Jane Friedman, my editor at Writer’s Digest for Write is a Verb, has compiled her best tough love reality slap for those of you who are really serious about being published writers. To paraphrase Betty Davis (who said Old age is not for sissies), writing and publishing are not for wimps.

Get some tough love from Jane and go get published if you (and you work) are up to it:

The New York Times recently ran an article ( about a guy who began blogging only a short time before he reportedly got a $300,000 advance from Random House for a book derived from his blog, Stuff White People Like ( He has gotten 19 million hits on his blog since he started. (A few more than this blog, it must be noted.)

Have you started blogging your way to a book yet?

Platform building.Out of the blue, I was invited to be on The Today Show on Monday, March 17, 2008. Since I am already on the East Coast (I’m in D.C. at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium teaching until Sunday), I agreed.A few people I have mentioned this to wanted to know how it happened. I was contacted by a writer asking me to comment on some Irish proverbs (I had never heard any of these proverbs) and their relevance to relationships. The resulting article was published in Women’s Health magazine and timed to come out in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Since I have an Irish background and name and am male, they wanted to know whether I would come on The Today Show for a “He Said/She Said” segment featuring the theme and Women’s Health editor/columnist Nicole Beland.I don’t really have a current book to hawk (my Write is a Verb is the latest book and that really doesn’t fit with the theme), so I plan to just have fun with it. They tell me it will be on during the 10 O’clock hour.  

Grammar Girl. Former freelance science writer Mignon Fogarty decides to create a podcast discussing common grammatical errors she encounters in her editing work. She launches Grammar Girl, a lighthearted and kindly guide to grammar. Fast forward sometime later. Oprah is doing a show on grammar. Several of her staffers tell Oprah she must get Grammar Girl. Problem: Grammar Girl has a book contract but no book to tout when she is to go on Oprah, wasting a golden opportunity. Solution: She and her publisher, working non-stop for several days, create an audio book version from Grammar Girls podcast audio files and make the book available through Many audiobooks are sold, saving the day. Writers will find this essential and the rest of you may just find it amusing and helpful. You can learn about Spoonerisms, when to use lay vs. lie, when to use sit vs. set and other good stuff, presented with a light touch. You can get the podcast through iTunes or visit GG’s website:
The point for those of you who are aspiring writers? Pursue your interests and passions. Put something out into the world rather than sitting and dreaming about it. (Of course, make sure this isn’t a distraction from your writing or something you are doing instead of writing). Podcasts, like blogs, can enhance your platform and can generate material to use in your writing project. And as Grammar Girl has shown, it might even get you a book contract or a spot on Oprah.

Bill appeared on Santa Fe Radio Café on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 with host Mary-Charlotte and fellow guests Anne Hillerman of the Hillerman Writers Conference ( and WordHarvest Writers Workshops ( and thriller writer David Morrell ( David and I will both be speaking at the Hillerman Writers Conference in Albuquerque in early November 2007. It was a nice radio show. We spoke about writing and our latest projects. David has just completed a graphic novel, I have Write is a Verb out, and Anne, in addition to organizing conferences, has two books coming out in the next while. The host is sharp and we all got along well, I think. You can listen to the show on the site link below, download it or subscribe to their podcast in iTunes.

I mentioned a study from in my last post about the indirect income that can come from getting a book written and published. Another interesting finding in that report was that authors who invested money in publicity (often their own money, from their book advance or just from their own pocket) ended up earning more money from their books and getting more book sales than those who relied on their book publishers to publicize their books.


51% of the authors included in the study invested an average of $4500 of their own funds to publicize their books, mostly by hiring outside publicists. The payoff of this investment was significant. The study found that those authors who used outside help sold an average of 10,000 copies of their first book and earned average royalties of $55,000, compared to 4,500 copies sold and royalties of $25,000 for authors who relied solely on their publishers to market and sell their books.