A Writer’s Training Budget: 3 Ways to Get Free (Or Almost Free) Training

November 14th, 2011

Welcome to Toolbox Saturday where you’ll find tools for various things from writing to whatever.

library photoI’ve blogged about using a training budget before, but sometimes you may find your budget is hovering around $0. What do you do then? Spend time trolling through other author’s blogs, especially those who offer eBooks (and other types of media) covering topics you’re interested in, and prowling over social media networks. There are three things to be gained from this.

  • Free information from the blog itself— Most blogs are free to read and easy to subscribe to by RSS or email. If you’re a savvy reader, you can pick up how-to info from author blogs whether the author is trying to teach their readers or not. Sometimes it’s obvious, like from Kristen Lamb’s blog in which she teaches on how to build a killer author platform using social media. Other times it’s a matter of noticing what the blogger is not saying. Same goes for other social media like Twitter and Facebook. Find authors you want to learn from and follow them. Read enough blogs, tweets, status updates, etc. and you’ll learn an astounding amount about whatever it is you’re interested in.
  • Discounts are there to be had — I’m one of those people who rarely buys anything as soon as I see it. I hate buyer’s remorse. That means I’ll wait around until the book or service I want goes on sale. For instance, I really wanted to by Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as soon as I saw it on his site. However, there were no excerpts to read to know exactly what was in the book and I wasn’t sure my budget would handle yet another bad buy. (FYI this eBook is one of the better training buys I’ve purchased in several months.)I waited to buy the eBook until I read a tweet that said a group called the SITS Girls were signing up women bloggers to take the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge and Darren was discounting the price of the eBook for all those who signed up. Jackpot! Not only could I get the eBook at a discounted price, but I would have a large group of women to work with. Waiting can be hard, but it’s worth it when you get what you want at a price you can afford.
  •  Sometimes a freebie is just a click away — Another author I truly admire is J.A. Konrath. He has found a way to make very good money on his eBooks through Amazon’s Kindle store, so, naturally, I follow his blog closely. He also has an eBook called The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, which, like 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I really wanted. The price wasn’t bad, but, again, no excerpts. Then I discovered that Joe has made the eBook available for free on his website. (Thanks, Joe!) Voila! A little research and I had my eBook for free in a version I can read on any laptop, computer or eReader. That won’t be the case for every book or training series you might want, but it’s worth a little “foot work” to see if it’s out there (and not a pirated version!).

 

Finding what you need can take some time, but it’s worth it for good training.

Where have you discovered a great deal?

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Catch up on the adventure with other books in the Malkin series.

Apprentice Cat CoverApprentice Cat available in paperback and for KindleNookKoboScribd and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

Also available as an audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

 

 

Journeyman-Cat15percentJourneyman Cat available in paperback and KindleNookScribdiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

Audiobook coming soon.

 

 

Secrets-of-the-Malkin-sidebar-newsletterSecrets of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

 

 

 

Huntress of the MalkinHuntress of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookKobo and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

5 Self-Publishing Lessons From A Toddler’s Perspective

July 23rd, 2011

It’s amazing, being a mother of a toddler, how much this little girl has taught me in just the 2 1/2 years she’s been with us. What’s even more amazing is that many of those lessons can be applied to self-publishing.

Lesson #1: Anything worth doing takes time. My daughter has been a little slow in using “big people” words, until recently. In fact, up until she turned 1 1/2, she would refuse to say words we knew she knew how to say. I can only guess the reason behind it was she wanted to be sure she could say it right before putting it out there for everyone to hear. In self-publishing,  throwing our work out to the general public before we’ve refined it to its best is a very bad decision. It’s bad for sales, bad for our reputation and bad for other self-publishers’ reputations. If we think it’s worth publishing, then we need to take the time to do it well.

Lesson #2: Learn to have patience, with yourself and those around you. Tiny Tot, as we affectionately call her, can throw some of the best tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants when she wants it. However, she’s also learned that sometimes we just have to wait. We often hear her say “Patience!” as she reminds herself that it’ll be a short wait before she can have some ice cream or that toy she really wants. As a self-publisher, we want to make it all happen right now, but that’s not the way it works. It takes time to build a fan base, time to connect through social media. Everything takes time and that’s okay.

Lesson #3: Sometimes it helps to explain what you’re doing. Refilling a sippy cup of milk used to cause a melt-down. She was getting what she wanted, more milk, but she didn’t understand what had to happen to get it. Since we began explaining each step as we do it we’ve managed to avoid those tantrums. I’ve found gathering support for my self-publishing venture easier to gain when I explain exactly what it is I’m doing along the way.

Lesson #4: If you’re having a hard time making anything do what you want, take a nap (or at least a break). When my little girl starts throwing tantrums over the smallest things, like putting in a video instead of CD or vice versa, I know it’s time for some downtime be it a nap or just a drink and some quiet rocking time with Mama. I understand where she’s coming from because when I get tired and/or frustrated with a project I know it’s time for a break — or to go to bed when I’m burning the midnight oil. Coming back to a project refreshed means being able to look at it from other angles and maybe finding a solution I didn’t see before.

Lesson #5: You can do anything you set your mind to so long as you don’t believe you can’t. Tiny Tot has done some things I didn’t think she’d be able to. For example, at eleven months old she said her first complete sentence. She asked her Grandma, “Can I do that?”, meaning she wanted to help Grandma re-load the dishwasher. If her Grandma and one of her aunt’s hadn’t also heard her say it, I would have believed my mind was playing tricks on me. She didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be able to do that, but she did it. Self-publishing can be like that. There are a lot of experts who say you can’t do better than break even by self-publishing; however there are people doing just that. In fact, it’s said that self-published fiction books (especially in eBook form) are the least likely to be purchased and yet Independent Authors like Joe Konrath are doing quite well. These people have been told they “can’t” do what they’re doing. They just don’t accept that they “can’t.”

I’m glad I’ve taken the time to get to know my little girl because she’s given me some wonderful tips. Listening to what my toddler teaches has made my life, and my self-publishing career, a richer experience.

What have you learned from your child(ren) — including the furry ones?

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If you’re interested in learning about prayer (what it is, why we do it, some ways to pray and how to know your prayer was answered), then check out my book Simply Prayer, available in print, for Kindle and NookAudio book version coming soon.