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How to be an APE

An introduction to a career as an Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur

Kyle Pratt speaking to the Lewis County Writers Guild

In one of his recent books, author and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, characterized writing in the modern digital age as becoming an APE, an Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur. After reading his book, titled APE, I concluded I already did the things he described. Since I liked the acronym I’ve continued to use it.

Kyle Pratt speaking to the Lewis County Writers Guild

So, when the Lewis County Writers Guild asked me to speak at their recent meeting I titled the talk, How to be an APE.

This is how the meeting was described on the guild’s Facebook page;  

You’ve finished the book, now how do you get it into the hands of readers without spending a fortune? It’s a matter of distribution and marketing. There are ways to distribute your book around the world without spending a penny. Marketing will cost, but it doesn’t have to cost much. In this introduction we’ll examine low cost ways to do both.

As you can see from that description much of the time was spent discussing how to market a book without going broke. This is a continuing problem for indie and hybrid APEs.

After a hiatus

One thing I enjoy about the Matrix is the different types of writers.

After a brief hiatus for an anniversary celebration, music and other summer events, the Lewis County Writers Guild is back meeting at the Matrix Coffeehouse.

That is where you will find me most Friday evenings. While writers regularly meet at my home, larger groups are easier at the Matrix. Also, more varieties of food and (non-alcoholic) drinks are available. However, the thing I enjoy most is the wide variety of writers that attend. Some are novice writers, others are professional. Most write fiction, but some prefer non-fiction. Many different genres are represented.

However, the motivation that keeps me coming is that we all wish to say something with our writing and so, together, we work to improve our skills. 

In the Matrix

Most people think of writers as reclusive loners.

While I suppose writers are introspective and some are shy, the writers I know like to meet, talk, read and even write as a group. This last Friday the Lewis County Writers Guild met at the Matrix Coffeehouse in Chehalis. The meeting started around five in the afternoon with social and eating time. Then, about 6:00 the meeting moved in a somewhat more formal direction. Author and member Jennifer Vandenberg presented an excellent talk on how writers can use social media sites like, Wattpad, Facebook, Goodreads to expand marketing exposure. She also talked about how to use WordPress to build a platform.

Most meetings of the guild are critique sessions, but the third Friday of the month is a more relaxed and social meeting.

The next critique meeting is this Friday, March 27th, at 5:00 pm. The next regular meeting is April 17th. If you’re a writer, or want to be, come and meet other writers.  

I Write Like

I often avoid gatherings where writers read from their work. 

I believe in my writing ability. I can draw the reader into the text and soon they hardly notice the words as they flow with the story, but when I read my own words I get nervous, and often stumble. So, I avoid those kinds of get-togethers. However, last night I forgot to check the agenda for the meeting at the Matrix Coffeehouse and went blindly to it. 

When I find myself in those situations I should just go first and get it over. That’s what I should do, but I don’t.

The organizers asked each author to bring a digital copy of their text. They then read from a nearby platform. When each author was done they used the website I Write Like to analyze the selection. Although we humans were stumped the website came back with names like H.P. Lovecraft and Margaret Mitchell.

I enjoyed hearing everyone read their selection and even enjoyed the comparisons from the website.

Ten or eleven people had gone before my name came up. I read from the only thing I had, a paperback copy of Through Many Fires. Although I was nervous and did stumble, I think I read well, at least for me.

Since I didn’t have a digital copy, my text couldn’t be analyzed by the website so, they asked me to do it when I got home.

Okay, everyone here it is…

  Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

I input my selection from Through Many Fires into the I Write Like website and. according to it, I write like Kurt Vonnegut, the author of Slaughterhouse-Five. Wikipedia says his writing is a blend of satire, gallows humor and science fiction.

The amusing thing for me is, I’ve never cared for Vonnegut’s writing.

I decided to test the website and input a selection from Titan Encounter. Now it said I wrote like James Joyce, another great writer that I don’t particularly enjoy. Next I entered the first portion of Final Duty and the website said I write like Arthur C. Clarke.

The third time was a charm. 

NaNoWriMo Kickoff!

National Novel Writing Month Began Today at Midnight.

Holly Straw, Paula Gill (Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo) and Kyle Pratt

Commonly shortened to NaNoWriMo (na-noh-ry-moh), the event challenges authors to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1st until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30th. That’s about 1,666 words every day of the month. I’ve written that much in a day before, but not every day for a month. If I take my birthday and Thanksgiving off, I would have to write 1,785 words a day. I’m not sure I can do that, but I’m going to see how much I can write in one month.

The kickoff event for my area of Washington State was at the Matrix Coffeehouse in Chehalis. I arrived at 10:30 Friday night and joined with about ten other writers. Until midnight we socialized and watched the strange people, some in costumes, walk by outside. It was during that time that introduced myself and learned everyone’s name and what they were writing. Unfortunately, when I awoke this morning I couldn’t remember most of it.

Just after midnight we began our writing projects. I wrote about 800 words before I left just after two this morning. That combined with what I wrote after waking this morning brings my total to 1695. A good start, but I’m going to have to do better to achieve the 50,000 word goal for the month.