dave-12Get out your pencils and notepads as author David Wood explains exactly how to end your writing career before it’s even begun. This is essential reading for all authors, indie, traditional or otherwise.

Spend enough time observing the habits of independently published authors, and it becomes readily apparent that many of them are not seeking success, but are striving for failure. There can be no other logical explanation for the myriad of bad and bizarre decisions authors make. Given that there are plenty of resources available to help authors succeed, I am reaching out to those on the other end of the spectrum: the authors who seek epic failure in publishing. These easy tips will help you along on the path to oblivion.

Be a Puppeteer

Remember when your Kindergarten teacher would converse with a puppet, or perhaps have said puppet tell you a story? It was always good for a laugh, but deep down, we knew it was actually the teacher providing the voice and movements. Many authors have taken inspiration from this memory, and sought to alienate potential readers with their own version of puppetry. “Sock puppets” are false identities used for various devious, yet transparent actions online. One favored practice is to visit an online forum and pretend to be someone who “just read a great book by (insert your name here).” It’s even more effective if you’ve never visited that forum in the past. The “1” on the “Number of Posts” line assures you will offend the leading members of the community you’ve just invaded. Sock puppets are also a great tool for posting false reviews of your own book. Be sure to maintain similar wording and sentence structure for each review, or simply paraphrase the product description, so that potential readers will easily spot your sock puppet.

“Hello, I’m a Published Author!”

The author who is destined for failure knows this all-important truth: Having any piece of crap in publication makes one a “Published Author,” and entitles said person to all the benefits thereof. That’s right! Type up a bit of self-indulgent drivel, slap on a stock cover, upload it to your favorite self-publishing site and, voila! James Patterson has nothing on you, baby! The best part of accepting this immutable law of publishing is that it is no longer incumbent upon you to produce a quality product, develop a marketing strategy, or even conduct yourself in a professional manner. You are now a Published Author. Sit back and wait for the money and accolades to roll in. There is also a little-known corollary to this law: If the kindle version of your book sells one copy and hits the top-100 of any obscure sub-category in the Amazon rankings for more than eleven seconds, you are now a “Bestselling Author.” Don’t forget to put that on your book cover and trumpet it on your website.

Do it Sinatra-Style

Old Blue Eyes did it his way, and so should you. The author who is truly committed to failure should go out of her or his way to flout the conventions of publishing at every turn. You’ve written a 20,000 word book? No problem. Use a giant, non-standard font, double-space it, crank up the margin size, and fatten that baby up to 200 pages. Justified text? Come on! The ragged right margin is where it’s at! Also, your cover should look nothing like any of the best-selling books in its genre. You don’t want to take a chance on a reader liking the look of your book and actually… buying it! Make sure the book title is shoved way up near the top of the cover, and your name way down near the bottom, giving potential readers an optimum view of the artwork your girlfriend’s sister did for you. Trust me.

These tasks might seem daunting, but give them a try, and I promise you will be well on your way to the end of your publishing career. Good luck and happy self-sabotage.

David Wood is the author of the action-adventure novels Dourado and Cibola. He also writes the occasional baseball article for Bleacher Report. When not writing, he amuses himself by sparring with the novices in his martial arts school and throwing rocks at flightless waterfowl. Visit his blog at http://davidwoodonline.blogspot.com.

Feel free to leave comments and I’ll make sure that David sees them and responds – Alan