Zeedub Selfies: Sites, Shrooms, and Favorite Song
Posted on March 6, 2023

Name something you dislike doing so much that you’ll pay someone else to do it.

Changing the oil in my car. I grew up with a handy father who taught me the basics of auto maintenance, including changing the oil. It’s a nice skill to have, but it’s tedious, messy, and time-consuming. I would probably suck it up if the service cost a hundred bucks, but a quick stop at a lube shop is just too convenient and affordable.

Name some of the things that have the strongest distraction pulls.

The biggest distractions for me are gaming and gardening. I can lose hours to my favorite games, both PC and console. MMOs are the worst offenders because the worlds are massive and the quests are endless. Gardening is also a big time sink because I love tending to veggies and watching YouTube videos on optimization. I started growing mushrooms recently and the rabbit hole has been shockingly deep.

My first batch of oyster mushrooms. Yum!

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

If you are serious about success, publishing your first book will result in a huge process shift. Everything leading up to that debut will feel like slow motion in retrospect, in that you had all the time in the world to get it right. But once it’s out there, the marketing monster takes hold and you generate a reader expectation. From then on, your attention will be sharply divided between writing and promoting, so you write much faster with less time to nitpick. And if you don’t adapt quickly, obscurity awaits.

What’s the best way to market your books?

BookBub. Everything else is a distant second. They have a huge pool of readers that I can only dream of reaching on my own. BookBub featured deals are very expensive and hard to get, but they offer the only guaranteed ROIs in the game.

That said, word of mouth will always be the ideal way to market a book, but that spark is very hard to create and too random to predict. You have to get in front of eyeballs to generate that spark, and in that realm, BookBub is king.

Do you blog?

You are likely reading this on my blog, so I’m going with a semi-confident “yes.” The heyday of blogs with huge readerships is long behind us, so I don’t leverage it as an income source. From a personal standpoint, it’s a good place to organize my thoughts on writing and other interests. From a business standpoint, it’s a good funnel for website traffic.

Any website or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer?

Too many to count. There are very few standards in publishing, so websites and resources that lessen the burden is a cottage industry by itself. If I had to pick one to highlight, it would have to be the DIY Book Design website for creating 3D covers (which I still can’t believe is free). The images are great for launches, newsletters, and other promos.

What is the secret to becoming a best-selling author?

Depends on the list. If you want to become a New York Times Best Seller, you need an agent, some marketing magic, a great book, lots of money, and a healthy dash of luck. If you want to become an Amazon Best Seller, all you need is an understanding of sub categories and search algorithms. I actually wrote an entire piece on this subject, which you can read here.

Did the thought to give up writing ever occur to you?

All the time. Publishing is a cruel industry that takes hedonistic pleasure in crushing dreams. You need thick skin to endure it, but even the strongest hides can wear down to the point of burnout. “What’s the point?” is a question that needles my brain on a regular basis, especially after the pandemic slump. The current boom in AI isn’t helping either. There is no shortage of motivation destroyers, but I keep bouncing back. One day I won’t, and that’ll be it.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

This will be an unpopular answer, but it’s the honest truth.

If I could do it over again, I would not have published. I love to write, but slogging through the industry has greatly tarnished that love. Granted, I have finally reached a point where I know what I’m doing and make a decent income, but the juice has been nowhere near worth the squeeze. I would have much rather kept the stories to myself and shared them with friends. That said, I love my fans and they’re the only reason why I keep going.

What is your favorite song?

Wow, that’s a helluva question. Not genre, not artist, not album … favorite song. I could spend an entire month dissecting this, but I will answer with the first tune that popped into my head: Forty Six & 2 by Tool. That song infects my headspace more than any other. It’s my default hum whenever I’m on a walk, driving, or chilling in a waiting room.

Read more:
The Top Five Songs That Defined My Youth
Let’s Talk About Writer’s Burnout: No Tips, Just Talk
Can We Just Admit That Publishing is Hopelessly Broken?

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