52 books in 52 weeks: Blockbuster

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 32.

I thought it was going to be another of those make-a-fortune-using-my-tried-and-tested-method books by an author who hasn’t actually had (m)any books published, and I admit I resisted buying it for some time.

However, I’m glad I gave in eventually, because Blockbuster: How to Write $1million by an Author Who’s Actually Done it by Dean Crawford is a great read at just under 4 hours (for me). I loved this book. It’s another one that made me sit up and take note and then just get on and blummin well do it.

What I particularly liked was how the author shared his own personal experiences with the reader, from when he first realised he wanted to be a writer in 1993 through how he landed his first £350,000-advance deal in 2010, getting dropped by his publisher in 2012, to when he finally decided to self-publish in 2013. Along the way he also had an unexpected “cease and desist” land in his lap, and still he carried on.

Dean Crawford has been there, on both sides of the great publishing divide, and now considers himself a bit of a hybrid with perhaps a lean towards an indie publisher. And he continues to make a very healthy living from his work.

The book is in two halves, the first looking at the craft of writing, the second looking at what happens after you’ve finished writing your masterpiece. It tells you what it’s like being a traditionally published author, how it feels to have the rug pulled out from under you, and then how to pick yourself up and start all over again, this time adapting to the current climate.

He shares the way that he does things – and has been very successful doing them – alongside those peeks into his own experience. I felt I was reading an honest writer I could trust.

The biggest gem I picked up from this book was a self-publishing one, and it was to initially price your own book at 99p/99c (before putting it up to full price a few weeks later) and then buy it alongside one of the bestselling chart-toppers.

This way, when someone else looks at the bestselling chart-topper, whose book will pop up alongside the people who bought this book also bought this book? Yours will! Also, if your book is at full price and then you drop it, the loyal fans who bought it in the first place might not be very happy.

These are not the only things I learnt, but to list them all would take forever. If I had one criticism, it would be it doesn’t look as though it’s been properly proof-read. But hey, the guy’s making a fortune, so what do I know?

Do consider buying this book, especially if you need a bit of a kick up the backside.

Blockbuster: How to Write $1million by an Author Who’s Actually Done it is available on Kindle for £2.99 ($4.18) – or FREE on Kindle Unlimited – and in paperback for £6.99 ($9.99).