Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book Review: The Art and Business of Writing by Chris Jones

Loved this book. So much helpful advice. Perfect size ... not too long and not too short. It even went beyond where I am in my career right now and took it to business cards (I do have a mommy card with all my businesses on it) and web hosting (I just use free Blogger and have for about 10 years) advice.

Here are some takeaways for me personally, and I have been writing for publication since about 2006 and ebooks since 2009:

  • Check out the Pomodoro timer in your phone's app store. Interesting to see how much work I was actually getting done versus how much time I THOUGHT I was spending working. It was much less, actually. Here's my post about discovering this helpful app!
  • This book made me realize that it would be doable for me to write 500 words per day if I made room in my life for that and did it first, BEFORE sitting down to my proofreading jobs. It's all about priorities.
  • The book is about the Art + Business of writing. To me that's like being good at English + Math, you know? You can't be all about the art of it ... because you also have to worry about record keeping, collections, getting clients, marketing and so much more!
  • Who is my reader? What do I hope they will learn and how will I help them? Like with my cookbooks, that's easy. And same for my book about making money to write for magazines. But my parenting Christmas and Halloweens? Kinda general and might need to be reworked into a more general Holidays book that's more focused on solutions.
  • Am I writing for them or for me? You have to somewhat write for yourself. Like most of my parenting articles were for me and same for the tater tot cookbook and even the magazine one was to compile all my markets but then I wrote all the tips in the beginning for the reader! I put all the tater tot recipes in one place so I would have them. Then I spiced them up and created more and added desserts! This gets me so excited to work on my other 8 projects I want to do, like this one!

What are some helpful things that work for you in your life as a writer?

**There were typos that were distracting to me as a proofreader. If there were only a couple I would not even mention it, but there were many and they were easy-to-catch things like commas for pauses and "your" instead of "you" ... and others. I have to admit I do proofread my own work because I'm a proofreader, but I probably should not be doing that. I recently read something decent with few typos and knew the author did not use a proofreader and she said she used Grammarly. I'm just saying Word and Grammarly are not humans, so spend the money to hire a proofreader for your baby (your book) or someone like me is going to mention it so you fix it. We don't do it to be mean, we do it so you'll make it right and do better on your next book! I promise I am not even trolling for new clients when I point these things out; I am so busy on Fiverr already! I loved this book so much that I am choosing to ignore the typos and give it five stars on Amazon!

The Pomodoro Technique: Focus for ADHD Writers

I'm reading The Art and Business of Writing by Chris Jones on my Kindle and it's full of helpful advice. I'll review it in a later post. For now, please take this gem I got in there (then, interestingly enough, I also found the same gem the next day in a speed-reading ebook I was proofreading on Fiverr, which tells me the Universe wants me to try it).

Basically in the mornings, I put my butt in my seat after getting my coffee and something to eat. Focusing after that is hard. I want to check email, Facebook, my ebook sales, Fiverr, blog stats, do some blog social media, and more. Back and forth and then I've wasted an hour! That is no way to make your dreams come true of moving to the country, traveling the world with your family and writing a bunch more books! 

So you start by hitting the app store with your smartphone (or you can just do it yourself with a timer, I suppose, but I am trying out this free app to see if it keeps track of stats and stuff ... there are also paid versions).
Then you handle your settings. I left mine on the default. So I proofread for 25 minutes and then take a break. I plan to also use this for writing so I can get articles and ebooks actually WORKED ON! After every 4 sets, you get a longer break. I'll have to use this to switch out the laundry, do some dishes, throw dinner in the slow cooker, brush my teeth, get dressed, etc. I am only doing this in the mornings so far when the kids are sleeping and I am not distracted or interrupted. Once the kids are up, all bets are off and it's homeschool and family time until I can get more work done at night, usually about another hour until my brain is too tired to think.

The timer goes quietly for 25 minutes and then buzzes or can go off with an alarm with noise and then switches to 4 minutes of break (yes, you can pause it if you need to). Sometimes I might grab my 5-pound weights I keep by my desk (a 1950s Formica table in the corner of the kitchen, my "office") or do some planks or squats. Or check email. But the point is when that time is up I have to get back to work. No more languishing in Facebook land for me!

I'd love to hear about your tips, tricks and tools for getting things done! And be sure to come back to read my review of Chris Jones' book! You'll love it!

Why Put Your Books on Kindle Unlimited for Free?

I love logging in to my Amazon Kindle KDP Select account and seeing a surprise! 408 pages read in my ebooks on Kindle Unlimited in one day after days of zero pages read. There's something about Sundays ... I always see my numbers spike then. I love offering that option for those who don’t want to buy it and who pay $10 a month like I do to download 10 at a time for free for rent! We can do all kinds of research for books and articles for only $10 a month! We can download all the fiction we want, all the DIY we want.

Read one, return it, get another. Always have 10 at a time!

There's something like a $12 million fund and the more KU pages read of my books, the bigger my monthly bonus. It’s like icing and another way to make money and I love it. Someone might not want to buy my book or clutter their Kindle with it forever but they want to borrow it and so I make that available.

I also love supporting other writers, knowing they are getting a bonus for me downloading and flipping through or devouring their books. I always try to leave a review before I return the book, unless it was too horrific then I try to not leave one of those 1-star reviews. I might instead track the author down personally and offer some suggestions for improving the book, especially if it's nonfiction, since that's the genre I write in.

AUTHORS, here's how it works for you, in case you are interested. And the fund lately is always above $10 million, by the way. They send you an email every month letting you know that:

Here are some examples of how it would work if the fund was $10M and 100,000,000 total pages were read in the month:
  • The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
  • The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million multiplied by 20,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
  • The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).

If you want to check out my current book offerings on Amazon, just follow this link!