Tag Archives: writing

And Now a Word From My Spokesperson…

Hey 3.5 readers.  Your old pal BQB here.

You know, this March will mark the third year anniversary of this fine blog, and though I love you all,  I must admit that in all of this time I have been sitting back and wondering when one of you readers would get off your shiftless, lazy hides and record a video testimonial of my greatness.

Seeing no such incoming video testimonials, I turned to Fiverr and found this delightful spokesperson, who was happy to educate the masses of my astounding brilliance.

In conclusion, this was the best five dollars I have ever spent and had I known it was possible to get women to say nice things about me by paying them I would have started doing it a long time ago.

Thank you, spokesperson.  That was an awesome testimonial.  In all humility, I truly deserved all of those wonderful compliments.

Meanwhile, this was my first time using Fiverr and I recommend it.  There are all sorts of talented folks waiting there to help you do awesome things with your website, blog, business, etc. so check out Fiverr.com

And finally, my spokesperson did such a fantastic job that I’ll give her a plug.  If you have a gig you’d like to throw her way, you can check out Stayingvintage on Fiverr.com

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Toilet Gator Sundays (Or, BQB’s Production Schedule)

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Hello.  My name is Bookshelf Q. Battler and I am a Book Cover Design Contest addict.

So here’s the deal.  I have finally reached the point where I can’t afford to buy any more book covers without publishing a book and getting some kind of return on investment, even if it is just enough to pay for the cost of the book cover.

So this will be my last book cover design contest for awhile.  Also, I hereby pledge to all 3.5 of you readers that I will not, not, not, start a new idea until all my previously started ideas are published.  I have to have some discipline or else nothing will ever make it to market.

Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts is almost there.  A pro is actually going over it and everything so there is light at the end of that tunnel.

I hereby declare my production schedule as follows:

  • BQB’s Writing Prompts – should be out well, I don’t know when, but I feel like April at the latest.  Could be sooner.  Doubt it will be later.
  • Zom Fu – Novel I am currently working on.
  • Toilet Gator – The idea popped in my head and I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Then I started a design cover contest and laughed and laughed and laughed.  Then I wrote the first chapter and laughed and laughed and laughed.  I’m going to have fun with this, but I don’t want it getting in the way of Zom Fu.  So, from now on, look forward to Toilet Gator Sundays.  Every Sunday, a new installment of Toilet Gator.  If I limit Toilet Gator to Sundays, then I still can find time to work on Zom Fu during the week.
  • Zomcation is half-written.  I just need to find the time to finish it.
  • Zombie Westerns – those will come next.

So there you have it.  Writing Prompts.  Zom Fu.  Toilet Gator.  Zomcation.  Zombie Westerns.  And then if I’m still kicking, my other ideas will see the light of day.

I’d love it if Prompts, Fu, Gator, and Zomcation could be done this year, and then next year is solely a Zombie Western year, and then 2019 I bring forth new ideas, but I realize things don’t always go to schedule.

At any rate, I must complete the books I have bought covers for before moving on.  I won’t buy covers for unfinished books in the future, but I had to do it this time around as I was losing faith and the seeing book covers made this all seem real.

Anyway, thanks for being my 3.5 readers.

 

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Do You Want to Write a BQB Writing Prompt?

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

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I’m in the home stretch of BQB’s 101 Writing Prompts book.

In the book, I invite readers to write stories based on the prompts and publish them on their blogs and Tweet me the links.

If anyone is interested, I’d love it if anyone wants to choose a prompt and blog their response.  Maybe the first week the book is out I could put your prompt based writings right here on this fine blog.

Anyone who wants to partake of my prompts, let me know.

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Zomcation Cover

Another cover for another book I have yet to finish writing.

“Oh hey, did you hear about BQB?  He ended up in the poorhouse, spent all his dough on book covers for books he never finished writing.  What an asshole.”

Oh well, what say you 3.5 readers?

 

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State of the Bookshelf – BQB’s Production Schedule

Hey 3.5 readers.

So, I’ve developed a bad habit.  Whenever I feel down, I commission a book cover.

It’s ok.  I’m gone to be done at three for awhile.

The other day I went back, looked at Zomcation, and realized that yeah, it’s pretty funny.  It’s also 50,000 words I rattled off in a month, leaving me to realize if the plot takes place in the present, there isn’t much to research, and it’s just a goofy project, the words come faster.

So I turned the 99 Design artists loose again.  Here’s my latest poll, please vote.

Here’s where my mind is:

THIS YEAR – Finish and publish BQB’s Writing Prompts, Zom Fu and Zomcation.

NEXT YEAR – Finish and publish three of my Zombie Western Books.

YEAR THREE – Depends how the books are doing but I would like to work on some of my mysteries.  We’ll see if anyone is clamoring for sequels.

At any rate, I’m not going to start anything that hasn’t already been started.  Whatever has started so far will be finished before a new idea is worked on and this is difficult because, believe me, I have so many ideas.

It’s time I’m getting short on.  It’s do or die time and I need to start churning out books if I’m ever going to have some time to enjoy being a self-publisher.

Plus, I need to throw my NWA style pool party.  Also, I have to save the world with my writing in order to stave off the Mighty Potentate’s invasion.

Thank you for listening, 3.5 readers.  Let me know if you have any advice or if you think any of my half written works deserves to be moved up in the production schedule.

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Happy Monday 3.5 Readers

I got nothing, so just wishing all 3.5 of you a happy day.

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BQB Writing Prompts Book Progress

Well, 3.5 readers.  It finally happened.

I got a draft of a book finished that I felt was worthy enough to print out:c2oksetxuaatafk

I know.  Very exciting.  But this is big.  I believe it will get done and sooner rather than later.

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Writing Prompts – Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

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BQB EDITORIAL NOTE – this is my heartfelt plea to get my book readers to come look at this fine website.  Let me know what you think, 3.5.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

             Are you a baby boomer like my grumpy Uncle Hardass? If so, I thank you for being a far out, groovy, outta sight reader and wish you well with your writing goals. You’re never too old to write. Never let a young whippersnapper tell you otherwise.  Don’t worry.  I hear tie-dye shirts and eight tracks are making a comeback.

Perhaps you are like me, a member of the often ignored Generation X. Sure, that flannel lumberjack shirt in your closet is getting dusty and there just aren’t enough clinically depressed, long haired Seattle based alternative rockers on the radio anymore, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of time left for you to pen your masterpiece and share it with the world.

Before I go, I’d like to share some wisdom with my millennial readers. (Don’t worry baby boomers and Gen Xers, it’s a free country, so you can read this next part too).

I have heard rumors that at least one of my three point five blog readers was born after 1990, but I have yet to confirm it. Occasionally, I post about things like rotary telephones and dial up modems just to figure out who was born during the Reagan or Clinton administrations. At any rate, if you are a millennial, you have no idea how lucky you have it.

I know. Every up and coming generation hears that. Uncle Hardass said it to me. Uncle Hardass’ uncle said it to him. The wheel of intergenerational complaints never stops spinning.

I’m not saying you have it lucky in life. Hell, I’ve seen the news. You’re probably going to be riding your mother’s basement couch until the next ice age (the cataclysmic event, not the children’s movie, although my condolences because you’ll probably be watching that with your parents too).

I’m saying you have it lucky as a creative person. Consider this thought: There has never been a time in history than the present moment in which creative people have had it so good. 

The good news is that thanks to technology, the so-called traditional publishing gatekeepers have been bypassed. The gate to creative fame is open and the self-publishing “barbarians” (i.e. unvetted folks with work they want to share with the world) are rushing head first toward the promised land of fame and fortune at a lightning pace.

The bad news is there are so many barbarians to contend with that it is easy for an individual barbarian’s voice to be drowned out. I’m sorry. I’ll drop the analogy. Creative people don’t like being called barbarians. Well, I know one guy in East Randomtown who doesn’t mind it so much but that’s a longer story for another time.

Where was I? Oh right. Lecturing the millennials. Millennials, when I was your age, if a creative person wanted to get anywhere, he had to kiss the butt of the assistant to the director of the creative department’s associate vice-president’s cousin’s boyfriend’s dog walker’s taxidermist’s mother-in-law’s pharmacist’s sister’s podiatrist’s acquaintance’s best friend’s support group counselor’s husband’s doctor’s niece’s nephew’s bird trainer in the hopes of getting some sort of introduction into the world of creative prosperity.

Put another way, the gates that held an artist back from living the life of a happy, healthy, financially successful person were sealed shut, locked tight, fortified, and guarded by armed soldiers, laser wielding robots, apache attack helicopters loaded with nuclear missiles and hungry, man eating pit bulls.

In short, way back when, you’d spend a year or two trying to find your “in,” hoping that if you straddle the scene of the publishing industry long enough, a friend’s friend of a friend might sneak you through the gate and help you bypass all of the attack helicopters and pit bulls and so on.

You, the millennial reader, have technology that just didn’t exist when I was twenty. You should still be polite, but you no longer have to kiss butts. You no longer have to completely rely on an introduction from a friend of a friend of a friend. You can take your blog and your social media accounts, post your very best work, and put it all together to form a hypothetical javelin that you can use to leap across that gate and land in the world of creative success. (Note: do keep trying to network. Seek those connections and introductions. Kiss those butts. You might find a butt attached to a person who can help you build your javelin faster or better yet, alleviate your need for a javelin and just open the damn gate for you).

I don’t make promises or guarantees. People who do are, more often than not, charlatans. Maybe you sing like an angel but no one is listening to the track you posted.   Your artwork might be worthy of a museum, but for whatever reason, your online gallery isn’t being bombarded with clicks. Perhaps you have written a book that makes Hemingway’s collective works look like a pile of puke, but readers aren’t finding it. It is possible to work your ass off in the indie game and still loose.

But, millennial reader, what you get courtesy of technology that past generations didn’t have, is a chance. That’s right. A chance. Building an online following takes years. Sure, there’s the occasional overnight success story where someone posts something in the morning and is on the news by suppertime, but for the most part, creative notoriety is a multi-year enterprise.

When I was twenty, the only avenue I had available to me to break into the world of professional writing was to start kissing butts and pray that one day I’d kiss the right combination of butts to make my dream come true. To me, it just seemed like way too many butts. Ultimately, I pursued a path that took me away from my love of the written word because I did the math and I was just not able to afford enough breath mints to compliment all of the the required butt kissing.

Now, with a laptop and a few affordable purchases from your friendly neighborhood electronics store, a whole world opens up to you – a world I never dreamed would ever exist when I was twenty.

Think about it. If you’re a writer today, you can:

  • Write your book.
  • Find an editor to polish it up.
  • Find a designer to provide you with an eye-popping book cover.
  • Inform the world of your masterpiece via social media.
  • Start a blog and use it to promote your work. Turn it into a place where people who are interested in your stories can find you.
  • Record a podcast. Interview other authors. Shoot the breeze about books.
  • Host your own web show. I prefer not to because I have a face for print, but you should turn on your web cam and start talking about your love of writing until the cows come home.

There’s a vibrant online community of self-publishers who will gladly lend you their advice. There’s also a budding industry of what I call “self-publishing support providers,” i.e. editors, cover designers, promoters and so on. (Although, let the buyer beware as some of these folks may be more helpful than others. Shop around, do your due diligence and talk to other customers before you shell out a bunch of money you can’t afford to lose).

In the end, you might invest a lot of time, money, and effort into a self-publishing endeavor only to fall flat on your face. But, and this is a big but (not to be confused with the big butts that Sir Mix-a-Lot wasn’t able to lie about), you get a chance.

Back when I was twenty, in nineteen hundred and whatever, up your nose with a rubber hose, you don’t need to know the exact year, I would have bare knuckled boxed a thousand meth addicted hobos, sailed across every ocean in the world, climbed the tallest mountain, and fought off a pack of angry wolves just to get a chance to make my dreams of becoming a professional writer come true.

If you’re a twenty year old, don’t blow your chance. Start your blog.   Launch your podcast. Throw caution to the wind and host your own web show. Be cautiously optimistic. Remember, the Internet is forever so don’t do something online that will make you unemployed and unemployable, but at the same time, revel in the fact that you have a chance. A career as a writer that isn’t built on a long line of kissed butts is theoretically possible, and hypothetically within your reach.

Baby boomers and Gen Xers, you should still embrace this technology, but millenials, you are in the best position to do so. Start a blog when you are twenty and you may just find yourself lousy with an astronomical amount of readers by the time you hit thirty. (You’ll need them to help you adjust to the new normal of what it is like to be thirty).

Then again, what do I know? I just run a blog with a mere three point five readers. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this book. Take these prompts. Use them as clay to build the bricks of your own stories. Don’t forget to post your prompt inspired works on your blogs and share them with me. My favorite time wasting social media sites are Twitter, where I am @bookshelfbattle and that Zuckerbergian monstrosity known as Facebook, where I am @bookshelfqbattler.

Better yet, bookshelfbattle.com is my online haven. Do stop by. My three point five readers are very lonely. Just don’t feed the Yeti. He’s fat enough as it is. Also, he eats people.

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Glengarry Glen Ross: Self-Publishing Edition (Or, Always Be Self-Publishing)

BQB’s EDITORIAL NOTE:  3.5 readers, I heard a rumor you guys are struggling with your self-publishing ventures lately, so I invited a special guest speaker to come in and motivate you.  Please welcome a young Alec Baldwin in his prime.

Blake:

Let me have your attention for a moment!  So you’re talking about what?  You’re talking about…(puts out his cigarette)…bitching about that book launch you shot, some son of a bitch reader that doesn’t want to read your book, somebody that doesn’t want to read what you’re writing, some broad you’re trying to screw but she won’t screw you because writers never get laid and so forth.  Let’s talk about something important.  Are they all here?

Williamson:

All but one.

Blake: 

Well, I’m going anyway.  Let’s talk about something important.  (To Levene) Put that coffee down!  Coffee’s for self-publishers only.  (Levene scoffs).  Do you think I’m fucking with you?  I am not fucking with you.  I’m here from downtown.  I’m here from a primo e-book sales site.  I’m here on a mission of mercy.  Your name’s Levene?

Levene:

Yeah.

Blake:

You call yourself a self-publisher, you son of a bitch?

Moss:

I don’t have to listen to this shit.

Blake:

You certainly don’t, pal.  ‘Cause the good news is you’re fired from my platform.  The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs as self-publishers, starting tonight.  Starting with tonight’s word count session.  Oh, have I got your attention now?  Good.  ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s self-publishing contest.  As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado.  Anyone want to see second prize?  Second prize is a box of steak knives.  (Holds up box of knives).

Third prize is you’re fired.  You get the picture.  You laughing now?  You’ve got words.  That fuck who wrote the dictionary went to a lot of trouble to get you those words.  Think about the right word combinations and write them!

You can’t finish writing a book with the words you’ve been given then you can’t write for shit.  You ARE shit, so hit the bricks pal and beat it because you are going out!

Levene:

The words are weak.

Blake:

‘The words are weak.’  The fucking words are weak?  You’re weak. I’ve been in the self-publishing business for fifteen years.  That’s right.  I went back in time and told myself to start self-publishing before any of this shit was even invented.

Moss:

What’s your name?

Blake:

Fuck you!  That’s my name.  You know why, Mister?  Because you wrote your novel tonight on a bargain basement, second hand Dell and I wrote my novel on a state of the art, top of the line Mac Book Pro.  That’s my name!

(To Levene) – And your name is “you’re wanting to self-publish but you’re too chicken shit to get off your ass and do it.”  You can’t play in a man’s game.  You can’t close out a book.

(To Everyone) – Because only one thing counts in this life!  Get readers to read your books!  Do you hear me, you fucking losers?

(Blake points to a blackboard.  Two sets of letters are written on it:  “ABS” and “ADIY.”)

Blake:

A-B-C.  A-always, B-be, S-self-publishing.  Always be self-publishing!  Always be self-publishing.

A-D-I-Y.  Always Do It Yourself.  Stop waiting for those traditional publishing pricks to give you the keys to the golden kingdom because it’s never going to happen.  Are you going to do it yourself?  I know you are because it’s fuck or walk.  You self-publish or you hit the bricks!

Do it yourself!  Who else are you going to do it for?  Christ?  Take action.  Get out there!

You’ve got the readers coming in.  You think they came in to get out of the rain?  The guy doesn’t come to your online book sales page unless he wants to read.  He is sitting out there waiting to give you his money!

Are you gonna take it?  Are you man enough to take it?  (to Moss) What’s the problem pal?  You!  Moss!

Moss:

You’re such a hero.  You’re so rich.  Why are you coming down here just to waste your time on a bunch of bums?

(Blake takes off his gold watch and shows it to Moss).

Blake:

You see this watch?  You see this watch?

Moss:

Yeah.

Blake:

This watch costs more than your car.  I made $970,000 on self-publishing last year, mostly on one book that had a really descriptive scene about a giant pair of titties.  How much did you make?  You see, pal, that’s who I am.  And you’re nothing.  Nice guy?  I don’t give a shit.  Good father?  Fuck you.  Go home and play with your kids.

(To everyone) – You want to self-publish here?  Finish writing a book!  You think this is abuse?  You think this is abuse, you cocksuckers?  You can’t take this, how are you going to take it when your book gets a one star review?

You don’t like it?  Leave.  I can go out there tonight with the words you’ve got and write myself fifteen thousand books.  Tonight!  In two hours!  Can you?  Can you?  Go and do likewise!

A-D-I-Y!  Get mad!  Get mad, you sons of bitches!  You know what it takes to sell books?

(Blake pulls a set of brass balls out of his brief case and dangles it in front of his crotch).

Blake:

It takes a set of brass balls to sell books.

Go and do likewise, gents.  The money’s out there.  You pick it up?  It’s yours.  You don’t?  I have no sympathy for you.  You wanna go out on those word count sessions tonight and rack up big counts then those words are yours.  If not, you’re going to be shining my shoes.

Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar.  (Speaks in a sad tone).  “Oh yeah, I used to be a self-publisher.  It’s a tough racket.”

(Blake takes a stack of index cards out of his briefcase).

These are the new words.  These are the Glengarry words.  And to you, they’re gold.  And you don’t get them.  Why?  Because to give these words to you would be to just throw them away.

These words are for self-publishers.  I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

(To Moss) – And to answer your question, pal.  Why am I here?  I came here because the book sales site asked me to.  They asked me for a favor.  I said, ‘The real favor?  Follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.’

(Blake heads into interior office).

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Writing Prompts – Misc Prompts 2

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The End is Nigh

You have just been given advance notice that the world will end in seven days.  There’s nothing that can be done to stop it.  You decide not to tell anyone.  Why cause a panic?  Instead, you set out to do all of those things you have always wanted to do but were always too afraid to.

What will you do and how will you cram it all into one week?

Wacky World Travel

The good news?  You get to travel around the world!  The bad news?  You transportation choices are a) a kangaroo’s pouch b) a hot air balloon or c) a jet pack.  Which will you choose and what adventures will you get in along the way?

 Worm Hole in Your Fridge

A jug of expired milk in the back of your fridge curdles so badly that it rips open a worm hole.  One night, while in search of a snack, you get sucked in.  What happens next?

Donkey Rule

It’s the future.  A race of intelligent donkeys have conquered the world.  Yes, I know sometimes it feels like that now but pay attention.  Some donkeys are good.  Some donkeys are evil.  Write a fantastic tale about a hero who sides with the good donkeys or if you prefer, a villain who works with the evil donkeys.

Will the donkeys kick each other forever or will peace be found?

Fun with Gravity

One afternoon, while microwaving a disgusting frozen dinner, you stand too close to the microwave.  Your molecules are scrambled, causing gravity to no longer have a hold on you.  You float everywhere.  You can only leave the house if a friend is willing to hold on to a tether attached to your belt.

Come on.  The stories that will come next write themselves.

One Word on Your Head

A law is passed requiring every man, woman, and child must write a single word on their foreheads in washable marker before leaving home in the morning.

Luckily, you get to choose your own word.  It can be as rude or as uplifting as you like.  What will your word be and why?

Dead and Breakfast

Sandy and Todd drive up to Vermont in the hopes of spending a long weekend at a countryside bed and breakfast.  When they arrive, they find that their room is lovely and the home they will be staying in comes with every amenity they could possibly want.

The catch?  The business is run by a couple of zombies.  That’s right.  Floyd and Edna Rabbajabba are a pair of fine, upstanding undead Americans.  They assure you that they will not eat your brains.  They subsist on a diet of cow brains.

You ask around town and discover that Floyd and Edna are beloved members of the community.  Yet, you feel like you couldn’t possibly get any sleep knowing that a pair of brain munchers are in the house.

Do you stay or do you go?

 World Peace or Fancy Fleece?

A magic elf informs you that you must make a choice.  You can have world peace or you can be a fancy dresser.  Everyone will be happy or you will be happy because everyone will think all of your outfits are awesome.  Worse, if you choose world peace, you will only be able to wear polyester.  Which option will you choose?

Hamlet Rewrite

Pick a scene any scene in Hamlet.  Add in the new character of Zack, the World’s Greatest Singing Pickle Farmer.  Zach must have at least ten lines and he must become a key part of the scene.

Three Things

Pick three items in your home at random.  Write a high octane action summer blockbuster movie script about those items.

Three Words

Open any book.  Close your eyes.  Point to a word.  Open your eyes.  Write the word down.  Do this three more times.  Write a love story that revolves around these words.

Time Yourself

A philandering race car driver, a psychopath and a poodle groomer are trapped on a runaway train.  The following words will be used: trout, uncouth, overt, perfume, wretched.

Check your watch.  Time yourself.  You can’t write the best story ever told but rather, the best story you can churn out in less than a half-hour.

 

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