The Business of Writing

To make your lives easier, this page will collect all of the articles that provide tips, tricks, and strategies for writers who are looking to turn a buck on the open market. Date, title, and description, they're all here. Newest at the top, oldest toward the bottom.

One of the best ways to build up your network as a creative professional is to help out others in your field. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to make any of these mistakes while trying to help.

Short stories have been a massive pain to actually sell, or find readers for... but we might be trying to reach the wrong demographic. If you are one of those authors who works in short stories, consider putting your stories into an audio format, rather than trying to move them in a more traditional, text format.

No man is an island, and that applies to authors, too. There's all sorts of myth making about how we're these perfect, aloof islands of brilliance sitting atop our ivory towers... truth is, good books are rarely (if ever) the product of a single hand... even if there's only one byline on the cover.

A.I. is still in the news, and there are more people than ever who are taking sides. However, on one side we have tech bros and corporations... and on the other side we have actual artists. It shouldn't be a tough choice.

You'd think that what decided your success as an author would be how well you could write... sadly, though, it's how well you can make short videos on a phone-based platform. Does that make sense? No. But that's the world we live in.

People who have found my information here in the Business of Writing section to be useful are typically looking for all the advice they can get on the publishing side of things. So this week I wanted to big up the signal for a fellow creator who has at least as much, if not more, to share on the subject than I do!

We've all heard the tale of the ant who worked hard to get ready for the winter, and the grasshopper who just played around until it was too late. If you're a creator in any profession, this is important for you to keep in mind. Because, at the end of the day, time is the one resource you cannot get back, and you have to spend it wisely.


A year and a half ago, 3 of my novels went off the market when my publisher went under. And while I found a new publisher, it's been a fight to get those books back in circulation. However, now that the holidays are upon us, my two novels about a hard-walking, tough-talking bruiser of a Maine Coon and the trouble he sorts out are back in action!

I've reached a point in my career where a lot of my older stories are starting to go out of print... but the advantage is that I now have the ability to put them out in other places, and in different ways. So if you'd like to see me bring one of my first published stories back from the grave, check out this recent update!

A lot of the time writing the story isn't the hard part... the hard part is actually figuring out which of your ideas to pursue. Fortunately, if you can get a bit of outside input on what you've got to choose from, and you run it through enough filters, that will often help you narrow the field so the choice becomes clear.

The enshittification of social media, or platform decay, is all around us these days. It's exhausting to deal with, even if you can understand the forces that are constantly setting everything on fire every time we turn around.

So many marketing strategies send you chasing online clout when it comes to selling your books. And while it's not exactly a bad thing to have... it really isn't going to be what makes or breaks you as a creator.

People are always asking me, and several creators I know, why we aren't on any of the Twitter alternatives that have spring up. This week I wanted to address that while there are a lot of platforms out there, none of them do what we, as creators, need them to do.

When you're a creator, you have to make sure you keep up with your audience's need to devour your content. Unfortunately, though, this means we usually have to find ways to double-dip, recycle, and cut as many corners as we can to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors.

As if we didn't have enough problems as writers, chat bots and plagiarism software is trying to gobble us up right alongside artists. This is not just a failure on the part of technology (it cannot mimic a fraction of human creativity), but if you need a book to be factual, using these bots to write it might get people killed.

Always being on the grind sucks. No lies, here. But short of being handed big, fat checks so that we don't have to pull 12 hour days from now till we drop dead, authors need to practice what self care we can afford to do. This week I wanted to touch on this, and maybe drive home a point or to for folks who need a glimpse behind the curtain.

So many people think that fame and fortune are some kind of reward for talent, drive, and dedication. However, the popular rumor about how Steven Seagal's career began (or the reason he has a career at all) is a lot more indicative of how things actually work behind-the-scenes... and it's something writers, as well as readers, should keep in mind.

I've been saying this for years, but creative professionals across the board are expected to survive on peanuts. While some folks have heard the message, a lot of folks are having their eyes opened by the current screen writers and actors protest that came with receipts, showing how underpaid these creatives are... I just want folks to know that this isn't just in TV and movies. This is all of us, everywhere, all the time.

About a year ago 3 of my 4 novels went out-of-print with the closing of Ring of Fire Press. It's been tough getting from there to here, but they're starting to come back out onto the market! Old Soldiers, my sci-fi dystopian thriller about 9-foot-tall genetically-engineered shock troops chasing a shadowy conspiracy, re-released on the 7th... and my noir cat adventures aren't too far behind!

Social media is the one tool that a lot of creators have available to them in this day and age, but we all depend on our friends and followers helping us get our art seen. So if you want to help, but you don't know how, or what will have the biggest impact, this week's simple guide is for you!

We all have this strange idea that an editor will just fix all of our woes as a writer... but that just isn't the case. Even worse, though, is that editors are often an expense we have to use sparingly... and even then they won't catch everything.

I've been looking for a YouTube alternative for a while... and I think I might have found one. It's early yet to sing the site's praises too highly, but Rumble is looking promising. So if you haven't heard of it, consider dropping in and taking a look around with me!

An unfortunate truth about being a creator is that you can't often afford to take risks with your creative output. And when you get stuck doing the same thing day in and day out, it starts to really grind you down. This is something that I feel like more of us should talk about, because it's exhausting, and your work starts to suffer if it goes on long enough.

People don't like marketers. That's fair enough, who wants to deal with ads day in and day out? But if your argument is that the people who are doing promotion for creators are somehow taking advantage of those creators... it might be time to take a moment, and ask who you're defending, here. Because I'll clue you in... it's corporations.

I don't usually do two Business of Writing posts in a row, but this is something I've been stewing on for a while, and I finally had something of an epiphany. So I wanted to share it with folks, in the event anyone was dealing with the same struggles I have been.

The ritual of offering thoughts and prayers to those in distress is hard-wired into so much of American social discourse, but it becomes extremely frustrating when it comes to creators asking their audience for help. So please, take a moment, and reflect on whether you are actually taking action to help someone, or just leaving them empty words, because the latter is about as valuable as exposure when it comes to paying bills.

The whole promise of an unpaid internship is that it will give you the skills and experience to move up and get a good job with the company. Being a creative professional is a lot like this, too, except there's even less of a chance of becoming rich and famous when the work is done.

Whether you're running a blog, writing articles, or making videos for platforms like YouTube or Dailymotion, I would highly recommend checking out Pixabay. It's one of the resources I use most, so I thought I'd share today!

This might be a bit of a broken record, but I felt it was important to make something that stood as a statement regarding how hard it can be to earn a living as a creator. Because the most popular thing I've written on Vocal hasn't earned 90,000 reads period, and that's over 5 years. Doing that in 30 days, and doing it every 30 days? No way in hell, without an absolute groundswell of support from all the readers out there.

I get it. Everyone is sick of social media devolving into an endless stream of creators just yelling at you to buy their book, back their game, watch their videos, and on, and on, and on. But as sick as you are of hearing it I promise you from the depths of my soul, we are even more sick of doing it.

As content consumers, we usually assume that something popular pays for itself in terms of traffic. However, the numbers involved just to keep projects greenlight, or to make sure platforms pay creators enough to cover their bills, is astronomical.

Have you ever wondered why hundreds or thousands of people might see a call to action to do one, specific thing to help, but no one ever does? Well, this is (at least in part) caused by something called the Bystander Effect... and it can play hell with your attempts to recruit a fan base for your work.


If you're an author who's thinking about creating audio content as a way to get the word out about your stories, or to build a bigger audience, you might be thinking that success on the level of someone like Joe Rogan or Old Gods of Appalachia is within your grasp. And while that's possible, take a look at the numbers before you decide this is going to be a walk in the park.

If you're online at all, you've likely heard about the arson going on over at Twitter. Given that a lot of folks used it as the engine to drive their income, there's a lot of people currently stranded. Now is the time we need a lift to the next town, not someone demanding to know why we weren't towing a second car with the one some asshole decided to set on fire for no reason.

A lot of folks ask me why I sell so much of the content I make instead of just giving it away for free. I really wish I could. And if you're someone who wants to see creators like me actually get paid for making free stuff, these are the things you can do to ensure that actually happens!

Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results is insanity. But what about when you do the same thing repeatedly and is does give you different results? Well, that's basically how marketing works.

Sometimes I need to get up on my soap box and talk about issues that bug me as a creator. This is one of those things. Creators put in the time, energy, sweat, and skill to do jobs and make products... if you don't want to pay for it, no one is making you. But if we set a price, respect that we're charging for our labor.

The worst thing you can do when it comes to getting a normal job is to contact the manager, hang around the store, or do anything other than fill out a job application. Unless you're a freelance writer, though, because those things are significantly more effective in drumming up work for you.

When we think of people who make their living as writers we tend to think of big, famous authors with millions of dollars in the bank. Truth is, for those of us just hustling day to day, we're playing the game on hard mode. If you're wondering just how much attention our work needs to garner just for us to pay rent, I've got the break down for you.

About a month ago I dropped hints that I might be making a podcast in the coming months. I've started laying the groundwork for it, and I wanted to take a moment to update folks on how it's going thus far, while also explaining how my regular readers can help me keep the wheels turning.

I'm generally an eyes-on-the-prize, return-on-investment sort of person. However, I think it's important to acknowledge that authors need more than just money. Bills being paid is good, however, sometimes a pat on the head or a cheer from the crowd makes a big difference, too!

For folks who've been wondering when I'm going to take the plunge and provide more in the way of audio fiction, well, wait no longer friends! I have a plan... I just need folks to go along with me on it long enough to make it self-sustaining.

Cons are upon us once more, and if you're planning on showing up to sell books, these are some things I'd recommend you keep in mind. Especially because an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure when it comes to these shows!

They say if you start meeting resistance then it's a sign you're going in the right direction. As such, this week I wanted to pull the curtain all the way back on the machine of the publishing industry to talk about the responsibility of the audience, and how we literally need them in order to keep producing our content. Because otherwise, we stop.

For every brilliant performer or creator out there, there's someone who doesn't shine quite so bright who could do just as good a job. If brilliance comes with baggage, then reliable is often what publishers will go with.

When times are rough, Fred Rogers said we should look for the helpers. Well, times are always tough for creators, which is why we should look for folks who are helping, while also doing our best to give each other a much-needed hand up.

If you're wondering why creators are constantly asking you to like, follow, and subscribe to their social media pages, well, this is why. We literally need you to help our work get seen, and so we can keep doing what we're doing!

With as fast-moving as social media is these days, and attention spans being what they are, it can be hard to actually arrest people's attention long enough for them to check out a story of yours. But we often feel like if we tried once, and no one was interested, that we've taken out shot. A reminder this week... there's more than one round in your clip.

Fan fiction is primarily defined by the fact that it isn't supposed to make you money... but if you're clever, you can use it as a marketing cat's paw to find your audience! It's not easy, and it's not guaranteed, but it can be a unique way to reach a community!

Trust me, authors don't want to use gimmicky marketing tricks any more than you want to deal with them. But when just showing up and saying we've got a book doesn't make copies fly off the shelves, we've got to take more drastic measures to keep the lights on.

We all want to see the creators we love succeed. However, it's important to be realistic about the impact our views, watches, listens, etc. have at the end of the day. Sad fact is, you likely make a bigger impact just donating $1 to a creator than you would streaming their content several hours a day for an entire month.

Getting support is a necessity for any creator out there who's hoping to make a living with their work. Actually getting that support, though, can feel impossible sometimes... but you might be surprised how much of a response you can get if you just ask.

Today I wanted to discuss the seeming dichotomy of making free content that's expected to pay the bills. After all, if my audience isn't handing me money, how do I get paid? Glad you asked! This week I discuss how that works, and how you can help keep my lights on, even if you don't have the cash to buy my books or become a Patreon patron!

Giving stuff away in order to make money sounds like a backward business strategy, but there's a reason so many authors and drug dealers tell you the first one's free. More on that, along with an impressive collection of my own free samples, found within!

The original meaning of the phrase, "pick yourself up by your bootstraps," was a literal textbook example of something physically impossible. A lot of us have lost sight of that, though, and this week I want to talk about how authors literally cannot make themselves successful... you need help, or you'll just be bootstrapping yourself in the dark.

When you're an author you need your audience, full stop. And if you're out there, we need you to make some noise so that we know you want to see more of what we're doing. Silence is the fastest way to suck the oxygen out of the room, and stop us from making anything new.

This week I wanted to pull back the curtain a bit to talk about a project I've put a lot of myself into... and to ask my regular readers out there to help me make this one a success.

A lot of people seem to have no idea why writers would ever create particular pieces of content, so I thought I'd take a second to spell it out for them. It's because we want to get paid.


So many people tell you that if you're going to be a creator that you need to have a "reliable" job to fall back on. I'm here to tell you that a lot of the "safe" jobs you think will be there for you are no more (or less) reliable than writing books or creating games a lot of the time.

It's easy getting lost in the landscape of today's digital world. Linktree lets you gather all your followables in a single place, and for that reason it's a good idea for any author who's on several different sites to make sure they have one. It really does help.

November 24, 2021 I Just Want To Write...
There's been a slew of folks suggesting all kinds of platforms and content I could get in on to bring in new readers. Something folks don't seem to understand, though, is that creators like myself don't have hours and hours a day lying around to take on additional responsibilities. So take a moment and consider that your support is probably going to be WAY more useful than most of what we could do from our end.

A lot of folks seem to think that, once cons are a thing again, that I'll be able to start putting aside cash and saving again. And all I can do is laugh and laugh... because the sheer amount of books I'd need to be able to sell at a convention just to break even, much less to turn a profit for an entire weekend's work, is so far beyond what an independent creator can manage that it becomes something of a bad joke. Which is why I brought receipts to discuss this major misconception.

Most folks are aware that small-time authors who lack a big name don't make a lot of money doing what they do. However, I wanted to break down just how difficult it can be to reach even small milestones, and how much our success or failure depends on you, the audience.

If everyone who suggested that an author just get a side job just bought a copy of a book, or put $1 in their tip jar, most of us would be able to pay our bills with a little extra to spare. That's the difference between support, and just giving us empty advice we can't use.

There's a lot of us out there looking for the closest thing to a guaranteed audience we can find. However, while there's a possibility of that when it comes to writing tie-in fiction, it's also important to keep an eye on the rules, restrictions, and hazards that comes with it!

Twitter, as a site, seems impenetrable to a lot of authors... especially those of us who are used to going on for pages at a time rather than narrowing our focus to short, punchy quips. But if you know how to make it work for you, it can become quite a boon. So let me share a lesson that's worked out pretty well for me in testing that can help get folks over that initial hump.

A Catch-22 is a problem where the only solution is actually excluded by the very nature of the problem. In this case, I can't work on any long-form projects because I need money to pay my bills right now... but if I had the time to make more long-form projects, there's a good chance they'd earn the money that I need that would allow me to work on more (and larger) pieces.

I see a lot of writers throwing thousands of dollars at their books during the publishing process. Thousands of dollars most of them are never, ever going to recoup. This is a job, and if you're paying for the privilege of working, then you're never going to be able to do this full-time. Use your funds sparingly, because too many folks are just blowing bills when they don't need to.

You ever notice how it's people who've already sold three million copies of their books getting all the free promotion on talk shows, review channels, etc.? Well, there's a reason for that, but it basically means that those who don't need more free publicity are the ones getting it, while those who desperately need it can't get it to save their careers.

A lot of folks focus on the huge fortunes a lot of writers earn from their royalties... but I feel like this misses a lot of the psychological satisfaction that they can create. Because when a product of your labor makes earnings, you naturally want to get your piece of the pie from all the sweat you put into it.

You'd think if thousands of people had been exposed to something you'd written that it would at least earn you enough money to buy a couple sandwiches off the dollar menu at McDonald's. However, the reality is that even if a lot of people like what you're making, compliments and well wishes aren't going to put cash in your tip jar.

Making a living as a creator isn't easy. Most of us know that. What most folks don't know, however, is that most artists need a helping hand to lift them up so they can keep creating fresh stuff for our audiences to consume. And whether that sponsorship is from a corporation, or from readers like you, it's what lets us do our thing.

I know I just had a book drop like, a month ago, but I've got something new already in the works and racing toward a release date! So if following around a hard-boiled cat on his adventures through NYC's world of street beasts wasn't your thing, perhaps you'd prefer a conspiracy thriller where a 9-foot-tall albino super soldier in a world devastated by war has to race against the clock to find out who is gunning for him, trying to make sure other survivors of Project Myrmidon don't learn the secret they're trying to protect?

Every now and again I feel the need to step onto my soap box and crow about a thing I've done. So, for folks who don't know yet, my second hard-boiled cat book, Painted Cats is now out!

This is something that I've been thinking about for a while now. Because so much of being a writer is random submissions, and hoping you can find an editor to publish your work. But if you want a good return on your investment that will actually pay your bills? Well... you probably can't afford to do things this way.

If you're an author, chances are you understand the punishment of Sisyphus on a deep, spiritual level. Because there's nothing worse than rolling the rock up the hill, only to hear nothing but crickets for your latest project, knowing you need to trudge back down and roll up another one hoping that this time maybe things will be different.

A lot of authors and smaller publishers rely on stock art for their covers because they just don't have the budget to commission fresh pieces of art all the time. But sometimes it can blow up in precisely the way you don't want it to. Learn from my headache, and proceed with caution!

We have a lot of tools available as writers to help with marketing and signal boosting. This is one I resisted for years, and wish I'd adopted sooner. It takes time to build, but hey, what doesn't?

If you're ever trying to find some direction for your next project, and someone just tells you to write whatever you want, you should probably ignore them. Here's why sometimes muting your heart to listen to other inputs is a good idea.

When someone tells you, "I don't care if you do it, but you need to do it the right way," most of the time they're just saying they don't want you to do it at all. Nowhere is this more true than with self-promotion, and this week I want to take a moment to explain why all this, "active participant," and, "community spirit," talk is just bullshit aimed at making authors do a massive amount of unpaid labor.

Sometimes I have to take a little time to crow about something. This is one of those times. Because I sat down with Joy Ward a little while back to talk about my latest novel, and what other projects I was up to, and now the result is here for all of you to take a gander at!

Every job out there is uncertain. But if you're going to take a serious stab at being an author, you need to understand that uncertainty is the way of the game. Everything is a gamble... everything.

Too many of us won't talk about what we earn. But this week I want to pull back the curtain and give you all a breakdown of what my time as a creative professional looked like in 2020. And brace yourselves, cause it ain't very pretty.

If you haven't heard of Shaun Hutson before, the Godfather of Gore has some advice that all writers should take to heart for a moment. You'll be glad you did.


You've heard the metaphor about how pressure turns coal into diamonds. Well there's something similar that happens once you take the guess work out of getting your projects approved. Because once you know for certain your submission is going to be going forward, suddenly everything becomes very, very real.

A lot of us are so focused on being liked that we sometimes forget there's just as much profit to be made in the controversy of people hating your work. This week, I'm talking about that!
Selling books on your own is almost entirely a matter of luck. If you want to make big sales, and you want to create that steady stream of income, you really need other people to help you. And if you want to help the authors you like, then this will tell you exactly why you are so vital to our careers.
If you are trying to think of a gift that will make an author on your holiday list happy this year, hopefully this post helps. Whether you've got a big budget or a small one, there's definitely something here to fit your gift-giving ability!
When it comes time to fly or die, failure is not an option. Thus far I'm managing to stay in the air, and it's a rather unexpected thrill. Wanted to share that feeling with folks this week, and I hope it comes across as the good news I intend it to be.

Most of the tips and tricks we hear from fellow authors for moving product seem weird and ludicrous... but this one? This is one I've tried myself, and it has worked out surprisingly well so far. As such, I thought I'd stop in to share this week.
If you really want to help the authors you're following, there is one way you can help them increase their sales... fill out a request form so your local library will stock their books!
There is an answer to the question, "How do I get a book deal?" Unfortunately it's an answer no one wants to hear, because the truth is that all you can do is write the best book you can, and shop it around to the best possible markets. Everything else, is in fate's hands.
If you've been waiting to find a shiny new book to check out for your quarantine reading, then look no further! My first novel from Eric Flint's Ring of Fire Press just dropped, and this one will have you purring for more once you get your hands on it.
As authors, we tend to put our art out there while keeping ourselves back in the shadows. We want people to enjoy our stories, but we don't generally like being center stage. However, if you want more people to come to you, it's important to forge a connection with your audience. Because liking you is the first step to getting someone to check out your work more often than not.
We all know that writing a book is essentially rolling the dice on the open market. However, books also represent a sizable investment of time, energy, and sweat that you could be spending on other projects. If you don't take that into consideration, you'll quickly find yourself in a big deficit wondering how you got there.

Have you ever thought there was no way you'd ever get tapped to contribute to your favorite fictional setting? No possibility you'd ever get to leave your mark, no matter how small, on a larger property? Well, let me be the first to tell you that random chance can make the impossible very possible indeed... if you're in the right place at the right time.

July 8, 2020 Victor Hugo, Notre Dame, and The Power of Prose
People will often tell you that your writing can't change anything. Point out that the only reason Notre Dame stands today is because Victor Hugo wasn't willing to let it go down without a fight, and he wrote one of his most famous novels to focus public demand on repairing it.

June 24, 2020 Don't Worry, Cancel Culture is Not a Thing
I keep seeing creators freak out about this, so I thought I'd address it this week. Cancel culture does not exist, and is not real. It's just people facing repercussions for their speech and actions, as has happened since the dawn of art.

June 11, 2020 Death of The Author, And Not Supporting Disappointing Creators
We've all had those moments where a creator let us down. This week I'd like to talk about death of the author, while reminding people not to give their money to creators they fundamentally don't want to support.

May 27, 2020 The Advantages of Public Domain Settings and Community Content Programs
If you've found it's tough getting people to check out your unique setting and novel, you might find you have more success with public domain stories and community content programs. Because if there's anything readers love more than a new book, it's something that's already part of the canon of a thing they know they like.

May 13, 2020 What a $1,200 Check Means For Me as an Author
We've all been looking at that $1,200 stimulus check, and trying to put it into perspective. If you're wondering what I'm looking at (and what other authors like me are looking at), I'm breaking down some numbers for you today.

April 29, 2020 If You Want New Readers, You Need To Promote in New Places
Too often we end up just sharing our updates in the same old groups. If you want to get new blood into your reader base, then you're going to have to step outside your current comfort zone. Trust me, it can be worth it!

April 15, 2020 "Integrity" is Expensive When You're a Writer
There are a lot of writers out there who prize their "integrity" when it comes to the sort of projects they're willing to accept. Most of the time, though, what they're referring to is that some forms of writing are more pure, or more acceptable, than others. End of the day, that doesn't put food in your belly.

April 1, 2020 If You're An Author, You Can't Afford To Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
When you find a golden goose, your first desire is going to be to get all the eggs out of it you can. But if that goose keels over, it's important to make sure it wasn't your sole source of income. Sharing resources, and some of my own experiences, this week.

March 18, 2020 Free Resources For Creators and Artists Affected By Covid-19
If you're an artist, author, or creator of any stripe, and you've been affected by Covid-19, then this list of resources should help you find some relief. And if you want to support the affected artists, well, there's resources here for you, too.

March 11, 2020 "You Can Only Be A Writer If You Can Afford It" Tells An Uncomfortable Truth
We like to imagine that writing is a race where those with the most talent win. Unfortunately, if you want to make it as a writer, you usually need to be born on second or third base in order to score. That's not a reality most of us want to hear, but it is unfortunately true.

February 26, 2020 If You're Going to Cons as an Author, Wear a Hat
This is going to sound like joke advice. I assure you, it is not. Put on a hat, and people will notice you a lot more often... my guarantee on it.

February 12, 2020 The 5 Stages of Hand Selling Your Book
Hand Selling is no walk in the park, but if you're new to the game (or looking for a handy flowchart), I'd recommend taking a gander at these five stages. It makes everything simple, easy, and a lot less stressful.

January 29 2020 Use National Celebration Days (and Months) To Boost Your Book's Signal
Something for all the folks out there looking for a way to get their books noticed. Never be afraid to piggyback onto a holiday or celebration!

January 16, 2020 "The Rejects" is My New Release For 2020 (and You Should Totally Check it Out!)
It's a new year, and that means it's time for a new book! If you've been looking for something to tide you over until my next novel comes out (and I've got plans in the works, don't worry your little head about that) then The Rejects should hit the spot.

January 1, 2020 Authors, Thanks To Algorithms, You're Going To Have To Repeat Yourself To Be Heard
It can sometimes feel like you're trying to organize a party on a spotty land line when getting the word out about your book, YouTube channel, blog, or other project. Understand that it's not necessarily because the audience isn't out there... it's because the algorithm is specifically designed to make it hard for you to reach people if you aren't paying cash to do so.


December 18, 2019 The Marketing Lesson We Could Learn From Elvis Presley's Manager
Marketing is a tricky beast to get a bridle on, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to review some of the bigger successes in the past. If you're looking for examples of brilliant marketing tactics, then this little trick from the Presley estate is one you should definitely take a moment to drink in.

December 4, 2019 Don't Be Afraid To Find A New Platform For Old Stories
A lot of people think that once they've written something, that's it. It has one shot, and if it doesn't succeed, it fades into obscurity and they have to start over with something new. That's not true, though... learn from my experience on this one, and don't let good content go to waste.

November 20, 2019 Patreon Creators, Keep Your Patrons Happy (Without Busting Your Budget)
If you're on Patreon, then you know how tough it can be to draw people in, and keep them donating. Fortunately, I brought back a little wisdom from Windy Con to help folks out there looking for a bit of an edge.

November 6, 2019 Authors, Don't Put Your Cart Before The Horse
It's nice to have the occasional fantasy of writing a book whose impact can affect the politics of the day, and sway the opinions of a generation. However, if you focus on that instead of actually writing the damn thing, then you're not even taking your unlikely shot to live that dream.

October 23, 2019 Avoid Falling Victim To The Toolbox Fallacy
How many times have you told yourself that you'll start a project once you get your hands on the right tools? Once you have that free time, that gym membership, that shiny new laptop? How many times were you lying to yourself, because it was the fire in your belly you lacked, rather than any particular software suite on your desktop?

October 9, 2019 Evergreen Content, Book Sales, and You (Making More Sales By Avoiding Cheap Gimmicks)
While hitching your wagon to the latest fad might seem like a sure fire way to get yourself a piece of the pie, it often blows up in your face. Steady sales from a unique story that stands on its own will always be more dependable than something that just chases genre trends and covers itself in labels.

September 25, 2019 Getting Paid While Giving Away Free Books (It Can Be Done!)
If you've ever had a really successful giveaway, and just wished you could actually turn some kind of profit from all those downloads, fret not! Just click-through, and I'll tell you how you can make at least a little bit, all while getting your free books into as many people's hands as possible.

September 11, 2019 In The Age of Audio, Why Don't You Have an Audio Book?
An audio book was once something reserved only for people with big name publishers and bestselling authors. But in today's market, it's something everyone should have. Here's how you can get started.

August 28, 2019 Know Who You're Selling Your Book To (Before You Start Writing It)
Most people think of writing as a two-part process; you write the book, then you sell it. If you really want to save time and effort, though, you should be working on both of those activities at the same time. Here's how to do just that.

August 8, 2019 Writing a Bestseller is Like Winning The Lottery (How Facing Facts Can Help You Beat The Odds)
So many people think they're going to write a bestseller that they forget exactly how tough that can be. More to the point, though, they forget that whether a book goes big or goes home is often a matter of luck more than anything else. Knowing this, and accepting it, is the first step toward putting down the burden of expectations, and using that energy more productively.

July 24, 2019 Understanding Cascade Sales/Views, and Why More Products Means Steadier Earnings
The more you release, the more money you can make. That's a truism when it comes to content creators, but the way it works is what I like to call the cascade. Once you master it, you can generate a waterfall of attention out of practically nothing.

July 10, 2019 Use Storytelling in Your Marketing (Not Just in Your Product)
Storytelling in your marketing is key. If you think you already did that when you wrote your book, well, I'm here to tell you that you've only done half the job.

June 26, 2019 Break Up Your Soap Box (By Promoting Fellow Authors' Work)
If you're having trouble making a profit out there, and you keep getting shouted down for promoting your own work, don't worry, I've got a strategy for you. Every time you promote yourself, change gears by turning around to promote someone else next. Trust me, it seems counter-intuitive, but it works wonders.

June 13, 2019 Attention Authors: You're Not Going To Run Out of Readers
There's always this niggling little worry in the back of your mind that says you've reached everyone willing to read your book. However, there are more readers out there every day... you couldn't run out of potential readers if you tried!

May 29, 2019 Looking To Make Some Money Writing? Check Out Vocal+!
If you're a regular reader, then you know I like to boost the signal on sites that let you get paid for writing. Well, Vocal has a new membership program called Vocal+, and it can be a solid way to make a little scratch if you've got the time and content to invest.

May 16, 2019 Conventions Are An Investment (Treat Them As Such)
Too often we look at conventions as a short-term way to make a quick infusion of cash. In reality, though, they're more of an investment in yourself, and in your brand. That altered perspective can do a lot to help change how you approach these events.

May 1, 2019 If You're An Author, You Really Need An Affiliate Marketing Account
Selling enough books to actually make a living isn't easy. But what if you could get paid twice for every sale you personally made? Well, if you have an affiliate marketing account, you can do just that!

April 18, 2019 Sell Your Book in Unexpected Places (You Might Be Surprised At The Results)
Everyone goes straight to the convention circuit and social media when it's time to sell their latest book. While you shouldn't avoid those places, they're far from the only markets you have available. Get creative, and you may be surprised!

April 3, 2019 Want More Eyes on Your Book? Try Guest Posting!
If you need a signal boost, and you've tried everything you can think of, then it might be time to use someone else's platform to get a leg up. The easiest way to do that is by writing a guest post!

March 20, 2019 Amazon Expects Readers To Pay If They Want To Leave Book Reviews
Getting reviews on platforms like Amazon can be what makes or breaks your book sales. That's why it's disheartening that the Internet giant has now set a monetary requirement before anyone is allowed to have an opinion on anything they've bought that's available for sale.

March 6, 2019 In Case You're Wondering, Novels Really Are Easier To Sell
Most of us want to write novels, which is great. Because, at the end of the day, they tend to draw in a lot more readers than short stories do.

February 20, 2019 5 Tips For Surviving Conventions As An Author
If you're going to conventions to help boost your signal, you're on the right track. Here are some things you should remember, though, before you clip on your badge.

February 6, 2019 "The Rule of 10" or "Why Numbers Are Deceptive in The Writing World"
Authors deal in words, not numbers. It's easy to get caught up in big social media splashes, or in successful free downloads, but take a moment and ask what those statistics are actually worth. The answer is, unfortunately, very little when it comes to return on investment.

January 23, 2019 10 Concrete Ways You Can Help The Authors You Like
If you're one of those readers who's often wondered how you can help, well wonder no more! This list of 10 specific actions you can take is guaranteed to help any authors whose careers you want to see flourish!

January 9, 2019 10 Things You Can Do To Sell More Books
I've been in the game for a while, and tried a little bit of everything. If you want to up your sales, and expand your platform, here are 10 things you can do that will help you get your books into more people's hands.


December 26, 2018 When You're An Author, Being Busy Isn't The Same As Being Successful
You know a funny thing about being an author? The ones who produce the most stuff, by and large, tend to be the ones with the least income (Stephen King aside). Why is that? Well, here's an inconvenient story about capitalism, and the fickle finger of the market this post-holiday season.

December 12, 2018 Does Your Book Have A Trailer? Here's 5 Reasons It Should
Book trailers are one of those things we've seen more and more of in the digital age. Here are some clear advantages you can get just by having one.

November 28, 2018 Successful Authors Are Persistence Hunters
Persistence hunting is when you hold a steady pace to run down a much faster animal. If you can conserve your energy, you'll wear them down until you can make the kill. Successful authors do the same thing.

November 14, 2018 Looking For Cover Art For Your Book? Try Drive Thru RPG!
If you're struggling to find solid art for your book cover, you might be looking in the wrong place. You should really check out Drive Thru RPG... trust me, you'll be thanking me for the tip.

October 31, 2018 If You Want To Get Noticed on Social Media, You Need To Interact
Ever notice that your posts never get any likes, shares, or comments? It might be because you're standing on your soap box and yelling at the crowd. Instead, try coming down and starting conversations. You get much better results.

October 17, 2018 Controversy Generates Attention (And Attention Generates Sales)
If you've ever shied away from something in your work because you think it's "too political" or might generate controversy, remember this; controversy almost always leads to profits. There are other risks inherent in generating it, but even the worst dumpster fire makes someone some sales at the end of the day.

October 4, 2018 Being a "Po-fessional" Author
Being a member of the working poor isn't a new story... but a lot of folks don't think about artists, authors, and video creators as being the ones who need a hand out, and a hand up. We are, though.

September 20, 2018 Writers on YouTube? Prepare For An Uphill Battle
If you've been thinking about getting onto YouTube as a way to supplement your income as a writer, let me be the first to burst your bubble... it's a lot more work than you likely think it is. I know, I wish it wasn't, but here's the facts you need to know.

September 6, 2018 For Better Results, Always Include Links To Your Archive
Getting a reader's attention is a Herculean feat. If you have it, make sure that you spoon-feed them the links to the rest of your work. Otherwise they might wander off without reading more than that one thing.

August 22, 2018 How Do You Make A Living Writing? Easy... You Need Fans
Making a living as a writer is easy... all you need are legions of adoring fans. How do you get those? Well, it isn't easy, but here's some things you can do to start cultivating that following.

August 8, 2018 Want More Eyes on Your Work? Try Sideways Marketing
If you're familiar with the idea of sideways thinking, also called lateral thinking, then you can likely predict exactly what this piece is about. If you're not, though, then you might find a world of marketing potential opening up after you read this post.

July 25, 2018 5 Mistakes Authors Need To Avoid When Networking
Networking is tough when you're an author. But if you're going to do it (especially if you're looking to do it in-person), here are 5 things you should remember not to do.

July 12, 2018 If You're An Author, Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
You've likely heard this phrase before. I'm here to tell you it's not just good advice, but it can be vital for avoiding disaster.

June 27, 2018 The Importance of Gumption as an Author
You hear a lot about creativity, about inspiration, and sparks when it comes to writing. But if you want to be successful, you need the combination of determination, confidence, and refusal to give up that people used to call gumption.

June 13, 2018 Your Brand Is Just As Important As Your Books
Lots of us tend to ignore the business side of things, but whether you do it intentionally or accidentally, you have a brand. So take a moment, and figure out what you want it to look like to someone willing to spend money on you.

May 30, 2018 Quit Your Hand-Wringing, People Are Still Reading Books
It seems like every few weeks there's a Chicken Little on the Internet lamenting that no one reads books anymore. That's just not true, though. According to the numbers, it's about the same as it's been for years, with a slight incline rather than a decline. So, how come you're not selling books?

May 16, 2018 Will Wattpad Futures Let You Make Money Off Your Stories?
Yes... if you can get in. Given that this program is currently a closed beta, you'll have to wait. But the potential is exciting for writers who are already using the site.

May 9, 2018 "Can You Draw A Circle?" or "Do Your Skills Suit Market Demand?"
The answer to the age-old question of how you make money as a writer is that you need to write the things people want or need. Which is why you should listen to a fellow named Cliff, and how he built his career on being able to draw a circle.

April 25, 2018 An Interview With Megan Mackie, Author of "Finder Of The Lucky Devil"
I go to a lot of conventions, and when I meet fellow authors I like to do my part to help boost their signal. If you haven't read any of Megan Mackie's work yet, well, perhaps it's time you did!

April 11, 2018 Community Content Programs For RPGs Are Another Avenue For Authors To Get Paid
If you're a fan of roleplaying games, and you've been wondering how you could make money writing for them, you might want to check out the various community content programs currently available. There are a lot of options, and each one could be your next paycheck.

March 29, 2018 Want To Make Money Writing? Check Out Vocal!
Every time a company that purports to pay writers for their work passes the acid test, I like to pass it on to my readers. If you're looking for a steady payday, I'd recommend checking out Vocal.

March 15, 2018 You Can Lead A Horse To Water (But You Can't Make It Write)
There are few things as challenging as trying to mentor other writers. But if they won't sit down and bleed, you can't cut them. That knife only has one edge, and they have to do it themselves.

February 28, 2018 As An Author, Be Realistic About Your Return On Investment
When you write, you need to ask yourself if this project was worth it. Or, put another way, are you getting a good return on your efforts? Because if you're not, it might be time to move onto something a little more rewarding.

February 7, 2018 Successful Freelance Writers Are Like Sharks
Sharks exist to serve a single purpose. Swim, eat, swim, and maintain that cycle. If you want to be a successful freelance writer, take notes on one of nature's best. Then, become the shark.

January 25, 2018 Dreams Only Stay Dreams if You Let Them
How many times have you fantasized about being a successful writer? Well, just like that guy sitting on the couch wishing he had six-pack abs, you ain't going to get where you want sitting on the couch and eating cheese doodles.

January 10, 2018 Ko-Fi is The Latest Way You Can Support The Creators You Love
Creators like me depend on readers like you for our living. Which is why when I heard about a new potential platform where fans could leave tips for creators they like, I thought I should check it out. Here is what I found when I took a look at Ko-Fi.


December 27, 2017 To Make Money Writing, First, You Have To Write
This may sound like some kind of obtuse wisdom, but trust me, this is about as straightforward as writing advice gets. If you want to be a professional (and get paid) you need to get content out there for people to read. And you need to do it quickly, and regularly, to establish yourself.

December 13, 2017 What's Going on With Patreon? What Happened, and How You Can Support Your Favorite Creators
There's been a big kerfuffle about how Patreon was talking about shifting the burden of site fees and processing away from creators, and over to patrons. That plan appears to be dead on arrival, but here's a brief explanation of what the hell happened, and how you can help your favorite creators recover.

November 30, 2017 Just Because You're Having Fun, That Doesn't Mean You Shouldn't Get Paid
A lot of the time people turn up their noses at artists who expect cash on the nail. Why? Well, because you like doing this, and doing something you like should be reward enough. Got news for you, Gracy, it's not. And if you took a moment or three to understand the struggle artists go through, you might understand why.

November 15, 2017 When You're An Author, The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease
You know how that last post you put out asking for people to check out your book netted you small results? Well, post again. Post in more places. Remind folks that you wrote a book in your blog updates, and in your forum posts. Because if you squeak often, and loudly, eventually someone is going to try to grease you.

November 2, 2017 Getting People's Attention Builds Your Base (And Fills Your Pockets)
How do authors get rich and famous? Well, they do something that gets people's attention. Good, bad, as long as people are watching, you might feel your pockets swelling.

October 19, 2017 5 Ways Writers Are A Lot Like Prostitutes
I've had a bit of a frazzled week, so I thought I'd write up something amusing, with a grain of truth lodged in the middle.

October 5, 2017 Professional Writers Know How To Monetize Their Work (That's What Makes Them Professionals)
The line between the amateur and the professional is thin and green. Most of the time it's just a matter of understanding that you're not writing a book, or a blog, or a story... you're making a product. How are you going to sell it, and who are you going to sell it to?

September 20, 2017 The Best Advice For Writers, "Say The Lines, Cash The Check, And Buy Yourself Something Nice"
Too often we get caught up on our own bullshit when it comes to being writers. So the next time you start thinking that you're too good for a project, close your mouth, finish the word count, and when the check clears, go get yourself a present.

September 6, 2017 What Is Your Book's Unique Selling Point?
It's not enough to just write a book, and put it on the market. People want to know why they should buy it, and you need to have a good answer. So intrigue them with your book's unique selling point!

August 23, 2017 Use Text Posts and Comments To Avoid Getting Your Self-Promotion Labeled As Spam
There's nothing worse than having your attempts to boost your signal labeled as spam. It completely shuts you down, and it can get you kicked out of communities. So how do you avoid it? Well, with a bit of stagecraft, friends.

August 10, 2017 Luck Makes Your Writing Career (But Persistence Makes Your Luck)
When it comes to writing, a lot of it is you. Your hard work, your ideas, you running the book over the grindstone till it's sharp and sweet. But you can only do so much, and like it or not, luck is really what's going to make or break your career.

July 27, 2017 Speak Sweetly, Because You Never Know Who You're Talking To
You know that old saying, "it's not what you know, it's who you know?" Well there's another one you should keep in mind. "Don't be an asshole, because you never know who that person you're about to yell at is, and how they might be able to help, or hurt, your career."

July 13, 2017 Self-Publishing is Often a Proving Ground For Authors
Some people think that self-publishing is where authors who can't get traditionally published go. However, in today's day and age, it's more often a proving ground to separate the wheat from the chaff. And when the quality work rises, traditional publishers take note.

June 29, 2017 Making A Living As A Writer Is A Waiting Game
When you worked a full-time job, I bet you knew the amount of your check down to the penny, didn't you? Well, when you're a freelance writer your financial state is... more difficult to define. Often because you won't be paid for the work you did on Valentine's Day until the end of May. Maybe longer.

June 14, 2017 5 Questions You Should Ask Every Freelance Client
Being a freelancer is hard enough without clients expecting you to be psychic. So ask them these questions, and nail down specifics, before you say "yes" to a project.

May 31, 2017 "Ignoring The Haters" or "The Zen of Not Giving a Damn"
Criticism happens. If you put your work out there in front of an audience, a lot of them won't have nice things to say. Here's some help in parsing legitimate criticism from empty wind.

May 17, 2017 You Don't Need A Degree To Be A Writer
Lots of people want to be professional writers, but not a lot of us know what we need to do to go from writing stories in our bedrooms, to writing the same stories for money. I can't tell you what will work, but I can tell you what won't... getting a bachelor's degree in creative writing.

May 4, 2017 The Boy Who Cried Censorship
There is a trend I'm noticing, particularly among writers, who will throw up a "censorship" shield whenever someone disagrees with their opinion. It ain't censorship, friends, it's just people telling you they don't agree with you. Or, in some cases, that your sincerely held beliefs might, in point of fact, be wrong.

April 26, 2017 Want to Sell More Books? Target a Niche
Too often writers will keep their stories bland and safe in order to appeal to the broadest possible audience. You're actually a lot more likely to get a steady audience if you pick a niche, and give that group specifically what they're after.

April 12, 2017 Why Do People Think Writing Is Easy? Largely Because of The Dunning-Kruger Effect
We've all had conversations with people who think they're completely equipped to do our job. We know they can't, but we don't understand why they can't see how utterly incompetent they are. Well, psychology has a name for this. It's called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

March 29, 2017 You Get Better Results When You Tell Your Audience What To Do
We all have an audience. Big or small, though, it can sometimes seem impossible to persuade them to do what you need them to. So here's a suggestion that will cut down on your frustration... just tell them what you need. Don't beat around the bush, or insinuate; tell them, and you'll get what you need a lot more often.

March 15, 2017 Success is Not A Sprint... It's A Marathon
Most of us tend to think of success as something that happens fast. You write a book, then bam, you make bank. But while there are a few tales of zeitgeist, most successful authors do it over time. They work, they sweat, they work some more, and then once they have a track record, and a body of work, that's when the money starts rolling in.

March 1, 2017 Most Authors Aren't Really "Making It"
When you think of someone who's an author, you likely picture the Rowlings, Kings, and Martins of the world. But those people are the rock stars, and unicorns. For the rest of us, we're just looking for a way to earn our bread. Most of us haven't found it yet.

February 15, 2017 Understanding The Ben Franklin Effect (And How It Can Help Your Career)
Have you ever wondered how to get more fans? It's pretty simple. According to Ben Franklin, all you have to do is ask them to help you out. Seriously, it's really that is.

February 1, 2017 How Much Impact Does AdBlock Have on The Creators You Follow?
No one likes ads, and some of us have decided to use software that blocks us from seeing them. That's all fine and dandy, but most people don't think about what that does to the earnings of creators they follow. Especially when only 1 in 8 viewers is actually seeing the ads.

January 18, 2017 Want To Make More Money With Your Blog? Try Sovrn
Making money as a blogger isn't easy. You need a huge amount of traffic, and a colossal amount of clicks on your ads to make bank. Of course, with Sovrn, you really just need the traffic.

January 5, 2017 Who Decides What You're Worth As A Writer?
We all say we want to be paid what we're worth. That's a great sentiment... but who determines what you're worth? Well, the answer may not make you happy, but it will make you a bit wiser.


December 21, 2016 5 Benefits of Being an Author
We now know the hazards of being a writer, but what about the benefits? Well, there are upsides to the job. If you're willing to look for them, that is.

December 7, 2016 5 Unseen Hazards of Being a Freelance Author
Being an author isn't easy, and being a freelancer is playing the game on nightmare mode. While there are people who can do it, you need to know the risks you're facing if you're hoping to avoid getting splattered across the nearest bulkhead by them.

November 23, 2016 5 Reasons Donald Trump is Literally the Devil! (An Introduction to Clickbait)
Clickbait is everywhere, and it has been for over a century. However, much as we might decry clickbait articles, there's no denying they do the job of getting people to click and read. Here's The Literary Mercenary's guide to writing "good" clickbait, if such a thing can be said to exist.

November 9, 2016 Neil Gaiman Hit it On The Head When He Talks About "The Freelance Mentality"
Being a freelancer isn't easy. You have to be hungry, and you have to hit your deadlines without fail. You need to be sharp, flexible, and ready to do anything. You do that long enough, though, and you may not be able to turn off the hustle.

October 26, 2016 Finding Your Audience: Unfortunate Lessons From Jack Chick
Jack Chick, the man behind the infamous Chick tracts, was many things. A fundamentalist, a creator of hate speech, and possibly a madman, are all up for debate. His product found an audience, though, and it created an empire. There is a lesson to be learned in that.

October 12, 2016 Making Money By Self-Publishing With Kindle Direct Publishing Select
Kindle Direct Publishing Select is an option that's available to any self-published author using the Kindle Direct publishing platform. It's worth a look, even if you're reluctant to get exclusive with Amazon.

September 28, 2016 5 Signs You're Dealing With A Vanity Publisher
Vanity publishers, or vanity presses, are the bane of the publishing industry. Fool me once, shame on you, I say. Which is why, this week, I wanted to share the signs you should be looking for so you don't lose your valuable work to the jaws of vanity.

September 14, 2016 If You Write One Story, It May Be Bad. Write A Hundred, And The Odds Are In Your Favor
This quote from Edgar Rice Burroughs is something I think every author should keep in mind. It isn't about who fired the best bullet on the first try. It's who kept shooting until the target was full of holes.

August 31, 2016 Recycling is Key When it Comes to Being a Successful Author
Recycling concepts and characters is typically bad form when it comes to your writing. However, recycling actual stories by publishing them multiple times, thus ensuring they're always somewhere on the market, can be great for your visibility, as well as your pocket book.

August 24, 2016 Can Authors Advance Their Careers By Going To Conventions?
If you've never been to a convention, they are great places for geeks to take a vacation. And if you're an author, as well as a geek, they're ideal locations for increasing your readership, expanding your network, and meeting people who can help you advance your career. Here are a few tips on how to con for work, brought to you by the Literary Mercenary himself.

August 10, 2016 Why Patreon is a Lifesaver For Authors (Like Me)
Patreon is one of those phenomenal crowd-funding websites that lets thousands of authors (like yours truly) do what they do for a living. However, most people don't quite realize how important Patreon is to the creative professionals who make the things they love.

July 20, 2016 Why Other Authors Are Your Allies, Not Your Competition
There's a common phrase out there that goes something like, "other authors are your allies, not your competition." This seems like feel-good b.s., but there's a lot more truth to it than you know. The Literary Mercenary explains.

July 6, 2016 Let "Joy on Paper" Help You Promote Your Book
Finding a platform to promote your work isn't easy, especially when so many places will shut the door in your face if you're not already famous. Which is why I recommend everyone check out "Joy on Paper," a lovely radio program in the Tampa area, who is reaching out a helping hand.

June 22, 2016 How Do You Sell Books? Alec Baldwin Has The Answer
If you've ever seen Glengarry Glen Ross, then you know where this is going. If you haven't, then strap in, because this is going to get harsh.

June 8, 2016 How Many Book Reviews Do You Need Before Amazon Promotes You?
Being promoted by Amazon can be a huge boon to your royalties, but it isn't easy. This week, we look at ways you can satisfy the Amazon algorithm, and get it on your side.

May 25, 2016 Cross-Promotion, Book Sales, and You
Selling books isn't easy. However, you might have an untapped audience that you haven't even thought about pitching yourself to. This week I talk about cross-promotion, and how it can help you increase your standing on the sales charts.

May 11, 2016 Authors Live Under The Tyranny of Numbers. Here's How You Can Help
Being an author looks sexy; like the literary equivalent of a rock star. However, as much as you might love those singers, they didn't get where they are because they wrote great tunes, and put on a great show. They got there because people followed them, liked them, and supported them. The Tyranny of Numbers is a cruel mistress, but it's important to remind the audience that they're the ones with the power.

April 27, 2016 How To Get Your Novel Published
So, you've finally finished writing that book. If you want to get it published, here's a run down of all the methods you have available to get from where you are, to where you want to be.

April 13, 2016 Don't Create Content Faster Than Your Readers Can Consume It
Unlike books, it's easy to write articles or blog entries. In fact, you can likely write a half dozen a day, if you choose to. However, if your pace outstrips your ability to promote it, you won't be doing yourself any favors.

March 30, 2016 What Authors Need To Know About Fair Use
Fair use is one of those legal terms that authors need to know, understand, and use when it's appropriate. The hard part, of course, is knowing when you're covered. Which is why the Literary Mercenary is here to help.

March 16, 2016 "Like For Like" is Not a Good Strategy For Authors Trying to Network
Networking is hard, especially when you're just getting started in your career. If you've been falling back on the old, "give someone a like, and they'll like you back" social media strategy, you're in for a rude awakening. Here's why.

March 3, 2016 Getting Published Isn't A Big Deal (But Don't Let Your Readers Know)
There's a huge difference between being published, and making a living wage as a published author. Most people don't know the difference, which is why you need to be patient with them.

February 17, 2016 Square Credit Card Readers Are A Necessity For Hand Selling Books
Hand sales might not be the biggest part of your income as an author, but if you do a lot of events then they add up. In today's fast-paced world, it really pays to be able to say, "paper or plastic?"

February 3, 2016 Thank You Notes Are An Author's Greatest Tool
If you've been looking for a way to crow-bar open all those doors that keep getting closed in your face, here's a simple one that may do the trick. Trust me, it's a lot more effective than you'd think.

January 20, 2016 Diversity in Fiction, and The 2016 Oscars
If you haven't heard about the controversy over the lack of diversity in the 2016 Oscars, don't worry, it's the same argument we've been having for decades in everything from sports teams to books. It's like a soap opera; years go by, but by the third line of dialogue you know right where we are.

January 13, 2016 The Vagabond Writer Is A Reality, Thanks To Modern Technology
Writers have this punk rock image of authors like Hunter S. Thompson or Jack Kerouac traveling the nation, and working as they experience the strange and bizarre. If that's what you want to do, you can probably do it right now with the tools you've got at your desk.


December 31, 2015 To Make A Living As A Writer, Try Broadening Your Horizons
Making a living as a writer isn't easy. While some few of us may luck into gigs where we get to do exactly what we want to, the rest of us need to stretch out, and find as many patches as we can. If we're lucky, we'll be able to sew them all into a quilt that will keep the roof over our heads.

December 17, 2015 Don't Wait Until You're "Good Enough" To Get Paid
Creative professionals work ridiculously hard to make the things their viewers love. If you want to make a living doing this, don't jerk around until you've reached some arbitrary deadline. Making money is hard enough without you punching yourself in the face to prove you're a "real" artist.

December 2, 2015 You Don't Get To Be A Special Snowflake, Just Because You're A Writer
There are some writers under the mistaken impression that industry standards and manuscript edits are just guidelines, to be cherry picked how they want. They aren't, and if you treat them that way, you are probably going to need a new career.

November 18, 2015 How AdBlock Hurts The Creators You Love
AdBlock is a gift for readers who don't want to mess with ads... but without those ads, your favorite bloggers, writers, and video personalities don't get paid. Keep that in mind when you watch or read, because our financial fates literally depend on you helping our numbers.

November 5, 2015 Wil Wheaton is Right: Every Year Authors Die of "Exposure"
If someone else made a lot of money off your work, but then gave you nothing but a "good job" and a pat on the head, you'd probably be pretty pissed. That's what authors, even those as famous as Wil Wheaton, are just expected to do, though. Here's why it's bullshit.

October 28, 2015 What is Author Blaming, And How Can You Deal With It?
Author blaming is a lot like victim blaming. You know, people will say they really admire your work in one breath, and then admonish you for choosing to be a writer because it means you're always broke. As if by choosing a profession you love, you deserve to be punished. How do you deal with this?

October 14, 2015 Do Book Giveaways Really Work?
Half the news stories about huge author successes include an anecdote about how the author ran a giveaway, and suddenly found thousands of new readers. That can happen... if you're lucky.

September 30, 2015 Become A Successful Author (By Setting The Right Career Goals)
If you want to be a successful author, then there's one thing you need to do right now. Decide what the hell success looks like in your bathroom mirror.

September 16, 2015 Do I Need A Literary Agent To Get Published?
People tend to think that a literary agent is a necessary component of success. It isn't. While these men and women can be a great help to authors, they are far from a requirement for success.

September 2, 2015 If You Want People To Treat You Like A Professional Author, Act Like One
There's this idea that, just because you write books, that people should accord you professional respect. I'm afraid, my friends, that respect has to be earned when you fight in these trenches.

August 19, 2015 Questions Beginning Writers Ask (That Experienced Writers Are Tired of Hearing)
So, you're a fresh-faced young writer who wants to make a splash on the scene... but you don't know how. You've got questions, but you lack a mentor, and no one will give you the time of day. Here are some of the most common questions and misconceptions that beginning writers have, answered with The Literary's Mercenary's standard, no-bullshit attitude.

August 6, 2015 You Need Quality AND Quantity to Make a Living as an Author
Making money as an author of any stripe isn't easy. If you're banking on writing one perfect book, though, you may as well play the lottery. You need both quality and quantity to earn your paycheck.

July 22, 2015 Why "Fake It Till You Make It" Is Great Advice For Authors
Have you ever wondered what you have to do to get people to treat you like a literary rock star? Well, generally, it means you have to roll in hard, and give the impression that you're the next big thing. If you pull it off long enough, your sales will back up your attitude.

July 8, 2015 Sell More Books By Getting Featured Reviews on Amazon
Not all reviews are created equal. While 100 regular readers might think you're the bomb, a featured reviewer can add a lot more weight to your page, and make you pop up in a lot more searches.

June 26, 2015 Is Having A Bad Job Worse Than Having No Job?
The maxim of "any job is better than no job" goes deep in our heads... but has science found that it is actually the other way around?

June 11, 2015 How to Make Money as a Writer (By Embracing Your Inner Troll)
Trolling is extremely common online behavior, but what a lot of us don't know is that there are trolls out there who feed on more than attention. Whenever you talk about them, you're making them money. Sound good? Well, here's how you do it.

May 27, 2015 Sell More Books (By Always Being Ready to Sell More Books)
A bad habit some authors fall into is believing that they can only sell books at certain times, or in certain places. When someone comes up to you unexpectedly, it's important to be able to slip your game face on in an instant.

May 13, 2015 Do Book Series Really Sell More Books Than Stand-Alone Novels?
Go to any writer forum and everyone wants to talk about their series. Why does everything have to be a 5-book epic? Is it because they sell better? Or because we think they sell better?

April 29, 2015 The One Phrase Every Author Needs to Know For Networking Success
You need to network. Writing a great book is a good first step, and getting it published is even better, but you need people to support you and help you get the word out, as well as to find new opportunities. How do you do that? Well, you use this magical phrase to get on people's good sides.

April 15, 2015 Want To Be A Successful Writer? Then Stop "Chasing Your Dream"
Language defines how we think about things. The idea of authors being "professional dreamers" who are somehow removed from the day-to-day concerns of the rest of us is implicit in the language we use. Why? And how do we get people to stop doing that?

April 1, 2015 Sell More Books By Choosing The Right Anthology Theme
Anthologies are a hard sell. Short stories need to scrap and claw in order to find an audience, and you can help yours find readers if you put a little more thought into your book's main feature; the connecting theme. If you can get a reader with that, then you've got them good.

March 18, 2015 How Much Is Your Author Really Making With Patreon?
Patreon is a great way to show your support for creative professionals who create small projects on the regular rather than making one, bit thing like a movie or a novel. However, when you're debating whether or not to pledge your money there's a hiccough in the crowdfunding website you should know about.

March 4, 2015 Blackheath Dawn Is A Place For Writers To Get The Help They Need
I started The Literary Mercenary to help my fellow writers get a head start on their journey to professional success, and it's in that same spirit I recommend you check out Blackheath Dawn. A great British site with tons of information, it's a helpful resource to have.

February 18, 2015 What Is Public Domain, And What Does It Mean For Your Novel?
We're told over and over again not to use other writers' toys when telling our stories because it will violate their copyrights. But what if there is no copyright? That is when we get into public domain territory, and it's a land whose borders you should know before you start working on a project that might find a home there.

February 5, 2015 Copyright Myths Every Author Should Know About
There's a lot of bullshit floating around about how copyright does and doesn't work. Here, let me help you get to the bottom of it.

January 21, 2015 The Elevator Pitch: What It Is and Why You Need One
The day may come where you're at a party or a convention and you meet a real big shot. Someone who wants to turn you into a literary rock star. You've got a book, and here's your chance to pitch it to him. You've got a minute and a half; what do you do?

January 7, 2015 Make Money Writing (By Joining InfoBarrel)
Making money as a writer isn't easy, but once you have that sweet income stream setup it can flow for years even without any additional work. If you've been wandering the Internet and looking for a place to start setting up your stream then you need to stop by Here's why.


December 25, 2014 How To Get Your "Big Break" As An Author
The Big Break is that mystical, fabled point in time where you've made it. You don't have a day job, you've got fat royalty checks, crowded signings, and an audience that pays attention when you speak. How do you get it? Well some of it's luck... but not as much as you think.

December 10, 2014 Why Do People Hate Artists Who Expect To Be Paid?
There's a knee-jerk reaction to label any artist who demands to be paid for his or her work as a corporate sell out. After all, isn't it all about the love of the craft and the pleasure of the audience. Sure, why not... but at the end of the day you did the work, and you deserve the profits. Explaining that to people who have come to expect art to cost nothing though is not an easy thing to do.

November 26, 2014 Tax Deductions Every Writer Should Know About
It's edging toward the end of the year, but if you've been a careful record keeper then you might find tax time is going to treat you very nicely this year. Here are just a few of the things that people forget they can totally write off on their taxes when the IRS comes a'knocking.

November 12, 2014 Care And Feeding Of Your Author: How To Support Your Favorite Writer's Career
In order to let your favorite author keep producing the work you love he or she will need support. If you want to know how you can help here's a checklist for you courtesy of the Literary Mercenary.

October 29, 2014 Will Self Publishing Work For You? Maybe... If You're Lucky
Self publishing is hugely popular... but will you be the next person who pays off thousands of dollars in debt with steamy romance novels, or will you be one of the other indie authors out there? Forewarned is forearmed, and you need to know what's in store for you.

October 10, 2014 Deals With The Devil: What To Look For In Your Publishing Contract
Getting that first big contract can feel like victory in your inbox, but before you sign it make sure you read the fine print. Thoroughly. Two or three times. Make sure you don't find any of these things in there.

September 23, 2014 The Best Alternative To Google AdSense
For those of you who've been suspicious of Google AdSense, you have good reason to be. But what is the alternative? Read on, and I'll tell you all about it.

September 19, 2014 How To Get Writing Jobs
Getting a "traditional" job as a writer (the sort where you're paid to provide a written project) might seem like an impossibility to some. It's not. It does take hard work, and a secret tactic or two, though. The Literary Mercenary's got you covered, though.

August 29, 2014 So You Want To Be A Writer?
Are you sure? Are you really, really sure that you want to be a writer? Well fortunately for you there's an acid test to see if your heart is pure.

August 7, 2014 More Things You Should Never Say To An Author
One of the parts of the job you don't get a guide for is interacting with the public. For all those folks out there who think we're some kind of exotic species, here's a list of things you should educate yourselves on. Please. Then we won't have to stab you.

July 24, 2014 How to Make Money With Your Blog By Selling Swag
Sometimes selling books just isn't enough. If you've thought about adding tee shirts, messenger bags, coffee mugs or stickers to your catalog, it's a good idea. Here's an introduction into how to do it.

June 19, 2014 What I Learned Writing Short Stories For Two Years
In 2012 I sat down and decided I was going to put 10 different stories in 10 different anthologies. Why? Well it had something to do with money, but what I got out of it was something very different indeed.

May 31, 2014 How to Know if You're a Real Writer
The question of whether or no you're a real writer is one that haunts a lot of us. Fear no more, we're going to exorcise a lot of the bullshit standards people have tried to hold up, and give you two solid, simple ways to tell whether or not you're a real writer.

May 6, 2014 "The Audacity of Hope" or "How Variable Ratio Reinforcement Keeps You Writing"
Variable ratio reinforcement is a scientific term that's close enough to hope that the two are siblings, if not twins. If you've ever wondered why you keep burning the midnight oil even though there's no reason to believe that this project is the one that will make it any more than another, this might be the reason why.

April 17, 2014 How to Make Money on Your Blog With Affiliate Marketing
You've probably heard the term affiliate marketing somewhere on the Internet. It means that you act as a salesperson, and for every product you sell you make a commission. Why not use that setup to sell more books, and fatten your bank account?

April 4, 2014 Sell More Books By Marketing to Readers, Not Writers
Marketing a book is a high-wire balancing act with a poodle on your head, but there's no reason to make it harder than it should be. One big mistake many writers make is to try and market themselves to other writers, when they should be trying to reach readers instead.

March 18, 2014 How to Make an Amazon Author Page (And Why You Should)
Amazon is the go-to destination for many readers, and with the Kindle dominating the market it's prime virtual real estate. Amazon has an option for authors to create a profile page so they can get more easily discovered... so why don't you have one yet?

February 27, 2014 Stop Calling Me A Starving Artist
Language shapes our perspective on the world, and it helps give voice to what we believe. The phrase "starving artist" is something that we need to get rid of. Here's why.

February 12, 2014 Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover (Even Though Most of Us Do)
You only get one shot at a first impression, and for authors it isn't the opening line of the novel; it's the cover. What makes a good cover? Well, that varies, but there are some universal truths that really make a cover stand out.

January 23, 2014 How to Make Money Publishing Your Blog on The Kindle
The Kindle is the premiere ereader on the market today. People can even read your blog on it... for a price. Here's how to turn even a free blog into a revenue stream.

January 8, 2014 Pen Names: Do You Need One?
The idea of a pseudonym is appealing to a lot of writers. However, a nom de plume is not required in order to become a success.


December 27, 2013 We Are The Dreamers of Dreams: How Authors Impact Readers and Society
Books can shape readers, but if enough books with the same ideas reach enough people then that can lead to some major shifts in thinking, cultural changes, and general philosophy. That's not a power to be used lightly.

December 12, 2013 Patreon: Bringing Patronage Into the 21st Century
For those who haven't heard of Patreon, it's the new hot place for creators who are looking to crowdsource their work. It's different from Kickstarter though, because instead of building up for one big project, it provides smaller chunks for smaller content. A good revenue stream, it's definitely worth checking out.

November 27, 2013 Tips For Hand Selling Your Book
It isn't easy to hit the bricks and convince people to pay hard-earned cash for your book. But here are some ways you can make it a bit easier on yourself.

November 14, 2013 Make Money Blogging: How to Add a Tip Jar
Most bloggers think that selling merchandise and earning ad clicks are the only ways to earn a living. If you have a generous fan base though, why not turn them into patrons by adding a tip jar to your blog?

October 31, 2013 Where to Find Online Writing Jobs
Writers have to do a lot of work to make ends meet. For those looking for employers who have been tested, these places pay for work. Maybe not as much as you'd like, but beggars can't be choosers.

October 9, 2013 Why Cat Videos Will Always Be More Popular Than Your Novel
While they might seem like they're worlds apart from one another, those cute cat videos that everyone's watching on the Internet are serious competition for your novel. And they will win. Let me tell you why.

September 27, 2013 Why NaNoWriMo is a Crock of Shit
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, takes place every November. For those of you contemplating participating, please take a step back and look again at your expectations. You will thank me later.

September 16, 2013 The Literary Mercenary's Guide to Shameless Self Promotion
Do you want to sell more books? Of course you do! This handy dandy little instruction guide will tell you most of the ways to get your work out there, and to get it noticed.

September 6, 2013 Professional Rule #1: Never Work For Free
There are a lot of artists of all stripes out there who expect giving away their talent and hard work to be part of "paying their dues". It's not. It's abuse, and if you let it happen to you then you're going to get milked for years by people making money off you.

August 30, 2013 How to Make Money Blogging: The Literary Mercenary's Guide
Anybody can run a blog. Not just anybody can turn it into a money-making machine that pays the rent and lets them quit their day jobs. Which one are you?

August 25, 2013 My Time in the Red Trenches: An Un-Romantic Romance
We can't all start at the top. I've written a lot of romance stories, and edited a few besides. What I found out when I got into that part of the industry is mildly horrifying, to say the least.

August 16, 2013 How Much Money do Writers Really Make?
Want to know how much money writers make? Well you can find that here, along with all of the things you need on your side to actually break even in the literary field.

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