The Purpose Of The First Draft

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People get so caught up on the perfection of the first draft. Striving for that initial perfection is universal in the writing field I am sure. There are many misunderstood aspects about this. This is especially true in the horror genre. I work with brand new writers from time to time. Heck, a lot of the experienced ones suffer from this perfection too. I can tell you from experience that the writing process goes so much more smoothly when you use the first draft for this:

The first draft is used to get your story on the paper. This means that the spelling can be wrong. The grammar can be wrong. Even some of the scenes can be wrong! The beauty of the first draft is the ability to change things after it’s completion. Let me reiterate the first sentence. Get your story, and get your vision on the paper.

Some might worry that your publisher will not understand. Let me clear some of that up with what I look for -as a publisher. I divide up some of my longer projects into smaller bite sized portions. This effectively means that people hurry hurry hurry to submit portions of the manuscript to me. Everyone take a deep breath. Yes, there are some errors. You can ask any of any my ghostwriters about this. I have never brought up any little things like spelling or grammar. Yes, we sometimes discuss what direction the story is going, but that is what the first draft is for.

I saw a discussion about this topic on Twitter the other day which I felt was a little misguided. The individuals talking on this topic made the argument that everything needs to be perfect all the time and that you can not move on with the story until, “you get your house in order”. Instead of ineffectively creating argument or argument’s sake, I decided to create this article. Folks, do not get caught up getting your ideas on the paper. If you are looking for tips on the final draft, now that’s a whole different story. Click here if you are looking for three tips on that topic. Once you get the ball rolling, keep up with the momentum. Trust me, this is totally the best way to write.

-ZHanny

These are just my personal thoughts and feeling about this subject. Do you agree with me? Maybe you feel differently? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

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You Need To Take Action If…

Sometimes in life you need to listen to not only what your body is telling you, but your mind as well. Let us start this article with a fun recent ZHanny story. This article exists because of the impact it had on my business. Plus, it’s just really interesting!

Lately I have had a ton of work to do on the publishing side of things. I’m not complaining, this is a great thing! Exactly what I wanted in fact. With a ton of work, sometimes comes a ton of added stress. I am one of those guys that wants to get everything done right away. However, I literally run out of hours in a day to do all the things I want to accomplish. Maybe you can relate if you have landed on this page.

There is this one project that I am working on that is taking a little more time than it is supposed to. The layers of this project seem like peeling an endless onion. That is the way life goes sometimes, eh? Unfortunately, due to the way this Christmas season is going, I have had to postpone some of the steps needed to accomplish the necessary tasks to finish up. I did not realize how much this was bothering me until I started having recurring nightmares.

I went to bed and immediately started dreaming about standing in a room. I looked in a mirror and noticed that a tooth was loose. Above me hung a single light bulb swaying in the breeze. The room was frightfully dark. I grabbed onto that tooth and pulled it out. A few more teeth fell out as I pulled. Not a big deal. I woke up that morning and did not give the dream a second thought. The next night I had the same dream, except this time I lost much more teeth when I looked in the mirror. There was nothing I could do to stop the losing process. Again, I woke up the next morning. I thought about the weird dream for a second, then carried on with my day. Finally the third night is when it got real. Same dream, just progressively worse. My mind apparently had had enough of me ignoring it and, boy oh boy, it reflected in the nightmare. I woke up and immediately had a revelation. I felt like I was losing control of the above stated project. I had to take action. Pretty soon I was going to be a toothless fool in my dreams if I did not do something!

I hired some extra help. Immediately I felt like the weight of the world was lifted. I went to bed that night with a sigh of relief. The best part? I’m keeping my teeth now!

What are the warning signs that your body gives you when stressed? I’d love to know!
Obviously I need to be a dream interpreter for myself in these situations (LOL). Leave me a comment down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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The Number One Rule For Longevity

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You know what’s tough? Making sure that you take care of yourself first before anything else each day. I’ve read countless books and watched/ listened to hours of informational videos/ content about how to be the best person that you can be. There was consistency throughout all the content that I absorbed. Taking care of yourself first was the key from all the greats. I implemented this rule in my life. From experience, I can tell you that was the single greatest game changing life hack that I have ever done.

What do I mean by taking care of yourself first you ask? Well let me explain: In order to build a house, you need a solid foundation right? Your body and mind are most certainly the same way. Life is so much easier to win at when everything is working at an optimal level. When you make your mental and physical health a priority right away every day, your work, relationships, and happiness more easily falls into place. Let me lead you through what my mornings look like normally. I’ll wake up early. First I will go to the gym and focus on a different area of my body each day. When I come home I will have a healthy breakfast, followed by some light reading on a topic that I am trying to self improve on. Finally when, I feel that I have made adequate progress on those topics I will finally start on the blog. I make sure that I’m drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The party days are long gone now, and that certainly helps too. It is truly amazing what a healthy diet and lifestyle can do for oneself. 

I am not saying that you need to steal my morning routine, however it does work really good for me! I am a creature of habit. That being said, it was very difficulty to commit to a new routine as it might be for a lot of you out there. There are so many that start and stop new routines. My advice for you, before you start showing signs of burnout, is to slowly implement these new tactics into your life so that they stick better. I was so stuck in my habits that it took me multiple tries over years to get that whole gym thing to stick. All that hard work payed off over time though as did the rest of my new found habits. Start with some small changes and work your way up. That was the only way that I was able to do it. Take care of yourself my friends. Your body will reward you. 

-ZHanny

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Are You Writing In The Right Genre?

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If there is one thing that I love about my full time job, it is the fact that I have the opportunity and privilege to sit down for different variations of time and talk with life experienced individuals. Everyone has a different story to tell. Different people are experienced in different areas of life. I hear stories about how people spent their life bull riding, traveling the world, raising families, managing huge companies, and an assortment of other random accomplishments. I was talking with this pleasant lady the other day who just had her 50th wedding anniversary. Now that’s a person I’d want relationship advice from as opposed to a honey-moon eyed couple who had been together for just a couple months. (I guarantee that she’d be good at writing a relationship book!) This brings us to the topic at hand:

These different life experiences bleed into our creative process whether we like to admit it or not. Different individuals have the edge on different genres if they harness what they already know and believe about the world. Successful romance writers and publishers understand their audience’s desires. Much of the time, those stories are based on real life/ experiences. Successful horror writers and publishers understand what people’s deepest rooted fears are and act on them. A good example of this is of course ZHanny Publishing. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I love telling scary stories based on real experiences. I would be the one with the flashlight pointed up at his face around the camp fire waiting to jump scare you. When you read about how the protagonist peers into the darkness with his flashlight revealing a rocking chair rolling back and forth on squeaky wooden floorboard, it’s probably something the team has seen or experienced in real life. (That last example was actually from my full time job).

Now my question to you. What are you more experienced in compared to others? Do you have any passions? Sometimes you have to take a step back and ask yourself what is working and what is not. I actually wrote an article not too long ago about learning from success and failure. You should check it out! A lot of the time, the changes will only need to be small adjustments so you do more concentrating on your strengths. I talk a lot about that in the link above. Harness that inner power and experience you have and release it in your work. Trust me, it will pay off in the end.

-ZHanny

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The One Misunderstood Aspect of Horror Fiction

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Throughout my articles you will find that I praise authors for the job and artistry they perform. Here is what I see as a publisher and enthusiast when an individual submits parts of a horror manuscript to me: A mirror that reflects that person’s past experiences and emotions and the boldness to overcome fear and judgement. Nothing reflects this, in my experience so far, better than horror fiction.

Everyone has been scared of something in their life. We can all relate to this concept as human beings. Reading horror fictions give people the privilege and opportunity to learn from what the authors have already perceived or experienced in life in regards to this genre. This perspective makes this concept a rare opportunity to learn how other’s think or how others think others think (this is becoming a strange sentence) in those little talked about human moments of fight or flight. Yes that last excerpt is carefully thought out and correct. One of the most important skills you can learn in life is to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When one writes a book, this concept is brought to the next level. They’re not just putting themselves in someone else’s shoes, they’re putting themselves in the individual shoes of sometimes a town full of people. This concept is important to understand when moving on. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a gift not many utilize. The world would be a much different place if that was to happen. A lot can be learned from those with that ability.

The different genres of books each have something unique to offer beyond what the upfront story tells. For me, it’s important to find the meaning behind the meaning. Sometimes that is exactly what the author wants. Whether it be the comparison between Peter Pan and the analogy of never growing up, The Exorcist and battling one’s inner demons, or Pinocchio and cutting your own puppet strings, there are even better lessons that one can learn from deriving abstract thoughts from different stories.

Next time you read a horror book realize that you a receiving not just one story, but multiple stories. Always be open to new things and ideas. I find myself deep in thought sometimes thinking about the concepts behind the concepts after finishing a book. What experiences or thought processes the author had to have been put through in order to reflect to the world different scary situations, analogies, and scenarios. I invite you to go back through books that you have read in the past with this new perspective. You never know. You could just experience a completely different story all together!

-ZHanny

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How To Survive When Your Pen Name is Discovered

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Red alert! You have been found out! It was nice knowing you. You did good work while it lasted. Little did you know that you signed up for a lifetime of misery and ridicule. Are you sensing the sarcasm yet? No, your life is not over. Take a deep breath in. It’s going to be just fine. Heck, look at me. Word is starting to get around about my little side adventure here and it is providing me great content to write about! Situations like this are all about how you approach and perceive them. A couple weeks ago, someone looked over my shoulder and saw me managing my ZHanny twitter page. One thing led to another, word got around, and now I am becoming more and more discovered by friends, coworkers, and family. (Hi everyone!) Do not get me wrong, this is absolutely a great thing for me as it could be for you if you planned on this happening from the very beginning.  I’m just impressed at how fast rumor spreads around these parts. Here is three tips that you need to know in order to survive.

  1. A lot of people forget when writing blogs, creating content, or books that real people read this stuff. Don’t say anything in your content that you would not say to people in person. Not just random people but your boss, coworkers, parents, friends, Grandma, you get the idea. You better be following this step from the very beginning. There will be a day in the future where someone will know you from the content that you push out. Take a step out of your own shoes and look at your situation. How would someone else perceive you? I’m lucky in the regards that I am pretty much an open book (ha, publisher reference) with all that I do. If there was something that you didn’t know about me, it’s probably because you did not ask. The content you read here is just ZHanny being ZHanny.
  2. My second tip is to just keep on keeping on. In order to achieve your goals and my goals, there is a lot that needs to get done behind the scenes. There is literally no time to worry or be embarrassed. Part of the creative process is to quiet the world around you in order to hear your own thoughts. Any other noise is going to decrease the concentration of your personality and uniqueness. If you planned out your business model, there is an ultimate design and route that needs to be followed to achieve your goal. I know and you know that there is a reason for everything we do. Keep your eyes on the prize.
  3. Here’s my third and final tip. Own your content. Keep yourself in the right mindset. Nobody else made it, you did. I am so proud of what my team has accomplished thus far. Money was being made before a book was even published! That’s amazing to me! Be proud of your accomplishments. It’s tough to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s tough to learn about and become an expert in topics that are foreign to most individuals. You are accomplishing steps in a direction that most people do not walk. Keep up the good work!

Do you have any tips on how to handle when people find out your pen name or side business? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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The Passive Income Lie Everyone Believes

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So I have been doing this passive income thing for awhile now and there is one major thing that I learned regarding the subject matter. Do a quick search on the internet for passive income ideas. Go ahead now, don’t be shy. What did you find? I’ll tell you what I found all that time ago now. Everyone holds “passive income” on a pedestal saying how easy it was to set up and how nice it is to do basically no work. The life of getting that sweet sweet paycheck day after day. They like to play off the mentality of instant gratification. (You should check out that last link. It’s great!)

What’s the honest truth about passive income though? Are you ready for the answer? As someone who works a full time job on top of my passive income streams I can tell you from experience that you’ll never be a busier person setting it all up. Not to mention, it’s for an unknown amount of time until it starts to generate some real revenue. I always have a lengthy to-do list every day. That’s even on the days that I work all the jobs. There is always something to think about and always problem solving going on.

Here’s the kicker though. It’s not all bad though. Here me out on this: If you pick something that you enjoy to do, it does not feel like work. I find that I will start at the top of my to do list early in the morning while the sun rises. All of a sudden, the day is gone! It’s easy to lose track of time, which is a good sign that you are doing something that you love. Last night I was reading through a submission from one of my ghost writers. I looked back up at the clock and found that hours had passed!

So what is the take away from all of this? When stepping into the world of your “passive income” idea, be ready for more work than you’ve ever had before in your life. This stuff is challenging. You’ll encounter problems that you have never had before. You’ll have those ups and those downs. You will be learning new skills and ideas not just every day, but more like every hour. It is so important that you actually enjoy the work that you are doing. This changes the monotonous into passion.

Not everyone knows exactly what they are passionate about. I tried so many things before publishing and blogging that just did not turn out. Here’s more advice for you if you feel like you are in those shoes. A bonus tip if you will. Try to do something new every day that pushes you out of the comfort zone. This mentality is certainly attributable to the last paragraph in this article: The One Skill To Achieve Anything The more things you try, the more opportunity there will be for more passions to stick or be discovered. I have found that there are so many wonderful things out there in the world that I would have never otherwise found if I was not constantly dappling out of my comfort zone. Try it! You’ll be surprised what you enjoy.

-ZHanny

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You Can Have Anything You Want With This One Skill

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I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of excited to work on a brand mascot. From the look of the vote, it appears that I will be putting together a possessed doll. Maybe the vote will change! Not sure what I am talking about? There is only a couple hours left of a Twitter poll here: Feel free to vote if the poll is still open!

Maybe right now you are asking yourself the question, “why in the world would a person want a brand mascot in the first place?” No worries my friend, I covered this when the poll was started! You can check out that article here.

In my head I have been assembling the mechanics of what a possessed doll would do. Rotating head, moving eyes, moving mouth, creepy head, possessed by an actual spirit. Well, maybe not that last one. That’d be too easy to make it move then! You know the drill. A quick search online reveals that if I was to buy something like this, it would cost me hundreds if not thousands of dollars. To be honest, I am not worried about that at all and here’s why. Remember that little article about being creative with your money? Here’s a reference to it: The Responsible Place to Get Money. Specifically the last tip in that article. All the mechanics of a complicated puppet like this should be available for pennies on the dollar at second hand shops and thrift stores everywhere (this sentence is humorous to me since it is very similar situation to my next book that gets published). Watch me as I put my money where my mouth is over the next couple weeks. It will be fun!

This leads to the point of the article. What’s one thing that you want or need? What would it take to learn the skill in order to create that item or idea? Would it be financially beneficial to you make it in the first place? These are all questions that one needs to ask themselves when looking at the world. I am becoming convinced that with the right mindset you can build, fix, or achieve almost anything. You’ll find that the more you learn, the more those skills bleed into other skills very much like the snowball effect. Business, finances, personal growth, engineering, needs, wants, you name it. Always be open to and learning new things. This is the skill you need. You might just be surprised at how it impacts other areas of your life as well.

-ZHanny

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The One Business Thing You Can’t Forget This Thanksgiving

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all those that are making ZHanny Publishing a reality. All the writers, artists, editors, and of course my amazing following on social media have helped out so much. I could not have done this without you. Thank you.

I do not want to take away much of your time from family and friends today. I normally get long winded on my daily posts, but I shall keep it short today. The one thing that you you can not forget this Thanksgiving, is literally in the name of the holiday. Giving Thanks. It takes a lot of team work all around to get a business up and running. It takes a lot of team work to make sure it keeps running. Make sure you thank all those that are involved for doing such a great job. Make sure that the thank you is coming from a sincere place. Nothing makes a person feel better than knowing they are appreciated.

(Don’t forget to let me know what what you think a great horror brand mascot should be for ZHanny Publishing here!)

You all have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

-ZHanny

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Feeling Unmotivated? Self Motivation Tips

It’s ironic that I am writing about this topic today. I won’t lie, the struggle is real this morning. Over the past several hours of the early morning, I have driven hundreds of miles on top of only getting a few hours of sleep. You can trust me when I talk about ways to keep that inner fire lit on days like today. Nothing would make me happier to hop into bed right about now, but there are goals to be had! Dreams to be made! Emails to be sent and staff to coordinate. A publisher’s goals do not fulfill themselves you see.

There are two huge motivating factors for me today. The first way that I motivate myself is the good old fashioned reward system. A great example of this is how my day is going today. If I finish my to do list, I will reward myself with an early cat nap. Maybe I’ll have to have some leftover Halloween candy or something too. Eh, we’ll see. The end result is not normally a cat nap and Halloween candy mind you. Most of time time it will be an episode of my favorite TV show or maybe a half hour of my favorite book. If I am doing something that seems monotonous at the time, nothing is quite as motivating as an end of the work day reward to temporarily dwell on. Switch up the rewards regularly. Even the rewards get stale after awhile if you are not careful.

Number two is just how happy I am to have such great writers working with me on my current projects. This field just excites me. I am sure you have heard the quote, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day of your life.” Over the past few days I have had two fantastic partial manuscript submissions. Reading through those manuscripts just gets me excited for the future. I have to reward and pay those guys for a job well done! Payton and Adam, if you read any of these articles, thank you for such great work! Truly terrifying stuff (in a good horror genre kind of way). We have some great content coming out in the next couple months. I’m absolutely pumped with all the progress we have made. The visualization of this future is just fun to think about. It’s getting harder and harder to keep some of that stuff secret!

I hate to end it here, but this guy’s got Halloween candy to scavenge for. What is a great way that you keep your inner fires lit? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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