R. writes, “I’ve got a new book coming out from (major trade publisher) in May. So how come I’m not happy?
R. adds that it has already received terrific early reviews from PW and Booklist (not mentioning Kirkus one can only imagine the worst — who are those anonymous Kirkus bastards anyway?). She fears the book will sink “like Sarah Palin’s reputation.”
R. further divulges that she has done well with two previous books, blogs for some pretty big deal blogs like Psych Today, writes a weekly column for her city paper (think Wallace Stevens), co-edits a scholarly journal and is a full professor at a kick ass univeristy. Go Huskies.
Why is R. unhappy?
1) R. is a writer. A happy lot? I think not. If we were, how would the shrinks make a living?
2) R’s book is being published into the worst financial crisis, slashing of book reviews and massive store closings. Never have books had to fight so hard for their readers, except during the Spanish Inquisition.
3) R. is doing everything right, promotion-wise: building a profile in print and electronic media. Could R. be doing more? Sure. Why not hire one of those grad students for a month or two and put together email & mailing lists of places where he might be welcome to talk. There are two basic ways to get attention, either through national media or a grass roots campaign. I encourage all of my clients to wage the grass roots campaign in the event that the national media doesn’t come through, but also because it’s a smart way to extend the reach of your book. Look into getting a lecture agent. Go to NYC and meet with your editor, publisher, publicist armed with ideas. The more you bring to the table, the more you invest in getting the word out, the better off you’ll be. If you’re at the beginning of your career, prepare to do everything you can to get attention for the book.
4) The real reaon R. is unhappy, I think, is because R. spent a year or more writing the book, probably nights and weekends since R. has a full time job, and there’s like a six week window (or less) to get it noticed. Let’s face it, unless you’re Malcolm Gladwell, Inc., getting published is like getting crapped on.
This may sound harsh, but I mean it in the most inspiring way possible: I think it’s really important to remember that no one asked you to write.
R., glad you asked?
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