Thanks once again to Huff Po! And thanks to the Book Maven for guiding us through our first live Twitter event, and leading us into the Future.
Arielle, the brains behind the Book Doctors, dispenses wisdom from her years as a literary agent and a successful entrepreneur, on five books that will help turn your dreams into income on LearnVest.
We drove 300 miles in the rain from our home in Montclair, New Jersey to a bookstore in Falls Church, Virginia, just outside DC. We had our freshly pressed clothes hanging in the car, and a box full of books in the trunk. Our first event. I had a bad feeling. In fact I bet Arielle a dollar that there would be less than 20 people in the audience. Still, tingling with excitement, we entered this emporium of books. Imagine our surprise when we found out that the manager didn’t even know an event was scheduled that night. And they only had 3 copies of our books in the store. Their website had two different times for our event. As far as I can tell, they did absolutely no promotion of this event, didn’t try to reach out to the tens of thousands of writers in the area who are our audience. I had to give myself a timeout before I exploded. But even though it was my worst nightmare realized, I was the model of restraint. I smiled and made nice with everyone as I recalled the first stop on our first tour where there were only 2–yes 2–people at the event. One was a mom with three kids running around the store that she had to chase throughout our workshop. The other was an angry drunk man writing a memoir about his horrible father. Sorry, I digress. Turns out this was a huge lesson for me. Trust your own instincts. I KNEW this was the wrong thing to do, but I caved in and did not follow my own instincts. I shall endeavor never to make this mistake again. Sure enough, five people showed up, and two of those were friends of ours. It was an embarrassment. We, the publishing experts draw five people. I was livid. Filled with a furious rage. I must say though that the manager of the bookstore was very gracious and apologized publicly, which made me feel a little better. And our next event is in Pittsburgh, @ Joseph Beth. I just read this morning that the store where we’re performing has been selected for extermination @ the end of the month. They are a walking dead bookstore.
That being said, it was a really fun event. We heard three fantastic pitches. I should explain that our event is called Pitchapalooza. It’s like American Idol for books. Each writer in the audience gets one minute to pitch their book to a panel of experts. Arielle and I are two of the experts, and we have a couple of panelists. One of our guest panelists was a very charming, witty and knowledgeable fellow named Alan Fallow, who is the Features Editor at AARP Magazine. And a long-time publishing veteran. He just could not have been any smarter or nicer. And the other guest publicist was our publicist, Bethanne Patrick, who has read more books than anyone we know. She was able to come up with perfect comparison titles for our three pitchees. The winner, Lisa Lipkind Leibow, gave a great pitch about Iranian women and culture. And everyone who was in attendance, all five of them at any rate, got in-depth expertise about the books they were pitching, and about the publishing business in general. It was actually great fun to do. But we traveled 300 miles to sell three books. That’s 100 miles a book. Something seems very wrong with that. Still, I try to take joy even from these adverse conditions. But it’s a terrible thing to bet against yourself, then win. Valuable lessons were learned. Always trust your instincts. And always bring a box of books.
On the road. Again. Yes, we’ve just taken off to begin our book tour. After all the flight arrangements, rental car machinations, hotel bookings, Facebook event announcements, dry cleaning, haircuts, prepping, packing, and panicking, we are finally embarking on our odyssey, like Odysseus before us. Only instead of Trojan horses, soul sucking sirens and a gigantic cyclops, we will be going up against book critics, baby booming bloggers, and publishing industry at large which is like a leaky rowboat barely staying afloat in the Sea of Recession. But we are brimming with excitement, visions of a rabid readers and writers, the delighted bright eyed booksellers and packed Pitchapaloozas with books flying off shelves dancing in our heads. Plus, we have a lovely and talented three-year-old daughter Olive with us. See you soon, America!
Book Review and Giveaway: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
What’s better than one blog giving away a book? Two blogs giving away books! I’ve partnered up with friend and very funny fellow writer Stacey Graham (from Betwixt & Between) to review the latest must-have writing tool from Workman Publishing and help a couple of folks receive their very own free copy. Giveaway details are listed just after the review.
If someone had handed me a copy of THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry when I was sixteen, my professional writing career would be very different—and better—today. (For one thing, I would have known about the Internet and E-books back in the 1980s, ka-ching!)
I have been a writer for most of my life so far, and I’ve read a LOT of books on the subject. Usually, at some point during the book, I’ll find a passage or idea and call bullcrap on it. That didn’t happen with this book. Eckstut and Sterry covered every base I could think of, and added a few I didn’t know about.
Building platforms, getting an agent, working with editors, understanding contracts, untangling the web of ebooks, tackling marketing and publicity: it’s all here in clear, honest and often funny language. As a humor writer, it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud, and this book did it several times. The authors hooked me with an up-to-date social media section, including an interview with noted author and Master Tweeter Neil Gaiman conducted over Twitter.
As a multiple-year NaNoWriMo winner, I also loved seeing Chris Baty’s proposal for his book, NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! The book even wraps up with the very proposal Eckstut and Sterry used, so you have two winning examples to use as blueprints.
The self-publishing section is comprehensive; the subject has its share of champions and foes in the publishing world, and I find my own opinion changing depending on the time of day. They explain the different types of self-pubbing, what to avoid, and how to sell successfully.I think one of the most important sections is the explanation between vanity presses and legitimate self-pubbing; if you don’t know the difference, you must read it.
No matter what type of book you want to write and see published, this guide will help you through the process better than any combination of Scotch and prescription drugs.
And now for the best part! Winning your very own copy of THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED! There are several ways to enter:
1. Follow me @plaidearthworm and Stacey (@staceyigraham) on Twitter and mention the giveaway with a link back to our blogs, using the hashtag #GTBPgiveaway
2. Give both sites a “thumbs up” using StumbleUpon
3. Tell us on both blogs why you need this book in our comments section. Be sure to tell us if you are following us on Twitter – please leave your @ID and your email address so we are able to contact you if you win!
4. The winners will be chosen on November 2, 2010, by Random.org and announced on both sites.
Good luck to all of you!
Posted by Beth Bartlett at 7:34 AM