The One Where You Help An Author

My book is coming out this year. That is still a little surreal to say, but I’m excited.

That’s not really what this post is about, though. No, this post is about America’s greatest past time.

Reading.

reading

The world has changed. Bookstores are disappearing and, now more than ever, people are turning to the Internet to figure out what to read next. Why did you pick up that book you’re reading now? Did Amazon recommend it to you? Was it next to another book at the library? Was it on a cardboard standee at Barnes & Noble?

We all have authors we like who don’t get the love we think they deserve. Here are some ways to help out authors in the Age of the Algorithm. I’ll try to go in order of ease.

  1. Read the book

You don’t even have to buy it. Get it at the library. Borrow it from a friend. Find some way to read it.

2.  Leave a review

The most important places to leave a review are Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads is a great resource. If you aren’t on it already, you should be. The best feature is that it allows you to keep track of all the books you’ve read and want to read. It can also be used to find series, follow authors, and find your next read through user-curated lists. Now, even though Amazon owns Goodreads, the review systems are not linked. Leaving a review on Goodreads does not automatically port over to Amazon.

The important thing about leaving a review on Amazon is that Amazon has a magic number of reviews required to change it’s recommendation algorithms. It’s understood to be 50 at this point. Fifty reviews qualifies you for BookBub deals.

3. Buy the book

You don’t have to buy a book to read it, but it’s always helpful. Timing matters, too. If your favorite author has a book coming out, sign up for preorders or make sure that you buy the book the first week it comes out. Those numbers make a difference.

4. Follow them on platforms

Did you know you can get updates from Amazon about your favorite author? You can get updates on deals, newsletters, and more involving their books.

Also, follow authors on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs…etc.

Sometimes, we give stuff away for free. Other times, we do previews of upcoming books. It’s pretty great.

5. Feature them on your platforms

That stereotype about authors being a bunch of of anti-social cave dwellers is…not entirely inaccurate. But, that’s okay. Most authors have contact forms or email addresses that readers can use to reach out. Even if they’re troglodytes, most authors are excited to talk about their work. You can usually set up a phone or email interview to put up on your blog.

Monster
I’m Instagram friendly!

If there’s a book you really love, take a picture and throw it up on your Instagram. If you tag the author, they might respond.


If you like a book or an author, there’s lots go things you can do to help get their book out there. Ultimately, isn’t that what we want? To be able to talk to everyone about your favorite book?

Disclaimer: authors are people, too. You are not entitled to their time. But, if you are respectful and discerning, you might be able to have access to insight into your favorite books and creators.

The Power of a Moment

ILightning Bottle‘ve been mocked and scoffed at for my movie collection in the past (and not just because they are on my shelf in alphabetical order.)

But, lately, whenever anyone gives me grief about the movies I’ve deemed good enough to own, I have a response:

There’s a moment.

When we think of our favorite movies, do we think about how great the movie was, how amazing the cast performed, how wonderful the soundtrack is?

Well, yes. Those are things you take into consideration.

But, usually, you have a moment. You have that one scene in the film where you were all in. It’s not a forgotten art. The Moment is a gut-punch. It’s the emotional moment that grabs you by the throat and pulls you in. When you see the Moment, you know there’s so much more, something deeper there. Something more to be mined.

And, there can only be a Moment. You can’t make a whole movie of Moments. Without what surrounds it, a Moment is nothing. The rest of the movie can be awful, as long as it has that one, great Moment to raise it above everything else.

The Moment is more prevalent in dramas, but it also comes in other┬ámovies. It doesn’t matter how many fight scenes, how great the CGI, without a Moment, it’s just another movie.

I’m a Moment Hunter. And, it’s not easy. Not every movie has one. You have to dig through a lot of garbage to find any treasure. As a writer, I always wonder if I can capture a Moment. Will I recognize it when it floats through my brain? Will it mean as much to me as it would to a reader or a viewer?

What’s your favorite Moment? Is there a movie you love just for its Moment?

Newsworthy News of Newsworthy Importance

I realized that I didn’t really talk about this on the Interwebz, and part of the reason is because I wanted to tell people in person. I mean, there’s something impersonal about reading it on a blog. But, since everyone’s doing their yearly recap, this is bound to get lost in that shuffle.

I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you in person, but everyone I’ve wanted to tell face-to-face I’ve told face-to-face unless I’m not going to see them in the foreseeable future, so here it goes.

I’m a working writer.

Not in the “I’ve gotten a rejection letter” sense. That happened, like, eight years ago. No, I’m a working writer in the sense that my words are being performed.

If you missed the Facebook announcement, I am a staff writer for TMI: Hollywood, a show on stage at Second City Hollywood. I’m also a contributing writer to Top Story! Weekly which is a show at the iO West Theater in Hollywood.

I owe a big thanks to Candace Haven. One night, in her swank Beverly Hills Hotel penthouse (where people make promises they intend on keeping), she forced me to make a list of goals with a deadline attached to them. One I made was to be in a writers’ room by January and I was in a writers’ room by October.

So, that’s the news from this side of the desk. I will be writing the pilot episode of my sitcom and possibly staging it within the next four months, so that should be fun. Maybe some of that will end up here.

I was never a fan of the word “aspiring,” but, regardless, I can dump it now. Also, I’m not really an “author,” so I’ll go with “Comedy Writer.”

Go Theater Nerds!

I Put the “eck” in Rejected

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an overt post on writing and I just KNOW you’ve been dying for one (irony irony irony and scene). Regardless of how you feel about writers writing on writing about writing while writing, I can’t afford therapy, so I bought a domain name instead.

If you are a working writer, you’ve received a rejection letter. If you haven’t, then:

1. Screw you

OR:

2. You’re not really a working writer and you need to take a look at what you call your career.

Rejection is part of the process, and it’s something that want-to-be writers must deal with in order to progress. Sometimes, your writing sucks. Sometimes, the market is bad. Sometimes, nobody wants you. Okay. It happens. That’s life.

You pull up your big girl panties and get back to work.

This week, I got the rejection letter from my final requested manuscript. It was not a form rejection. It was kind and gentle, and I’ve developed a Twitter relationship with this agent and still enjoy talking with her, even if she didn’t want my stuff. This letter made me feel a great many emotions, but all these things were very loosely defined.

I’ve been waiting for this rejection for awhile. Now, let’s take a look at that. I’ve been waiting for this rejection. I wasn’t waiting for a “yes.” I’d been waiting for a “no.” When did that happen? When did I become so bitter and cynical that I’m expecting bad news over good?

But, regardless of expectation, every rejection letter brings up every other rejection and compresses them all into one big lump of ice right smack between the lungs. And that lump expands into a void of negativity. And the doubts rush in to fill the negative space.

I’m not talented. I can’t tell a story. I’m doing something wrong.

Your support structure tells you that’s wrong; you’re talented; you’ll get there. BUT THEY ARE LYING!!! (irony irony irony and scene)

The truth is, when you come to expect rejection, the old adage of doing the same thing and expecting a different result leads you to the crazy train.

Now, here’s the real point of this story.

The worst thing repeated rejection has done to me is trained me to not want things.

Wanting things is stupid and leads to pain, therefore the act of wanting is a gateway to pain and must be avoided at all costs.

I realized my numbness to desire when I suddenly wanted something. An opportunity presented itself and that cold lump was immediately incinerated in the burn of possibility. There was an all consuming rush, a caffeine high, an unfurling of imagination as a million different futures spread before me, none of them featuring a rejection. I had to tell someone. I had to tell everyone. I had to run home and write a blog post about it!Give It Colbert

So, there. The real travesty of rejection is not the “no.” It’s what it does to your head. It’s how it messes you up, pushes you down, leaves you on your belly so you forget what it’s like to sit, stand, walk, run.

But when something is worth wanting, maybe that’s the only thing that you need to get back on your feet.