Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Any Club That Wants Me As A Member I Won’t Join

(with apologies to Groucho Marx)
One continuing requirement of a writer and publisher is that they must join various associations, clubs, Internet groups, and other like-minded collectives. You can’t live in a cave, cross-legged like a guru, and expect the market to find you. Your potential readers have enough on their minds and some crackpot hawking his next best novel is just that, a crackpot. But we all like to commiserate and an association is a good place to start.

Last Saturday we attended out first Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) HERE, a better group of literary hopefuls you will never find. It's a mix of writers, publishers (usually their own work), web designers, artists and other hangers on. And we are all hangers on, each trying our best to flog our books to the great marketplace and these group therapy meetings help all of us to push forward one more week.

You have to get out of the house once and a while to meet other kindred souls and the last few weeks have allowed us to meet some great people in the industry. Two weeks ago it was the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA) HERE and BAIPA last week. While similar they were very different in their membership and direction. One is strongly oriented toward the marketplace and bookstores and the other towards helping each other learn more about the industry and moving forward, primarily as a writer selling their work.

I recommend both to writers and fledgling publishers, especially in Northern California. But every region has its own groups, look for them. The writing biz is changing, just read the Wall Street Journal. Every day there is something new or frightening about the publishing industry. In today’s WSJ, has a great article on the Nook and Kindle Fire – game changers. HERE Faced with these changes and opportunities every writer needs to get as much information about the game. What’s new? What angle can I use to move my stories? What is the next great platform to prepare for?

It’s all about platform – your platform, your writer’s platform. Connelly’s Linclon Lawer, Grafton’s A-Z thrillers, Michener’s sweeping historical novels – all platforms. One book wonders are rare and pointless. You have something to say and it usually takes more than one book to say it. Think about the scope of your work then how can you expand it to include more readers, what’s your message? Some deep soul searching need to help or just to tell a damn good yarn! It’s all a part of your platform, think about it and build on it.

More later . . . .

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