WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Easy as 1, 2…….. 21?!

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Once again, a list of intimidations vis-à-vis the wisdom of self-publishing, this time from “hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, and author,” James Altucher (h/t 1WriteWay). “21 Things You Need to Know About Self-Publishing 2.0.”

It’s a worthwhile read, if you have already or are considering self-publication, but it is very much a bucket of cold Gatorade on the head, in case you were starting to feel optimistic about your chances. Altucher offers plenty of terrific advice about growing a blog audience, assembling your self-publishing team (cover artist, editor, designer), and using social media. He also tells the truth about traditional publishers and how little they do marketingwise for the average author (they pay you an advance and get you into a few bookstores) — reasonable motivation for pursuing the self-publication idea. I wish the writing had been on the wall back when Parts Unknown was published, but then again Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, et al. didn’t exist at the time. It’s actually easier to market yourself as a writer today. Or seems easier.

But what irks me a little bit about Altucher’s advice is that, though he seems to mean his article to be inspiring, he apparently started with quite a large audience for his self-published books. He’d written for a variety of popular news and financial outlets and had a huge audience ready and waiting. One gets the feeling he didn’t face the odds and obstacles most of us do. His blog has had 10 million hits, fer chrissakes.

Likewise, he has a hedge fund manager’s perspective on personal investment in one’s own book. A professionally produced audiobook? Ka-ching. A video trailer that doesn’t look cheesy? Ka-ching. That whole team thing? Yeah, right.

Still, I can’t help but feel that these are things to have in the back of my mind as I get closer to publishing Yesterday Road. Eyes wide open. I’m doing my due diligence, weighing the array of options, budgeting, planning, fretting. I’d hate to go in with Pollyanna blinders on and get crushed like a bug on the windshield of the marketplace, to use a morbid metaphor.

This much is true for sure:

You are the one who believes in the message and your art and now want to share it with others and ultimately it is you who is choosing yourself to deliver that message. A message that, when properly packaged, will be a delight to the reader to receive.

You think a list of 21 must-do’s is scary? Or, to some of you who have already gone through it, does this seem about right? (Minus the audiobook, of course…).

(Image via.)

5 comments on “Easy as 1, 2…….. 21?!

  1. margaretjeanlangstaff
    June 14, 2013

    I coulda tole ya all a that 🙂 I was a meteoric (Ha!) Random House, Doubleday, and other sorts exec for a number of years (left NY several years ago); they promise you the moon and deliver zip. Acquiring editors leave (been there, done that), get better offers etc, your project becomes an orphan, nobody left there cares about it, there is no accountability…Yet an author is locked up contractually, can almost never prove breach of contract… Would cost a fortune and you’d probably lose in court. Crazy… It’s so easy to do it yourself. I had the head of a major pub house confide in me almost 15 yrs ago that he was afraid Grisham and the like were going to clue in to this, it was just a matter of time, and then they would be cooked (this was BEFORE the self publishing boom). The cache of having a big name pub on your book’s spine is just not worth it unless you are totally incompetent online. And you are not Quit worrying, get it out there. Even if you’re a smash, sales only last a few months unless you are an intuitive genius at marketing. Always go on to the next book. Don’t look back. I usually charge for this advice (but why? so obvious)

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 17, 2013

      I certainly had a less-than-delightful experience with traditional publishing, so everything you say is right on target as far as I’m concerned. My only source of anxiety about all this is whether self-publishing an ebook is viable when the genre is literary fiction. Guess that remains to be seen. In the meantime, though, I’m learning the online ropes and feeling better about that angle every day!

  2. 1WriteWay
    June 15, 2013

    Kevin, thanks for the link to my blog and bringing up this discussion of Altucher’s article. I agree it was pretty intimidating but I don’t think it should make you feel pessimistic about your chances for your next book. You are already doing some of what he suggests and other suggestions may just not be relevant or appropriate right now. For one, he recommends doing an audiobook. I love audiobooks, but I love the ones narrated by a professional narrator. The author is not always the best person to read his book out loud, especially when it comes to fiction. (Now, for a while, I was following writers such as Mike Bennett who were podcasting their books, chapter by chapter. Personally I find that avenue more intriguing.) His other suggestion–bitcoins! Really, bitcoins? He lost me there since bitcoins are just a gimmick.

    I really don’t believe you are going to get crushed like a bug on a windshield 🙂 I see your blog following has increased quite a bit. I think your book giveaway will pay off in the end.

    Now go forth, young man, and conquer 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 17, 2013

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marie! Believe me, I’m picking and choosing from Altucher’s list, and the audiobook is not in contention.

      As far as conquering anything, I really just hope to start building a pool of loyal readers. That ain’t too much to ask, is it?

      • 1WriteWay
        June 17, 2013

        No, a loyal pool of readers is not too much to ask. It’s the least of what we all want 🙂

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This entry was posted on June 14, 2013 by in Publishing, Social media, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , .
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