Nick Cole interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Sep 13, 2017 10:55:59 PM
Nick Cole interview with David Alan Binder
Bio from Google: Nick Cole is a working actor living in Southern California. When he is not auditioning for commercials, going out for sitcoms or being shot, kicked, stabbed or beaten by the students of various film schools for their projects, he can often be found writing books.
From IMDB: Nick Cole is an actor, known for Easy Money (2007).
Links to web page and social media are near the end.
1. Where are you currently living?
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Answer: So many things. I think that’s what writing in this modern day and age of Amazon is really about. Constantly learning. As an Indie, and really even Trad Pub’d writers should be doing the same thing ( I should’ve been when I was with Harper Collins), you have to know everything. Formatting, editing, cover design, marketing, ads, social media, accounting, data science and somewhere in there... writing. As in you’ve got to be growing as a writer. Finding your voice. That sorta thing. But not to give some massive answer than doesn’t actually help anyone I’ll go with a big thing that I think everyone can use: Editing. Editing is huge. The universal criticism that writers on Amazon get hit with when readers start generalizing our bad behavior, is editing. There are a lot of writers who put little more than a spell-check pass into their book and then throw it up on Amazon, hoping someone will discover it as a diamond in the rough rather than vomit. Instead people hate it, rake you over the coals, and slander the rest of us as hacks. Repeat this enough for the average Kindle reader and what you get is a reader who goes back to Trad Pub books, even though they’re wildly expensive, just so they can get something understandable, polished, and professional. That burden for the Indie writer to go above and beyond in the world of editing is huge. And it’s something that hurts all of us when it’s not done.
How do I edit. I read through my manuscripts, aloud, over and over. Again and again. I think that makes them solid and you hear the mistakes, and false notes, you’re missing. I have a beta reader. Then a pro level editor (David Gatewood or Ellen Campbell) to go through it for me until we get it just right, and hopefully nigh-perfect. That costs money but it pays you back over the long run. The truth is: no reader is going to look passed egregious mistakes to realize you’re the next Hemingway. They’re gonna trash you and everyone who sees that “poorly written” review is going to pass on discovering you and you’ll never get a shot with any of them again. The truth about books is that you only get one shot to get them right. Editing and launch. After sixty days the book is dead on Amazon and no one really cares about it. Especially Amazon who won’t market you.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
Answer: I think this goes back to editing. I’m an actor. So I actually act out all the parts in my book and I perform the book aloud like an audio book narrator. I guarantee your book will become much better if you do that too. Get over your stage fright and insecurity, and do your best Sean Connery and read your book like he’s playing one of the parts. It’ll sound much more real and you’ll hear the critical mistakes you miss. I did this with my first Amazon Bestseller The Old Man and the Wasteland and people still tell me how evocative that book was for them. I think doing this takes books from good, to great. But you sound like a crazy person when you do it. But who cares.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
Indie is the way to go. Amazon is the only way to go. That’s the truth. No one else is taking it seriously. I was published by Harper Collins and they barely cared for my success as a writer they had paid a lot of money to. And it just didn’t stop there. Big Pub makes horrible strategic decisions and truly could care less whether they sell books, or not. They get by on their heavy hitters. As an agent once had told me, “No one makes a living at writing.” But he was the type of guy who told you Big Pub was the only way to go. He, and they at Trad Pub, don’t understand how powerful Amazon is for us writers. I know people paying off their parent’s montage on their Amazon royalties. I know veterans making a living of their books on Amazon. And it’s quite a good living. Many people have high five figure months. In Trad Pub they delight in making the accounting so arcane that it’s no wonder you never get a royalty check. And you get 8% for your blood, sweat and tears just to tell off-handedly mention your “agent” or “publisher” or “editor” at cocktail parties where the wine is served in plastic cups and the cubed cheese tastes like wax. Meanwhile they live in Manhattan, eat out, go to cons and generally live quite well on the rest of your money that you earned for them. What a Con Game! Big Pub us a dying beast that doesn’t know it’s finished. But it’s bloody, swaying and Matador Jeff Bezos has his sword out for the kill. We’ve done the passes, the grand finale of their demise is well within sight. Look for Barnes and Noble to shutter. Then you’ll know the bull is dead. Because where else can they sell your political books by people who lost elections that no one wants to read? I’ve literally sat in on Publishing House meetings where they wished a hole would open up in the Earth and swallow Amazon whole so they could go back to being the sole Gatekeepers of what people are allowed to read. Meanwhile, at Amazon, those who are willing to do the work, and there’s a lot of it because no it ain’t write a book and hit “PUB”, are making a lot of money. I know Trad Pub authors who think they make a lot of money and then I just laugh to myself because I know authors no one has heard of who could make those same “Big Name” authors dance for nickels at the 7-11 if they wanted to spend even a little bit of what they made that month.
5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Amazon is huge in EBooks. There are no other competitors. Seriously. Anything else is a waste of your time. And soon, Amazon will do Bookstores and Print, in its new form, and that will be huge because physical books are still awesome.
6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Go to Amazon and publish your book yourself. Learn every skill, read every blog, make every mistake and write a book a month. Master Amazon and get over your Big Pub Dreams. I was there. I’ve been to the top of the mountain. I’ve worn the Yankee Pinstripes, as it were. Big Pub is a losers’ game. Amazon, and the mastery thereof, is the future. And the future is right now. Want to earn a living as a writer and reach readers: Amazon.
7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
Agents are irrelevant now in the new paradigm. I fired mine. They’re just bounty hunters looking for you to go get a deal and cut them in. Just like Big Pub is hoping you’ll be the next Twilight (Seriously.) They’re just interested in sucking the life out of you. They cannot make your career and there is nothing they can do for you other than get you in a bad contract at a terrible house that could care less if you succeed or not. They view success as accidental. False. Success can be manufactured.
8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
1. Write six days a week.
2. Don’t read back until the manuscript is finished.
3. Do everything rotten to your characters that you can possible think of and then end the book
4. Have another book ready to follow up in 30 Days on Amazon
5. Assassinate the word “that.” People use it too much and it’s extraneous.
6. Master Ads on Facebook and Amazon.
7. Hire David Gatewood or Ellen Campbell to edit your book.
8. Read your book 20 times out loud in the garden in your favorite actor’s voice.
9. Develop a mailing list.
10. Develop a Social Media platform: blog, Facebook, twitter, newsletter
11. Do 1 Marketing thing every day. (6 Days a week)
12. Write every day. ( 6 Days a week)
13. Readers are more important than other writers. Spend your time engaging with them.
14. Always be learning everything you can about self-publishing.
15. Find out the Truth. Put that in your books. People love the truth as opposed to a political, social, or belief agenda that’s subjective or relative. Don’t write Straw Man Books. Write like your Joan of Arc being burnt alive at the stake, desperately signaling your final message through the flames. Write the truth even if it costs your everything. You’ll sleep better.
16. No one knows anything. What works today probably won’t work tomorrow. Always be evolving based on the truth.
17. Write the junk that you’d want to read right now. Get over writing the Great American Novel. That doesn’t sell. Write what’s selling. Write what you’d love to read. Write your pleasure and have fun doing it because if your do, then they, the readers, will to. And they’ll go right on to your next book.
18. Never respond to Bad Reviews.
19. Be Kind. Everyone is in a storm no one else can see.
20. Always have a book, or a Kindle, in your pocket.
21. Readers are desperate for you to take them on an adventure. Do so.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
Amazon doesn’t sell you to readers. It sells products to their sales history. That’s why keywords are so important. And cover is 80% of the Buy Decision.
10. How many books have you written?
11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Find your voice. It’s kind of cliché. And I don’t think everyone gets it. But it’s the voice your hear in your head when you tell the story. And it’s the way the story is told. Often times it sounds like an actor, or someone famous, who may not even be you. My voice is a cross between Donald Sutherland and Garrison Keillor. That’s kind of it, more a clue really, but find that way of storytelling that makes you: you. Once your readers hear it they’ll be hooked on you.
12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Don’t talk about it too much. Advance the action always. Don’t talk about the gun, don’t even show the gun. Just shoot the person and let the story move on. Readers can tell when you don’t know where you’re going and you’re trying to figure it out. Know the beginning and the ending and everything in between is a roller coaster from A to B. Surprise yourself.
13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
The Truth. The Courage to Reveal. Being Charming.
The Truth: Too many books are written because writers are hoping to please the gatekeepers of publishing and literary types with “important” stuff like sex, gender, and social politics. So you get a lot of writers writing “brave girl” fiction badly. Just tell the truth. Don’t shoehorn in a gay character because you want to get the LGBTQ stamp of approval in hopes of getting “made.” The Literary Establishment are cheap vampires who can do little for anyone. Tell your story and never mind if it’s got a Magical Ethnic Person, a Sainted Sex Pref Person, or it shows the Future and How Everyone was Right about Climate Change. Those works become boring morality tales relegated to boring propaganda. They’ll never be great. They’ll never sell. People want to read because they want to have fun. So have fun and use Climate Change, or Magical Eskimos, or Raging Queers, just make sure it’s true. Don’t be false. You won’t be able to live with that and no one will read you just because you got some weirdo celebrity’s stamp of approval. Readers buy Cover and Description. If you write about something some people want to read then you might sell some books. And again, people just want to have fun. They want those books to take them away from all the Grievance and Contestant Outrage. Any writer who starts talking about “a duty to inform...” isn’t a writer. They’re a boring hack trying to sell books they know can’t stand on their own when it comes to story. They’re snaggle-toothed carnies with little more than a funhouse mirror.
The Courage to Reveal: Nonfiction isn’t the truth and Fiction never lies. All that junk inside you is about to come spilling out. Don’t pull any punches because you don’t want people to think less of you. Stephen King knows he’s a weirdo and so do you. Because everyone read his books. Warts and all he had the courage to reveal. Readers want to see the real you and you will have to show it on page.
Being Charming. In this weird age of Constant Outrage there’s a lot to be said for just being charming. Not everyone is going to like you. Learn to tell a tale charmingly. It is said of Cervantes, THE GREATEST NOVELIST OF ALL TIMES, that he was captured one night by some enemy soldiers (He was a one-armed soldier himself) and that they were going to put him to death the next morning. All that night he told his captors tales around the campfire. He told them grand stories of love, intrigue and heroism with a desperate passion to entertain them as though it was his last night on earth. He drew them in and charmed them with the time that remained him. In the morning they couldn’t put him to death. They thought it would be a crime to kill such a wonderful storyteller. So they let him go. That’s what is meant by charming. As a writer you must always be a customer service provider. Write like that one-armed soldier who’s life depended upon his heroes and heroines. Write to entertain.
14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
The usual and Ads on Amazon. Newsletter swaps are excellent ways to get people interested. After the success of Galaxy’s Edge, myself and another author put together a Paid Podcast on our launch secrets. You can get it here: After Action Report.
15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would write more series. Series are the way to go. If readers love your work they need somewhere to go. Standalones just won’t go anywhere on Amazon after 60 days.
16. What saying or mantra do you live by?
Do everything as though your life depended on it.
17. Anything else you would like to say?
I know I can come off as counter... or to put it another way... opinionated. I’m passionate. I get that. I’ve made my share of mistakes. I never hesitate to help people to avoid them. The writing life can be lonely and filled with frustration. I’d never want that for anyone. I wish everyone could be read and loved and fed for their writing. Writing is one of the most courageous things your can do. It’s very revealing, and, I’ve learned, it can help others in many ways more than you can imagine. But it’s a business and if you want to succeed then you have to bring you’re “A” game. Every day you must be the Gazelle who runs faster than the hungry Lion. I hope I gave you something. Swing by my Amazon Page and buy my books. You’ll have a fun time. I’m sure of it.
I’m also on Facebook.
And here’s my website. There’s a Free Book over there for you. Thanks for letting me hang out. It was good to talk.