Category: Business of Writing (page 1 of 1)

Strong Showing in March

While there was a LOT going on in February and I didn’t put nearly as many words on the page (or into my Scrivener app, if we want to be more accurate) as I would have liked, the same is not true of March. The third month of year was super productive.

For the suspense/contemporary mystery novel I’m currently writing, I typed out just over 15,000 words in March (coming in a couple hundred words shy of what I did in January), which amounts to ten full chapters. The project is currently sitting at roughly 32,000 words, and the halfway point is on the horizon.

Just this week, I had my Alpha Reader (who’s worked with me on all my novels) read the first 100 pages. She read it all in one sitting (!) and gave me some great feedback.

Unrelated: I wrote an article on this blog about “What a New Story Idea Feels Like“.

On the publishing front

My fourth fantasy novel Casual Business with Fairies is now available for pre-order in all formats from your preferred online bookstores: Buy your copy now.

Casual Business with Fairies J. W. Judge not all fairy tales end with happily ever after

The Write Approach in March

Barbara Hinske and I released some really good episodes of The Write Approach in March. Our podcast downloads and YouTube views continue to grow month-over-month.

Our April episodes are lining up to deliver equally good content for listeners. Make sure to subscribe on your preferred platform so you don’t miss anything.

Creating Lasting Changes for Your Writing Career

How I know The Write Approach is a podcast that can create both immediate and lasting changes for your writing career — that’s what it has done for me.

Here are two examples of authors who have talked about their own writing practices, which led to me implementing their ideas.

Crossover Characters with Kevin Tumlinson

In Ep. 6, Kevin Tumlinson talked about crossing over characters from one series to another to drive readers across different properties and increase sales.

I did this in Casual Business with Fairies for a character from The Zauberi Chronicles. I thought it would be a quick cameo, but the character ended up sticking around and making real contributions to the story.

Driving Reader Interest with David Ellis

In Ep. 5, David Ellis talked about keeping reader interest/engagement at the forefront of the way he structures his books. He does this in part with shorter chapters, which he learned from co-writing with James Patterson.

I’m now doing this in my novels. Most of the chapters in Casual Business with Fairies ranged from 1200-1500 words. I’m three chapters into my fifth novel and am using the same chapter-length approach.

You can find episodes of The Write Approach on your favorite podcast app, at our website (, or on our YouTube channel (

Experiment with Thinking Local for Book Marketing

In comparison to marketing your books, writing them almost seems easy. Or if not easy, at least more concrete and rewarding. Marketing often feels like throwing darts at a board while wearing a blindfold. Added to that, one of the more difficult things for indie authors to achieve is finding their books on the shelves at actual bookstores. But I have a potential solution for that: think local for book marketing.

EW Think Local for Book Marketing

Despite having written three non-fiction books for lawyers and having some moderate success in marketing them to my audience, I was starting all over when it came time to promote my debut dark fantasy novel, Vulcan Rising, which I’ve written under the pen name J. W. Judge. (For more about the novel’s unsettling origin story, go here).

I reached out to ten or more podcasters about being a guest on their show. I didn’t receive a response from any of them. I emailed and DMed dozens or book bloggers and Instagram book reviewers. I heard back from only a couple. It was discouraging. I know I’ve written a good book. Everyone who’s read it has had good things to say. But I couldn’t get any traction in marketing it. It felt like I was about to birth this thing into the void when it releases on June 1. It wasn’t until I started to think local for my book marketing that I found some success.

Think Local for Your Book Marketing Needs

To start with, I’ve done all the right things. I have set up distribution as widely as I can so that Vulcan Rising is available in as many stores as possible. I’m doing some content marketing on this blog and have set up an author website so that when people search for me or the book, there are search results to be had. But when it came to getting word out about the book, I just wasn’t having any success.

Then I had an idea. As I was checking in on which retailers were already carrying the book, I saw it listed on Indie Bound. This was the catalyst for my new marketing strategy. I searched Indie Bound’s directory for all the independent booksellers within 100 miles of me, which includes the three of the four largest cities in Alabama: Birmingham, Montgomery, and Huntsville.

I went to the websites or Facebook pages for each of them in search of their email addresses or contact pages. I sent them this message:

I’m a lawyer in Birmingham, and I’ve written a dark fantasy novel (the first in a trilogy) that is set in Birmingham. It’s available through Ingram. I wanted to reach out about seeing if you’d be interested in carrying the book in your store. I’d be glad to send you an advance copy for you to read. 

Logline: Even the most deeply buried past can find its way back to you.

Summary: Agatha and Joseph are raising a family in the quiet suburbs south of Birmingham. But the secrets of Agatha’s past threaten to expose themselves after Joseph investigates a noise he hears in the middle of the night and stumbles upon a world that he did not even know existed.

When their son Thomas is kidnapped, Joseph and Agatha have to rely on each other to figure out why he was taken and how to get him back, whatever the cost. Along the way, Agatha discovers to her horror that even her most deeply buried secrets are finding their way back to her. And the consequences are inescapable.

Vulcan Rising is the first book in The Zauberi Chronicles trilogy. It is a work of contemporary/dark fantasy where Stephen King’s The Institute meets Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart.

About the Author: I am a lawyer by day and a writer in the wee morning hours before the sun breaks the horizon. Although I have authored three non-fiction books (under my given name), Vulcan Rising is my debut novel.

Publisher: Scarlet Oak Press

Publication Date: June 1, 2021 in e-book (9781733665599), paperback (9781733665582), and hard cover (9781954974005) formats.

J. W. Judge

Of the dozen stores I reached out to, four responded within a couple of days. Three had placed pre-orders for the book already, and two of them wanted to talk about doing author events during the summer.

I’m not expecting a huge payoff from any of that. But it starts the ball rolling. Maybe it leads to some sales and some word of mouth marketing. Or maybe it just fizzles. Who knows? But it felt good to have a couple of small successes.

Now the book is going to be sold in stores that it otherwise wouldn’t have. All because I asked. Based on the success there, I’m going to expand the geographical reach of reaching out to more stores. But more importantly, I’m going to make sure I think local for my book marketing.

Reading about Creativity and the Business of Writing

There are a lot of books out there about writing, the business of writing, and being a creative. Over the last few years, I’ve read a few of them. I want to share them with you because they’ve been invaluable resources for me.

Aside from actually living out your creativity (which is an indispensable necessity), reading about creativity and the business of writing is the best way to learn and by inspired.

Reading about Creativity and the Business of Writing

Books That Really Registered:

James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle (***+): A different perspective on how to write a novel from an experienced writer and former practicing lawyer.

Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand (***+): Many of my ideas about good business marketing are anchored in this book. I’ve been reading Donald Miller for the better part of 15 years, and this is his most practical work yet. This is more about business generally, but I’ve found it to be apply to my writing business and how I should market to potential customers.

Joanna Penn’s Successful Self-Publishing (***+): If you’re interested in authoring books, this is a must-read, whether you’re going to publish independently or traditionally.

Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist (***): An interesting book about how we can develop our creativity.

Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art(***): An interesting taking of fighting the Resistance that can keep us from doing our best and most meaningful work.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (***+): An interesting read about where creativity comes from and how to use it so you don’t lose it.

Honoree Corder and Ben Hale’s Write, Publish, & Market Like a Boss (***): If you’re looking to do any writing and independent publishing, this is a good resource.

Other Notable Books:

Marion Roach Smith’s The Memoir Project (***)

Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies (***)

Jeff Goins’ Real Artists Don’t Starve (***)

James Scott Bell’s How to Make a Living as a Writer (***+)