Wordsushi

Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff - Bestselling Author, Voice Over Artist and Media Assassin

Tag Archive for writing

Self Publishing 101: Dispensing with the Obvious… You Need a Finished Manuscript


When it comes to indie publishing, let’s dispense with the obvious. To sell books, you first need a sale-able book. 

Duh. 

The good news is that these days, you don’t need 75K words to make a book. There is no prejudice against a thin book spine when it comes to e-books. 

One of my most successful titles was my Bin Laden book which clocked in at about 12K words total. It proved to me that you can succeed with a short book, but just know that you may face trouble charging a lot for a short book. You may be limited by how much people will be willing to spend on something they can read in an hour or two. 

Now writing a book is one thing. Everyone has their own way of doing it. 

However, in order for your book to be market-worthy, you’re going to need the holy trinity… Rewriting, Editing and Proofreading. There are very few people who can create a first draft that is publishing-ready. It’s the kind of thing that takes not only skill, but a great deal of experience. Trust me, your written work will only get better through rewriting. 

It should also go without saying that you NEED others to read your work before it gets published. Writing is lonely work that often takes place in a vacuum. You need objective and honest feedback in order to make your book shine. 

Unfortunately, my recommendation is that you do not trust the opinions of family and close friends. They may not be completely honest assessors of your ability to succeed. They may not want to see you get hurt. They may have an agenda. They may like you just where you are.

Find a writer’s group near you or online. If you have someone who will be straight up with you, you are already ahead of the game. 

Editing and proofreading are also jobs that are too important to be done by you, not so much because you may not be qualified to do it, but because you may not be qualified to do it objectively. It’s your book, you’re too close to it. You need to find and editor and/or a proofreader for your work before it goes out into the world. 

This is actually one of the most difficult tasks in the process and in many cases, the one that will carry the highest expense. Editing and proofreading are such important jobs that you should really hire someone to do it. Thanks to the e-publishing boom, there are lots of vendors offering these services to writers just like you and I. 

When it comes time to find a editor, ask around. If you have friends who have self-published, there’s a good chance they may know someone. Sometimes people are protective of their editors, not wanting them to get too popular lest they raise their rates and lose their availability. I have an editor I like a lot. He’s someone I’ve known for about 20 years so I trust him with my work and I trust him to be honest with me. 

If you really get stuck, I may give you his contact info, but just know he doesn’t work for free. 

Looking for an editor or proofreader can be as easy as an Internet search. You can also find freelance editors at sites like ODesk.com where freelancers hang their shingle looking for gigs. On these sites, you can often put your job up for bids and the editors who have registered have also taken various aptitude tests and their scores are visible on their profiles. 

Whatever you do, try as hard as you can to put your best foot forward. An audience will be your most honest critic. If your book is bad or good, they will let you know. 

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Welcome to Mindproduct – A Free Digital Magazine for Flipboard

IMG_2035The modern digital magazine takes “lean forward” content created for the web and transforms it back into the “lean back” experience we grew up with thanks to traditional media. Perhaps, that’s why I’m enamored with it.

That’s why I’m happy to tell you about MINDPRODUCT, my new digital magazine for Flipboard. Thought-provoking and evocative, Mindproduct will not be your father’s mag.

What Flipboard has done with their latest update allows me to showcase content I’ve created and curated in a digital magazine format that is accessible for iPhone, iPad and Android. You can get and read Mindproduct on your smartphone or tablet anywhere and I know a lot of you are already users.

Best of all, I can do it in a way that is easy to use, simple to navigate and is constantly evolving. All you have to do is subscribe once and you’ll be receiving all new Mindproduct content as it happens. 

FlipboardCoverI have some really cool ideas in mind for Mindproduct, and along with my own stuff I will be featuring work by amazing artists that you may or may not have heard of before. In the first pages of Mindproduct, you’ll see Blake Morgan’s new music video for his single, “Water, Water, Everywhere” from his upcoming album, Diamonds in the Dark. Coming soon will be some very funny stuff from my pal Brian Dunn that I know you’ll really dig. I think it will be a lot of fun to watch the evolution of this digital magazine as it happens.

Did I mention that it’s FREE?

So? What are you waiting for? CLICK HERE to get your FREE Mindproduct digital magazine for Flipboard. And if you don’t have Flipboard installed on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, you can get that for free, too! Android app on Google Play - iOS app for iPhone and iPad

 

 

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Why do you want to publish a book?

self publishingBe honest. Do you want to publish a book to impress people or to make a living as a writer?

If your heart is set on seeing your name on the cover of a book published by a traditional publisher, then go after it with everything you have. Chase it like a dog after a pork chop.

Just realize that today, self-publishing success has become an opportunity to gain the attention of traditional publishers. It’s the new way to fight the crowded bottleneck of all those millions of others out there trying to do the same exact thing. Success in any field doesn’t go unnoticed for too long.

Of course, traditional publishing isn’t without its pitfalls. As an industry facing a great deal of uncertainty, traditional publishers have tightened the reins. New contracts can include provisions that mean less control of your work, and worst-case-scenario, even loss of your copyright regardless of whether or not your book even comes out. Feeling frisky about an education into the horrors faced by writers under contract to publishers? Go visit ThePassiveVoice.com, a site run by a lawyer who has worked in the publishing industry for decades. Often, he highlights the egregious things found in the publishing agreements sent to him by writers under contract. One thing is clear. Publishing is an industry facing drastic shrinkage, where sometimes the most creative work done by the publishers involves dreaming up inventive new ways to upend the writer by the ankles and shake until more money falls out from their pockets.

Regardless, with a publisher behind your book you may even be forced to wait 12 to 18 months to be released. In some cases, books are never released for whatever reason… even after the contracts are signed. This is the pure definition of literary blue balls.

Plus, to make things even more difficult for the writer to make a living doing what they do best, uh, writing…the contract you affix your John Hancock to may prohibit you from, uh, writing anything else. At the very least, you will be under embargo against competing against yourself.

All in exchange for an advance and the hope there will be more royalty checks coming.

How big of an advance? Well, it seems the days of windfall advances to new writers is past history. Today, advances for new writers now average in the mid-five figures and are shrinking faster than Luke Skywalker’s junk after a cold dip in a Degoabah swamp. Now, I realize that a few thousand bucks may represent a life-changing sum of money for some, but it seems a paltry sum to sign away nearly all control of something you devoted so much of yourself to create.

You also have to take into account that your advance is recoupable against future royalties. That means the 8 to 10 percent royalty per unit sold they’ve given you in that contract has to earn back every penny of that advance money before you see another dime. That is if you even get an advance. Some publishers have started to move away from handing out any upfront dough and are instead basing their deals on royalties alone.

In a way, it’s almost like religion. It’ll work out better for you if you have faith there’s a reward at the end.

Yes, dear writer, the deck is stacked against you. However, those awful publishers put up the financial risk and you signed the contract allowing them to do whatever they want.

A deal with a major publisher can open doors for you. Maybe even lead to bigger opportunities. The sad truth is that because publishers release so much content every month, not every one of their books will succeed and not every writer under contract will make a living. Some writers succeed with major publishers and go on to have those careers the rest of us drool over. Most however, do not. That’s the way it has always been.

Can you make a living self-publishing? Yes.

Be your own boss. Write what you want to write. Be on your own schedule. Just remember… if you don’t sell books, you don’t make money.

How much can you make through self publishing your own books?

Possibly the best-known examples of DIY self-publishing success are John Locke and Amanda Hocking. Both were making six figures, monthly, on their self published books. That’s right, hundreds of thousands of dollars a month! Look it up. Both eventually signed big deals with major publishers. Google the term: “self-publishing success” and you’ll find the latest person to use their self-publishing efforts as an audition to land a major book deal — because a writer with an audience and the know-how to make it happen on their own is a much more attractive proposition for a risk-adverse industry. 

The good news is that you don’t have to be today’s buzzed-about indie author to make a decent living at this. Because e-books are being sold today in mind-blowing numbers, you can stay under the radar and still move enough units each month to make a living. It takes luck and perseverance and a growing catalog of content.

Me? I’ve had my own indie publishing imprint since 2005, and have been doing this full time for the last two years. I can tell you it’s thrilling to be able to write what you want, how you want and sell it to book buyers without a middleman screwing everything up or putting their hands in your pocket.

If you could do anything in the world, anything at all, what would it be? Personally, I’d want to do exactly what I’m doing now. The only difference is that it would be from a desk with a view of the beach.  

*****

I’m a full time writer, publisher and digital content creator. I’ve been marking the 8th anniversary of the launch of my indie imprint, Glenneyre Press by sharing some of what I’ve learned about about digital publishing. 

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Recent Praise for the Rev. MYN and “Go Forth and Kick Some Ass”

Over the last few days, I’ve been extremely humbled by a trio of emails I received from people who wanted to let me know that the preachings of the Rev. MYN and my motivational book “Go Forth and Kick Some Ass” had profoundly impacted their lives.

“…Your motivation has helped me carve out a fresh start for myself in a new job with a 50% pay raise.” – TOM C.

“I was able to pull my grades up in time to open up all these doors and provide myself with a bright future…. I wouldn’t have been able to get where I am without the encouragement you preach…” – ADAM D.

“…helped me out by making me ask questions about what I wanted to do and how I could be a better attorney…” – TIM W.

Yeah, I know a lot of you only think of me as that goofball who does that PCH thing. LOL… but truly, I am grateful to know that the simple little lessons I’ve learned that help me stay motivated, creative and moving forward do indeed resonate with others. If you have any comments about my Rev. MYN sermons or Go Forth and Kick Some Ass, please feel free to drop me a line.

And yes, there’s another Rev. MYN book coming in 2012!

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Increasing Your Writing Productivity

Sometimes people write to me and ask how to better their work. I’m always very flattered and most of the time, I’m very happy to respond with as much advice and/or brutal honesty I can muster. This one, from someone who has been kind enough to follow my work for a while, caught my eye. Given how much of a universal concern I feel this is for some writers, I thought I’d share both the question and response here.

I have been keeping a journal and am finding that the inspiration comes in jerks and sparks. Always writing a sentence here, a phrase there. I guess I need to channel it into a cohesive piece of work but, alas, there is the rub.

If you want to write in volume then you need to set aside a volume of time and make it a regular habit. You can’t become a basketball player if all you ever do is shoot the ball everytime you walk past it in the driveway. It’s tough work to discipline yourself to sit and write, which is why most people can’t do it… but the only way to do it is to just do it… it takes time to get used to the routine but if you make it a regular part of your schedule to sit and just do nothing but write… even if the only time you can find is an hour on the weekends, then eventually you will find yourself connecting to that creative impulse for more than a fleeting moment or two here and there.

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The Ten Commandments of Creativity


From composing music for TV and videogames to screenwriting/TV writing, producing, on-camera hosting, voice overs as well as penning and publishing books, I have been fortunate to have earned a living doing creative stuff my entire adult life. One thing I learned long ago was that you can strengthen your natural gifts of creativity with constant use and practice the same way an athlete gets stronger with exercise. A couple years ago I started this list as a reminder to myself how to mentally approach the game of being and staying creative. Today, I thought it was time to share it with you.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF CREATIVITY

  1. Define your art. Don’t let your art define you.
  2. Slide head first. Commit and give it everything you got.
  3. Sometimes the greatest achievements are accomplished by those who are not smart enough to know what is impossible.
  4. The obstacles in your life do not prevent you from living your life. The obstacles in your life are your life.
  5. Accolades are motivational annuities you cash in when life has you down.
  6. An artist is someone who lives in a world of their own making. A businessman is someone who can make people pay to be part of a world. In order to succeed creatively, you need to do both well.
  7. Enlightenment comes from stripping away the mental manacles holding you back and focusing deeply on something new that feels right in your heart and mind.
  8. No detail is too small, but recognize when you’ve obsessed too long over the small stuff.
  9. If someone tells you they absolutely hate your work, you’re most likely doing something right to evoke that strong of a response.
  10. And finally…. Never ever, ever give up, ever.

What do you think? Do you have any self-motivating axioms that you use to stay focused and creative? Hmmmm… maybe The Ten Commandments of Creativity will be the sequel to my previous book on creative focus: Go Forth and Kick Some Ass

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A Pair of Fun Articles on My Writing

A couple of really neat interviews I gave on THE KILLING OF OSAMA BIN LADEN and my writing in general came out last week. The first, at the KINDLE AUTHOR blog, is a great all-around interview by talented writer David Wisehart. Here’s a small excerpt.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

MARK YOSHIMOTO NEMCOFF: It’s been a long and winding road for sure. A loooong time ago, during the early ’90s, I lost my job during a bad economy and I started my own business as a professional composer of music for TV and video games. I worked extremely hard and after a while I had done a few national series and a couple of big game titles. I went through some really heavy personal stuff and woke up one day to find that the most horrifying thing had happened to me: I completely lost the ability to write music. All the melodies and stuff I would hear in my head constantly, morning to night, were all gone. Poof. Just like that. Nothing. Crickets. Nada.

I had always been a creative writer in school, and one day while feeling very lost, I had a flash of an idea for a story. All I did for 19 days was write, and in the end, I had penned my first novel, The Doomsday Club, a furious thriller about 4 college friends who inadvertently kill someone and then invent a phony terrorist group to take the blame. I’d never attempted anything longer than a short story, but the book came out really well. I just hit the accelerator and never looked back. This being L.A., as I started showing my book around and getting some good responses, I got it into my head that I should try to break into TV and screenwriting. I put together some specs, got an agent. Got a couple of assignments. Got into the Warner Bros. Drama Writers Fellowship. Had one of my TV scripts directed by Bruce Campbell. Developed a couple of feature screenplays with a producer on the Sony lot. Wrote some more features on assignment… but nothing happened. I got fed up and was ready to give up, but I polished up another novel I had written, a noir thriller called The Art of Surfacing. In 2005, I put the book out in print myself and, needing a way to promote it, stumbled upon an article about creating something called a “podcast.” So, I started this podcast, at first in my car with some cheap mp3 recorder, that within 4 months got me a deal with a podcasting network and then, surprisingly, a drive-time slot on Sirius Satellite Radio five nights a week. An editor at Playboy heard my show and did a nice feature on me and all-of-a-sudden, I was podcasting as my full-time job, making a great living at it.

So then, inspired by Scott Sigler, I took an old screenplay of mine that I had optioned a few times but never got made and very quickly adapted it into a book. Number One with a Bullet, came out as a serialized podcast novel and because it was a success (winning a Parsec Award in 2007) I started putting out more original audiobooks and growing my brand as an author. Around that time, I also had this crazy book out about the lives of Hollywood assistants named Where’s My F*cking Latte? After Lindsay Lohan was arrested chasing her assistant in a car, I got a call to appear on “Access Hollywood” to talk aobut the lives of celebrity assistants. Boom. WMFL took off.

When the economy around audio podcasting started to erode, I started a video podcast, a funny news show called Things I Learned This Week, which I was also writing. Two years into it, that show was seen by a producer who offered me the hosting gig on a new nationally-syndicated TV newsmagazine about smartphones and mobile entertainment. I didn’t even have to audition. We taped the first season of The MoShow earlier this year and are waiting to hear about a second season pickup.

In the meantime, to my surprise, I discovered that WMFL had been sitting on a Kindle subcategory bestseller list for over 2 years. I went back and looked at how much my Kindle sales had grown and realized with the release of the Kindle 3 and the proliferation of Kindle apps running on millions of smartphones, there was a very, very serious market here. In March, I started putting out more of my back catalog and new content for Kindle, including a book called Go Forth and Kick Some Ass: Be the Hero of Your own Life Storyrelating to some of the motivational “sermons” I had been podcasting (I am an ordained minister). Since I started really focusing on ebook content my sales have exploded. All the stuff above, those are just most of the highlights so it may seem like it’s been an easy path, but I can tell you that I’ve fought tooth and nail for everything, and all the opportunities and doors that opened up were because someone saw something that I created and worked very hard on and decided to take a chance on me.

READ THE REST OF MY INTERVIEW OVER AT KINDLE AUTHOR HERE.

The next one is a fantastic feature piece that really goes into some depth about THE KILLING OF OSAMA BIN LADEN and the effects the book’s sudden success has had on my career. Pardon the billboard sized photo of me they used in order to scare children, but once you scroll past that the rest is really cool.

Often in life, one thing leads to another and an initial act can be parlayed into great success.  Enter this tale into the life of writer and television host Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff.

Following the capture and subsequent killing of Osama Bin Laden in May, things would start to fall into place for Nemcoff.  The morning after news broke, he became stirred by acquiring information about how United States Special Forces pulled off the feat inside the Pakistani border.

This passion developed into writing a book, titled “The Killing of Osama Bin Laden: How the Mission to Hunt Down a Terrorist Mastermind was Accomplished.”  It was about the end of Bin Laden and as details came flowing in, the realization that he could have the first piece of any circumstance on the topic became great motivation.

READ “ONE MAN’S PATH TO PUBLISHED SUCCESS” HERE

 

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Listen to an excerpt from: Go Forth and Kick Some Ass

I’ve posted an extended preview of the introduction and first chapter, entitled “Courage” from the audiobook version of GO FORTH AND KICK SOME ASS (Be the Hero of Your Own Life Story).

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THIS EXCERPT FROM GO FORTH AND KICK SOME ASS

I know there are those of you who don’t do the ebook thing so this audiobook is for you.

CLICK HERE to go to the audiobook download/purchase page!

PRAISE FOR GO FORTH AND KICK SOME ASS:
“Life is tough and this book reminds you of that, but it also reminds you that YOU are tougher than anything life can throw at you. Mark has taken years of experience and boiled it down to an inspiring, humorous and dead on serious look at what you need to do to be successful in life. It isn’t as difficult as you might believe.”
- C.C. Chapman, Bestselling author of “Content Rules”

 

 

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Get Motivated! “Go Forth and Kick Some Ass” is out!

“Life is tough and this book reminds you of that, but it also reminds you that YOU are tougher than anything life can throw at you. Mark has taken years of experience and boiled it down to an inspiring, humorous and dead on serious look at what you need to do to be successful in life. It isn’t as difficult as you might believe.”
- C.C. CHAPMAN – New Media trailblazer and bestselling author of “Content Rules”

Over the last few years, because of the things I’ve created and done, people have emailed me and contacted me with their questions about the stuff they are creating. Mostly, what folks ask are questions pertaining to how to keep motivated and how to keep the ball rolling once you’ve started on a project. Creatives know there’s a wonderful feeling when you embark on the journey of taking the creative ideas from your head and try to put them on paper or record them or in some way try to form them into something tangible to share with other people. But oftentimes that journey is fraught with many obstacles, some which have the ability to stop you dead in your tracks and render your dreams into dust.

Some of you know I’ve been doing some sermons, er… conversations on how to get motivated and, more importantly, how to stay motivated. GO FORTH AND KICK SOME ASS is a book for anyone who has suffered, as have I in the past, with the crippling self-doubt that comes from feeling like your life is stuck in a rut.

If you’ve followed my stuff over the years you know I put my heart and soul into everything I do and the surprising opportunities, both large and small, that have come my way are the result of my philosophy to NEVER EVER, EVER GIVE UP, EVER.

How you get to that point requires arming yourself with the right mental tools. GO FORTH AND KICK SOME ASS will give you a battle plan to keep your ambitions moving forward. Is it corny to say this book can change your life? Perhaps. But I can tell you that every idea and exercise I detail in the book has changed mine.

Go Forth and Kick Some Ass (Be the Hero of Your Own Life Story) – Kindle Edition

Go Forth and Kick Some Ass (Be the Hero of Your Own Life Story) - Nook Edition

 

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