Saturday, December 21, 2013

Books in 2013: A list with no order

I wish I could give a huge top 10 list of the best books of 2013 but I haven't read all of them so it would be disingenuous.

I spent the first half of this year finishing my degree in Literature and didn't have much time for reading outside of the curriculum so unless you want me to recommend Beowulf (Which I don't) here are the top books I have actually read this year. These are in no particular order, except that of my memory

1. Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas. nothing needs to be said it it freaking amazing. Read it or regret your own life forever.

2. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I enjoyed my first foray into the Russians and it was a pleasure to read for school.

3. The Most Beautiful Walk in The World by John Baxter. Francophiles unite and read about one writer's great gig running literary tours for writers in Paris.

4.How to Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen. Essays that made me rethink my whole outlook on myself as a writer and reader. Franzen justified my own beliefs in loneliness and it's likelihood of producing great fiction writers. If you are a loner, and because you read you most likely are. Read this.

5. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I wrote by Ernest Hemingway. That should be enough to persuade you to read it. Also, most of it set in France. I like France.

6. Taipei by Tao Lin. I think he got mad at me at Melbourne Writers Festival but his book is excellent. Specificity is an underutilised tool in fiction. Not for Lin though.

Read them and be amazed. If you hate them email me and tell me why. If you love them email me and tell me why.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On Being an Online Writer

When I first learnt about being a blogger it was 2007. I googled making money from writing and I found a post on the ProBlogger website about making money from your blog. To me this site just looked like any other site, I was young and dumb. I read a whole lot more articles by Darren Rowse in the coming days and I joined Blogger. Between high school and studying at University my blogs dwindled in readership and page views. I never really developed a website that would be able to compare to ProBlogger.

I felt like I was failing and I wanted to know why. I was inconsistent, that was my first problem, and my other was that I knew nothing about marketing my work online to others. I got Twitter in 2008 and started sharing my posts, unbelievably (to me anyway) I was getting traffic. I spent a long time researching how to market my work on twitter, even publishing an article for Darren's website about the retweet feature changing marketing on Twitter.

I turned to writing screenplays and poems, I wrote short stories and last year I wrote a novel. I self-published it, I didn't even send it in to any publishers. I felt that my connection with my readers would be strong enough to warrant sales. I was wrong.

Being an online writer involved in Twitter, Facebook and Google+ I felt I was in a prime position for the people that were retweeting me and mentioning me and following me back and liking my posts to buy my book. What I realised is that being a writer online is a lot like being stuck on the subway, you want to get out and be mainstream, the people around you seem to want to help but what they really want is for you to help them and retweet them when they retweet you, they want you to follow them when they follow you.

Don't get me wrong, I don't blame others for my books poor sales. I don't have a problem with my community of peers. What not only I, but most of us have is a problem with being too nice to each other.

We only offer help, we won't critique each other's work, some writers online unfortunately will only interact based upon some unspoken rule that you must interact back. I try and help newer writers out; at I publish new writers almost exclusively. Being a writer online is like starting a business from the ground up whilst thousands of other business' are crowding around you. It is like opening a pizza shop in the middle of a million other pizza shops. It is a little harder to get people to buy your slice with so many options.

Being a writer online is hard work. I critique movies, television, books, I write short stories, poems, novels; I write news pieces and do short reporting. I wake up every day and treat myself like I am working in a newsroom; I treat myself in my own home like a professional writer.

I am an online writer, a freelancer from the comfort of my own chair/bed/floor/car; I am building the business of ME from the ground up among millions of others screaming "it's my turn now!" With a little constructive help from the community it can only get better from here. 
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About Me

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I'm a Taekwondo and MMA athlete. I also write novels and screenplays.