Our Blog is moving to a new home!

Thank you to all who took the time to connect to our page.  We decided to migrate our blog onto our main website.  We will still offer the same weekly tips and ideas.  This was our temporary location for our blog until we reorganized our business model.  This had been an organic process and things have changed since this project began.  We have seen our ideas grow.  We started the site to share our work but we recently added services and a few new members to our team.  I hope you subscribe on our main site and continue to receive our updates.  We hope to offer more quality resources and posts for artists and writers.   We also plan to launch our own ebook publication called LittleLucyLovebugsBooks.  Stay tuned & Thank you again.

You can find us at mahieustudios.com.  Just click on our blog page! 

-Mahieu Studios Team

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Reach the finish line and get into the race!

Today, I hit the play button to a random podcast for the sole purpose of having background noise. I had no intention of actively listening. It was just something to fill the white noise around my desk. Then, something caught my ear. I didn’t catch the man’s name but he said made me laugh. He spoke about a conversation with someone else giving him a hard time. This business writer said, “My ugly published book is still better than you unfinished one”. My last workshop touched on the same point. Many of us still stuck in the stalls hold back from the race because we keep getting spooked. We keep waiting for the perfect moment. We keep editing something that should have been done. We get distracted by the shiny objects around us.

There a time when we need to just take off running. Race or no race. Why did you start in the first place? Those only in it for the money and fame will most likely fall behind real writers or quit. Do you want to be the quitter? Don’t make your own end a tragic tale. Think of your message. Stop hitting the edit button in your mind, and just focus. Sometimes, the raw part of our work is better and closer to the truth in our writing than the over-edited version. Does this mean we stop and upload something into Amazon before we do any editing? No, this would be the wrong answer and poor quality for our audience. The point is take a look at raw writing of your work and understand what you are trying to tell your readers. It means you need to stop being afraid of being finished with your work. The only time you should put down your pen or stop moving those fingers is when the work is done. Never be a failed dieter in your own writing because you didn’t empty all the contents locked in your mind. Miss a day? So what! Pick it back up and get your job done as a writer. Or do you want to the one going to workshops 10 years later because you are still daydreaming about being a writer? Be the writer and finish something!

– Mahieu

Question to all writers out there- What was your biggest hurdle this year? How did you overcome it?

Hi Everybody,

I just wanted to hear back from all you on these questions. Please leave your comments! Thank you.

This year my biggest hurdle was focusing. I have too many projects going and not enough energy left to complete them. To overcome them, I am finally forced to create a list of priorities. Someone at my last meet-up said to clean one tile at a time instead of the whole kitchen.

-mahieu

A typewriter and a Paris Cafe (Conversations with Ernest Hemingway)

The change in the cold weather finally got me. While I lay wrapped in my shroud of aspirin, cold medicine, and roll of toilette paper (no more kleenex to be found), I found myself aimlessly searching youtube videos and thinking of the old typewriter days. I started to picture Ernest Hemingway at an old Paris cafe sipping from his shot-glass penning into his notebook of inspiration. I had this romantic scene stuck in my head until I came across his true personality when someone listed his quotes. His tall voice would yell to his friend across the table, “write drunk, edit sober” before he headed home from the bar for a two hour session at his typewriter. The next day I pictured him crossing out nearly half of everything he wrote the night before. In the afternoon, he met with a local paper when new magazine reporter leans over the table and asks, “How is latest work going?” His reply is, “The first draft of everything is shit.” I laughed out loud at the scene playing out in my head and looked around to see if anyone noticed. I stopped laughing to myself when I remembered my first interview for a local newspaper. My notebook and pen wrote furiously. I forgot to turn on the voice recorder a few times. Then, there were the awkward pauses while I fumbled for my list of questions. I was the new and naive reporter pretending to interview the world’s icon. What was the problem with the fantasy interview in my head? I didn’t want to be the reporter or even interview him. I wanted to be him. Let me specify, I wanted to be the writer in the scene, so what the hell keeps stopping me? Well, in exploring this thought at least I managed to finish one paragraph. I imagine Hemingway himself would say- “get your pen out and see what the hell you have to say about it.” As writers, we don’t know our voice until we let the pen bleed dry. So, get writing! Hey, it’s a little bit nicer than what Mr. Hemingway would say to you.

Mahieu
“Write drunk, edit sober.” Ernest Hemingway
“The first draft of everything is shit.” Ernest Hemingway

Finding your social network – a meet-up group

The weather has turned here in the upper Mid-West. I am waking up in the dark and going home just as the last few rays of sunshine fall behind the downtown Minneapolis Skyline. How can I create my own sunshine without hitting the local tanning bed? Maybe I should invest in a sun lamp. Despite my sleepy, hibernating body I signed up for my first meet-up group with innovators and entrepreneurs in Minnesota. I was surprised to find so many groups on their home page. There were groups of people posting their passions, interests and hobbies. I had to smile when I saw groups like, The Twin Cities Dr Who Meetup Group. The best part is most of the groups are free to join or charge very little to attend their meetings. I think it’s time to come out of our studios and hobbit holes for a social event. Go to Google and type in meet-up groups or your own personal interest. This might be one way to help find your niche or realize that you’re drawn to something else. Try something new and tell the dullness of winter you’re not going into hiding this time.

Mahieu

http://www.meetup.com/find/

An online portfolio for writers

As an illustrator/artist I know about online portfolios that focus on visual representation but have you heard about online portfolios for writers? I was doing more research when I came across a site called writing.com with over a million writers that allows you to share your work online.  I also found inkspot.com which is associated with writing.com and offers the similar services.  This may be good for all those still lugging around our manuscripts.  I know I have a pile sitting at home.  This option may be great for those pressed for meeting time, or for those who have an editor that is too far away to make it to the local coffee shop.  Some of us may have trusted peers in different places around the country or world.   This is one more way to share your work with someone and keep your pieces on hand for easy review.  I know I’ve maxed out some of my online storage folders.  In addition to the portfolio this sites offer a contests, tools and resources for writers.  One advantage that I see with these websites is an immediate community of writers.  Lastly, this may be a good starting point for someone who doesn’t have their own blog.  If you aren’t comfortable in starting your own blog, then you can ask people within this community to review your posts or ideas before you hit the publish button.  Just remember, the best time to start is right now!  I’m waiting to hear about someone else that made it into the writer’s market.

~ Mahieu

If you have any other great resources, please let me know so I can reblog/reference them.   So thank you for all your likes and comments!

Already a published author? Then, consider extending your market with audiobooks.

If you’re thinking of becoming a published author, or already won over the publishers, then consider expanding your market reach.  Make the most out of the years and months you spent pressing your fingers down onto the keyboard.  I happen to know a few people who have limited eyesight or just have problems reading those tiny fonts on our mobile devices.  I have to admit I’m addicted to listening to podcasts in the car.  I like to make the most of my time when I’m on the move.  There is another audience waiting for your book.  If you visit the large publisher sites then you see they noticed all the changes in the market.  If you have a contract, then I would suggest you speak to your agent before you consider this option.  I recently witnessed one author get their project pulled from Kickstarter because of an argument over copyright ownership.  So, do your research before considering any option.  For those wanting to research the visually challenged audience or those sitting in traffic on the highways, creating a professional audio book would be a great benefit.

Where do you go from here?  Take a look at Amazon’s audio platform for books.  ACX is a place that invites authors, agents, and publishers to upload their audiobooks onto their website and make money.  As far as I can tell, it’s the same concept as uploading your ebook onto Amazon but there are differences.  You have the option of pitching your audio book to a producer and making a deal, or you can work with a non-ACX publisher.  Working with an non-ACX publisher may give you less control of the percentage you’ll receive but it make give more life to your book.  There are also other online publishers that are willing to help promote and create your audiobook.  Many other sites that try to help authors self-publish offer free resources and advice on how to create your own audiobook without having to giver over your first-born.  When the time comes to create your audio files the only time you may want to consider handing over your money is hiring a professional sounding voice to read your book.  You can visit places like Fivver.com to find a cost-effective professional.  They may be more willing to negotiate a reasonable price for recording your book per page.  While it might be called Fivver, a 250 plus page recording is going to cost more than $5.  I know other entrepreneurs and professionals constantly find reliable people on this site but be sure to screen the person your going to hire.   I hope these resources help you during your journey as a writer.  Continue typing away!

-Mahieu

 

Resources and Links:

Amazon guide and help for audio: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A3CISEMGMV9KR5

ACX for audio publishing: http://www.acx.com/help/about-acx/200484860

Lulu Blog (how to for audiobooks): http://www.lulu.com/blog/2012/11/audiobooks/

Current News in the writer’s market – a bookless bookstore just opened in San Antonio, Texas

Hello Everybody –

I recently came across an article in the news about a new book store that opened on September 14th, in San Antonio, Texas and had to share.  It’s good to stay informed of all the changes taking place in the market for writers, and this is one big change for those thinking about publishing.  The future look of our beloved book stores may not carry any books in the future.  Yes, you read it correctly.  This book store, Biblio Tech, only carries ebooks for purchase. They took the concept of Amazon and created a retail end store.  How many of us would have guessed the market would end up in this direction?  Will this be the future Barnes and Noble?  We go to a store to get the same old feeling of entering an real store only to purchase a download?  This might be great news for those in the ebook market.  It’s something to consider for those still publishing in traditional format.  Keep this store in mind – this may give new life to those of you already published.  You can recreate your print version in ebook form.  It may end up in the download library of this new store.   You can decide how you feel about idea by reading the article yourself (click on the link below).  Let me know how you feel about this change by leaving a comment or if you have any other market changing news to the writing world.

-Mahieu

Biblio Tech store link: http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/08/technology/innovation/bibliotech-ebook-library/index.html

Another artists and writers retreat: La Muse in France

 

Another artists and writers retreat:  La Muse

Looking to get away with a group of writers and artists?  I think I will make this a Friday topic for those sitting at their work desk.   Here is another place everybody may agree upon for a working vacation.  I found this place online when I was searching for a place to get away and finish some of my new work.  I’m already thinking of the winter blahs before the first snowfall in the upper Midwest.  I was looking for locations that would inspire my creative mind when I came across La Muse in the river valley of France.  They are open all year and this place is definitely an upgrade from a hostel.  It also looks like groups wanting to do a workshop can barter by applying to do a fellowship during their stay.  La Muse looks like a place with a better view that is tailored to inspire artists, writers and musicians.  Not only are you surrounded by like-minded people, you are in the French countryside.  Need I say more!  However, keep in mind this is meant for a place that takes in those seriously committed to their work.  There is an application process (http://lamuseinn.com/how-to-apply/) where you describe what you want to accomplish in 250 words, submit a resume, and you need to provide a 1 page sample of your work.  This process just proves that they are encouraging you to finish your next novel or painting.  So, the next time you plan out your vacations or create your wish list take a look at the places that will help you achieve your goal.  You can go on vacation and get work done at the same time.

-Mahieu

 

Comic Book Week – exploring options in changing publishing world

Hello everybody! Since this is the week of MCBA’s FALLCON I had to write a piece that comic book artists and writers are discussing at their shows and conventions. I recently attended a convention for anime, manga, sci-fi, and comic book lovers and I picked up a few more tips. I panel discussion I listened to was about creating an online comic with Fes Works, someone who helps offer resources for storytelling at webcastbeacon.com. This was of interest because I’m a writer and artist who enjoys the comic world. I wanted to see if there similarities from other workshops and classes I attended in the past.

Here is what I learned from Fes Works, contributor of Webcastbeacon.com:
1. If you’re going to post your work online commit to your site and update frequently. WordPress was mentioned for getting a free domain. They also mentioned other inexpensive sites such as godaddy.

I had to agree with this point because writers need to make commitment to their writing or it will never be published. Also, literary agents from other workshops told us authors in the audience that they do check out your social media and blogs. They want to see an established and active site. This was also the first thing I was told by other published authors. They were told to create a blog for their work by their publishers. In other words committing to regular postings will help you connect to the writing community and those who would read your work.

2. The next point was important. I know we all dream of quitting our day jobs and landing on the bestseller’s list but let’s take it one step at a time. The panelist told comic creators to forget about the merchandising part of the business and focus on content. I took this as – get down to business and create something. It’s good to have dreams but you still need to have something to present to an agent or publisher. I know hearing this from other professionals changed my way of thinking. Instead of worrying over book inventory or numbers the advice shifted my focus. This small change took the pressure off myself and it increased the number of pieces I’m able to finish.

3. This one is obvious. This was a panel discussion with someone who was established and built their own following by producing the online comic with fesworks.com. The comic book world is experiencing the same changes as the traditional book publishing world. Groups and individuals are starting to publish digital ebooks or online publications. I never thought I would see a traditional paper comic book go digital but good old Amazon did it again. They have ebook publishing and now they have a comic book creator. I’m not choosing sides but it’s something to consider since many people you know own tablets. Digital will never be the same as our paperbacks but it doesn’t look like it’s going away. In fact, the number of users does and will increase each year.

As authors and artists we need to keep our research hats on. Think of the changes as new options for you to get your work published. Think of how far and much the printing industry has changed. New inventions will continue to affect our world but keep writing. Don’t think about the million dollar contracts a few of us get. Fine tune your craft and get in touch with your audience. Connect with other creative minds and listen to their voice of experience. One last note, if you’re a writer who can see the scenes or lines playing out as you write you might want to considering teaming up with an illustrator. You might make a great team. One can come up with the lines and the other can draw out the visual for audience.

I hope this helps you on your creative journey!

-Mahieu