Is it a “sin” to use other people’s music on social media?


Copyright law is a complicated topic, but get it wrong and you could end up in legal hot water. You might think that if you don’t intend to monetize your video or if you’re just making a fan video, you’re in the clear to use copyrighted music on YouTube. But that’s far from the truth.

The fact is that unless your video is only for your personal use (as in, not sharing it online anywhere) you must get permission from the copyright holder to use any music on YouTube. But doing so isn’t always easy. Even just tracking down the owner can be tricky, but this guide will walk you through how to legally use copyrighted music.

What Might Happen If You Don’t Get Permission?


Best case scenario, if you don’t get permission to use a song in your video, you might be asked to take it down. But you might also face more severe consequences. For example, if you post your video on YouTube, you could get a copyright strike against your account or have the audio on your video muted. Any ad money might be given to the copyright holder, or in a worst case scenario, you could get sued.

To avoid the legal headaches (and potentially expensive fees and settlements) you’ll need to make sure you have explicit permission from the copyright holder to use any music.

How to Get Permission to Use a Song in Your Video?

The first step in getting permission to use recorded material is determining who owns the copyright and contacting them.

However, it’s not a matter of just contacting the artist or record label. In fact, there are two (or more) rights owners to a given piece of recorded music — the rights to the written song (including the composer, lyricist, and/or music publisher) and the rights to the particular recording (the record label and performer/s.)

 How Do You Find the Copyright Owner of a Song?

Often, tracking down the owner and successfully contacting them is the most challenging part of getting permission, but a good place to start is with the music publisher or the record company.

You can often find the contact information for music publishers through performing rights societies, since all professional songwriters and music publishers belong to one of these organizations. ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC are the main organizations, and members can only belong to one of them. Try searching their databases for a given title, but if you don’t find it at one society, the copyright owner likely belongs to one of the other two. If you find the title here, you should also find the contact information for the owner.

If you can’t find the copyright holder through these organizations, you can try contacting music licensing companies (PRS) for Music (which represents composers, writers and publishers) or PPL (which represents performers and record companies) for information about recordings they license.

How to Ask for Permission to Use a Song?

Once you’ve tracked down the copyright holder, you can contact them, usually by writing a letter. Refer to this sample letter or follow this guide. The main thing is to identify yourself, the song you want to use, and explain how/where it will be used. Finally, you can ask them to sign and return the letter by way of agreement, or contact you to negotiate.

If you expect your usage/views to be very limited, you may get permission to use the piece for free, but if you expect to profit from or monetize your video, you will likely need to pay the owner a fee.

How Much Does It Cost to License a Song?

The cost to license a copyrighted song can vary widely. The cost for a song from a small independent artist might be less than $100, while a track by a major artist or label can run thousands of dollars. Some licenses might also charge you a percentage of revenue instead. The key is to carefully read the terms of the license to know what you’re getting into. Licensing services like Getty and others have clear, easy to understand terms, which makes them an appealing option for creators.

Alternatives to Getting Permission

If you’re not up to the task of tracking down the copyright owner, you can purchase a royalty-free license. Note that royalty-free doesn’t necessarily mean the license itself is free, just that you won’t pay royalties for using it. There are free royalty-free options, however. YouTube’s own Audio Library is a good place to start. You can also search for pieces that are in the public domain and therefore free to use.


15 Reasons why Trump hates the book “Fire & Fury” with passion



Sex, lies, tears, fears — and lots of profanity.

All of that and more is in Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” to be published Tuesday by Henry Holt. It features riveting behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Trump’s White House, including juicy details on how the most powerful men and women in Washington worked together to make Trump president — and turned on one another after he took the oath of office.


Here are a few of the many revelations from the 310-page book.

1. TRUMP WAS CRANKY: Trump, angered by the quality of his accommodations the night before the inauguration at Blair House, was so unhappy he bickered the next morning with his wife, Melania.

“Too hot, bad water pressure, bad bed,” Wolff wrote. “Throughout the morning, he was visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears and would return to New York the next day; almost every word he addressed to her was sharp and peremptory.”

2. SEPARATE BEDROOMS: The Trumps are sleeping in separate quarters in the White House, the book says. According to Wolff, that hasn’t happened since the Kennedys.

3. THE HAIR: Long the subject of curiosity and ridicule, Trump’s coif gets a fresh look in the book, with daughter Ivanka describing the First Hair.

“An absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray,” Wolff writes of Ivanka’s explanation of her dad’s do, noting the color is from Just for Men. “The longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.”

4. HOPE HICKS & COREY LEWANDOWSKI: The two aides were in a relationship during the campaign, according to the book.

Lewandowski, who managed Trump’s presidential campaign from its start to April 2016, and Hicks, a campaign spokeswoman who is now Trump’s White House communications director, had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship, Wolff wrote. After Lewandowski was fired, she worried about her ex’s treatment by the press, prompting Trump to console her.

“You’ve already done enough for him,” Trump told her. “You’re the best piece of tail he’ll ever have.”

5. FEARS AND TEARS: Everyone in the Trump family, including Donald Trump himself, was shocked that he won on Election Night.

Wolff wrote that Melania was terrified Trump could win. Trump offered his wife a solemn guarantee: There was simply no way he would prevail, according to the book. But on Election Night, after it became clear Trump would be the victor, Melania was in tears — but not tears of joy, Wolff wrote.

6. WHO GIVES HIM ADVICE: When Trump was confronted by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’S “Morning Joe” about whom he consults with, the new president was frank.

“You won’t like the answer, but the answer is me,” Trump responded, according to the book. “I talk to myself.”

7. KEEP OUT: Trump was so scared of being poisoned, he had a lock installed on his bedroom inside the White House, causing friction with the Secret Service.

The Secret Service didn’t like the lock because agents insisted they must have access to the room, according to “Fire and Fury.” According to the book: “Then he imposed a set of new rules: nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely remade.)”

8. FLYNN WAS WARNED: Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a target of the Russia probe who last month pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, was warned about accepting money from Russia for a December 2015 speech in Moscow.

According to Wolff, Flynn was informed that it had not been a good idea to take a $45,000 speaking fee from the Russians. Flynn responded that “it would only be a problem if we won,” Wolff wrote.

9. THE OBAMAS WERE “VERY ARROGANT”: Trump didn’t like how Barack and Michelle Obama acted during the pre-inauguration meeting between the outgoing and incoming first couples.

Trump believed that the Obamas acted “disdainfully — ‘very arrogant’ — toward him and Melania,” according to the book.

10. RUDY FOR SCOTUS: Trump has repeatedly pointed to his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court as one of the signature achievements of his first year in office. But, according to Wolff, Trump actually wanted a loyalist on the bench and was considering Rudolph Giuliani.

Before choosing Gorsuch, Trump “kept returning” to Giuliani because the former New York City mayor and Trump campaign surrogate had backed him up after the “Access Hollywood” tape fiasco.

11. “TAKE A SHOWER, STEVE”: Trump was never shy about insulting Bannon, his chief White House strategist.

“Guy looks homeless. Take a shower, Steve. You’ve worn those pants for six days,” Trump said at one point, according to Wolff.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon delivers remarks during the Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, U.S., Oct. 14, 2017.
Mary F. Calvert / Reuters

12. JARED AND IVANKA WANTED COMEY OUT: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were convinced that the FBI Director might go after the Kushner family’s real estate dealings and encouraged the president to fire him.

The book says that Comey became the focus of Trump family discussions and they feared he would rise by damaging them.

13. TRUMP THOUGHT FIRING COMEY WAS HEROIC: Trump was initially pleased with his decision in May to fire FBI Comey — even though it quickly led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in the federal Russia probe.

The president thought that ousting Comey would show he could stand up to the FBI, Wolff wrote.

14. TRUMP WANTED TO ATTEND THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS DINNER: Trump skipped the annual celebration amid a very public feud with the media. But Wolff writes that Trump actually wanted to participate and sought from aides the latest news from the celebration as it was occurring, asking for updates on the jokes.

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House in Washington on Jan. 30, 2017.
Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

15. EVERYONE HATES EVERYONE, BASICALLY: Wolff paints a clear picture that alliances inside the White House are scarce and venom is omnipresent. Chief of Staff John Kelly doesn’t like Trump’s family, he writes; Gary Cohn has contempt for Kushner, and Trump himself even has wondered at times when Kushner and Ivanka might quit.

“Kelly’s long-suffering antipathy toward the president was rivaled only by his scorn for the president’s family,” Wolff wrote.

(Thanks to NBC News)

Coming in our lifetime: Germany’s “train of the future”

Train travel just got even more attractive.

European train rides have long been favored by the well-traveled, bringing us back in time with champagne bars and grand suites (the Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express) and even serving as inspiration for The Hogwarts Express (The Jacobite Steam through Scotland). Across the continent, train travel allows travelers to seamlessly cross borders and swap cities with little more than a ticket in-hand, all the while taking in spectacular sights. And in years to come, it could grow more appealing to commuters, too.

Last week, German railway company Deutsche Bahn unveiled ‘Ideenzug,’ which translates to ‘Idea Train’—a regional train of the future, if you will. The project has been in the works for years, and while it’s still in the development stage, the commuter train could be decked out with everything from “reservable sports cabins” with spin bikes and digital personal trainers to big screen TVs, an area to play video games, and “privacy pods” where travelers can snag a little R&R. Suffer from motion sickness? Chairs on the Idea Train would swivel, facing any direction you want. Some of the seats would also be “noise-canceling,” thanks to a curved design and glass panes separating seats. It’s unclear where exactly the Idea Train would run, but the project is in partnership with Germany’s Southeast Bavarian Railway.

Idea Train
Courtesy Deutsche Bahn

Chairs on the Idea Train will swivel, facing any direction you want.

Future tests will help determine which design ideas prove most promising, Jörg Sandvoss, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn Regio told International Railway Journal. “When developing such concepts, it is not about implementing a train with all the creative ideas at once, but rather taking individual approaches into consideration for new trains,” he said.

The Idea Train hopes to compete with both the impending reality of self-driving cars—as well as, locally, the construction of Germany’s A94 highway, which will stretch from Munich to Simbach am Inn when it’s completed in 2019, according to The Local.


Even more interesting reads here:



Theoretically, what would happen in a Robredo presidency?

There may come a time when Digong will get so extremely fed up with all the destabilization plots against him…

that he’ll just pack his bags, along with his ever reliable kulambo…

and, head back to Davao. Back to his nocturnal taxi driver gig.

When that happens, it’s back to yet another female leader.

A dreaded moment for most. (And not because of gender issues.)


To show that she’s in control, Leni’s first decisive act would probably be to rename the international airports.

JRIA, for short. (In synch with the KatNiel name-coupling phenomenon.)

Not just one – but all three terminals.


Of equal importance is to appoint a go-to person… her special assistant… her very own Bong Go… but probably, more inches… taller… more macho… not as clean-shaven as Da Bong. My uzi friends are unanimous in their choice.


And because government cannot function without proper funding, Leni will be remiss in not appointing a Finance Secretary whose experience in juggling funds is unparalleled.


The critical Tourism portfolio rightfully belongs to one who has traveled extensively… and has seen the innate beauty of our country in islands like the Spratlys. A glib talker… an expert on hotels and the hospitality industry… a man who knows publicity is of utmost importance in any undertaking and can swing a TV interview on BBC or CNN effortlessly. There can only be one.


Intelligent Filipino kids are the caretakers of our future. Leni must certainly appoint an Education secretary whose intellect has been honed since childhood. Can you think of anyone else who was an expert on the intricacies of martial law while still at 6th grade?


To continue the big strides in Agriculture that DU30 nurtured, we need a DA Secretary to focus in a direction other than rice sufficiency which the country has already achieved.  This time it’s our lucrative banana export industry. One expert name rises above all.


Leni could use a battle-tested Press Secretary. One who has gone to war with just about each and every faux-journalist… or “blogger”, as she calls them.


The Presidential spokesperson should match the intellectual level of the President. Ladies and gentlemen, I propose the appointment of one who raised our consciousness on the quirky British royalty pecking pole… one who made us more knowledgeable of centuries-old titles like “Dutch” and “Duchess”.


With these essential people in place, the new President can proceed to more pressing important matters.

Like selecting historical landmarks and protecting these from damage and/or vandalism in the years to come. Offhand, I can pinpoint two.


OVP "Boracay Mansion" QC

The OVP “Boracay Mansion” QC

Bus stop on Magallanes/SLEX

I’ve gone quite a long way… but another theoretical question just came up.

What if the PET recount shows Bongbong really won the elections?

Esep esep.

McDonald’s Products that Failed Miserably

The Hula Burger

McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, was a brilliant businessman, but not a good cook.

According to church canon, Catholics over the age of 14 are required to abstain from meat on Fridays. Kroc had high hopes for his non-meat option called “The Hula Burger” — grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun. He positioned the sandwich to compete against the Filet-o-Fish sandwich, which was invented by a Catholic franchisee. The Filet-o-Fish won hands down while the Hula tanked.

I mean, who would want to eat a burger with pineapple in it? You only put that in pizza. Thank god they didn’t screw up as bad as they did with their:


You can have an Egg McMuffin for breakfast and a Big Mac for lunch but what do I eat for dinner? McDonald’s tried to solve that problem in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the McPizza. To build the dinner menu, it even tried adding similar options like lasagna and spaghetti as you can see from Amanpreet Kapoor answer. Theoretically, McDonald’s could’ve been your one-stop shop — forget Dominos and Pizza Hut!­

Unfortunately, the fast service normally associated with McDonalds wasn’t included in this 10 minute pizza. And customers looking for a quick bite were disappointed that they had to wait longer than their typical Big Mac.

The Supersize Products

One of the most infamous and controversial items at McDonalds. The big thing is, it would have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for our food superhero, MORGAN SPURLOCK! Thanks to his award winning documentary, “Supersize Me”, McDonalds was forced to pull back their menu of supersized McNuggets, Fries and burgers in order to avoid lawsuits.

Interesting McDo trivia

The hamburger patties are not smaller today, they are exactly the same size they’ve always been: 10 to a pound.

They’re still made with reconstituted dehydrated onions, yellow mustard, ketchup, one pickle slice, salt and pepper on the meat while it’s cooking. The recipe for the buns has only changed slightly.

There was, however, a period of time around 15 years ago when McDonald’s stopped toasting the buns, and instead microwaved them. The result was horrific, tasteless, tough, and an unmitigated disaster. It took several years of slowly declining sales, and catastrophically dropping customer satisfaction scores before they went back to toasting.

A former executive of the chain candidly remarked that he was eating McDonald’s regular hamburgers in the late 1950’s, and they still taste pretty much the same to him.


An afternoon with a certified Pinoy international visual artist


The 70s was a great decade to work in advertising.

As I look back, I tell myself that I sure was lucky.

(There is a strong possibility that… maybe, just maybe, I may have caught some of the creativity in the air at that time – by osmosis.)

I was a 17-year old copy writer in an ad agency populated by some of the Philippines’ masters in art. Big names, certified heavies and real movers: Jerry Navarro, Romulo Olazo, Cris Cruz… and a quiet young artist working in a noisy corner of the art bull pen.

His name was Edwin Wilwayco and he was one of the artists who first got me interested in art when he gave me… repeat, gave (not sold) one of his earliest work.

I finally met up with him after decades of no contact… and in a span of over two hours, I got into the head of my dear friend and distilled the reasons why discriminating art lovers would readily part with their P500K and upwards to own one of his masterpieces.

Let me share my “learnings”.













Edwin’s lovingly-prepared coffeetable book is sold at Leon Gallery, Ground Floor, Eurovilla 1, Legazpi corner Rufino Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

Secrets of the writer/ex-adman who has sold more than 150,000,000 books

More than 100 million people have read at least one James Patterson book. That’s roughly one out of every three U.S. citizens. Last fall, with the publication of Against Medical Advice, his first work of narrative nonfiction, Patterson became the first author to have debuted at No. 1 on five New York Times bestseller lists: Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover Nonfiction, Mass Market Fiction, Children’s Chapter Books and Children’s Series. He also holds The New York Times bestsellers record at 42, according to his publisher.


It all began in 1977 when Patterson’s debut novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, won an Edgar Award. His breakout hit was Along Came a Spider, the first of many novels featuring Deputy Chief of Detectives Alex Cross. Today, his prolific body of work spans multiple genres, including The Women’s Murder Club series (a natural, he says, since he grew up surrounded by women), the Detective Michael Bennett books (co-authored with Michael Ledwidge), two young-adult series (Daniel X and Maximum Ride), the occasional historical novel (such as The Jester, which he calls “history on adrenalin”) and even romance (including Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, one of his favorites). He maintains this high volume, in part, by working with co-authors—a practice frowned upon by some, but rebutted by Patterson in one word: “teamwork.”

His name is so well known that he’s even been the subject of a “brand” case study by Harvard Business School students. Yet he says the secret to his success isn’t the marketing, though he’s a former ad executive who’s sold more than 150 million books worldwide. Patterson says his books sell by the millions whatever the genre because they’re cinematic, they’re fast paced and, well, they’re good.


For me it’s always been the same, and this was true when I was in business. I’ve always concentrated on the product. There are very few cases where people or enterprises or franchises have succeeded unless the product is really good for that audience. [Writers] always want to hear it’s the advertising. It isn’t—it’s the product.


I’m big on having a blistering pace. That’s one of the hallmarks of what I do, and that’s not easy. I never blow up cars and things like that, so it’s something else that keeps the suspense flowing. I try not to write a chapter that isn’t going to turn on the movie projector in your head.

My style is colloquial storytelling. It’s the way we tell stories to one another—it’s not writerly, it’s not overdone. In the colloquial style, when you’re just telling a story to somebody—and if [you said] some of the stuff that a lot of people put into books—somebody would just say, “Will you please get to the point?” Or, “This story is putting me to sleep.” Or, “Could I move to sit next to somebody else at this dinner?” A lot of writers fall in love with their sentences or their construction of sentences, and sometimes that’s great, but not everybody is Gabriel García Márquez  or James Joyce. A lot of people like to pretend that they are, and they wind up not giving people a good read or enlightening them.


What advertising helped me to understand and get into my head very powerfully is that there is an audience out there. People go in and they think they know all the answers, and then they test stuff and find out that nobody paid attention, nobody cared; it was a blip on the screen. So you learn that there is an audience there. I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished. I’m very conscious of an audience. I’m very conscious that I’m an entertainer. Something like 73 percent of my readers are college graduates, so you can’t condescend to people. You’ve got to tell them a story that they will be willing to pay money to read.


It was a lot of fun and an honor. Once again, the answer to what’s happening here is not one that [business students and writers] want to hear. What I have working for me is that I’m very emotional and I’m analytical, and that’s not always in the same body.

So I can look at my work and I can write it and try to make it as scary or loving or whatever the scene is supposed to be. And I can step back from it and analyze whether I’ve come anywhere near creating that.


They were very interested in the notion that I was a brand, in their opinion. And you couldn’t talk to a Coca-Cola bottle, but you could talk to me. They wanted to hear what I thought was behind it. I thought a lot of it was the fact that I’m thinking about the reader: I want to create a book that I think people are going to enjoy, that I would enjoy, and I get a kick out of that. Some writers don’t. Some serious writers, the last thing in the world they want to do is entertain people, and that’s fine, but I do want to entertain people.

On the marketing side, once I’ve written a book, I want to make sure that the cover is reasonable. And that, within reason, we’ve stuck our hand up in the air and said, “There’s a new book!” which is really all the advertising can do.


I just have too many stories. I couldn’t possibly do them all. People sometimes get wise-assed about the co-writers, but if you saw what happened … ! For example, with Sundays at Tiffany’s, I worked with a co-writer, and then I wrote seven drafts. And that happens a lot.

The “factory” comes up occasionally as a phrase. If it’s a factory, it’s a factory where everything is hand-tooled. If you came here now, you would see just stack upon stack—manuscript, screenplays, etc.—and almost nothing comes out of here that I don’t rewrite a lot, in addition to outlining.


With the exception of The Quickie, every idea has been mine. I come up with the idea. I write an outline, about which one of my agents says, with this outline I could write the book. Usually, with a co-written book, somebody else will do the first draft and I will do subsequent drafts.


There are some people I’ve known for a long time. I’ve known Maxine Paetro for a long time. Peter De Jonge I’ve known for a long time—he worked with me at J. Walter Thompson [advertising agency]. Michael Ledwidge was a guy who sent me a manuscript. We had both gone undergraduate to Manhattan College, although a long time apart. He was working as a doorman in New York. At the time I was chairman of J. Walter Thompson, and he gave [his manuscript] to my assistant, and my assistant said, “Jim will look at it.” Mike went home that night, and he was with his wife and the phone rang in his apartment, and he made a joke to his wife and said, “It’s probably James Patterson.” And he picked up the phone and it was me.

I said I liked it, and I helped him get an agent. So he sold it, and six or seven years later, he was having a little trouble, and we talked, and I said, “If you’d like, we can try to write a book together,” and we wrote Step on a Crack. And then we co-wrote the first Daniel X. We co-wrote The Quickie, which was Mike’s idea. We [released] another Michael Bennett [series book] in February, Run for Your Life. And the next Michael Bennett is finished, and we’re doing another one.


Most movie scripts are teams. Television shows are generally written by teams. In the beginning, a lot of series were written with co-authors. Stephen King has written with co-authors. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. Read the book. If you don’t like the book, you can talk to me about it. It’s not an issue of whether it’s written by somebody else or not. In America, we get so caught up in individualism and heroes. I’m big on teams. I think teamwork is great. I couldn’t possibly do all these stories. I have a file of stories that’s 400 pages thick, and they’re stories that I want to tell. Steven Spielberg doesn’t go out and do it by himself. I like the co-authored books. I think a lot of them are quite cool.


If it’s commercial fiction that you want to write, it’s story, story, story. You’ve got to get a story where if you tell it to somebody in a paragraph, they’ll go, “Tell me more.” And then when you start to write it, they continue to want to read more. And if you don’t, it won’t work.

In terms of literary fiction, that’s something different. It should be a point of view on something that’s wonderful to read. Too often it’s just style. I think style can be fine, but I think it’s a little overrated if a book is nothing but style. I’m not as keen on it as some people are.


I just finished another historical [novel]. I really like this idea. It’s a book that Alex Cross has written based on family stories, so you have your main character actually writing a book, and that’s really fun and different. Obviously, [I’m also working on] a lot of crime fiction—The Women’s Murder Club series, the Alex Cross series, the Michael Bennett series. We also have the TV series we sold to CBS in which Michael Bennett is the main character. Love stories—Sundays at Tiffany’s was the most recent. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas was earlier, which I really enjoy. They are most challenging for me because nobody gets killed, so I don’t have the cop-out of bringing in that kind of suspense and adventure.

One horror: You’ve Been Warned. Run for Your Life will be out. The next Maximum Ride, called Max. It’s been very successful. I’ll go to schools, and you feel like you’re a rock star because the whole school has read it and they’re just screaming and yelling. In my mind, the best way—or one of the best ways—to get kids reading is to give them books that they love.

I was a very good student, but I didn’t particularly like to read when I was younger. I still hate Silas Marner.They gave us books that were turnoffs to most of us. And then I worked my way through college at a hospital. I had a lot of free time, and I started reading everything I could find, and it was all serious stuff, but I fell in love. And that passion! You will hear that from a lot of people who do well in things. What’s the key? The key is passion, I think. You gotta love it.


I love it! You’re lucky if you find something you love to do, and if somebody will pay you to do it. That’s my situation. I think I understand what I do well, and what I don’t do as well. I tell stories well. I’m not a terrific stylist. Thomas Berryman, the first book I wrote, won an Edgar and does have a fair amount of style. I don’t think it’s a great story, but it does have style, so I have the ability to do it up to a point, but not as much as I’d want to, to write certain kinds of fiction.


I don’t think there are a lot of really readable books out there. There are less than people think there are. There’s a lot of stuff that you pick it up and you feel like, “I’ve read this before.” It’s very hard to grab people. I don’t think it’s an accident that I’m up there. I don’t think it’s an accident that John Grisham is up there. John Grisham grabs people. There are a few writers that do it. I don’t think it’s that easy, and it’s not a question of somebody who writes good sentences. It’s a question of people being able to tell stories in a way that captivates a lot of readers.

I’m not trying to duck the marketing thing. My advice to most people, in terms of, what should you do after you write your book? Should you invest in some marketing? Should you stand outside a bookstore with flyers? Go write another book. Go write another book! You learned some things writing this book. Make use of them in the next book, and keep your passion going, and get that habit.