If you are serious about book publishing, you have no doubt found Rachelle Gardner’s blog. That’s how I first discovered her. I immediately subscribed and have been reading her posts ever since. I also follow her on Twitter.
Rachelle is a literary agent. She is part of the WordServe Literary Group based in Denver, Colorado. Prior to becoming an agent, she served in a variety of publishing roles.
In this brief, seven-minute video, I interview Allen Arnold, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Thomas Nelson’s fiction division. I have known Allen for almost 20 years. When I first met him, he was in marketing at Word, Inc., a company that Thomas Nelson eventually acquired.
Allen is one of the most creative people I know. He is truly a great publisher. He has that rare combination of being unwavering in his core values along with the ability to spot projects that have commercial potential. In his eight-year tenure as Nelson’s fiction publisher, he has built one of the company’s fastest-growing divisions and become an industry thought-leader at the same time.
I hear the following from authors all the time, “All I want to do is write. I hate promoting myself. I’m no good at it.” The result is they don’t work on their platform, hoping somehow that the whole notion will somehow just go away.
Putting your head in the sand is not the answer. It’s no longer a question of if an author needs a program, it’s now part of the writing business and can mean the difference between success and failure.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing my dear friend and neighbor, Ian Cron, about his new book Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir. . . of Sorts (Thomas Nelson). He is one of the best writers I know. I savored every word in the book.
Ian’s new book is about “the unfinished business of grace.” He had a very troubled relationship with his extremely talented but very disturbed father, who was an alcoholic and CIA operative. The book is beautifully written—poignant, sad, and funny. It touched me deeply.
A few weeks ago, an author friend of mine was preparing a proposal for his new book. He called to ask me what social media stats he should include. In other words, what would be meaningful to prospective publishers? This is a great question.
Agents and publishers are looking for authors with meaningful platforms. Most look at specific social media stats as a proxy for this. These stats include those specifically related to blogging, Facebook, and Twitter.
Several years ago, I had lunch with a prominent, formerly best-selling author. He was angry that his sales had been in steady decline for several years. Unwilling to accept any responsibility, he poked his finger in my chest and hissed, “My job is to write the books; your job is to market them.”
In the old world, he was right. Authors created the product and relied on their publishing company to market it. But that world is dead. That doesn’t mean that publishing companies expect you to do everything. But it does mean that they are more effective if you have a platform already in place. It provides something for them to leverage.
If you are a published author—or plan to be one—you will inevitably be asked to appear on a radio, television, or Internet show to talk about your book. It’s critical that you learn to do this well. Assuming you have written a good book, nothing drives sales of it more than publicity.
I was personally thrown into the deep end of the pool with my first book. In the course of eighteen months, I did over 1,200 interviews. I appeared on all three major television networks plus CNN, as well as national and local radio and television. During that time, I went through three rounds of professional media training. It was total immersion. Baptism by fire.
Today at Thomas Nelson we promoted Mark Schoenwald, our President and Chief Operating Officer, to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. Effective immediately, I am stepping out of active management of the company, and turning over the reins to Mark. However, I will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.
Michael Hyatt, Chairman, and Mark Schoenwald, the new CEO of Thomas Nelson
I hired Mark in 2005 to be our Chief Sales Officer. I promoted him to President and Chief Operating Officer in 2009. I have watched him grow and develop over the years. He is an outstanding executive in every way, yet humble and committed to our company’s Christian mission. He was my first choice as a successor, and I know he will do a terrific job.
In my previous post on this topic, I told the story of publishing my first book. I shared the significant amount of work it required and a number of setbacks that I had to overcome. I used this story as an introduction to the talk I gave on the Re:create Cruise on “The Role of Work in Creativity.”
In this post, I want to share the essence of my talk, including the common myths that aspiring writers and other creatives have about the creative life. It is what I refer to as “The Romantic View of Creativity.” It includes four assumptions:
I just returned from the Re:create Cruise 2011. We had a magnificent time aboard the Celebrity Century. The theme of the conference was “The Creative Life.” I was one of four speakers, including Pete Wilson, Ken Davis, and our host, Randy Elrod.
I spoke on “The Role of Work in Creativity.” I began by telling the story of getting my first book published. I will share that with you in this post. In my next post, I will share the four principles, I learned from my experience.
Since publishing my new e-book, Creating Your Personal Life Plan, I have had several people ask how I created the e-book. Rather than try to answer these questions individually, I thought I would document the process here. You might want to try something similar.
I first did this when I published my two previous e-books, Writing a Winning Non-Fiction Book Proposal and Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal. I used the same basic approach here.