Saturday, November 17, 2007

The upsides of writing a book

Yesterday my Google alert let me know that there was a nice mention of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Difficult Conversations in a blog called 3rd Eye It was nice to read that the writer of the blog had used the book three times in two weeks to prepare for conversations--and that it had apparently been useful.

Later in the week, two media opportunities came across my desk, and I'll be taking advantage of those. Then two speaking opportunties. I'm expecting a workshop to happen in the winter as well. All related to the Idiot's Guide.

Which points up something about a writing career--and that's the fact that it is a career. Some wonderfully successful writers don't tour, don't speak very often, and don't do many interviews. Their lives go on smoothly without their promoting themselves. A Grisham can spend his time writing, and his books will sell, but most of the rest of us have to toggle between writing and promotional activities, and if we shy away from that aspect of our careers, our books don't sell very well. That makes publishers less likely to take a chance on us again.

You can't count on the publishing house to make you a star, although some of the smaller houses do a wonderful job of promoting their authors, especially within specific niches. The subject matter expert for one of the books I wrote is beginning to do a lot of keynote speaking in her area of expertise at state and national gatherings, and most of those engagements have been dreamed up and promoted by the small independent house who published us. Another author I know who was published by a relatively smaller press has been promoted extensively by the house, and it has paid off brilliantly.

The author of one of my book doctoring projects is self-publishing, but he wants to see sales, so he has engaged a very fine publicist--and that author is going to get out there.

So should you. If you're considering becoming a writer, think of the totality of the career and make time for it. As I've said before, mastering the craft is the most important thing you can do, but don't forget the rest.

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