Welcome to my new blog, my new book, my new business and my new website! I have arrived! Well, actually, I am still making my way down the road, but I should be pulling into the driveway any time now.
I am very proud to announce that my new book, Saving Our Lives: Volume Two—Essays to Release the Writer in YOU, is available now both digitally and in print. It’s coming out a little later than I had originally planned, but, like all of us who are perennially late for things, I have a really good excuse.
Here’s my story.
I was on track to have Volume Two out in the spring of 2016. Volume One had just won a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association and we put things on hold at home to fly out to Salt Lake City for the annual IBPA conference and awards banquet. If I had known then that this organization and its conference would spin my head around, set my hair on fire, delay my work and send me off into a world so far outside my comfort zone that I didn’t recognize myself, would I still have gone to this meeting?
Well, yeah. Of course. What did you think I would say?
Here’s my story.
I have been to many writers’ conferences. Two recent gatherings that I have been lucky enough to attend were The Mark Twain House Writers Weekend and the Wesleyan Writers Conference. They are quite different in their approach. As you might guess, the Wesleyan conference is very academic. Instead of workshop choices, writers follow a set schedule, everyone attending four-day classes together—one in poetry, one in fiction and one in non-fiction—interspersed with readings and panel discussions and meals and wine and cheese soirees and speakers from The New Yorker. So very civilized. The ivory tower of academia, I realized, is alive and well and quite alluring. After a four-day immersion in the rarefied world of words and writers, it took me a couple of days to float back down to real life and to get my feet planted firmly on the ground.
The Twain House Weekend, like Twain himself, was more homespun—and practical. Workshops about podcasts and social media and independent publishing scattered themselves among sessions in ghostwriting, journaling, storytelling, nature writing, screenwriting, researching, children’s writing, memoir writing and other concerns of those who write. Panel discussions and keynote speakers proved that there are people out there who do this for living—and that most of the time, especially for those who like to eat regularly, it ain’t so easy. But for those who love the written word, it’s worth a shot.
Then, into my life comes the IBPA. Notice that the name of this organization does not include the words write, writer, writing, written, author, poet, novelist, essayist or anything referring to the creation or the creators of text. The workshops offered at this conference included things like branding, copyrights, contracts, marketing strategies, distribution methods, book registrations, cost control, management apps and my very favorite, the optimization of metadata.
These workshops didn’t cater to writers. These presenters didn’t give a shit about how the words got on the page. That’s the writer’s job—and the subject of those other conferences.
These people are independent publishers. Their job is to figure out what to do with these pages once the writer is done with them.
This is business!
And I was officially terrified. My head was spinning with every business cliché I had ever heard. The business of business is business. Mind your own business. Don’t take it personally. It’s only business. Business before pleasure. Don’t ever ask about my business. Keep it in the black! Always be aware of your bottom line. There’s no business like show business.
Business! Nothing could be further from my comfort zone.
But, by the time I left Salt Lake City, I was well on my way to becoming a bona fide authorpreneur.
Today, as my second book hits the market, I am a writer and an independent publisher, learning the ropes as I go, growing my business by baby steps, attending both writing and publishing conferences and switching hats as necessary.
And that, my friends, is why this book is late.
I believe in the independent publishing movement and I am proud to be a part of it. I still have a lot to learn. And, I have a lot to say about writing, making books and making a living from making books .
Actually, I have a lot to say about a lot of things.
Good thing I have this new blog.
I hope you will join me for the ride.