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Tuesday’s Trail Notes

Mile 41: Lone Pine

In the previous blog post (on Kanab), I discussed the value, fun and importance of writers attending Western film festivals. The Lone Pine Film Festival (like many of the other Western film festivals scattered around the United States and the world) shares many of the same attributes as Kanab: a rich film history, great celebrity

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Mile 40: Kanab

Most of us who write Western novels are also fans of Western movies. I am tempted to say all of us, but somewhere out there is someone who loves books and won’t watch movies — I just haven’t met him yet. However, for the rest of us, there are terrific Western film festivals throughout the

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Mile 39: Cover

You’re going to need a cover. You may not be finished writing your book yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what you’d like the cover to look like. And if you haven’t, you should. The cover design has far more impact on the eventual sales of your book than you might

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Mile 38: Self-Publishing – Yes or No?

What do self-publishing and online dating have in common? Both used to be thought of as signs of desperation and failure. No longer. Self-publishing is now a perfectly respectful avenue to take in order to get your book out to the paying public. Many argue that online dating apps are much safer than bars —

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Mile 37: Agent – Yes or No?

Now that you’re rolling along with your first Western (and you are, right?), you may be starting to think about which major, New York, internationally renowned, representative of New York Times best-selling authors only, superstar you want to be your agent. Or not. The reality is that agents are far more difficult to come by

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Mile 36: Reviews

“You can make some of the people happy some of the time, but there ain’t no way you can make all of the people happy all of the time.” – Arlo Flynn, Western Author Recently, the January 2019 issue of True West magazine showed up in my mailbox. I was thrilled, surprised and honored to

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Mile 35: Consistency

In a previous blog post, I discussed the value and importance of accuracy, making sure the facts you use in your novel are accurate, because if they are not, your readers will know — and they’ll let you know. In the same vein, you need to make sure that you are consistent throughout your book

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Mile 34: Read Great Writers

This is one the easiest, and hopefully the most obvious, ideas I’ve shared on this blog. If you want to be a great writer, heck, if you want to be any kind of writer — READ. Read Westerns for sure. Read some of the great Western authors, new authors, old pulp magazines — just read.

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Mile 33: Perfection

Perfect is the enemy of good. Many attribute this to Voltaire from the year 1770, and I’m going to go along with them, because it’s the message that matters, not so much the messenger. During WWII, in reaction to the devastating Luftwaffe attacks, a British man named Robert Watson-Watt developed an early warning system that

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Mile 32: Accuracy

I have mentioned the importance of factual accuracy in previous essays, but I believe it’s worth devoting an entire essay to. If you are going to use specifics in your writing, you need to ensure that they are accurate, right down to the caliber and word. Many Western readers are well versed in the history

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