John Locke’s ‘How to’ Changed My Life

Dreams are as light as fog and heavy as steal, but a mere shadow of doubt, can wipe them from being.  They are the light-bulb waiting to be turned on.  It is self-confidence, which drives the successful.  The ideas, plans, and energy, feed a champion, and drive them to succeed, where others have failed.

Two days ago I met a man.  I was introduced to him by Everett Powers, via Twitter.  He wrote a post about a man, whom I would imagine, is entirely unfamiliar with the word doubt.  John Locke has become the first indie author to reach 1 million ebook sales.  He has written a book, How I Sold 1 Million ebooks in 5 months.  Now to be clear, John Locke doesn’t know me, or my Extremely Average blog. I didn’t meet him, but met him through his words.  He wrote them especially for me, and possibly the other 699,999 indie authors out there, but mainly for me.

His book describes, in detail, exactly how he did it.

Never have I read a ‘how to book’, learned so little, and been so thankful.  There were very few things in his plan, which aren’t part of my plan.  He had multiple books 5 months ago, I have three right now (not counting the 78K word science fiction novel, I don’t like to talk about.)  He used the tools, which I have put in place, blogging and tweeting.  He has approached social media in almost the exact same way that I have, the last 18 months.  There was precious little I hadn’t thought of doing.

I read it in one day.  It has changed my life.

There is something about writing a novel, which is indescribable. To mold a world, fill it with people (good and bad), and decide its fate, is a powerful thing.  The first one, I wrote, came so easily, quite literally by accident.  Then I wrote another.  People kept reading.  I started to look for the ‘catch’.

There has to be a catch.

I added a few writers to my circle of friends on Twitter, and then they suggested a few more.  The links they shared were to lists of ‘Ways to Fight Writer’s Block’, ‘Strategies for Finishing that WIP’, and countless others.  I was eager to see how ‘real’ writers did things, but wear of shedding my most powerful writing gift­…ignorance.

Ignorance of grammar and spelling isn’t great, but it is a godsend when it comes to writing a novel.  The ‘real’ writers have to do everything that ‘pretend’ writers, like myself, have to do, but they have to do it after being trained to believe the ‘unwritten rules’ of writing.  I would share those rules with you now, but that is a post for another day.  In short, the writers of the world, who came before, have created a nearly impenetrable gauntlet of ‘Sacred Belief’.  They have, quite cleverly, I might add, made it almost impossible for their acolytes to succeed.  Or this is the impression I have formed from reading all those links.

I believe in my plan.  Believing is a heavy burden.  Doubt is most able to feed, when there is a vast plain of unknown, between the writer and the dream.  John Locke has demonstrated that it works.  He has patted me on the shoulder and said, “You are on the write path.”  (horrible pun…my bad)  What he has actually done is wiped doubt from my mind.  It was the best day of adult life.  (not better than the Big Red Machine winning the World Series in ’75 and ’76…obviously)

This is how a book, which taught me very little, has changed my life.  For the last 4 years, I have done little else, but spend my life, knee deep in virtual worlds and social media.  My understanding of the medium is greater than anyone new to the game, so I was able to build a solid plan.  It sounds like I am bragging, but I have a point.  If you haven’t spent 2 years making a living in the virtual world of Second life and a year making a living in social media, and you are a writer, then you will find his book a MUST read.  If you have a similar background in this new world, then you will enjoy knowing you were right.  Either way, I recommend that every one of the other 699,999 writers give it a read.  If you want to learn how to market something else, then you best get out your debit card and pick up a copy, too.  It is the best $4.99, I have EVER spent.

If you have even the slightest interest in success, then let me convince you to take action now.  Click on the link and buy the book on Kindle.  Don’t have a Kindle, then get the print version, or better yet, download a Kindle reader for your computer.  But buy the book now, because if you think about it for an hour, you will get distracted, and may never pick it up.  You will have headed down a path, which I am sure, will be less wonderful than the one I am on now.

27 comments
Brian Meeks
Brian Meeks

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. Since I wrote the post, I've launched my first novel. It has not gone like his books, but there have been sales. I think his point about having multiple titles is a valid one, but I also agree with you, that there are other pieces to the puzzle.

badpreneur
badpreneur

Great post - and I'm not sure if I agree with it or not! I read John's book but felt I had either missed something crucial or that John had failed to put something in it...

Either way MARKETING is essential to anything. Its a bit like spending months on designing a website and then launching it and wondering where the visitors are!

His marketing i think should be mixed in with other tactics that you might market a business for example.

These are just my views.

shawntheauthor
shawntheauthor

I read it in a day. I agree. I learned nothing, yet came out so much farther ahead. Truly inspiring.

kweiss01
kweiss01

Timely! I was just on a blog I like and a guest blogger I respect started out Part I of his 2 part series on publishing by saying it was basically impossible and not to bother my little head about it. I suspect Part II will be about the glories of successful writing, but darn it! I don't need to be told again how hard it is - anyone who's done any writing KNOWS how hard it is. What I want are tips on how to succeed!

JoeSputnikPI
JoeSputnikPI

I've been a professional writer for more than a decade and a student of writing for twice that. So I'm always interested when someone says they've just come to writing & don't feel the 'rules' apply. I strongly believe that a better understanding of the so called rules allows writers to transcend then and produce works that last the test of time (if you'll excuse the cliche!).

That's not to say that there aren't many great 'untrained' writers but they've most likely learned thru many years of reading other great work. I do not believe that writing a book in 8 weeks means it's not good but I worry that many who wish to make a name for themselves as novelists will find validation from those who've had quick success because they were 1st to market. Studying the art & craft of writing will not diminish your 'natural talent' any more than reading a cookbook kills the flavor of your own recipe. It simply opens new doors and helps you understand why this works or that doesn't.
I spoke earlier about the 'rules' of writing. I've studied them & tried to apply them to my own work and my greatest discovery was that they are more guides than rules. I guess my point is that writers (real or pretend) have nothing to fear from learning rules. You never have to 'unlearn' anything. I find greater freedom in knowing the rules. It's like a champion athlete at the peak of his game. He still has a coach and still practices the fundamentals because they are what allow him to take his game further than the average player.
And to John's book...I agree that it gives some great advice & is worth the $5. My only disagreement is with his notion that you have to have multiple books out before you start. There's no need to rush & as you said, whenever your book is ready, today or next year, there will be a market for it. This ebook thing is only gonna grow.
Believe in yourself as a writer (if you write, you're a writer...no 'pretend') but study the masters and grow as a writer.

SusanKellyBits
SusanKellyBits

Brian, you are right, I did enjoy your review very much. (You sent me here from Twitter.) I am impressed (in the sense that some little voice inside me said, pay attention to this) by your notion that the "conventional" ways to write may not be the best ways, just like the conventional marketing wisdom might just be wrong. May fortune smile on your endeavors!

"Dreams are as light as fog and heavy as steal . . . ." I see what you did there ; )

@SusanKellyBits (I don't know this livefyre?)

Brian Meeks
Brian Meeks

I would say that his marketing would be helpful to any writer, especially now that regular publishers don't really do any marketing for most of their authors. I would also say his points would be valid for marketing any entertainment product. I can imagine a musician having the same success with it.

I am not making my living in either right now, but that could change soon. I have been interviewed for a social media marketing position and hope to find out in the next few weeks. It would be a fun gig.

meghancward
meghancward

You're a good salesman! I'll buy the book and read it (although right now I'm taking a break from reading about social media to catch up on some other reading), but I have a few questions: Are his strategies ONLY useful for writers who plan to self-publish, or for any writer? Are YOU making a living in Second World and Social Media? How?

Shonali
Shonali

Jeez, Brian, I just coughed up $5 because of your post...!

Van_Stone
Van_Stone

I completely agree. I finished it in one night this past week. I, like you, have most of the pieces in place, I just need to tweak the way I'm doing it. The major downfall for me is that I only have one title available (furiously working on the second). Good luck with your quest!

Brian Meeks
Brian Meeks

I would be interested to hear what you think about it. Send me a tweet and let me know. :-)

kendallgrey1
kendallgrey1

That's quite a strong recommendation. Glad I already have Locke's book. Looks like I need to jump right on it. Thanks for the advice. :-)

bdorman264
bdorman264

The '75 series was memorable indeed and I remember because I was playing GI Joe deep in the woods somewhere in south Georgia and could only catch bits and pieces. It seemed it would never end and just kept going back and forth.

Did the book convince you that you are headed on the right path and yes, you can do this?

I've always wondered if you are better to keep your style and just let 'er rip or do you need to be trained in proper writing? I guess at the end of the day whatever is readable and people enjoy works, right?

Good to see you Brian and hope all is well.

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