Everybody’s Doing It –

I saw a statistic in a recent blog – “85% of readers dream of publishing their own book.” This may or may not be accurate, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

The trick on this planet is turning a dream into reality. Most of us are here to do just that—turn dreams into reality. And when you look this over, in one form or another, that’s ALL we do, whether they be nightmares or pleasant dreams. The striving toward such goals is the stuff from which we are made.

A Half Truth Is Still a Lie –

Not to put too fine a point on it, that blog I browsed was pitching a course on writing, hence the message was slanted—in short, marketing. The blogger wanted the prospective customer to know “publishing your own book isn’t anywhere near as difficult as it used to be.” This, of course, is a true statement. The blogger goes on to write “It has become very easy to publish your book on Amazon and gain access to millions of readers almost instantly.” While this may be true, it conveniently omits the fact that instant access to millions of readers on Amazon doesn’t typically translate into book sales.

I take umbrage at attempts to woo the wide-eyed hopefuls of the world, however naive they may be, into money-making schemes to their detriment. I find passionate hope a highly valued trait to be treated with respect and carefully nurtured to the advantage of all dreamers who dare dream lofty dreams.

In my view, it takes a minimum of three vital aspects to succeed at any endeavor, including writing for publication:

  1. Reality – Facing “what is” versus how you “want it to be” is key. Otherwise, you don’t have a firm grasp of where you are. And if you don’t know where you are starting from, you’re not likely to get to the desired destination.
  2. Persistence – It seems it always takes longer to realize a dream than it should. That’s not what’s important. Realization of the dream is the only thing that counts. Keep at it.
  3. Hope – The spark of life, itself. Without hope all is lost.

A Recent Mentoring Request –

“I am working on writing a book, memoir. I was wondering if you mentored anyone or if you know of any groups that I could become involved with that would allow feedback.”

My reply:

I’m flattered and love to help whenever and wherever I can. However, due to time constraints personal mentoring is not an option for me at this time.

Please keep in mind, I speak only from personal experience. First and foremost, you’ll need to master the craft of writing, which brings forth your voice—the creative core form which your style flows.

I avoided writing/critique groups based on the premise that only those who can do, have the authority to teach. Most writing groups seem to be the blind leading the blind, huddling together in the faint hope that there is safety in numbers when it comes to art. I hold the opposite view, art is created by individuals, great art is created by individuals with a singular voice and a persistent passion to express their art in spite of all else.

Learn the basic rules of the craft inside and out, to the point where they are unconscious, part of your ingrained writing style. This you can do by studying books on how to write. There are a handful of great books on the subject. But beware, there are a plethora of fair to mediocre attempts to elucidate the basic principles of good writing.

Two of my favorites are:

  1. The Elements of Style

William Strunk, Jr. & E. B. White.

  • Steven King

On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft

I’m currently investigating a third prospect for the short list titled Everybody Writes {Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content} by Ann Handley. You may want to check this out for yourself.

I recommend reading anything and everything that interests, excites, thrills, and/or amazes you. Pick it apart, analyze the writing word by word, sentence by sentence—get to know its nuances, what makes it work for you.

Glen Fry relates an anecdote about Bob Seeger’s advice in the documentary, History of the Eagles:

“If you want to make it, you’re going to have to write your own songs,” Seeger tells him.

“But what if they’re bad?” Fry asks.

“Well they’re going to be bad,” says Seeger, “but you just keeping writing and eventually you’ll write a good one.”

Fundamentally, you need to write. Start writing and keep writing until your writing meets your expectations as the discerning reader you are. I wrote, and submitted for publication, somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 words before I began to see the light from the bottom of the garbage bin. I continue to improve with each new work.

What I am NOT telling you here is as important, if not more so, than advice on writing craft. Writing for publication is a BUSINESS. And like any successful business, there’s far more involved than writing a good book, not the least of which is marketing. Without mastering the business aspects of writing you have a  Powerball jackpot ticket chance for commercial success. But that is a subject for another blog.


Your input is always appreciated.

The mystery books Dark Side of Sunset Pointe and Flight of the Tarantula Hawk and the paperback edition of Grey Daze are available on Amazon. The Grey Daze eBook edition is due out within the next few weeks. Cut-Throat Syndrome, the newest Lance Underphal Mystery is in progress and will be released later this year.

You may also check out the book trailers for Dark Side of Sunset Pointe and Flight of the Tarantula Hawk.

For more on the mystery writer, Michael Allan Scott, and the Lance Underphal mystery series, go to michaelallanscott.com

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.