Keeping it Simple – Writing with Markdown | Books & Beer

Markdown markup languagePatrick McLean likes to keep things simple. He’s been a writer for a long time, tried many writing tools, and publishes his work in a variety of mediums. Lately he has been pushing back on the complexity all of that brings with the simplicity of Markdown. Markdown is a simple, plain-text language that can help writers remove distractions, make it easier to use their content on multiple platforms, and maybe even get more productive. Patrick shares his considerable love of Markdown, and has some tips for people who want to dive in. Here’s what you’ll find in 15 minute so this episode of The Books & Beer Hangout:

  • Why writing in plain-text can simplify your work.
  • Why you should worry more about the content than the structure as you write.
  • The flexibility of being able to easily export your content to any other program.
  • How Markdown files are similar to ebook files, and why that’s helpful.
  • Why an ebook development environment is more valuable than a fancy layout program.
  • Value of putting all your writing into one format.
  • Tips and tools on getting started with Markdown.

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Evo had a Firestone Walker XVI, while Jeff went with a classic Dale’s Pale Ale. Patrick was feeling a bit fruity and switched things up with a vodka cranberry.

Some of the links Patrick mentioned:

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

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Publishing through Serial Fiction

serializedThis week, our guest is Claudia Hall Christian. She writes the Denver Serial series, a traditional serial fiction that she’s been writing six days a week, for almost five years. But she does more than that, actually publishing–and selling– books along the way. How does that work? Pretty well, as you’ll learn in this 15 minutes of The Books and Beer Hangout!

  • The good and the bad of hooking writers on your storytelling
  • The size of the audience interested in serial fiction
  • Writing arcs within a continuing story
  • Should you write well in advance, or on a daily basis
  • What it takes to keep a long-term serial story going
  • How serial fiction and full-length novels can be written at the same time
  • The complexity of keeping multiple storylines straight in serial fiction
  • How Claudia makes money selling the same stories she gives away for free
  • Why this will work for you, too.

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Session Black , some homemade mead, and a Lagunitas Brown Shugga

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

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Living the digital freelance writer lifestyle | Books & Beer

Living the lifeC.C. Chapman has successfully made the shift from wage-slave to freelance writer. With two books from a traditional publisher under his belt, a successful consulting career, and ongoing speaking engagements, he’s truly living the dream. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? We’ll cover that in 15-minutes on this episode of The Books and Beer Hangout:

  • The realities of a real publishing deal
  • Out of pocket expenses required even with a traditional publishing deal
  • Right-sizing your fantasy of a “fat advance”
  • When you might expect to make a living only writing books
  • How to make additional income as an author, but not from your books
  • When to write to further your career, and when to write because you have to write
  • Why it’s important to networking with professionals–and keep them informed
  • Making the transition from wage-slave to freelance writer
  • The realities of hustling to keep the money flowing
  • Moving from “starving artist” to “contributing to the family interest artist”
  • The importance of knowing what you do and who you are before you go freelance
  • The role of understanding basic business skills before you go off on your own

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Kona’s Big Wave Golden Ale, Bell’s Hopslam, and the last Palate Wrecker from Green Flash.


The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

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Balancing Part-Time Writing with a Full-Time Life | Books & Beer

 

To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction by Mykl Roventine

To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction by Mykl Roventine

Sarah Rios & Rachel Desilets face the daily challenges of launching a writing career while maintaining a full-time job. Many of you face the same thing, and hearing how others handle the stress and workload that comes with writing part-time while working full-time may help.

Fair warning. It’s possible that at least one of our guests and one of our hosts may have over-emphasized the beer portion of the show. With that out of the way, here are some of the items we covered in 25 minutes on this episode of The Books & Beer Hangout:

  • Why your job shouldn’t stop you from writing 3 books in a year
  • How to keep your job when the writing bug strikes
  • The realities of finding time to write
  • Working with longer blocks or smaller chunks
  • How to avoid burnout
  • Dealing with frustrations when you can’t write as much as you want
  • Establishing realistic goals and becoming happy with your career
  • Finding quality help through crowdsourcing
  • Deciding if you should self-publish or seek a fat advance
  • Building your audience before you get published
  • The importance of setting realistic publishing goals — short-term and long-term
  • Mistakes you’ll want to avoid as you try and find your balance

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Fat Tire Amber Ale, Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean, Firestone Walker Double DBA, and a Bell’s Hopslam Ale.

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

Can’t see the video embedded above? Download the video or watch it on YouTube.

Rules for Writers, and When You Can Break Them | Books & Beer

Stencil by biphop

Stencil by biphop

Nathan Lowell and Debora Geary discuss their unconventional yet highly successful approach to book publishing. We covered what they’ve learned not to do and what they still continue to do. It’s important to know the rules before you break them, even if our guests got lucky in the process. Here are the items we covered in 25 minutes on this episode of The Books & Beer Hangout:

  • The challenge of breaking the rules but getting everything right
  • Why some authors focus on the wrong things when thinking about “the rules”
  • How you can avoid common tropes, yet still tell a great story
  • The beauty of writing worlds in which people want to live
  • Learning from your mistakes, and learning what writing rules to follow
  • Dealing with reader feedback when you break your own rules
  • OK, dealing with Jeff’s feedback when Nathan breaks a rule. This will take a while.
  • [time passes]
  • [more time passes]
  • Making sure you meet you readers’ expectations, or as Deborah calls is; delivering happy endings
  • What to do when readers can’t find your book on every marketplace
  • Unconventional approaches to marketing your books — and yourself
  • Care and feeding of your loyal readers
  • The folly of trying to be everywhere to a million people
  • Why it’s better to be in front of the 50,000 who want to read your work
  • The wisdom of “a thousand true fans” and value of word of mouth marketing as an author
  • Misconceptions every new author should know and avoid

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Territorial Reserve Wild Wheat Wine Ale and Stone Brewing’s 10th Annverisary Ruination IPA. Turns out our guests weren’t so much into the beer drinking. That’s OK. We are.

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

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How To Publish A Cookbook

Chillis, Pepper, Soy Sauce And A Clove Of Dalek by Kaptain Kobold

Chillis, Pepper, Soy Sauce And A Clove Of Dalek by Kaptain Kobold

Mario J. Porreca, award-winning chef, author, and food personality joins us on this episode of The Books & Beer Hangout. We dug into the realities of making a cookbook in a digital age. Our subject matter expert was . Go buy his book, The Good, The Bad, The Cookbook, and here’s what we covered:

  • How to leverage your cooking experience to write a book
  • How to construct a great cookbook
  • The role pictures play in cookbooks
  • How to keep your recipes easy in your cookbook
  • How to make a cookbook that people use, not just own
  • Why you need Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery
  • How digital publishing allows would-be cookbook authors to reach their audience
  • How digital books appeal to the impulse cooker — a built in audience!
  • The changing definition of “book” when cookbooks are concerned
  • What changes in digital publishing are of interest the modern cookbook author
  • How the digital format will change food-based book publishing
  • What cookbooks will look like, act, and feel in the future
  • The ultimate tip for the chef or foodie wanting to write a book

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices were a Beer Hop Breakfast, 18th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA, and a Yuengling, which is really hard to spell.

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

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Blog to Book: A How-to Hangout | Books & Beer

workstation by hobvias sudoneighm

workstation by hobvias sudoneighm

On this episode of The Books & Beer Hangout, we spent a great 25 minutes with Pamela Slim, a seasoned coach and writer who helps frustrated employees in corporate jobs break out and start their own business. Our topic was making the transition from blogger to published author, something Pam did herself with Escape from Cubicle Nation. Here’s what you’ll learn from watching the episode:

  • Happy accidents that allow blogs to turn into books
  • Why you shouldn’t take the first “no” for an answer when courting publishers
  • Why business goals should come before publishing goals
  • How to build an online presence to make your name before you publish your book
  • How much more work it takes to write a book than write a blog
  • Tips on organizing your blog posts to help the book-writing process
  • The right mix of new content and existing blog content for your book
  • How publishing a book changes how you blog
  • Using a blog as a sounding board to experiment with book ideas
  • Requirements for your publishing proposal when going from blog to book
  • Getting organized when it’s time to go from blog to book
  • Choosing traditional publishing or self-publishing when going blog to book
  • The part of publishing that bloggers just aren’t good at
  • Pam’s top tips on making the successful blog to book crossover

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Collage Conflix Series & Dale’s Pale Ale.

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

Can’t see the video embedded above? Download the video or watch it on YouTube.

Writing & Publishing Science-Based Books | Books & Beer

Scientists: Are we producing too many? by MaRS Discovery District

Scientists: Are we producing too many? by MaRS Discovery District

Phil Plait and Larissa Hammond join us for an episode of The Books & Beer Hangout that’s laser-focused on science-based books. Phil (astronomer, science evangelist & author) represents the author-scientists, and Larissa (librarian and science-spreader) covers the discovery side. Together, the four of us covered much ground, including:

  • The importance of the hook and storytelling in science-based books
  • Maintaining accuracy while applying artistic license
  • Should more scientists write books for the general public
  • How librarians know everything without actually reading everything
  • Where the gap exists for those who want to try their hand at writing science-based books
  • The role of hobbyists and amateurs in writing science-based books
  • How scientists can leverage their jobs to find great books to write

Several book recommendations were made by both our guests, including:

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Full Sail’s Initial Pub Offering Phil’s Existential Alt , the Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout and a Fat Ale Scotch from Silver City Brewery!

The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

Can’t see the video embedded above? Download the video or watch it on YouTube.

Write what you know… people want to buy.

Recently I had the pleasure of attending Book Expo America in NYC. BEA is squarely aimed at publishers and other service providers rather than focusing on authors directly. And that’s what I think makes so many authors attend: the chance for exposure to those publishers and service providers.

The trouble is, most of those publishers and services providers aren’t looking for new and/or undiscovered talent. They attend BEA to make industry connections, find large-scale business partners, and to generally socialize with their existing cadre of talent and peers.

Notice the disconnect? Two groups of people that should meet, but with completely different expectations and agendas. That’s not a good position to be in when you’re trying to get noticed. Yet it’s a similar situation authors find themselves in when they approach an even more important group: their would-be readers.

Yes, yes… it’s important to write what you know. And no, no… I don’t think that military history writers should jump on the mommy porn bandwagon. That’s just silly. But not doing any market research before embarking on a new project is even more so.

You must research what is selling currently. You must know not only who the key authors in your space are, but precisely what they are working on next. You need to know how the tastes and styles within your genre have changed over time. And you need to know exactly how people are finding new works in the areas in which they are interested.

How do you do this? Research. Patience. Diligence. Loads of reading. And by staying up on the tools and technologies that help you understand trends and how they change over time. Most importantly, you do it by being self-aware and not letting fate lead your next decision on what you should try and get published.

Pay attention. Become a student of your craft. Find that sweet spot that blends things you are passionate about with things people are passionate about. When you find it; write it.

Collaboration for Digital Authors | Books & Beer

1966... rec room party by James Vaughan

1966... rec room party by James Vaughan

Author Bliss Morgan and editor Doug Lance share their stories of collaboration with us on this episode of The Books & Beer Hangout. Both make great use of digital tools in their collaboration efforts with authors. Over the course of 25 minutes we talked about:

  • How collaboration today is dependent on digital technology
  • How to encourage collaboration with digital technology without being a geek
  • How “happy accidents” can turn into great collaborative projects
  • How Bliss uses collaborative writing circles
  • How Lance crowd-sources a 150-page fiction magazine every month
  • The best free collaborative writing tool you’re probably not using
  • AND THEN GOOGLE HANGOUTS DIE FOR 15 SECONDS! (9:42)
  • How to move from collaborative content to final publication
  • Collaborating on scales large and small
  • How emerging technology might improve to enable even more collaboration
  • Dealing with trolls, idiots, and generally not helpful people that tend to gravitate toward teh internets

And there was the obligatory drinking of beers. Tonight’s choices: Harpoon’s Catamount Maple Wheat, Hofbräu Munich Weize, Bell’s Hopslam & the Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout. Tasty!


The Books & Beer Hangout is broadcast live every Thursday night at 6P/9E as a Google+ Hangout on Air and on YouTube Live! Circle ePublish Unum on Google+ to watch live, and to join The Books & Beer Hangover right after the show to chat with hosts and participants live!

Can’t see the video embedded above? Download the video or watch it on YouTube.