Vincent Zandri's Blog - Posts Tagged "kindle"

The following blog is now appearing at the Vincent Zandri Vox:

"You'll never get a major deal again!"
Sounds harsh doesn't it. Even cruel, especially when it comes from the mouth of a respected independent bookstore owner who operates one of the most successful bookselling operations out of Albany.

This was the scene: a year ago or so, said bookstore owner was lamenting the fact that my newest novel at the time, The Remains, was being published in trade paper and E-Book by an indie press. Due to the slowdown in paper sales because of E-Book sales and other economic factors, she didn't want to take the book on in the traditional manner by ordering it from the distributor. She wanted it on consignment. That way she wouldn't get burned down the road by having to hang on to unsold books.

When I explained to her that she could by all means return the books, she wouldn't hear of it. Ok, fair enough. These are trying economic times after all, and book stores are quickly going the way of the record store and the Blockbuster video store. Somehow our talk shifted to my original major deal with two Random House imprints back in '99 and 2000. I mentioned how my agent was going after another major deal based on the excellent E-Book sales I'd been experiencing thus far with The Remains. That's when she turned to me, looked me in the eye and said, "Vincent, you will never get a major deal again!" It wasn't like a slap to the face, it was more like a swift kick to the soft underbelly. She then backed up her statement by telling me the deal with RH had been fluke. The editors were tossing major six-figure deals around like confetti back then. Didn't matter the talent or the inherent value of the writing.

Wow, if I didn't already feel poorly enough about having to be on consignment at her shop, now I was made to feel like a total loser. I mean, I thought bookstore owners were supposed to prop up writers? Work with them? Live in harmony? You need me and I need you and all that...

Fast forward a few months.

The Innocent, Godchild and The Remains all hit the Top 100 on Amazon Kindles and eventually the Top 20. I started moving around 3,000 units per day. That's right. That's not a typo. 3,000 units. The Innocent hit the Top 10 and stayed there for seven weeks. In the meantime, I completed yet another novel, Murder by Moonlight. My agent wanted to go out to sale with it, hoping for the major deal said bookstore owner claimed would be impossible.

The Big 6 in New York all enthusiastically expressed interest in getting a read. So did another major publisher. A new major publisher that's emerged from out of Amazon. Thomas and Mercer. I'd heard about this publisher as not a major in the traditional sense, but more of a hybrid indie and major in which the author receives a terrific E-book royalty on top of being published in hardcover, audio and trade, and along with it, a nice advance or even better.

What makes this new publisher more enticing than the Big 6 however, is their direct connection to Amazon, the biggest store in the world. This publisher will not only sell your books but it is in their best interest to market them and even position them to sell. Something the Big 6 cannot guarantee.

I told my agent that if we did indeed get an offer from T&M that I wouldn't entertain a Big 6 deal, even if they offered me a much larger advance. I wanted to be at a home that represented the future of book selling. I wanted a place that would offer me security and a voice as an author. T&M, I was told would offer that and more. Then, when I heard that big name bestsellers like JA Konrath and Barry Eisler were signing contracts with T&M, that entirely iced the deal for me.

Just yesterday my agent excitedly forwarded my new contract from T&M to me for my review. There's a few details we're ironing out, but it looks great. I'm not at liberty to discuss the upfront money or the percentages, but suffice to say I'm back in the big leagues in a big way. Not only is T&M publishing Murder by Moonlight, but they are re-publishing five titles on my back-list, including The Innocent and The Remains--a first for my agent who has been in the publishing business for two decades. News will be forthcoming in all the usual trades: PW, etc. It's an exciting time for me and my entire family.

"You will never get a major deal again!" said the bookstore owner.
Sometimes I love proving people wrong.


Scream Catcher Scream Catcher by Vincent Zandri
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Published on September 16, 2011 08:18 • 119 views • Tags: aaron-patterson, amazon, bestseller, kindle, on-publishing, the-remains, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

This past week my agent, Chip MacGregor, made a business trip to the offices of Thomas & Mercer, Amazon's new powerhouse crime imprint to go over the final details of my deal. While he was there, one of the Amazon execs asked him, "What's Vincent's secret to his marketing success?" In reply Chip said, "I always thought it was that you were telling a good story."

But after thinking about this for a while Chip then got on the horn with me and asked, "Well what are the two or three key elements to your marketing success?"

Here's my response to him:

> Hey Chip....basically, and I've blogged at length about this, there's no exact science to the marketing thing or we all wouldn't always be asking one another, "How'd you do that??? Ha!:)....But in a nutshell, you have to start out with a great product...GREAT writing, good story, great cover, and product description and a price that sells.

> Ok, that said, I believe social media is key. Not direct selling of a book, although you can do a little of that. But selling yourself the author. If people like you, they will buy you. Part of the social media thing is to maintain consistent blog posts by selling your particular brand. In my case, people can come to The Vincent Zandri Vox and know that they will be getting a very personal essay about my writing experience. If they go to Konrath's blog, they get something about how to pursue self-publishing through e-books. Bob Mayer's blog will inevitably be about publishing industry shifts, upheavals, author marketing approaches, etc. All of us are bestsellers and making a nice living off of our books.
> Virtual tours are also key. They help sell books because you want the Mommy bloggers on your side probably more than The New York Times Review of Books, even though the latter looks really good on a resume if you plan on teaching college one day.
> Another key: In the begining years, you gotta plan work 7 days a week and you have to stay ahead of the indie curve. In other words, changes are always taking place on the bookseller level, especially at Amazon, where most of us sell the majority of our e-Books. In the past six months alone there is evidence of algorithm shifts in the titles that are promoted through direct marketing. New indie titles like my SCREAM CATCHER are no longer allowed to hang out on the Hot New Bestselling lists for more than thirty days now, as opposed to what had been ninety days. And pricing your books at $.99 doesn't guarantee massive sales anymore like it might have a few months ago, which I believe is due to the fact that so many readers have gotten burned by poorly written books that just plain suck. Which means $.99 can actually be viewed as a red flag for many readers, unless the author is already trusted.
> The second part to all this, is more of a technical nature. You want to tag authors who are also bestsellers and who sell in your genre. This helps get your name out there especially in Amazon land and just might increase your chances of landing in their algorithm-inspired direct marketing campaigns, of which I've been included a couple of times, both times helping me land spots for two of my novels, THE INNOCENT and THE REMAINS, in the top 20 and even top 10 over all kindles.
> IMPORTANT: Extended two to four week stays in the Amazon Top 100 can make the entire financial year for an author. Two similar stays is gravy!!! That's what an author must initially shoot for or two rises to the top. What authors have to understand however, you can't look at being an immediate success. I've only been at this new publishing thing for 14 months, and despite selling around 200-250K e-books, my numbers still fluctuate a lot. That's because I have yet to hit my stride. That's perfectly normal. Whereas hitting a stride in the old traditional method could have taken up to ten years or more (Mega Bestseller Bob Mayer has written extensively on this and I invite you to check out his blog, Write It Forward), hitting the stride in these the days of digital media, can be shortened considerably to 2 or 3 years even (naturally every year we see a breakout bestseller who suddenly takes the world by storm and who is like 19 years old or whatever, but I'm talking the average "very good" and prolific mid-list author here like me...)
> I'm also fortunate to have one of the best agents in the industry right now who isn't panicking to pay the bills by becoming a publisher (aka Trident), because number one, authors trust him and two, he's good at what he does meaning he's staying ahead of the trends and working with them. My deal with Amazon is evidence of staying ahead of that trend and will perhaps shorten the time it will take me to hit my stride by as much as a full year, so long as I continue to market consistently.
> Anyway, sorry to write so much, and perhaps I'll edit this into a blog, but this should give you an idea of the life I'm living as a writer. Just remember this: In the end, the best publicity a writer can provide him or herself is to write more good books. Once you have a certain amount of titles out there and your "brand" is more and more trusted, your audience will begin to expand exponentially.
> Cheers Chip
> Vin
Scream Catcher
Scream Catcher by Vincent Zandri
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Published on October 02, 2011 11:32 • 96 views • Tags: amazon, bestsellers, bob-mayer, kindle, on-marketing, on-writing, the-innocent, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

If you recall I wrote a blog post for the Vox last year titled The Kindle and the Ladies Book Club in which I explained my personal experience of pushing my novel Moonlight Falls to a local ladies book club while at the same time, singing the praises of this new little clever electronic reading contraption called the Kindle. You might remember how resistant the ladies were to even the mere thought of giving up paper for reading something on a computer screen. "It will hurt my eyes," one of them said. "I love the smell and the feel of paper," said another. It seemed there was nothing I could do to persuade this crowd of a dozen educated, attractive, and for the most part, 50+ women (aside from one young woman who might be about 30) about the benefits of owning a Kindle, the least of which is being able to store an entire library inside something smaller than your average Denny's menu.

I revisited the Ladies Book Club this past week where the book of the month was The Paris Wife. Obviously I am not the author of that book, but I am somewhat of a Hemingway aficionado. So I was there to dispel the fact from the fiction. While we were talking about Papa and his affairs, somehow the subject shifted back to e-Readers and how well some of my novels had done in that market over the past year, The Innocent and The Remains especially. While one woman chimed in immediately, proclaiming that she would still never buy "one of those things," a couple of others pursed their lips, cocked their heads over their shoulders and, somewhat bravely I might add, announced that they were seriously thinking about buying one. One of the two was interested in a Kindle Fire, and the other a Nook. Since I more or less work for Amazon now, I tried to talk the Nook person out of it, and I think I succeeded. What came as a surprise, but shouldn't have, was that the young, thirty something woman, had indeed already bought a Kindle and she was beaming about it. "It's awesome," she said. "So much easier to read than paper."

So I guess, my prediction that by this time this year all these women would own a Kindle or an e-Reader of some kind was a little bit off, but not too far off. After all, it's tough to break away from old tried and true habits, especially after 45. I should know, I'm 47. But I'm guessing all it will take is another few months before the Ladies Book Club becomes the Ladies Kindle Club. Has a better ring to it anyway.


Scream Catcher Scream Catcher by Vincent Zandri
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Published on January 14, 2012 10:44 • 83 views • Tags: kindle, kindle-bestseller, ladies-book-club, noir, the-innocent, the-paris-wife, thriller, vincent-zandri
The following blog and Video is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

Yesterday I played some hookie from my new book(s) and hopped on the back of a motorcycle for a ride into the Chianti region of Italy. Chianti is about 25 or so kilometers from downtown Florence, and calling it a scenic ride doesn't remotely do it justice, as it is as close to God's country as one can get without dying and taking the high speed express to heaven.

The high speed metaphor is a discriminate since my mode of travel was a motorcycle (they call them motorbikes here which makes them sound cute and fuzzy which they are not). I rode on the back of my friend and all around fixer's bike, Francesco "Checco" Tassi. Checcho loves motorcycles and he owns a bunch of them. He races off road with a core group of like-minded crazies and sometimes will travel across entire countries like Spain on a motorcycle. So when he accelerated our bike upwards of 110 KPH, while I held on with one hand and aimed a video camera in the other, I had to believe that he knew exactly what he was doing and that if we crashed I would die as quickly as an insect goes splat against a speeding windshield.

At one point, a two-point buck jumped out in front of us and for a split second, the old life (or middle aged lives in both our cases), flashed through our brains. Instead of spilling the bike, Checco calmly decelerated and tried to ease us past the frightened deer who suddenly about-faced and made the mad dash back across the street in the direction from which he originally crossed. It was all quite the adventure, and dressed in vintage leather coat, scarf, and engineers boots, I felt like I was caught up in some 1950's adventure movie. Secret of Incas, China, or maybe The Naked Jungle. Of course a Fellini flick would have been more apropos.

One thing is for sure, when you find yourself riding on the back of a motorcycle in the middle of the most beautiful, vine and tree-covered hills imaginable, cruising a gravel-covered road with a slight rain spattering against the translucent helmet visor and dripping down your lips, you come to realize in every bit of that "Eat, Pray, Love" sort of way, that life does indeed not suck. Life is what you make of it. No one is going to make it for you. So if you're reading this on your couch today in your living room, and you want to escape so badly you think you're going to lose your mind, promise me something. Promise me you'll click off this blog and click onto the Expedia travel site (or whichever site you prefer) and book a ticket to some distant land. Doesn't matter where too or for how long, so long as it's far away, and will take some difficulty getting there. I guarantee it will change your life.

Until next time...

THE INNOCENT, the No. 1 Bestselling, Amazon Kindle is FREE all day, Sunday, 25 March, 2012...Nab it for your travels!!

The Innocent
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Published on March 25, 2012 02:03 • 107 views • Tags: adventure, chianti, florence, freebie, kindle, on-travel, on-writing, the-innocent, thriller, travel, vincent-zandri
The following blog and live action Video is "now appearing" in slightly different form at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

Maybe it's got something to do with April Fools day, but while jogging this morning along the Arno, I passed a grown man walking a pig on a leash. It was a big black pig (as opposed to a small black pig), and the man was walking him/her on a red lease like the pig was your garden variety golden retriever. It sort of made me feel like I was caught up in one of those trippy psychedelic music promos from the late 60s that the Beatles would put out. "I am the Walrus...Goo Goo G'Joob."

I'm nearing the end of a near month long stay in Italy to write, research and just generally have fun. I've jogged around 150 miles, walked more than that, contracted a nasty case of bronchitis, motorcycled the Tuscan mountains, sneaked a peak at a lost Da Vinci, written nearly 100 pages of a new Moonlight book, and rewritten sixty pages of Aziz, plus numerous small articles and blogs.

On Wednesday I fly to Paris for a week of more writing, thinking, eating, and running. Paris is a more or less gift to myself. A place where I can do more research and work while spending some of my T&M advance dough on French food and wines. There's something about walking the river in Paris, especially when it rains. I'm hoping for some rain.

On April 11, I'll fly to New York then directly on to San Fransisco, where I'll meet up with my sig other, L. We'll see some special old friends, run on the beach and, if I have my way, take a boat to Alcatraz. I'll also meet up with an old college buddy to plan out a late Fall excursion to South East Asia. Mostly I'm excited to see L.

There's baby crying outside my open window right now, and the smells of roasting garlic, olive oil, and tomato sauce is permeating the air like a perfume fragrance from newly spread rose petals. It's just as seductive. Sexy even. Food sex....

See you all upon my arrival in Paris....


The Remains
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Published on April 01, 2012 08:41 • 99 views • Tags: adventure, chianti, florence, freebie, kindle, on-travel, on-writing, the-innocent, thriller, travel, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

I thought I was done writing about this particular subject... the subject of the old guard and establishment writers/MFA profs, publishers, and booksellers ragging on Amazon Publishing because, oh gee, they are doing something the old guard can no longer do: sell books.

This past week while I've been away, bestselling author and fellow Thomas & Mercer (Amazon) author, Barry Eisler, was invited to do a live chat with some Seattle Times reporters and the bestselling literary novelist, Richard Russo. Russo, whose books I like but who is also in that MFA-you-should-set-your-sights-on-teaching-at-the-community-college-don't-forget-to-pay-your-tuition is a huge hater of Amazon. And the ST has just run a scathing 4-part series on Amazon picking them apart like they are Satan.

Maybe they are Satan (if you believe in that kind of thing) but more than likely, they are not. They listen to both authors and writers and so, they now are able to offer great books at low prices. And yes, it's putting big publishers and bookstores out of business. I know, I'm supposed to cry for these people, but they had a chance to survive and in fact thrive in today's digital book publishing world, but they haven't. And now they are going the way of the 8-track.

Bon voyage.

I'm not as knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the publishing industry as Eisler and say, J.A. Konrath are, and I've never self-published a book, although one of my indie publishers is entirely based on the self-publishing model even if my deals with them are agented. But I have also been published by the majors and once more, I've just signed a 7 book deal with T&M for a "very nice" advance, part of which I'm spending right now in Italy and Paris, where I've been for the past month.

Ok, maybe you think I'm bragging?

Maybe so.

But while Eisler goes on to defend the obvious author/reader benefits being provided right now by Amazon publishing, try and consider for a brief moment just how Big Six Publishing not only tried to crush my career a few short years ago, they literally cost me a marriage.

Once more, I'll bullet my near suicidal relationship with the Big Six and, in particular, Delacorte Press...You know, the supposed "good guys" of the industry.

--I was contracted in 1999 for mid-six figure two book hard and soft deal.

--I was told to change the name of my novel, The Innocent to As Catch Can, because another author in their stable was publishing one of the same title. As Catch what?????

--While the hardcover was being produced, talk around the office centered on Delacorte being swallowed up by another publisher. They more or less dropped attention on As Catch what???, and rushed a very poor front cover into production...Yup, an insider pulled me aside and admitted the cover was a total fuck up....Oops, it's just people's lives we're dealing with here...

--I was promised ads in The New York Times and support for a Northeast tour. I got neither.

--Delacorte shut down and was indeed swallowed up by the new publisher only weeks after the publication of As Catch what????

--I was suddenly the bastard child of the new publisher.

--They reneged on the contract and only agreed to publish the second book in the deal in paper. It was of course my right to sue them. But who in the world wants to sue a conglomerate cartel like Big New York? The big wigs laughed at me and went on vacation in the Hamptons.

--The second book was printed. Not published. Not even the B&N around the corner from Times Square had one in stock. It was around this time I met my then editor for a drink in NYC. In her words, "You didn't hear it from me, but they are preventing you from selling books."

--Now that I didn't sell out my 250G contract for no fault of my own, another publisher wouldn't touch me if a gun was pressed to his or her temple. And at one time, the most powerful agent in the world was repping me: Suzanne Gluck. I must assume that an agent of her caliber chooses only manuscripts she sees tremendous potential in.

--Delacorte (Random House) refused to release my rights...even though they remaindered my books. An evil, self-serving move if ever there was one. "We're not going to sell your books, but ahhh, neither can you!" Hitler comes to mind here...Too harsh? Okay, at least Uncle Joe Stalin.

--I went broke.

--I had to sell my house

--I lost my wife

--My children had to move, quit their schools, give up their friends

--I nearly lost my reputation and my sanity

--I could have quit writing

--But I didn't...

--I wouldn't let the motherfuckers beat me

--My new agent, after 8 grueling years, was finally able re-secure the rights to my two books

--An indie, StoneHouse Ink, took on As Catch what??????, changed the title back to The Innocent. It sold almost 200,000 E and paper Books. Plus they published several other novels of mine that have also sold in the hundreds of thousands, primarily in E-Book, of which I was making a 50% royalty as opposed to the 12.5% of Delacorte.

--My career not only shot back up, I could have easily made up Delcorte's advance plus plenty of change.

--Thomas & Mercer signed me to a seven book, "very nice deal."

--The Innocent (formerly As Catch what?????) is about to published in its third edition.

--I got my wife back.

--I travel all the time and write fiction for a living.

--I make more in royalties per month than most editors in their paychecks--the same editors who went on to reject me after the Delacorte train wreck...Rejected me because they had too.

Of course, I could go on and on, but those old time writers like Russo who teach at the MFA programs and think that they themselves are not a part of a money making racket designed to lure would-be writers (or no talent writers) into a "literary writing program" that costs tens of thousands of dollars, had better take a good fucking look in the mirror.

You know who you are.

I've been taught by you, criticized by you, ridiculed by you and now I am feared by you. You are old and gray, teaching the same tired lecture. You're also short of breath while climbing the stairs to the next workshop you've been hired to preside over at one of those garden variety low residency MFA programs that are springing up all over the globe like reality TV and Pampers.

And for all you editors who couldn't take me on because I didn't sell out my advance while my rights were held hostage? You can work for me as a freelancer....if the price is right.

Pay back's a bitch ain't it?

Ok, off for some steak frit...It's Saturday in Paris...In the springtime.


The Remains
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Published on April 08, 2012 08:37 • 137 views • Tags: amazon, barry-eisler, bestseller, kindle, mfa-programs, on-writing, richard-russo, the-innocent, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

As most of you already know, I've been away since the first week of March and only arrived back in New York a couple of days ago. Not only have I been living six hours ahead of EST, I experienced two back to back daylight saving "spring aheads." Add to that flying from Paris to California and then back to New York, three days later, and you can see why I'm awake all night and asleep all day. I am however, getting back into my normal writing schedule.

A few things have happened since I've been overseas. My books THE REMAINS and THE INNOCENT both made the rise back into the Top 200 over-all Amazon Kindle Bestsellers, the latter coming within a short hair of breaking the Top 100. This just goes to show you that E-Books can have many, many runs up and down the Amazon bestseller list. Perhaps an infinite amount of runs. In the old days, you had one run at the top and that was about it. Now anything is possible with a bookshelf that contains infinite space.

The State Department has filed their suit against the Big 6 (or is it Big 5?) for colluding on E-Book prices. Indie expert J.A. Konrath has the story here. To be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure I understand the ins and out of this "Agency Model" suit. But as writer who was originally groomed for the construction business, I certainly know what "collusion" means. And it ain't good. All I know is that Random House nearly ruined my career once and that in itself is crime enough. If these companies did indeed collude to fuck over writers, I hope the judicial system tosses the book at them.

Thomas & Mercer, my new powerhouse publisher and Amazon Publishing imprint, has just acquired a whole bunch of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. More specifically, the publisher has acquired E-Rights having snatched them right out of Penguin's hands. The enthusiastic and future-thinking spokesperson for the Fleming estate had this to say about Amazon's ability to place their books in a position to outsell any other publisher on the planet: “We believe that Amazon Publishing has the ability to place the books back at the heart of the Bond brand, balancing traditional publishing routes with new technologies and new ways of reaching our readers.”

Can you say, "Bond...James Bond...?" In any case, I'll drink to that. A dry martini. Shaken, not stirred.

I've been invited to attend the BEA in New York City this June by Amazon Publishing, and I was honored to accept the invite. It takes place June 5-7 and should be a very exciting opportunity to rub elbows with the best of the best in the ground zero of literary success. I hope to run into some old friends and make some new ones, and of course, to push my new novels, BLUE MOONLIGHT and MURDER BY MOONLIGHT, both coming in December from Thomas & Mercer.

Finally, the re-publication of my 1995 literary novella, PERMANENCE, is about to become a reality. And for the first time ever, I am putting one of my out-of-print novels out on my very own. Yup, I'm about to self-publish through Amazon's KDP program. Makes me kind of proud and nervous at the same time. But I see this as the first in many books, novellas and short stories I will be publishing through Bear Media while continuing to publish traditionally with my indie and major publishers.

It's Spring in New York. A really great time to put pen to paper. I have a lot of stories to tell this year and while I've begun some, I'm having a hard time holding others back. I only have two hands to work with. But it's nice and comforting to know that the stories are still in me no matter who publishes me and how.


The Innocent
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Published on April 18, 2012 16:24 • 191 views • Tags: james-bond, kindle, kindle-bestseller, the-innocent, the-remains, thomas-mercer, thriller, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri VOx:

It can mean many things, not the least of which is that chemical stuff all the sixties hippies used to inject to enhance the creative process. But it can simply mean, going fast. Back in the olden days, when I started out writing, I sat down with one of my MFA in Writing professors and asked him what he thought was a reasonable output of work for a lifetime of writing.

I can still see the humble, raggedly dressed man ... a man who lived in Vermont and who'd written a couple of novels that were critically praised but hadn't sold very well. Thus his position in life as a teacher, not at one school, but many schools (Poor guy).

I recall him inhaling a breath before saying in a near whisper voice, "If you write two or three real good short stories and maybe five novels, that's something to be proud of."

At the time this seemed like a reasonable answer to me. In fact, the thought of writing five good novels seemed almost overwhelming to me since, like the MFA prof, my goal was to teach writing and to write on the side once I graduated from the program. If I wanted to follow the career path of the literary writer who taught, I would be more or less expected to write one novel every ten years or so. If I toed the line according to that math, five novels would carry me into my 70s.

Fast forward fifteen years.

I didn't become a teacher. I became a writer instead. A journalist, a pro blogger, and a noir novelist. Not only have a I written and published those two or three real good short stories, I've probably published fifteen of them (yes, yes, yes, in very good journals and mags). And compared to some great short story writers out there, like Dean Wesley Smith or Leslie Edgerton, that's absolutely nothing. As for the five novels, I currently have about ten in print, with two more on the way. Five of those ten are about to enter into second and their third editions.

My point to all this braggadocio?

Back to Dean Wesley Smith.
In his blog, he talks at length about "Speed" taken from a larger a piece he calls "New World of Writing." Speed, according to Smith, is what separates a professional writer from an amateur. Gone are the days of writing one book every ten years. Gone are the days when you were considered not worthy of literary status if you even thought about writing more than one book every ten years.

In today's new "golden age" of writing opportunities, where a writer can maintain major, indie, and self-publishing deals all at once, it's the writer who can put out two or three good novels and maybe at least that many short stories per year who is going to bring in about as much annual cash as your average accountant. Maybe more so, depending upon your popularity and your ability to hit some home runs in the sales department, such as having a novel hit and remain in the Amazon Top Ten for a few weeks, like my novel The Innocent did a year ago and has come very close to doing a few times again since. In fact Smith claims that you don't even need to hit a home run to make a great living, and he's got that math to back up his words. You can check out his very informative blog right here. It makes for speedy reading.

I'm still a journalist (even if I only have time to work for one trade publication right now), and I am presently writing and polishing two novels per year on average. I write maybe two or three short stories per year. I'm planning on adding one or two short novelettes to that mix soon. I've yet to spend the entire day writing, while I like to use part of my day for working out, fly fishing, walking, drinking at the local, traveling, cooking, hanging with my girlfriend and our daughter, hanging with my sons, thinking, living, reading, simply being. Imagine how much work I might put out if I wrote for as many hours as some lawyers put in at their practices? It would certainly amount to more than two or three novels per year. More like ten or twelve.

We all need to embrace speed in this, the new golden age of writing. But we also need to find a speed that we are comfortable with. A speed that doesn't compromise the quality of the work. Only when we write so fast that our work suffers does speed kill.

The Innocent
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Published on April 27, 2012 11:44 • 87 views • Tags: amazon, barry-eisler, bestseller, kindle, mfa-programs, on-writing, richard-russo, the-innocent, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

The New York Times published a story this weekend about how authors, in this the digital age, now find themselves writing not one book every couple of years (or in the case of our namby pamby literary MFA professor cousins, one book every five to ten years), but because of increased consumer demand, two to four or more. I've been writing about this exact topic for close to two years now and I've spouted off in numerous interviews about how this is indeed a new golden age for writers and readers.

Here's the article URL:

Wow, it's really insightful.

I've said before also that writers should maintain a variety of publishing options. Major deals, indie deals and self-publishing ventures. I currently am engaged in all three. I've hit a few home runs over the past year with The Innocent and The Remains most notably, but so long as writers produce good books, there's no reason they can't begin to make a very good living eventually.

How can you too take advantage of this the new Golden Age of writing?

By placing your ass in the chair and fingers to the keys.

All it takes to write a book of sixty thousand words in six weeks time is five pages per day. And that's with the weekends off. I can write five pages in about two to three hours which leaves me with plenty of time to work on a second or even a third book. James Patterson has been doing this for years and so has Stephen King.

We're professional writers.

Writing novels is what we do for a living, and there's no reason we shouldn't be putting in as much time as a lawyer does at his or her firm.

Remember, it's all a matter of ass to the chair, and fingers to the keys.


The Remains
Vincent Zandri
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Published on May 15, 2012 14:50 • 71 views • Tags: amazon, barry-eisler, bestseller, kindle, mfa-programs, on-writing, richard-russo, the-innocent, vincent-zandri
The following blog is now appearing at The Vincent Zandri Vox:

Last evening I watched a new movie presented by HBO called Hemingway and Gellhorn. It offered a fascinating but sadly cliched view into the life of two of the 20th century's greatest writers. Both were portrayed as hard drinking, whiskey bottle by the side of their typewriter, bombs blasting in their bedroom, always traveling to exotic locales, wild sex with every sentence individuals. Like their novels, much of this is made up. But then, in some ways Hemingway and Gellhorn lived up to this over romanticized image.

Giving credit where credit is due, the literary couple were more than what was presented on the silver screen (or LCD TV in this case).

In reality they both struggled over their writing, and painstakingly wrote their articles, stories and novels, often wrestling with every word. Hemingway would produce on average no more than 250 new words a day and in the prime of his life, took three straight years off from writing altogether. That's how hard it was for him.

Martha would write alone, sometimes for three or four solid hours a day. Then she would toss it all out and start over the next morning. Like her lover, she possessed a very fine built-in shit detector and in this, she was her own worst critic.

Truth is, they never drank booze while they wrote. They didn't get hammered the night before and wake up fresh and write like the words were simply bleeding out them. This is the stuff of Hollywood. This is romance. This is pure bullshit.

The truth about Hemingway and Gellhorn:

They're writing came first.
It came before love.
It came before war.
It came before partnership.
It came before car payments and mortgages.
It came before children.
It came before health and sickness.
It came before leaky roofs and broken refrigerators.
It came before school PTA meetings and dinner with the neighbors.
It came before birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and graduations.
It came before Christmas.
It came before fun.
It came before happiness and sadness.
It came before God.

This is why fifty years after Hemingway's death and fourteen years after Gellhorn's (both of them by suicide), Hollywood is making movies about the couple. Because they were the best at what they did. And to be the best, you must make tremendous sacrifices.

Being a writer is not about being available to the world. It's about locking yourself away, at a great distance if need be, in order to work. Work alone, with yourself, without interruption. It's selfish and it is painstakingly hard work. In Hemingway's words, it is like "biting the nail."

Do you have what it takes to be a great writer?


The Innocent The Innocent by Vincent Zandri
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