finished. I promise. Or if you have a string of chapters that are just itching to get out of your head and onto paper, then go right ahead and type them up. But there’s no reason to stop your reading altogether because you’re working on your first novel or for your writing to take a backseat because you’ve got your hands on the newest Stephen King book.

If you love writing then I know you love reading, don’t end your relationship with one because of the other. Three IS NOT a crowd this time.