Tag Archives: self-publishing

Doubt is Torture – Shawn Blanc’s Advice

Freelance publisher Shawn Blanc has an encouraging post about motivation for all writers: Doubt is Torture

He draws on Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, from 1986, and shows how her advice to poets applies to writing web posts and constructing wikis.  Shawn’s connection: The weblog gives you that extra push needed to overcome doubt.

I am amazed at how many people consider themselves a writer, or who hope to become one, and weblogs have done something that journals never did. They’ve given an extra push of motivation to those people who always wanted to write, but never did.

Unfortunately, it seems the same motivation which encourages us to publish, also feeds those voice of self-doubt that Natalie talks about. I don’t know how many posts I’ve started and deleted because I thought they weren’t relevant or exciting or interesting enough. Which is why I love this sentence so much: “Instead, have a tenderness and determination toward your writing, a sense of humor and a deep patience that you are doing the right thing. Avoid getting caught by that small gnawing mouse of doubt.”

Nice connection. The kind of writing is not relevant here.  Tech writers, article writers, journalists, grant writers, freelancers suffer the same self-doubt as poets and essayists, and the weblog gives them all a space to practice patience, to chase out the mouse.

Both the book and Shawn’s blog are worth a read.


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Information Architects » Blog Archive » The Age of Digital Baroque

Whither blogging?

Information Architects » Blog Archive » The Age of Digital Baroque


Twitter, Flickr, Facebook make blogs look so 2004

It ain’t over, but blogs have grown up, and writing for multi-site mashup is a newish trend.  Pull together Twitter with Flickr and Britekite, linked to Facebook, and the blog.

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Filed under Freelancing, mashup, New Media, Publishing, Weblogs

Is being read reward enough?

Chris Anderson at The Long Tail is talking about the move towards self-publishing and free distribution of books..

Why give away your book?:
Charles Sheehan-Miles, who wrote “Republic: A Novel of America’s Future”, explains why he’s giving away his ebook in any way, shape or form you want it:

No more sample chapters, partial books that end in the middle, none of that. You can download and read the complete book. Share it with your friends, email it, do anything you want with it except sell it.

Here’s why: the biggest challenge most authors face isn’t online piracy. It’s not people out there diabolically copying their works and distributing them for free. In fact most authors (including yours truly) suffer from a different problem entirely — no one has ever heard of them. After all, literally hundreds of thousands of new titles come out every year, and only a few hundred writers in the entire United States (if that many) actually live off their books full time. So, by giving away the book, I hope more people actually read it.

Tim O’Reilly was the first to say that the enemy of authors isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity. For the vast majority of authors, being read is actually reward enough. How to turn that recognition into a living is a whole other process, and not necessarily one that depends on the traditional book industry to deliver. Good thing, too, since it so rarely does.

Is obscurity really the bane? Does anyone really read free books? Or is consumption driven by perceived value measured in dollars and cents?

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