Month: February 2018

Relentlessly Helping People Who Would Enjoy *A Perfect Blindness* Find It

There is a lot of advice for new authors. Books. Blogs. Newsletters. All overflowing with advice. A riot of tips, strategies, and essential to-dos. One of the most common is to blog. To be relentlessly helpful. To offer tips, strategies, and best practice to-dos for the potential audience for your book. To give it away as honey to attract the reader-bees to buy your book (or service).

Examples abound.

It makes sense.

I did it.

One thing most advice givers give is that a writer must watch the numbers: the likes, follows, people signing up for your mailing list, and ultimately, people buying your book to know what works, and what doesn’t.

I did this too.

A handful of likes, here and there, scattered followers on this or that post. Nary a book sold.

I dutifully put onto one side of a balance scale all the hours per week spent creating and distributing the content and on the other side the number of book sales (the end reason for doing this), as well as followers and likes on the other.

The scale immediately fell over to one side: it’s been a waste of time.

What gives?

After probing the nagging suspicion that most of this advice is given with non-fiction in mind, using nonfiction authors as the primary examples, with fiction as an afterthought at best, I was forced to reexamine this whole idea.

  • How can a fiction writer be relentlessly helpful?
  • What can fiction writers blog about to create content to give away, to stir up excitement for a book?
  • To get people interested in their fictional world?
  • To get people interested the author as the teller of tales?

After far many months of fruitless labor, I finally googled it.

(Don’t laugh that it took this long. Failure is a far greater motivator than success and an infinitely better teacher.)

To sum up the general thinking: unless you’re a literary star, or are a true expert in the same field as your fiction is, blogging is wasting time better spent on getting the rest of your platform in order, perfecting your sales copy, and working on outreach, especially with influencers and reviewers.

Huh, damn.

Sifting through further advice for fiction writers, I sought examples specifically for creators of things that don’t exist.

Only then did I come to realize that being helpful for a fiction writer is very different than for a non-fiction writer.

Some advice tries to twist the meaning of expertise into dealing with philosophical problems or life issues, but these contortions miss the real point.

Fiction writers don’t (typically) write to help people solve specific problems. The whole idea of being helpful needs to be flipped. [Social activist fiction is unique in this regard, and blogging about the issues in the book could help sell it, but still…]

What a fiction writer needs to do is be relentless in helping people who would in enjoy the book find it, and in helping those people who are reading it enjoy it more.

So my blog will cease being a blog in a traditional sense.

It will become a sandbox, a place for experimenting with ways to help people find the worlds I’ve build and once in that world, helping people get the most out of being there. Perhaps even enjoying it long after it’s finished.

And so that is what “One Candle in the Darkness” will shift to—a place to invite readers. Both those initiated into A Perfect Blindness’s world of the late 80s Chicago music scene, where we are all just misunderstood characters in the stories other people tell themselves, and those who haven’t yet discovered how much they would like it.

Welcome to The Interzone a space where I host jaunts to the way things could have been and offering glimpses at the way things still might be, places where people strive after dreams, fight back at disaster, struggle with demons in both themselves and others. Enjoy.

 

Know someone who might like this? Post it or Forward this email to let them in on it.

Any thoughts or comments. I’d love to hear them

To join Adventures in the Interzone: excursions to the way things might have been or might yet be click here. 

 

A Break to Gather Thoughts and Ask a Question

One Candle in the Darkness is taking a week off to collect thoughts, mostly from the people who venture here from time to time.

Since everyone has only a limited time to read, watch or listen, or to write what folks read, or to create what folks see or listen to I want to make sure the producer (me) is delivering what you the partakers wants:

I’ve embarked on deep dive into psychology as a way to move into science and the process of science more generally, which will set up a dive into agency and how games can explain what we see on the headlines.

In the past, I’ve posted about the process of self-publishing, and dabble in the process of writing long fiction. Even included a few updates on A Perfect Blindness the literary novel that was published back in April 2017. Almost a year now.

The most popular posts were about insights into self-publishing, with a few strong ones talking about depression being an unintended side effect of two seizure prophylactics I’ve taken.

What then would people most like to find here?

  • Updates on A Perfect Blindness?
  • DVD extras from A Perfect Blindness? (cut scenes, background notes, “interviews” with the main characters? More playlists?)
  • Sneak Peaks at other fiction I’m working on?
  • More nitty gritty on publishing?
  • Writing in general/Long fiction in particular?
  • More psych?
  • The dive into science (Which is more interesting and informative that you’d think)?
  • Agency and how games can explain the headlines?
  • Something completely different?

Please let me know in the comments. I don’t want to put up stuff here no one cares about. Wastes your time and mine both.

Next up (Still): Science From Burke to Khun Part 1 (How one gets from Witchcraft to Science)

Know someone who might like this? Post it or Forward this email to let them in on it.

To join Adventures in the Interzone: excursions to the more intriguing parts of a curious mind click here.

Better Living Through Chemistry: Epilogue (One Step Up From Witchcraft)

Unless someone is familiar with the ideas from Thomas Khun’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, calling psychology “one step up from witchcraft sounds like the first shot from someone planning a war on psychology. That reading takes the angry words of a disillusioned from 22 year old too literally, even if it was how he had meant them in 1984—long before he understood how science was born, or how disciplines grow and change.

Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Epilogue (One Step Up From Witchcraft)”