Month: December 2013

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

Our question today is from Jason K: Twenty years ago, if you had access to the current generation of self-publishing options, how would you have used them? This is the last question from our session we recorded a few weeks ago. Stay tuned for our next podcast, Organizing a Day, Organizing a Year. We’ll be sending it out in its entirety to First Look Access members Jan. 1 and releasing one question per week here on the blog.

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Never Hold Your Best Stuff

By Shawn Coyne | 12 Comments

In a conversation with one of his many protégés (Philip Weiss) the late Peter Kaplan boiled down what it takes to create unforgettable characters. He called it “The Reveal.” Figure out the reveal and you’ve got the turning point of a story. Once you have that…the thing practically writes itself. The reveal is when a character makes a choice that explains his every other action. Kaplan was talking about the Eliot Spitzers, Lance Armstrongs, and Duck Commanders of the real world. After all, he edited the media industry’s must-read newspaper of 1994 to 2009, The New York Observer. But the…

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“Leave Your Problems Outside”

By Steven Pressfield | 26 Comments

I studied ballet at the old Metropolitan Opera when Antony Tudor, the famous choreographer, was the head of the ballet school. In fact, Margaret Craske was the teacher most students considered to be more important. She had danced with Pavlova in the ’20s. Miss Craske instructed us: “Leave your problems outside the classroom.” This excerpt comes from an upcoming book by my mentor, David Leddick. David continues: Such good advice. And in that hour and a half of intense concentration on every part of your body, the music, the coordinating with other dancers you really couldn’t think about your troubles…

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The Free E-book Giveaway: A Play-by-Play

By Callie Oettinger | 51 Comments

Last week, Steve, Shawn, Jeff, and I e-mailed a free ebook giveaway to First Access Subscribers and previous Black Irish Books customers, valid through December 31. It was Black Irish’s first online e-book giveaway and provided valuable lessons that will be incorporated into future giveaways and promotions. As usual, we’re sharing what we learned here, with hope that some of it will be of interest/help to you. First Up: The Pricing and the Format Black Irish wanted to thank readers for their support since its launch in Summer 2012. In the beginning, we made the decision to avoid discounting. We’ll do…

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Organizing a Year

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

Shawn, Jeff and I just did an hour-long “Ask Me Anything” podcast called Organizing a Day, Organizing a Year. We’ll be e-mailing it on New Year’s Day to everyone who has signed up for First Look Access. Our aim is to help get 2014 off to a productive start. One of the subjects that came up during the taping was Predictable Trouble Spots. We were talking about looking ahead to the new year, starting out strong, staying strong—and then we remembered the horrors that inevitably lie ahead. Bank on it, there will be moments for you and me during 2014…

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The Industry

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

This week’s question comes from Jason Kraus. He asks … What is the most challenging part of dealing with the publishing industry (besides actually getting published)?

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The Math

By Shawn Coyne | 16 Comments

Here’s another chunk from The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know (thanks for the subtitle Seth!) Creating a foolscap page for a complete work is all well and good, but then what? How do you begin to actually map out the rest? How long will it take you to write the first draft? Is there a way to take the “beginning hook, middle build, and ending payoff” concepts even further to break down the work into more “doable” parts? This is where a little rudimentary math will help. But before we dive into it, remember that you are not the…

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Your Personal Culture

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

Several of the streets I normally drive are blocked these days by construction for a new light rail line. As I was detouring around one blockage yesterday I thought, “Mass transit is a great idea but it’ll never work here in Los Angeles.” The reason it won’t work is that it runs counter to the culture of the city. L.A. is a car culture. Even when the Metro Line gave away free passes, the trains were still 90% empty. That got me thinking about cultures in general. Institutions have cultures. Apple has a culture, IBM has a culture; so do…

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Unpublished Authors’ Mistakes

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

[A few technical notes before we get into this Monday’s podcast. We are currently offering four ways to get your podcast fix. You can stream the podcast directly here on the blog, you can download the file to your computer (see the little download button on the bottom left of the player), you can read the transcript, or you can subscribe to us on SoundCloud. SoundCloud also offers apps for Android and Apple devices, so if you subscribe to Black Irish Books on SoundCloud new episodes will appear automatically on your phones or tablets. And now on with the show.]…

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Don’t Major in the Minor

By Callie Oettinger | 53 Comments

“Don’t major in the minor.” Mellody Hobson said it, but I’ve thought it these last few days, since watching Jeff Bezos on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. In case you haven’t heard, Bezos unveiled a prototype for package-delivering drones at the end of the interview. Without missing a beat, the character-bashing, Jeff-Bezos hating, Amazon-vilifying tribes descended, with articles and comments from one site to the next. They majored in the minor. I’m not saying that the drones weren’t newsworthy. They were—and I saw mentions pop up in everything from Outside Magazine’s site to Waterstones’ blog. And I’m not saying that…

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