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how to write like twain

Want to write like Twain? Like Meyers? Like Rowling? Like any world-famous author?

You can and it’s easy. Let me prove it to you.

But first, a story. It’ll get you in the right train of thought for the mind-blowing, super secret strategy I’m about to reveal to you.


a baby elephant was born into the circus. Given the name Auteur, he would follow in mommy and daddy’s footsteps, traveling from town to town, thrilling audiences. But to do so, dear Auteur had to be trained.

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the great publishing war

Mark Twain was a self-published author. If he hadn’t had the financial means to print it himself, we may never have had Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer. Do you ever wonder how many great works we never got to read because the author was rejected by publishing houses and too poor to self-publish?

Okay, show of hands.

Who else is sick and tired of the authors war?

Whether you’re a reader or an author, I’m pretty sure you know the one I’m talking about. The war between traditionally-published authors vs. self-published authors?

Yeah, that war.

You may have even participated in a battle or two. That’s okay. I won’t judge.


Whereas the self-pubbed see a golden opportunity and gleefully run through the gaping hole the gatekeepers have no chance of plugging, the trad-pubbed see nothing but a glut of bad books in an industry run amok.

I try not to choose sides, but I suppose the fact that I’m self-published puts me on a side whether I like it or not. And being a champion of Indie’s in all businesses, I suppose it’s a good side to be on.

I hate gatekeepers. Always have. Especially when it comes to art where opinion is subjective. It makes me ill to think of all the great works that never saw the light of day due to some gatekeeper saying no to the unique in favor of churning out another formulaic piece of garbage by an industry-made bestselling author. You just know readers lost out in the old publishing system.

Then again, the emerging system isn’t without flaws. I have read (or tried to read) some gawd awful self-pubbed works. Books that were clearly a first draft, books that had plot holes big enough to drive a semi through, books that have never seen the red ink of an editing pen. Books that have no point to them or even a discernible storyline.

Both trad-pubbed and self-pubbed have some truthful arguments on their side and both sides also have rhetoric screaming banshees all over the web revving up the war to a fevered pitch.

And that’s a shame.


Self-pubbed or trad-pubbed, shouldn’t we all come down firmly on the third side? The side of the reader?

Most readers don’t give a flying flip how a book comes to market. They just want a great story with memorable characters – also known as a good read. That’s where I stand. With the readers.


Authors, it doesn’t matter how you publish. You have a responsibility to present your best work to readers.

Self-pubbed authors

We are so lucky. Technology and the interwebs make it possible for us to write our stories our way and present them to the world. With that comes tremendous responsibility.

Readers read indies because they are as tired as we are of the same-old-same-old coming out of publishing houses. Ah, but give the adventurous reader pages of crap and that reader will think twice before buying an indie book ever again.

Self-pubbed authors, I urge you to please take time to edit your work. Typing THE END on your novel and immediately uploading it to Amazon doesn’t cut it. Get an editor. Get feedback from other authors and enlist well-read beta readers to critique your work.

I know how badly you want a body of work out there for sale. Yes, it’s a hallmark of best selling indies. I want it too. But rushing through the writing process and ignoring the editing process just produces crap. You know it does.

Churning out bad book after bad book isn’t going to boost your sales. Quality over time will do that.

You are in this for the long haul, aren’t you?
You’re in this for a career, aren’t you?


Then go forth and create good work. Your readers deserve it.

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