Category Archives: Writing Life

Changing Social Media Lanes

I’ve been making some changes.

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, I changed the look of my website/blog. I use WordPress because of its ease of use, functionality, and wide array of themes to choose from and options to use. This weekend I changed everything over to the Mystique theme. I needed a change and this theme offers more flexibility and options than my other one did.

Second, I’m taking the plunge and beginning this week will be moving most of my Facebook activity to my author page. If you haven’t LIKED it yet, please go to the page and LIKE it. Then stop by often as I’ll be posting comments, opinions, questions, and updates there. Also, check out The Darlington Society sign-up page (and please considering joining us) and my new book page on Facebook.

I hope to see you at both these locations!

 

Living in an Easy Button World

A Picture of an Staples, Inc. easy button

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m under the impression that many in our society seem to think there’s an easy button for everything . . . or at least thinks there should be an easy button for everything.

Somewhere along the way, since that Greatest Generation got us through the second world war, we lost our way, our work ethic, our motivation. We tossed good old fashion hard work out the window and replaced it with “the quick and easy.”

We want results now and we want them in the easiest way possible. Path of least resistance  with minimum sweating, please.

Out of curiosity I did a quick search on Amazon and here are some book titles I came up with:

The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps

How to Paint Watercolor Flowers: Create Your Own Masterpiece in 6 Easy Steps

7 Easy Steps to Write Your Book

Become You Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate

Billionaires and Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps

Get the picture? It’s all about the easy steps. Steps I can understand. I have no problem with following a plan, a map, a scheduled course, but easy? Let me tell you, there’s nothing easy about writing a book (and I’m sure stealing an election isn’t all that easy either, but that’s a debate for another day).

So while we’re on the topic of writing books, I found a review of my little nonfiction book, Writing Time!, on Goodreads and was interested in one paragraph of it in particular. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s not a bad little guide, worth it if it comes up free. But Dellosso certainly doesn’t offer any shortcuts (and in fairness, I don’t know of any easy ways to write a book). Instead, I took the book to say “Writing is hard work, but figure out a reason to write and make yourself make the time to do it.” It’s not bad advice, but it may disappoint people wanting easy answers of how to make time to write.

Okay, kudos to the reviewer for being honest (apparently, she doesn’t think the book is worth the $0.99 price tag, but free is a good deal). I always appreciate that. I get the feeling she doesn’t subscribe to the “5 easy steps” method of life but rather realizes that some things are just not going to be easy. She realizes, however, that there are a lot of folks out there trolling Amazon, looking for self-help books on how to find the easy button for life. And my book will disappoint them because–surprise, surprise–there are no easy steps offered.

This irks me a bit. In fact, two things she mentions irks me.

First, Writing Time! is about time management for writers, making time in your busy, hectic schedule to sit your butt in a chair and do the difficult thing: write. There are no shortcuts here. It’s a matter of motivation and determination and being intentional about getting something done. You know, the way people used to get things done before computers and iPhones and automated everything.

Second, the only easy answer I can give to making time to write is to make the time. Just do it. Stop talking about doing it, stop dreaming about doing it, stop making excuses for not doing it . . . and just do it. Sorry, no easy button there. Believe me, I’ve looked for one.

I apologize for the rant, really I do, and I fully realize not everyone is in search of the holy easy button. There are lots of folks who don’t mind hard work and wake up everyday with ambition in their belly and a fire in the chest. They couldn’t give a rat’s left ear about an easy button and probably wouldn’t use one if it existed anyway. I applaud them and wish there were more of them.

But I’m noticing more and more that this “easy button” mentality is permeating our society and taking over. People looking for shortcuts, looking for as little resistance as possible, looking for 5 easy steps.

It’s not always a bad thing, it isn’t. I’m all for saving some time and energy when I can but please oh please realize that there are some things in life for which there is no easy button.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Or are we headed down a dangerous road here?

Open Invitation to Join The Darlington Society

TDSCrestSo I have this group called The Darlington Society. They’re not a huge group but they make a lot of noise. And they encourage. And they pray. And they support. And they get something in return, too.

To answer a few questions . . .

What is it? The Darlington Society is a group of readers formed to support and encourage me in my writing. But it’s so much more than that. It consists of individuals from various countries with various interests and opinions and backgrounds. They chat, they pray, they bounce ideas around. It has become an entity of its own.

What do they do? Well, in short, they review my books, help spread the word about my writing and activities; they get encouraged, share struggles and prayer requests; they get questions answered and get an inside view of how the publishing process works. They’re my inside team so they know news before anyone else.

What do they get in return? They get an early copy of my next release, discounts on services and books, access to the private Darlington Society Facebook page, and interesting updates. But besides that, well, I’ll let a few of them tell you in their own words:

The Darlington Society has been such a blessing to me; to see how the publishing industry works from the perspective of an author and to read Mike’s great stories and share them with my readers. Mike has always been incredibly helpful and encouraging. –Nikole

To me TDS is a special family. I love the transparency and openness of the group.  How we can be “real”  before each other and how we can come before one another for and in prayer. –Beth

The Darlington Society is uber-cool, like a big family. We pray for, encourage, and help each other…on top of all the Mike Dellosso FANDOMNESS!! So happy to be in TDS! –JoJo

Interested? Membership is always open. Bottom line: if you enjoy my books you’ll enjoy this group. You can be as involved as you want to be, there’s really no pressure. Just drop me an email or leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch.

Oh, by the way, you can read about more of the details on this Darlington Society page.

Hope to hear from you!

WINNERS Announced . . . Thanks for the HELP!

Thank you all so much for your help and input. Your opinion is invaluable to me. And from your comments I gather I need to stick with Facebook and this blog. My challenge now is to find a method that works for me and is engaging for you. I have some ideas and will  begin to implement them in the next month or so. Some big changes will be taking place.

Okay, I promised there’d be some winners and here they are. Four winners . . .

James Franklin
Jillian Kent
Troy Tennard
Stephanie Craig

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you privately to see which short story/book you’d like.

And thanks again for the help!

Drowning in Social Media . . . HELP!

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

It’s no surprise that social media is all the rage. For authors, it’s expected that we’ll be engaged in different types of social media, interacting with readers, sharing ourselves, passing along information, and generally spending a lot of time at the keyboard NOT working on our books.

Myself, I have several social media outlets I frequent: this blog, Facebook (two pages), and Twitter.

And, honestly, there are times when I just get tired of it. There are days when I don’t have anything interesting or pithy to say. Days when I don’t feel like sharing anything. Days when I sit and stare at that question on Facebook, “What’s on your mind?” and I say “Absolutely nothing. Nothing is on my mind. Is that okay?”

Don’t get me wrong. I like social media. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s a great way to connect with readers en masse, something authors of the past rarely had an opportunity to do.

I’ve just been thinking that I need to reboot. I need to focus my efforts, concentrate on one or two outlets, and let the other ones go.

So here’s my question for you . . . which outlet do you frequent most? Blogs, Twitter, or Facebook? If I had to focus on one to get the most bang for my buch which one do you think should I go with?

I have my own ideas about which one I’d LIKE to focus on but that may not be the most popular one.

HERE’S A BONUS: If you leave a comment you’ll be entered in a contest to win a copy of one of my short stories (Mirror Image or The Last Hunt) or one of my short non-fiction books (Writing Time! or Writing unBlock!) Yes, I’m bribing you. Unashamedly, too. I need your opinion!

Writing Un-Blocked . . . FREE E-book!

Writer's Block

Writer’s Block (Photo credit: thorinside)

Writer’s block is an enigma of sorts. Is it real? Is there really such a thing? Or is it all in one’s head?

I think if writer’s block was put on trial we could call thousands, no, millions of witnesses to attest to the fact that, yes, the block is real. They’d swear under oath, sit in that little box witnesses sit in, then forget what they were going to say.

And yes, writer’s block is in one’s head. Where else would it be?

I think writer’s block can grow from a variety of factors including frustration, anxiety, pressure, poor time management, and many others. It can come in a variety of forms and last for durations of varying times. But it is real. You can’t tell millions of writers who have suffered from it that it’s  bogus. It’d be like telling people that their dreams aren’t real, they’re just figments of their imagination. Um. Okay.

So, the question as I see it is not whether writer’s block is real or not but rather what do we  do with it? How do we prevent it? And once it slithers in and clogs our neural pathways, how do we get rid of it?

WritingUnBlock2All this week you can get for FREE a little e-book I wrote about writer’s block, how to prevent it and how to defeat it. It’s called WRITING unBLOCK! It’s a quick read but I hope you get something out of it that will help you prevent and/or defeat that dreaded block.

Please help spread the word about this book by sharing this post or the book’s Amazon page on all your social networking hang-outs. Thank you!

The Importance of Time and a FREE Book!

Time travel 01

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I have another book to giveaway. I must say I love doing this. Giving away books.  Giving away things.

I’m a busy guy. Probably not as busy as some but busier than others. I have a lot going on in life and it keeps me scurrying about. That’s why I get asked so much about how I find time to write.

But it isn’t about finding time, is it? No. Not really. It’s about MAKING time.

If time were money we wouldn’t talk about finding money as if just happens to appear in secret places and we have to snoop around until we find it. No. We talk about making money. About being intentional.

The difference is that there is really no limit to the amount of money one can make. There is a limit to the amount of time one has at one’s disposal. So we must not only make time but we must use it wisely.

And therein is how I MAKE time to write. No, I haven’t discovered the secret to time travel and don’t have the ability to literally make time as you would money. We all have 24 hours in a day and that’s it. No more, no less.

It’s what we do with that time that matters.

I’m sorry but I tend to be rather cynical when someone tells me they simply don’t have time to write, that they could write a book if they only had the time. I’m cynical because the making of time tends to bring with it some sacrifice. The bottom line is those folks who think they’re too busy simply don’t want to make the sacrifice.

This is  a lesson not just for writing but for all of life. Take note: You do have the time but you choose to use it how you wish. Remember that whenever you are tempted to use the excuse of lack of time.

WritingTimeNow, back to the giveaway . . . while we’re discussing time management and writing I think it’s appropriate to introduce a little e-book I wrote called Writing Time! Proven Techniques for Making Time to Write and Finishing What You Start. It’s a short book, just 35 pages or so, but it’s packed with information about making time to write and making the most of that time. If you are a writer or if you know a writer, this book will help. Guaranteed.

And the best thing is that all this week the book is FREE on Amazon! That’s right. FREE!!

Please help spread the word about this book by sharing this post or the Amazon page on all your social media hangouts. Thank you!

Also, be sure to check out my newest thriller, FEARLESS. Available wherever books are sold.

My Take On . . . Book Sales Numbers

English: An anxious person

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every September and March I develop an unusual twitch. It’s called stress. Anxiety. It’s called royalty statement time.

Every six months I get a royalty statement and on that statement are the sales numbers for each of my books. Both for the period and total.

Mostly, I hate those statements.

Two of the most-asked questions I get as a writer are: Where do you get your ideas? and What are your sales like?

Mostly, I hate those questions.

Writers get into writing because we love to write (duh!), because we love the creativity of it and we love sharing our stories with others. But there’s this other side to writing that whether we want to acknowledge it or not, doesn’t go away. Numbers.

Writing is an art but it’s also a business and while craft and style and creativity rule in our minds, sales numbers rule in the minds of a lot of other people. That’s a reality. Publishers look at sales numbers and more times than not those numbers drive how much money goes into marketing the book, how many resources get alloted to it, and whether or not they offer another contract. It’s a tough business, but it is just that . . . a business.

Every author wants to see his or her book putting up big numbers. In some weird way it seems like confirmation that yes, he is talented, people do enjoy his books, and the publisher did indeed make a good decision to publish his work. In a lot of ways big sales numbers = success.

The questions then arise about what qualifies as “big” numbers, how many books sold do publishers look for, what’s the measure of success? And the answers will vary from publisher to publisher. There’s really no standard.

As an author I care about the numbers. I do because I want to keep writing. But I try my hardest to fight the tendency to put the worth of my writing and even myself on the amount of books sold. There are just too man factors involved in why a book sells well or not.

As an author I want to focus on crafting the best story I can with the most worthwhile message. I want to impact lives, get people thinking, entertain, and yes, sometimes, scare the poo out of a reader.

Most of the time I think I’m somewhat successful at that. But I must admit, when the royalty statement comes I usually get all tense, go somewhere private, and open the letter. Then I walk around the rest of the evening muttering to myself about how I’m wasting my time, how it isn’t worth all the effort involved, how I’d be better off using my time getting a real part-time job. It takes me at least a few days to talk myself off that cliff and get back to writing.

And then six months later we do it all again.

But it’s worth it. Not because of the meager financial reward, but because of the readers I know are being impacted. It’s worth it for everything that isn’t financial, that doesn’t depend on numbers. It’s worth it because of the people. And really, isn’t that the way everything in life should be?

Okay, couple things I have to point out that you’ll want to check out:

FRANTIC  is still just $1.99. If you haven’t gotten it, get it today.

Ian Acheson, friend and author of Angelguard, has posted an interview we did today and he’s giving away books too. Check it out and enter to win!

Issues Writers Deal With, a Series

Writer Wordart

(Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

Over the next several weeks I’m going to periodically discuss different issues I deal with as a writer. Issues like:

  • The pressure of sales numbers
  • Dealing with negative reviews
  • Writing about the supernatural
  • Time management/fitting writing into a busy schedule
  • The issue of faith and fiction
  • Violence in fiction
  • Creating villains without becoming one
  • Romance and the element of love
  • Balancing fiction and real life
  • The ethics of using real people to create characters

If you’re a writer or want to become a writer or do any kind of writing I’m sure you’ll find these upcoming posts interesting.

If you’re not a writer, never were, and don’t want to be I really do think you’ll still enjoy these posts. It’ll give you an inside view into some of what writers deal with, what goes through our mind, and some of the decisions we make while writing. It’s actually pretty interesting.

Check in on these posts too as I’ll also feature some killer deals on books and occasional giveaways too.

Here’s a couple now:

Get my novel FRANTIC for only $1.99!

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win FEARLESS.

FearlessCoverAnd if you haven’t done so yet, check out my newest thriller, FEARLESS. Here’s my challenge: Go to the Amazon page and click on the “Look Inside” feature. Read the first several pages. I bet you’ll be hooked. If you’re not, I want to hear about it.

Asking for a $20 Tip

A Waitress taking a breakfast order at Kahala ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a big tipper.

If a server does a good job, I reward him/her with a big tip. Hey, I’ve never been a waiter but I do consider myself in the service industry . . . twice. My full-time job is in home care physical therapy. We serve patients. Customer care, the patient experience, is everything and very important to me. I’m also an author and serve readers with hopefully good stories and a positive experience. So I can empathize with servers. They have a tough job trying to  please their customers.

For them to earn a big tip doesn’t mean they have to be infallible. Their service does not have to be perfect. I’m not overly demanding and my expectations are not overly high. I just want to have a comfortable, enjoyable experience.

A little while ago I read a book about marketing and the author talked about asking your readers for a $20 tip. That’s right, twenty bucks. Now before you assume where this is going and stop reading, let me explain.

Imagine yourself as a waiter or waitress. You do your best to serve each table, you stay attentive, fill their drinks, answer their questions, take their food back when it’s not hot enough or tastes funny. You bust your butt to make sure they’re having a nice time. Then they get up to leave and say, “Hey, thanks for the great time. You did an excellent job.” But there’s no tip.

Or imagine the same scenario, same thank you, but when you get back to the table there’s a $20 bill laying there.

The author of this book went on to say that the $20 tip you can give any author is a positive review on Amazon (and other sites). And surprisingly, those reviews mean more than you think they do, not only to the author but toward future awareness and sales.

So here’s my request, not just for me but for every author. If you read a book and enjoy it, if it moves you, excites you, entertains you, please do that author a favor and leave her a positive review on Amazon. Trust me, she’ll appreciate the $20 tip and it only costs you a few short minutes of your time.

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