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Writing and Publishing

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Meets Taken

I’ve listened to the Writing Excuses podcast for years. In the first nine seasons they would sometimes give writing prompts. In season ten they started giving homework at the end of each episode.

I’ve gone back to year ten and am going through the homework. Though the assignments are most annoying, they’re even more beneficial.

The assignment for 13.35 is to have a friend list three books or movies they really liked. Then list three of your own. Randomly select one from each list and make a mashup, as in title A meets title B. Then write that story.

I aimed for a micro-fiction piece (under 100 words), but it went longer. Still it nicely fits in the flash fiction category (under 1,000 words).

Here’s my story:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Meets Taken

Ed Rooney drove his nondescript minivan down a suburban road. Ahead walked an attractive teenager. He pulled alongside her and lowered his window. “Sloane, would you like a ride?”

“Principal Rooney, why aren’t you in school?”

“I should be asking you the same thing.” He got out of his car and walked around. “Let’s talk about your truancy.”

Sloane stared at him but said nothing.

“You’re a very attractive young lady.” He extended a hand toward the teenager.

“Mr. Rooney, you’re making me uncomfortable.” Sloane took a step back and stumbled.

Rooney steadied her with one hand as he brought a white cloth to her mouth with the other. She collapsed in his arms. He shoved her in his car and sped away.

Minutes later his phone rang. He hesitated before answering. “Ferris Buehler, you’re going down.”

“No, Mr. Rooney, you are. Let Sloane go. Or my sister will beat you up, I’ll have your car towed, and you’ll have to ride the school bus.”

The call went dead. Rooney cradled his head in his arms. “What have I gotten myself into?”


Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Podcasts about Writing and Publishing

In 2016 I posted “Recommended Podcasts for Writers and Content Producers.” Though I’ve made some updates to my writing podcasts post over the years, it’s time to make a new post.

Of that list of 17 podcasts, six have ceased and one I stopped listening to. That means 10 have remained, some of which have rebranded. They are:

  1. The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn) addresses writing from the perspective of a successful indie author.
  2. Novel Marketing discusses novel marketing, much of which applies to nonfiction too.
  3. Writing Excuses is a team of accomplished writers who discuss the craft of writing.
  4. The Sell More Books Show with Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor
  5. Christian Publishing Show helps Christian writers change the world.
  6. Self-Publishing Advice Podcast from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi ).
  7. Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing by Mark Leslie Lefebvre
  8. Kobo Writing Life is a podcast about writing and self publishing.
  9. The Writer’s Ink addresses the the business of writing.
  10. Six Figure Authors is the podcast that helps you take your writing career to the next level.

I’ve also added seven new podcasts too:

  1. Gate Crashers Podcast, with literary agent Amanda Luedeke and marketer and freelancer Charis Crowe.
  2. Mind Your Business for Authors, with Joe Solari
  3. Go Publish Yourself, an IngramSpark podcast.
  4. The Self-Publishing Show, with Mark Dawson and James Blatch.
  5. The Indy Author Podcast, with Matty Dalrymple.
  6. The Author Success Mastermind, with J. Thorn and Crys Cain.
  7. Pastor Writer, with host Chase Replogle.

That brings the total back to 17. It would seem that my podcast consumption has remained the same over the years, staying steady at 17 writing podcasts, but that’s not true.

Podcasts (at least the ones I listen to) are getting longer. It used to be that an hour long podcast was the exception; now it’s more the norm. Fortunately I now listen to them at 2x speed, so that helps. This let’s me listen to them all.

Still I go with the adage that “less is more.” For this reason, I always listen to the shorter writing podcasts first. Then I do the longer ones later.

(I also listen to 3 Patreon Q & A podcasts from The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn), Novel Marketing (Thomas Umstattd Jr.), and Writers, Ink.)

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Four Ways to Stay Informed About Book Publishing

In the world of book publishing, if we blink, something’s apt to change. Every day there seems to be a new option, a different twist, or better pricing. The best solution for a particular situation soon yields to an even better answer—often within months or even weeks.

Publishing books becomes an art of aiming at a moving target, a goal that ebbs and flows at the pace of a changing tide. New vendors emerge and existing players develop innovations to target a different niche.

How’s a person to keep up?

1. Join Industry Associations

Groups of like-minded individuals offer the means to stay abreast of changing conditions. Members share news and ideas with each other. It’s an easy way to be informed, although merely joining a group isn’t enough; participation is required.

2. Read Blogs

Find and follow blogs, podcasts, and v-blogs of thought leaders and news aggregators. They’re plenty to choose from; pick ones with a voice you like and a perspective you respect. Ironically, reading books about publishing is not the answer; things change too quickly. Even e-books risk being out of date by the time they reach us.

3. Network

Connect with others. The goal is to listen and to share. Benefits abound when giving, even more so than when receiving.

4. Ask Questions

Requesting advice in a respectful way usually results in new information to consider. People enjoy it when we seek them out and usually offer their opinions to sincere questions. We honor them when we listen to what they say.

The key is to always be in a learning mode; don’t become complacent, thinking you’ve figured out all the answers. Never disregard a vendor or idea as not viable. In a moment it could become the exact solution we seek.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Avoiding a Spectacular Podcast Crash

Two weeks ago we talked about the benefits of podcasting to grow an audience for our books. Then we discussed possible downsides of podcasting and how podcasting isn’t right for everyone. Today we’ll look at one more consideration: the crash and burn.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, about ten altogether. Some are monthly, others twice a month or weekly, and a few are more often. Three of them had spectacular fails. As a loyal listener they let me down, and because of the increased connection that a podcast affords over a blog, I felt my disappointment in them more profoundly.

Peters Out: The first podcast started out aggressively, with daily podcasts. It actually provided too much information too often. After about one month it went on weekdays only and later to three days a week. Months later new episodes appeared haphazardly and eventually stopped altogether. After four months of silence, the host launched a new podcast, with a different format but the same theme. He’s doing them three days a week. Since the host lost my trust with his first podcast failure, I’m not so interested in following him anymore.

Goes Dark: Another podcast started with one podcast a week and kept it up for several months. Then some things happened in the host’s personal life and she missed a few weeks. She never did get back to once a week and hasn’t posted anything new for a couple of months. I have no idea what happened.

Takes a Long Break: The third podcast was also once a week. It had an established track record but stopped abruptly with no notice. After no new episodes for six months, a couple of random ones showed up, with an explanation that the host took time off to write a book. Now the regular weekly schedule is re-emerging, but my enthusiasm still lags.

With each of these podcasts, the host builds an online rapport with me and then effectively abandoned me. I feel betrayed and let down. I don’t trust them as much as I once did.

Although the second podcaster gave some initial explanation for missed episodes, all three of them stopped without notice. Had they issued even a short podcast to explain what was happening, I’d have understood but to just go away feels disrespectful.

To avoid falling into the same trap: have a sustainable schedule, be consistent, and keep listeners informed. This demonstrates respect for your audience and reveals your professionalism.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

My Experience With Podcasting

Last week I mentioned four benefits of having an author podcast to build our platform. The reasons are compelling. But before jumping in, we need to consider if podcasting makes sense for us.

I was an early adopter of podcasting. Though I don’t have the dates, it was shortly after I started blogging, so around 2009 or 2010. Those podcasts are no longer online so I can’t even verify when.

My process was simple. I’d interview people at conventions. I used a digital recorder with a cheap mic, didn’t prep for the interview, and made no edits afterward. I just posted the raw files. Overall it wasn’t bad—as long as my subjects were extroverts and didn’t clam up in front of a microphone. However, the results were far from professional and wouldn’t meet the much higher expectations of people today.

So before you jump into podcasting, consider the following five questions:

Do You Enjoy Public Speaking? Some people can stand in front of an audience and offer an interesting monologue with little prep and no anxiety. Accomplished orators usually make for good podcasters. However, if public speaking terrifies you, podcasting won’t be much better. Yes, a podcast doesn’t have people staring at us, but we also don’t have any visual cues from our audience to know if we are connecting with them.

Are You Blogging? Are you currently blogging? Are you doing so consistently, according to a schedule? Do you have enough content ideas? The reality is that if you’re having trouble blogging, you will most likely struggle even more with podcasting.

Do You Have Time to Prep? Six years ago I got away with doing no prep work. That won’t fly today. For interviews, you need to research your guest and formulate twice as many questions as you will need. If you’re not doing an interview but a monologue, the prep time is even greater, the same as for a speech.

Are You Willing to Do Post-Production Work? You will need to edit the recording. No matter how much you planned or how good you are, you will need to edit the file. You’ll also want to add an intro and an outro. Though you can outsource this, that costs money.

Will You Invest in the Right Equipment? Though you don’t need much of an investment to produce a decent podcast, you do need a quality microphone, as well as software to record and edit the results. Then you’ll need a site to post the files. (Putting them on your website or blog could crash your site if too many people try to listen at once.) You’ll also need a computer with a good Internet connection and a quiet place to do the recording.

Starting a podcast can be enjoyable. It can also be taxing if you aren’t the right personality for the task or ready to do what needs to be done to do it well.

Weigh the benefits and costs before you begin.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.