Early in my career, everyone else seemed to be control. I interviewed for a job, then waited for the hiring manager to offer me the position. I worked hard, then waited for my boss to give me a raise. I achieved bottom-line results, then waited for the vice president to approve my promotion.
When I started writing, it also seemed like everyone else was in control. I prepared a book proposal, then waited for a publisher to offer me a contract. I wrote the manuscript, then waited for booksellers to order the book. I published the book, the waited for the media to book me.
In this brief, 12-minute video, I interview Jane Friedman, professor of e-media and writing at the University of Cincinnati. She also serves as a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, where she once served as publisher and strategic leader. She is the author of The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations, as well as the Beginning Writer’s Answer Book.
I first discovered Jane via her blog at Writer’s Digest, “There Are No Rules.” (Her main publishing and writing blog is now at JaneFriedman.com.) I immediately fell in love with her no-nonsense advice, practical wisdom, and insight into contemporary writing and publishing. If you are an author—or aspire to be—her blog is a must-read. You can also follow her on Twitter.
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.
When I read anything, I mark it up. Margin notes, circles, and, most of all, highlights. In fact, I buy highlighters by the box. Or at least I did, until I started reading so much on my Kindle.
Amazon Kindle for Mac, Displaying Do the Work
by Steven Pressfield
Now I use the Highlighter feature of the Kindle to mark passages. I also occasionally use the Notes feature to record my thoughts about a passage. (This is actually pretty cumbersome on the Kindle itself. I usually only do this if I am reading on my Mac. Then I can use my keyboard.)
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.
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.
Naturally, as a book publisher, you would expect me to believe in the value of reading. But it is more than that. In fact, I got into book publishing because I was so committed to books as a tool for personal and cultural transformation.
A few months ago at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Ben Carson, world-renowned Professor of Neurosurgery, Oncology, Plastic Surgery, and Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University. Not bad for a child that was raised in extreme poverty by a single mother. Statistically speaking, he didn’t have a chance.
By some estimates, more than one million Amazon Kindles were given as gifts today. I got a new Amazon Kindle 3 a few months ago and love it. (I unbox it here, chronicle my experience after a month here, and compare it to other e-readers here.)
But now, what do you put on it? So many books, so little time. Seth Godin created a terrific little Squidoo page with his list of favorite books. I thought I would offer a “baker’s dozen” of my favorites here. These are in alphabetical order:
I once heard a person say in a disdainful tone, “I don’t read ‘self-help’ books.” With this seemingly innocuous verdict, he slammed the door on a multitude of voices eager to push him to God’s best for his life.
He severely limited his exposure to wise counselors and leaders available to him. And he drew a curtain across a world of extraordinary and supernatural influence.