Now and Zen

Rent Home Page as Secret Vault

Last week, while attending a family gathering, the conversation predictably got around to what each of us was doing. When my turn came I mentioned my website: www.StephenSmoke.com. All eyes looked back at me as though I was speaking in a foreign tongue. No one had heard of my site, let alone visited it. How could friends and family possibly find me hidden behind such a complicated URL? (Later that night when I downloaded Google Analytics and signed in for the first time, it became clear that my relatives were not alone in their ignorance of my site.) One tech-savvy relative un-holstered her iPhone, tapped in my name and announced to the not-too-surprised throng that my site didn’t even come up on Google. I looked at her phone and reminded her that my first name...

Netflix Post-Partum Syndrome

This past week my wife and I finished the last of 86 episodes of “MI-5,” a BBC series highlighting the exploits of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. I won’t tell you how many episodes we watched per week – let’s just say we finished the series in less than a month. Much less. Because Netflix has, in some cases, all the seasons of a particular series, we can watch a show from beginning to end at our convenience. We don’t have to wait a week between episodes. We don’t have to wait four to six months hanging on the edge of an emotional cliff waiting to see how a crisis resolves. We don’t forget what happened last year,  or small details easily forgotten over many months. No, our experience flows effortlessly...

10 Things You Need to Know BEFORE You Market Your Book

1. No one cares more about your book than you do. My father once told me that no one cares about your money as much as you do. The same is true when it comes to your book. There’s nothing mean or sinister about that observation. It’s merely the truth. Book marketing people, even with the best of intentions, have more than one client. You need to learn enough to make good decisions on your own. You also need to be willing to work. If you are not willing to learn new skills and work hard to promote your book, then chances are, as an independent publisher/author, you will not succeed. 2. Filling your garage with books only makes the printer happy. Many companies “publish” your book and make their money printing it. They will sometimes tell you...

Writers Wanted: No Talent Required, Part 1

Does that statement make you as angry as it makes me? I’ve been a professional writer for more than three decades, having published articles, poems, short stories and 31 books, including 21 novels (published mainly by major New York publishers such as HarperCollins and Warner Books). I’ve also had six screenplays produced and sold others. Now when people ask what I do and I tell them I’m an author, they often say something like, “That’s nice. So is my daughter.” Who’s still in junior high. When I first started writing novels I was the only person I knew who’d had a novel published. I honestly think we’ve reached a point where there are more writers than readers. With the engine of supply and demand driving the...

Addiction & Cathedral of the Senses

I’ve received a lot of feedback on the Cathedral of the Senses novel and how it helps with “addiction issues.” Here is a sample: “I was at my AA meeting the other night and I shared about what Cathedral of the Senses has done for me. Of course I couldn’t really say the title from the podium but people approached me after the meeting and I told them the title and the website.” The book doesn’t deal with “addiction” in terms of a specific program, yet it deals with the root causes of addiction and acknowledge them in ways that people with addiction issues can understand. An example is the lyric from the song “Paradox” (part of a music soundtrack accompanying the book). The song is performed by Nathan Saith and can be heard...

Writing the Novel webinar

Writing the Novel webinar

My Writing the Novel webinar is now available for FREE via YouTube. Click Here to view. This webinar is based on my book, Writing the Novel. The original LIVE webinar (recorded June 11th) was sponsored by IBMG (Independent Book Marketing Group). The day before, I did a 3-part webinar with publishing pro Stan Corwin (cited by Writer’s Digest as “One of America’s leading publishing pros”): “Traditional Publishing in an Amazon World.” CLICK HERE TO START WATCHING Part 1 CLICK HERE TO START WATCHING Part 2 CLICK HERE TO START WATCHING Part...

Switch to our mobile site