A Writer? So why aren’t you Writing?

This is the second in a series on marketing.

When writers start learning about how to reach their audience, they are told to build a platform across multiple channels to reach their audience. Then they get frustrated when no one appears to be paying attention to their posts, so they stop posting.

Big mistake.

Even if you aren’t a writer, but especially if you are, you must keep putting yourself out there. I’m tired of the word “content,” but content is exactly what you need to be producing. You must do this whether or not anyone is reading at all.

Think about it. How many television shows barely made it through their first seasons before they got noticed and became runaway successes? I can think of a few like Seinfeld and Everyone Loves Raymond. How many were canceled only to be reborn because the supporters — and writers — didn’t stop working the system? Star Trek, anyone? How many authors started out unnoticed only to become successful a couple of books later? What if they had given up after the first or second book?

No one may be reading your first attempts, but no one will ever read what you have to say if it never exists.

Realize you are competing for attention among millions of other people. Nathan Berry writes (via Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets), “There is so much content being produced that we can’t possibly discover it all. So we wait for the best to float to the surface after time. If step one in building an audience is to create great content, step two is to endure long enough to get noticed.”

Each social media platform is idealized for different types of posts, lengths of posts, and frequency. The first decision you must make is which social media outlets best suit your style and output. You don’t need to be everywhere, and to do so will just eat up valuable time. A regular website should be your primary home. This is where all your information can be found, your longer musings, and all other sites are a gateway back to the homeland. Then figure out which handful of other sites can benefit your brand. They may become more active as far as posts go, but have somewhere substantial as your foundation.

So how often should you write on your internet platforms? Some recommend every day. I think it depends on the type of site: Your main page should be at least once or twice a week. Sites like Facebook or MeWe, four times. Instagram, also four. I don’t like sites like Twitter or Gab for authors. Too short and flippant. Also realize I am talking about your author sites. Keep personal stuff on personal pages. While your home website is a better place for expanded content, if you find yourself posting quite a bit on non-author\writing topics, start another dedicated page. Most sites allow you to write multiple posts and save them for later, or specify a predetermined time to publish. This lets you write multiple posts in one sitting and have days or weeks of content ready to go.

Don’t be spammy. No one wants endless “buy my book” ads. This is the old way of doing things. Document your process. Detail your passions. Tell your Story. You convince readers to buy your book by not telling them to buy it. Rather, show them why your Story is so amazing. I once had someone try to sell me a product by giving me all the stats and figures — technobabble. I understand all that, but tell me why you are compelled to use that product. How did it change you? As an author, you tell amazing stories. Show people the path into your Story and why it will change them.

As Virginia Woolf wrote, “…in order to make you understand, to give you my life, I must tell you a story.”

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

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Patrick: Son of Ireland

Slave, soldier, lover, hero, saint,—his life mirrored the cataclysmic world into which he was born. His memory will outlast the ages.

St. Patrick’s Day comes and goes every year with its parties and parades, yet very few spend any time getting to know the holiday’s namesake. Why is one man, centuries later, so remembered?

This is where Stephen Lawhead’s novel, Patrick: Son of Ireland, paints a vivid picture of Patrick’s world long lost to us. It is true what little we know of Patrick comes from a few surviving writings by his hand, and from others passing down traditions. Lawhead uses this framework to fill in the details of Patrick’s slavery in Ireland which shapes his life to come. We also witness his escape back to Britain, and in Lawhead’s version, travels to Rome. Everything in Lawhead’s vision of Patrick’s life is detailed and plausible, transporting readers to these ancient eras. You will travel the stark contrasts of Celtic Ireland to the fading glory of late imperial Rome. We don’t get to see Patrick’s triumphant transformation of Ireland — we know that part of the story. This is the origin story on how he became that saint, that legend.

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Want a Free Book?

This is the first in a series on marketing.

That got your attention. Everyone likes free stuff, but authors hate giving away their work. I saw one writer get visibly upset when she saw me give away a book. I get it. Writing is hard work and most authors want to make a living telling stories. However, when you are just starting out, you need to invest in marketing your book.

Giving away free stuff is Marketing 101.

How many times has a retailer lured you in with BOGO offers or deeply discounted products (“loss leaders”)? They do it all the time, every day. It’s hard to see your book as a product, but you’re on the hunt for readers, right? Readers are your customer, and your book is your product.

I’m not saying you should give away all your books for free all the time. It should be part of an overall marketing plan. Free book contests. Donate them to local libraries. Have you ever see those little community book exchanges in parks and other locations? Keep copies in your car. You never know when the opportunity may arrive to give out your book, free or otherwise.

Running sales, just as all other businesses do, should also be part of your plans. Once you have multiple books published, deeply discounting the first — or making it free — gives a no-risk invitation to new readers.

Giving away your books shouldn’t be the only freebie in your arsenal. Think about what other free content you can give out such as excerpts of your books, or short stories set in the same storyverse. Consider putting these together in a low cost book format (paper or electronic) and give them out at events or on-line even to those who haven’t bought your book (especially to people who haven’t bought your book).

As authors, we don’t see ourselves merely as a business, or our readers as customers. We are looking for a deeper connection (and we will get into all that in future posts). Ultimately, getting your book out there requires a business mindset.

Most importantly, keep telling stories. Don’t stop until you Find Your Purpose, Find Your Story.

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

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A Republic at Risk

When the 1776 Commission was created to produce the The 1776 Report, the normal mindless, partisan politics ensued. The report couldn’t possibly be of importance and was ignored and deleted. So I, unlike many others, decided to actually read it. Here, quoted from the report, is what it was fundamentally about:

The core assertion of the Declaration [of Independence], and the basis of the founders’ political thought, is that “all men are created equal.”

[This] does not mean that all human beings are equal in wisdom, courage, or any of the other virtues and talents that God and nature distribute unevenly among the human race. It means rather that human beings are equal in the sense that they are not by nature divided into castes, with natural rulers and ruled.

Natural equality requires not only the consent of the governed but also the recognition of fundamental human rights…as well as the fundamental duty or obligation of all to respect the rights of others. These rights are found in nature and are not created by man or government; rather, men create governments to secure natural rights. Indeed, the very purpose of government is to secure these rights, which exist independently of government, whether government recognizes them or not.

…the Ninth Amendment [establishes] that the Bill of Rights was a selective and not an exclusive list; that is, the mere fact that a right is not mentioned in the Bill of Rights is neither proof nor evidence that it does not exist.

In other words, the Declaration of Independence is a statement of the ancient belief that human rights are innate and exist whether or not any particular government thinks otherwise. These were the founding principles of the United States, all of which used to be taught in schools. That was a primary purpose of schools after all. The report writes:

Education in civics, history, and literature holds the central place in the well-being of both students and communities. For republican government, citizens with such an education are essential. The knowledge of human nature and unalienable rights — understanding what it means to be human — brings deeper perspective to public affairs, for the simple reason that educated citizens will take encouragement or warning from our past in order to navigate the present.

When the lessons of the past are ignored, the truth of natural rights ignored, and politicians try to undo or work around checks and balances of power, this is cause for great concern. When these cancers began to eat away at a republic, often hidden behind movements and catchphrases that hide the decay, one day people wake up wondering how their government moved into tyranny. History, however, tells us how easy governments can fail:

Republicanism is an ancient form of government, but one uncommon throughout history, in part because of its fragility, which has tended to make republics short-lived. Contemporary Americans tend to forget how historically rare republicanism has been, in part because of the success of republicanism in our time…

We only need to look to that famous republic, the Roman one, and its slide into tyranny, and the warnings it has left us. Edward Watts in Mortal Republic writes:

A republic is not an organism. It has no natural life span. It lives or dies solely on the basis of choices made by those in charge of its custody…The [Roman] Republic could have been saved. These men, and many others less famous as they, chose not to save it…When citizens take the health and durability of their republic for granted, that republic is at risk.

The 1776 Report wasn’t a partisan document; it was a warning. As Daniel Webster wrote, if the American experiment fails, “there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

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Defend Your Rights or Lose Them

In what is a disturbing trend, private companies, journalists, and the government, have joined together in the censorship of speech, sharing of information, and academic freedom. A growing number of voices are recognizing the danger and speaking out. Here is a small sampling from recent weeks.

In In Big Tech world: The Journalist as Censor, Hit Man, and Snitch:

A new and rapidly growing journalistic “beat” has arisen over the last several years that can best be described as an unholy mix of junior high hall-monitor tattling and Stasi-like citizen surveillance. It is half adolescent and half malevolent. Its primary objectives are control, censorship, and the destruction of reputations for fun and power. Though its epicenter is the largest corporate media outlets, it is the very antithesis of journalism.

– Glenn Greenwald

From GameStop Was A Warning: Elites Are Weaponizing Censorship To Keep Outsiders Out:

If there is a Big Lie in American politics right now, it is the idea that censorship of social media is necessary to save democracy…The last thing that the rulers want to see when they look down is a teeming throng in the Square. And nobody benefits more than the rulers from malleable censorship rules that are easily weaponized to restrict, disrupt, or disband the Square.

What the insiders fear is not the end of democracy, but the end of their control over it, and the loss of the benefits they extract from it. Ultimately, the battle over speech is just one aspect of a broader war for power amid a growing political realignment that is not Left versus Right, but rather insider versus outsider. Thanks to social media, the outsiders are threatening to replace who’s in the Tower, and the insiders have never been more scared.

– David Sacks

Orwell’s 1984 and Today reports:

Totalitarianism will never win in the end—but it can win long enough to destroy a civilization. That is what is ultimately at stake in the fight we are in. We can see today the totalitarian impulse among powerful forces in our politics and culture. We can see it in the rise and imposition of doublethink, and we can see it in the increasing attempt to rewrite our history.

– Larry P. Arnn

From Congress Escalates Pressure On Tech Giants To Censor More, Threatening The First Amendment:

The power to control the flow of information and the boundaries of permissible speech is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. It is a power as intoxicating as it is menacing. When it comes to the internet, our primary means of communicating with one another, that power nominally rests in the hands of private corporations in Silicon Valley.

– Glenn Greenwald

And in Why Are People Celebrating Free Speech Crackdowns?

It is really disheartening to see how people are so inward-looking at only supporting of voices of those who agree with them, rather than recognizing the country that our founders envisioned for all of us…this is something I take to heart in a very deep way like every other service member that we take an oath to uphold our constitution, to support and defend it, which supports including the freedom of speech of every single person in this country, whether we agree with that speech or not. Whether that speech offends us or not.

– Tulsi Gabbard

Realize if you support the suppression of people you disagree with, then you have set the precedent and given power to politicians and companies. The power to suppress and silence you. It always happens. It already has.

So many naïve people will wake up someday and be surprised when their beliefs are banned, their voices silenced. The wielders of power will simply say, “You gave us the power to do so. You supported us even when we quit hiding our intentions.”

Will people snap out of their childish thinking, or choose not to awaken until the nightmare becomes real?

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You Have Been Warned

Totalitarian Fiction. Only one of these I haven’t read, the rest multiple times. A few hundred pages can get you quite an education.

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Battles Fought, Battles Avoided

People who fail to heed the past, doom the future. Likewise, those who ignore the present, as if they have no responsibility for their actions to those who come after, may change the course of history. That history may be one not wanted, or deserved, by those who inherit it.

An event in 9 A.D., in a dark German forest, probably didn’t seem like much on the global scale. When three Roman legions were destroyed by German tribes in Teutoburg Forest, it was a tragedy for sure. Nearly 20,000 were dead, an amount hard to imagine killed in only a few hours time. The loss struck Caesar Augustus hard, and no full-scale attempt to conquer and Romanize Germania would ever occur again. Rome would stay close to the militarized border along the Rhine and Danube Rivers for the remainder of its existence. As Rome endured for a few more hundred years after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, the disaster didn’t seem like an event of significance, one that had altered history.

But it had.

Had the German region become part of Rome like western Europe, would the “barbarian” invasions of Rome centuries later never occur? Would the empire have endured longer? Would later wars between France and Germany also fail to materialize? What of the World Wars?

Of course we are speculating, we cannot know for sure how an alternate timeline would have played out. Some dismiss the battle had any serious impact on the river of time, not because of historical evidence, but out of overwrought fears the battle will be used for nationalist causes. Others point to Britannia, which expelled Roman culture after Rome left, as if that proves something contrary. Britain and Europe would be at odds for centuries, much like the situation north of the Alps. Nor are we arguing that Roman expansion was a just enterprise. However, we know what did happen, and what did not happen. We know a severe cultural divide was created, and even centuries later during multiple eras, when both sides shared the same religion, it didn’t erase the past. Rome fell for many reasons. Endless war was one of them. Many of which were with their neighbors to the north.

What should this teach us? First, we must pay attention to our past. We must cast off this hubris that believes nothing important happened prior to today. Our temporal amnesia is a dangerous disease.

Second, our decisions and actions as nations make lasting ripples far into the future. Where this chain of history goes forward is hard to see from our link, but looking back, the weight of memory is heavy and clear. We can see the connections, the causes and effects.

If we ignore the messages our ancestors have given us, we will fall into our own battles in dark forests. Regardless, if at the time, we think we are on the winning side, our descendants could lose everything.

Each generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve and pass on the canon of human history. It is how the continuity of civilization endures through both the bad and the good.

We have traded our responsibility for tribalisms, allow the elite to choose and run our governments, and abandoned intellect as we run headlong into chaos that we are told is imaginary.

If our ancestors could speak, they would ask, “Why did you not listen to us?”

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Many Times Must We Fight the Book Banners?

A school district in California has banned To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnOf Mice and Men, among others. How many times must we fight this battle?

Each of the books in question deal with difficult subject matter from our country’s complicated and painful history, including systemic racism. Blocking engagement with these important books is also avoiding the important role that schools can and should play in providing context for why these books inspire and challenge us still today. – Tom Ciccotta

And over at Penguin Random House, employees try to get Jordan Peterson’s new book banned — based on lies about the author. In fact, grown adults were crying that the book is being published. Johnathan Kay writes:

People are dying from Covid, losing their businesses, and these spoiled brats transform into babies because their employer is publishing a book they don’t like.

Indeed, the fact such people work at a publisher — supposed protectors of the freedom of speech — is disturbing.

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12 Rules to End Chaos in Your Life…and the World

{Part 1 of a series of posts reviewing Jordan Peterson‘s book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.}

Jordan Peterson‘s bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, challenges people to get their own lives under control before trying to change the world. No, this isn’t just another book about steps to success or happiness. This isn’t some fad book-of-the-week that are no different than the previous twenty forgettable books. Peterson asks readers to reach deep intellectually. Drawing on ancient history and science, and critical thinking, this clearly isn’t just some fuzzy book on “self care” or quick fixes.

Norman Doidge sets the stage in the forward writing:

…without rules we quickly become slaves to our passions — and there’s nothing freeing about that…Ideologues are people who pretend they know how to ‘make the world a better place’ before they’ve taken care of their own chaos within…Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.

And in no time in recent memory are people in need of clear thinking in the face of ideologues and extremists. Peterson was attacked for his defense of free speech and academic freedom by those who claimed to be “open-minded” or “progressive.” Doidge notes, whether they realize it or not:

…millennials are living through a unique historical situation. They [have been]..thoroughly taught two seemingly contradictory ideas about morality…[leaving them] disoriented and uncertain…tragically deprived of riches they don’t even know exist.

And so a generation has been raised untutored in what was called, aptly, ‘practical wisdom,’ which guided previous generations…[suffering] a form of serious intellectual and moral neglect. The relativists…chose to devalue thousands of years of human knowledge about how to acquire virtue…

..made worse by this moral relativism; [people] cannot live without a moral compass, without an ideal at which to aim in their lives…So, right alongside relativism, we find the spread of nihilism and despair, and also the opposite of moral relativism: the blind certainty offered by ideologies that claim to have an answer for everything…Sometimes it seems the only people willing to give advice in a relativistic society are those with the least to offer.

Whereas many, in their hubris, think the past as nothing to offer, our ancestors knew differently:

For the ancients, the discovery that different people have different ideas about how, practically, to live, did not paralyze them; it deepened their understanding of humanity and led to some of the most satisfying conversations human beings ever had, about how life might be lived.

Then Peterson begins:

Through the elevation and development of the individual, and through the willingness of everyone to shoulder the burden of Being and to take the heroic path. We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world…the alternative — the horror of authoritarian belief, the chaos of the collapsed state, the tragic catastrophe of the unbridled natural world, the existential angst and weakness of the purposeless individual — is clearly worse.

{In part 2 of this review, we will look at Peterson’s first three rules.}

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Why do You Write?

“Fall in love and stay in love. Do what you love, don’t do anything else. Don’t write for money. Write because you love to do something. If you write for money, you won’t write anything worth reading.” – Ray Bradbury

Read more of Ray Bradbury’s writing advice here.

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