I have teamed up with Jim to bring his publishing vision to life. I will be writing articles on this blog which will lean toward the publishing and marketing of content online. For the last 25 years I've been advising publishers and aggregators on the best methods to leverage their content online.
Jim Kuiken and I met through our association with Veterans 360, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping returning combat veterans integrate into civilian life and removing the stigma that is associated with PTSD. That’s a tall challenge.
Over the last couple of years, Jim and I have discussed many things, including the series of books he is writing on becoming and being a warrior and protector of freedom. If you don’t know him, I can tell you that he is an extremely dedicated and disciplined man who has a real and compelling story to tell.
We began to discuss partnering to make sure his story could be told and how we could work together to make that happen. We have come to realize that we can use our individual strengths to ensure the story gets told.
Being an author is hard enough. Most people can’t get past the actual pain and suffering that goes along with writing a book. Then, when you’re done and your masterpiece is ready to be released into the world, you realize that you need a little help.
Traditionally, the publishing house that puts your book out into the market has a vested interest in making sure your book does well. They would put a marketing plan together, make sure you met the right people, helped you to develop the right message, and put you on the road to sell your book. Being accepted by a publishing house used to be your ticket to legitimacy. An author would dream of getting a six figure advance. Let’s face it, unless you’re a BIG name author, that is just a fantasy.
It’s getting harder and harder to get accepted into those hallowed halls of legitimacy and even if you get in, it is no guarantee of success. Publishing houses don’t spend much on first time authors. So if you publish yourself or you publish with a big time publishing house, the marketing will more than likely be left up to you.
Here are things you need to know if you are going to try to sell your book beyond your immediate family.
You need to know:
Know how to present yourself online. Your image is everything and you need to know how that image needs to be presented to the folks that are interested in buying your book. How do you create the right image? You need to dig deep and discover who you are and where your passion exists.
Know Your Audience
Do you know who your audience is? Where do they hang out? You need to research how to connect with the people with whom you want to generate interest. You want to attract people who will be interested in the material you are writing about. So it naturally follows that you need to connect to people like you who are interested in the same things. Then, if you are genuine and true to yourself, you will attract the right audience.
Know Your Craft
If you are an author, writing is what you are all about. You live, breathe, and wallow in the writing of your material. It engulfs you, it taunts you, it tells you that you aren’t enough, and then you conquer the demon who accuses you by persevering. You work through the hard parts and get to the meat. You make your story known. You must spend as much time as you can communicating and building your audience. Get into their heads so they will never forget you.
Know the Media
Learn where and how to communicate with your audience. Is your audience on Facebook? Is your audience on Twitter? Is your audience on RallyPoint? People learn about books and authors on Goodreads, as well. Learn how to communicate with your audience where they hang out.
I am grateful to be teaming up with Jim to help him get his story told. We will keep you posted on progress and you might even get a glimpse at a line or two from the book along the way.
Subscribe to our email list to get weekly updates from Jim and follow as he works through his adventure.
What is Your Reality…
Warrior Mindset or Popular Characterization?
Let’s dispel some myths.
This generation is weak and self-pitying. It seems like everyone has “PTSD” today. We were much stronger back then… Really? In the Civil War, it was called “soldier's heart”. In WWI, shell shock, combat fatigue or war neurosis. In WWII, gross stress reaction. In Korea, combat exhaustion. In the 60's, post-Vietnam syndrome, and stress response syndrome. In the ‘80s, it picked up the name Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and now, some are lobbying to remove the “Disorder” from PTSD, making it plain old Post Traumatic Stress. This has been around and documented at least as far back as the Book of Job, the Mahabharata, and the Greek historian Herotodus.
You weren’t a combat soldier, so you can’t have PTSD. First…not all military servicemembers or veterans are “soldiers”…a REAL pet peeve of mine. Army – and ONLY Army personnel are soldiers. Marines, sailors, airmen, coastguardsmen, etc., etc., are also military servicemembers that can be (and are) involved in combat (and most of us do not like being called “soldiers”).
Secondly, PTSD is a reaction to a stress inducing and/or traumatic experience. Anyone who has experienced a car wreck, rape, violent act, and any number of other situations can have PTSD. For the purposes of my writing, I’m focusing on people who may have a traumatic experience due to their job – i.e., military (servicemembers and veterans), field intelligence operators, first responders (law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel), and emergency room medical personnel (nurses, doctors, and other hands-on staff).
Most importantly, if you have PTSD, you are disabled, possibly mentally or emotionally unstable, a “victim” of your circumstance, and should be taken care of, pitied, or feared. Horse pucky! Read my lips…I AM NOT A VICTIM. Do NOT coddle or pity me.
General James Mattis, a recently retired combat Marine really lays it out in his recent opinion piece about “The Meaning of Their Service”, “the clarifying effect of combat experience, the poison of cynicism and how veterans can help revive American optimism”, where he talks about “post-traumatic “growth”” among other things. He goes on to talk about coming “home stronger and more compassionate, not characterized as damaged, or with disorders, or with syndromes or other disease labels. Not labeled dependent on the government…”.
People are affected by many events, especially in traumatic circumstances. Some may break a bone, some may receive other injuries or lose limbs, suffer traumatic brain injuries, etc. Many of these people go on to mitigate, deal with or even overcome the symptoms and “limitations” of their injuries. We’ve all been inspired by these stories. PTS“D” is the same as any other combat or traumatic event injury. We need to recognize that as a fact. As a good friend (Exec. Director of Veterans 360) has often said, “PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation”, and it needs to be de-stigmatized.
It may seem trite, but one of my favorite quotes embodies the spirit of many who choose this way of life: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche
Yes, there are effects, but PTSD is a treatable condition, something that can generally be dealt with, managed, and even overcome. The stigma of the “Vietnam Vet” being lost, dangerous, unstable…was and is just as false (and disgraceful) as the current one of all the deranged, wandering souls and disaffected vets from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Gen. Mattis goes on to say “For whatever trauma came with service in tough circumstances, we should take what we learned—take our post-traumatic growth—and, like past generations coming home, bring our sharpened strengths to bear, bring our attitude of gratitude to bear. And, most important, we should deny cynicism a role in our view of the world.
We know that in tough times cynicism is just another way to give up, and in the military we consider cynicism or giving up simply as forms of cowardice. No matter how bad any situation, cynicism has no positive impact. Watching the news, you might notice that cynicism and victimhood often seem to go hand-in-hand, but not for veterans. People who have faced no harsh trials seem to fall into that mode, unaware of what it indicates when taking refuge from responsibility for their actions. This is an area where your example can help our society rediscover its courage and its optimism.”
All those who have been injured (physically, psychologically, spiritually, etc.) in the line of duty – regardless if it was in the military or other public service – are stronger for their experiences, and for the commitment to overcome any limitations stemming from those injuries. They deserve to be respected and honored for their dedication to helping others and protecting our country and its citizens, even at the risk of their own life and personal safety.
I am NOT a VICTIM. The next time you see a wounded or disabled person, or meet someone who is dealing with the effects of PTSD, don’t look away. Don’t fawn over them, pity them, thank them profusely to the point of embarrassment, or treat them differently. Look them in the eye and treat them with the dignity and respect you would want if you were in their situation. Trust me, we’re a lot stronger than you think…
Have You Made a Difference?
When I first came off of active duty with the Marine Corps back in the ‘70’s, I went into law enforcement for a few years before I finally got my dream job as a 3rd generation Boise City Firefighter (and EMT).
My daughter Christy, although she was still very young at the time, had a sharp, inquisitive mind and always asked a lot of tough questions. I remember one day when she got to come visit me at the fire station. She was standing next to me holding my hand, and she looked up and asked “Daddy, why do you always do the dangerous jobs?”
I had never thought about it that way, so that one really set me back on my heels – and actually choked me up a bit. I paused for a moment and then got down on one knee so I could look her in the eyes, and put my hands on her tiny little shoulders. When I answered I said “baby, I don’t always do the dangerous jobs…I just do the jobs where I can help people – they just happen to be dangerous.” I could see her little brain kick into overdrive as she took that in.
This is why my writing is about the military, field intelligence operators, veterans, law enforcement (even though the current populist fad is to knock the police), firefighters, emergency medical personnel (in the field/on the street, or in the emergency rooms), nurses and doctors…and all others that put their lives and safety on the line to help or protect others.
One of my favorite quotes has always been from Ronald Reagan, when he said "Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." Even though I happen to be a Marine, I still include all these other public servants (in the true sense of the words “public” and “servants”) as those who don’t have to wonder if they’ve made a difference in this world. They truly save the world for each one of the people they help.
There is a price to be paid for that service. Whether military, first responder, caregiver or other, each person is affected by the tragedies they witness, the loss and violence, the inhumanity they deal with, and the suffering they endure. These effects extract a toll on each of them – and through them, on their families. As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free”, regardless of what some of those in the counter-culture may think (or not think).
Regardless, these courageous men and women continue to step forward, some paying with their physical lives to safeguard your future, while some pay with their own well-being (physically, mentally and spiritually), as do their families. Why do they do it? Ask them… I will continue to try to tell their stories.
I ended my previous post with this quote, but it bears repeating here. If you ever wonder if you’ve made a difference, consider this.
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal." Albert Pine
Graphic Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo
Back by popular demand!
Well…not quite back. I’ve been periodically writing and posting a blog about various subjects as various events unfold, but I haven’t been writing an ongoing series of posts. So many of you have asked for an ongoing blog that I’ve decided to take on a weekly series.
In the past, I’ve posted about military and veteran / service member subjects, such as Purple Heart Day, National POW/MIA Day, Getting Real About PTS and TBI, and one a lot of you really liked, Gaining Freedom – A Personal Journey in Surviving PTS and TBI.
As a writer, I’ve also written several posts about books and writing. A couple of my personal favorites were the Veteran’s Writing Seminar, and several “meet the author / book signings”, like Run, Don't Walk by Adele Levine.
While I’ve enjoyed periodically writing and posting about these issues and events, I’ve had several discussions (usually pretty one-way, from several readers / followers, as well as family and friends), and have decided to move forward with the weekly series.
All that said, here’s what you can expect moving forward. I intend to post about the subjects that I am writing about in my series of books (the Warrior series, and the Protector series), as well as about various aspects of writing. In general, these would include:
Besides my weekly blog, don’t forget that I will still be posting book reviews, upcoming events, guest blogs and commentaries (separate and aside from my weekly blog), and other items that many of you have expressed interest in.
To continue to follow my posts please subscribe to the this blog and you will receive updates on posts that I include here. Just use the subscribe form to the right. Your name and your email will get you started. You can also rest assured that your information will be used only by me to communicate with you. It will not be passed to others - ever.
You can also follow me by using the buttons in the bar at the top of the website. You can follow me on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and Rally Point.
I want to thank all of you for your comments and suggestions, and look forward to sharing with you each week!
"What we do for ourselves dies with us.
What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal."