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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Tag: writerslife (page 1 of 5)

The Writers’ Colors

Orange is Creativity, Brown is Strength

Per the color theory, orange is associated with creativity and joy, while brown symbolizes strength, and reliability. It fits perfectly within the scope of the writers.

 
As a Cleveland Browns fan, I’ll be the first one to tell you brown symbolizes strength. Can anyone think of a more snake-bitten franchise in sports? The Drive, the Fumble, the Move, the 0-16 Season, the list goes on.

 
You may also think I have a bias, and I do, but for the writer, orange is a given; creativity and the joy of creating.

 
Why else do I write?

 
Well, to spread the Libertarian belief, but to do so from a creative standpoint. Who the hell wants to read about politics these days that contradict the Always Trumpers and Never Trumpers?

 
So, why not create a story out of it?

 

Why Brown?

To me, it takes a lot of mental strength to write, and even more mental strength to make a living and eventually a career from writing. Strength and reliability. Strength and reliability. Have the strength to seek and find reliability in writing.

 
Brown is a perfect fit. It’s a perfect fit.

 
Face it, to write, and to want to write for a living, it’s going to mean a lot of late nights, early mornings, and early on a Dreaded Day Job (DDJ), where many would rather do without.

 

About the DDJ

I posted about a week and a half ago about the story of Riesbecks and how “Mr. Patterson,” the landlord of the place and corporate monopolist, might I add, the abysmal, reckless, father-of-a-drug-dealer-who-enjoys-favored-status had raised the rent to such a crazy level they’re on the verge of closing.

 
And it’s why the DDJ isn’t just something one dreads…I received the opportunity to get to know many miserable souls whilst working there from 2011 to 2012, many of whom are still there and might be unemployed due to a greedy monopolist by the end of the year. Furthermore, it’s a single stream of income people rely on.

 
Let me reiterate: It’s a SINGLE stream of income.

 
And that’s where creativity and strength come into play for the writer.

 
Our products, as the great Joanna Penn states, can give us multiple streams of income if we play our cards right. I have one book out, but they’re in two different formats (e-book and paperback).

 
That’s two products.

 
I already have two streams of income, but as they’ve only been out thirteen days, I haven’t made too much money yet, but that’s okay, it’ll come later. This is scalable income and I’m in it for the long haul.

 

The GDJ

The Great Day Job (GDJ) is what we’re all fighting and striving for. Better yet, the GDJ can give us multiple streams of income. As for Northern Knights, the book is currently on Amazon, but this was planned, as I look to open publish November 1st, the same day Swords of Destiny gets released, which is Book Two in the Lord of Columbia Series.

 
Further, I’m open-publishing both, which will mean Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Google will all get their dose of Northern Knights, Swords of Destiny, and other smaller works will be coming, too, all of which are part of the same world Northern Knights and Swords of Destiny take place in.

 

Creativity Plus Strength

Creativity Plus Strength is definitely the key here, and one might add patience in as well, as it takes a long time, and I mean a long time, to build and grow an audience. For those of you who write romance or something similar, your road is going to be a little easier.

 
For those like myself who have political meanings within their works, which are really political manifestos, the road is naturally harder because both the Right and Left are never thrilled with such ideologies like Libertarianism…preaching freedom in today’s world is the eighth deadly sin!

 

Bonus News: Comeback Kid on Hold

Earlier, I talked about possibly releasing a work called Comeback Kid, and I plan on doing so, in time. However, the project is currently on hold as I’m putting all of my strengths into Lord of Columbia, both the main and the novella series, Book One of which is linked to the bottom of this page as a freebie if you join my mailing list!

 
I do plan on going through with Comeback Kid, but possibly under another name as a form of supplemental income, just so Todd Matthews (my real name) can identify with Lord of Columbia and only Lord of Columbia.

 
And with that I’d like to thank all of my readers for their continued support, please come back soon!

 

Get Northern Knights on Amazon for just 99 cents (series starter!)

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Join my New Book Release Mailing List and get a free e-book, also a series starter!!

The Eurean Kingdom (1)

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The Writer’s (Not So) Easy Life

Any Writer’s Slash Storyteller’s Life is Anything but Easy

Let me be the first to tell you I’m only six months into this pursuing my passion for writing journey, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. While I wrote the first drafts of Comeback Kid and Lord of Columbia over the past three years, it’s only been my number one priority for a few months.

 
Before that, it was to become one of the most well-known fitness trainers out there, but I had to admit to myself the obvious: I wanted to make a living from writing more than I did from fitness. Nothing wrong with fitness, but after studying what I study (Deep State, new world order, globalism), writing just seemed the more humane path for me.

 
However, since embarking on this path and slowly morphing my life from 100% trainer and 0% writer in 2014, to slowly changing my guard (75/25 in 2015, 50/50 in 2016, and 25/75 in 2017), all the way to “pretty much” 100% writer in 2018, I’ve learned two things:

 
1. I definitely made the right choice, despite considering 2018 my “rookie year.”

 
2. The lifestyle of a trainer is definitely the easier of the two, but I love complexity, so bring it on!

 
And that’s what I’m going to touch up on today: The Life of the Writer.

 

Pop Guys are Dumbasses

Sorry for the harsh title, but what’s funny is no one’s been a bigger critic than my biggest “follower,” the Pepsi Guy. I wish you could all meet him, as I’ve written about the dude several times. Long story short, he’s one of those arrogant minds who believes he’s right on everything.

 
Here’s his real thought process: If you’re not punching a timeclock and working your ass off, you’re too lazy to work.

 
Oh, really, Pepsi Guy?

 
Or perhaps you’re just too ignorant to see through your own stupidity.

 
Any writer would back me on this one.

 
Any writer.

 
Hell, even as a trainer, I’m not making ends meet unless I give my heart and soul to my clientele.

 
Either way, like I just mentioned, the writer’s life is tough, especially just starting out.

 

Fun, yes, but beyond tough.

 

What Writers Do

Okay, so for one, in this fast-paced day and age, you better be coming up with new material. Therefore, I’m releasing Lord of Columbia: Northern Knights a month earlier than planned, but on KDP Select for three months before rolling it over into open publishing.

 
I’m doing this because come November 1st, Book Two (working title is Swords of Destiny) will be released, again on KDP Select, while Northern Knights goes into the open markets. Come February 2019, Book Three will follow the same path, before I do away with KDP Select come Book Four unless it provides strong dividends in return.

 
Also, I have Comeback Kid, a much smaller novel, getting released around Decemberish…okay I totally made that word up.

 
Needless to say, not only am I coming out with new material, but different genres, and a lot of books.

 
Why?

 
For a few reasons.

 
But the primary reason is this: I’m an indie-author and I better look at myself as an entrepreneur more than an author, and so should you if you’re going this route. What attracted me to being indie is this: I can run my own business and if I succeed, I can reward myself. If I fail, I only have myself to point the finger at.

 
Also, owning a business (indies are business owners), we need to learn the business, study the market, and drive our product toward the way customers are buying product.

 
What if they stop buying e-books and go audio, as some charts have implied?

 
We better have our books out in audio.

 
What if people like box-sets more with branded covers?

 
We better be morphing our products into box-sets with branded covers, as I plan on doing if Lord of Columbia makes it. I’m thinking giving each book their own unique identity before creating a box-set and branding them, which I’ll be hiring a graphic designer for rather than buy premade covers, which I’m doing now.

Traditional Author or Indie-Authorpreneur?

See, here’s the score: If you’re traditional, it means someone loved your work so much that they’re going to pay you in royalties to publish it. However, you’re selling your rights, letting them set your prices, they’re choosing the cover, title, and description for you, and everything else.

 
Though you’re still doing most of the marketing.

 
As for an indie, you have full control, and it’s like having your own business…it is having your own business. You’re an entrepreneur, which some in the industry call authorpreneur.

 
So, are you molded for traditional or indie?

 
Are you an author or an authorpreneur?

 
Are you just writing-minded or do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

 
This is where my training background comes in, as being a trainer was like me having my own business. I could set my own hours, and train people at my own discretion…that’s until 247 became so corporate they cracked down on us trainers and measured our talent by monthly sales numbers in favor of, oh, I don’t know…. changing lifestyles?

 
Now, as an indie, sales numbers are of utmost importance. However, I’m not employed by anyone but myself. I have no boss to answer to but me. I can measure my own success in favor of a company measuring success for me, especially at the amount they were paying me.

 
Again, For me, indie wins out.

 
But, if you don’t want to worry about cover design, editing, description, title, or any of that, traditional may be the way to go. However, if you’re indie, and you’re successful to have a nice, little budget, you can always outsource much of the work.

 
I like to keep the writing (obviously) and editing to myself. Many will insist on outsourcing editing, but the Jerry Jenkins Writers’ Guild helped me leave my pride at the door and become a near-perfectionist when it comes to self-editing, something he terms: ferocious self-editing. It’s funny, because when I’m in the library doing my editing, I’ll usually grab one of the Left Behind books he wrote if I get stuck and skim through for an example to make sure I’m editing the same way Jerry would.

What Makes the Writer’s Life a Challenge?

For one, if you’re like me and embarking on your own, you better get used to working without making money early on. Sure, income is going to flow in, slowly at first, heck, perhaps at a snail’s pace at first, but money’s made while you sleep…literally.

 
Money isn’t made while you’re working, so you can make money while you’re sleeping. You want to make money while you sleep without punching a timeclock? Own a writing/author business.

 
When Lord of Columbia: Northern Knights is released, the goal is to start working toward a livable income.

 
Note, I didn’t say the goal is a livable income. That takes time, but start building toward it. When Swords of Destiny comes along, I’m hoping to be partially there. When Book Three comes along, six months from August 1st, I hope to be closing the gap. Meanwhile, Comeback Kid will be in its first stages, too.

 
It’s all about building slowly.

 
Remember, the Houston Astros lost 100+ games three years in a row before they built a decent team and eventually won the World Series.

 
So, if you want to be a full-time writer, something I’ve learned in Year One is to be patient, patient, patient. Make sure that product you’re selling is pristine. Too many writers fail to do this, and now companies like Amazon have noticed and are trying to put a stop to it, as I read an earlier article about them axing less-than-perfect product in the e-book and book market. Good.

 
Take pride in your product and make it as close to perfect as you can.

 
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

Our Message Makes Us Writers

How to Keep Your Message Front and Center

 
Writers are special because we love to get messages out into the mainstream. In fact, our message makes us writers, and the message must be front and center. To do this, us writers are the screenwriters if we’re comparing our works to movies (it may happen someday, who knows?) and the characters we create are the stars.

 
To this extent, the writer’s job is to stay out of the way of the characters, plot, message, theme, and anything else inserted into the story’s or informative piece of information’s creation. As many writers tend to be introverts, this plays quite well into our hands.

 
In my contemporary fantasy trilogy, Lord of Columbia, my main cast is rather large in scope and they’re the people I want my readers to remember. Todd Matthews is telling the story, and that’s all I want them to know of me. Sure, readers will pick up on my libertarian and anti-statist views, but the work is meant to entertain while informing. I’m telling the story and getting the message out, but the characters are the stars. I just relayed their story.

 

 

You’re an Offensive Lineman

 
In football, the offensive lineman are the blockers. They’re going to fend off anyone attacking the skill players and are either protecting the quarterback or opening holes for the running back.

 
The best linemen in the NFL get noticed if they do something wrong.

 
If you’re a writer and people don’t notice your writing, it’s the sign of a good writer.

 
Why?

 
Because, especially for us indie-authors, it’s going to be tough to explain the typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, big blocks of texts, and anything else going into a mistake-riddled piece of work.

 
The writing shouldn’t be noticed.

 
Do you like big words?

 
Get them out of here.

 
Do you like long sentences?

 
Stop it.

 
Do you like to describe every last detail of a scene?

 
Great, you know how to emulate real life. Now stop it. Leave it to the amateurs, as award-winning author Jerry Jenkins says.

 
Do you like pages of backstory which will do nothing more than bore a reader out of their mind unless they live in their parents’ basement as a career choice?

 
Cut to the chase and get to the plot.

 

 

Early Errors

 
My first few drafts in Lord of Columbia were abysmal, or at least they would’ve been in the hands of experts.

 
My first mistake began with about four pages of backstory which I came to realize seeped out in the plot, anyway.

 
I used a third-person omniscient point of view, which provides nothing but spoilers for the reader and the reader is being told rather than shown from one distinct point of view, or the central character.

 
I explained every detail of every scene, so my first draft was around 185,000 words, which has since been cut to 73,000, over half the text.

 
Readers today want to get straight into the action.

 
Why?

 
They’re going to turn on the TV or surf the web if you don’t have the inciting incident within the first few pages. Heck, some literary agents I’ve read about want the book to start in the middle of the inciting incident.

 
Take this article I’m writing to heart, because it’ll save you time, headaches, and frustration. My first few edits in Lord of Columbia took almost a month per edit, but now that I’m down to my last edits, I can read through the manuscript within days, sometimes half a week.

 

 

Your Message Matters

 
How is this intertwined with your unique message?

 
All the errors I’ve described above get in the way of your message. However, when you cut to the chase, the inciting incident, and the initial surface problem, your message is beginning to come to the forefront not for you, but for your character.

 
Take my main character, for example. He learns of the inciting incident within the first two pages and it contains just enough backstory for the reader to pick up on several cues of his past, fit into half a page of conversation.

 
The first sentence reveals my character’s name, gender, personality, and the uncertainty about to unfold. Two sentences later reveal the genre and the short backstory follows. By page two, the inciting incident occurs. The initial surface problem comes to the forefront within the first chapter, and the foreshadowing occurs simultaneously.

 
As the story progresses, my character’s story-worthy problem unfolds, as does his character arc. More to come on Lord of Columbia as the months progress.

 

 

Conclusion

 
As noted above, the characters and the overall scope of the story are the stars. Todd Matthews is just someone who did research and wrote a book that never would’ve happened if the likes of Ron Paul, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, Gerald Gardner, Ludwig von Mises, the Cleveland Browns (seriously), and the Rothschild Banking Dynasty didn’t come before me.

 
I take their message and make it my own, but I caution, and I’ll continue to caution, all writers to never take centerstage. The characters are your stars, they’re your skill position players, and you’re the offensive linemen.

Courageous Writers Will Survive

Spread Your Agenda Abroad. You’ll be Loved or Hated, but You’ll Survive

 
Writers being themselves are going to be either loved or hated. If you’re a writer, you’re likely going have an opinion on issues which are important to you. It’s okay, because you took the first step in the right direction. Be warned, however, because the more you pour your soul into writing, and spread your agenda abroad, you’ll be loved or hated, but you’ll survive.

 
But aren’t most writers loved or hated?

 
Look, we live in a society of divided people and it’s more than the Right or Left. A Libertarian such as I will agree and disagree with both sides. In fact, us Libertarians are basically the ‘mind your own business if it isn’t directly effecting your life’ kind of people.

 
A few rules regarding writing:

 
You’re going to please people, you’re going to offend people, people will view you as an inspiration, and people will view you as being stuck-up.

 
Hey, the golden rule is you won’t please everyone, but you’ll please many more. You’re going to win some and lose some. An MLB manager once said in baseball, each team will win fifty games and lose fifty games, so they sixty-two remaining games will determine how your season goes.

 
The same goes for writing. You’re going to have good days where you earn over one hundred followers to your writer’s platform and you’re going to have days where you lose followers.

 
Take the above MLB example and spin it into a year’s time. There are three hundred and sixty-five days in a year, so you’re going to win one hundred times and lose one hundred times. How you perform in the remaining one hundred and sixty-five days will determine how well the year went. For instance, in MLB, if a team finishes 96-66, they’re making the playoffs. They may have winning and losing streaks, but 96-66 will qualify most teams for the playoffs.

 
Let’s use the same example in life. If someone finishes 200-165, they’re going to have a successful year and will look into January as wishing to capitalize on such a performance.

 
Now, the above only goes into account if you are yourself and have the courage to spread your message to as many outlets as possible. I realize it’s tough to open your thoughts to others, but it’s going to create your unique brand, voice, and following.

 
Will it burn bridges?

 
It’s going to burn bridges beyond repair, potentially with old friends and family, but you need to realize your worth and as I’ve stated above, you’re going to win some and lose some. It’s all about winning more.

 
Build your audience, build your following, spread your message, and you’re going to have a lot of support. People will share your statements, they’ll hop onto your bandwagon, and better yet, you’re going to be referred to their family and friends. Sure, a few doors will close, but more will open.

 
Those who know me and are following my blog or following me on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, realize how vocal I can be regarding America’s role in the world, global affairs, distinguishing the truth from lies, and the direction of the world’s economy. It’s burned bridges, but it’s build more.

 
You must realize the more you pour your heart onto a page, the more you’re going to resonate with. You’re going to meet new people who will become your biggest supporters and will go out of their way to promote you because you have a message that deserves to be heard and it will influence and inspire many. Remember this point and you’re going to succeed.

Take your Time, Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Age of Columbia is now Lord of Columbia

 

If there’s one thing I love about Derek Haines and his blog, justpublishingadvice.com is his advice he gives to newbie indie-authors like me regarding what to do and what not to do regarding a book launch. There’s one thing I overlooked and it’s choosing the right title.

 
Derek’s advice?

 
Make the title a popular but not too popular keyword. In other words, don’t use words that are overused. My old title, Age of Columbia, which I was so dead set on I posted it on all my social media outlets, has one word so overused my book would get lost in a forest of books and three years’ work down the drain.

 
For a guy who wants to make writing indie-books a source of primary income, Age isn’t the best word to put into a title, especially in the fantasy genre. There are over 30,000 titles with such a keyword attached.

 
Furthermore, Age of Columbia refers to a broad scope and according to Les Edgerton in his book, Hooked, is a turnoff to many readers. Edgerton’s advice is to show a story from one perspective, which echoes Jerry Jenkins’ advice, too. Back in 2017, I worked relentlessly to switch my point-of-view from third-person omniscient to third-person limited, so only my main character’s five senses can be utilized.

 
With this being said, I spent two hours researching proper key terms which would still vibrate well with my title and connect the reader to the main character. I settled on two titles: Knights of Columbia, and Lord of Columbia. Again, Knights of Columbia refers to the whole group, and though my main is part of a special group, I want it to refer only to them, therefore, Lord won the day, which has an ideal number between 1,000 and 2,000 per my research.

 
I’m currently working on the proper tagline to use and hope to reveal the cover sometime in the summer followed by a book trailer which will be seen on all my social media accounts.

 
I’m grateful to have done my research before my launch in September 2018, by giving my book a fair shake at the market. If there’s one piece of advice I can give to new authors looking to break into selling their book, it’s to never rush into publication. Five years ago, I would’ve rushed and at least these days I’m wise enough to save myself headache, heartache, and complete embarrassment.

 
For more information regarding Lord of Columbia, please follow me on Twitter @myfreedomflame and for my personal political views regarding non-intervention and America’s foreign policy, follow me at my second Twitter account @toddyliberty.

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