Posts Tagged ‘ryan’

Self Publishing Update

In Personal Stories, Thoughts on Publishing on February 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

When I was a young lad of 15 or 16 I had a friend who was in a rock band. He asked me if I wanted to be a roadie for the band and help them out with stuff. It sounded cool so I went to my friend’s house after school and sat in on their band practice in the basement. When it was all over the band turned to me and asked what I thought. I was eager to be “cool” so I told them that it rocked and they rocked and everything was wicked awesome!

I was hit with a wall of blank stares.

Finally, my friend broke the silence and with a laugh said, “He’s afraid to tell us what we did wrong.”

Sure, I wanted them think I was cool so I told them what I thought they wanted to hear. My first time there I didn’t want to tell them that this or that sucked.

I learned that day that the best thing that you can do for a friend is to tell them the truth. Do it nicely, but be truthful. Tell them what was great, what was good, and what sucked.

It’s what friends do.

***Flash forward to present day***

I’m an old lad of 30 or 35 (or 43) and I have plenty of friends in the world of self publishing. I am a firm believer in self publishing so on a daily basis I hang out at web sites that distribute self published books. I download short stories and novels from these authors. Having lived in this self pub world and sampled a lot of what it has to offer I feel that we’re friends and I can be honest with you.

We are friends, right?


As friends I believe that you need to hear this. I believe that it’s time for an honest sit down and a serious reality check. I think that it’s time that we discussed the good and the bad.

The Good

  1. There is always something new to read.
  1. There are some AMAZING undiscovered authors out there! When I was a young rocker there was nothing quite like finding that little known band that just rocked it like no one else. The feeling was even better when they got big. It was like you had bragging rights to being one of their first fans.
  1. The great authors that you discover are very approachable. Do you like the new Stephen King novel? Just try emailing him to let him know your feelings. Think that you’ll get an answer? Maybe, but probably not.
  1. The self pub industry is one of the most helpful collections of people I’ve ever met. Lit U is a perfect example of that exact statement. Lit U is built on the idea of helping when and where you can…and Lit U is not the only one! I’ve run into it with many self pub groups out there.
  1. The self pub industry is growing and becoming a more positive notion. The industry leaders are realizing this and more doors are opening every day.

Are you sitting down? Good, because it’s time for…

The Bad

Please keep in mind that this is passion that is speaking. I love you and I just want to see you do your best, but let’s be honest here:

  1. There is no excuse for not finding someone to edit your spelling and grammar. Most word processing programs employ a built-in spell checker. Feel free to use it. I suck at spelling and grammar and the English language in general. Some of my best friends are editors. I make them bacon and  they make me look  like I am not so stupid.
  1. Trends and fads are nice…nice if you are into the subject. For the rest of us it is a painful existence. Oddly enough my point here is that you should write what you like to write and not whatever the  latest  craze might be.
  1. As a self pub author you will wear many, many hats and job titles. Do your best to perform each duty to a professional level, but for the love of God , if you have to pay someone to make a decent cover for you then please do it! No one will even read the blurb if they are turned off by your sad graphics. For me, this is the one place where you want to hire a professional…or at least someone who doesn’t still use Paint as their graphics program. Nothing angers me more than seeing the multitude of shitactular covers that I see on a daily basis. For the love of all that it awesome, please scrap the cheesy fonts. Yes, that means you Mr. Blood Dripping Font. There are a million sins here. The point is DRESS YOUR PIG before bringing it to market!
  1. People can smell bullshit from a mile away…two miles if they are Jersey natives. There is a fine line between self promotion and being a complete dick. Know the difference. Please.
  1. Author photos – This is one of my pet peeves because this should be the easiest of all of the tasks that you have command over. Writing is hard, editing is hard, graphics are hard, but picking your bio picture is easy. When I see an author picture that is obviously cropped from a group photo I want to throw a lit paper bag of doggy doo at your house. I want to poop under the front seat of your car on a hot day, roll up the windows, lock the doors, and throw away your keys so that by the time a lock smith has opened your door the smell has eaten its way into your carpet and is a daily reminder not to use stupid blurry cropped pictures. Author photos should be CLEAR. They should be of YOU and only YOU (unless your wife is super hot and works at Hooters…then I’ll make an exception…or if your husband is an MMA fighter, then I have no choice). Take a look at your favorite professional author. What picture did he or she use? COPY THAT STYLE dimwit.
  1. Be PROUD of what you do. I will personally slap the next self published author who tells me that self publishing is a four letter word or any other negative connotation. If you believe the media’s hype then you are in the wrong business. It’s like a chef who says that he is an “artist”. No, you cook food. You are a chef. Be proud. You’re doing something that not everyone can do. It’s like a bartender saying that he is a mixologist. I call bullshit. You pour liquid from one too many sources into various containers. You tend to the needs of the thirsty at the bar. Be proud and pour your ass off with the best of them! I can’t tell you how many self pub authors hide from the “self pub” title. “Oh, I’m an award winning wordsmith .” Sweet Sassy MaLassy! I say that’s malarkey!  I wear the title of Self Published Author with honor and I dare you…double dog dare you…to try and tell me it’s wrong or bad. I’ll put you in a rear naked chokehold  and dry hump you until the referee pulls me from your embarrassed backside.

I could have more easily said that the world of self publishing is getting better and to stop doing stupid things, but what fun would that have been? And when do I really get so many opportunities to work in poop references.


Your friend,


Ryan O’Neil is not only an official member of LitU, but a voracious eater of all things once alive. His official blog can be found here


More on Writing…

In Personal Stories, Thoughts on Publishing on July 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Many of my fans (estimated to be in the mid-single digit range) have asked many questions of me, but the one question that I receive the most I am unable to divulge here. The second most asked question is, “How do I become an author?”

Not sure why they ask this of me, but as I sit here eating cold corn on the cob in my basement office I shall purge a few of my best writing secrets in hopes of cultivating a new bacon loving rock-n-roll junkie bubble bath taking writer in the making.

“Write what you know” – CLICHÉ and lame, but also semi helpful. However, write what you know does not mean that EVERY tale you craft has to be about an author who comes from the same type of city that you were raised in or dream of living in. While this clearly worked for Stephen King, it gets old…quick. My interpretation is simply to write what you have an interest in…something that you have half a clue about or you will face the dreaded “research” which, at least in my case, kills the free spirited word spewage.

“Read, read, and then when you are done read some more” Really? For rizzle? Much like research forcing yourself to read in hopes that your skillz getz betta is a possible recipe for burning out. Read when you want. Isn’t it more important to…write?

“Rejection is part of the game” 100% true. You need to let rejection roll off of your back. I have a nice binder that I keep my rejection letters in. Some of them are better than others, but in the end they are still rejection letters. Unless they say that you are ugly who really cares what the contents of a rejection letter are? Not me. Sure I’ve been disappointed, but it was nothing that an extra slice of bacon couldn’t resolve.

Find at least one person (two or three if possible) who can be completely honest with you. 98% of your family and friends will blow smoke up your ass because, well, for some reason they like you and fear hurting your feelings. A strange 1% will tell you that you work sucks simply out of jealousy. It is that golden 1% that will tell you the truth. These are the people you want in your corner when you’re looking for someone to proof read you treasures.

Be social. Oddly enough so many of us writers are so creative, but not social enough. Who cares if your widow finds your hidden gems after you are gone and reads them weeping over your urn that she has decorated sweetly and bedazzled the hell out of. If she is the only person to have read you creations then it’s all for nothing. Get out there and be annoying…I mean social. This is by FAR the toughest part of the journey for me.

Lastly, get Steven Novak to design your cover. If your work sucks it will still sell with an awesome cover. Steven knows how to dress a pig better than anyone I know…I should know…it worked for me! People LOVE the cover of Plain Old Kirby Carson (which is available at – please contact me directly at for information about signed copies) and it has opened several doors that an otherwise lame-o cover would have been able to do.

Well, I hope that has helped any of you young aspiring meat eaters and/or authors.

Pleased To Meat You,


Ryan O’Neil is not only an official member of LitU, but a voracious eater of all things once alive. His official blog can be found here

Featured Author: Ryan O’Neil

In Featured Author, Interviews on March 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm

LitU’s very own Steven Novak sat down with author, Ryan O’Neil recently to discuss a wide variety of subjects. The pair touched on everything from the release of his Young Reader Novel, Plain Old Kirby Carson, to future projects, Batman, and all things bacon and bacon related.

Snag yourself a cup of joe, lean back in your chair and enjoy.

LitU: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What makes Ryan O’Neil tick – other than bacon, bacon grease, and BLTs without the lettuce or tomato?

RYAN O’NEIL: I’m assuming that I shouldn’t refer to BBQed meat here? 😉

LitU: As long as there’s no mention of bacon, I think we’re good to go.

RYAN O’NEIL: This may sound cliché, but I just like to have fun. I like to think that I make every situation as interesting as it can be. I like to spread my own brand of entertainment and hope to make people smile.

LitU: We’ve heard that you have a background in horror writing. If so, how was it making the transition to something like “Kirby Carson?” Where did the idea come from?

Ryan O’Neil: The idea for Kirby was born about 20 years ago. I’d written a couple of chapters and never completed the story. Then about 6 years ago I was writing a daily blog and making fun of my past when I posted a couple of sample paragraphs from the original Kirby story. I did it purely as a goof, but people wanted to know more about the character. That led to two months of updates where I literally created the story on the fly. At the end people seemed to enjoy it and someone suggested that it should be a book. I like being different and I saw writing Kirby as a challenge to do something really different for myself.

LitU: Any future plans to play around in the genre, maybe visit the world of Kirby again?

Ryan O’Neil: I have a brief outline in my head for a return to Brook Harbor to visit Kirby, Sue, and their friends for one more adventure. The entire Kirby process has been such a public journey that started with my blog friends and has grown from there. So while I have an outline, I wouldn’t make the trip unless my friends wanted to go back.

In the meantime I am developing another Young Adult / Middle Grade genre book in which the main character’s younger brother is on the Autism spectrum. My son has Autism, so this is more of a personal mission to both educate people and show them by example the ups and downs of having a friend or relative on the spectrum. It’s not all misery and gloom. These kids are just like everyone else and can be a lot of fun!

LitU: How about a return something more “adult,” any future interest?

Ryan O’Neil: Definitely! My true writing love is to scare people, make them uneasy, and sometimes just gross them out. There are some plans in the works now to release some of the horror stories that I’ve been sitting on. About a year and a half ago I was signed on to contribute five stories to a book, and unfortunately that project fell through. My goal is to get at least those tales released, if not more.

LitU: How did you hook up Auriferous Books and the Literary Underground? What’s the experience been like so far? NOTE: The editors of the LitU blog fully reserve the right not to include any comments that belittle or disparage the company in any way. We’re jerks like that.

Ryan O’Neil: So often I talk to writers who are brilliant, but get bogged down with tradition. In fact, so bogged down that they’ll never put a book out. It’s shame really. Their work is amazing, but no one will ever read it.

The experience so far has been great (Yes, your check cleared…LOL)! All kidding aside, Lit U is a great bunch of people who just want to help each other. Everyone has something to offer whether it be editing, beta reading, formatting text for e-books, etc, etc. They are all very supportive and honest. Lit U will help you get your work in progress to the point of publication and beyond. It’s like an old hippie co-op garden, except we’re growing works of literary art instead of pumpkins. Auriferous Books is a nice small up-and-coming publishing house. So far the experience has been fantastic!

LitU: Did Hippies grow pumpkins? I thought it was mostly hemp?

Ryan O’Neil: One man’s pumpkin is another man’s cannabis.

LitU: Not really, no. Trust me, I tried to smoke a pumpkin once. It didn’t end well. Anyway, 80’s hair metal—what’s with the obsession? I mean, seriously. Defend the things that bring you happiness or prepare yourself for ridicule!

Ryan O’Neil: 80’s hair metal and glam rock was just so much fun! Glam rockers put on a show like no other. There’s no standing there, staring at your sneakers and whining about how tough it is to be a rock star. Life is too short to mope around the entire time. Glam rock forces you to have fun, and look good doing it. I know not everyone can appreciate neon colors. It’s an acquired taste. 😉

LitU: What sort of advice would you have for the aspiring writers out there?

Ryan O’Neil: Believe in what you write. If you believe in yourself and what you create, then others will too. Frustration and rejection are a part of the game. Don’t let it get you down or stop you from following your dream.

LitU: Batman or Bruce Wayne?

Ryan O’Neil: Batman! While Bruce Wayne was smooth with the ladies, it was Batman who rocked the nighttime world … or was that Gene Simmons? I mean, come on, who wouldn’t like to someday punch someone and have a big neon colored “BLAM!” pop up? And don’t even get me started on that utility belt!

LitU: For every cool utility belt there’s a Robin though. How about this; Motley Crue or Poison?

Ryan O’Neil: Poison was prettier, but the way that the Crue was, was just bad ass. They were like skinny Elvis with brass knuckles. Not even Chuck Norris could take them down.

LitU: Freddy or Jason?

Ryan O’Neil: Michael Myers. Michael Myers scares the s#!t out of me! The dude is creepy scary … and simply won’t die!

LitU: Ham and cheese or turkey on rye?

Ryan O’Neil: Bacon!

LitU: We set you up for that one.

Leave us with something spectacular—the blog equivalent of Broadway jazz hands.

Ryan O’Neil: I’d like to thank everyone who is onboard with Kirby. The journey has been a long one, but fun nonetheless. It’s my friends who believe in the journey that fuel my fires. We still have a lot of adventure ahead of us so I hope to see you all smiling and having fun!

Ta da!

LitU: Well done. Your jazz hands need work though. Maybe put down the uncooked bacon next time.

The print version of Plain old Kirby Carson is available through the LitU store with e-books to arrive soon.

Thoughts on Self Publishing

In Personal Stories, Thoughts on Publishing on March 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Many, many years ago I had a somewhat popular blog in which I rambled on and on about the assorted adventures I’d had as a younger man. It was the kind of stuff you talk about with friends while drinking a few too many beers and listening to music from a not so distant decade of excess and indulgence, the only difference being that retelling these tales on the blog was not done to boast or inflate the ego, but 100% to entertain.

After roughly a year of spewing my stories and entertaining a few people at my expense (and following in the footsteps of another young blogger who shall remain nameless at this time), I had the idea to compile the best of the bunch into a book. I knew that no agent or publisher in their right mind would touch this drivel, so I thought it best that I take it the route of self publishing.

At the time the thought of self publishing conjured up images of an old creepy man selling tattered books from the trunk of his tattered car. I saw two crumbling cardboard boxes barely holding back the stacks of unsold books. A handwritten sign proclaimed to all that you could purchase his book today for the low price of $14.99 $10 $5. The wind kicked up, creating small cyclones of trash and other street debris that would eventually pick up his old hat and toss it clumsily down the street…

Basically, as a good friend once put it, I thought of self publishing as a place where good books went to die.

And I did self publish that book, and I did learn a lot about the business. I did everything from beginning to end and eventually put my book on the market, where it promptly died. Truth be told, there is a good chance that attempting to sell a book to the same people who have already read the blog for free wasn’t my best business decision. It was a great learning process.

Many years have gone by and the self publishing landscape sure has changed. The options and possibilities are almost endless, but there still seems to be some fear (or so I thought) about going down the road of self publishing.
I conducted several informal questionnaires and talked with several of my author friends and I was shocked at what I learned. I honestly thought that the main reason why people go the standard route of publishing would be simply because it is the more socially accepted method, the process that has more credibility. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not one of them cited credibility as a reason.

I should have guessed that the number one reason why “struggling artists” choose not to self publish would be MONEY. More people than not mentioned that having the expenses paid for by someone else was most important.
I do believe that the face of self publishing is slowly changing. Every day more and more quality work is published by everyday people who choose to go the non-standard route. Being able to get your work into a large distribution channel and seeing your book available for sale by major book stores is a far cry from the days of peddling your books from the back of creepy looking cars. You still have to wear many hats when self publishing and work your tail off to get your product noticed, but that’s the life of an up and coming author!

Self publishing can work for you, but you have to work for it.

Ryan O’Neil