Thursday, August 05, 2010

Book! Gah!

I got a chapter edited -- the one I first put together on the plane from pieces of two chapters. I feel good about it, and good about getting back into the swing.

That's 13 chapters revised, 12 to go. I've pretty much cleared my schedule tomorrow, so I hope to knock out at least 2 others. Hmm, I was thinking it shouldn't be any problem getting the rest revised by the end of the month, but now that I think about it, my last goal was to have them edited by mid-August. I don't think that's gonna happen.

And it probably shouldn't happen. I need to get it done well and right more than fast. And I've been spending a lot of time in the past few weeks thinking about the marketing. Seth Godin has some really interesting things to say about the publishing industry. Basically that they're in the same position the music industry was in 10 years ago, and if they don't get on board they're going to end up like them -- dead in the water.

He argues that the whole paradigm, if you will, is going to change. Right now, authors throw themselves at publishers trying to get published and the publishers spend their time (other than curating) trying to find audiences for those authors.

What publishers should be doing, he believes, is serving the audiences first. Creating groups or "tribes" of like-minded people interested in a subject, give them a forum to pursue and share that interest and interact, and then the publishers should go out and find the writers to serve those audiences. That's bad news for the writers, of course, because then they'll be paid like low-level freelancers.

In any case, some lessons I took away. First, if you wait until your book is done to let people know about it, you're almost irretrievably behind the eight-ball. Second, instead of spamming people -- "check out my book," "buy my book," etc. -- "permission marketing" is the way to go. People opt in and express their interest by agreeing to follow your blog or liking your Facebook page. And finally, again, you create this place where this tribe can meet and get together and share information. Pushing the book is not the point -- it's an extra, an add-on.

The way it might manifest itself is, I'd create a Facebook page or LinkedIn group or some other such thing. Maybe it's on business writing or the language or something. You start with industry friends, get them interested and involved, it grows and builds, with everyone feeling like they have a stake and a share -- they're commenting and interacting. It's more their place than yours. And down in some little corner it's like, "Oh, by the way, there's this book ..."

I don't know. That's the ideal. And it's all dependent, as he says, on creating something really extraordinary to attract these people. I don't have any pretense that this is extraordinary.

And I don't even know if I want to sell this thing. I might just want to get it designed, pdf'd and put up on my website. As I've said before, as a calling card and credibility builder. And really, the book is just a platform. It's the content for presentations and articles and speeches and other things. I don't expect to make much money off it at all.

Anyway, a friend over at Argo this evening suggested I not hurry things, which is smart. At least in terms of the marketing. But also maybe the content. What if I go out and starting doing presentations and things and learn stuff -- about what works and maybe even additional ideas -- from audiences and others?

Still, I feel a need to give clients/business contacts an early heads up. But again, I feel like they should have something to do. Just informing is not enough. They need a blog to follow or a Facebook page to like. I've already set up a blog for it. But I'm still not settled on a title. But if I had this place, a Facebook page, a gathering spot for this tribe, I could crowdsource stuff like the name. And even the content ...

Ugh. SO much to think about. So two things I can do now. Continue to edit, and just keep gathering information and advice. Okay, three things. Start creating articles and presentations and booking speeches.

So that's where my head's at ....

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