A Good Coach

I’m not sure if the best coaches are the ones who everything came easily to, or maybe the better ones are those who had to struggle a bit and figure some things out. There are examples from both categories, so relying on the anecdotal won’t deliver the definitive on that question.

Coaches are important; that I do believe. They can identify some minor flaw, and get you to focus on positive assets while dialing down your liabilities. I’m sure we can all name essential coaches and mentors who helped us along toward success at key times in our lives.

Sometimes our lives simply get choked full of weeds and debris, and we need someone objective (bringing necessary “distance and space”) to help us unclutter, refocus, and even breathe deeply and regularly. Sort of like what Mainers and others do coming out of winter, when we rake up the yard, and clear out the detritus from winter, tidying up our flower gardens.

I was on the radio this morning, on The Breakfast Club, talking about publishing your own book with local writer, Linda Andrews, a coaching client of mine. Linda did an awesome job, talking about her amazing new book, Please Bring Soup To Comfort Me While I Grieve.

On the radio with Linda Andrews, talking indie publishing.

On the radio with Linda Andrews, talking indie publishing.

Sometimes a coach can make all the difference for us. Continue reading

Publishing Progression

When I got into publishing, it was mainly a method to get my first book to market.  I started out knowing very little. At the time, indie publishing (what most call, “self-publishing”) wasn’t being embraced by the likes of Amazon and others, because it hadn’t yet become a lucrative income stream for them. But self-published books have been around since books first rolled off Gutenberg’s press.

Printing's come a long way since Gutenberg's time.

Printing’s come a long way since Gutenberg’s time.

What once was the domain of legacy presses and authors who couldn’t get a book deal, now finds writers like Jamie McGuire landing on the shelves of major retailers and books like Andy Weir’s The Martian (originally self-published) are being made into Hollywood movies. Continue reading

Endorsements

An endorsement carries with it a certain amount of weight and prestige. In publishing, a common practice involves having other writers write a blurb for a book jacket that tells readers how stellar an author’s latest book really is. These are solicited and there is an implied quid pro quo arrangement.

If you’ve reached a certain status as a writer, and you’re still being published by a traditional publisher, then book jackets and filler pages are likely to be crammed with these, along with positive reviews of the book. The bigger the name, the more reviews accompany their books. Amazon is also chock full of reviews for top echelon writers and their books. Continue reading

Building a Consistent Body of Work

Taking a book from idea to finished product, especially doing it yourself, is a process. A process, I might add that very few know much about. Many wannabes aspire, but few actually do it once—let alone multiple times.

After the manuscript had been completed for my first book, When Towns Had Teams, I was having trouble finding a publisher for something I’d poured my passion into for more than a year. Faced with a choice—keep banging my head against a door that wouldn’t open (traditional publishing)—or figure out a new way of doing things, I opted for the latter. I launched my own micro-press imprint, RiverVision Press. It became the vehicle to get that first book out, and subsequent titles of mine (as well as one ill-fated foray into publishing a book by someone else).

Once you figure out how to publish your own book independently, you get hooked. You think, “I’ve done it once; can I do it again?” The gauntlet has been laid down. You are determined to work the DIY angle once again and see if you can improve your process.

Building a catalog.

Building a catalog.

Continue reading

The Work of Writing

I led my third Publishing 101 Boot Camp on Saturday, the second time it’s been offered during Lewiston Adult Education’s Super Saturday format. This six-hour time slot (which also included lunch for attendees) is the right amount of time to walk prospective publishers through the nuts and bolts of independent publishing. This followed closely on the heels of my fall writing class, Let’s Write That Book: 8 Weeks to Writing and Publishing Your First Book. Five of my writing students sat though Saturday’s workshop. Continue reading

The 8-Week Book Project

I’m meeting a brand new group of writing students on Tuesday night. Many if not all of them are likely asking themselves three questions. Can I really write a book in eight weeks? Am I capable of writing one at all? Do I have what it takes to finally get that book of mine out of my head into narrative form?

The answer to all three of those opening questions is a hearty, “hell yes!” Continue reading

Ahead of the Curve?

A year ago, my life was filled with uncertainty. The nonprofit where I’d been for six years laid me off—not for performance issues or anything related to not doing my job—but because they no longer had the money to support someone who was really good at business development, partnership-building, and managing multiple projects. Continue reading

Life is like publishing a book (Part II)

Coming up with an idea isn’t such a big deal. The real key is taking your idea, or even the germ of an idea, and getting it to the place where you can develop an actual product.

The process of researching, writing, and then publishing my own book was a major step forward for me. The early portion of my life was filled with lots of ideas. At one point, I had a book that had scraps of writing, lyrics for half-written songs, even various chord progressions to song snippets. I once even bought a four-track recorder to lay down song sketches with dual-tracked guitar parts. None of these ever ended up amounting to anything more than another series of unfinished projects. Continue reading

Life is like publishing a book (part I)

Book publishing teaches many life lessons.

Book publishing teaches many life lessons.

What motivates people to make changes in their lives? Why is it that some people embrace self-improvement and personal growth, while others stay stuck in the same old rut?

As mentioned before, I was stuck in self-defeating patterns of behavior for a good chunk of my young adult life. Even in my early 30s, when I began looking for answers not bound by spiritual precepts, I had a hard time accepting the power our minds hold over us. Often, how we think, and what we choose to fill our heads with sabotages the best laid plans. Continue reading