This week I have the good fortune of interviewing my editor (and good friend) Scott Morgan about his upcoming release of How to be a Whiny Beeyotch, 71 excuses meet the back of my hand. Scott has (thankfully) been applying his boot to my backside for a year now in helping me publish work that’s worthy of my readers, and I’m thrilled he has a new release on the way. I’ve read it, and it is hilarious, down to earth and in his trademark style of being relateable and honest.
What was your inspiration for How to be a Whiny Beeyotch? Briefly, let me thank you for the interview. I very much appreciate your support for my work in general and this book in particular. So thank you. My inspiration for this book was that I got tired of hearing the excuses. I’m amazed how many authors there really are out there, now that writers can publish and distribute their own work. So many people finish novellas and novels that take them months, even years to write. But so many more people keep finding creative reasons to not write, and it struck me that individuals always seem to think their excuses are unique and bulletproof. They’ll say “I’m too busy to write” as if we’re all not up to our chins in daily life. I got tired of hearing it. And the title is a reflection of my lack of sympathy for people who claim they want to write but complain how they can’t.
You’ve shown time and time again the incredible ability to be very honest in your non-fiction work. Who or what do you consider to be the biggest influence on your style of writing? My great-grandmother had a saying: “Everything eventually comes out in the wash.” And she’s right. Eventually, all lies and secrets are exposed. So from a practical side, there’s no point to lying. But I also find dishonesty to be disrespectful and unhelpful. Not to mention labor-intensive. People work so hard on keep up bullshit facades, when just being straightforward usually save so much trouble. So my approach to honesty is just ingrained in me, in large measure. But as for the way I write or speak or however I communicate ‒‒ the actually style ‒‒ I’m not sure there is any one major influence. I’ve always responded to artists, performers, and writers who go for broke. The ones who speak from their hearts and dare to keep trying new things, and be themselves whether they succeed or bomb. I think all communicators owe it to their audiences to be as truthful as possible and to push their audiences to do better.
You’re releasing How to be a Whiny Beeyotch in not only ebook format, but Print-On-Demand (POD) format as well. How have you found the process of formatting for POD compared to ebook formatting? I haven’t actually done the formatting for a POD book yet, so I’m a little nervous. Ebook formatting is grueling enough, since there’s no single way to do it. You have to tailor the text to the individual seller site’s format. So I’m not much looking forward to formatting this in any capacity.
How to be a Whiny Beeyotch will be your first release as an audio book. What has been the best part of the process, and which has been the most frustrating? What suggestions can you give to new authors to make the process easier? Seven or eight hundred years ago I went to film school to be a director (like everyone does when they go to film school) and fell in rapturous love instead with sound design ‒‒ the actual building of the sound environment you hear in a movie. So my audio tooth was already in place. The most fun thing for me is just playing with the soundscape, so I’ve really enjoyed recording and, when the software isn’t being a prima donna, editing the sound clips. I’ve also really hated the recording and, when the software is being a prima donna, editing. I live near an airport so it’s hard to record a full page of text without long pauses while the planes roar over. And cutting the pops and lip smacks out of an audio track is tedious work. You have no idea how many wet-sounding noises you make when you talk until you’re charged with getting rid of those sounds. For anyone interested in making an audio book, my biggest tip (other than the obvious, get quality equipment) is to write text to be spoken. This works better in nonfiction, of course. Fiction has a different vibe to it. But if you’re writing a nonfiction book, say a how-to, write text that reads as if you’re talking, not reading. It also helps to have a clear voice. I don’t like my own voice, but some people say I sound like a radio guy, so I hope the sound of me narrating a book is not too hard to listen to.
You’ve recently added cover design services to your massive list of things you can provide through WriteHook. What other services do you offer? Ah yes, cover design. That’s often the most fun part of the post-writing process for me, and it struck me that doing cover design complements and completes my other services. I’ve edited books and been asked to design covers afterwards, so I thought it was time to put that on the list of services. First and foremost I consider myself an editor. I edit short stories, fiction, nonfiction, novels, doctoral theses, manuals, whatever. Just not poetry. My editing is also a form of consulting for writers. I don’t just edit and critique, I try to offer direction and guidance via the editing process. As a writer, I freelance for print and online publications. I do business writing too, though it’s not really promoted on my website. I’m considering telling writers that I could write press releases and other promotional materials on their behalf. I was a longtime print journalist, so I know how media outlets think, and I know that writers like to think they can write every kind of writing, even though that’s not necessarily true. Writing for promotion and to get into the newspapers takes a different approach, and given that most indies have the most trouble with marketing and promotion, it might be good to offer that service. I also do proofreading and spot critiques. Proofreading is exactly what it sounds like ‒‒ going over the text for punctuation, grammar, etc., but not offering any story edits or critique. Spot critiques, which I originally called my “Fast, Dirty & Cheap” service, is when I read through a work and give an overall of what’s working (say, good characters and a neat plot device) and what’s not (say, stilted dialogue) without getting into specifics. Like the original name suggests, spot critiques are quick, inexpensive feedback to help writers see where they might be missing something.
What can we expect from you in 2013? I have a notebook full of project ideas for this year. Books-wise, there will be more nonfiction titles aimed at motivating and helping writers get to work and believe in themselves. If the planes and equipment cooperate, those should be available in audio as well a print and ebook. I will be recording Character Development from the Inside Out for audio as well. And I’m re-releasing my short fiction in February. Haven’t come up with a title yet, but it will combine most of my previously (and currently out of print) work from Short Stack, Tryptic, and Love/Sex/Soul. More videos and webinars are on the way, and I’m developing video/audio courses based on my classes and workshops that will be available (I hope) through mobile and online platforms as well as on CD/DVD. I have helped a lot of people by actually teaching and doing live workshops, so I want to put them together in a way people can get them and use them whenever they like. I’ll also be doing some live workshops.
And finally, tell the good people how to not be a whiny beeyotch: The simplest way to not be a whiny beeyotch is to shut up, get over yourself, and get to work. As I say in the book, there’s nothing wrong with not being a writer. If you’re not a writer and don’t want to be, fine. Just stop with the “oh, woe is me” crap if you do want to be a writer. The only way to be a writer is to write. People also need to stop buying into bullshit myths that being a “real” writer means writing brooding, gritty pieces, or means that you have to get published by Random House or something. Certainly, I’d love it if Random House picked up something of mine, but if they never do, I’m still publishing. I find that what most excuses come down to are time and motivation. People say they have no time, but mostly they don’t have time management. Writers also have a tough time staying motivated because writing is an isolated pursuit, generally. I’m trying to make them feel less lonely and more able to take charge of their own work.
How to be a Whiny Beeyotch, 71 Writing Excuses Meet the Back of my Hand will be available in print and ebook format on Friday, February 8, and available in audio book on Monday, February 25.
Scott Morgan is the bestselling author of Character Development from the Inside Out and How I Make A Living In Writing, and is also the author of two short fiction collections, Short Stack and Tryptic. His latest book is How To Be A Whiny Beeyotch: 71 Writing Excuses Meet the Back of My Hand. Scott is also one of the contributing authors of Four Paws, The Quillective Project’s 2013 release to benefit a non-profit organization. Scott is the president of WriteHook (Write for the Jugular), an editing and writing services company for fiction and creative nonfiction. He also is a teacher, presenter, and speaker.
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