Hi everyone! I can’t believe we’ve only spent 13 days reviewing Geoff Shaw’s Kindling course – the best Kindling Publishing Program everyone urged me to buy (and I’m glad I did). I feel like I’ve learned so much that it must have been longer. So let’s dig in – first with what happened since yesterday.
In yesterday’s review, I mentioned how I’d posted 2 projects – one at Elance and one at Odesk. I’ve gotten tons of response so far. I was very disappointed in the bid of the girl I wanted to hire. She bid almost $900 for 10 pages. So she’s out. I’m just not paying that, even though I know freelancers should definitely charge whatever they feel their worth is, and she has that right – I was just bummed because I wanted to work with her.
I’ll say that almost everyone else bid around $50-250. Anyway, I’ll have to pick from one of them. I also encountered some “shaking my head” bids. One guy’s sample was an extremely graphic porn story. Not appropriate when I’ve asked for a Young Adult fiction. If that’s all you have in your profile, whip up a paragraph that’s not like that to share with potential clients.
Some others showed they didn’t even read my bid. Some had canned responses. This is what I teach NOT to do in my Ghostwriting Cash course. So I’m whittled down to about 3 people on each site. I’m reviewing their bid verbiage, their portfolios, and their price. I’ll let you know how it goes. Let’s get back into Kindling!
When you log into Kindling today, you’ll notice the entire course has been moved back to the left sidebar. That’s because some people weren’t seeing the right sidebar. I was, though. This layout looks a little messy today on my screen, but now that I already know the quality of what I’m getting, I couldn’t care less.
Again, make sure you click on Marshall so you don’t just go to the subsections. This is the fiction writing software Geoff suggested we look into, but they didn’t have any screen shots at the time, so I didn’t consider it. I have to know what I’m buying before I invest. Others notified them and they said the software updated, so they were making new videos and screenshots.
I love his list of what marketers do (and his comments about it). Agree with all of them and find it pathetic. And all of you who say you can’t write fiction? He’s talking to you here. After the text there’s a little audio file. I click on the link – still no screen shots on the site itself. He is probably losing lots of sales – better get on that fast. Especially with software, I never ever buy unless I see screenshots of what it does.
I’m really tempted to get this because he’s right – he doesn’t recommend much, if anything. And he’s not saying we NEED this. It’s just a recommendation. But I’m SO hard wired to demand seeing what I’m spending money on. LOL! I just went on YouTube to watch one of their videos. I’m so picky. This video sounds like one of those 80s monotone teachers we saw in movies. Look at it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3w-V5HY6d4. I need more to convert into a buyer.
I like his advice on spending money on tools. Solid and sensible. A lot of us buy something else just so we will have bought something. His advice is ethical and caring for those on a budget.
LOL I thought this section would cover all the alternatives. It doesn’t name one – and his reasoning is laid out there for you.
Here he has advice from Marshall himself, and then a “Here’s what I do” section giving his own advice. I like it.
Oh alright, damn it. I’m buying the freaking thing. Geoff hasn’t steered me wrong yet and if I’ve sure as hell trusted a bunch of snakes in the IM world a time or two, so why not take a chance on one of the good guys’ recommendations? I’ll be blogging about this software, too – letting you know my thoughts.
I think for me, what does it is I feel shaky about my fiction. I’m very newbie. Geoff’s instructions have all helped so far, but I’ll be scared until it actually takes off. So if this can help move me along, I feel it’s a good investment. Plus, the lesson about future plans is what I’m all about here. This is an investment in my business.
Sigh. Here we go! Wish me luck! $149. Eek! I would eek even if it was $49! LOL! Every penny I spend is one penny not going to tuition, but I’m gambling for a good ROI here. Add to cart. Check out. Billing info. Okay it worried me for a second. It was asking me for my Ship To info (is it not online?) and when I chose residential, it THEN gave me the option for online delivery. Whew! When I pay, I want instant gratification.
Payment option PayPal. Clicking on the red Place Order button. Continue. Authorize. Pay Now. Breatheeeeee….it’s all over. There’s my download zip file. Extracted and now installing. It does try to stick it in the Start menu, and I’m persnickety about what I allow there, so I don’t give it permission on that one, just a desktop icon.
Launching. Okay it opens up – no bells and whistles here – that’s because they know we’d get distracted and play. For some reason, I go to the very bottom and click on Career. It has me choose between 4 major types of novel writing. I choose universal. Then it asks me if this is the ONLY thing I’ll be writing, or might I want to change course in the future. Why I might indeed – thank you.
The next page has me picking a publishing type – but for my genre, self publishing isn’t an option. They need to get with the times on this one – self publishing is not just for family memoirs anymore. Oh okay, it was just telling me what step to take next after my novel is written (agent). I won’t be going there but nice little career module anyway. Not necessary at all.
I like how the software doesn’t bog down the speed of my computer. SO many things do that and I hate it. I have this up and running the background as I do other things and nothing is sluggish.
I click on the Help tab at the top to see what help they offer. It’s a quick rundown of how to use the software and like always, I feel a bit overwhelmed. It’s a normal reaction. I just have to tame this beast and I can do it by playing around with it. The file of the software came with many PDF files. I’m thinking this might be the best place to start for me. Let’s review those:
- Blogging for Cash – um, no clue why that’s in here – to the trash bin.
- Facebook – nope, trash bin.
- Twitter – trash.
- YouTube – trash.
- Web 2 Resources (even though I like the creator) – trash.
All of that stuff is distraction stuff. I know they meant it to be helpful, but it’s not going to get me closer to publishing my fiction. I delete it completely because if I want it later, I can find it later somewhere. Okay now I’m left with two relevant items I might like:
- Marshall Plan for Success as a Novelist
- The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing
THESE are relevant and I want to dig in. Geoff already gave me a ton of good tips in Kindling and I learned a good deal from the Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel, so this might be helpful – or it might not. I’m very picky.
The Marshall Plan for Success as a Novelist is 88 pages long in PDF form. Good thing I took a speed reading course. It really starts on page 8. I realize now how accustomed I’ve come to no indentations on paragraphs. I prefer it left aligned. He goes over his experience a bit and then talks about where to start and he uses an example of Gone With the Wind in one sample – with a daughter named Scarlett, you can guess I like that
I like that as I’m going through all of this, and I won’t blog all the details, he’s motivating me to compete in this market. He’s reassuring me I don’t have to abide by such rigid steps – and that’s good because I initially got the impression that they were traditional publishing snobs. They’re not, it seems.
Page 18 is a really nice Novelist’s Action Plan. This page is print-worthy but I’d alter the bottom to be self publishing, not geared to agent / publishing house. I like #3 and 4 on the next page – reminders about lead characters and opposition characters. Then #6 I hadn’t thought of. I need to work that into my fiction idea.
Last, #7 and 8 are important to know. The others didn’t affect me much. There’s a Story idea Worksheet on page 24 that’s nice to have! He is really good at walking us through how the action in the story needs to unfold to keep readers excited. I have read a LOT of horrible writing in the past 2 weeks now that I’m on Kindle and people just don’t know how to write at all. Many of them.
Page 29 – great writing tip! This flooded the samples I got in submissions on Odesk and Elance. Turned me off. Bottom of page 30 – guilty! Better go fix this. Page 32 – guilty! Oh so much to learn. This is really good. Finding myself only speeding through any publishing talk, but slowing to a crawl to absorb the writing tips.
Oh my God page 33 – this is how I started my novel! Ugh. Guilty. I’m an amateur, as charged. At least I pulled a better cliche, that’s somewhat comforting :/ maybe. Oh my gosh everyone needs to read these instinctive habit explanations – bet every one of us is doing this stuff! LOL. Oh how funny – just got off the phone w/my Mom and while I did one version of the 1st no-no, she did the other version of it. We laughed at ourselves being two big old bags of cliche!
I love Marshall’s “do this, not that” examples. Really good to see and I see mistakes written all over me! Okay the rest didn’t resonate with me – literary agents and all that jazz. But the prior parts were GOOD!
The second PDF - The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing – is 203 pages long! No spaces in between paragraphs and indented. Hard for me to flow easily with like that now. Okay this is very detailed in generating a crisis, a lead, your characters, and more. He gives examples too, after his lessons. I like that.
I kind of wish I could figure out what my opposition character is. I don’t have anyone standing in my character’s way – I have her trying to solve a crisis with loved one. Well wait, when he gets to the confidant part, I can now see my opposition. Good idea to read this before you do the software because I think he uses some of this terminology inside the software. Oh and just found this – the Glossary at the top of the software opens up a little cheat sheet to tell you what they’re asking for if you get stuck.
Getting into Part 2 now and I think as I’m initially setting up my story in the software, I’ll have this PDF open so I can follow along as I do it. Part 2 is about plotting your story. I need all the help I can get. Some stuff, like ideal length, I ignore. I’m a firm believer in writing whatever needs to be written – whether non fiction or fiction.
Word count quotas just create disasters.
I’m finding better ways to start and stop my chapters. I’d been doing it wrong. Is it any surprise? No. I like the emotional and rational blurbs and examples. That will help me a lot! And I like that it’s built into the software. This is REALLY taking shape for me now.
In fact I’m feeling so much understanding of plotting that I might not do a short story and make it a novel instead. We’ll see where it takes me. I love the part about sub plots and how other characters can add depth to our lead character that we can’t reveal in a first person manner.
I find myself wanting to find out the story about Sara and Lance as he’s going through his examples! Very detailed about sections, action and subplots. He moves us into surprises along the way. I like that. Hunger Games has some in book 1 that made me spend an extra half hour in my bubble bath. LOL!
He takes us through the wrap up. He goes into the writing process now – not just mapping out. He discusses viewpoint and awareness and updating the reader. Page 136 – Writing the Reaction Pages – I love this. This short section is what this guide and software is all about. He’s taking us by the hand and helping us go through the fiction process.
Oh read page 147 on F-A-D – that’s a good way to do it! He gets into dialogue and I love his stance on Adverbs. It DOES look amateurish when I read it yet I bet I’m guilty. Not sure, I’ll have to check for that. I know I used to be guilty of it at the very least. I Adverbed myself to death, thinking it made everything more professional. Had the opposite effect. It’s why I deleted so many bidders on my Elance and Odesk projects.
Side note – when I start getting into something like I’m doing here, I forget about preferences like indented paragraphs and no spacing. I’m consumed, so it become okay.
He gets into feelings, thoughts and backgrounds. Then he goes into creating a draft. (Something I’ve never done from start to finish in fiction). The rest is stuff i don’t care about – prepping it for traditional publishing. I speed read through to finishing touches. Then back to traditional publishing stuff.
Okay done with both PDFs – really good! My advice? Trash all the others or bury them so far on your hard drive that you won’t ever remember where they are, but you’ll know they’re there somewhere (if you just MUST keep them).
KEEP Marshall’s two PDFs – they’re very good and shouldn’t be viewed as simple “bonus items” but as part of this investment. Now, do you NEED the Marshall Software? Absolutely not. Everyone has different skill sets. But me? After seeing what it does, I DO need it. And better yet, I WANT it.
Should you buy it if money’s tight? Absolutely not. I have the money to invest in my business, even though I’m watching pennies. I always do. However, I felt that this WOULD pay off a good return on my investment, and now I’m sure of that. So I plan to make the most out of this tool.
Should you buy it if you’re a shiny new object hoarder who KNOWS he or she doesn’t take action? Absolutely not. Might as well wipe your butt with $149. But if you’re like me, an action taker – then YES, it’s a great tool. I’m going to LOVE digging into it tonight.
I like the way they describe it on their site – look at their banner ad – it’s perfectly fitting. Jumper cables. LOL I need those.
One more thing: I contacted Evan just during this review because when I’m enthusiastic about something, I want my own affiliate link. I told him how dumb I felt about something and he reassured me I wasn’t AND he had a neat sense of humor, too. So I like the person so far behind the product – he’s responsive. And I’m sure he doesn’t know Tiffany Dow at all.
Alright everyone, I am off to the Farmer’s Market and to go snap up Hunger Games 2 and 3 and I will relaunch the software and give you more insight on that tomorrow! Guess I should add this – thanks to Geoff. GREAT recommendation. I hope he doesn’t recommend anything else inside Kindling because now that he’s proven himself as a worthy recommender, I might be tempted to spend more than I need to.