Writings of Stuart Whitmore

If you're looking for the latest news about the writings of Stuart J. Whitmore (author of: Lesson One: Revolution!; Two Boys, Two Planets; Journey to Yandol, and other stories; and, Wolf Block), you've found the perfect blog for that!

A Change(Tip) for the Better


Photo credit: kconnors from morguefile.com

Last week I talked about patronage as a viable alternative to the per-unit model of paying writers and other artists for their works. While writing that post I was mostly focused on recurring payments through a mechanism like Patreon, but that's not the only way to approach patronage. It's not uncommon in life to pay a one-time arbitrary amount in gratitude for something, i.e., to tip someone.

Just like restaurant wait staff and other service providers, creative people can be tipped for their creative efforts too. If you've ever dropped a coin in the hat (or violin case?) of a talented street musician, you've tipped an artist. In the past it has not been very convenient to tip small amounts online, but one of my readers pointed me toward ChangeTip, which makes one-time online tips very easy. Read on for more details about how you can use ChangeTip, whichever side of the tip transaction you're on, and why their approach is more workable (and fun) than other methods.

Too Many Books? I Think Not!


Photo credit: mconnors from morguefile.com

I've written about Patreon elsewhere, but I don't think I've mentioned it in this blog and it came to mind as I was reading and pondering several things online. I started at a post from Chuck Wendig, then I read No, I don’t want to read your self-published book on the Style blog of The Washington Post, and finally I read the "open letter" from Roger Sutton that was at the root of it all. While none of those had anything to do with Patreon, that was sort of the point.

As is still very common, they all focused on a pay-per-unit model of paying for creative work and the publishing business built around that model. I've commented before (elsewhere) about the possibility of that model becoming obsolete, or at least no longer dominant, and those three pieces seemed to underscore how we are heading down that road. Patreon is just one example of an alternative model, and in this blog post I will delve into what I see happening in the not-so-distant future.

It's Not a Lottery


Photo credit: Penywise from morguefile.com

Imagine if you had the opportunity to play a lottery where the odds of winning were very low (as usual), but instead of paying for each ticket, you were paid for each ticket. Would you play? Would you be crazy to not play?

While it's not a lottery, I have an opportunity that is a little similar to that paid-per-ticket lottery scenario. The odds are very low, and the payoff — while not in the millions — is nothing to sneeze at. A key difference between this opportunity and a lottery is that luck, by itself, is not the deciding factor. Of course, as with anything in life, randomness can play a significant role.

This particular opportunity is more like a popularity contest. The more effort I put into it, and the more others help me, the greater my odds are of "winning." Read on to see how this relates to my books and how you might help.

Three Ways to Get Free Kindle Books


Photo credit: pippalou from morguefile.com

I have written before about not needing a Kindle to read Kindle books. In this blog post I want to share something similar. I will describe three (legal!) ways you can read Kindle books without paying for them, and I don't mean free books either. There are plenty of those, of course, some of which are "perma-free" and some, like Two Boys, Two Planets today, are only free for limited times. However, there are also plenty of non-free books that you can read without paying for them. Read on for details!

Keywords vs The Key to Book Marketing


Photo credit: nionx from morguefile.com

I noticed some interesting things as I was participating in a recent conversation about keywords. This conversation was (and perhaps still is) taking place in an online forum frequented by indie authors. The question at hand was how to best keyword books to help people find them on Amazon. As different methods of choosing keywords were discussed, and as I learned from what others are doing, I realized that similar conversations take place in other creative communities where I participate, such as Shutterstock (where I earn money from photos) and freesound.org (where I give away audio recordings). What do people really search for? What's the right approach to choosing keywords? I also noticed, though, that this makes sense for photos and audio files, but it's much less sensible for books. It's not bad to set up proper keywords for a book, to help it be found amid the vast amounts available on Amazon or any other online retailer, but asking "what search strings do readers use" is, in my opinion, the wrong question. There's a more lucrative angle to book marketing than making sure your keywords are the best possible.

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