General posts about writing (sometimes my own, but not always)

Why you should never write for the Huffington Post

Imagine for a moment that you want to hire chefs to prepare food at your chain of restaurants, but you don’t want to pay those chefs. You want them to volunteer.  And when asked why you believe that’s a valid way to do business, this is what you tell people: “If I was paying someone to cook something because I want to draw in customers, that’s not a real authentic way of cooking. When somebody cooks something for us, we know it’s real, we know they want to cook it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.” You’d be laughed out of the room, and rightfully so. A few chefs might even be inclined to throat-punch you…
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Should you hire a freelance editor?

Self-publishing a book is a lot of work. Doing it right is a lot more work than doing a book the “legitimate” i.e. traditional way. (I’ve done both.) It’s a lot more work than most writers are willing to do, in fact. It sucks. And sadly, a great deal of self-published authors don’t do the work they should be doing. The number of shoddy, poorly-written, error-filled hackfests on self-pub services are legion. Were they to develop a unified mind they’d form a giant cube and hassle the United Federation of Planets, but alas, they are mostly like me: dudes and ladies who don’t want to lift shit for a living. Which is fine, really. I do it, and by “it” I mean I don’t lift…
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These Are the 5 Authors Who Made Me Want to Write

Writing begins with reading. There is a vague rule of thumb that good writers read. A lot. Granted, reading a lot doesn’t mean you’ll be able to write. It’s a start, though. And without question, the thirst with which I drank in books as a daydreaming kid, and later as an in-way-over-my-head young man, had a huge huge huge (three huges) impact on my later, and very ridiculous, decision to devote my life to writing. It led me to journalism and books and other stuff, and these days, it has me working as a freelance writer. Which is amazing and stupid and can barely buy me coffee in the morning, but it’s so worth it (and SHAMELESS you should totally write me at ericsanjuan@gmail.com and…
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For 2016, a new short story every month

I’m blessed that writing (sort of)(barely) pays the bills. But one result of taking something you love and turning it into work is that it becomes an obligation rather than an escape. You HAVE to do that if you want to make a living from it, of course — I would have faltered years ago if I didn’t decide that I had to prioritize writing in the same way you do any other job — but you lose a little of what drew you to it in the first place. For me, it was the joy of playing with words; of creating people and situations out of whole cloth; and of looking at a page and saying, “Holy shit, I made that!” These days, I…
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Writer smashes reviewer with a wine bottle, aka How NOT to handle getting a bad review

I’ve touched on authors having meltdowns when criticized a few times before (like this guy or this woman’s now deleted Amazon war), but this one takes the cake. A year or so ago, British author self-published a novel inspired by the woman he was stalking. Seriously. He blogged extensively about stalking her, law enforcement got involved, and he eventually wrote a fairy tale in which she was the main character. Given that he blogs extensively about mental illness, I have to guess that he’s a wee bit unstable. Anyway, he posted an excerpt of this work to Wattpad, where an 18-year-old Scottish girl gave it a harsh review. Among other things, she said: This is painful. Everything is written through telling and purple prose which…
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