Write. Publish. Repeat. is a book written by a couple of indie authors with the goal to cover the whole field of independent publishing for all who want to write or want to take their writing business to the next level.
Yes, business. It’s not a book about how to write better or use beautiful metaphors in your works. It’s is about writing, publishing and making money out of it.
I had mixed feelings reading this book. Most of them were positive, but you know why they call it “mixed”? There were negatives too. And I will start with them.
1. The authors Sean and Johnny are a little shortsighted. They confessed they look just a decade ahead (while I am thinking in terms of the next eon 😉 )
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a writer for the rest of my life and I don’t intend to live just a decade more. Having said that, the timespan they focus on is much longer than in any other book about indie publishing I’ve read (which usually was: “publish your 100 books yesterday and enjoy your life afterwards!“).
2. They use profane language; the ‘F’ word appears all too often for my taste. However, they were honest about it from the beginning, so I excuse them on this point.
3. At least several readers rightfully made the observation that the introductory part was too long. Ruminations about book’s voice, fiction vs. nonfiction, who they are, who their intended audience is, who shouldn’t read the book, publishing- marketing dictionary … it all took about 11% of the book. And later on they have the impudence to say that they wrote so huge a book, because they love me.
OK, I would maybe have skipped a half of this 11% of the book, but it was all I would have been willing to skip. The rest of the book is pure meat. And I do the same in my books—I try to discourage people who have unreasonable expectations from buying and reading my works. That way I get less bad reviews and refunds.
4. They are arrogant bastards. (You see what I meant about profanities? I used the ugly word, after reading this dam… emotional book). They brag and brag about themselves making me feel soooooo tiny in comparison. I’m light years behind them regarding my publishing business. Bragging wasn’t helping me at all.
But their confidence is justified. They write. They publish. They do it again and again (just visit their Amazon sites! They produce books like machines!). Their books are selling.
And that’s as far as negatives go.
What is more, almost every aspect of those ‘not so bright’ points has at least some positives with them too (not profanities, I don’t see any reason to use them).
Let’s talk about positives then.
I’m a published author and, quite recently, a bestselling author. I’ve been studying self-publishing since March 2013. I knew about 99.5% of the subjects covered in Write. Publish. Repeat.. Most of them I knew by heart.
(I think the only thing I didn’t know previously was the reading trend on small devices and apps which allow authors to send their works directly to readers’ mobiles)
Your mailing list, owning your platform, the importance of reviews, connecting with readers, writing tips, marketing tips, editing tips—there was nothing new to me.
But I just needed to be reminded about it once again. I found myself nodding ALL the time. This book spoke to me, because it was like seeing the prior year of my life on fast rewind.
I felt like it wasn’t just a book about their publishing business; it was about mine, too.
And they covered EVERYTHING! I can’t think of a single item even remotely connected to the self-publishing business they forsook.
1. Those guys know what they are talking about.
They not only published a few dozen different titles among the two of them, they also have a Self-Publishing Podcast and they interviewed dozens of indie authors (and a few traditionally published). Their knowledge is impressive.
The breadth and deep of their analysis is stunning. I’ve heard about practically everything that the book is about, but I applied only about 10% of that knowledge. The authors, on the other hand, discuss confidently every aspect of self-publishing, because they know what they are talking about.
Because of their knowledge, Write. Publish. Repeat. is full of data nuggets. Things that are absolutely unnecessary for every indie author, but any of them can use: ISBN management; producing audio or paper books; writing software; which sites are most efficient in paid advertising and so on.
For most authors those are just tidbits. And they are just the byproduct of the book. Johnny and Sean are in the business, so they know about them and share them by the way.
Tidbits are not relevant to the book’s message, but they are still there; by the way.
3. They are little more in the business and marketing than me.
I don’t like marketing and I despise internet marketing as a whole. It is so abused that it makes me sick each time I think about it.
But the authors of Write. Publish. Repeat. have deeper backgrounds in business and marketing than me, and a different perspective.
I loved the core marketing advice of the book. Be yourself—it really resonated with me.
4. The voice.
Those guys write fiction; I don’t, and I can still use their advice.
They are fiction writers and you can easily feel that. The book is engaging and funny. I was literally convulsing with laughter when I read Johnny’s remarks about ‘scientific research stats checking’. I was fresh from latest book launch and I could totally relate.
They talk about fiction writing, but not too much. Their businesslike approach to writing stories reveals the principles every writer should follow—be true to the characters, be true to yourself, avoid the fluff, don’t waste the time of your readers (I’m guilty). Besides, I want to write fiction one day. In fact I’m writing a novel (drawer-destined) and found their advice convincing.
The voice of book is not exactly straight-to-the point, but as skillful story craftsmen they make the book interesting. They don’t come around the subjects. They name the things by their name. Lousy work is lousy work. There is very little luck involved in success; everything worthy takes some time.
I like what they teach, but I love how they do it. They don’t give you a ready formula for success, because there is no such thing. I found a Goodreads review whining about the fact that there is no program, no ready-to-apply tips & tricks.
The reviewer clearly didn’t get what the book is about. It’s not about tips & tricks; it’s about building a business.
If you want to build a business based on the proven formula, you pay a lot of bucks and run a McDonald’s restaurant then. I don’t want to run McDonald’s analogue of writing, thank you.
Every man is solely responsible for his own success (or failure).
I’m sick of sales pages and copies which in general try to say “This is your salvation!” (click to buy); which try to convey the feeling that their way is the only way and if you don’t save yourself (click to buy) then you are a loser.
The authors of Write. Publish. Repeat. say “See what we do, pick a few parts and do what works for you.” And they repeat it over and over again.
I do the same in my writing. I’m a firm believer that success can’t be imposed. You are the one who makes it happen. Foreign solutions won’t work for you until you distill them and make them your own.
My belief is that you don’t need knowledge. Well, not exactly “don’t need”, it’s just secondary to your motives, attitudes, grit and action. It’s more the effect of your activities than something you need to start them. You can absorb a lot of data, but you truly get their meaning when you use them.
I mean, look at our society. We are the first generation which has ALL the knowledge of the world at our fingertips. And what do we do with it? Is success more common now? Is it?
So, Johnny and Sean provide some knowledge, but it’s not their main goal. They have a lot of grit and, thanks to their book, I was able to steal some of it.
And you cannot name the price tag on this.
I have a lot of highlights which shows me that anybody, even I, can do it.
In terms of motivation this book was like nothing else I’ve ever read and I read a lot. Why?
Because they have been there, they have done that. They had the same shitty self-doubts I have. On every page of the book I can sense the struggles behind the content. They named my all fears (nobody will read your books and if somebody will, he won’t like it at all), my all false hopes (it will be easy), and my all faulty expectations (one book, one bestseller and I’ll be done) and all the solutions (write publish repeat).
“For the first time in history, life as a full-time writer has become about simple math.”
And, oh boy, I can do the math! My first 6 months of writing gave me about 1.5% of my day job’s salary. In this tempo I would be freed of my job in about 33 years.
Reaching that point, I don’t have to rely on social security, whims of my employer and so on.
But it was just the first 6 months. Writing is no exception to the rule, that the longer you do something the better you are at it. And my latest book sales proved that quite convincingly.
I absorbed this kind of iron confidence page by page and highlight after highlight.
As I said, I knew all that Johnny and Sean said; I knew all the facts. But thanks to this book I was able to feel them too.
7. Timeless values and principles.
A decade is not enough long term perspective for me.
All too many “advisors” out there don’t give a shit about next year, not to mention the next decade. Their advice comes down to “find a trick and exploit it; the readers are morons, so treat them as morons; it will make you riiiiich!”
“You’re not going to fool a reader more than once, and you deserve to fail if you try.”
However, you can do many other things instead. Like love your readers, be integral, be persistent, think of your publishing venture as a business and a lot more.
Again, Johnny and Sean named it all. The whole book is the textbook of making writing your way of life plus making money out of it.
It’s so refreshing to have finally found people who believe the same values as I and who get this message across with such clarity and wit.
8. Write. Publish. Repeat. provides more than just self-publishing info.
I got more advantages from reading this book. My self-esteem skyrocketed because I discovered I already know all that successful indie authors do (am I repeating myself? 😉 )
The “Dave jokes” were fun. This guy must be a saint to put up with Johnny and Sean 😉
I even had a spiritual experience reading the passage about courage. I was reading Saint Teresa of Avila’s book at the same time and the lecture of Write. Publish. Repeat. put some light on this.
This book is cool. If you don’t believe me just read the 10% preview on Amazon and you find the sections who is it for and for who it isn’t. If you find yourself among the target audience just read it and you won’t regret it.
Write. Publish. Repeat. is great. It is so good in fact, that made me wish I had a Kindle device on which I could highlight all the fragments that spoke to me or taught me something. I’ve read part of it on PC Kindle where I could highlight and a bigger chunk on my eReader device without such a feature.
No, it’s beyond cool and great; it is even better. I decided that, one day, when I can afford it, I WILL buy a Kindle, read Write. Publish. Repeat. once again and highlight all those fragments.
And I will pay for it using my books’ royalties.
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