Write Your Way to Freedom 4

Class 4

View From the End

Part 1: Publishing

Publishing can be an important part of your picture. Whether you’re writing for the writing itself or to sell a product, publishing is how you reach a larger audience—and maybe even make some money.

So, how do you do it?

In this class and the next I will break publishing down into two camps:

Self or Independent and Traditional.

Indie Publishing

  • Blogs
  • Guest Blogs
  • eMagazines
  • Radio
  • Video
  • Books
  • eBooks

Traditional Publishing

  • Magazines
  • Books
  • eBooks
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Video

Today I will discuss Indie Publishing, and next week I will cover traditional.


Blogging is a great way to

  • put your writing out to an audience,
  • develop an audience, and
  • receive feedback in order to
  • refine your writing

It’s a perfect loop.

You become the creator with full creative freedom. Eventually, you can turn your posts into a book or ebook.

PressBooks is a platform that allows you to transfer your blog directly into a book format for publication, both print and ebook.

What Your Blog Might Contain

There are a number of types of posts you can experiment with. Varying the types of posts will help you expand your ideas about what you write about. Most of my posts are essays. Occasionally I put up a video slide show. Sometimes I do lists, and other times I do photographic posts with only a few sentences. I usually post a full essay every two weeks and something shorter and easier in between those. Your posts will likely range from a few words to 1,500. The favorite for search engines is around 500 words.

Here are the most common types of posts:

  1. Pillars – These are the building blocks on which your subject rests. They are usually longer posts that
    • Explain key concepts you’ll be referring to;
    • Demonstrate your grasp of the subject area; and
    • Help lend authority to your blog
  2. Experiential – This is likely your most common. It is my staple. A lively way to write experiential posts is to write in the present tense. This brings immediacy to the post. By that I mean, rather than saying, I went to buy a Christmas tree, you say, “I step into the Christmas tree lot.” It happens in the NOW.
  3. How to – If you are a teacher, this will be your most common. “How to” posts attract the most attention, and drive the most online traffic.
  4. Lists – These can be very popular. You could list Best of something, or favorite something else. I wrote a comical one: You Know You’re a Spiritual Warrior when… In it I listed things like “You’re happy for no reason,” and “Your memory is replaced by Post-It Notes.” I ended with, “You know you’re a spiritual warrior when…You don’t know what you ate for your last meal, but you’re pretty sure of what you did in your last life, and it still gives you indigestion.”
  5. Share others’ works – This is part of the tribal blogging model I mentioned before. It is very effective in building a blog. Always ask permission to use other’s works. In most cases they will be happy to have you spread the word, and they will align with you, helping build your blog.
  6. Reviews of books, etc. or excerpts – This can also be an excellent way to drive people to your blog. A review site attracts lots of people who want to be reviewed. This puts you in a position of power. They subscribe and their followers often follow.

Guest Blog and eMagazine Writing

This is a great way to

  • further develop your audience
  • gain exposure in your brand
  • experience working with an editor
  • join the community of your field

The idea is that you find an online publication that resonates with your work and, if it is a smaller one, get to know the editor, and then submit your work. If it is a larger one like Huffington Post or Salon.com, you submit to them and see if they are willing to publish.

This could be categorized as traditional publishing, because someone else is publishing your work. The reason I am discussing it in the indie publishing section is because generally you don’t get paid for writing such as this. You do it to build your audience, to draw people to your blog, website or project, or to your book or ebook.


Use radio to

  • put your message out to an audience,
  • develop an audience, and
  • receive feedback in order to
  • refine your message


Use video to

  • put your message out to an audience and teach,
  • develop an audience, and
  • receive feedback in order to
  • refine your message

Books and eBooks

Publishing a book or ebook

  • gives you something to sell and give away
  • helps establish you as an expert
  • helps define your direction
  • can act as a business card to promote your larger purpose

With the advent of Print on Demand publishing and ebooks, one can create a book for very little initial outlay, under $1,000 in most cases. This has expanded the world of reading and writing exponentially.

Be aware that once you’ve published, you face some challenges in selling your product. At this point, the world is still skeptical about indie publishing. Your local newspaper may or may not review your book. Your local bookstore may or may not hold a signing for you.

That said, word-of-mouth has always been the way book popularity spreads. If you’ve developed a platform, you have a way to begin, and the word of your book really can spread.

You can also put on a launch.

There are many publishers out there who will fall over themselves to help you. Some charge a lot. Through my research I chose Createspace, an arm of Amazon. It has a few pitfalls—the biggest being that bookstores don’t receive enticing royalties from Createspace, so your bookstore sales may have to be on consignment. But Createspace is economical, and the services are valuable.

They will edit and design your book and cover.

I help authors prepare their books for publication.

I provide the following – at prices competitive with any publisher out there.

  • Manuscript consultation ­– I read through and pinpoint ways you might revise before moving to the final draft.
  • Manuscript editing –  I fine-tune the language and correct errors, in preparation for publication.
  • Personal service – I work closely with you to develop your manuscript to its highest potential.

I also edit websites, blogs and brochures.


There are also some platforms out there today that can help you publish. One is called PubSlush and it is owned by the great marketing pioneer Tom’s Shoes. With it, you put a project up on their site and get readers to support you by committing to buy the finished book. Once your receive a certain number of “followers” for your project, PubSlush will publish it for you, paying for all costs and offering a small advance. So you may want to check that out.

Part 2: Storytelling

There are a number of types of stories, but I am going to focus on what I consider the most effective: the Hero’s Journey.

Your character

  • wants something so badly he or she would die for it
  • sets out to get it
  • meets obstacle after obstacle, is nearly overcome, but
  • slays each until she meets the
  • obstacle within—her fatal flaw (has lost everything of importance)
  • finally faces her inner demon and is victorious

The reason this story structure is so powerful is because it is the truth of our lives. This is the journey we face every day. It resonates deeply with our psyches because it is etched in our very DNA.

Think of the books and movies you love most. Two of my favorites are Pride and Prejudice and Gladiator, polar opposite in terms of content, and yet parallel in terms of structure.

Elizabeth Bennet wants true love. She meets obstacle after obstacle and finally realizes her dream.

Similarly, Maximus, in Gladiator wants freedom and to avenge his Master’s death. He too meets obstacle after obstacle and wins.

The power of this structure is in the desire of the protagonist and in the vulnerability and willingness to face truth.

These three characteristics: desire, vulnerability and courage can be applied to any piece of writing whether fiction or nonfiction—even poetry.

So I’d like you to apply this to your creation, whatever it is. It might apply in a micro way to the piece of writing you’re working on, or it might apply to a larger project—a book you’re writing or a blog you’re setting up, or even a product you’re selling.

Free-write about this. Just see what comes out. It may turn out to be a blueprint for your next steps in your story or in your creation as a whole. Take 10 to 15 minutes to write about this.


  1. Look at your current piece of writing and see how you can tweak the story to bring in elements of desire, vulnerability and courage.
  2. Play with a rewrite to see if you can make your story more suspenseful.
  3. Platform Building: Find some place you would like to see your writing. It might be a blog or a magazine or in a book.
  • Explore the possibility of making that happen.
  • Get familiar with the publication.
  • If it’s a book, try setting up an account on Createspace.
  • If it’s a blog, connect with the editor in some way.
  • Take a step, even if it’s an unsteady one.

Let him who would move the world first move himself.—Socrates