Friday, May 31, 2013

INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book by RS Guthrie

You may have started reading this book knowing full well who I am. There’s also a decent chance you don’t. There are a lot of successful writers out there who no one knows. Not their names; not their work; not their skillset, strengths, weaknesses, or potential. None of it. And it’s a shame. Because when you enter any 5-star hotel through the kitchen first, it will never appear to you as vivid and real and authentic as it would if you’d been ushered in by the valet and the doorman.

Writers whose names are not household words are a differing bunch. Most of us, we’ve definitely come in through the kitchen downstairs. Some of them I just know have been writing for years and have so many secrets figured out and yet they’re still right there with you, sitting on the same park benches outside the hotel, throwing the same stale breadcrumbs at the same damn pigeons, day in and day out.

Others, they look like they’ve just been captured by the enemy and thrown in a P.O.W. camp. They’re terrified and they really don’t mind telling you about it. Neither type is good or bad, right or wrong, particularly successful or unsuccessful (because first we’d have to all agree on a standard definition for “success”, and if you’ve ever tried to get that done, it’s not nearly as easy a task as you might think).

The one thing that binds most of us—some call us Indies, but I prefer Unknowns because every author who does not have a well-known name faces the same challenges as the rest of us—is that our books could always be better. We are also in many ways independent writers, but that could be because you are self-published, or because you are traditionally published but responsible for your own marketing (yep, happens all the time). The true camaraderie is that we each hold our destiny in the very hands that must, eventually at least, also produce it. At times, particularly in the beginning, we may also hold any one (or all) of the positions in our small little company:




Cover Designer

Marketing V.P.

Accounting V.P.

Accounts Payable V.P.

Custodian (for all that virtual crumpled paper)

You get the idea. We’re on our own, at least to a degree, thus our independence. And at some point very early in the Unknown writer’s journey, usually very early and in one form or another, we each think the same thing:

No one told me independence would feel so much like fear.

Well, Hemingway did. And honestly so did a lot of other writers. Perhaps they didn’t tell you outright, but any profession that can be compared to spending an evening bleeding, well, let’s just say fear might be a logical conclusion.

But that’s one of the first things you must conquer. That and this ridiculous concept of “I aspire to be a writer”. If you sit down at the computer and bleed, you’re a writer. In fact, if you’ve been rejected, downtrodden, unappreciated, underpaid, ignored, laughed at, brushed off, called crazy, yet still love words and the way it makes you feel to put them on the blank page; also if you’ve felt useless, talentless, witless, inspired, uninspired, full of words or bereft of them, you’re likely more a writer than anything else.

(By the way, we’re going to use “computer” for “typewriter” from here on in, unless it’s in a direct quote—no offense to Ernest but currently most of us bleed on our keyboards, which is not a terrible thing because keyboards are relatively inexpensive to replace.)

Back to the “aspiring to be a writer” nonsense. If you want to change it to something more specific like “aspiring to be paid a lot of money for each brilliant word that flies off my fingertips” then you have my blessing and you are absolutely correct. Otherwise, in all your despair and rejection, if you are writing, my friend, congratulations:

You are a writer.

And that’s where this book begins to take its shape. Talking about the beginning of making your book—your product—better. My part in it is to present you with these eight easy to wrangle concepts; to lay them out here in this book. The purpose then is to take any writer, no matter how experienced or inexperienced, how successful or unsuccessful, how dejected, how talented, how full of potential or how lacking, and hand over eight basic, truly elemental concepts about writing that almost every writer has failed to employ at least early on in their endeavors (or even still do; and that latter category is much larger than you think).

What this book is not:

This is not a book about how to price your book to make a million sales. It’s not a book guaranteeing you to write a bestseller and it’s not a book full of software gimmicks and trickery to garner you ten thousand followers on Twitter who don’t know you, care about you, or want to buy your book.

This is not a book on marketing. (Trust me, there are plenty of those, some actually good, and I may just include a small appendix of “must have” books for every writer that will include some excellent material and/or websites that provide great information on the subjects of branding, promoting, advertising, and marketing your work).

Please don’t misunderstand. The aforementioned elements are all nearly as critical to your success as the quality of your book (in the beginning, even more so, though I am a HUGE believer that in the long run, quality always wins and survives).

That’s why I’ve chosen to write a book that shares some of the lessons I’ve learned and eight concepts that I am utterly convinced will make your writing (and most importantly, your book) exponentially better.

Because quality is still what counts most.

Where does the journey end? Sorry, you’re going to have to pony up a few dollars to find out, but here’s the rub: it’ll be an interesting read and you get to learn (for a relative pittance) from all this writer’s flounders, failures, and flubs so hopefully you don’t have to experience them yourselves (unless you’re more like a young child and absolutely refuse to believe the fireplace grate is hot until you’ve burned each and every one of your twenty fingers and toes and then proclaim you’ve discovered that the fireplace grate is hot).

These concepts are not complicated, they’re easy to follow, and they’re not really even secrets. Not all of them. Another reason I am writing this book is because, as Unknowns, we benefit much more from sharing the information and working together than we do sitting on our own park bench hoarding our own stale bread and pissing off the pigeons because they now have to choose between several locations rather than get their morning fill in one place.

Many of you have read my blog on writing ( In fact, that’s yet another of the reasons I decided to write this book. I’ve received a lot of comments suggesting that I put all the blogs together into a book to help Unknown writers—an idea I loved. But then I thought “that’s just not right—cutting and pasting all those old blogs to make a book—they can all go out and read them for free.”

I have a maxim I always follow: I put on the other guy’s shoes (I don’t look good in women’s shoes; don’t ask how I know) and wondered to myself, “would I rather sift through dozens (or even hundreds) of blog pages to find answers or would I rather just spend a few bucks and garner a nice, slimmed down, get-to-the-point book, giving me elements that I can put to work right now?”

You know the answer.

Ergo, the book.

There is something I say at the end of each blog (or most of them anyway):

The blank page is dead…long live the blank page.

I am not promising you anything but this: I will talk to you face-to-face, as we are: Unknowns in the same lifeboat, and I will intersperse parts of my journey so that hopefully you may glean two very important things:

1.      How to face each day as a writer (especially a new one) and make some kind of sense of the madness by not producing material that needs to be extensively rewritten (because we all need more time, and the quicker your book is the best it can be, the better).

2.      How to kill the blank page without wanting to kill yourself.

The rest, dear writers, is on you, although I will give you this steadfast advice:

Be humble in your writing, tenacious in your marketing, constructive in your criticism, and relentlessly true to your heart.

You’ll be okay.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – NonFiction / Writing

Rating – PG13

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