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The 99/1 Rule, WOM, and Your Best Effort

One of my Facebook groups is discussing The Red Pen of Doom’s article “The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books.” The author, @speechwriterguy, posits an important point: “Twitter isn’t built to sell books. Or anything else.” I agree. His post, which is long, analyzes a range of variables in terms of mass media, name recognition, numbers of followers, etc., and arrives at a very challenging conclusion: “The new...

News flash: Economics applies to publishing, too!

Virginia Postrel has a great article on publishing and Amazon’s new lending library (which works sort of like Netflix for e-books) that’s worth reading in its entirety: click here to read it. Here’s the most important takeaway: A former publishing executive recently told me he simply didn’t believe that “if I really want a book for $9.95 I don’t also want it for $10.95 or $12.95.” People in...

Interesting Times and Heavy Lifting

A college friend who is an avid reader and married to another college friend and avid writer sent this story to me with this note: “Interesting times ahead.” Big Six publishers decline to renew contract with Amazon over unfavorable terms He, several friends, and I engaged in some commentary on the article. Here’s an edited/condensed version of my thoughts: Isn’t that an old Chinese curse – interesting times?...

10,000 Hours

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he details the concept of the 10,000-hour rule. That’s a reasonably well-accepted theory that to become thoroughly proficient at something, a person needs to practice for about 10,000 hours. Gladwell’s most famous examples include the Beatles and Bill Gates. Prodigies — the exceptions who prove the rule — are popularly known. However, they...

Many Beginnings

Many writers start from a brilliant opening line – an inspiration to craft an entire story from a dazzling line of prose. Other writers use the opening line as a placeholder, knowing they will revise or replace it when they finish telling the story. Although I prefer the second approach, there is no wrong or right way to write an opening line – truly, deciding must be the best and worst of times for a...

Kudos!

This site has been live for a year and a month, and I’ve been working on growing it organically rather than through some of the less savory methods of social media bombardment and manipulation. Traffic is good and growing, and subscriptions increase regularly, so the strategy is working. I was honored to get this message from a new visitor: I have to let you know this is the best prompt site I have ever...

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