The Modern Author–A New Breed of Writer for the Digital Age of Publishing

Being the social media expert for writers has been an interesting experience. I recall when I first started teaching social media, most writers refused to use e-mail. I used every shiny thing I could think of to convince writers that social media wasn’t the devil, it was actually going to be the key to our freedom. We no longer had to throw everything to chance. We had some control over our futures!

Now that we are in the throes of the Indie Revolution, writers are really embracing technology and are seeing the liberation I promised years ago. Yet, the debate rages.

What is the Key? What is the Secret to Success in the Digital Age?

Product–Some say it is content. Write good books and lots of them.

Platform–Some say it is social media. We must build an amazing platform or we will be invisible now that EVERYONE can be published.

Promotion–Some say it is all in the bundling, promotions, give-aways and blog tours.

What do I say? All of the above…but likely to different degrees. If you want to know more about the Three Ps, check out NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer’s post Platform, Product, Promotion. And YES, folks, this post was good enough for me to go digging through the WDW archives, so check it out…seriously.

But back to our topic.

There are all kinds of arguments about what is the most important. Frankly, it depends on your strengths, but these days, to really become a success? REALLY a success as in “sellabunchabooks success”? We need to be stronger, faster, and smarter. We must be better trained than any writer in human history.

Every vocation evolves in the face of new technology, but for today’s purposes I want to talk a little about war. War? Yes, bear with me.

Kristen’s Brief History of War

See, in the beginning when disputes could no longer be settled with name-calling and stealing goats, we used rocks and sticks. Of course, it wasn’t long before some dude figured out how to totally cheat and affix a pointy rock (flint) on the end of his stick…CHEATER!

So, then Man retreated to the caves to figure out what could be done about those dudes that were cheating and affixing pointy rocks on their sticks. They chewed on those red berries that helped them stay up late into the night and finally handed the problem to their engineer–Og–and Og figured out a way to use some dried critter tendons and TIE them to the stick and then shoot the other stick with the pointy rock affixed to the end. He named it after his favorite pet monkey…Bo.

True story I just made up.

A thousand years later–give or take a few centuries–the art of firing pointy sticks was, indeed, an art. In fact, once we figured out a little bit of basic geometry (Thanks a lot, Archimedes) we got to use cool gadgets like catapults…which, strangely have nothing to do with cats.

So not only did we figure out new weapons, we also had to devise ways to shield ourselves (no pun intended) from whatever weapon was all the rage of the Dark Ages, Renaissance, Civil War, whatever. In fact, one really fascinating subject is the architecture of castles. Did you know that, after the advent of the cannon, the shapes of castles/forts changed. They transformed into shapes that resembled stone starfish…not stoned starfish. Stop giggling and pay attention.

Why did the castles/forts change shapes? Well, because a flat wall, when hit with a cannonball just caved. So, the architects realized that if they changed the shape of the castle, the cannonball would always hit with a glancing blow. It could never hit flush, so the walls would be far harder to take out.

Yes, I am trivia flypaper.

Anyway, fast-forward to the 20th century. In WWI we really started seeing the influence of the Industrial Revolution on warfare, but soldiers still were often just used as fodder and we see this all the way up through WWII. Those in command just threw sheer human numbers at the problem.

Yet, in Vietnam, everything kind of came to a head. War had changed so much. We were no longer two sides lined up an a cornfield shooting in the smoke and whoever had the most dudes standing at the end was declared winner.

No, it was all different.

We were facing submarine attacks and air attacks and machine gun attacks and HOLY COW NUKES! With each new technology, different technology had to be invented to overcome the other technology. But more than the technology changed…the people changed.

The soldier changed.

Gone was the illiterate youth conscripted off the farm and handed a musket. Today’s soldier is highly trained and highly educated. He (or she) learns basic hand-to-hand combat, but he also learns how to use technology so space age most of us wouldn’t know whether to hit the “On” switch or hit it with a stick. And I am not even talking Special Forces, because, well they are special. Just everyday enlisted people have SO much training and education to keep pace with modern warfare.

Soldiers now operate predator drones and bomb-sniffing robots. They use laser designators to drop bombs, and we even have dudes who have to do trigonometry before they kill someone (they are called “snipers”). Today’s armed forces is smarter, faster, and better trained than any force in history.

The thing is, as technology marches forward and changes our world we either evolve or we die. No one ever heard from that other tribe after Og invented the stick-thrower, btw.

What Does War Have to Do with Writers?

Now back to writers. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we must be GOOD AT IT ALL, especially indie people. Gone are the days of Hemingway where writers could power drink, chain smoke and hide away writing books with little to no outside communication with the world (except the agent and occasional book signing). That is as archaic as going to war with a slingshot. Sure, the slingshot rocked back in biblical days, but now it is a formula to DIE.

Writers Don’t Have to Be Literary Fodder

Do you know where the word infantry came from? The Latin word infantem, which means “youth.” In early warfare they would put the young and inexperienced youths in the front ahead of the seasoned soldiers and essentially use them as fodder. If a kid survived, he got promoted. It was a sheer numbers game that was bloody and brutal and ended mostly in death for the infantem.

Sound like the traditional publishing paradigm?

Throw enough new writers out there and the one that survives gets another book deal. In the indie age, we no longer have to be fodder, but we have to be TRAINED and we need to be part of a TEAM. Blind luck is for the foolish.

The Competition is Getting Leaner and Meaner

Yes, we need to write good books, but the competition can write good books, do social media AND run promotions. Haven’t you noticed more and more indies are making the best-seller lists? Sure they had good books, but they also had a ROCKIN’ platform, they blogged and marketed their tails off and all that hard work booted the traditionals from those top slots. I feel we are going to see a lot more of that in the coming months.This is why I work so hard to teach you guys about this business in a holistic way.

Product (Content)

We can’t put a shiny bow on a pile of literary dog poop and call is a rose. No amount of marketing is going to sell garbage. We have to learn to write good books. Notice I use the plural–books. We can’t slave over one book forever making it perfect. I said we need to write good books, not perfect books.

We also can’t toss junk out there and think promotion will make it a hit. Good books will always sell way more than crappy books. Not rocket science. We should always be learning as much as we can about our craft, our trade, our art. This is why I blog on craft and point you guys to the best teachers in the industry.

Platform (Social Media/Blogging)

But this is also the reason I work so hard to give you guys tools to do social media effectively and in far less time. It is also the reason I have created MyWANA (here is the short video that explains). Plug in on Twitter at #MyWANA or on our brand new MyWANA Facebook page here. Platforms take time to build, but they take a LOT LESS time if we are part of a team.

A New Breed of Writer Rises from the Ashes 

The Modern Writer is a BAD@SS. She writes, blogs, does social media and she has a killer team of fellow ninja-writers who have her six and offer cover-fire (Retweets). Lone writers DIE, but packs of writers create mayhem through the city taking all the wine and chocolate…

Wait, that went sideways. Try again.

The Modern Writer lets go of the past, the lone soul who sat alone, hunched over a typewriter and who was only responsible for glorious prose. The modern writer is part of a community and a team. She doesn’t whine about technology, she gets in and OWNS IT.

It isn’t called a slave drive for nothing ;).

The Modern Writer writes, promotes, learns newer and newer technology and manages a business. The She-Writer is a FORCE OF NATURE. The He-Writer is MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

The thing is, the Modern Writer is one of the most highly skilled people on the planet. We create new worlds and civilizations from black letters. We research, write, network, market, promote, run a business, learn a MOBI from a jpeg, and on and on, though we don’t have Predator Drones…yet ;).

We Have to Do it ALL?

So your WANA-Mama is here to tell you the rough truth. It is ALL important. Sure, some things we will do better than others. I write and do social media WAY better than promotional stuff. But that is why I have a TEAM. I have WANAites who will just looooove to get their sticky little paws all over my next book once it is ready to release. These people LOVE throwing parties and dreaming up games and contests. Not my strength…but it doesn’t have to be.

I feel that the authors who hammer on that the ONLY thing that matters are books and content, that is their strength. It is easy to tell others that the only thing that matters is a good book when you start the game with 10, 20, or 40 titles. It sort of feels like the one and ONLY time I played RISK with my family members (who cheat, btw). They felt that tanks were the key to winning the game. Well, sure, they had tanks…ALL of them. If you have ALL the tanks, then tanks are a pretty good plan.

The hard truth is that, to some degree, we are going to have to be able to be at least proficient in ALL of these roles. We need to write good books (plural), but we also need a platform and an ability to promote. This is why I work so hard teaching you guys on this blog, and I am also developing new classes and more classes to help make all of manageable, because it IS A LOT, but we are not alone!

Writers now must learn hand-to-hand combat (craft), but we also need advanced weapons training (technology), balanced with a little satellite communications & cryptology (social media and networking) and military strategy (business). We must be masters of gathering intel, or just let Porter Anderson do it for us (Go to Writing on the Ether). But the fact remains that, to survive and thrive in this new world, we need to work together. There is strength in numbers. We are not alone.

We are the Modern Author.

What are your thoughts? Have you been excited about the changes in the industry? Do they scare you? Do you feel more empowered or do you really miss the old ways? Hey, I am nostalgic. No shame in loving the traditions of old. What resources do you recommend to your fellow WANA peeps?

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

This Week’s Mash-Up of Awesomeness

12 Things that Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time by SEO Moz Pro

Six Reasons Author Should LOVE Timeline on Facebook over at Girls with Pens. Thanks Lisa Hall-Wilson. Frankly, FB isn’t going to give us a choice, so we need to learn what the heck we are doing. Great blog and yes, I switched.

BEAUTIFUL post by Colin Falconer. Where the Wind Blows Steady Down the Plain. Just gorgeous writing!

Cute post by Mark Klapowitz Remember When TV Programs didn’t Have Animated Promos for Other Programs?

Two Ways to Make the Most of Goodreads by Jane Friedman

The brilliant, talented Jody Hedlund chimes in about marketing on Are Your Efforts Unique or Do You Blend In?

25 Things You Should Know About Word Choice by the amazing Chuck Wendig.

Just Say It Sucks by Ginger Calem. What? That mascara doesn’t give me 9x thicker, fuller lashes?

For something different and REALLY interesting, Piper Bayard’s writing partner, Holmes gives us the skinny on Iran and Nukes and what it means.


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  1. You are so right.
    And I love the term triva flypaper.
    Sounds better than how I describe myself as a wealth of useless info.

  2. I so appreciate you !
    I always want to leave comments but they end up going way sideways so I don’t . But I truly am very grateful for how and what and why you share.
    (and no need to enter me in anything.. I’m still at the writing for the blog for the most part stage 🙂 )

  3. For the most part, I’m excited about the changes. It gives a lot of authors opportunities that they’ve never had before. It’s a little scary to think of my books going out into the world, even though that’s why I do this. Because I want them to go out. I’ve been thinking a lot about venturing into the indie publishing world. It’s something I tried about 7 years ago, before it really took off. I wish I’d had the guts to keep at it then.

    I agree with you though. Doing things as a team is much better than trying to go it alone. Having people who love to organize book launches, and throw parties and such is something I treasure, because I can’t stand doing it. And having that team ensures that when I do have a booksigning, I’m not sitting there at the table by myself. I’ll have them to make me laugh and cheer me up. ANd who knows? Maybe we’ll attract someone over in the process. 😉

  4. Oh Kristen, this blog hit HOME for me today! Wow. You have made me feel so good. First of all, I LOVE this:

    “The Modern Writer is a BAD@SS. She writes, blogs, does social media and she has a killer team of fellow ninja-writers who have her six and offer cover-fire (Retweets). Lone writers DIE, but packs of writers create mayhem through the city taking all the wine and chocolate…”


    Second of all, I had a mini panic attack this past weekend. Well, no, that’s not the right word. I had a melt-down. My body and mind rebelled against all the stress I’ve put myself under, and I have to say it was all because of everything encompassed in self-publishing. There’s so much to do…so much. Add a day job that has been crazy busy and stressful. And my family. And the normal routine of being a mommy and a wife and running a household…

    I had to step back to save my soul, my heart, my body, and my family from hating me. I had to refocus my attention where it should belong.

    But I’m still a Modern Writer. 🙂 Looking forward to my wine and chocolate.

  5. Great blog post. We really do have to learn it all – as much as we can. Thanks Kristen.

  6. Thanks for including me in your mashup. The Facebook changes ARE pretty cool 😉 I hear from a lot of authors who would rather be Hemmingway and hide in a hole (and most of them don’t bother to worry about craft either – because they don’t need an agent or an editor to tell them what’s wrong with it or a publisher to like it.) It’s frustrating trying to do everything when you have a thousand people pointing and laughing – just self-publish already. It’s hard not to drink the kool-aid.

  7. Loved the post. Very interesting, and good advice. I’ve found myself wondering about the future of publishing of late. Readers today rely on publishers to ensure that books are high quality of types they enjoy. I wonder if, as time goes on, the teams you describe will blend with the current agent/publisher model to be a sort of e-publishing group. This would create a sort of stamp of approval to help readers identify books they may want to read.

    Regardless, it’s an exciting time to be a writer!

  8. When I first think about the “success triad” of writing books, building a platform, and self promotion, I get excited and want to grab my Og-engineered weapon, slap on some war paint and go charging into the battle field as the BAD@SS I imagine myself. Then the reality sets in that everything rests on my shoulders, and just as my success rests solely on my shoulders, so does my failure. I look at my poor attempts at managing my time between writing my books, writing my blogs, tweeting, reading, and raising 3 kids and I end up curling into a fetal position under my desk. Yes, quite the example of a BAD@SS.
    I’m just having trouble with maintaining my enthusiasm when I feel like I can’t juggle it all, but I have to say, your blog is often the lifeline that pulls me out from my desk cave. Thanks for that.

  9. Thank you, Kristen, for including my post in your mash-up. I feel like I made it today, and am much honored, and encouraged to keep writing.

    It has always seemed daunting to have to juggle platform and promotion in addition to writing. I’ve found that decent writing requires sustained focus. Every time I think about platform and promotion, I wonder whether the energy I’m going to expend would be better spent on writing, since without a quality product there is nothing to market.

    But then I think about submitting a manuscript to an agent, and waiting and waiting and never hearing anything, and never getting any kind of reaction from anyone, and never knowing. And that seems even more daunting.

    So what has to be done must be done. Thank you for mentioning that our goal should be to write good books, not perfect ones. It reminds me of something I heard once: Don’t worry about hitting a home run. Just get a hit.

  10. Kristen, Thanks for this. I’ve been at the writing game a while and you’ve nailed it here. We do focus on what we’re good at and hope what we’re good at is the most important element of the secret formula for huge success. Because we know we suck at the other stuff and if “other stuff” is most important, we’re hosed. (Or fodder, as you put it.) One thing I’d add is this: It’s not necessary to do everything right now, but it is imperative to get started, to DO SOMETHING toward your dream and do it now and ideally, do it every day. I’ve known lots of writers who never finish the book or hide in the corner hoping to be discovered or never send the book out or never join anything, etc. To me, the only true fodder formula is to do nothing. Once you get started, build a little muscle, it gets easier to find a team to help with the heavy lifting. After all, that’s how I found you!!

  11. But if all one is good for is to attach a mean rock to a good stick, then perhaps what it needs is for others to be able to like what you do and persuade everyone that your rocks are the pointiest and your sticks are the stickiest. In fact, agents, publishers and marketers who are in tune with the digital age and are better at promoting rocky sticks than at making them?

  12. For the most part, I find the changes exciting. I love blogging and chatting with people in the comments section. And social media, as long as we have a team around, us becomes both fun and practical. Working from home, I wouldn’t have a lot of social interaction during the day if it wasn’t for the great people I hang out with online.

    I’m glad you’re here as the voice of reason, though, because I get exhausted just hearing about how authors need to be on every social media site under the sun. When some people tell authors they need to do everything, they mean join Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Tumbler, Digg, Reddit, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. You can tell they haven’t tried to do all that and write. And that Kool-aid is super tempting to drink. I was starting to drink it before I found you and the WANA community. I’m so glad I didn’t!

  13. First, thank you so much for including me in your mash-up! I truly appreciate it. Which leads to my ‘second’ … I embrace the new age of publishing because being ‘indie’ or ‘self’ published is not really a solo-gig but a team-effort, if you do indeed work to be proficient in all those areas you listed. You including me in your mash-up was exposure for me that I didn’t initiate. (HUGS again!) I feel this new publishing arena is full of excitement and possibility and truly leaves the writer at the wheel, and yet part of a posse of other awesome bad@ass writers backing them up and pushing them forward. I say, bring it on!

  14. Great post. I’d just been at Who Dares Wins (Bob Mayer’s blog) and popped over here. You present a very compelling case that today’s author must be better, faster, smarter, and wear all the needed hats with aplomb, or else.

    I think this exciting, amazing, full of opportunity, but without a significant backlog, I think you nailed it – the author needs to work at craft and platform a little harder. That is the challenge many face. But there’s another one too…persistance. Or maybe longevity? I don’t think our new model is for the sprinter. I think it’s a long distance event and that time and numbers build exponentially and ultimately the gears mesh as needed. I suspect not everyone who jumps in will last, esp when results are not instant Amanda Hocking success levels, or even say a Terry Reid.

    No matter what , as an author, I’m glad to be part of it. It gave me schedule freedom I needed at a time in my life when I can’t commit to anyone’s schedule but my own – so going back the trad route was out the door for me for a while. As a result, I’ve grown as an author, and continue to learn and grow in ways I don’t think I would in the previous model.

    1. I believe that persistence will pay off and I will blog more about this. Bob is one of my favorite authors and teachers, but even he will admit that he is unique in his indie experience. Most of us aren’t starting out with 40 vetted titles and most of us cannot slap NYTBSA in front of our name. It doesn’t mean that Bob Mayer or Barry Eisler or Joe Konrath aren’t a valuable resource, THEY ARE! But we do need to remind ourselves that we are starting out differently. We need to pay our dues. Bob paid his dues for years under the traditional model. Sure, it looks like he is an “instant success” but Bob’s “instant success” came with 25 YEARS of working his tail off. He failed, then tried again and worked and worked and worked and now he is seeing some real payoff and that is AWESOME. I LOVE it when hard-working people get what they have strived to attain.

      The paradigm is changing and it is favorable to writers who are willing to learn their job and work hard. Instant success is not a realistic goal. Yes, our job might seem more daunting and harder because it is…but it has a heck of a lot better chance at success if we keep at it, commit to being part of a team, and do EVERYTHING we can to get better at our craft and our business.

  15. Brilliant post. I don’t know what we’d do without your motivation and expertise. Comparing writers to soldiers really hits the message home. I am trying harder at my weaknesses and feel like I’m making some progress. It is so much easier and more fun in a team 🙂

  16. As usual, I agree with you on, hmm, everything. 🙂 I think social media and book writing go hand-in-hand now. Even trad writers are on Twitter and FB. That means content alone is not enough–not by far. As a reader, I tend to pick up books by authors who are in my radar. If I don’t hear your name or “see” you online, I’m likely to forget you exist because so many other writers ARE clamoring for my attention. Familiarity makes us comfortable.

  17. Kristen, you make me laugh as I learn. This is great stuff you’re writing and I couldn’t help myself. I posted about you and this post on my blog. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm and writing. You’re a gift.

  18. Actually, I love all the changes. Where before I rarely got published, now I can make a living. Awesome. Also, I have learned so much from you, you can take some credit for getting me back into the grocery line. However, I’m do have a blind spot, and that is promotions. I’m not so sure if I’m not tech savvy enough or if I just haven’t found the right formula yet. I will be watching your blog closely for more, so keep the wisdom coming. We’re all cheering you on and are eager to learn.

  19. LOVE LOVE LOVE this analogy. And now I’m totally picturing myself decked out in bad ass combat gear…

    Speaking as one of those front runners in the indie world, I can absolutely attest to the fact that you do have to be able to do it all (at least proficiently) as you said. And I do.

    I work my butt off to write good, engaging books (with the help of my fabulous, ass kicking CP Susan Bischoff to make sure that I am putting out whatever is the peak of my awesome at that time).

    I’m a grammar nazi and a copy editor in my own right, so I tend to do almost all of my own editing (relying on trusted CPs and beta readers to catch the few mistakes that slip through).

    I do all my own formatting (contrary to what all sorts of people are saying, formatting IS NOT HARD, and if you bother to follow the Smashwords Style Guide BEFORE YOU START WRITING to undo all the things Word mucks up unless you tell it not to, then it’s even easier–I’ve got oodles of tutorials explaining just how to do it).

    I blog daily and tweet and maintain the platform I’ve worked to build over the last three years.

    And all of this has worked in concert to get me NOTICED. First by my awesome agent Laurie McLean who found me through said platform and checked out all the work I had available at the time and said “I want you.” Then by awesome Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell who was told about me by one of my even more awesome fans when she asked for good self published work. Sarah read and loved my latest YA RED. And now RED has been nominated as a finalist in DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors). The only indie title in the field, as far as I can tell.

    Am I making a living at this yet? No. But I will. And sooner rather than later thanks to the fact that I recognize and embrace this idea of a writer super soldier. I’m a very self motivated woman and no one is going to work as hard on my behalf as I will. In this modern publishing climate that actually makes a huge difference now because my efforts MATTER in a way that they didn’t in the old paradigm.

    So don’t listen to anybody who says that only one aspect matters. It all matters. Certainly play to your strengths, but don’t neglect the other sides of the pyramid. You can always learn, always better yourself, if you’re willing to put in the work.

  20. Love you, WANA Momma, for telling it like it is! 🙂

  21. I really should get my husband to read your blog. He seems to think that if I get my book publishable that I should only go traditional AND that twitter is a waste of time.

    I get that it will be a lot of work…but I gotta say you posts terrify me 🙂

    1. Yes, I know it is terrifying. That was why I titled my book, “We Are Not Alone.” Anyone who tells you guys anything else is lying, deluded or selling something. Even traditionally pubbed authors have faced a staggering failure rate. Most could never sell enough books to make a living and it was easier to be elected to congress than to land on the NYTBS list. So the old way is certainly no panacea. It is hard, but you aren’t in this alone and that is the bright spot in all of this. *hugs*

  22. Okay – I get it. Still not happy about it, but I get it, lol. I AM nostalgic for those days of holing up in a cave and writing (never could get the hang of cigarettes, though), and I’m not gonna apologize for it. But I will get over it! Hugs hon!!!

  23. Kristen, Dearest WANA-Mama with a heart of gold. As always your posts are so timely and on the money. I have had so much fun rocking the WANA Love Revolution. I have one, and only one knit to pick with you. You say that it is important that we “do” social media. That just sounds weird to me, would it be more accurate to say we “participate” in social media? When we “do”something it sounds as if we are the lone “do-er” but when we “participate” it implies that we are engaging with others and that is how I look at the whole process. Whattaya think?

  24. I totally agree with you, Kristen. Sometimes the marketing and platform building get overwhelming, but I’m trying to give sufficient time to my writing so I can get at least 2 new books out per year. I’m working on my 4th right now.

    I have found in the last few months that linking arms with other authors in promoting our books has been extremely successful. I believe 2012 will be a stellar year for me. Thanks for all your advice, you rock!

  25. As usual you rock. We’ve got to move forward or die where we stand. You open up options and bring the hard truths to the flock.

  26. It is because of all the demands that you so giftedly pointed out that I wrote a blog today about seeking help through our WANA friends. We cannot do it alone, yet some of us are afraid to ask for help. We can’t afford to get stuck in the mud alone. We need all the help we can get and I thank you for pulling us together and making such a strong team for support. 🙂

  27. Informative and inspiring post, as always Kristen. I also found a couple of your mash-up links to be very helpful. Thanks!

    So this hat you speak of in which you place people’s names, what manner of hat is it? I’m hoping for a horned viking helmet, myself.

  28. Boy, I need to find a group that loves throwing the contests and parties and all that cause that’s totally NOT my strength! Great post, Kristen…

  29. I LOVE the changes in the writing industry! I am tweeting several times a week with a senior editor in London and blogging with very accomplished writers and newbies and all in between, and getting a flow of links to epublish and paper publish–and great schedules for contest deadlines and requirements! I am SO grateful!

  30. Simply gorgeous! I laughed the whole way through. I thank you for the research and thought that went into this piece Kristen. I have called myself a techno-phobe for years but I no longer take pride in that title. I may still be with Og mentally but I am trying, oh baby, I am trying to get to grips with it all these days. I realize it is essential to my survival as a bad@ss writer.

  31. Kristen,

    Wow, you totally took care of any free time I had this afternoon!

    Thanks for all the fabulous post trails to follow. You have a way of bringing together the best and brightest at this new game of writing, and I soooo appreciate all the advice and tips you and they give so generously.


    • sheila on March 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm
    • Reply

    Hi — what about social media if the author writes middle grade novels? The kids in that age group may or may not be allowed by parents to access social media. What’s an author to do????

    1. They also aren’t the ones buying the books. Your demographic likely will be moms, grandparents, teachers, educators, and librarians. Also social media allows you to connect with influential people in children’s publishing and that can open doors of opportunity for you and your books.

  32. I’d love to sellabunchabooks, but, I’d have to write one first…Great information, and article…thanx
    Solar Storm Tomorrow:…/sunrise-may-turn-out-the-lights…

  33. You’re writing in my wheelhouse tonight Kristen, because no doubt about it, I am a writing badas*. In all seriousness, we modern writers remind me of Bladerunner while Hemingway and Faulkner evoke the glamorous boredom of Gone with the Wind. The concept of blazing new trails–of creating my own future–energizes and excites me. No longer must we sit around praying that some agent or some publishing house discovers our brilliant words. We are the future we make. And I’m game for it.

  34. Truth thuds most of the time but we embrace it, eventually or immediately. The content issue, as both you and Bob Mayer say, is critical to books and to social media: seems to be about concept whether it’s blog, book, or tweet. Every word reveals its writer. Fascinating.

    Solid post, Kristen.

  35. I love this. Yes. We are at war…well sort of. Welcome to the modern era of writing. Actually, I’m having fun.

  36. I am not usually one for liking new technology cos I am not a techie, but I do like it in that I am embracing the ereaders. I like it cos it gives me the chance to put more work out there, when I want and what I want and have control of what I do. I have a team of people who help me with this: a professional editor and a cover designer, and fellow authors who help me and support each other – those on the WG2E site. I am often reading that to attract more readers you need to put more work out there, which is why in between my Angel books, I plan to write and put out other YA stories and romance stories in between my Geradline stories. I am building up my work so that I can hopefully get readers interested in my work by the time I plan to self-epublish novels instead of stories.

  37. I love that you put this in terms of war and compared how battle had to change throughout history. I still may not like it, but it makes sense this way. Thanks!

    And, truth be told, when I let loose a little bit, I kind of enjoy the social media platform.

    Now to just get somebody, somewhere, to accept my first piece of literary genius. 😉

  38. I think it is extremely tough to do it all. Being faster, smarter, techier is exhausting. One thing I have to watch is falling into the promotion pit: It is easier and faster to tweet or blog than to write a chapter. A chapter takes lots of thought and planning and, well, a quiet mind. Twitter is not conducive to a quiet mind. Compartmentalization. Maybe we need a class in that. Any tips for compartmentalization?

    • Dan Meadows on March 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm
    • Reply

    You’re right on. That’s the thing I don’t think the traditional segment of the industry is really understanding just yet, the conditions today are breeding bunches of writers who are more diverse, skilled, knowledgeable and aware of virtually every aspect of the industry than ever before, and getting closer by the day to replicating nearly everything publishers have always done. We don’t live in the specialized, sheltered little world their primary business model was built upon any more. And while they’re busy obsessing over Amazon, it’s writers who are quietly becoming their primary competition.

  39. Great post, and so true on all counts. I think Hemingway would have had his meltdown a hell of a lot earlier if he’d had to tackle all the ins and outs of today’s industry.
    And, by the way, you gotta love Halo. Well put.

  40. Kristin, I’m dying to know: How did you get your ebook to LOOK good? Mine look like absolute crap (trying for the Kindle). I’d be embarrased to sell them as-is.

    1. My editor, the brilliant Jenny Holbrook-Talty does all that. Try talking to @KaitNolan. She is a #MyWANA peep.

  41. This is what I need, the push to get a “team” together and join the MyWANNA’s. You can bet I’ll be watching this blog from now on. And I need to learn more about the technology. I tend to only soak up as much as I think I need, when I really should be learning it all. Very interesting and enjoyable read.

  42. Your blogs always invigorate me; make me want to do more and do it better.

  43. I am slowly learning the social media/promo stuff. it takes up a lot of my time, learning all these new things, but I hope one day to have more time to write again. one day soon.

    1. ps I’m having to read your books twice because there was a lot of things, the first time, that went right over my head.

  44. Simply Outstanding post! You’ve inspired me today. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Gone are

    the days of Hemingway where writers could power drink, chain smoke and hide away writing books

    with little to no outside communication with the world.” This quote goes up on my story board so I

    have to look at it everyday.

    Thank You for taking (putting in) the time.

    I’ve learned a new battle cry today and it sounds like #mywana

  45. Dang, now I’m all fired up — !

  46. Phenom Article/Post… I Plugged yah a bit here Not that you Need it, lol

    Thanks for the Info.


    1. I always need it, THANKS!!!

    • Johanna Denton on March 9, 2012 at 10:32 am
    • Reply

    Dear Kristen, thanks so much for putting together all this awesome information in one (ot two)places. I feel like I struck gold!! It’s a bit overwhelming, though. But definitely worth learning. As a truck driver, it’s hard to write going down the road (all those twists and turns and bumps!) but still trying. Now I need to learn about linking stuff! Lol But thanks again.

  47. im sure this really wasn’t your main point but…I LOVE Call of Duty! my friend used to say I got a glow in my eyes from watching people’s heads splatter from my sniper. that makes me sound terrible actually. I’m not. it was just an awesome game lol!

  48. Alas, Kristen, I fear you are right. The introvert in me shudders at the word “social media” — but I went ahead and started my own blog anyway! I guess maybe this old dog can learn some new tricks.


  49. Very entertaining video, and you are cute as all get-out, the kind of lady/woman I’d like to go on a hayride with, if I weren’t madly in love with my wife and you weren’t also with your husband, but I’d have liked more about the MyWANA stuff. Maybe next vlog?

  50. Kristen! I’m not even close to being “there” yet, but with your great books, blogs, and links, I’m closer today than I was yesterday, and will be closer tomorrow than I am today. I am/was one of those intimidated by social media, but now, after WANA, and John Locke’s “How I Sold 1 Million e-books in Five Months,” I’m eager to learn more and charge, full speed ahead, into the land of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and whatever else I can manage to learn to use. Thanks for the guidance and the inspiration.

  51. That castle is so cool! I want to live in a house that shape, I really do.

    • Carole Avila on March 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you for the fun read and helpful information!

    ~Carole, One of the Posse

    • Mary on March 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm
    • Reply

    This is interesting. You see I just came back from the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. I had a press pass, which I received through being a journalist and official blogger for an online zine on girl gaming topics. Now, I don’t consider myself a great writer, yet the site has a nice following due to social media. Undoubtedly, seems like almost every small publication out there wouldn’t thrive without it. The thing is, I met someone with an attendee pass (which costs between $500-$900), and once he saw that I had a press pass, well, he must of been jealous since he sort of blurted out the following: “You know, it’s pathetic how people think that because they have a blog they’re good writers. They shouldn’t be considered media. I’ve been part of a legitimate press for a long time and I never got a media pass. It’s just not right!”

    What he said hurt me tremendously, though I hid my emotions beneath a blank face (then I cried later. I am human after all). I don’t know if it was directed towards me specifically or towards social media in the 21st century.

    1. Sounds like jealousy to me :D.

      1. I totally agree. His issue, not yours.

      • Miss Keene on March 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm
      • Reply

      I think he’s just uninformed that there is good writing on blogs. He may not realize that huffingtonpost, for example, is a blog. CNN, Martha Stewart, and the President blog and tweet. Those who don’t directly participate often consider social media for teeny boppers, wanna-be’s, and writers who can’t get read any other way. Many who read online don’t realize they are reading blogs all the time.

      You might have handed him your card and invited him to check yours out and learn.

      Don’t take his comment personally. He only knows what he knows. I have very smart, sophisticated friends who still sneer at me when I mention Facebook or Twitter. As in critique, I simply nod and smile ; )

    • lynnkelleyauthor on March 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, your caveman story rocks! Seriously, made me giggle. Great analogies all through this post. I think this is one of my faves of all you’ve written. Thanks for the history lesson. I find it fascinating.

    I’m both excited and scared about the changes in publishing and am definitely feeling empowered. And also overwhelmed because there’s so much involved. I agree that teamwork is the best way to go. I’m thankful I heard about WANA when I first started blogging. I love this twibe. Can we add beer along with the wine and chocolate? Wine makes me sleepy. 🙂

    • Reetta Raitanen on March 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    • Reply

    Brilliant analogy, WANA-Mama. We need each others to cover our backs and kick ass together.

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