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Pay What You Want (Or Nothing)

As I methodically put together the second annual Otter Lodge Year in Review, I want to take a moment to direct the American public to this cool site The Call of the Mountain is on now. If you’re unfamiliar with NoiseTrade, it’s a place where folks can download books, audiobooks, and music for free, and then theoretically be guilted into leaving a tip. I love this concept, because you can basically try the product out risk-free, and then pay the creator at the end if it was worth your while, or don’t if it sucked..

Take advantage. Download the book and pay me whatever you want. $5. $1. Hell, $0 – really stick it to me. The world if yours. If nothing else, go check out the other books on NoiseTrade. There’s a shitload of cool stuff on there, and reading’s good for you.

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Support My Work!

It happens all the time. Someone posts a thing they made online – product, information, service, or otherwise – and says something to the effect of “click here to buy this and SUPPORT MY WORK!”

Am I the only one who cringes at this?

Here’s the deal: I’m in no way above online panhandling. I write books and run a business, and thus it’s often necessary to hawk my shit publicly. “Here, I made this thing. Click here to buy it.” This is very different, however, from, “Here, I made this thing. Click here to buy it to support my work.”

If you’re a person that makes things and sells them, no matter what those things are, people “supporting your work,” should not be the goal. It’s basically a form of charity; “oh, this person I know of made this thing, good for them. They must’ve worked hard. I’ll buy it and support them.” It’s a nice thing to do – and undoubtedly people have bought my shit for these reasons before (thanks mom!) – but it’s not the goal.

The goal is to create things that add value to people’s lives.

Something they need, something they want. Something they buy because something’s in it for them. Demand, it’s a simple concept. That’s what we’re trying to do. Not make things that people only buy because they’re “supporting” you, but make things that people buy because they want to buy them.

And of course, we all know this. That’s what we’re all trying to do. But when you ask someone to support your work, you’re basically telling them that it’s not good enough to stand on its own merits. This is a timid and spineless way to live. Not “buy this to support me,” but, “buy this because it kicks mondo ass and you don’t want to live without it.” That’s the point. If you made a good thing, stand tall and be confident it is a good thing. Don’t be a dick, but be proud of it.


(I used to see people sign off corporate emails like this all the time. I never got it. “S?” It takes a fraction of a second to write the full name. “Sam.” There. That wasn’t hard. Even long names – “Barnabas” – take maybe a second more than just “B.” You can’t be that busy. If you are, I want the whole email in one-letter abbreviations. It would be fun to decipher. Anyway, that’s all. -S)

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An Update – Writing, Blogging, Etc.

Greetings! I haven’t had much to put here lately. Other than occasional book updates and minor announcements, it’s pretty much been crickets. I don’t know – maybe I’ve stopped getting worked up about things as much as I used to. Or maybe I just slap the rants and grievances on twitter now, rather than blogging them. Or maybe I just yell them at Kristen. I don’t know.

I’ll probably start blogging a little more. I have some ideas written down that I just need to sit down and work myself into a lather about. But most of my writing time these days is devoted to fiction writing, a thing that’s sort of taken front row for me. In that spirit, here are a few random updates on what’s going on.

On The Call of the Mountain

It’s doing very well. Thanks to all you strapping ladies and gentlemen that bought a copy and helped spread the word. No NYT list yet, but sales are good and I feel like it’s most definitely my best work to date. I’m as happy with it as I can be, considering writing books is basically an enormous voluntary nightmare in which nothing will ever be perfect. It’s a good nightmare (if that’s a thing), an exciting nightmare, but nonetheless…nightmare.

If you haven’t read it, I challenge you to give it ten pages. You can even read the beginning for free via Amazon’s look inside function, you miserable cheap.

On Book Publishing, In General

I’m pumping the brakes a little. Not on writing – doing more of that than ever – but on publishing, at least in the short term. There is a conventional wisdom in the indie (that’s cool/hip internet slang for someone who self publishes) community that the path to success involves writing long series’ (like, 6 to 10 books) and releasing books often (like, 4 books a year…at least). And there’s nothing wrong with do it this way AT ALL – I know a number of talented and prolific authors who follow this formula and build good, loyal followings and make good money writing books. Many of them have taught me a great deal about the industry, and for that I’m indebted. AND conventional wisdom is conventional wisdom for a reason; it does work. If you want to make a living being an indie writer, this is pretty much the way to do it.

So, until very recently, this was my intent. Not because I WANT to write long series’ and pump books out super quickly – I don’t, at all, and never have, and probably never will – but because I wanted to do the author thing full time. But here’s the thing: I’m 28. I have plenty of time to build a career. And there are a lot of ways to make money. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, I’m just going to focus on writing (and rewriting) the best damn book I possibly can, and if it takes a little longer, that’s fine. I’d rather write 1 book that has a real impact on someone than 10 books that don’t.

On the Next Book

Oh hell yeah there is one. The Bracket, a big, ambitious story about a group of coaches who team up to sabotage the NCAA basketball tournament in order to take an obscene amount of prize money. I’m not kidding – this is actually something I’m writing. The idea was borne out of a night of drinking in Boulder, and originally came from the lips of friend of the Lodge Chris Sheckman (unrelated, but check out his strength and conditioning blog, which he forgot to tell me about but I found anyway).

I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. It’s extremely hard to write but I’m hoping that’s good. I have no idea when it will be released other than sometime before I die hopefully.

Otter Picture

Here is an otter picture. We’ll end on that note.


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New Books (and Old Books I Want to Give You for Free)

the-call-cover-3d-web1. The Call of the Mountain, that novel I keep talking about, is available for preorder on Amazon. This means you can just click the button to buy it now and they’ll magically send it to your device when it’s released on July 21. You should do it. Do it. Honestly, it’s $4. Just do it.

Here’s the skinny:

Deep in the mountains of Colorado, Julian Meyer has escaped his life. The car horns are gone, the suffocating city is gone, and the Wall Street high rise and everything that came with it is gone. The wife is gone. The misery is gone.

He went west to escape a life he hated, and Julian Meyer found solace in the tiny mountain town of Otter Ridge. The pace is slower, the skies are blue, and the mornings are quiet. Julian Meyer can finally relax.

But amidst the detached serenity, there’s evil in those hills. A chaotic web of deceit, corruption, and seduction slowly steals him from the beauty of his surroundings and pushes him into a perverse game in which there is no winner.

The Call of the Mountain is a fast-paced thriller that thrusts the reader square in the middle of mountain life, exploring the depths of greed and obsession and telling the story of one little town with a dangerous addiction.

2. You may have noticed/been annoyed by that little bar on the bottom of this site that’s tempting you with free stuff. Well folks, I am here to tell you it is not a drill – I am indeed giving away free copies of Emails from Heaven in exchange for an email address. Irony? Perhaps. Anywho, I’m not up to anything especially sinister, I just want to keep in touch. This does not mean obnoxious garbage will be flooding your inbox all the time…I use this list a few times a year for book-related stuff. If you don’t see the pop-up thing, just click here.

(If you are already a subscriber to this blog, you can still take me up on this genuine offer of goodwill. It’s a different list and I want us to remain in alliance.)

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