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.
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 →
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.
Last fall I taught a class called Let’s Write That Book: 8 Weeks to Writing and Publishing Your First Book for Lewiston Adult Education. It was my favorite class of all of the ones I’ve taught in the four years I’ve been teaching writing to adult learners.
I didn’t really believe you could write a book in mere weeks, but I wanted a class that was different than the previous narrative nonfiction classes I’d taught—one with a provocative orientation. It obviously worked because we filled the class and ended up with a waiting list.
The class was beneficial for me, as it lit a fire under my own ass and got me motivated to get a fourth book rolling forward. It was also the best group of writers I’d gathered for any of my various classes. Continue reading →
I admire people who complete projects. Completion is much harder than it appears from the outside. This is coming from someone who had to learn how to finish, one tentative step at a time. Later, I learned how to combine these steps and began hitting some major deadlines. Reaching and crossing the finish line, while never easy, is now something that happens regularly for me.
Books are tools that I think more people should commit to writing. If you are someone who is a thought leader, or who has some ideas that others have demonstrated an interest in, then you are a prime candidate for authoring a book. I’ve indicated that books are much better than business cards—everyone has a business card—not many people have a book. Commit to getting yourself into the latter category. It’s empowering for one thing. It’s also another way to differentiate what you do from everyone else doing similar things. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
An autodidact is someone who is self-taught. In today’s parlance we might call them a “self-directed learner.”
Autodidacts were common in Colonial America. Many of our founding fathers were autodidacts as well as polymaths. Ben Franklin might be one of our nation’s most famous autodidacts. Franklin abandoned formal education at age 10 and we all know how that turned out. Continue reading →
Earlier this year, just after I began “the big transition” that defined 2012 for me, I told someone they should think about writing a book. Here was a person who was an excellent marketer, an entrepreneur, and someone I recognized as having the requisite skills and personality required to be the kind of savvy promoter that going the independent publishing route requires.
I think there are many people who are quite capable of writing and publishing their own book. In fact, I remain bullish on the idea that many are missing the boat when it comes to getting their expertise out in book form. Despite social media’s minimalist approach to every jot and tittle, there are still a wealth of niche markets for books and publishers who can spot them. Continue reading →
It’s important to know what you’re good at. Being crystal clear about your strengths and abilities will help you better position and market those qualities when you need to sell them to a potential employer, or get in the door with a project you’re pitching. Continue reading →