Month: November 2015

The 10,000 Reader Rule

By Shawn Coyne | 24 Comments

Here’s a post from 2014 that has resonated with many of my book marketing friends.  A number of them now use it to explain to their clients why and when it’s best to let their book go and move on to their next project… The sum total of my twenty-two years of experience in book publishing comes down to the number 10,000. What is a book publisher’s job? Is it to get a writer on The Today Show? Is it to buy a full-page four-color advertisement on the back page of The New York Times Arts and Leisure section? Is…

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Boiling A Frog

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

With notable exceptions, just about any story that hopes to produce a powerful impact must build to a climax that strains everyday credulity. An astronaut makes it back safely from Mars, a seventy-year-old male intern saves a hip young female CEO, an outcast high school girl named Carrie immolates her tormenters with her telekinetic powers.

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The Next “Next”

By Callie Oettinger | 22 Comments

Wyck had a brilliant mind. Quick witted. Educated. Creative. Depending on when you landed in his life, he was the next Jim Morrison, the next Mario Puzo, the next Casey Kasem, the next Babe Ruth. During the next-Jim Morrison phase he was Molly’s first boyfriend. Unlike Luther, who was his replacement years later, he was a close friend of mine, too. We discussed books and music and dreams. We thought he’d “make it” and that inspired us to want to make it, too. Looking back . . . He was the next Ignatius J. Reilly. If his life was a…

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Steal Without Shame, Part Three

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

My friend Dave wrote to me a week ago with a problem. How do we as artists and entrepreneurs transition to the next project? Dave had just turned in a manuscript. He was trying to get the next idea going. The problem was he didn’t know what that idea was going to be. For me, the transition is as pernicious a Resistance war as the previous project’s attack towards the finish line. Yes, I know we’re supposed to show up, buckle in, lace up the work boots, and “start the next one tomorrow.” [But] sometimes [we] write and write and it…

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Instinct and Intelligence

By Shawn Coyne | 12 Comments

[To read more of Shawn’s stuff, subscribe to] There’s a very instructive moment about the education of a writer in the documentary film, The Promise, a Story nerd nirvana experience about the making of Bruce Springsteen’s fourth album, Darkness on the Edge of Town. Do you know this story? Bruce Springsteen was that slight, shy but indomitable guy that those of us who grew up in the industrial heartland of America in the 1960s and 1970s all had at least one of in our school classes. The Springsteen kid didn’t play football or run for student council or get…

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Donald Trump and Your Next Project

By Steven Pressfield | 24 Comments

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “How do I decide on my next project? I have so many ideas, I don’t know which one to choose.” My usual answer is, “Pick the one that scares you the most.” The reason this works is you’re using your own Resistance to guide you. Since Resistance will always be strongest in the case of the project that’s most important to the evolution of your soul, you will feel the most fear when you contemplate working on that project. Voila! That’s the one you should choose, just like an actor…

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The Curious Case of Sidd Finch

By Callie Oettinger | 16 Comments

Sidd Finch hit the scene in 1985, via a Sports Illustrated exposé written by George Plimpton. Finch was a rare bird and Plimpton did a helluva a fine job writing about him. If you missed the article, Finch was believed to have the best arm in baseball ever—as in of all time, not just that year. With a 168 mph fastball and a set-up that outfielder John Christensen likened to “Goofy’s pitching in one of Walt Disney’s cartoon classics,” it was easy to imagine Finch lacked the accuracy to match his speed, but . . . Not the case. He had…

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Novels Are Dangerous

By Steven Pressfield | 28 Comments

  Writing a novel can test your sanity. Consider what you’re letting yourself in for. A two- to three-year slog with no external validation or reinforcement, no paycheck, no day-to-day structure except that which you impose yourself. Support from friends and family? Dubious. Future rewards? Highly uncertain. And we’re not even talking about the work. Will your Significant Other understand? The best advice to the mate of a novelist (or to anyone with aspirations in this direction) is to sit down, pour yourself a stiff drink, and make sure in your heart that this is a starship you’re ready to…

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