Friday, July 22, 2011

Are You Writing?

I've got some bad news for you.

Right now, you're reading one of the most relevant, controversial, popular, and opinionated blogs about the world of publishing, and it is an epic fail on your part.

You want my sales. That's a statement, not a question. Or if you're dreaming even bigger, you want John Locke's or Amanda Hocking's sales. You want to make enough money to retire within the next 12 months. And you've dropped by my blog to learn how.

Maybe you've been following me for years. Maybe you just discovered me via a Twitter mention. Maybe you heard about me from a friend who said you should come here. If that's the case, your friend wasn't doing you any favors.

Because this blog is a time suck. There are hundreds of entries to read, and tens of thousands of comments. It's easy to get pulled in and waste hours, days, weeks.

Here's the bottom line: every minute you spend here is a minute you aren't spending on your writing.

You want my sales? I've got 40 different ebook titles currently selling. I'll have five more by the end of the year.

Amanda Hocking? Eleven so far. That Locke guy? Eleven. My writing partner Blake Crouch has more than 20 titles. That's why he's making over $30k a month, and you're not.

You'll notice Amanda doesn't comment here anymore, when she used to with regularity. Blake will pop in every once and a while and leave a comment, but he doesn't stick around.

That's because they're doing what you should be doing.

They're writing.

I'm lucky enough to be a full time writer, and I'm fast enough that I can waste my time here and still churn out more publishable words than most. And while it tickles me to get hundreds of comments to my posts, and though my message is no doubt being heard by many writers who are benefiting from it, the best thing you can do for your career isn't reading A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

The best thing you can do is write. The more, the better.

How many words have you written today?


Jack Badelaire said...

Managed a couple hundred so far.

Work will be letting us out early, and I'll be setting up my laptop and aim to kill 2,000 words by the end of the day, and finish my manuscript this weekend.

In the last 30 days, I've managed 35,000 words. I don't think that's too shabby for a part-time writer with a full-time job in a part-time graduate degree program.

Werner said...

As I’ve been up since 6 am, I’ve been able to turn out over 2k words thus far – not including comment posts. It’s also about time management. I treat it like work, and during coffee breaks or lunch, I keep up with informative blogs like yours, David Gaughran, Dean Wesley Smith, Larry Brooks (StoryFix) and the like – to feed the mind and encourage the writing.

Rob Cornell said...

Only about 1700. Can't stay and chat. I have more writing to do. ;)

Anonymous said...

None. Just woke up. Will blog posts count? Probably not since I can't get paid for that. Once I do finish my final blog post from a series on the rules of writing short stories...

Then I'll get back to my lovely fantasy manuscript. 2 years and I only had 6 thousand words. Last month though I've doubled that.

Everyday gets a little easier to make it a priority, though.

Jeff Carlson said...

Aha ha. I skim this blog and others while I'm brushing my teeth in the morning and at night. Not a pretty sight, I know! But it's doubly productive... ;)

kathleen shoop said...

I'm revising today--ten pages so far...I'd rather be drafting! Great post as always.

Jude Hardin said...

I've spent about three hours on my WIP so far today. The word count isn't great, but some of that time was spent editing and thinking through plot issues.

But you're right, Joe. The internet is a major distraction, and we'd all be better off leaving it alone most of the time.

Tracy Lynn said...

Actually, Joe, I'm not a writer. Well, I write a blog, but I am happy with that. I come here because I'm a reader, and this is one of the best places to be when it comes to opinions on the past/current/future state of books, authors and publishing.
So pretty much all the words I've written today are in this comment. :-)

Craig said...

I've got 40 different ebook titles currently selling. I'll have five more by the end of the year.

Yeah, but how many of those are novels and how many are short story compilations or earlier works padded out a bit and re-released?

Let me tell you, from a customer perspective, having re-issues and "uncut" editions harms your brand. Use Serial as an example. There's Serial, Serial Uncut, something else then the Birds of Prey thing which brings everything together.

I bought one then noticed there was an uncut, then noticed afterwards you could get a mega edition with everything in. I ended up returning the purchase to Amazon and getting a refund because after three attempts I wasn't confident of getting the definitive book or if another would come out and trump them all.

Try not to focus on quantity 'cause - usually - your quality is more than good enough.

Gramix Publishing said...

Best post ever.

Upvote for honesty.

MGalloway said...

40...20...11...wait, is this a race?

Good points about blogs being a massive time sink...even for those who generate the blog content.

I've written zero words today...but I'm ok with that. I work better in blocks anyway, alternating time off with writing. Currently, I have to split my time right now between writing, research, and editing a friend's 100,000 word manuscript. That said, I should have four books online by the end of the year (up from two), followed by two more next year.

Scott Gordon said...

Prophetic words. You've given us everything we need to succeed. Now it's just a matter of doing it.

Anonymous said...

Joe. That's something I think about everyday. Today, I've gotten 2,458 words in (and I still have another writing session later).

Here's an idea: create a post where people come for a week and post their daily writing goals and totals. I am working toward 4k a day. So, I'm at pace.

Jon Olson said...

OK! OK! I'll stop reading and get back to the keyboard.

Although I'd like to point out that every minute you're writing your blog, you're not writing your fiction.

Jon Olson
The Petoskey Stone
The Ride Home

Derek J. Canyon said...

In the past 3 weeks I've written 41,572 words on the sequel to my YA action adventure The Elemental Odyssey.

No easy task due to my brain-draining day job (technical writer).

Hopefully I'll have a first draft done by the end of the month.

Adventures in ePublishing blog

scott neumyer said...

Well, after this blog comment, I've written... Seven! Haha. Amen, man! Hopefully many more to come!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Darley, Author said...

My time here is deliberate and well thought out. :D

Thanks for the pep talk.

Guilty as Charged said...

Dude, you nailed me.

(That's 4)

Edward M. Grant said...

I was slacking yesterday and only wrote a couple of hundred words, but I've managed about a quarter of a million so far this year; unfortunately spread across multiple novels and stories so I only have one novel that's complete and I'm doing the last revisions at the moment. The second one isn't far from a complete first draft and should be just about there by the end of next week.

I wish I could have been writing this much ten years ago, but the prospect of having to spend another year or two or three trying to convince agents and/or publishers to look at it persuaded me to find less annoying things to do with my time.

Gary Speer said...

Does it count if I'm reading this on my laptop while working on my book on my netbook?

Nah. Probably should just shut this down for a while and get more focused on the writing.

Catch you later, Joe!

Unknown said...

I read/ catch up on blogs while eating lunch or breakfast. Writing while doing those activities is too tough. I have editing staring me in the face. My debut novel is sitting in first draft form, trying to clean it in time for pre-readers late next month. I'm having a very hard time working on my second novel while editing the first, and that might just be because this is my first time at the rodeo. :)

Jamie Sedgwick - Jeramy Gates said...

I'm actually in the office today, but I'll have a few hours tonight when I can write. I do have my outline with me and I've done some brainstorming and note-taking this morning, and I'm also juggling that with a blog tour I'm on right now. I don't feel like too much of a slacker... but my boss might not agree :)

Kathleen Dienne said...

1500 words this morning, and as it happens those words finished a manuscript.

I came over to your site for the first time in a few weeks because I had intended this novella for self-pub, and I could feel myself wavering because I know I can sell it to a big epub and make good short term cash. I thought, well, WWJKD? ;)

nwrann said...

Do the 6 I put down in my Words With Friends game count?

I have one book out: my YA Paranormal Dark Matter Heart (plus a special edition).

In 3 years I'll have 20 books out.

I'm currently working on the sequel to Dark Matter Heart. I've been averaging about 700-1,000 words per day for the past week. That takes about an hour each day. At that rate I'll have this book done and published in 2 months. Then I'll start on the next. I'll put out 4-5 books per year. Plus short stories if I feel so inclined. All at one hour per day. That leaves 23 other hours to read this, and other blogs as well as setup my Google+ account, learn the banjo, go kayaking, read other books, watch movies and live life.

I'm way more productive now than I was when I would pound out 3,000 words in a day and then not write for 2 weeks because I was burned out. Sitting down for an hour a day and writing 1,000 words is the best job ever.

Unknown said...

Over 1600. My daily goal is 1500, so I'm there. And just now starting to read blog posts.

Bakari said...

I get the spirt and the meaning behind the post.

But honestly, If I did not come here I would go somewhere else. I have 17 e-books out and I write on a schedule that I will not deviate from. I am pretty productive without writing all of the time.

My schedule keeps me sane and from obsessing over results. I also know that what I make is largely independent of the more successful and less successful of us (beside market factors).

It would be nice to make the huge amounts that you guys have made but, realistically, there can only be so many people who will do it. Writing full time doesn't guarantee riches (I'm preaching to the choir).

I am enjoying my career as a professor so there is no guarantee that I would leave if I 'hit the big one.' As an aside, in my career, half of the people who achieve Ph.D.s will never be able to find a tenure track position no matter how many papers they write or books they publish. The majority of those who do find positions will work in institutions less 'distinguished' than the one they graduated from. It doesn't matter how talented they are or what they believe they deserve.

What I am really saying is that it is not an all or nothing proposition. Taking a break to read a blog is a minute pleasure and it is nothing more or nothing less.

TK Kenyon said...

. . . I made a cover for a short story.


TK Kenyon

Jake said...

writing is getting in the way of my drinking

Anonymous said...

Ouch! point taken and very valid.

K.L. Dillon said...

When you're right, you're right. Thankfully for me, I get to read your blog posts while I'm at work, therefore when I get home it's strictly writing. Or should I say, editing/revising at the moment.

David A. Todd said...

I had pretty much quit reading and commenting on this blog, thinking I should use my limited free time to write. Then I come here today and read this. It's nice to be validated.

Anonymous said...

I do write 1500-2000 words every day and then I take an hour or so to check out the blogs I follow. I find stuff to write on for my own blog, write it up and format it.

I discovered the Writers' Café on KB and I spend probably an hour a day on it as I find it extremely useful and informative.

I've cut down on my Twitter and Facebook though as I realized most of my followers and those I follow are fellow writers. It's readers I want to connect with.

But mostly, I'm in this business to write books and that's where 85% of my energy is going...

Steena Holmes said...

You know, this was a good kick in the pants type of post. I usually try to use 1/2 of my lunch hour to write and the other 1/2 to skim blogs. I just launched a new website and put up a novella last week, so I thought I deserved a break - but not if I want to succeed. I need to keep at it. Thanks for the kick.

Claude Nougat said...

Damn right! Because of people like you I'm not writing and I'm wasting my time making a comment here!

Yeah,you've got 40 books up on those virtual shelves out there, and I've gone ONE! Just one and I need to get that second one out FAST (yes it's a trilogy, so the 3rd is due before Xmas, what else? That's good marketing, right?)

You're an INDUSTRY, man, and I'm just a little writer...But small grows to be big someday...Thank God, e-books are forever, so I have time to grow, and time to produce 40 books (that'll take me 20+ years!!!)

Anyway, thanks for the timely reminder: I'm going to turn you off and go back to writing!

Lori Folkman said...

Ack. I feel such guilt!

However, I am in the editing phase, so I cant' feel that bad about having a 0 word count.

Q4U: If an author had 10+ books on the market, would they sell even if the author wasn't promoting/blogging? Me thinks not. Reading blogs and participating in social media is a necessary part of the job. (Although yes, a huge time suck)

Toyin O. said...

Great advice, thanks for sharing.

David Stoddard said...

Joe, sometimes it hurts when you are right. :-) Back to work for me.

Linsey Lanier said...

Hey, it worked. Only 38 comments so far. ;)

I'm working on revisions to the second of three single titles I plan to self-publish soon, thanks to you, Joe. I hope to get through several chapters this weekend.

I'm glad you have time to write this blog. I need my regular J.A. Konrath fix. :)

Cathy Titus Neumueller said...

Today is day 1483. I've written at least 1 page a day for 1483 days. That's over 4 years. Many days I write more than a page.
You are so right about the Internet. I gave up most TV a few years ago but hadn't seen much increase in productivity. I recently realized that I'd just replaced TV time with Internet time. That's changing now. I'm setting a daily Internet time limit.

Bill said...

I am not a writer, but I am married to one (lucky me!). This blog spurred me to beg her to self publish back in April.

Her first book sold just 7 copies the first day. Releasing one novel from her never-published backlist each month since, she now sells 300+ books each day and will have 8 novels available by the holiday season.

What almost no one realizes is this: she wrote, read, social networked, and researched for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for over 4 years, and was rejected 300+ times by agents - all before making Dime One this summer.

Good luck to all, as it most certainly can be done, one day at a time. Come here for motivation when needed, thanks Joe!

Luckily now the onus is on you - and not some random, faceless agent/publisher.

Nancy Beck said...

Her first book sold just 7 copies the first day.

Congrats - at least she sold something. :-)

Let's see, yesterday I wrote about 2,000 words to finish the rough draft of the 2nd in my fantasy series.

Then today, I wrote about the same amount of words for a short story. I'm going to put this together with another short I finished a couple of weeks to go and offer it as a two-fer.

Now I have to turn back to my temp job, where I have to get going on printing out 200 copies of a marketing kit...lucky me! :-)

Changing Faces

150 said...

every minute you spend here is a minute you aren't spending on your writing

False! My blog-reading minutes are skimmed off my day job, not my evening hours. Much easier to catch the gist of an article on the sly than to write even a short comment like this one.

Barbara Morgenroth said...

None. I had a molar extracted.
And I have 15 books for sale.
If I can get this cookbook done this month, it'll be 16.
Actually the math doesn't change. It'll still be #16 even if it's in August.

Romana Grimm said...

Nice post, Joe, and as usual you're at least partially right. I'm sure that there are dozens of lurkers out there who do nothing but read. I admit that I, too, am one of the guilty ones who like to visit your blog and have a fun time, but fortunately I also manage 1000 words a day while also editing a friend's novel and pondering a new story for Christmas.

Of course we should write, and probably could write more than we already do, but sometimes a writer just needs a little break that restores our power and confidence. That's where A Newbie's Guide To Publishing comes in. :-)


I.J.Parker said...

I write every day. I come here when I'm tired. You're funny, and you inspire. Today, I've started a short story, worked on a cover design, and tried in vain to get some idiotic web site to upload my novel titles (promotion, you know). They wanted money. They also wanted me to change my e-mail address. All of that made me tired, so I came here.
What is this? Do you want us to go away?

JA Konrath said...

@Craig - In each installment of the Serial trilogy, we plainly label the description. Since these were all written at different times, and are stand alone novellas, we released them separately so we didn't screw anyone who bought earlier versions. Then we also released compilations so people can get all of them in one bundle for less money. It's pretty straightforward, and in each product description is:

NOTE: The three novellas in this series are: Serial Uncut, Killers, and Birds of Prey.

These novellas are also available in a variety of compilations.

Killers Uncut = Killers + Birds of Prey.

Serial Killers Uncut = Serial Uncut + Killers + Break You + Birds of Prey.

Carl said...

Joe just went Truman Capote on us!

JA Konrath said...

Joe just went Truman Capote on us!

It's fruitcake weather!

Unknown said...

Wait... we're supposed to be selling our books?

Michael E. Walston said...

Heh. You make an axcellent point.

Bill's comment made me a little hopeful, though...

Still. Okay, gotta go.

Joe Flynn said...

Bull. You could be an obsessive-compulsive mainlining speed and you couldn't write to the exclusion of all else. You'd at least have to stop to take a deep breath.

I have thirteen novels and a collection of short stories up as ebooks. I'll have four more novels up in the next twelve months. I've been published by big imprints, a small one, and I've had a screenplay optioned by Fox.

And I've always taken the time to lead a full life, as a son, brother, husband and father. It takes discipline and time management but it's doable.

Doesn't take long to read one of your posts or write a response either. Oh, yeah. I hit my writing quota for the day, too.

puravida said...

I've written zero, my book hit number one in kindle in my category and now I feel pressure to market it and keep in at number 1. I feel trapped in a bubble, knowing that I should be writing the sequel, while trying to market the first book.

CNN just asked for my book for a review, and I have no clue what to send with it. I don't even know what a press release is. Now I have to figure that out and write one.

Writing is fun, this....not so much.

Hunter Shea said...

This post kicks ass! Hey, what the hell am I doing wasting time replying? Damn. Back to work.

Mari Stroud said...

Negative 500, actually. Editing sucks.

Nonetheless, point taken, though sometimes breaks are a good thing (if for no other reason than to keep you from hurling your laptop at the wall).

Tracey said...

LOL, Reverse Psychology hey?

The more you tell people not to read your blog and comment the more they do. My prediction is that this will be one of the most commented posts so far.

Never fear, I have scheduled plenty of time for writing AND reading my fave blogs.

And so you can't tell me what to do. Na Na Na Na Na.


Mark Asher said...

NOTE: The three novellas in this series are: Serial Uncut, Killers, and Birds of Prey.

These novellas are also available in a variety of compilations.

Killers Uncut = Killers + Birds of Prey.

Serial Killers Uncut = Serial Uncut + Killers + Break You + Birds of Prey.

That confuses me just reading it. I think you're overdoing it. Then again, you're probably wearing a moneyhat as you write so what do I know?

Really, though, it's confusing to me as a reader. I don't want to buy the same book twice and I don't even want to worry about buying the same book twice, and Serial and Serial Uncut to me are the same book. Sure, there may be extra material but the story is the same. Isn't it? See how confused you make me?

Belle Whittington said...

Thanks, Joe!
I needed that!

Denise said...

I'm out of here! Got to get my x number of words done before midnight!

Elizabeth Munroz said...

That was the slap in the face I needed! Thank you! C ya!

Jude Hardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Archangel said...

Go Joe. No varnish

Jill James said...

Turned in edits and taking a few days to recharge before hitting the keyboard again to work on the sequel I'm sending to my publisher, 2 stories I want to self-publish, and a short story for the group blog I do. This is my break! Love reading your blog, never can get through all the comments.

Anonymous said...


Bless me, Joe for I have sinned. It has been 36 hours since my last visit. I came to your blog directly from another writing blog and having left two comments there. My WiP is languishing and I've written ZERO words today. I've also got MST3K up on netflix next to this window. I'm guilty as EFF and guilty as charged. I'm turning off Netflix and will finish Disturbed. Then I'll write 500 words minimum.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I've been reading your blog for about six months now, and I'm not a writer. I've been delegated to read it and report back to my daughter with summaries because she's too busy writing.

This post put a grin on my face.

Anonymous said...

I get what you're saying, but we all need to take a break from writing every now and then.

I think it is hillariaous though that even though you basically told me to stop reading right away, I had to read this post all the way to the end. Good job.

wannabuy said...

@Tracy Lynn:" I come here because I'm a reader, and this is one of the best places to be when it comes to opinions on the past/current/future state of books, authors and publishing.
So pretty much all the words I've written today are in this comment. :-)"

I 2nd that. I'm here to find out more about self-publishing and ebooks. You wouldn't want me trying to publish. I would write excellent deliberate crap.


WiseMóna said...

I write every day. I am sure you think us reading your blog is a time suck, but in order to learn how to write (better) I still believe one needs to read LOTS. Even if it is your hurried words Joe.

Craig said...


Yes, to be fair the descriptions do have that info. It's still confusing though and can cost sales.

Robin Sullivan said...

There is no question that more content = more $'s. While July continues to be great for my topselling Ridan authors, I've heard others say that sales have tappered off during the summer months. What better way to keep your mind off of such thigns then write the next book and have it ready for the Oct/Nov time frame?

Joe's correct, get off the blog and sit down and write.

Robin Sullivan | Write2Publish | Ridan Publishing

Anonymous said...

I agree with you to a point, Joe. But for a lot of us, writing is a hobby and has to be kept in that perspective.

I've set daily writing quotas for myself in the past and have achieved them for periods. Honestly, it turned something that supposed to be fun and a joy into great big heaps of stress.

The reality is that my family comes first - my wife and my three children. That includes working full time, maintaining a house, etc.

I'm not going to hate myself because I can't pump out a novel every three months. As life permits, I'll have more time to pursue writing - which is my passion.

Anonymous said...

I was just reading David Gaughran's brilliant Let's Get Digital and he talks about how he writes much more now that he's in control of his own publishing schedule.

Same here. I write four pages a day at least (about 14k words) and my writing schedule for the next two years is full. I'm having to force myself to not write when I'm on holiday and try to remember to enjoy life.

Yesterday I edited an 8,000-word short that's being published next month and finalised the paperback editions of two novels. I just spent two days of solid web coding, converting my site to a Wordpress blog with a snazzy author theme that promotes my books (check it out below) and I still found time to write and edit titles coming out soon and mock up the cover art for my designer for book number five which is going live next week.

Being my own publisher means I work myself very hard these days, and I absolutely love it.

Andy Conway
Publishing 11 titles before 11.11.11 on Amazon and Smashwords : 4 down, 7 to go
The Budapest Breakfast Club, a Euromcom, out now...

Anonymous said...

Call Me Sharktopus

It's sweet the way you put you're faithful readers on the defensive like that, Joe.


Darlene Underdahl said...

It might be a time suck, but I've learned a lot from you and the comments.

I wrote about 900 words yesterday, but I also hatched some new ideas.

Simon Haynes said...

No words today, but the garden is looking better after a bunch of tree pruning and I made the family a very nice dinner.

I'm in a grey zone with my writing at the moment. Nothing is going to happen for a couple of months, and I can accept that. Then it's going to be a little bit crazy.

Silver Bowen said...

Ha. I haven't written a word of new fiction in four days. If I don't write today, that will make five. But I'm gonna write today. Still four days is a huge gap for me.

I did keep up with my daily blog post challenge, as well as transcribing a ton of ideas for later work. So I've still been practicing a lot.

I haven't been missing my goals because of reading blogs, however. I had family stuff to deal with, and I got a new android tablet. New toys are far more destructive to daily writing goals than your blog, Joe :)

Mary Anne Graham said...

Joe -

I'm doing my "marketing" before I start writing for the day. And commenting on your blog is good for sales.

There may be some happy balance between writing and marketing. There may be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I haven't found either one yet.

But thanks for your time, your words of wisdom and for providing a marketing tool for the less fortunate writers out there --- like me!

Glendon Cameron said...

LOL too funny, when I get it pumping I can do 5K a day,knocked out 10K in one day( record thus far)

I wrote 6 books in one year and you are right the more you write the better you become at arranging your prose and you also become faster, much faster as a writer.

I totally disagree with the notion of being here is a time suck, it is part of managing yourself as a writer.

Part of the business is research, marketing and my dude there is a a hell of a lot fo research here. This blog has help me make an addition 22K thus far this year....

Isabella Amaris said...

Hmmm, you're right. Thank you. Au 'voir!:)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I want to finish my last chapter to On the Run, but can't because I've stumbled across this blog post and its sucking away my writing power... ahhhh!

I agree with this blog post, but I personally got the message when I read What Works: Promo for Ebooks and Are You Dense?.

The best advertisement for your writing is your writing. The larger your virtual shelf space, the more you'll be discovered.

That was enough to motive me to write. Since I read those blogs back in May I've self-published two books in my four book Jim Money series Bon Appetit and Escape and I released those books in May and June. Without having read your blog it would have taken a lot longer. You inadvertently told me to get off the internet and write some fucking books.

I've also seen on several occasions where you've said that the best advertisement for your books are your books. That saved me a lot of money in buying ads for mailing lists, banner ads, and other advertising shit that doesn't work and I thank you. It also let me know not to worry about me not knocking it out of the ballpark with Bon Appetit and Escape because I haven't built up enough virtual shelf space for my writing to become its own successful marketing campaign by pushing people to buy my other ebooks. This let me know to worry about goals that are attainable such as putting out an ebook every month whether its a novella or a novel.

I could care less about marketing one or two ebooks and hitting 50,000 sale on one title. I'm not ready to handle that kind of sales volume right now because I don't have enough ebooks in my virtual shelf space to take advantage of that kind of success. I'd much rather wait a while longer as I build up my virtual shelf space before I get "lucky" and get blockbusters sales on that one book, so that some of those readers can say "I loved Glenn Gamble's book, let me get another one" over and over again.

I'm looking forward to the day that I have 20 novels and 50 novellas on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. That's success to me.

Aw fuck! Its time to get back to writing. I've spent too much time on this comment.

Selena Kitt said...

OMG, I have honestly lost count of how much I have available out there. About twenty novels - and about half that many novellas - and double that in stories. I think. Roughly. So maybe fifty products total?

As for writing, when I need a little discipline, I make Dr. Wicked crack the whip - works well for me. I can crank out a lot of words in a short amount of time that way when I'm under a deadline. He's a bastard, but it hurts so good! :)) Although I know lots of writers who just turn off the Internetz altogether when they're writing. It IS a huge distraction.

But the good news is I'm making at least what Blake is a month - sometimes more, depending on my release schedule. Although my jaw still drops every time I check my royalties. You'd think I'd get used to it by now! :x I think I'm just afraid the numbers are going to disappear altogether...

So I'm lucky and crossing my fingers every second - I can afford to come here and spend some time if I so choose. I've got four WIP I could be working on at the moment tho, looking forward, as Robin said, to that October-December ebook prime time...

Although I do wonder what happened to a few people who used to post... Zoe has backed off the indie rah-rah train, she says. Amanda? I think she's doing the con-rounds, last I heard. Comic-con, whatever-con. ;) And I imagine Bowerbird must be out there reading poetry somewhere about Joe's Evil Empire...

CC MacKenzie said...

LOL Joe!

You must be only blogger in the blogosphere who wants his bloggers to get off their ***** and WRITE.

My DH winds me up constantly, interrupting me to 'read Joe' mainly because I'm in the middle of a 'good bit' and I end up seriously pissed off with him. However, I have to say I appreciate you sharing your rollercoaster ride with us wannabe's.

If I could say one thing about the main man and his many sidekicks is that they give us up-to-date information on what's happening out there in the holocaust that is the world of an author trying to connect with a reader.

So, all I can say is that Joe Konrath does nothing for marraige guidance. God bless him.

What the hell are you all doing reading this? Why aren't you writing?

One day JA Konrath with be on the first page of my novel as an inspiration and I don't care who the hell knows it.


CC MacKenzie said...

Er ... six hours writing on average per day. I don't word count because it varies too much.

Don't forget, mulling over, research etc., all counts too.

Unknown said...

Wise words.

I think it's important to mention that time sinks aren't the only problem plaguing writers.

Minor distractions can cause major disruptions in a writing schedule. Something as simple as someone popping his or her head into the room with a quick blurb can throw you off.

Eliminating the small distractions is as important as eliminating the big ones.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Brilliant. Lucky me that I'm taking a little vaca from writing today.

Unknown said...

Exactly! Pick your passion -- would you rather be doing your passion or just reading or talking about? I have 7 children, a very busy household, and I have to plan my time wisely. I set goals and time slots for anything I want to do. Keyword: want.

Very good post and reminder. Off to finish my last 1,000 words before supper!

Unknown said...

Minor distractions can cause major disruptions in a writing schedule. Something as simple as someone popping his or her head into the room with a quick blurb can throw you off.

I can't count the number of times that a woman has called me and I end up wasting the time that I had blocked out for writing. Granted, I love women, but writing should be more of a priority.

Selena Kitt said...

Granted, I love women, but writing should be more of a priority.

That depends on the woman... ;)

Anonymous said...

@ Selena,

unless she let's me run my fingers thru her hair and then spank her from behind then no woman comes first...

Sean McCartney said...


Got all my novels on Kindle and will be uploading a new series at the end of the month. Gotta get back to writing.

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club

Aryanna Elffington said...

Just over 1,000 words so far, should be 3,000+ by day's end. I tend to be at my most productive late in the day.

You're right, though- reading blogs is a tremendous time-sucker. I deal with it in a few ways: I relentlessly cull my reader every week or so- anything that doesn't provide real value has to go.

Second, I use the Pomodoro Technique, in which I get a five-minute break from writing every 25 minutes. Since I'm a fast reader, I can get through at least one or two blog posts in that time.

Anonymous said...

2644 words today. May not be much according to some standards, but I'm a happy camper to get in that many.

But I concur with the spirit of your post--which is why, despite all the advice to the contrary, I do not enter into the world of Facebook, Twitter, etc etc.

I have even pared my industry blog reading back quite a bit but can't go cold turkey.

But for July at least, I'm doing the most important thing--writing.

BK Jackson

Henri said...

I am not wasting time, I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,I am not wasting time,

Unknown said...

Some people generate 5,000 words a day writing. Others can generate 5. It is less the quantity than the quality.

Unknown said...

You are so bad Selena

Eloheim and Veronica said...

Point taken. However, it's more of the minutia of business that is a time suck for me.


I need to find out why networked blogs is pulling my shopping cart image instead of the designated image when it posts my blog posts to FaceBook.

Is there an easy way to get rid of the folks that aren't active on my FaceBook page so I can get below 5000 friends and add some of the 70+ people who have recently sent me a friend request?

I want to install the WordPress plug-in Googleanalyticator to my site, but it seems to be one of those plug-ins that you have to FTP to your control panel and I have forgotten how to do that.

My SEO consultant needs key phrases people use to find my work as well as the answer to these questions: Who has a need, want or desire for your product? What value do you have for the target audience? What problem do you solve for them?

LSI is now doing POD in Australia, get the contract for that set up.

THAT'S the time suck stuff. Reading the blogs is a what I do to take a break!

What Will Happen in 2012 and Beyond?


D. S. Walker said...

Blogs are definitely a massive time suck; however when you have written a novel for a cause I find the time is also necessary. I do agree that writing is equally important and that is why I am getting back to it and cutting back on the blogging. However, I do believe writing blogs has helped me break some of my bad writing habits so maybe my second novel will need less editing. Still, I see you point.

Unknown said...

Facebook is not only a huge time suck, its useless for me. The only thing its good for is reconnecting with the idiots who I went to high school with just so I can learn that they've become older idiots years later.

Eloheim and Veronica said...


I get about 50% of my website traffic from FaceBook....

It's working well for me.

plastic cards said...

good post..
want to read more

David said...

Hi Joe,

brillant blogpost - congrat's from germany. Cutting right to the bottom of things - just dropped by to leave some lines, before going back to where I belong - my desk, writing my next novel

cheers David Gray

crw said...

'nuff said.

Unknown said...


Perhaps I can learn a thing or two from you on Facebook promotion. In my case 90% of my traffic comes from twitter. For me twitter has been most effective especially when it comes to networking with other authors

Dawn Anon said...

hysterical! I literally sat down, looked at my zip-drive thing and planned on writing. Then immediately came to "successful people" blogs. Why? Because I can't get the "so what?" part to my stories. I can't get the flow going. So.... I read blogs (procrastinating) because, in part, it's less scarey than trying to work on my own things.

Yet, I do learn things that are VERY helpful here (and on other blogs). Your Deliberate/Idiot blog the other day... loved it. I agreed on many levels. And the word "deliberate" has stuck with me and has gotten me through some writing because it was so much easier to think "deliberate" than that abstract word "plot".

Okay, so busted... I'll go write now.. :)

Julie Musil said...

Ouch! But you're totally right. Thanks.

Unknown said...

This blog post by Dean Wesley Smith is still applicable to this day. Just apply it to the ebook and internet climate.

Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Self Promotion

That blog post along with Joe's previous post that I've posted links to illustrate how writing many good books is far more important than promoting your one or two books on Facebook and Twitter. Even though Dean wrote the blog 2009 and referenced the print age, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that its even more applicable to ebooks, but instead of wasting your advance, think of your time as your advance and how many authors --including myself-- are guilty of pissing it away on self-promotion as opposed to writing more books.

Shit, I've wasted too much time on this particular blog, and most days I lurk, but I guess I'm feeling compelled to post because 1)I'm defiant; and 2) I just finished the third installment of the Jim Money series On the Run so I've tricked myself into thinking that I have time to piss off sharing my two pennies.

Ian Martin said...

Jesus, I hope you’re not losing it. First you call everyone an idiot, and now you’re telling them to eff off and stop reading your blog. Where’s this going? You know how many thousand parasites will shrivel up and die if you pull the plug? You’ve built up this amazing platform for people like me to gain some exposure and maybe pick up a few readers just by posting a comment now and then. Can’t blame you for getting a bit pissed off, though. All that effort, and it must take endless time and energy to maintain the site. And then you get these shiteheads giving you lip! But please hang in there, because I still have to spread the word about my Shockspeare novels, and that’s going to take a little while.

Eloheim and Veronica said...


I probably have an advantage on FB as I write non-fiction. I hold weekly channeling sessions as well so I have video to share each week in addition to my books. That keeps people engaged and gives my friends something to share with their friends on a regular basis.

If I wrote non-fiction, I would give my key character a Twitter and/or FB account. I think that commentary on life and/or current events from the perspective of your main character could be a really powerful marketing idea. If you got enough of this stuff going, you could even bundle it and sell it as an ebook eventually.

I would also consider sharing a story one "chapter" or chunk at a time.

To get around the status field character limitation and share longer messages on FB, post a photo and use your story as the comment on the photo. If your FB account is public, you can share the link to the FB posting on your Twitter page and hit both markets.

Including a link, video, or photo with your FB posts makes the "share" link show up with your post so you have a chance at your post going viral. Just posting a status update doesn't include the "share" link and is a wasted opportunity IMO. I rarely just post a status.

For an example of what I mean, take a look at this posting I did for my latest release.
What Will Happen in 2012 and Beyond? FB post

If I hadn't posted the cover art, I would only have 400-something characters to use, since I posted the cover art, I had room for the entire description of the book and got the "share" link.

For the photo I would use a graphic saying, MY BOOK Chapter 1 or MY BOOK Part 1 and then change the graphic with each posting.

Once you got the hang of it, it would only take moments to set it up. There are people who will do graphics like this VERY inexpensively if you don't want to do it yourself.

FaceBook can be a time suck if you let it, but it's been good advertising for my 9 books and my other offerings.


Anonymous said...

Didn't write a word, but uploaded three 100-page graphic novels to Amazon for publishing. Does that count? ;o)

You are right about blogs costing time, but, IMHO, if the blog reading increases one's writing skills, publishing knowledge or sheer motivation (all of which your blog have done for me), then I think it's time well spent.

Just my $0.02.

everett peacock said...

The world has changed (this virtual laptop in the sand used to be an IBM Selectric typewriter).

Back in the day....writers, or those that wanted to call themselves that, had to constantly prove themselves to legions of what I call "middleware" readers before they could enter the Marketplace.

Middleware are the writing classes in school, the multitude of contests, even the large publishing houses (complete with Genre Gurus and Editors). If one could muster the energy, downsizing of your dream and time to complete that competition THEN, with some luck, they might be allowed into the Holy Grail of Writing: the Marketplace. The Marketplace being bookstores, libraries and eventually into the hands of your real target - readers. Far too many obstacles between you and the reader, don't you think?

I just read a great blog post by the one single successful writer I follow, J.A. Konrath. His genre is one I will never read or write for, but he sells books, ebooks specifically and quite a few of them. So his take on the "marketplace" is one I respect. His post today was something like "why are you reading my post when you should be writing?" A good point, of course.

It prompted me to think further....why would we, as writers, spend too much time trying to get our words into the hands of those that judge them worthy of a business deal that will make the judges money? Why not go straight to the Marketplace, straight to the readers?

eBook publishing, via Amazon and other venues is allowing the creativity out in force. Get yourself busy, get yourself a trusted friend who can speak better English than you to proofread and PUBLISH direct to the Marketplace.

Excuses to tell your story are numerous, especially in the beginning. Sidestep the pitfalls and get your words into the hands of readers. Whose opinion is the most valuable eventually anyhow?

Let the marketplace be your Contest. Let the comments section be your Editor. Someone think you cut the story short, or did not develop a character well? Fine, rewrite it and takes about 48 hours for your changes to get back out there. Study the top sellers on Kindle, download the free samples, see what is catching people's attention. See what genres are moving best. Create your own genre! But, study the marketplace, write for your readers and for God's sake ENTER THE MARKETPLACE! Now.

Jenni Wiltz said...

Interesting timing on this subject! I'd spent most of May and June delving into writer blogs, agent blogs, publisher blogs, anything that could keep me updated on the industry. I've never had a worse mindset about writing in my whole life. I wrote an entire blog post about how I was going to stop reading those posts because (a) I needed to write, and (b) I needed to write my way, without any outside influences or thoughts of what's selling or what's not.

It worked. As soon as I stopped paying attention to other people, I had tons more ideas for short stories as well as future books. I felt better about myself and better about writing. And I did more of it. Your advice is dead-on.

Selena Kitt said...

You are so bad Selena...

I'm not bad... I'm just drawn that way. :)

Speaking of wasting time, I caught some sort of docudrama about JK Rowling last night, and the last third of it was devoted to her getting published via her agent (the Christopher Little agency) - the same agent she recently fired. I couldn't help wondering what would have happened if Rowling had published HP herself on Kindle. Will we ever have a self-pubbed success story like HP - something done completely outside of legacy publishing altogether? Interesting to ponder.

The portrayal of Little made my skin crawl tho. Are all agents so pompous? Do they all act as if they are bestowing a great favor upon you by deigning to look at your little manuscript? Ick. I needed a shower after that...

David Ebright said...

Figures - I visit this blog for the first time in weeks & get my chops busted. Awww... screw it.

Jon Olson said...

Sometimes a soul needs to know he's not alone.

Jon O.

The Petoskey Stone

Anonymous said...


*shakes his head and looks around the room amidst a stench of epic fail*

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

How many words have you written today?

Only 3,284 according to OpenOffice writer, but today is Sunday. Give us a break.

Yuwanda Black said...

Finished writing and uploaded my 16th tile to Amazon today (on my way to publishing 50 this year (2011)). THEN, stopped by here for a few words of encouragement.

But, thanks for the reminder.

Truly, the more time you spend writing, the less you have for reading blogs (even ones as GREAT as this one), tweeting, interacting on Facebook (my family/friends probably think I'm ill or about dead cuz I haven't logged on for weeks) and almost anything else (unless it's really, really important).

Keep up the inspiration Mr. Konrath. You're my self-publishing hero!

Yuwanda Black,

Walter KNight said...

Help, I got sucked into the computer screen. All that is left are my tennis shoes because they are so large.

I can't write this way!

Anonymous said...

LOL. I quite casually said earlier that I'm writing 14k words a day. Er... that should be 1.4k

I really wish I could dash off 14k words a day. That would be pretty impressive. But no, just the four pages for me!

Andy Conway
Publishing 11 titles before 11.11.11 on Amazon and Smashwords : 4 down, 7 to go
The Budapest Breakfast Club, a Euromcom, out now...

Alexander said...

It does not matter how many words you write today or any other day.

It's how many QUALITY words you write.

Maryann Guberman said...

Odd that I haven't visited your blog in the last two months, come back and find this. Here I thought I was too preoccupied with my writing.

Cari Russo said...

Okay you're right, if you're reading this you're not writing. I'm reading this from work, while my nemesis the officer manager Charlene isn't looking and my boss is in court, I'm reading this, and definitely not writing. I'm new at all this writing, and just started my writing adventure Saturday night after the date from hell. So, yeah, I'm not writing accept to comment on this blog. I'll write tonight.

JVRC said...

I'll be honest, the only time I zip over here to read any of the blogs I follow is when I'm at the day job and I'm waiting for a website to pull up so I can place an order or cancel one, or whatever else I was supposed to take care of that day. When I get home at night, I'm working on the radio show, the literary/writing/indie romance book column, trying to read something for review, and writing on the current WIP. Right now, I'm editing something for publication next month. :-)

Jerry said...

You're just f**king awesome. You deserve the success you enjoy. And you're right.

Necia Phoenix said...

I average about 2 - 3 k a day and that is after taking care of kids and house all day. As this is the first time I have ever read your blog I haven't actually been aware of your sales, your books or you I can't say I want your sales. :P

Just skimming through the blog before I put the kids to bed and write as madly as I can before my bedtime. so far it is enlightening.

Kelley said...

Not enough.

The thing is, I was too busy doing other publishing stuff. (Marketing, uploading, updating, record-keeping. Angsting over agent stuff. ARGH.)

It's sort of pissing me off. All this time-suckery.

Mike Wells said...

Sorry, I don't buy this post. You can have 100 of the best-written books in the world sitting on shelves (and websites), but if nobody knows about them, nobody is going to buy them.

If you want to be successful in business (and this IS a business), product creation and product marketing have to be balanced--too much of either one is problematic.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

hahaha! The debate inspired by this post is genius, expecially people's need to justify what they do with each hour in their day. You make a valid point.

Still, the time i'm spending not writing... i'd rather fill it with communication with like-minded people!

L. David Hesler said...

Point taken.

Andrew said...

1,026. I'm going to read some of your stuff. See if you have chops. You talk a hard game. I like that.

evilphilip said...

I wrote about 250 words last night and then this morning I had one of those Einstein lightbulb epiphany moments and I suddenly got the inspiration for a new page of a short story I've been stuck on for a while.

That will be an easy 500 words tonight to knock out that page.

I write slow, but I'm comfortable with my progress.

Christopher Hudson said...

Boy, you're right about the 'opinionated' description of this blog ... you might add 'arrogant'. Most of us would love to spend more time writing, but we would like to eat, too ... so we cruise around the 'net trying to find ways to market what we have ... thanks for making us feel even smaller, Joe.

Anonymous said...

I've written 400 words, but it was my first post on my blog in over a month. You, Joe Konrath are my subject, because I broke my writer's block on your article. Thank you tremendously. Check it out.
I've used your tips for publishing my ebook, Free To Bloom and used your guy Rob Siders to format. Now I just need to publicize it to get sales up. Hard. I'll keep plugging away both writing and PRing.

CMSmith said...

See ya.

Gee. Now what am I going to do to procrastinate?

Jay Andrew Allen said...

Well said. :)

That said, it's not the case that if you write it, they will come. You need content to sell, to be sure - but you also need to build a fan base. That requires interacting with fans and reaching potential new audiences. And that partly involves reading and commenting on blogs like this one.

horror stories said...

It is a great post. I am a big proponent of short, to the point comments. I also spend little time reading forums and such.

Ryan Patrick said...

Ok, you're right. Time to write.

Keri said...

Thank you!! I was getting sucked in... off to write

Charlie said...

Too true. I haven't been here in months. I won't lie and say I was writing the whole time but lately I've been busting them out, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Makes me feel good.

I actually came today because I was being distracted by depressing news reports. I figured if I was going to be distracted it should be with something relevant to writing and that might encourage me to keep going forward.

I don't really monitor how many words or pages I write, or how long I write. I sit, I write, I stop when I want to. Yesterday morning I wrote for three hours in the morning and then half an hour at night. I just let the work take me where it wants to. Thanks for the ass kicking post!

Shevi said...

I've already written seven novels, but I'm here looking for a way to make sure the nine years I spent writing those seven novels will not have been a waste of time.

I've already self-published one, and I'm pretty sure I didn't do it right. I probably haven't sold more than 20 copies, even though the price is right, the cover looks great, the title is fun, and the blurb is wonderful. I know I must have done something wrong, and I want to make sure I don't make the same mistakes again with my other novels. That's why I'm here.

So please don't assume I haven't written my book. I've written seven of them.

Anonymous said...

I try to aim at 1,000 words of fiction a day.
That usually turns into about 500 usable words once I get to the editing phase.
I'll make another suggestion-- if you have any sort of online or offline game on your work computer? Get rid of it. Now. That little "ten minute break" can easily turn into a whole day of killing zombies...and not producing writing.

Unknown said...

I like this blog. It is just the kick in the butt that will help push me over the edge. Thanks

CH said...

Late to the game here, but I have about ~2k under my belt today an it's only 1:16pm. I'm taking a short break because my carpel tunnel started acting up. I'm up to 10,189 words on my first book and I've only been at it for a little over a week so I'm averaging ~850 words/day.

Actually, that's sort of depressing, considering I have nothing else going on in my life...back to the word processor I go!

Joan Hall Hovey said...

Joe, thanks so much for all your generosity. I'm listening to you, and presently 3 out of 5 of my suspense novels are in the top 100 on Kindle. You are a wonderful inspiration to us all, and I for one love coming here for that pep talk. And to enjoy your well-deserved success!


Vanna said...

Great point! I'm starting to accept that my second book is not going to write itself, now I just have to get writing ;)

Writing Guidance said...

I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, so I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger...