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Read my new book, The 10 Best Things You Can Do For Your Bird at Amazon or at many other fine distributors like Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more.

By public demand, and after a delay of an embarrassing number of years, I've finally put my notorious essay, Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman, free on the fabulous internets.

A bibliography of my published books and stories.

Here's a simple card-counting FAQ to get you up to speed on the basics. Here's the true story of the notorious DD' blackjack team, told for the first time on the fabulous internets. No other team went from a starting investor's bankroll of zero to winning millions of dollars.

A Sadean take on Asimov's classic Three Laws of Robotics can be found in Roger Williams' NOW REVIEWED ON SLASHDOT!!! The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect. Adult readers only please -- explicit sex and violence. For updates on the "Dead Tree Project" and other topics, you may visit the official fan site, Passages in the Void..

My Bird Lists -- My Louisiana State Life List, My Yard List and, tah dah, My World Life List.

HEY! What happened to the Peachfront Conure Files? The world's only OFFICIAL Peachfront Conure site now features free peachfront conure coverage, including a magazine length Intro to Conures previously published in American Cage-Bird Magazine, now free on the web. I offer the best free Peachfront Conure information on the internet. If you have great Peachfront Conure info, stories, or photos to share, contact me so I can publicize your pet, your breeding success, your great photograph, etc. on my site. Thanks.

my rant about useless advice to believe in yourself, you know what, it ain't about you and what you believe

2012-05-17 - 7:53 a.m.

A couple of my LinkedIn posts:

A young lady in the Nonfiction Authors discussion asked what advice you would give an aspiring writer. I said this:

There are too many writers already, and we are being paid less for our work than we were in 1920. A penny a word? That's a generous offer on eLance! I don't know where you live, but around here, there has been considerable inflation since 1920. The VERY first thing I tell aspiring writers is to investigate what writers actually earn and then to ask themselves how they will feel when they can't pay for basic expenses such as food and health insurance. We live in a global world now, and we are bidding for jobs against guys in Bangladesh and India. If you can't live on what the guys in Bangladesh can live on, and you're bidding for writing jobs against these guys, what kind of life are you going to create for yourself? How are you going to feel about being a writer when you understand that, for most people, it means that you won't be self-supporting? People see that I have a nice lifestyle, but they don't see what I did to get here. I had the opportunity to play on a blackjack team, but most aspiring writers I've known have ended up exploiting family and friends, which creates a very destructive situation. The best thing you can do for MOST aspiring writers is to encourage them to keep the writing as a hobby, so that they won't learn to hate it and themselves.

There were several other answers, some of them genuine and helpful, but the thread soon wandered off into the usual crap advice that is all sound-byte and no content. The one post that really got me shaking my head came from a lady who said that she took ten years to publish her first she feels qualified to comment anyway? Argh! I followed her post with this. Then I realized that LinkedIn is supposed to be a networking site, so I can't say what I really think. So I deleted my comment there. You will just have to read it here.

Katherine, I guess I don't know if the original poster wants to write as a hobby, or if she actually needs to earn money. Writing to express yourself is completely different from writing to sell your work. Since we eat every day, IF we are writing as professionals, we cannot wait 10 years to get published.

"Believe in yourself" is, in my humble opinion, a complete waste of time for the professional writer. Forget about yourself if you want to write nonfiction. It ain't about you. It ain't about your passion. It ain't about what you believe. It's about the READER. Find an under-served area and target those people who are looking for the information you can offer. "Believe in yourself" on your own time. My publisher, [T.F.H. Publications] a specialty publisher, was the very first publisher I approached. Not because I'm so smart but because I worked up a proposal and then actually did the research to find out which publisher bought that kind of material. There was only one. Do you like people who knock on doors? So why would you assume that's a good way to make sales? Target, target, target.

As a rather timid person who absolutely does take rejection personally, I am very glad I wasn't tough enough to "believe in myself." By your own admission, it cost you ten years. I'm betting that many writers are, like me, rather quiet and sensitive. We can't spend ten years of our limited human lifespan wandering about in the desert being crushed by rejection. We need success. If you're failing for that length of time, you DO need to take it personally and figure out what the heck you're doing wrong, because you can't change what anybody else is doing. You can only change what you're doing.

To Lucy and Jennifer, I would say this: Absolutely be afraid to wait, if you're an aspiring PROFESSIONAL. The longer you wait, the longer you go without success, the more the harm done. The implications of not earning money for long periods of time, especially in the early and middle part of one's career, can be absolutely devastating. Heck, didn't any of you read The Black Swan? This isn't secret information. The people who publish early have a huge advantage over the people who don't.

Stop screwing around with believing in yourself. Have a little humility and honest self-doubt. Maybe, just maybe, if it is taking all these years to get published and paid for your work, you're doing something wrong. I can't be the only person on the internet who was ever wrong!

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