Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Writing Course

So I'm sitting here trying to think of ways I can continue to buy Fancy Feast for Crum the Cat. Several people have proposed that I ought to start doing dokusan sessions online via Skype and charge money for them. But that idea, frankly, makes me want to vomit. Dokusan, for those who may not know, is a private personal interview with a Zen teacher, usually conducted as part of a sesshin or Zen retreat. Though participants usually pay for Zen retreats, and though some of that money normally goes to the teacher, it is not customary to charge specifically for dokusan. Besides which, if it's not done in the context of a retreat it isn't really dokusan, at least in my understanding of what dokusan is supposed to be.

I've been sending my resume out to colleges and universities who run writing programs to see if they'll hire me to teach creative writing. Then it occurred to me. Do I really need a university to hire me to do that? Maybe I could do that myself and eliminate the middle man.

My upstairs neighbor Dave teaches writing at the University of Akron. So I went up there and asked if I could borrow a syllabus from one of his classes. I looked it over and figured I could adapt his strategy to an online course in creative writing to be taught by me.

I'm thinking I could offer a ten week course with 4 - 6 writing assignments that I would personally evaluate. Students would get the benefit of my experience as a professional writer, which is something I've been doing for at least ten years before Hardcore Zen came out in 2003. I was writing all sorts of stuff for Tsuburaya Productions. And before that I wrote for zines and science fiction mags. That's like 20 years as a writer, not even counting the comic books and shitty poetry I wrote starting when I first learned to write.

I couldn't help get anyone published. I could tell you how I went about doing it. But I have no connections that are going to work for anyone else. I can show you how to make your work publishable, though.

In order to make this worth the time and headaches it would cost me, I'd have to charge at least $350 per student. I may have to charge more, in fact, because it would be a whole big bunch of work for me. The going rate for online writing courses appears to vary between $300 and $800. Although I haven't been able to find any examples of someone like me, an independent published author, offering such a course. I'm sure such examples must exist somewhere. I would imagine the prestige of the writer in question would determine the price. Does anyone know of a writer who independently offers online writing courses?

So the question I'm asking all of you nice folks is: Would you be interested in taking such a course? I doubt that most of the regular contributors to this blog's comments section are going to want to do it. So I'm hoping to hear from a few ordinary citizens. This page gets a thousand or more hits a day. So I know that it's not just those same five guys reading it.

Remember Crum the Cat is depending on you!


Anonymous said...

i'd have to think about it--but yes I am interested. My first thought was "christ, sell it to me why don't ya!"

as a long time reader, I think you have the creds to back up what you can teach people. Actually the "DIY" expert thing is catching like wildfire. Go for it!

I'm a P.E. teacher, not a personal trainer, but I've thought about "consulting" for fitness/wellness for cash for sure. Why not? Liability of course, but as long as my ducks are in a row...

so good for you, sir. good luck!


Unknown said...

$350 is too steep for me. I could send your cat some Fancy Feast though.

Unknown said...

I dig your books and style but if I were to offer any advice... pick a few lucky winners (2-3) and do a free test run first. It will help you nail down what exactly you want to teach and other various refinements. It could, hopefully, generate some good news/reviews about your class.

In any event, good luck and I hope it takes off for you. :)

Anonymous said...

As a spare-time writer, I would be interested in your class. I have actually been thinking of asking you about this.
- Celia (Kajo)

Harry said...

Good idea, good luck with it.

You know, a lot of writers also offer a once-off type editting/evaluation service... so a person sends you a text and you edit it, and/or evaluate it, or whatever. For example:


BTW, I don't see the point of making Dokusan all...whoooooo... and freaky. It might be more useful and practical as a friendly chat between practitioners, as opposed some sort of lofty religious observance or whatever. But I appreciate that the Skype way of meeting is limited; I've tried teaching music via Skype and it just seems lacking.



Lucius said...

I have been looking for a text consultant / writing teacher some months ago (in German actually).

From what I have seen, there are three types of providers:

Academics - no one is very much interested in their services. They do something here and there but most can't do a living out of it

PR-Guys, Journalists: They teach how to do a good job. They seem to earn decend money.

Authors who really know how to make an impact: These people were the most trustworthy and the most expensive. One person who seems to be quite at the top of the food chain charges around 200 USD per hour! But she had actually written some kind of "bestseller" on the issue. Something into the direction of "How to write holy shit great articles".

So yes, I think you fit perfectly into the profile of the last group. However, the tricky part might be to find an audience. I guess you will need an extra home page. You do not need Zen guys looking for a course.

Whatyou need are people looking for such a course / text consult. They will click through all the google results and check out the pages. And thats great.

Everyone who starts to check out your background will see what you have to offer. I mean, how many authors are able to turn something boring like zen into interesting stuff?

Katsuki Sekida said...

Nansen Osho saw monks of the Eastern and Western halls quarreling over a cat. He held up the cat and said, "If you can give an answer, you will save the cat. If not, I will kill it." No one could answer, and Nansen cut the cat in two.

That evening Joshu returned, and Nansen told him of the incident.
Joshu took off his sandal, placed it on his head, and walked out. "If you had been there, you would have saved the cat," Nansen remarked.

Tell me, what did Joshu mean when he put the sandal on his head? If you can give a turning word on this, you will see that Nansen’s decree was carried out with good reason. If not, "Danger!"

Had Joshu been there,
He would have done the opposite;
When the sword is snatched away,
Even Nansen begs for his life.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried local seminars/classes? Teach Zen Poetry, or a Zen Poetry WOrkshop, or something, at a local Zen center - $10 or $20 a head. Not huge money, but it can be a workshop or clinic for 5-20 people, and it'll buy some cat food. Telephone/skype writing coaching services? There are writing coaches out there - Alison Gresik is one, I am sure there are others - that will provide feedback, advice for people who can't get past a structural hurdle, etc. You could charge less but put in less prep work and perhaps get some immediate dough going. One of my goals is eventually writing for Buddhist pubs (essays, etc.) and I'd probably pay for some consultation with someone who has "been there" and would have feedback on what Buddhist mags want, etc.

Des said...

Would you be considering offering a payment plan? Breaking up the payments might attract more people to use your service.

Moni said...

Brad, you should get the patent for a "Brad Warner-daily zen" smart phone application :).That would be a good business.

Mysterion said...


Go with the employer gig. Adjunct faculty.

Bad news is you need a Master's (M.A., M.S., M.B.A., MFA, &c.) for a full-time gig.

However, there _IS_ a work around! With a B.A. and four years professional experience (you did 'write' for Tsuburaya Productions), you can - in most states - get a VOCATIONAL Credential (Master's equivalency) and THAT is worth exploring in advance of revising your resume. Go to the nearest community college and ask to speak to the (designated) Credentials Secretary. She should tell you how to file the necessary paperwork (and pay the fee ~ $85) to obtain a Credential. These usually only last 5 years and then you have to renew them by demonstrating that you ARE working toward a Master's Degree - usually 12 to 18 semester units or 16 to 27 quarter units - and paying another fee. This requirement you can fulfill by taking a couple of graduate level classes through the 'open university' at the local state or private university. You can look into fee-waver options blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Since most private and public colleges pay $45 to $70* per hour for 'podium time,' it's worth the effort.

*some top-of-the line private universities pay a lot more.

'podium time' is the time you spend in front of the class - e.g. 3 hours x 10 or 16 weeks (30 x $45 = $1350 per quarter per class, even in today's economy). You get to correct all the homework that you assign on your own dime. If you have 100+ students and they write a 'rough draft,' 'second draft,' and final paper three times a semester - which is typical in California State Colleges - then you can spend 1/2 a lifetime correcting papers and providing constructive feedback and motivating praise (which is a test of YOUR creative writing).

I mention the reality of the adjunct faculty (a.k.a. 'freeway flier') rather than the dream so that you don't face disappointment later.

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey Brad,

How much to edit and spellcheck my book? :)

A very good idea though and may I suggest being a shadow writer too? :)


Grand Camel said...

Brad, I would enjoy leveraging your experience and $350 seems very reasonable to me.

Thank you for even contemplating it.


Anonymous said...

Hire Gniz to show you how to make money self-publishing. He was able to quit his 9-5 doing it. Thing is you got to write a lot.

Jack Mehoff said...

I give online dokusan on Chatroulette. Perhaps you have already seen my penis. The only koan that I assign is "one hand clapping".

J Hudson said...

There are no guarantees, but I feel that if you had an MFA, you would be able to find a job teaching writing. Your list of publications blows away most MFA creative writing teachers. In addition, your Japanese language and Buddhist credentials are a plus. The NEOMFA is just a few miles away.

Anonymous said...

Brad: You've published 4 books; your blog get thousands of hits; you are now a regular contributor to Tricycle magazine et al. You're at least as qualified as anyone else out there teaching creative writing either online or in the classroom. Go for it ~ Charlie Cardoza PS We have 3 cats who eat Fancy Feast. I feel your pain.

proulx michel said...

It seems to me Mysterion's advise is sound. Look it in.

One of the funny things with being a ghost writer, as was suggested in one of the comments, is that, in French, a ghost writer is called a "nègre" (that is a nigger), because one sweats for the benefit of others...

mdbdba said...

I pointed your post at a few friends that have taken classes before and have at least interesting writing ideas if not some cool things already written (IMO). One definite and one maybe if you come in at around $350 for about 4-6 things critiqued. They thought you were right in the mix with the rest of the classes they've taken. Looking forward to reading about how you proceed.

Jamal said...

Michel, Here in America a nègre is someone who is servicing your Mom..

Melissa Shanti said...

I had an idea as I was reading your blog. I am promoting a 7 day spiritual retreat focused on yoga, meditation, music, and spiritual teachings from many different traditions. Located in Canada we will have all the ingredients for transformation. It would be a great place for you to network for your writing idea. Check out our blog http://spiritualwoodstock.com/spiritual-awakening/

Paul said...

Hi Brad,

I'd be interested...but you're recent book output i.e. the big hitters haven't been creative in the sense of fiction writing have they? Unless the whole Dogen thing was really just...oh, no!

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What about starting a bradwarner school of arts, teaching classes inall the things you are good at, film, music, writing, drawing, Japanese language tutor, and cat maintenance, incorporate zen into it all good luck

an3drew said...
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Anonymous said...

Why pay Brad when the Google ad for this post offers "Free Information!" about a writing class?

Unknown said...

The creative writing course idea is a valid one, though if I were you I would also look into giving yoga classes depending on how confident you are in your yoga ability. Also, I heard on npr that there is no required license or degree needed to teach yoga, and since you're already an experienced Zen master/teacher,the yoga idea is not too far fetched. Besides, yoga is becoming pretty mainstream in more populated urban areas, at least that's how it is here in California.

Anyway, as an English lit major at SF State I would take the creative writing class.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

The rain could turn to gold and still your thirst would not be slaked. Desire is unquenchable or it ends in tears -- even in heaven.

Rick Matz said...

Why not just get a job?

lilith said...

I would take that course if you offered it. It sounds awesome and we don't want the cat to go hungry.

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

The thought of selling Dokusan makes you nauseous? I've got one that will give you dry heaves for sure. Sell Dharma transmission!

Or you could just charge thousands for retreats and guarantee an "enlightenment experience" like a certain so and so does. Call it "Big Head" work. Or maybe "Big Wallet".

Anonymous said...

Cary Tennis, who writes a column, does online writing workshops and in-person workshops. His website has a lot of info. He popped to mind upon reading your blog, because he also has a pretty no-nonsense writing style. And he's funny. Sometimes the advice in his columns is no-nonsense and makes no sense, all at the same time, so there's some connection to Zen there...somewhere...
His site is: www.carytennis.com

Michael Gibbs said...

When I lived at the Yellow Springs Dharma Center, Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, dropped by one morning and sat Zazen with us. She was visiting Antioch University (now Antoich College) for a few weeks to teach a writing workshop.

Perhaps you should write a book about creative writing from a Zen perspective (that would be awesome!) and then teach writing workshops. However, it would take time to write another book and Crum the Cat would be Crum the Dead Cat by then.

I'm pretty sure Fight Club author Chuck Palahnuik teaches online workshops for fiction writers. I honestly doubt I would pay $350 for a writer's workshop personally (especially online), maybe with Kurt Vonnegut (never going to happen), though I'm sure some people would do it. I did pay that much for writing classes in college, but I was earning a degree. Now that I've graduated and having a hell-of-a-time finding a job, I'm wondering if it was even worth it.

You ever think about working for the Akron Beacon Journal like good ol' Chuck Klosterman did?

If you do decide to go the college route, I'm sure you would have no problem landing a teaching position since you are a published author and have English teaching experience. Teaching would leave your summers open to tour.

I wish there was a Khan Academy type site that taught English/Writing. Khan Academy kicks ass! http://www.khanacademy.org/

Chas said...

As someone who has read a couple of your books, doesn't really know or care whether you have more than a couple of books, keeps a rough eye on your blog posts via an RSS feeder, has never (from memory) posted a comment here, dabbles in writing/editing, has done a couple of online or live writing courses and uses far too many commas (and parentheses), I would be interested if you offered a course online.

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

I'd take that class for $300.

Carl said...

I've wondered for a long time why you don't self publish. You wrote a post some time ago about how little you make from your books, and as a reader, it really hurt to hear that. If you publish on Kindle and other ebook stores, you can set the prices and make the profits. Under the current publishing model, you do all the work, the publisher owns and controls your hard work, and you get a measly percentage. My unsolicited advice is that you read up on this and try it out on at least one book (you could even sell shorter works as Kindle Singles).

As for the solicited advice.... Although I wouldn't take such a course (have a professional writing/copywriting background), I think it's an excellent idea. It's something of value that you can offer, absolutely. I agree with the person who said you should have a free trial for a couple of lucky folks first, to test it out and learn. I also think you should charge more, like $500 at least. That puts you in line with college writing courses, and you're actually offering something more valuable: One-on-one interaction and coaching with an experienced, professional book author. Don't charge less than your value and beware of getting into a situation in which you make minimum wage and this takes all your time.

You might also want to look into writing for the gaming industry. The gaming world needs creative writers to develop stories and write dialogue -- and your background and experience make you a perfect fit. I'm sure you could get into this on a freelance basis and it would let you make money and have fun.

Korey said...

Brad, I read in one of your blogs that a good way to keep your eyes from blurring or going unfocused during zazen is to draw a little dot on the wall and focus to keep it clear. I';ve seen you recommend this at least 3 times.

The other day while meditating with my little "dharma dot" as I call it, it started to move into little squiggles and dance all over the place.

Is this normal? I mean I like the idea of having "psychedelic" effects to tell me that I am in a very deep trance but you also advise to focus on it to make sure that it doesn't move in anyway.

Just hoping you could clarify...

Anonymous said...

Get a job you lazy douche. Dont blame the world for your lack of an education.
No work, no eat. - Fucking Dogen!

Anonymous said...

Re: chat roulette - What is the sound of one hand fapping?

Brad, litreactor.com does the same thing. But take the advice of somebody who writes fap jokes with a grain of salt!

Moni said...

Mysterion, you have great taste in movies!

Anonymous said...

I use creative visualization to attract money. I wouldn't mind learning to write about it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Seagal go eat another hoagie

Anonymous said...

Hmm... could there be some kind of collaborative assignment where we publish an e-book together at the end for fun?

I'd be interested but I'm not sure if I could pay all at once... Tell us more, please!


Mysterion said...
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gniz said...

Hey Brad,

You know we've been through this discussion so I won't berate you with e-publishing again--even though if you'd really listened to me you could be making quite a lot of money at it by now... :(

Anyway, I think the online course is a good idea. My wife also did that for awhile and it worked decently. You should probably get a bit more clear about what type of writing you'll be teaching. She did young adult fiction, so a particular genre could be useful.

She also taught how to get an agent, write a good query letter, etc.

The other thing someone mentioned above was to evaluate manuscripts. You can charge a certain amount per page and basically you give notes and line edits on a manuscript. Its hard work but can be sometimes 200-300 bucks to comment on one book.

Writers will pay for this stuff so you can certainly do it if you market yourself well and provide a good service.

If you ever want to discuss e-publishing again, feel free to contact me. I do think there are things you can that are much less work to make money in the current publishing climate.



Daniel said...
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Daniel said...

I would be interested, but I'm already quite busy in college as it is. I think it's a good idea, and it could be a rewarding experience.

Brad Warner said...

Thanks for the advice Gniz.

My eBook has earned me about $75 so far. That's not much cat food.

Brad Warner said...

Korey said:

Brad, I read in one of your blogs that a good way to keep your eyes from blurring or going unfocused during zazen is to draw a little dot on the wall and focus to keep it clear. I';ve seen you recommend this at least 3 times.

The other day while meditating with my little "dharma dot" as I call it, it started to move into little squiggles and dance all over the place.

Is this normal? I mean I like the idea of having "psychedelic" effects to tell me that I am in a very deep trance but you also advise to focus on it to make sure that it doesn't move in anyway.

Just hoping you could clarify..

When you're sitting still staring at something for a long time, your eyes start to play tricks on you.

I think it's the eyes and the brain trying to continue their habitual pattern of keeping us entertained.

By the way, I wouldn't say I recommend the "dharma dot." It's something that I did for a while and dropped. I feel like it was a slightly wrong turn.

gniz said...

Brad, the reason your ebook has not made money is because its not the correct genre for your work (imo of course).

Plenty of writers are making really good money at ebooks. I've been making as much as I made at my old 9-5 corporate gig for the last year. And by the way, that's JUST my Aaron Niz books.

That doesn't include some of my collaborative works which you and I discussed previously. Those are doing even better...

I know of dozens of other writers doing the same, so I am certain it's not a fluke.

If you wrote even a short zen styled ebook and priced it at 2.99 and marketed it through your blog I can pretty much guarantee you'd make more in one day than you have from your novel in its entire time as an ebook.

But alas, I never sensed you were very into the idea in the first place. I think the online writing classes could be a nice income stream as well, it just takes a heck of a lot more work than ebooks do.

A-Bob said...

Brad, Gniz is giving you some very good advice. Maybe you think that only getting 2 or 3 dollars for a short book is not enough. But if you managed to get a dozen short works in your e-book catalog you might sell more than you think. Do you own the rights to your suicide girl pieces? You could compile them into a short book that could sell right away. Write some stories on your travel experiences. Write some stories about the punk rock days. Publish some interviews. People like your writing so you already have the audience that most self-publishers have to slowly build up. You just have to sit down and get going on it. I really can't imagine how you'd fail.

Tim said...

I've heard fantastic things about self-publishing via e-books; James Altucher raves about it. I think that would be the best for you as you go forward. From a marketing point of view, you have an established brand image, word of mouth presence, and customer advocates who would (likely) be more than happy to market you by way of social media.

On another note, while I know you enjoy writing and have been talking about teaching creative writing, I do wonder if getting an academic gig as Japanese studies lecturer or comparative religion could be a better fit. I suspect that there are likely many people in the Northeastern Ohio area that may be well-qualified to teach creative writing. My guess, though, there are far fewer people who can lecture on contemporary Japanese culture or Zen Buddhism from the angle of being an ordained Zen guy (what, two of you guys in the entire area?). Essentially, what is your most lucrative competitive advantage relative to other folks gunning for academic gigs.

Case Western Reserve University has an opening (granted it does seem a bit dated) for a Japanese lecturer. They are asking for a MA, but I would wager you could make an interesting proposition to them that you are indeed qualified to be a lecturer. Go here and search for "Japanese Lecturer":

I would also recommend checking out all of the other universities in the region and see what they got going on in their religious and/or Asian studies program.

john e mumbles said...

I agree. My al-Kimia book has been available for kindle for awhile now and is doing well in this format according to my publisher. I am looking into how I can get my other stuff out there via e-book: collections of essays, etc. Its a niche market that is fast becoming mainstream. gniz is on to something, IMO.

graeme said...

A writing course isn't something I would be signing up for but I'd buy a short zen-related kindle book in a heartbeat!

I agree with gniz, you said yourself you get crazy traffic and most folk would put up a couple of bucks for an e-book, would quickly add up!

Mysterion said...
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boubi said...

Hi Brad

I'm really sorry, because in your decency, your aversion for easy dharma money, your respect for fellow human being, Crumb The Cat is you.

This brings me back to some considerations about the "living off the dharma" as the "funeral oriented" schools in Japan and the difficulties of adapting "spirituality" to the west without being a "pimp of the lost souls" like ... we know who.

It brings me too to a person i know who on her own, through introspection (cleaning) and strenous efforts in her life (concentration) developed, without intention, siddhis and healed me of a few things (very heavy nicotine addiction included) but was without cultural references and had big problems finding a place in society without being taken for some raving weirdo. It wouldn't have been the case in Asia were people would have recognize it for what it is.

So Crumb The Cat could, beyond what already advised
- go to Asia, find some (mango) tree to sit under, enter samadhi and live the eternal life of the now
- go to Asia, find well to do asian lady(ies) who would dote on some funny illuminated kaijin nekko
- stay where you are, give some spiritual/travel advice to some suicide girls, you know easy earned easy spent money, instead of a new tattoo

I really don't know, maybe find yourself some job too wouldn't be bad either.

Get out of the spot light, "dim your shining, cancel your footprints" (Michel will be able to translate it better).

If i had your realization, this is what i would do. But i don't have it and Crumb The Cat is not boubi.

Listen to you podcast about Zen and Yoga. Listen to "Portia"


boubi said...

Would like to write to you privately, did i miss some "contact" link?

Anonymous said...

I am fairly new to Brad's writings and enjoy this blog very much. What I don't understand is why don't more people who seem to enjoy viewing and posting comments here "hit" the donation button from time to time? No big deal, but even giving a few dollars to support someone who you appreciate seems so worthwhile. Thanks for listening. Roy

Anonymous said...

"I am fairly new to Brad's writings and enjoy this blog very much. What I don't understand is why don't more people who seem to enjoy viewing and posting comments here "hit" the donation button from time to time? No big deal, but even giving a few dollars to support someone who you appreciate seems so worthwhile. Thanks for listening. Roy"

Whatever you say, "Roy."

I gotta say, Brad, that was your most pathetic attempt at drumming up revenue yet. I shudder to think how far you'll sink to raise a few bucks.

Lone Wolf said...

I'm currently reading this The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success by Scott Nicholson:


After being published by mainstream publishers and not making much money, Scott began to self-publishing his own books and was able to quit his day job and write full-time. It's pretty damn good!

Scott's buddy and fellow self-publisher (also publishes mainstream books) J. A. Konrath writes a lot of useful articles at his blog A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.


Here is an interesting Konrath article about why Amazon is defeating the big six publishers.


Lone Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
na said...

I am interested, definitely.

gucci outlet said...

You may also interested in gucci bags from another gucci outlet shop.

Harry said...

I think the Gucci bags thing is a great idea.

Regards, H.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Roy.

I'm from the States so can't speak for others, but I wonder if we're so "pulling up by own bootstraps" and "get a job already" oriented here that we can't fathom the idea of making modest donations to a teacher from time to time.

Real question. I, too, am wary of shysters and blowhards, but I don't think that's what we have here.


Zentard said...

I'm in unstable situation at this time. Having read a whoe big bunch of your writing, if I had enough money available to improve my education, I'd rather take your course than go to school.

Anonymous said...

I suggest charging a subscription price to view this blog. I imagine you have 5000 regular readers (based on 1000 visits a day). If 10% of the people pay $5 a month, you could actually make a decent living. I'm sure some readers will be annoyed ("Oh man, Brad has sold out! etc...) but readers like me who benefit from your (thus far, free) advice and believe in you, would be happy to have the chance to support you. If you did make money this way, you would likely be able to travel more for your talks. I don't see how wanting to make money from helping others and following your passion is a bad thing. Clearly you are not a shyster looking to make an easy buck --- the millions of words you have written and spoken for free is evidence to all of your fans of that.

gniz said...

I've never left a donation but I've bought every one of Brad's books, including his fiction ebook.

Brad is a writer. He should, in my opinion, be able to make a living writing.

Brad, I've helped at least two authors become fairly successful with ebooks. One person I advised has had her book in the top hundred of both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The second person I helped is my sister, who just got an offer to write romance ebooks for a digital publishing house called Ellora's Cave. The editor contacted her after finding my sister's novella ebook on Amazon.com recently.

You are a writer, Brad. It makes me sad that you don't see how much money and freedom you could have if you truly put some time and effort into writing ebooks and learning about this new format and technology. It's criminal to allow publishing houses to keep huge sums of your royalty rate when you don't need to do so anymore.

I hope you'll give some real thought to ebooks and not simply dismiss it because one novel hasn't sold well. That doesn't prove or disprove anything. That would be like dismissing zen because you sat zazen one time and found it boring.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sad that you don't see how much money and freedom you could have

Gniz, I totally get your point but you have to admit that it's a bit humorous to be writing this to a Zen Priest :)

A-Bob said...

Sorry to disagree with you Harry. I am not a fan of the Gucci brand. The bags seem shallow and lacking somehow. It seems clear to me that Louis Vuitton is the one true handbag.

CAPTCHA : roling eadminded : I kid you not

gniz said...

Hi Anon. I don't see what zen priest has to do with it, maybe you can clarify?

People have blind spots all of the time and for various reasons. For some reason, Brad complains about not having any money but refuses to look at the mountain of evidence that ebooks is a very viable way for him--a relatively successful author--to make some money.

I do find that sad, and I don't think him being a zen priest has anything to do with it. But like I said, maybe I'm missing your point. That zen priests don't want money or freedom? Or that zen priests are supposed to be able to see everything clearly?

Zentard said...

If you would be interested in offering Brad support, there IS a donate button. Otherwise, charging for this site would be setting a sort of exclusive precedent which I think is kinda against the nature of the blog, isn't it?

I don't know that Brad would be "selling out" if he charged money for his blog, but I do know that I wouldn't be paying for it. I is too poor. Cause of my edumacation.

A-Bob said...

Anon@634: Brad makes a perfectly fine Zen Master. But as a business person he makes a good artist. He should be open minded about how he sells his words.

Anonymous said...

Brad is not the only person having money problems. Read the sad stories of these unfortunate individuals.

graeme said...

I think putting a paywall up on the blog is a terrible idea, not only will you alienate a large percentage of your current audience but you will instantly put off people discovering you.

I think the blog works well for you as it is, publish an e-book already! ;)

Anonymous said...

maybe you can clarify?

Well like I wrote Gniz, I totally get your point. In terms of relative, mundane reality it makes a lot of sense, your suggestion.

What is humorous to me is that Brad is also a Zen Priest, signifying a Zen practitioner who also plays by Absolute Reality rules. In Absolute reality, freedom does not have to do with 'getting what you want' and 'not getting what you don't want'. Freedom is not so much about eliminating painful conditions, than it is about being able to observe painful situations come and go.

Again, totally agree with you on the common sense everyday front. And finding it funny to be nudging a Zen Priest in this direction :)

BTW you've even got me thinking of getting into Online Publishing, haha. Happy for your success.

Lori said...

Tentatively, I would say yes. I've been out of work and am just getting back to work part-time and would need to really save my pennies to do it. Do I think it would be worth it? Absolutely! Am a big fan of your books. You are helping me to understand Zen Buddhism in a way that no one else has been able to really get through to me before, so I would love the experience of working on my writing skills with you.

alizrin blue said...

Here are three ideas:
1. See if people will donate a gift card to a pet food emporium!

2. Look into teaching at a low residency MFA program. I took one through Vermont College. The advisors were not necessarily holders of high faluting degrees or particularly widely read authors (they were all published though). They came for the two week residencies (free room and board!) and had to give a lecture and run a workshop. Then they were assigned 4 or 5 students and for the semester they received a packet each month from each consisting of 30 pages of writing and a short essay or two. These programs offer both creative writing and what they call creative non-fiction, which seems to be memoir-ish stuff. Often teachers just taught a semester here and there (probably when they needed some extra bucks). I

3. I guess you could find a rich lover or benefactor...I think there are even dating web sites that specialize in that!

Anonymous said...

garbage is always free

Adi said...

i think it would be cool, i would be down.

Mysterion said...


"Brad is also a Zen Priest"

Your spin on reality needs therapy. Seek help. Take your meds. Ignore the voices.

Anonymous said...

You are correct Mysterion. Thank you for your advice. Brad, please accept my apology for posting a frivolous comment on this blog. I will go now.

Anonymous said...

Recently met someone who makes about $60k a year (I saw the pay statements) writing newsy and social articles for a couple of websites. So there is a demand for decent writers.

Chris Claborne said...

Although I'm interested in a class, not sure it would do my dull brain any good but I think you are definitely onto something.

I like the suggestion of "Editor for hire". I write a geek blog and would be willing to pay someone at times to suggest changes for readability (or tell me to just stop writing).

If someone knows of a service like this it would be helpful. I've worn out my welcome with friends and my wife.



BTW - How does the typical idea of “planning ahead” or building a plan to reach an objective in the future figure into Buddhist philosophy since it's all "future related"?

Rae said...

I agree with Gniz that you should give (Buddhist-themed) ebooks a shot on Amazon. Since most people see you as primarily a Buddhist author, they are more interested in buying those types of your books rather than other genres.

Show of hands from anyone interested in taking your writing course...

Anonymous said...

reversibility not conducive to synthetic happiness

Anonymous said...

Thinking more about Brad's situation. Shouldn't a person who has such a wonderful gift for expressing the Dharma be supported to continue what he does best? Giving is liberating, feel the grasping, the holding on to what you think you need, and then press the donation button. Roy

Anonymous said...

Yes i ordinary person and i need writing skilzz. No price too high! You teach me now!

Angrrry girrrl said...

Brad Warner,

If you don't do this I am going to beat you up with a red hot poker.


Kye Sangha said...

I've read Hardcore Zen a few times, & even gifted it...so now it's time, I think, to get the electronic version. While I'm there I'll make sure I've got the rest of the arsenal. I do already own a few of your books, but I'll do what I can to help..

york said...

yes I am interested, unfortunately Enlish is not my native language and maybe I will lacking behing. What´d you think about that?

Olivia Hamilton Jones said...

BW -

I would be interested, and would have to save my pennies. To add a shade to this idea, I have often thought "this man needs an e-course" - I have been into the idea of joining an e-course but have found most of the options I have discovered to be a little to fluffytoucheyfeely for my tastes. "I invite you to take a great big swim in lake YOU" - that vibe. Could be just that I have not found one that isn't part of the women's blog circles I run in. In any case - these have some structure - assignments, access to online content, instruction for the "attendees" etc - and some level of interactivity with the group and the instructor. Many that I have seen are photog related, or some other creative arts related, and are designed for self exploration. I think you could come up with some kind of curriculum (seems like you are working one out already) that suits you and your "people". I have written for a while and have been interested in writing more, and improving my work in that regard BUT I can say personally that I would be most interested in you course because you'd be running it and the content would be uniquely yours. I totally get your desire to avoid the virtual dokusan - sounds like white bread zen to me, and a ton of technical umph involved. I do think what will "sell" your idea to most people is what you do best, and are known for, which includes your teaching on zen. I think leaving that out would limit the lot of your potential "customers". I think you could pull together a great e-course with all you have going for you - and I'd be so in.

here are some e-course links to give you an idea... again, very fuzzy stuff here, I am just sharing for the structure not the content. I have no experience with or relation to these sites, fyi. Hope this is helpful. - Olivia


Ezekiel Smithburg said...

Yeah, I'd do it.

Leah McClellan said...

Sounds great! I know at least 5-6 people doing this, and I know there are lots more. In fact, I'm enrolled in an online course right now with a rather narrow focus on guest blogging and writing killer headlines (with Jon Morrow of Copyblogger).

James Chartrand, Anne Wayman, and Carol Tice come to mind--you've probably seen their names if you're looking around to see what's going on.

You could always edit stuffy university dissertations and journal articles like I do :) Plan on doing a course on editing your own work/grammar/proofreading etc one of these days soon.

Kurt Gielen said...

I would be interested because I recently started blogging and as I'm serious about it, taking writing lessons is part of my long term plan.
However! If you would want me to come to you, you got to get better at marketing yourself my friend. This post (and some of your other posts) clearly show you're afraid of "selling yourself" to your future audience.
Maybe I'm out of line here, however I admire what you are doing apart from the whole bringing yourself down thing you do. Or how else would you call your obvious issue with people who are making tons of money while doing similar things as you are doing?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm not a publisher, or a writer, but I am a librarian, so I know slightly more than nothing about this...try self-publishing some of your stuff directly to eBook format rather than as traditional print media. You can get enough PR just by doing articles in Buddhist mags about how you're being all trend-setting and moving away from the traditional publishing houses. Yes, sales will go down numerically, but your royalties will increase to something like 70%. Plus, your schedule and work are your own.

It's fairly easy to set up an account with Amazon to self publish for Kindle. One of the other major outlets is www.smashwords.com. You can also sell to Public Libraries through www.overdrive.com.

Another plus is that any articles, essays, etc. that you have laying around that you still have the ePublishing rights to, you can put them up individually at a lower price, to generate a catalog fairly immediately.

Just a thought,

MLG in KY.

Mark Levis said...

Me! A few months ago I bought a copy of sex, sin, and zen. Very fascinating. I have been exploring Buddhism for the last few years and your book was a great form of insight to me. I live in Ashtabula county, Ohio. Do you still teach Zazen classes? I'd like to attend.

Katageek said...

To parody "The Princess Bride"

"There's not a lot of money in the Zen business."

That's why the haircuts are so severe, the wardrobe so limited and the world devoid of Andy Warhols.

I suggest a Zen course instead with your books and the Shobogenzo. And you START by sending them an enlightenment certificate just for joining!

Zazen is enlightenment. So start off with a certificate! The point is to become a BETTER Buddha after all.

Then you can schedule Zazenkai in line with the coursework and have dokusan for the one day retreats via Skype and group discussions through GoToMeeting.com or some other venue.

Regardless of where people are in your course, the Zazenkai is pretty much be "one size fits all."

You can't pull off retreats on line, but zazenkais or half-day sits are workable and I would pay for for such a service.

The Kannonji Zen Center in Second Life has a pretty good following (for Second LIfe which nobody cares about anymore.)

Like any Zen thing, the money would probably suck. I personally would pay $ 50.00 for a Zazenkai with you. If you got ten others for a session that's $ 500.00 a day.

Do two a month and that's a grand - rent and catfood!

katageek said...

One OTHER thing you could do. Is make a version of "Zombies! Run" for Zazen.


This ap WORKS. I started running up to 4 miles a day now.

Now, we just need one for Zazen.

STORYLINE: The world Xanidon't is in trouble. Only the stabilizing force of a Buddha can save it. But how can we find a REAL Buddha to sit?

Zazen is enlightenment so everyone is a REAL BUDDHA! You can be that force for good and help save Xanidon't through the Butterfly Zen Effect!


RADIO MESSAGE: "Oh sheesh. This fucking apocalypse! People are suffering all over and it's so bad that John Steward can't even make fun of it all; Colbert is stumped and Leno lost his chin! Now look, we know it doesn't seem like much, but IF you JUST SIT and practice enlightenment our world gets a little wiser and better. So in the face of all this shit .... JUST SIT!"




Wow. You did it! You confronted the suffering of the world by just sitting. K. That's good. Now get up and do kinhin ...


Okay. Great. Now look. Our oceans are in real trouble! Listen to this clip ((INSERT CLIP OF OCEAN PROBLEM.))

Okay. That sucks. Really. BUT you mustn't let this reality discourage your zazen practice! It's imperative such a suffering world have a REAL Buddha sitting within it. BE THAT BUDDHA! Zazen is enlightenment!


RADIO ANNOUNCER: Great! Great! Here's a Zen joke. Who looks sillier than a bald buddhist? A HAIRY KRISHNA! Okay, okay, I need new material ...

Anyway, this is round three before you must enter the world and give them the fruit of this practice. Ready. Sit!


Domi said...

Hey Brad, nothing to do with that post but, it`s the best way i found to contact you!
I just read Hardcore Zen and Zen Wrapped in Karma.... and i`ve got the strong desire to tell you: These books fuckin rule (imho)!!!!!!! Probably never read something like this !!! I love this sense of humour , warm heartedness,uprightness, honesty and "anti puritanism, anti authoritarian" stuff!!!! I`d love to visit one of your talks when you come to Germany.
See you,
all the best
P.S: I hope my English is understabel!!!!!!!

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T L said...

Love the general idea. I've also considered hiring a ghostwriter or co-author. Would be interested to know what your fees for that would be.

Also, how about designing some cool tshirts and stuff on Cafe Press and making them available on your website? Maybe plan to give part of the proceeds to charity? That always seems to increase sales and PR while helping folks focus on doing good... Shut Up For Fukushima? An online meditate-athon to raise awareness and funds for clean up with cool shirts (and the cute, non-shapeless style for girls)? Or some thing to bring meditation to inner city youth? Love it. I'm in. Thanks.

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Elendil said...

Hi Brad.
I'm not interested.

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Senshin_dk said...

Could it be in Danish? Then I'm game ;)