My Blog

06

I snapped at my daughter twice last week. That’s never happened before.

It shocked us both.

“What’s your problem?” she said.

I didn’t know.

An hour ago I’m in Target, watching her buy furnishings for her college dorm room. The one she’s moving into on Sunday. As I watch her walking up and down the aisles, making careful, deliberate choices, it’s suddenly November, 1996. She’s two years old. We get up early, watch Barney’s Imagination Island. When it ends, I say, “Today’s a special day.”

“Why?” she says.

I look around, lower my voice. “Every four years while the kids are in school, the parents sneak out and vote for the next president.”

“What’s president mean?”

“That’s the person in charge of the whole United States.”

“What’s vote mean?”

“You know how the teacher asks how many want to draw and how many want to read? And you raise your hands and she counts them?”

“Yes.”

“It’s like that.”

“Are you gonna vote?” she says.

“Yes. And you’re coming with me!”

Really?”

She’s grinning from ear to ear. Beaming.

“Why are you so happy?” I ask.

“I know who you’re gonna vote for!” she says.

“You do?”

“Yes. You’re gonna vote for me.”

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06

I don’t know what you thought when you heard Davy Jones died last week. Probably depends on your age. If you’re under 30, you never heard of him. If you’re in your 30’s, your mother had a crush on him. If you’re my age you felt older than you were before you heard the news. Like someone blew out another flame on the candles of your youth when you weren’t looking.

In the movie City Slickers, Curly (Jack Palance) and Mitch (Billy Crystal) are walking their horses, herding cattle.

  • Abruptly, Curly says, “You know what the secret of life is?”
  • Mitch says, “No, what?”
    Curly holds up his index finger and says, “This.”
  • “Your finger?”
  • Curly says, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.”
  • Mitch says, “That’s great, but…what’s the one thing?”
  • With a twinkle in his eyes, Curly says, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out!”

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04

Last year publishing houses wanted to buy rights to my next four Creed books. A possible couple million for books I planned to write anyway? Talk about validation and prestige! There’d be talk shows, newspaper reviews, feature articles in major publications!

Heady stuff, even for an old war horse like me.

But I said no. I’m proud to be an independent author, proud to be self-published. Those who remember me from my first tweet in late 2009 will tell you I’ve always believed in self-published authors, always believed we could compete with industry giants. They’ll tell you I always supported indie authors by tweeting news and buying books. In some cases I bought three, four, and even five indie books at a time, announced contests, and paid to ship these books to the winners, to help indies gain not just readers, but also much-needed reviews.

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24

If you’re one of the six million new Kindle owners, you’re probably ready to load some books. But where do you start? I mean, seriously, with over 800,000 books to choose from, where do you start?

Here’s an idea. Fourteen authors have sold more than a million eBooks on Kindle. Type the following names into your Kindle search and you’ll find their catalog of eBooks. Some are more expensive than others, but these are the top-selling authors, so their books are almost certainly worth the price.

  1. Stieg Larsson
  2. James Patterson
  3. Nora Roberts
  4. Charlaine Harris
  5. Lee Child
  6. Suzanne Collins
  7. Michael Connelly
  8. (See Below) *
  9. Janet Evanovich
  10. Kathryn Stockett
  11. George R.R. Martin
  12. David Baldacci
  13. Amanda Hocking
  14. Stephenie Meyer

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m John Locke, #8 on the above list. I’m a New York Times Best Selling Author, and I sold more than 1,720,000 eBooks in 2011.

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23

A huge thanks to my loyal readers! I asked for your opinion about publishing a particular book and more than 500 people responded in 24 hours! That is just amazing! But even more amazing, I received more than 100 emails or messages of support for both decisions.

I’m not going to publish the book.

Those who voted yes gave me brilliant reasons that inspired me! Those who voted no told me tragic stories that hurt my heart.

I need to confess something: my book was not nearly as creepy and graphic as I led you to believe. But I wanted to phrase it that way because the subject matter was rough. While my advisory council thought I shouldn’t publish the book, they also said it was the best writing I have ever done, which is what led me to the quandary. So I wanted to get your opinion.

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21

You know I have the utmost respect for your time, right? That’s why I only publish a few posts a year and keep them short. I usually tell you about things I’ve learned or people I love. Sometimes I tell you odd things that happened to me.

This time I need your advice.

As an author, I’m a “push the envelope” type of person. I like to shake things up. I think the worst thing an author can be is boring or predictable, so I created a new series about a former kidnap victim. I wrote two books. The first is present day, where 24-year-old Dani Ripper is a private investigator who searches for missing kids. Nine years ago she was kidnapped by a serial killer/rapist who held her captive in his basement for a month. Obviously, bad things happened in the basement. By using her wits and courage, Dani eventually managed to escape.

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22

Traditional publishers and even some successful indie authors are publicly saying how hard it is for self-published authors to succeed. They say most will never sell 100 ebooks, and only a small percent will sell 10,000. Self-published authors are being told to “be realistic” and “lower your expectations.”

Really? What type of advice is that?

Sure, there are obstacles out there, but that’s true in any endeavor. Is it simple to write a best seller? No. But can you do it? Yes, absolutely!

The world makes it hard enough for you to be successful, so you’re not going to see me piling on the negativity! Let others talk about the mountains. I’ll show you where the tunnels are! Others can talk about the raging rivers, I’ll point you toward the bridges! Yes, there are roadblocks in the land of self-publishing, but there are super highways, too.

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01

I get this all the time: people remind me I only get 35 cents for each book I sell, and want to know why I take the time to personally respond to emails and website comments. My answer is always the same:

It’s good manners!

Folks tell me I should use an auto-responder or hire a secretary to do it. They say, “How can you afford to answer emails?” My response: “What does book income have to do with answering emails? No one’s paying my readers to write to me! Isn’t their time as valuable as mine? –Of course it is!”

When you read my book and take the time to click onto my website and leave your name and email address, and tell me you loved my book—how could I not thank you? You paid money to read my book! You gave up your time to read it! That’s a gift of time you’ll never get back.

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