The Key to Marketing

Hi folks, Often, writers who follow my Daily Journal email to ask me about marketing. As in, “What’s more important? Social media or ads? Which social media? Amazon (or Google or Facebook) ads? My own website and a mailing list?” Okay, having your own website and a mailing list of folks who want to know about your next book is important. And some of the other things above maybe are helpful too. But the number one … Read more

A Few Personal Thoughts on Publishing

Hi Folks, Note: This post was originally published in slightly different form on my Journal a week or so ago. “Seven Minutes in Belfast” is my most recent short story, one written in the Blackwell Ops world of the series by the same name. As I was adding that story to my inventory, I realized I didn’t publish anything at all during August, September and October of this year. That’s the longest I’ve gone without publishing … Read more

An Ugly, Two-Sided Coin

Hi Folks, I am constantly amazed at the smug duality of some writers, especially those who see “writer” as some sort of elevated calling. I can spot them within the first few minutes of listening to them talk. They are somehow filled with both self-doubt and overconfidence. At the same time. On one hand, they doubt their own storytelling ability. They actually brag about their critique partners or critique group. They brag about the number of … Read more

The Original Heinlein’s Rules

Hey Folks, In recent years, say about the last 40 or 50, many would-be writers have gotten away from writing. They set out to write, but then allow themselves to be trapped in a vicious circle. Some don’t even actually write. Instead, they meet with writers and other would-be writers in groups and rehash all the same old advice that hasn’t worked for them thus far. They attend conferences and conventions. They strive to meet writers … Read more

Interim Post

Hi Folks, Well, I just posted a complete how-to book—in chapters and appendices—free on this site over the past several weeks. If you haven’t read it and you would like to, you can click Writing the Character-Driven Story to find the links to every chapter. I’ll be taking it down soon, so if you haven’t read it and you’d like to, please do so soon. If you would rather buy your own copy, you can find … Read more

Appendix C—Rules for Writers and Writing

I’m not going to spew a bunch of extra stuff here. It should go without saying that I believe the “rules” in this appendix are good ones to follow. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have included them. One note—please don’t be so closed minded that you see (for example) Robert Heinlein’s name and automatically assume the rules that follow apply only to science fiction. They don’t. I’m not joking. Seriously, if that’s who you are, please … Read more

A Revised Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Traits of a Professional Writer

Hi Folks, I’m sending this out a little early because, darn it, it’s the Christmas season and I wanna give you a few presents. I’ll slip in an appropriate post on the 21st just to keep the routine of every ten days going. That’s when this one would have gone if I’d left it to its own devices. First, Merry Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you have an enjoyable holiday season. Also, I … Read more

The Journal, Wednesday, 11/25

Well, I’m back. Finally. And I won’t leave again unless it’s feet first. I promise. Listen, if you’d rather not receive this, please don’t just unsubscribe. Please email me at and I’ll remove your name from this list myself. It makes a difference over at MailChimp. Thanks. When I wrote here last, I was writing fiction pretty much every day, in addition to writing this (daily) blog as well as my main Pro Writers blog, … Read more

Choices, and a Toast

Hey Folks, Well, here’s another interim blog post. Part Two of the writing setting posts will be here on November 11. In the meantime, two quick notes: Dean Wesley Smith, in the Topic of the Night in his Blog Post From Yesterday, which I finally found early this morning, wrote an excellent, brief article about making choices. In addition to talking about making choices, he provides a technique that really works to help you find “extra” … Read more

The Journal, Monday, 8/24

The Day Got up closer to 3:30 this morning. Still dragging a bit. Checked email, got my coffee and went to check out Dean’s site. I haven’t been there for a few days. It’s almost better that way because when I go late, I read the comments too. Sometimes there’s some good stuff there. Reading Dean’s stuff took an hour, almost exactly. Worthwhile, though. I found out in the comments section that we both use the … Read more