Write. Publish. Repeat.

The agency said my vocabulary was too rich for children; I said “Homey don’t play that.”

When I first started writing, I wrote like an idiot without even knowing it (it’s possible you do, too. So, this part’s important). I wrote for me, rather than my readers. I thought I was writing for them, but I was more interested in how my words sounded than what they said.

a much better guide is Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran. And we love “how to write” books like Stephen King’s gem, On Writing.

Film producer Samuel Goldwyn said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” and that is absolutely how we all feel about luck, publishing, and life in general. For the most part, you need a spark at some point in your publishing career — a fortuitous discovery of your work, or a Wool-like surprise hit. But the more work you produce, the more likely that is to happen. In other words, you can outwork luck.

(Don’t let anyone tell you that people don’t judge a book by its cover. They absolutely do.)

You’ll get a halo of readers outside your true fans, of course, but making a conscious decision about who you’re writing for is really important. In fiction, it’s about voice, attitude, and themes. It’s about fearlessness and honesty.

we’d urge you to go beyond the obvious. Be specific about your target market. Drill down as far as you possibly can. Try to imagine your ideal reader

Know your stuff, or learn it. Respect your audience and give them what they want, need, and expect. Decide what you stand for and don’t waver. The better you know the people you’re writing for and the existing market you’re writing in, the better what you deliver will fill a need … and hence sell books.

Some of this, I’d wager, is due to fear or resistance (and on that note, we’d strongly suggest you read Steven Pressfield’s excellent book The War of Art),

Plugged: How Hyperconnectivity and The Beam Changed the Way We Think.

We write our beats with the idea that we’re predicting what will happen rather than requiring it to. Sometimes we guess right, and sometimes we guess wrong.

If someone wants to prove how good and honorable a pursuit is, one of the most common things they’ll do is to explain how long they slaved over it.

is to double the negative things they say, then halve the positive. (Dave’s formula: Multiply negative by 10 and subtract all the positive).

The best way to consider beta reader feedback is in aggregate. It might not matter that Tom didn’t like X while Sally loved it, because in aggregate those two opinions cancel each other out. In general, you can usually choose to ignore matters of opinion if only one out of a handful of readers felt it should change and if you want it to remain as is, but if you find that three or four people felt the same way, or are saying the exact same thing, that’s a trend, and you should definitely listen.

Try out a few editors and have them all edit something small as a trial.

when he finished the book, he did some basic keyword research using Google’s free keyword tool and found that more than 50,000 people per month were searching the exact term “writing online.” Simply titling his book accordingly made for a bunch of free marketing, putting it right in front of the people who wanted it most.

Psychologically, people are more likely to make a decision if you give them options, so that’s one reason we’ve given them the choice between just getting #2 or getting the Full Saga.

People who do the work succeed. People who don’t fail. I realized something sad, disheartening, and desperately frustrating back when I was teaching online courses: Most people simply aren’t willing to do the work it takes to get what they want, and don’t even realize it.