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The Week in Words (April 24)

Aaron Pogue with a scribblebook (Courtesy Julie at

Some things I've said, and things I've read.

Here’s what’s been going on!

At the Editor’s Desk

This week I got threaded comments working, so be sure to check those out. No, really. Try posting a comment, and see how cool it is. Please? I’m begging you!

Ahem. Yes. Anyway, I’ve got updates on both of last week’s projects (which will probably both be in the news for a while, yet). First, though, I’d like to report on a little daydream I’ve been working on all week.

The Right-Brained Brain Trust

I’ll probably make this a blog post, in a month or so, so don’t be too surprised when that incredibly silly phrase shows up again.

I want to build a consortium of artists, though. A think-tank of creative types. I started toying with this idea a little over a month ago (and discussed it with Carlos at the time), but here’s what I’m planning to do:

  • Become fabulously wealthy
  • Establish a small, private company located out of Oklahoma City
  • Recruit “undiscovered” artists of high caliber to work for an annual salary competitive with what they could get for giving up their dreams and pursuing a more practical career
  • Their job would be to produce art commensurate with their abilities, and to improve their abilities — through practice, education, and interaction and collaboration with the other members of the consortium

There’s a ton more to it than that. I’ve dived deep into the inner workings of this thing, but I think I’ll save the rest for a blog post. At the very least, you should know that I am a man with a deep interest in fostering the arts, and seeing the amazing things artists can make when they get together.

Oh, also, if you see my star start to rise, you should probably go ahead and start polishing your resume. Just in case.

The Girl Who Stayed the Same (Working Title)

Of course, I’ve still got to do something to make that star rise. I’m launching a non-fiction e-Book in two weeks as a major step in the development of this site (as both a promotional tool and a source of income), but despite the astonishing word count you’ve seen around here on a daily basis, my passion is still in fiction.

At the moment, that’s taking the form of The Girl Who Stayed the Same, which got two new entries this week. You can check them out over at the Creative Copy Challenge. (Which, incidentally, was proud to welcome our friend Becca as a new participant this week. Welcome to the addiction, Becca!)

Here are my new scenes:

  • Chapter 1: The Stranger — Part 3, 4

I also mentioned last week that I intended to package these scenes up and sell them as e-Books. This week, after a fascinating conversation with Toby, I decided that I’m going to offer Part I (chapters one through five), as a free e-Book, and then the other four parts as paid downloads (probably $4.99, but I’ll have to do a lot of research before I know for sure).

Of course, once I’ve got them all finished I’ll combine them to sell as a single novel-length e-Book, and probably look into some print-on-demand self-publishing options if I don’t already have an agent or publisher by then.

The e-Book Challenge and Unstressed Syllables present
How to Build an e-Book by Aaron Pogue

Even though I finished my e-Book a week ago, I’ve spent pretty much every moment of free time this week working on it. I’m done with the writing (the part I’m actually good at), and on to the marketing and sales. Ugh.

I’ve learned how to sell a digital product from a blog (something I’d have needed to do eventually, right?), and I’ve spent a lot of time contacting really busy people who have no reason to give me the time of day, asking them to review and recommend my product. I’ve gotten really positive responses across the board, and everyone who’s gotten back to me about the book has had wonderful things to say about it.

Ooh! I also built a press page. The idea is to make it easy for those really busy people to find nice things to say about me without having to do a ton of research (or creative writing). So I prepared some helpful promotional materials, which they’re free to reprint, quote, or just use for inspiration when they’re telling all their readers to go buy my book.

It’s really not intended to be useful for my regular readers, but if you’re feeling curious, you’re welcome to check out the promotional materials for Unstressed Syllables, or the press release I prepared for the launch of How to Build an e-Book.

If you’re not interested, as I said last week, that doesn’t bother me at all. The book goes for sale May 1 (a week from today), and I’ll spend the following week hyping it pretty big. After that, you can expect business to get back to normal.

On Unstressed Syllables

Speaking of normal business, I’ve been writing blog posts in between all the frantic schmoozing.

Monday’s Technical Writing exercise called on you to learn (or demonstrate) how to embed tables in a word processor document. I specifically asked you to compare the features of various word processors, but frankly I’d be happy with any table at all.

Tuesday’s Technical Writing article concluded a two-part series on how to choose the right program for your writing. I discussed the most important features for creative and technical writers in word processing software, including a checklist so you could easily pick the ones that matter to you. Not terribly exciting, but it could be useful to a new writer getting by on nothing but Notepad (or, worse yet, just a note pad).

On Wednesday, Courtney distracted us with talk of Memento and The Boys Next Door, but her real message was a simple one: the believability of your story’s plot grows entirely out of character motivation. So get it right.

Thursday’s Creative Writing article called on you to get a scribblebook. There are incredible benefits to writing a novel by hand, including easier and better first drafts, and a more powerful reader experience. And no, I don’t care how bad your handwriting is. My advice remains the same. Get one.

Oh, and then Friday’s Creative Writing exercise asked you to take that fancy, expensive scribblebook I bullied you into buying on Thursday, and mess it all up. I’m kind of a jerk sometimes. It’s for your own good, though. Call it tough love.

Across the Web

I ran into several things of interest this week. Well, of interest to me, anyway. Feel free to judge for yourself.

  • Writer’s Digest shared an answer to a question that bugs me every time I think about it: why do publishers expect writers to promote their own books? Isn’t that the publisher’s job? Writer’s Digest’s answer is…well, yes, but they can’t afford to. My answer to that is…well, fine, that’s why they’re increasingly irrelevant. (Did I mention I’ve just decided to try selling an e-Book for the first time? Yeah, it’s related.)
  • This one’s a little old, but I just got around to reading it. Turns out it’s going to be easy for self-published authors to add e-Books to the iBookstore (Apple’s, in case the stupid little “i” didn’t tip you off, which matters because the iPad is supposed to be a game-changer in the e-Book market).

And that’s the Week in Words.

Photo credit Julie V. Photography.

15 Responses to “The Week in Words (April 24)”

  1. Heather says:

    May we help you promote your ebook? Maybe on facebook or our personal blogs/websites? If so, which link would you prefer us to use? In the words of our modern street vernacular, “Hook me up, Bro!”

    • Aaron Pogue says:

      Yes! Absolutely.

      I’ll have a complete sales page ready by next Saturday, and then a blog post explaining in detail why and how my readers could benefit from it. Either one of those would be excellent to link to.

      If you’d like to get started building the hype now, you can go ahead and share a link to the press release.

      If you’d rather wait until next week, though, I can spend some time thinking about it and include some good instructions in next week’s review.

      Oh, and thanks for the offer, Heather!

  2. I still think whoever named the iPad didn’t market the name to a female test audience first.

    *women across the world snigger*

  3. P.S. I am so excited about the Consortium, I can’t stand it. I talked to Ed about it all weekend.

    • Aaron Pogue says:

      I’ve spent at least an hour a day (my walking time) in intensive planning. Unfortunately, all of that planning starts with my extraordinary wealth, which has not yet manifested.

      I refuse to let that slow me down, though. I spent forty minutes yesterday decorating the art studio / conference room.

      • Let me know when you’re ready for me to come paint the murals.

        • Aaron Pogue says:

          I’m thinking murals for the halls (or maybe just the cafeteria), but framed originals in the conference room. A well-crafted proposal with strong illustrations could probably sway my opinion on the matter, though.

          Not sure if I want artwork in the gym, or if a sterile white would be better there. Less distracting, y’know.

          • But sometimes one needs those distractions, so as to get one’s mind off the pain of exercise. I’m thinking inspirational portraits of climbers reaching summits and runners pushing through goal lines and the like.

          • Aaron Pogue says:

            Okay, but can there be dragons, Courtney? All those things you said would be much better with dragons thrown in….

          • Aaron, there can always be dragons. In fact, there should always be dragons. In everything. Most especially when there are summits and races!

  4. I’ll help you too, if you like. Just email me.

    • Aaron Pogue says:

      Gah! Thanks again, Justin. I had to double-check my Sent Mail to realize I hadn’t ever gotten you anything.

      I’ll get that review copy to you post-haste.

  5. Trish Pogue says:

    You really take on way too much. I love all your ideas but you have your entire life to create.

    I’m glad you took some time to play your new Civ game this weekend. You deserve a vacation. Too bad you have to work like crazy before you can have one.

    Keep up the good work but just remember to breath once in a while.

    • Aaron Pogue says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, babe.

      The good news is that most of the work I take on is a lot of fun. It’s things like the marketing and networking for an e-Book launch that wear me out.

      I’m sure I’ll be just as busy next week as I was last, but it should be a much funner sort of busy.

  6. Dave Doolin says:

    Missed this one first go ’round.

    But yeah, I have the sort of notion. I was part of for a couple of years, then helped start a now-defunct LLC (collab21) for which we never got any traction.

    Taking a breather for now.

    I’d say OKC is probably a pretty good place for it. Here in San Fran, the VC crowd has moved into the space, which results in high fees for people who want to participate, and keeps the barrier to entry for people wanting to start their own space pretty high. No big deal. San Fran isn’t the only city with great artists.