Author Topic: Advice for Writing  (Read 9223 times)

Offline ed

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2016, 08:53:02 PM »
Vogel, apparently Ed makes SIX figures a year from his writing, which puts him in the top 1% of self-publishers worldwide. Indeed miraculous given the grammar, syntax and spelling errors present in his posts. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Apologies for calling you out, Ed, but if you're going to pretend to be something you're not at least make it slightly believable.

Lamont, Ed is offering bad advice. Critiques by non-writers are as beneficial, possibly more beneficial, because they will focus on the most important thing: the story. Beta readers should be your IR (ideal reader) rather than writers.

Matt, I don't mind you having a jab at my grammar and spelling errors in forum posts as i know they exist. I don't go back and read through posts to see if what i wrote on a forum was grammatically correct. I'm lucky if i have time to post at all.

As for my mistakes when writing books to earn money. I have a very very good editor who catches them. By the time my book is published it's error free.

That's why i don't give weight to how a person writes on a forum. I give weight to the books they sell.

As for pretending. I have no reason to pretend to be something I am not, as I am not selling anyone anything here. So i have no need to convince you. (No book on how to write is being sold. No course on how to make money as a writer is being sold).

I understand that others haven't had success and so the idea that someone could have success is hard to swallow. It's easy to just crucify a person and say they are lying. I was of the same mindset back when i was only making a few bucks and writing slow.

I am not claiming anything that other indie authors haven't achieved. There are many others who earn more than me.

There is no talent here, just someone who works very hard and has figured out how to give readers what they want. That's it!

When i first got started my earnings were around $50, that went up each month as i started to write faster, get good covers and see what was selling.

40% of my earnings are pure sales. 60% comes from kindle unlimited readers.

For those who think that KDP ( kindle unlimited ) isn't a viable option. Think again. It's the Netflix of books. It lets people consume large amounts of books for one price every month and then us authors are rewarded for pages read. I make sure that people keep turning those pages and in turn, i get paid accordingly.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 09:13:28 PM by ed »

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2016, 08:42:31 AM »
Could you send me a link to a book or books you've written?  I'd like to read some of your writing.

Matt, I don't mind you having a jab at my grammar and spelling errors in forum posts as i know they exist. I don't go back and read through posts to see if what i wrote on a forum was grammatically correct. I'm lucky if i have time to post at all.

As for my mistakes when writing books to earn money. I have a very very good editor who catches them. By the time my book is published it's error free.

That's why i don't give weight to how a person writes on a forum. I give weight to the books they sell.

As for pretending. I have no reason to pretend to be something I am not, as I am not selling anyone anything here. So i have no need to convince you. (No book on how to write is being sold. No course on how to make money as a writer is being sold).

I understand that others haven't had success and so the idea that someone could have success is hard to swallow. It's easy to just crucify a person and say they are lying. I was of the same mindset back when i was only making a few bucks and writing slow.

I am not claiming anything that other indie authors haven't achieved. There are many others who earn more than me.

There is no talent here, just someone who works very hard and has figured out how to give readers what they want. That's it!

When i first got started my earnings were around $50, that went up each month as i started to write faster, get good covers and see what was selling.

40% of my earnings are pure sales. 60% comes from kindle unlimited readers.

For those who think that KDP ( kindle unlimited ) isn't a viable option. Think again. It's the Netflix of books. It lets people consume large amounts of books for one price every month and then us authors are rewarded for pages read. I make sure that people keep turning those pages and in turn, i get paid accordingly.

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2016, 01:29:20 PM »
Ed, your advice seems to boil down to this: don't worry about the quality of your work, just churn out as much of it as you can as quickly as you can and you'll make more money than 99% of writers, including the pros.

What would happen to literature if everyone took your advice?

That's why I cannot allow you your fantasy, I'm sorry. You're also forgetting that you emailed me a few years ago using your real name. So stop with the BS, please.
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Offline Vogel

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2016, 03:09:56 PM »
You're also forgetting that you emailed me a few years ago using your real name. So stop with the BS, please.

I'll be quite the surprised little lady if we hear any more out of this one.

Offline ed

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2016, 10:51:51 PM »
Could you send me a link to a book or books you've written?  I'd like to read some of your writing.


Hi, I explained in a different thread my reasons for not linking to my books. Mainly because i don't wish to have people leave bad reviews out of spite and based on a few runs ins on the forum in the past that might happen (its nice here now though, well i think it is ). Secondly, writing full-time is a very competitive business.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 12:16:00 AM by ed »

Offline ed

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2016, 10:52:05 PM »
I'll be quite the surprised little lady if we hear any more out of this one.

No i will drop in from time to time.

Offline ed

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2016, 11:01:39 PM »
Ed, your advice seems to boil down to this: don't worry about the quality of your work, just churn out as much of it as you can as quickly as you can and you'll make more money than 99% of writers, including the pros.

What would happen to literature if everyone took your advice?

That's why I cannot allow you your fantasy, I'm sorry. You're also forgetting that you emailed me a few years ago using your real name. So stop with the BS, please.

Matt from day one on this forum i have always used a free email and a pseudonym to avoid my real name being used. Correspondence is always under a pseudonym via that temp email. I do that on all forums ( even non writing forums ) Heck at the last count i think i had about six different emails besides my real one that i only give to family and friends. This way i avoid spam in my real email account and avoid issues.  Those pseudonyms are never used on my books.

Secondly, I use multiple pen names with the books i write (mainly so i can write in different genres) but also to avoid further issues in the event anyone does find out my actual name. Even my closest friends and family don't know all the books i write. I currently have 9 pen names. As for how this can be done. You can use authorcentral.amazon.com to set them up. It's very easy and that way you can track your sales for each one and they all fall under one Kindle account.

Third in regards to advice, i didn't say you will make more money than the pros (though you might, it depends on who you consider a pro and what they are earning) or forget about quality. I said that the turning point for me ( it may be different for other people ) was when i turned off my inner editor, stopped outlining as much and trusted that i could write a story after having done research on what the market wanted. A large part of my success has come from writing faster using sprints. If you have more books in the market every month, you are going to get seen more and if you have done your job in regards to writing to market, you will get paid more.

I get the first draft done very fast, then i go back through, then it goes to the editor, then i go back through, and then i have several proof readers read it and then it goes out the door. I don't overthink it. There is only so many days that a person gets on this planet. Use them wisely.

Believe me, I am for quality. But quality is very subjective. What is a masterpiece to one person is a heap of a crap to another. I am not talking about high quality literature here. If your goal is to impress people with your words and win an award for your writing, then i agree that you should tweak away until the cows come home and get critiques from as many people who have won awards --- just don't expect to get paid much --- unless you can catch lightning in a bottle.

Everyone I know who is doing this full-time for a living writes fast. 4000+ words a day. At that rate they can get 1 book out a month, or 1 book out every 1 and half months. I aim for 1 book a month but i usually can get more than that if i really focus.

Remember Matt, I write in markets where they just want a good story, they aren't too concerned if you are Ernest Hemmingway or Mark Twain. I give them that story and i have a very good editor who makes sure that my work shines when i hit that publish button.

Would my work win awards. No, not at all. Heck, Hemmingway would probably turn over in his grave ;) but it does the job and it allows me to do this full time.

I have already outlined my process in another thread ( i believe it was under self publishing ). At the end of the day it's not rocket science. It's simple math based on words written per day + number of days + knowing what the market is already buying. What I am doing is very achievable and is being done by many self-published authors.

If you think its a fantasy. That's fine by me. But i would recommend you head over to kboards and ask people two questions:

1. Is it possible to write 4000 to 5,000 words a day consistently?
2. Are there writers who earn over $10,000 every month?

There are many people who will respond and tell you yes. There are many that don't but they are working full time jobs. Back when i was working a full-time job, i was barely getting anything in as i was too busy earning a living. I couldn't even FATHOM that a person could make over $1,000 never mind $10,000 or $20,000 in a month.

But it's simple math.

If you are selling a book at $3.99 and getting $2.70 royalty and you sell 200 books which is fairly easy to do if you have written to market and have built a mailing list. Based on those figures you will have earned $540 ( from one book ) in that month.

Now if you have 20 more books that are making just that. You have in one month 10800 and that's BEFORE amazon pays you for (page reads) which really does add up, paperback sales and audio sales.

Now again you don't need 20 books to make that.

I know some guys who have about 5 to 6 books in a series but they are selling over 1000 copies a month on each book.  Which if we are talking about $2.70 x 1000 comes to $2700 x 5 or 6 books and again you can see how you could make over 10,000. ( that's before paperback, audio, page reads which adds more )

Or we can be really modest and let's say you only have 3 books and you are selling 400 copies a month, that's $1,200. Now if people borrow them, you might get an extra $1000 to $3000 in page reads.  Your earnings would be around $2,200 - $4,200. That is with 3 books.

Remember it fluctuates because there is a drop off on Amazon at around the 60 day mark. Some day its 30 but i have noticed it is around 60 days. But as long as you are writing the next one, you should be going up or at least bringing in a certain amount each month.

I know one self-published friend of mine who only has 1 book out but the thing had sold like hot cakes ( yes its not the norm but the ability to earn what he mentions is achievable) and he was getting anywhere from around $330 at his lowest month to $21,000 at his highest. He did an interview which you can see here. He lists in a graph his earnings of sales, kindle unlimited borrows(pagereads), paperback and audio. Now his book has been out a long while and i would imagine its dropped considerably but i remember when his was out. I leave this as an example of what one good book can do. Now imagine 3, 5, 10 or 20 books.

http://www.buildyourauthorcareer.com/21000-in-one-month-with-a-debut-novel-an-interview-with-full-time-author-todd-ellery-hodges/
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 12:25:34 AM by ed »

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2016, 06:35:46 AM »
Ed, the average self-publisher sells less than a dozen copies and earns less than $100 per year. The average for professional writers is about 10,000 per year. Your claims put you in the top 1%, i.e. one of the most successful authors in the world. You manage to write a novel a month, all good enough to sell to your readers, even though the most successful prolific author - James Patterson - can only manage 3-4 novels a year (and he gets other people to actually write them). You have 9 pseudonyms and have managed to build up a large readership for each one. Evidence provided: none.

There is an easy way to prove this. PM your pseudonyms and I will contact them on Amazon for confirmation. If it turns out you are telling the truth I will of course apologise to you on here, and I promise not to leave bad reviews nor reveal your pen-names to anyone. Can't say fairer than that.

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Offline ed

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2016, 09:25:36 AM »
Ed, the average self-publisher sells less than a dozen copies and earns less than $100 per year. The average for professional writers is about 10,000 per year. Your claims put you in the top 1%, i.e. one of the most successful authors in the world. You manage to write a novel a month, all good enough to sell to your readers, even though the most successful prolific author - James Patterson - can only manage 3-4 novels a year (and he gets other people to actually write them). You have 9 pseudonyms and have managed to build up a large readership for each one. Evidence provided: none.

There is an easy way to prove this. PM your pseudonyms and I will contact them on Amazon for confirmation. If it turns out you are telling the truth I will of course apologise to you on here, and I promise not to leave bad reviews nor reveal your pen-names to anyone. Can't say fairer than that.



Matt, I'm not saying that earning $10,000 + is the norm. It's not. You have to really work your ass off and have lots of books out in the market place or have one or two series that are doing really well in order to make this kind of money. But that doesn't mean there aren't self-publishers earning a good living and earning below that each month.

As for stats. I'm not sure where you are getting your information/stats from but it's not accurate. I wouldn't be surprised if those stats are being issued by legacy publishers. They are notorious for spouting disinformation because they are worried about where the publishing industry is going. They are seeing it change before their eyes.

There was a long post between Joe Konrath and Kensington Publishing on this. http://jakonrath.blogspot.ca/2014/01/questions-from-steve-zacharius-ceo-and.html

I also recommend reading a number of Joe's, hugh howeys, Mark Dawson, Barry eislin, lindsay buroker and wayne stinnets articles as they are a heck a lot closer to the truth of what self publishers are making than what is being issued by legacy folks.

Also go to kboards ( there are lots of threads by authors who are making a full-time living at this in are in the $2000 to $5000 range a month.) They might not be making $10,000+ a month but they are definitely selling more than a dozen copies. I feel sorry for the person who is selling that. That is awful. If they are only selling that, it's time to rethink their game plan, change genre or look at how they are selling.)

Also i would question what type of marketing they are doing, if any at all.

As for Patterson he put out 15 in 2014. The guy is a relic and a smart one. He knows the money is in getting more books out even though he is a household name and could just put 2 a year and still do fine. Important: For those who are not a household name they have to work harder. 2 books a year isn't going to cut it unless you are Andy Weir or A.G. Riddle.

Just ONE of my books last month sold 1569 copies, i had 17 refunds so i sold 1552 copies. On top of that i had 885890 page reads on that one book. This was in the month of September.

Now this is not typical. My copies in a month per book have averaged around 300-400 with 110000 page reads.

I currently have around 120 to 200 ebook sales a day. (Not including paperbacks, audio or page reads) If i do a campaign through bookbub, or one of the many other ones out there. That spikes higher.

Currently I believe I have 47 books. 33 are full novels, the rest are short stories.

I don't consider my success the norm. I bang out a lot of words every day so in turn i can manage to get 1 to 2 books a month out. If that places me in the minority, then so be it. I have to pay my bills so i don't have a lot of time to tweak or over analyze. I get a story, i write, i publish and then move on.

Now...

The average person even if they do 2,000 words a day, will have a 60,000 word book completed in 30 days. If they have a good editor, they can get it back to them within 1 week and have a book out every 40 days.

If they are super lazy or pressed for time and do only 1,000 words a day. They can have 1 book out every 60 days. ( Wayne Stinnet is like that ) He has i believe only 11 books and on a low month makes over $10,000 but usually he is over $20,000 a month. Go check out his books if you want to look at what sells for him. He doesn't write under pseudonyms.

I'm not here to prove it to you as I have said before. If you choose to not believe it, that is you prerogative. (I'm not selling any book on how to do what i am doing.) I will continue to make a living at this regardless of whether you believe it or not. Though i would recommend you not be so narrow minded and negative towards those who are having some level of success.

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« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 09:37:18 AM by ed »

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2016, 01:41:09 PM »
My stats were from The Society of Authors, Authors Earnings and Publisher's Weekly. If you're not prepared to offer any evidence for your claims then there's really no point continuing with this.

But I will reiterate: recommending budding writers ignore comments from readers (because they are not pro writers) is bad advice.
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Offline ed

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2016, 02:55:07 PM »
My stats were from The Society of Authors, Authors Earnings and Publisher's Weekly. If you're not prepared to offer any evidence for your claims then there's really no point continuing with this.

But I will reiterate: recommending budding writers ignore comments from readers (because they are not pro writers) is bad advice.

The Society of Authors, Authors Earnings and Publisher's Weekly are not exactly the leading authority on author income or deemed definitive proof of what the average author makes. Most of the time when the author earnings report comes out each month, folks over on kboards, including myself laugh at their stats as our amazon reports paint a very different picture, and that is the only reports that matter. Not Joe Bloggs down the road who attempts to gather data from dubious places in an attempt to create a sound bite for a website or radio station. The only report that matters to a self-published author is the report they get on the 15th of the month and the one they see in their account on the 29th.

No self-published author should ever base their opinion on whether or not they can succeed in a genre on what another author has failed to do. We don't know what marketing they have done or not done, what crappy covers they used, what terrible blurb they wrote or what sleep-inducing story they penned.

And likewise, no author should ever base their opinion on what one author has earned based on what they have failed to do themselves.

The only way a person can know is to examine the top 10 in the top 100 in any genre and see what is being bought, read it, understand the tropes and then write your own.

I have gone into markets where others have had no success and sold books. Now had i listened to the naysayers who frequent forums in order to keep people where they are ( not succeeding ) i would be in the same place. I don't rely on reports spewed from the mouths of some website but from the report i see in front of me after after having worked my ass off and hit the publish button.

Anyway, I think our communication and responses have some how derailed this thread and taking it in a different direction.

This thread was never about proving an author can make $10,000+ a month and neither is anyone obligated to prove what their job income is to anyone other than the tax man unless they are trying to sell someone a product or service. Nor should anyone if they have common sense hand over the blueprints to what has worked for them. But having said that, there is more than enough evidence out there to prove that authors can sell more than 12 books a day, write 1 book a month and earn a modest to high income if you are willing to put in the work, expand your perception of what you think is reality, follow some of those links i have provided in the previous posts, do some research, ask questions on kboards forum and then actually write to market to see for yourself. I'm not going to do the research and work for you. I have already done mine, tested and proven it can be done.

My original response on this thread was simply this.

Best advice.

Write. Don't listen to critiques on forums as most are coming from folks who aren't doing it for a living.

Get critiques from those who are earning a living if you must but the best critiques come from being in the trenches and putting a book out there.

All the rest is just dribble.

I stand by this whether you agree or not. The advice is not for those who want to win awards but those seeking advice for writing books that they want to sell.

If you are going to get critiques, get them from those who are actually doing it for a living. If they aren't. You might learn a thing or two about grammar and editing but you won't be learning much about selling books and getting to the point of doing it for a living.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 05:42:06 PM by ed »

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2016, 12:54:09 PM »

I would agree not to give you any bad reviews.  You can send me the links privately so that no one else will get them; I certainly won't give the links to anyone.  I know how forums can be and I know very well how people can behave online, having already been the victim of some very nasty stuff.

I don't think you would be competing with me, ever.  My chances of publishing anything are very low, but even if I did, it would not be the same sort of books as what you write. 

Hi, I explained in a different thread my reasons for not linking to my books. Mainly because i don't wish to have people leave bad reviews out of spite and based on a few runs ins on the forum in the past that might happen (its nice here now though, well i think it is ). Secondly, writing full-time is a very competitive business.

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2016, 01:20:37 PM »

Well, there is a very clear difference in what people critique, between online and others.

As an example, I had a university professor who's done a lot of writing, read my current novel.

His critiques were so completely unlike the critiques on this website that - well -  I was amazed. 

I have a tough time characterizing those differences.  I thought about it a lot.

But say, if it were not a book but a horse performing dressage, the online critique would generally have a very denigrating and hostile tone, and would be focusing on say, the number of steps in a turn, the number of inches of forward reach of the hind feet in the trot, the number of degrees in front of a perpendicular line with the ground the horse's forehead is, or the amount of froth on the horse's mouth, assuming that there is an extremely strict definition for each of these things which is the same for all horses and riders, and all must be corrected immediately.

If a trainer of much experience training dressage horses criticized the performance, he'd be saying, ''very good, you're on your way, now just a few things', and these would be very small in number, and limited to what would prevent the person on step 1, from getting to step 2, not EVERY detail that has to be corrected in the entire life of development of a rider or horse.

Because each horse and rider develops very SLOWLY over a long, long period of time, and the basic difference between success and failure is keeping at it, absorbing the type of criticism that at that very moment will get you from step 1 to step 2, and being able to identify what oneself is good at and enjoying that and working on what one is not good at.

And in the context of writing, recognizing that yes, one may really be destined to write children's books that make appendectomies less scary, and not books like ''The Sound and the Fury'' by Faulkner.  And that that is okay.

And so in fact, what I believe is that the actual author I had read my book, was far, far more concerned about making the story exciting and interesting, and quick moving and believable and hangin'-together-able, than whether I had a Harvard comma or not.

In fact, the first thing the author said to me, was not, you moron, you have a Harvard comma, it was, ''Good God, I was so upset when your main character got bawled out by so-and-so''.

I think that an author who writes a lot of, say, how to books, would also have very different criticisms than someone who has written romance novels, vs someone who's written a very unusual or daring novel that was way ahead of its time.

I think what someone criticizes is very much about who s/he is, and what s/he has done and is doing, in writing.

The trouble of course is that mastering mechanics, knowing when to thumb one's nose at Strunk and White, and when not to - the only way a person gets to that point is by writing a lot and listening to what SOMEONE has to say about what he writes.  There is a certain risk exposure in not wanting to listen to any given audience, whether it's the ''core of your readership'' OR an internet wannabe or a highly published author or an editor.  Not listening to each one has its own kind of risk exposure.

My stats were from The Society of Authors, Authors Earnings and Publisher's Weekly. If you're not prepared to offer any evidence for your claims then there's really no point continuing with this.

But I will reiterate: recommending budding writers ignore comments from readers (because they are not pro writers) is bad advice.

Offline Matt Walker

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Re: Advice for Writing
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2016, 01:51:14 PM »
Story trumps all. Remember that. Unless you're writing literary fiction, the actual writing is always secondary to the story. That's why the thoughts of a total amateur are still worthwhile: they can tell you where your story's too boring, too slow, too unbelievable, too one-dimensional. You don't need any kind of pro to tell you that. You don't need a writer, you need a reader.

However, don't neglect the quality of your writing. Bad prose DOES affect the quality of your story. Clunky phrasing, repetition, purple prose, the overuse of adverbs and description and exposition - all of this detracts from a reader's overall experience. That's why learning to write well is important.

But a good story is far more important.
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