I’m an author, too.
Like the vast majority of publishing pros, I’ve been a book lover since birth… and have always been a writer. After a number of years doing strategic and market planning for a large corporation, lured by NYC and maybe by the idea of free books, I went back to my first love and wound up directing marketing departments for major book publishers.
Then I quit my job to focus on my own creative writing, my personal castle in the air. While writing and co-authoring four traditionally-published books (among other things), I inaugurated the Book Publishing section of TheBalance.com (formerly About.com) and ran the site for six years.
Despite being both an author and in-house publishing person who has managed, touched and/or had a front-row-seat to nearly every part of the book publishing and marketing processes, I didn’t apply publishing reality to myself or my work. I struggled with the many, many challenges of the creative life and learned hard lessons the fall-flat, ass-bruising way.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
— Henry David Thoreau
My biggest mistake was not properly building—or neglecting to use—strong foundations.
What is a book author’s—or any creator’s—foundation?
Well, from own book publishing professional experience PLUS my very, very humbling creative career, I can tell you, it is built from the symbiotic, ever-evolving support systems of —
- WORK – the incredibly challenging mental, emotional and physical work of writing and creating something where there was nothing.
- CONNECTION – to the world of agents and editors and publishers — including understanding how it works, so you can better advocate for your creative vision all along your path.
- EXPOSURE – the willingness to reach out and dive into unfamiliar territories and technologies to truly, authentically engage readers and draw them to your work.
- MONEY – that is, how to realistically support yourself until such a time when your creative work securely supports you (check out how many famous actors appear on TV commercials to help you estimate how long that might be).
ContentMeant is now part of my own foundation (guess which part?).
And, while I deploy my skills on a larger scale for businesses, I am first and foremost an artist — and I want to stay in good art karma by sharing my broad and deep publishing and—especially— book marketing knowledge. Connection and exposure are vital to the artist’s career and so I share my insights on the blog here, as well as via some affordable online book development and marketing tools (I also speak to groups).
If you’re an author or aspiring to be one, check out the Getting to “Published,” Book Marketing and How to Write and Publish a Cookbook sections for more specific information on those topics. Sign up for the monthly newsletter, so you don’t miss any new content.
My sincere hope you find advice or tips here today or in the future to help build the foundations under your own creative castle in the air.