the Unending Journey of the Wandering Author

A chronicle of the unending journey of the Wandering Author through life, with notes and observations made along the way. My readers should be aware I will not censor comments that disagree with me, but I do refuse to display comment spam or pointless, obscene rants. Humans may contact me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com - I'll reply as I am able.

Location: New England, United States

I have always known I was meant to write, even when I was too young to know the word 'author'. When I learned that books were printed, I developed an interest in that as well. And I have always been a wanderer, at least in my mind. It's not the worst trait in an author. For more, read my writing; every author illuminates their heart and soul on the pages they write upon.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ideas From Published Authors Needed

Another blogger and writer is seeking ideas, in order to put together a book to help all writers sell their books. She has requested that anyone who is willing repost her call for help, so here it is, below. You can also click on the link to view the original, with links.

"After posting about some interesting movements in the music industry, Colleen at Loose Leaf Notes asked me to look into book publishing.

Inspired, I set out to answer her question.

At little background first. Book publicity has changed drastically in the last seven years. When we started the Open Grove in January, 2001:

* In-house publicists from hundreds of publishers sent dozens of copies of books. I received 12+ books a day. I heard that Oprah received over 50 books a day. Yikes!
* Almost every author went on some form of a multi-city book tour.
* I received telephone calls, letters, and a few emails (2001) from publicists hungry to get their clients on the Open Grove.

Within two years:

* publishers began to merge into multinational conglomerates,
* the tide of books became a trickle, (Thank God)
* authors financed their own book tours,
* some savvy best selling authors began publishing their own books, and
* small book presses were growing.

By 2007:

* many of the major book publishers had closed their publicity departments,
* authors whispered that they spent their entire advance on a publicist - some where helpful, most were not, and
* the publishing industry lost 17%! Book publishers closed left and right.

Walt Whitman sold his book door to door. What’s an author in 2008 supposed to do to sell his or her book??

* What works?
* What doesn’t work?
* What are people doing to promote themselves?
* What was the data? Which marketing endeavors increased sales? What had no effect at all?
* Self publishing? Big New York Publisher? No advance publishing? E-book publishing?

I asked my favorite Marketing forum and came up with some good ideas, but no data. I sat through ridiculous seminars run by sharks and charlatans. (No, Janet, I didn’t kill them, I only WANTED to kill them.)

What sells books in 2008?

No one knows.

I mean, I have some ideas? But I’ve already written about them.

Unsure of what to do, I did nothing. Then I noticed a little project of Brad Feld’s (Liz, he’s the venture capitalist I was talking about). I decided to steal his idea.

I’m sending out an SOS.

Let’s collect our information and experience. We don’t have to toil alone. Together, we can create a resource for authors. With information, we wrestle our creative efforts from the mouth’s of sharks.

(100% of these proceeds will go to Wounded Warriors. )

What I’m looking for:

* Direct experience marketing a book, selling a book or even getting a book published.
* What is working for you?
* What hasn’t worked for you?
* What do you believe is the single most important factor in selling your book?
* You book can be a self-published book, an e-book, a New York publisher.
* Did your book tour work?
* How much publicity help did you get from your publisher?
* What sells your book?

I’m thinking a short (100 - 300 words) this worked, this didn’t.

In return for participating, you will receive a free copy of the book. I’m hoping to collect 100 authors to participate in this project. If you are interested, please send me an email at: or leave a comment at On a Limb with Claudia. If you know a published author, please let them know about this project."

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Blogger Suzan Abrams said...

Hi Ray,
This sounds very exciting although I still believe that each writer will have their own publishing journey cut out for them...a bit like a business venture...when you know the risks involved but can never predict what happens at the end.
One thing I have observed is that writers who don't take pains to promote their work simply drown in the big quagmire that makes for publishing. That's unless they're popular or acclaimed in a certain way.
How about you Ray? Do you have plans to publish your stories. I do hope so. :-)

May 30, 2008 6:18 PM  
Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Suzan, I think the idea is to offer advice to help each writer on their journey. (It isn't my book, so I can't say how it will turn out, but that's how it appears to me.)

Yes, you are entirely right, authors do need to promote their work - although I find it a shame that they should feel they have to spend their entire advance on publicists. Publishers ought to take some responsibility for the works they take on, especially the larger ones who can afford it. It seems to me building an effective web presence is key at the moment, and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Yes, I do have plans, but I am waiting until I can carry them out most effectively. Patience is not one of my usual virtues, and waiting is killing me, but I want things to work out even more badly.

May 30, 2008 11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard it many times also.
I thought I would just poke a little fun at ourselves.

The joke is not mine. I changed the names to protect the innocent.

If I knew the original source, I would have included it.

Terry ;-))

PS::: No offense taken.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

May 31, 2008 8:19 AM  
Anonymous On a limb with Claudia said...

Thank you so much for reposting this on your blog! I am delighted for you assistance. Bless you!

May 31, 2008 1:51 PM  

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