Guide A BOOK IN PROGRESS

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Robin Sloan

I had no idea how important this point would be -- even years after a book is written. Of course it's helpful during the writing process if you feel energized about your topic. But after the book comes out, you will likely spend years talking about it, and this continues in a self-propagating way. You do a book talk, then someone hires you to speak to their company, leading to a series of workshops there, and so on.

After you write the book, you'll be even more associated with the topic to a wider universe of people. Thankfully, that worked for me because I feel so strongly about the topic -- but it was more luck than design. Finally, I've seen authors spend big bucks on publicity campaigns for books that fade quickly, and others whose shoestring books take off organically and become bestsellers.

Many books do neither and sell slowly and steadily over time. While marketing strategy and dollars help, there's a huge element of timing and luck involved.

BOOK IN PROGRESS

If you believe in your topic, you can take the attitude of doing your best, then detaching from the outcome because it's simply good information to have put out in the world. You can make yourself crazy watching and managing sales figures. It's far better to have a higher purpose. I ran a PR firm for 10 years, and even I was surprised at the sheer amount of promotion that goes into a book effort.

Yes, your publisher will help some, and an independent publicist if you choose to hire one. But the one doing the talking -- with reporters, on webinars, in speeches, on social media -- is YOU. And again, this doesn't go on for three months, it lasts indefinitely. I still do some element of book promotion every single day.


  1. Sailing Tales from an Old Salt.
  2. The Blacklock Mysteries:On the Right Track;
  3. Shortest Stories: a book in progress?

Back to point 1, it's a whole lot easier if you genuinely feel passionate about the topic, and can focus on promoting the ideas rather than just yourself, as I discussed here. A common complaint about traditional publishing is that authors have to do the bulk of the work promoting their own books.

Create a Book

With the industry in such a state of change, marketing staffs have been cut, and publishers have to make strategic decisions about how many resources to put into the books that are coming out in any given year. This means for a first time author, you will likely not get much, unless you're the likes of Sheryl Sandberg. I found that my publisher was able to offer a good bit of support, and still does, but I was also realistic about it.

They have numerous books coming out at any given time, and appreciate authors who are willing to put in their own effort. I knew that the most I could do on social media, and on my own, would amplify my publisher's efforts. This is all to say you should be prepared to take the lead on marketing, and work with your publisher to fill in around those efforts. One of the most rewarding aspect of having a book in the world, is that literally, it gets read around the world.

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I've gotten requests to come speak and offer services all over the map. Back to that learning curve, perhaps I should have expected this, but I am still surprised at the reach a published book provides.

I anticipated that it would help with my current clients and market, but it has opened up so many possibilities beyond that. Especially with social media, we are truly in a global connected society.

Shortest Stories: a book in progress - Art Journal Open

When you write a book, you should consider that you're going national and global, and get ready to have your passport stamped. Conversely, if you're not willing or able to travel, you may want to think twice. To me, this has been the most personally satisfying aspect -- the meaningful connections that get made. Your thoughts get read by tens of thousands, and the interviews and blogs you do go viral.

Well beyond your actual book sales, your ideas in the book spread. And people reach out to you, in emails, Twitter, Facebook , and in person. You should know this is coming, and expect to be generous with your thoughts and your time.

MyBookProgress

Many authors love to write because they are introverts, who don't need as much social stimulation. Lunch on your own pm. The retreat is ONLY available to full conference participants. Click here to add the pre-conference retreat to your conference registration.


  • Black Mail: Book II;
  • my Books in Progress – read along with me.
  • In progress, a book | Librarian Meg.
  • MyBookProgress - Author Media!
  • Thursday, May 30 at pm: Come meet your fellow conference-goers and even some of the presenters. One-on-one meetings are ONLY available to full conference participants. Limited slots are available. Please choose only one agent — only one pitching session per participant.

    This post-conference retreat will begin with a short group-sharing of conference highlights and goal-setting to help you continue the momentum inspired by your conference experience. Writing prompts will be offered to help propel your writing into high-gear!