Tony Noland on Writing: Be the Boss of the One-Man Circus Inside Your Head

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to feature this interview with Tony Noland as part of the Expert Author Series.

Noland is quite the accomplished fiction author. He specializes in science fiction, contemporary fiction, fantasy and horror while dabbling in westerns, noir and other genres. His fiction is often funny because, as he says, “the most dangerous things in the world are the ones that look the most harmless.”

Noland’s latest book is Verbosity’s Vengeance: A Grammarian Adventure Novel, a superhero science fiction book that appeals to anyone’s inner nerd.

Learn more about Noland and his writing at his website. You can follow Noland on Twitter at @TonyNoland and on Facebook.

Matt Gartland: Pursing a writing career can be a hard road, especially for fiction authors. What marquee struggles have challenged your career, and how have you overcome them?

Tony Noland: I wouldn’t say that my struggles to balance writing with family obligations and a demanding day job are necessarily any more notable that those facing anyone else.

One of the biggest challenges is maintaining the fire in your belly when you’re in the middle of the long slog of rewriting. Starting a project is scary fun and finishing a project is exhilarating fun. The rewriting in the middle is all sweaty work and nothing but. That’s the point when the million other demands on your energy and attention will all conspire to make you think your time is better spent on something else, either a new project or new opportunity that pops up, or an old project left on a back burner.

Read More

Shane Mac’s Best Advice to Writers: Write Drunk, Edit Sober.

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to feature this interview with Shane Mac as part of the Winning Edits Expert Interview Series.

Mac is the author of Stop With The BS, a collection of 75 funny, real, raw thoughts and occasional rants about starting a career, doing work that matters, and making a difference.

He’s also the Director of Product at Zaarly and the founder of Hello There. Previously, he spearheaded marketing for Seattle-based Gist, which sold to BlackBerry for millions. Mac is also an author, professional musician voted best wedding band in 2009 and has been featured on the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, CNN and the USA Today.


Matt Gartland: You wrote Stop With The BS to share what you’ve learned about careers and creativity with the pretext that you’re still learning. What have you learned about the writing/publishing process specifically or creativity generally through this experience? And what do you anticipate learning in the coming year?

Shane Mac: You can’t do it alone. There’s so many pieces that go into publishing a book, it’s important to find what you love and you are good at and get others to help with the rest. If you love layout and design, do that. If you’re a writer, find someone else to do the design. Someone to set up the distribution.

Read More

Personal MBA Author Josh Kaufman Breaks Down the Business of Books

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to feature this interview with Josh Kaufman as part of the Winning Edits Expert Interview Series.

Kaufman specializes in teaching professionals in all industries and disciplines how to master practical business knowledge and skills. His first book, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, is an international best-seller.

Learn more about Kaufman at his website,

Matt Gartland: Your first book, The Personal MBA, teaches how to master the fundamentals of business without the enormous expenses and time of business school. Such methods, instincts and knowledge are well suited for authors looking to control their own financial destiny. What are the business fundamentals that authors must master, and where should they start?

Josh Kaufman: The best place to start is by learning the fundamentals of business: concepts and relationships that are present in every business, from the smallest garage startup to the largest company in the world. It’s not difficult, and it doesn’t take long.

At the core, every business is simply a collection of five interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:

Read More

Colin Wright Pinpoints the Exciting Business Opportunities Emerging in Today’s New Book Economy

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to feature this interview with Colin Wright as part of the Winning Edits Expert Interview Series.

Wright is an author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler. He moves to a new country every four months based on the votes of his readers, and along the way runs businesses and writes.

Learn more at his blogbooks, or publishing community. You can also follow/contact him on Twitter and Facebook.

Matt Gartland: As an independent author and entrepreneur, what do you find most compelling about the business opportunities emerging in the wake of the publishing industry’s transformation?

Colin Wright: The publishing industry is definitely at the biggest crossroad its encountered since the development of the printing press, and its an incredibly exciting industry to work in as a result of that.

Most compelling, I think, is that for a long time that most difficult part of the publishing process seemed to be getting your work out to a lot of people. You could write something stellar or terrible, and either way when you’re done you would run into this wall that was unyielding and seemingly random in its determination as to who it would let through.

Read More

Why Authors Everywhere Should Cheer for Unified ebook Standards (A Chat With Nick Disabato)

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to feature this interview with Nick Disabato as part of the Winning Edits Expert Interview Series.

Nick Disabato is a designer and publisher from Chicago. He helps other people make Distance, a quarterly journal for long essays about design and technology.

Matt Gartland: You recently wrote a persuasive two-part essay on A List Apart about publishing standards. In part one, The Fragmented Present, you write that “Everybody suffers from our current system.” In a distilled form, what are the affronting conditions?

Nick Disabato: There are so many, but here are a few:

  • Amazon is strong-arming publishers and readers by locking them into their platform, driving down prices, and playing hardball with negotiations – even going so far as to remove all of a publisher’s books from sale.
  • Amazon and publishers are hurting libraries with hostile ebook lending terms.
  • Publishers are hurting themselves by releasing many ebooks well after the print release date, which encourages piracy.
  • E-reading platforms are hurting authors and publishers by instituting DRM, which also encourages piracy and hurts sales.
  • Authors are hurting the whole ecosystem by publishing with the “big six” in the first place.

Readers are affected on every side of this fight. Sometimes they benefit (such as from low prices); sometimes they suffer (DRM, lack of a standard ebook format). Mostly they suffer, though.

Read More