10 things Indie Authors do wrong and 7 things they do right from Derek Murphy

10 Things Indie Authors do Wrong

 

I read this post over at creativindie and felt I needed to share it here because Derek shares some important knowledge here with indie authors.

Its a long post but worth the read. Enjoy!

Firstly, let’s define “wrong.”

A lot of indie authors are motivated by passion and say things like “it’s not about the money.”

But if we can’t agree on the goals of publishing, we can’t agree on the best practices.

I think, no matter what kind of book you’re writing, we should be able to agree that it would be nice to get some people to read it, and it would be even nicer to get lots of people to read it. And even if it’s not about the money, few authors would refuse it if it started pouring in.

So let’s start there: indie authors want more readers, and possibly more money, and are trying to do things that bring both. The problem is, the methods they are using do not produce the results they’re after.

So by “wrong” I mean, “inefficient” – as in, these are things indie authors do, but that they should stop doing because they don’t produce positive results (and can actually do more harm than good).

Not considering the market

Most indie authors write the books they want to write, and don’t think about reaching readers until after they’ve finished writing. That’s OK for experienced writers who are writing in popular genres. But beginner writers don’t even bother to learn what kind of stories resonate with readers, and they think they don’t need to learn.

Which means, they are producing a product that won’t be enjoyed.

And most indie authors think “fine, I don’t care, I write for myself and my enjoyment.”

But beginning from the belief is a fundamental flaw in the writing behavior of anybody who actually wants to make a living with their writing. You must consider readership if you hope to please and entertain readers. You must read in your genre to recognize what type of writing and stories are successful to readers of that genre.

And you must give a shit about being as good, or better, than those kind of stories.

If you are willing to face this idea, you can deliberately craft commercially successful books.

If you are unwilling, you’re relying on luck and chance, and frankly you don’t deserve success, because it’s nobody’s responsibility to fund your hobby.

Ineffective website

Does your website get traffic? Do people sign up or buy books? Then what’s it for? Most indie authors try to model their website after major bestselling authors. That’s a problem.

Bestselling authors are already famous. People are searching for them by name. They don’t need to worry about being found; they don’t need to use their website to sell books or build credibility. They just offer a cool space for fans to learn more about the author.

If you’re an indie author, your website needs to be a workhorse. It has to pull in the right readers with natural traffic (to reduce your marketing and advertising costs). It has to build trust, attract the right readers, and get them to sign up for a free offer or sell a book well enough to get strangers to take a chance on it (with lots of reviews, an excerpt, and amazing cover, etc).

Ugly book cover

How many indie authors have ugly covers? At least half. Probably more.

Book covers are such a trivial and silly thing: you spent a ton of time writing your book, but that simple JPG will make or break your success. People won’t read your description if your cover doesn’t hook them. The cover has to appeal to the right readers enough to get them to read the description – that means it has to convey mood and genre immediately. I understand it can be too expensive to hire a professional designer, but there are plenty of super cheap options to getting a cover design (fivver.com, wordswag, canva.com) that are still better than the majority of crappy, homemade book covers I see on Amazon.

Spamming people

If you’re not sure you’re being spammy, read this post. Lots of authors just copy what they see other indie authors doing. The majority of indie authors rely on spam, and consider it “book marketing” – which sucks because it makes us look unprofessional, desperate and annoying.

Anytime you talk about, mention, or link to your book to a stranger, you’re being spammy.

When you Tweet quotes of your book, when you share your awards, or sales, or special offers, or new reviews, you’re being spammy. It’s OK to do it to YOUR followers, if they really followed you because they liked your books, but YOU DON’T NEED TO MARKET to those people, because they’re your fans.

So just stop.

Instead you need to be building relationships with peers and fans, because it’s OK for them to share your news, but not for you to share your news.

Marketing, however, is getting NEW fans – and strangers on the internet don’t give a shit about your book.

You need to make them care first, by producing great content that gets in front of them; cool and interesting stuff that isn’t spam and gets shared. Then people come back to your website to find out about you.

Think about everything you post or share: are you giving or taking? If the purpose of what you post is to ask for a sale, you’re taking. If you don’t care anything about whoever is reading it, other than hoping they buy, it’s spam.

You need to be giving 90% of the time.

It’s OK to share a book launch, for a new book, and talk about stuff you’re doing surrounding the launch, but you shouldn’t keep talking about it for months after (you should have produced a lot of content during launch that brings in continuous traffic.

Another easy test of whether you’re being spammy: do you know who you’re talking to and what they want? Or are you just “shotgunning” the internet, hoping somebody accidentally takes notice and buys your books?

PS) On any platform that is mostly spam, your own spam will be ignored. That’s why paid Book Blasts by Twitter accounts with tons of followers won’t work, because they post that stuff all the time and people tune them out. You need to find people with a specific, tailored audience, who have readers who trust them, to share your book.

PPS) Advertising is annoying, but it isn’t spam: it’s OK to advertise your book directly to your target readers and make it look and sound good, just make sure you either put your ad on a very targeted, genre specific website, or you use Facebook advertising to narrow your audience. Don’t just advertise your book anywhere, for anyone, without knowing who is going to see it.

Being Overprotective

I get that you want to safeguard your work, and plagiarism sucks. Here’s the truth: if you make it big, sites will pirate your books. And even if you don’t make it big, some sites pretend to pirate your books so they’ll get clicks from people, even if they don’t actually have your books. And sometimes, although it’s extremely rare, some crazy author will actually just take your work and claim it as their own.

But the legal fees to correct such a thing are probably more than you’d ever earn from the book itself, and for the vast majority of authors, none of this stuff matters because your book is invisible anyway. Don’t be worried about sharing your book with editors or beta readers. They’re doing you a favor. Don’t make them sign NDAs.

Just sell so many damn books that everybody knows it’s your story.

Paying too much

Indie authors are usually overwhelmed by “publishing” and feel more comfortable signing with a small press, even if they have to pay for it, because they think it’s like being “really” published instead of self-publishing.

Vanity and small presses charge big fees for publishing packages that include doing things for you.

But to publish a book, you really only need cover design and formatting (and probably editing, but that’s your choice). Then you have to learn how to upload your files, and maybe build a website.

If you sign with a publishing house, it’s fine – you’re paying extra for hand-holding. It’s like paying for an author assistant (and if you need one of those you could probably hire one for less). It is really nice, and does save a lot of time, to have someone on call who can just answer everything and explain everything to you.

But the truth is, most of those companies selling packages outsource all the work, so the critical pieces like cover design are marginalized. They do an adequate job, which might look professional to you, but probably isn’t good enough to be successful. Most small presses (and even big companies like Createspace or Lulu) show at best very boring cover design samples, and at worst tragically ugly ones (and those are their best examples!)

If you self-publish, it means you can choose the best designer and give them the money directly, instead of paying someone else who is going to take a big chunk just for administrative work. Educate yourself, learn to self-publish on your own, and use your money economically to get the best design you can afford.

Promoting without reviews

You can’t launch your book, or do marketing or advertising, if it doesn’t have any reviews yet. I think you need at least 15 before you can even begin, so I hate seeing indie authors who have had books out for a year or two and are still struggling with marketing, and still have less than 10 reviews.

Yes, getting book reviews takes a lot of work and effort, and it kind of sucks to ask people (especially strangers) to take  chance on your book. You’ve got to suck it up and do it anyway. If you’re sending out requests and nobody will review your book, it’s probably a sign that your book cover sucks (they never even started reading) or the writing isn’t good enough. Also, read this:why people won’t review your books.

Betting the farm

Most authors go all out for their first book and spend lots of money. It’s understandable, so I’m not saying don’t do it. Just keep in mind, since you don’t know what you’re doing yet, you’ll probably waste a lot of money and not see the results you want (trust me I’ve been there).

Firstly, your first book probably isn’t your best; secondly, a profitable writing career is usually built up by launching a dozen or so books, as quickly as possible. So do the best you can on your first book, but make sure you also have ideas ready for your second, third and forth. Each book you publish will probably do a little better, because you’ll be learning and improving all the time, and growing your author platform (unless you’re one of those writers who is completely ignoring your author platform, not learning anything about marketing, and just hoping to get lucky).

Asking people to like their page

It’s cute when indie authors trade likes and all support each other by liking each other’s pages.

But it’s also pretty useless.

Yes, you need more likes on your author page. Until you have about 1000, new readers won’t take you seriously. You can get a bunch of likes quickly by running book giveaways (and you should totally do that). But you shouldn’t ask people to like your page.

Why should they?

They either like your page because they like you and your writing, or you’re asking them to lie and pretend to like your page. That’s a terrible, self-serving practice; everybody only likes your page so you’ll like their page, and nobody actually gives a shit about each other (I’m being dramatic, actually indie authors are very supportive and nice, but I’ll talk about that later).

You want to get readers of your genre to like your page.

But actually, having lots of likes is still useless, because when you post content to your page only 10% or less will actually see your content (Facebook is funny like that). Instead of scrolling through a thread and liking dozens of other author’s pages, you should be focusing on growing your email list.

EXCEPT FOR…. it’s a good idea to like the fan pages of other authors in your genre, and share all of their great content on your page. Instead of needing to think up new content ideas all the time, if you follow a hundred awesome indie authors, with or without big platforms, and reshare all their content, your own platform and followers will grow quickly and those authors are more likely to share your content out of gratitude.

So yes, liking and sharing can be smart marketing.

But don’t just ask people for likes. It’s lame. Post remarkable content. Be helpful and useful. Follow others and get on their radar by sharing their content.

Complaining that people don’t value books.

Indie authors sometimes complain about how low ebook prices are devaluing literature, but they’re really just grumpy because nobody is buying their books. But people don’t buy based on price.

Readers value books and are willing to pay for them.

They just don’t value your book yet.

Convincing them that your book is worth 2.99 or 9.99 is your job. If you can’t convince anybody to buy your book even at 99cents, then give it away for free.

But when you say “Buy my book! Support indie authors!” you’re asking for charity to support your writing habit.

7 Things Indie Authors do Right

OK, maybe that was harsh, but I’m trying to be helpful. The nice thing is, so many authors are doing so many things wrong, publishing successful is actually pretty easy when you do everything right.

Here are some of the reasons I’m proud to be in the indie publishing community.

These are really cool things that some indie authors are doing, or should be doing.

Try

Indie authors believed in their books enough to self-publish them, even ifthey tried to go traditional and couldn’t get an agent or a publisher. That takes guts. I love that we can now publish and reach our readers directly, even if the traditional industry doesn’t think our book would be profitable enough to publish.

I know authors who have a lifetime of manuscripts tucked away in a drawer and hundreds of rejection slips. Keep trying, and if nobody else will publish you, publish yourself and get it out there.

Support Each Other

Some indie authors are weird and crazy, and I think writers are naturally awkward people with poor social skills (I certainly am)… but there’s a tremendous amount of support in the indie publishing community, with organizations and watchdogs and bloggers trying to help one another.

The only danger is hearing a bunch of other authors “support” you when you’re making big mistakes (like when you ask for feedback on an ugly cover and everybody says they love it). It’s true you need a lot of support and encouragement, so it’s awesome that indie authors are so kind and friendly. But make sure you’re getting expert advice on the things that matter. Remember, only %.000625 of authors are actually making any money.

Find the ones that are making money and learn from them, or imitate what they’re doing.

Are Willing To Learn

Indie authors have a ton to learn and do the best they can. It can be really frustrating, especially if you hate computers. I had to force myself to learn ebook formatting and then InDesign when I got sick of paying others to do it for me. The more you publish, the more skills you’ll learn. The more skills you have, the cheaper and easier it will be to market your books and make a profit.

Are Grateful

I think all readers probably love their fans, but indie authors are grateful, because they’re overcoming a lengthier period of insecurity. When you’re traditionally publishing, you already know that somebody found some value in your work. It’s nice to hear from fans, but you’ve already gotten paid. For indie authors, you often have no idea whether your book sucks or not until you’ve published… so when you start getting actual feedback from strangers who enjoyed your books… it’s a powerful feeling.

Are Patient

 

If you’re self-publishing, it’s good to be patient…. as long as you’re building your platform and publishing more books. Things take time to catch on. However, don’t think, if nothing is happening and you aren’t selling, that things will just magically happen later. If you aren’t selling, you probably have a problem with your platform (either no visibility, or nobody wants it because it isn’t presented well enough). You need to be patient and think long-term. Be flexible with deadlines, and don’t freak out at your editor/formatter/designer. These things take time, and everybody is dealing with their own crises. Try to keep positive, and relax, even if things seem like the end of the world.

Are Fast

The first book might take years to write, but I have at least a dozen friends who can (and do) finish a book a month (both fiction and non-fiction). Most successful indie authors publish every three months. It’s important to keep Amazon ranks high and engage with our fans. Of course this is easier if you’re writing series and know what happens next. But if you want to make a living, you need more content, and you’ll need to be producing quickly. Traditionally published authors waste years sending out queries, waiting for answers, then trying to sell the manuscript, then preparing it for publication….it’s one way to do things, but it’s much slower.

Take responsibility

 

Taking responsibility is probably the key to success in any field. Don’t blame others. Don’t complain. Everything is under your control, but only you care enough to take action and make things happen. It’s not enough to want it really badly, you need to be willing to learn what it takes to succeed and do what’s necessary. I know a lot of authors whose only limiting beliefs about money or art are crippling their success.

You CAN do this – there are people lazier and dumber than you (not that you’re lazy or dumb) who are making money with their writing. You’re a smart, likable person (I can tell). If you want to make a living with your writing, you can do it, but it won’t be handed to you, and it doesn’t happen by luck.

A Dream of Ashes-My new book

A Dream of Ashes
A Dream of Ashes

So Warriors of the Way is done. It only took four years to finish the series( huge sigh). I’m currently working on the Sepia Blue stories ( on book two of five) but in between those two worlds I got slammed into this one-A DREAM OF ASHES.

First of all look at that awesome cover!

Big thanks to Carl Greaves at Extended Imagery. This is an ongoing series of books-Chronicles of the Modern Mystics with each one being a standalone. read. You can find it here.

Here is the description:

Mystics. Magic. Murder.

Ava James is a fire mystic with the Mystic Investigative Division. As a branch of the Enclave, a worldwide mystic organization, the MID is feared, respected and reviled.

When the half-charred body of a Mystic is found, the Enclave sends her to investigate the strange death. Ava finds that all the clues point to the killer being a fire mystic, one of her own. Accused by the Enclave of working with the killer she must solve the case before a secret buried in her past is revealed and destroys her world.

Can she save herself? Will she find the murderer?

If you like hardcore, fast-moving action, complex mystical powers and an unstoppable heroine, then you’ll love Orlando A. Sanchez’ thrilling new series, Chronicles of the Modern Mystics.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself writing this book. Its a darker story than my other books, but also it flowed faster and easier. Ava’s story was easy to tell and the momentum ramped up pretty fast near the start of the book. Pick up a copy and let me know what you thought.

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The Dark Flame

The Dark Flame
The Dark Flame

So I have been away from the blog for a bit due to writing and most recently editing. In the midst of this i have released a short story which is the prequel to the next book.  You can find this book on Amazon here.

This short went through a few changes. I had to add several chapters because if I didn’t I was threatened with bodily harm from my beta readers. I cant go into detail without spoiling it for you. Pick it up and let me know what you think.  

The next few months are going to be full of activity. The next book is scheduled for early May I will have a cover reveal soon. 

Stay tuned!

Synopsis:

He would sacrifice all for love.

Roland James is an Arch Mystic and an expectant father. When the Enclave discovers his wife-Mei is pregnant, they demand he adhere to the rules and give up the baby for mandatory reprogramming and Enforcer training. When he refuses, the Enclave decides he is better off dead, along with his wife and unborn child. Now, together with Mei, they must evade the Enclave forces sent to kill them long
enough for her to give birth. They must find a way to escape the Enclave or lose it all.

I enjoy hearing from you! Leave me a comment below or send me an email.

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Writers Write II

quill
quill

This one is going to piss a few of you off.

I made peace with that. Understand that this is MY OPINION and you are welcome to disagree with me. Hell you can even completely ignore this entire post. That is your prerogative. Still here? Good. Strap in and lets go. If this one raises your hackles or if you feel the need to illuminate me on the error of my ways…I direct you to the comment section below.

There is no such thing as writer’s block.

Barring depression and or anxiety which are real things and can stand in the way of your writing (and if you suffer from these I strongly urge you to seek medical help) the other reasons that writers come up with to attribute to writer’s block sound like so many excuses.

For every ‘reason’ out there that has stopped a writer, there are countless others who have had the same(or worse) setbacks and have continued to write. It’s time we let go of the crutches and get to walking on our own.

Take ownership of your writing. Stop ascribing near mythical properties to these challenges in your life.

Not enough time? Reevaluate how you spend yours.

Demanding Job? Do what needs to be done then get to writing.

Family responsibilities? Meet your responsibilities and then get to writing.

Death of a loved one? Grieve, grieve some more. Remember that you are still alive and choose life. Use your writing as a catharsis if you must, but get back to it.

Lost your desire? Remember why you started writing in the first place… and then start again.

Dont fall into this trap. Dont make excuses. Dont put it off.

Develop the discipline to see it through and FINISH WHAT YOU START.

BE COURAGEOUS.

<rant over>

I’ll leave you with a quote that sums this up for me.

“Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.”
― Robert McKee

Writers Write.

Comments are open if you so feel the need.

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Staked by Kevin Hearne

Staked cover
Staked by Kevin Hearne

I put it off for as long as I could/dared.  This book is excellent and I highly recommend you pick it up and give it a read!

Here is the synopsis:

When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.
 
As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.
 
As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

This is the eighth book in the Iron Druid Chronicles with number nine Scourged being the final ( which I hope is a lie) installment in the series.

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Writers Write

words are art
words are art

I recently read a post about how damaging this saying can be: writers write. I will give you my views on this saying in an upcoming post.

The original post by JH Moncrieff is located HERE.

Give it a read because JH Moncrieff makes some good points, but I dont agree with her.

Here is my response because right now Im too irritated to write out an answer. For all of you that write.

This is a post by Neil Gaiman on writing.

Writers Write-Read on.

Dear  Author,

By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You’re not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You’re in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more—and that even when they do you’re preoccupied and no fun. You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That’s how novels get written.

You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you’ll be on the downward slide, and it’s not impossible that soon you’ll be at the end. Good luck…

Neil Gaiman

 

From Writer to Author-Making the transition

authorwriter
Author/Writer

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I have been creating a persona. Back in 2012 when  started writing professionally I had no clue what a persona or “brand” was. I just knew I wanted to write a book and I wanted to get it out into the world.

I didn’t know about marketing or having a presence. Online or otherwise. I simply thought that if I wrote the book I would have a legion of readers clamoring to get my book.  Yes the naivete was in abundance. Continue reading From Writer to Author-Making the transition

The Difference between Sparring and Fighting

striking points
striking points

I took a brief break from blogging to catch up on my reading and writing. I am in the middle of rereading Scaling Force by Miller and Kane. This was part of series for me that started with  The Little Black Book of Violence, by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder. Followed by The gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker and culminated by Scaling Force. I recommend getting all of the above and studying them, repeatedly.

Why reread these books and books like them?
First a little background: I was born and raised in the streets of the South Bronx in NYC. In the process of my growing, despite having a very strong parental influence I knew what it was to join and be in gangs. In my life I faced pipes, clubs, bottles, knives and the barrel of a gun several times. I know what it is to be in a fight one on one, the chaos of two armed mobs fighting and being in a situation when you are outnumbered. I don’t share this as a badge of honor, it was and is a stupid path to pursue, grounded in a false sense of pride and ego that usually sends you to an early grave. I share it because it gives me insight into what the differences are between sparring and combat. I wont go into the military aspects of combat, because I have never been in the military (although I have family who have served with distinction) and so I cant give that perspective. I want to approach this from the perspective of street violence. Which is what we are most likely to encounter.

In our school we have the poster you see above hanging on one of our walls. In fact I have seen the same wall chart of striking points in several schools. Its so pervasive that it has become part of the scenery, no one really asks about it and its just accepted as part of the decor. If you stop a moment and take time to examine the wall chart  you will see that the points it shows can be quite devastating if struck with force. The points are not often taught in a regular class even though most of them are contained in the kata in most styles of the striking arts.

This is the case with sparring and fighting. Most schools teaching fighting are actually teaching sparring, there  is protective gear and points and places on the body that are off-limits. All of this is good and has its place. I like to send students home intact without visits to the hospital or broken and dislocated parts. The danger lies when this is all that is taught, or is taught as combat. At some point the student must be taken to the other side of fighting, which is combat. There are no rules in combat. No one is going to wait while you don gear and get yourself mentally ready. No one is going to step in and break you up if it gets too rough. There are no rounds and  no points. When you are in this context survival is the goal.

This is not to discount the legality of this type of encounter. There are and can be severe legal penalties for causing damage and breaking a person when that level of force was not required. Which is why awareness is paramount. The concept of scaling force is also indispensable to meeting violence with the appropriate  response. I always tell my students- if you have to get physical, you weren’t paying attention and your defense failed. The legal ramifications are so involved that a book would be required to do the subject justice, see the above titles for a good start.

So how do we reconcile these concepts of sparring and combat? Sparring is a tool to introduce concepts and principles. It is a safe, controlled environment that allows for mistakes. It is a laboratory of sorts, where you can explore and ask and try out techniques. The stakes, if there are any are low.

Combat / Fighting is almost the exact opposite of sparring. It is not safe or controlled. It is chaotic, fast, sloppy and messy. It sends your body through a hormone cocktail that you will not be able to control. Mistakes usually result in serious bodily harm or death-the stakes are high, sometimes the highest.

If you find yourself in a school or self defense class that does not make this distinction, do your research ask questions of the instructor and find out the strategies and tactics of the style you are currently engaged in and how it would deal with violence in an uncontrolled situation.

I recently had to revise the way one of my students was sparring. The method she was learning was a formal sparring method, which she was struggling with. When that was changed to a no rules type of fighting, this works on the street method, her ability and understanding shifted and improved considerably.

Both have their place in training and your life, just remember to know the  difference between the two.

Sensei
Sensei Orlando

 

Book 4 The Warrior Ascendant

The Warrior Ascendant
The Warrior Ascendant

This book has been ready for some time now but I didn’t want to release it until book 5 was nearly done and on the horizon. This one will be available this month and book 5 will be available early next year.

Here is a brief synopsis:

The Wheel has unleashed the Kriyas. Creatures of fearsome power that devour life-force. They have been set on a path to destroy anyone who stands in the way of recovering the three foci, weapons of immense power. Dante, having undone the searing must now locate the third foci, Shadowstrike, the only weapon powerful enough to stand against Maelstrom and Lucius.

From his prison in the forgotten plane, Lucius now with the power of Maelstrom has been patiently restoring the connection to the Nexus. One more weapon will complete the bridge. Once restored every plane will be in danger of destruction. Dante, together with Sylk and Meja, return to the Akashic Records. There they will seek to uncover the identity of The Wheel. Will they find Shadowstrike, stop the Kriyas, and prevent Lucius from escaping?

Writing this book was quite a challenge and the last book (book 5) has been exciting to write. The Warriors of the Way series spans 3 years of my life. I hope you enjoy it. I’m on to another project that is a departure from this type of story. Its a little darker but it has been bouncing in my head for a long time now.  The only thing I can say about it now is that its a mystery and the protagonist is a mystic. More to come soon!

blogdragonfly

Dont strand yourself-Connect to others-Find a tribe

island
island

Its possible you have heard some of these:

In order to be a writer you must struggle ALONE in obscurity.

There is no way you can write while surrounded by other writers or artists.

Writing forces you to be disconnected and its better that way.

A writer can only truly depend on themselves, no ones knows you like you.

I’m sure there are countless others and I’m here to tell you that its false. Actually I believed this and worse for a long time while I wrote and struggled to identify as a writer. Then I realized, if I am going through this other writers must be going through the same thing. It wasn’t an epiphany, but it was close. So I started to look around and found groups of writers who band together to write or offer support.

There are teachers who will share  their experiences( Julia Cameron comes to mind with  one of my favorite writing book:

The Right to Write http://juliacameronlive.com/books-by-julia/the-right-to-write/

as does Stephen King’s On Writing
http://www.stephenking.com/library/nonfiction/on_writing:_a_memoir_of_the_craft.html)

If you haven’t picked up these books please do. They will motivate you and give you a glimpse of what it means to write.

Another great source I have found recently ( OK I’m slow to this) are blogs. There are countless writing blogs in existence but I have found quite a few excellent ones, here are some:

http://terribleminds.com/ -Blogged by Chuck Wendig who is an excellent writer with a very unique sense of humor. On occasion he has guest writers which make for great reading and plenty of useful information.

http://goinswriter.com/– Blogged by Jeff Goins. A very good blog filled with down to earth inspiration and motivation.

He also wrote(among others):
The Writers Manifesto
(http://www.amazon.com/The-Writers-Manifesto-Jeff-Goins-ebook/dp/B00595KCBI)

Its a fast read, but a very profound call to action. If you haven’t embraced your calling as a writer this book will spur you to answer that call. Look up Jeff he has some great books that will transform  your view on writing..

I also recently joined an online writers group you can find them here:

http://www.rockyourwriting.com/

This site is run by Cathy Yardley and she has great resources for writers.

There are many more that I will share with you over time, but ideally the key is to go out and connect with others, writers, readers, bloggers, agents, publishers-Basically anyone who loves using words to express themselves. Go find them. Stop thinking you need to be alone to be a writer- I thought that for a long time and its not true. Join a writers club. Find a place where writes converge, online and off.
In NY we have a few writing cafes that are excellent places to meet fellow writers. Find the one that suits you or create one.
The key is not to be alone in this adventure we call writing.

blogdragonfly

A journey into creative warriorship