Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just the Tip (For New Writers)

         This weekend would have normally been the weekend we attended the annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference, but we aren't able to make it this year because we're swamped with a ton of great projects, like filming a movie. Also, we're broke as hell. It's disappointing because we had a great adventure last year at an Absinthe vampire party. And this year, we had wanted to teach some classes, but it's probably for the best that we didn't, because we can be kinda blunt.




Don't sweat it, friends. Your first novel is almost certainly guaranteed to be a steaming pile of unreadable garbage. Take our word for it; we've been there. Unless you edit the thing for ten years to finally polish it up (at which point you're an editor, not a writer), it's going to suck. Really hard. 




Brandon wasted two years pitching his first horrendously bad novel before he finally learned it was an enormous waste of time to keep trying to salvage it into something better. Don't focus on one single project for too long if it's not working out. It's messy, unrewarding work to polish a turd. Keep writing. Find good critics, listen, learn, and keep producing new words. They'll get better.


Sorry folks, securing your first publishing contract doesn't mean you can just sit on your hands while your books fly off the shelves. No, it means you'd better practice your sales pitch, set up a website, create a Facebook/Twitter/Google+/whatever other social network pops up, sell your soul to the devil, etc. That means you get to look forward to spending more hours pimping out your book than you actually did writing it. That is, if you want any chance of selling your full print run.


Who's a pretty girl? You are, if you want to be published again.


Seriously, be careful who you work with. You never know who's actually going to loosen that tie for you at the last moment and who's going to leave you hanging dead, buck naked in the hotel closet while they abscond with your literary man-juice. Brandon once started a collaborative novel with a published author whose only reservoir of literary originality was ripping off movie trends and pandering to minorities.


But Brandon got too busy and the guy just went ahead and completed the novel without him (without even the decency to ask permission). And since he deleted all of Brandon's writing and rewrote it (and because you can't copyright ideas), his douchebaggery was legally sound. The novel is currently being represented by a cut-rate agent and will with any karmic luck earn its author a nice case of Lou Gehrig's Disease. Or at the very least, a solid criminal investigation. Because he is eerily fond of young boys.

But don't let that deter you. Working with people is awesome. We do it every day with this blog, and our novels. We highly recommend collaboration. Just be careful not to work with someone who will screw you over.


No matter what they tell you, trends in publishing are always changing. If sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves and a teenage girl with a bow and arrow are popular right now, that's great, but they might not be popular in a few years. Don't write to trends. Write for yourself.


Nothing's more soul crushing than writing a fad novel only to find out the fad is "sooo last year."

Oh, and as technology changes, so does the world of publishing as a whole. Don't listen to the stodgy old dinosaurs who swear that books don't need technology to thrive. That's not "experience" talking. That's "ignorance."


There you have it. It's not always sunshine and roses, and it's certainly not easy. Just know what you're getting into before you jump into the shark tank with the rest of us, and keep some Charmin handy because a lot of people are full of shit. Best of luck to you if you've chosen to follow us down that brutal, agonizing, masochistic path we call being a writer.

Because kidding aside (and bullshit aside), it's always worth it. Always. Except when it's sometimes not.

Cheers and stay classy, folks!

-B&B

Beer: Yeti Imperial Stout
Music: Warren Zevon

47 comments:

  1. Well, good thing the world will likely be over by the time I release anything. Otherwise I'd succumb to insanity and encounter the possibly of losing half my hair and finding purple turtlenecks fashionable.

    But yeah, I love me kindle. It's actually a hell of a lot easier to read than a book, I came to find. My old dinosaur eyes can't adjust to light very well (I know that was a bit off-topic).

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  2. You mean to tell me that people will screw you in a collaborative effort? That's unheard of! It has never happened to me before! NEVER! That reminds me, where are all the proceeds for my collaborative collection of garbage? Who's raking in the dough and not shelling out the fair share to the contributing authors?

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  3. You guys tell it like it is, literary masturbation and all!
    May the douchebag fall into a literary hell surrounded by rejection letters and snakes.

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  4. "Who's a pretty girl?" bahahaha. That cartoon of Brandon's boy-loving collaborator, is truly frightening!

    It's a shame you had to miss the conference, because you two have so much writerly wisdom to impart. Maybe next year!

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  5. Well, it's Pikes Peak Writers Conference's loss not to have you teach a class. "Blunt" could translate into very entertaining. Plus your cartoons would look great made into a Powerpoint presentation on a huge screen in the front of the room.

    The guy that ripped off Brandon's ideas....Karmic ALS does seem in order.

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  6. I think that actually it's a bit of a shame that you guys won't be able to teach some classes because pretty much all of this is a harsh truth I am dealing with and learning. I can look back on the first chapters of Immortal Space and think "What the hay was I thinking with that?" and it's nice to see that progression. It takes a few years to be good writer, and it takes longer to be great. I probably still have a few years left myself. It's odd I say I have no patience for long term projects but also being a writer is by far the longest term project I will ever undertake. It will never end.

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  7. I'm no writer. I'm just whoring for attention anyway XD. So not true... Great post :).

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  8. >> . . . sell your soul to the devil

    Hell, I did THAT even without a manuscript to pimp.

    >> . . . Beer: Yeti Imperial Stout
    Music: Warren Zevon


    I never even heard of Yeti Imperial Stout, but they play lots of Warren's stuffs down here in Hell because Warren's the choir director. Ahh-Woooo!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal Americonned Citizen'

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  9. What ever happened to a good ol' fashioned blow job or a roll in the hay to get your book published?

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    1. Too many people are willing to do the vanilla whoring, the publishers are now looking for the really desperate to do the unspeakable.

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  10. How did you know? My first novel is actually called "Piece of Shit." But unlike YOUR first novel, it's pretty good. I've just been through the 57th re-write and it's really starting to shine. Thanks for the man-whore advice though. What shade of lipstick is that?

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  11. I have a shitty first novel in a drawer around here somewhere. Uggghhhh....

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  12. That guy interviewed for our future babysitter. He seemed legit.

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  13. Fifty Shades of Sioux-I can't believe you did that-brilliant! Inside all this humour though, lies the truth and it's a truth that new writers need to hear. It's difficult to watch so many of them ignore these things and hope for a dream to come true by just writing a book and hoping it will be a bestseller just like magic.

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  14. Well, I have to break the turd rule. It just felt right. I mean, did break it.
    Speaking of taking advantage of other writers, though, where's that story you owe me? :P

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  15. I think you're misleading people. You left out the part about how published authors become fabulously wealthy overnight.

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  16. Missing PPW this year too. But glad someone else is broke as hell too.

    Couldn't agree more with every point. Thanks for the laugh.

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  17. Excellent! Working on a website, actually, but I like the point about Charmin. I got great feedback from about two dozen people on a project except one person who hated it, and then I totally took that to heart (stupidly.)

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  18. That first point. It hurts so much, and I haven't even written anything yet. Okay yeah, I've written a thing or two, but never finished anything. It's the same as with anything else, but for some reason it's particularly discouraging for writing, especially when you only have one or two actual good ideas/stories to write about, and you don't want to screw those over because you expect them to one they bring you the big buxx.

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  19. I have to say it...I love you guys. If I wasn't so busy I'd start a BFTS cult...I mean fan club. Literary man-juice. LOL

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  20. This post is full of gems of info. Thanks. I really appreciate the point about collaboration. The blog is clearly flooded by good-hearted, trusting folks who are great to partner with. But there are so many know-it-all types who I steer clear of. Sounds like Brandon had a horrible, infuriating experience. That stinks. Glad he's bounced back and you're both doing so well now.

    xoRobyn

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  21. You're spot on about adjusting to technology changes. We hand wrote our blog on paper for years with no success. But once we published it on the internet, then things started to happen.

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  22. Just the tip is one of my favorite sentences. I work it into conversation whenever possible.

    I have no desire to publish, but I want all the success you can stand for the two of you.

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  23. Yeah can agree with the broke part easily haha and so very true, each on at your zoo, the first is shit and people will step on your head just to get one step ahead.

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  24. Good advice! Now I know I'm definitely too lazy to write a book.

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  25. Worth it!?! WORTH IT!?! I'm burning all my pens, smashing any keyboard I see, and just plain old fashioned vomiting on nearby lead (the last one is just for funsies).
    I hope you're wrong that it's "unrewarding work to polish a turd" otherwise, why would I shower...FOLKS! Tip your servers! Good night!

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  26. Good advice mixed into a funny post. It amazes me how you guys do that. Those are all things that I will do my best to remember.

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  27. the truest statements about e-writing

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  28. *applauds* Great post and I love the phrase "literary masturbation".

    I've thought about collaborating, but like you said, you really need to make sure they won't screw you over.

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  29. If only people knew, there would sure be less around

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  30. thank you guys, I will not pursue a carrier of writing....but you opened up my eyes to whoring. Writing is a lot of practice like drawing so the first thing would normally be a big pile of shite, but my mom framed them and hung them around the house...sigh

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  31. This was a brutally honest post that made me laugh. I don't know how I feel about pimping myself out once I finally finish writing the book. Can't I just wave a magic wand and sell my book?

    Sorry you guys are missing your conference but glad you've got great projects going on!

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  32. Ha, ha, ha. What you don't know can kill you, or make you much more nasty.

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  33. There's gonna be a lot of people real upset that all that work going into the first is gonna suck. These people would either not be ready, or complete literacy geniuses.

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  34. It's kind of depressing that the first book is going to suck haha, if I ever fully get into writing I'm going to keep this in mind so that I don't spend years on the same boring project, it's legitimately great advice. I'd love to be taught by you guys to write stuff in all seriousness, you're all so damn good, and I'm not kissing up either!

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  35. More importanly, if you're gonna collaborate, always make sure that have a compatible genre to work with.

    F'r instance, if you write YA or chick lit, don't partner up with someone who writes adult fiction or adult horror.

    Would make for some very uncomfortable writing.

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  36. Pretty good advice here guys. I dont really have the inclination to write a book but certainly admire people like yourselves that fight to achieve your dreams

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  37. I want you two as my teacher.

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  38. A writing class that is brutally honest is just what writers need! I would love to take a class by you two.

    Great tips! It's funny when you talk about your first book stinking, because I've often thought this about many authors. I hesitate to even read a favorite author's early works, because I like their current voice so much, I hate to be disappointed. So, I guess I just have to get my piece of crap over with, so I can move on to something better?

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  39. It sounds like a mess. Maybe I'll just stick to what I know and keep writing papers.

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  40. Haha such good advice, I think all writers need the blunt truth if they want to keep their sanity xx

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  41. An excellent post, and particularly poignant for me as I have my first novel out to an agent at the moment. I have no delusions that it is the next great American novel - hell, it's the first fiction piece of any significant length I've ever written - but the only way to get a "no" is to send it out in the first place. Maybe someone will pick it up. It could happen.

    The biggest element for me, though, is the same as it is for every profession in the history of humanity: perseverance. It's important to always be learning and evolving as a writer, but none of that matters if you don't write. Much like playing a musical instrument, the only true commonality in all successful writers and musicians is that they were able to put their butt in the seat, day after day, and get product pounded out.

    To me, that's oddly empowering.

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  42. I recently found my first "novel" that I wrote between 7th and 9th grade. I was positive it was lost forever when my dad ditched the Apple computer that didn't even have a mouse yet. Turns out, I just WISH it was lost forever.

    Guys, apparently... I wrote Beatles fan fic... I can't even justify it. Complete with sex scenes that my tween self contrived that were surprisingly dirty (I blame it on an unhealthy obsession with Real Sex and Red Shoe Diaries- my parents had HBO/Showtime/Cinemax on the tv in my room).

    So... there's that. And the amount of work it took to find a way to transfer the data from the ancient giant disc and onto something modern day would read... I should have let it die.

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  43. Fifty Shades of Sioux will never be able to beat Debby does the Apache imo.

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  44. If The Missing Link was your 1st collaborative novel I personally loved it. I need to dust of my Kindle and get the others.

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  45. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should let it grow and share it with the world.> self development books

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