Thursday, June 08, 2006

Babies and Books

It’s a common metaphor within publishing to compare babies and books. I believe it’s tied to the creative process. In the creation of a baby, there is something magical which happens with the creation of a new life to nurture and grow. Baby-crawling

In recent months, Publishers Weekly has started a back page column called Soapbox. It’s turned into one of my favorite, must-read areas in the publication. Recently Jenny Minton wrote a column called The Book Mothers and made some interesting comparisons. She is a former book editor and was talking with Katrina Kenison, who was formerly with Houghton Mifflin. She wrote, “While motherhood was all new to me, the publishing process was at least familiar. Editors turned writers—myself included—are at an advantage because we’ve seen the publishing process up close. Talking to Katrina helped clarify for me how it is easier to be a writer if you’ve worked in the business because, as she says, ‘We know what the steps are. We don’t look at it as a mountain that you can never climb. We have seen a three-page proposal turn into a book.’ By signing up my book at Knopf on the basis of just a few chapters, Jordan Pavlin made the task less daunting for me. While writing the book, I didn't think about anyone but her reading it; I wrote a long, long letter to Jordan.”

“Although my publishing experience—and Jordan's motherly guidance—helped me write the book, there were still many things I had to learn as an author. For 10 years I worked in various editorial departments (which are now all owned by Bertelsmann), but until the publication of my book, I was naive as to how involved an author needs to be in her promotional campaign. By the time I turned in my manuscript, I was tired of it and insecure about whether I had done the best job I possibly could. I still am. But somewhere between bound galleys and finished books, I realized that sitting around worrying about readers' responses was not constructive; if I didn’t get behind my book, no one else would.”

Many authors want to go with a traditional publisher so they can turn over all the promotion and marketing responsibilities to the publisher. The publisher cares deeply about the success of your book in the marketplace—but their attention is divided with other books to promote. You have the passion and the nurturing skills for your book. It was another reminder of the necessity for your active involvement in the process. It’s a balancing act. The marketing process can consume your writing life but only if you let it. At the same time, it can’t be ignored.

6 Comment:

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Richard L. Mabry, MD Left a note...

Very valid points, that don't occur to any of us until "the book" comes out, and we scramble to make sure everyone knows how special it is. After my non-fiction book came out, my fiction writing time was compromised by the time I took making contacts, speaking, and getting myself and the book "out there." But it's a happy problem, I guess.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Bonnie S. Calhoun Left a note...

your points are all well taken. With the lessons I've had from Brandilyn Collins...and you, and then from numerous published authors over at Novel Journey...I've saved a whole folder of marketing strategies to impliment when I get published!

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Bill Williams Left a note...

Thanks, Terry, for another excellent post. I don't comment often, but I read and enjoy your blog almost daily. Thanks for all the work you put into it!
Grace and peace to you and yours,

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Lexie Left a note...

Though I don't have a book to market yet, I'm fascinated by the use of blogs as a promotional tool.

Watching experienced print authors Barbara Curtis, Susan Albert, and you (of course) use their blogs well is interesting and informative.

Thanks for embracing the blog! :)

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Richard, Bonnie, Bill and Lexie,

My appreciation for your comments. Yes, Lexie, I've embraced this form of communication--blogging. I have over 430 entries about the Writing Life (which is searchable through Google). I continue to learn a great deal with this form of communication. Keep coming back because I have more to add.


At 12:01 PM, Blogger Be Inspired Always Left a note...

I've been marketing my book since it was released in 2005. It does take your writing time away. My rule of thumb is, do a few things to promote your book daily.

I even set out a certain amount of time for me to concentrate on just that. If it's sending out emails, or setting up a book signing, or teaching a class.

That usually happens during the morning when my kids are at school. Then about 2 hours before they come home.. I write.

Sometimes it feels like there isn't enough hours in a day, but when I'm almost asleep in bed, I'm grateful for the day I had, the people I met, and the business I'm creating for myself.

Be Inspired Always,
Jillian M. Curtis


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