Author Blogs

Telemachus Press, LLC is pleased to offer a venue for its author’s blog postings and other writings. This portion of our website is automatically fed with material provided by our authors who are third parties and are not employed by Telemachus Press, LLC. This externally provided commentary and any opinions contained therein are solely those of the author and not necessarily supported by Telemachus Press, LLC or any of its employees or subcontractors.

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I am the author of five novels and am writing this post to examine one year selling my books on Amazon to see what I did right and what I did wrong in my quest to build a fan base, and to help other independent authors. To begin my unofficial scientific experiment, I have donned a lab coat and a Sherlock Holmes’ cap, test tubes are brimming over with white, dense bubbles in my laboratory, and I have formulated the following question: As a self-published author, how is it best to utilize Amazon to sell/giveaway the most e-books possible? In doing my background research and constructing my hypothesis, I am considering the following: 1.   My published e-books, including the genre, number of Amazon reviews and overall ratings. 2.   My e-book sales from May 1, 2013 until May 31, 2014, as well as refunded e-books, free promotions, the prices of my e-books, royalties received, the Kindle Match (KM) program (which began January 1, 2014 and where if readers buy the pa......

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19
John Finkbiner (@bamafanWH) just sent me a recent New York Times article on Verbizing (or, verbing as the Times calls it). It is worth reading. Find it at: nyti.ms/XByB6o. Steve ...

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19
I’m a voracious reader. I usually have three or four books going at one time — sometimes even more —and dip into each most nights when I settle down to read, taking on a chapter or two from each for that evening, but then settling into one that will be my last book for the night, and reading it for however much time I have until I go to sleep. Although I write mystery novels, I don’t limit my reading to this genre. I need balance in my reading diet. Specifically, I need variety. So on any given night I might be found reading a chapter in a mystery or other crime novel, a chapter of history, a chapter of biography, a collection of poetry, a literary novel, or a volume of essays. The variety keeps my reading fresh and lively for me, challenges my brain by requiring differing thought processes, and, in general, informs the content and quality of my own writing. ...

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19
It never fails to amaze me what wondrous written works can be (and have been) created in the English language using only 26 letters that we arrange and rearrange into an unlimited number of words. Together with a handful of punctuation marks, some structure (such as paragraphs, scenes, and dialogue) and the judicious use of white space, a skilled writer, using the raw tools of 26 letters available to all of us, can convey the wonders of story and exposition. ...

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19
One of my pet peeves -- one I fall prey to engaging in myself -- is our tendency to verbize, to turn nouns into verbs to shortcut our speech (There! I just verbized using the noun ‘shortcut’ as an active verb!) Thus, we do not make a telephone call or send an e-mail; we telephone someone or e-mail them. ...

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19
As writers we strive to ensure that the words we write, the phrases we use, and the scenes we create accurately reflect our intended meaning and are not easily susceptible to misinterpretation by our readers. As readers, we want to know that the words we read mean what the writer intended and what we think they mean, and that they are not subject to other interpretations. Where these goals seem to be neglected, sometimes with humorous results, is in the world of signs. For example, I recently saw this highway sign as I drove home from Washington's Dulles International Airport: "All trucks must exit next two exits". I thought: If I were driving a truck, I would not be happy being required to exit the highway at the next exit, then required to get back onto the highway, and then leave the highway once again to fulfill the sign's mandate of exiting twice. ...

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19
Now that I'm working on the sequel to MANDARIN YELLOW, I appreciate how useful and important using a beat sheet is. For the first time I truly have an overview of my book and am able to shift around chapters at will within the context of my view (literally and figuratively) of the whole. This has been immeasurably useful to me....

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19
The reasons were many. First and foremost, I love to write, but all of my published writing before MANDARIN YELLOW involved nonfiction — various aspects of American history. Second, I love to read crime novels, especially hardboiled or noir mysteries. I also love reading crime novels that are set in modern times, but have an historical bent to them (such as The Poe Shadow  and The Dante Club, both by Matthew Pearl). Third, I have been fascinated by Chinese culture and history for several decades, and from time-to-time have thought about writing something that would reflect my interest in this civilization....

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19
Do you finish reading every book you start? If not, do you feel guilty when you quit before the end? I used to try to finish every book even when I felt the book wasn’t worth completing. Somehow, somewhere along the way when I was young, I came to believe that if you start a book, you should finish it. On those occasions when I quit early, I felt guilty. Now I know better. I find that for every book I buy and start to read, I somehow also acquire two or three others that I mentally designate as “to be read someday.” It’s a fact of my book life I cannot escape: The more I read, the farther behind I fall in my reading because I keep buying books. So, I’ve asked myself: why waste my limited leisure reading time finishing books that do not live up to my expectations?...

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How important is a book’s cover? Aren’t we taught from a young age that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover? Do you really need a cover that will knock your readers off their feet? No, you don’t, but it sure helps sales and it might get you some reviews you otherwise would not get. When I browse in a bookstore, I find my books, first, by looking for authors I enjoy reading (then I look at the titles); next, I examine the books of authors I’ve never read if I’m attracted to their books by their covers (which includes their titles); and, last, I read the pitches or synopses on the back covers of the books I’ve selected after the front covers have reeled me in....

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