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10,000 Hours Can Feel Like 10,000 Miles

Not long ago I read Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller, Outliers, which got me thinking about the long, tedious road to publication. Although we occasionally hear of the author who gets a contract with a traditional publisher for a first novel in record time, it seems more the norm to hear of stories of authors (like me) who have been trying to get published for five, ten, even twenty years. Through research Gladwell discovered experts agreeing on the amount of time needed to bring a person to the level of an expert in his or her field. He cites examples: Bill Gates, Robert Oppenheimer, The Beatles, as some who put in the requisite 10,000 hours into their field or craft. It just seems to be a very basic rule that to become proficient in any field, you need to put in a lot of hours—which equates to a lot of years of diligent effort.

There are no shortcuts or get-smart-quick ways about it. Unless you’re a prodigy or Mensa genius, you are going to have to become an expert the old-fashioned way—by hard work and persistence. In this modern age of instant gratification in which we can’t even tolerate more than five seconds for a web page to load, the idea of having to take such a long time becoming an expert in our craft is downright annoying. We want it all now—success, recognition, fulfillment. Continue Reading…

Why Counting Words May Be Hazardous to Your Health

From time to time I make a comment on Facebook about word count or I guest post or comment on another blog about it. I’m always  astonished at the emotional reaction to this topic and to my less-than-approved views on the subject.

I am pretty opinionated about word counting, and when I post (as I’m sure this will happen today as well), I’ll get comments that range from irritation to scathing anger over my view. Which fascinates me–why so many authors get their shorts all bunched up over this topic. Continue Reading…

5 Ways to Make Google Your “Assistant Publicist”

Today’s guest post is by Rusty Shelton, publicist and CEO of Shelton Interactive, a full-service digital agency dedicated to helping authors. I asked Rusty to chime in with advice for writers trying to figure out useful ways to market and promote their books.

Putting Google to Work for You

There is no substitute for working with a top-tier publicity firm with established relationships, but it is also important to understand how important Google can be for authors as an assistant publicist. The media environment has changed dramatically over the past four years. According to Forrester Research, between the years 2000-2008 one in four media jobs disappeared. As startling as that statistic is, when you consider that the time period surveyed is before our current recession really got underway, you can start to appreciate why media members are so overloaded with potential stories to cover. Continue Reading…