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Obvious Advice to Authors?

Hugh McLeod on writing books for money:

Anybody who wants to write books for the money deserves to suffer. And happily, many of them do.

This is a response to Seth Godin’s Advice to Authors.

BTW, Godin’s advice (i.e., There is no such thing as effective book promotion by a book publisher.) is fairly obvious advice to anyone who’s been writing for a while. And yet on the whole, those outside the community of writers and bloggers and artists have absolutely NO IDEA this is true. They just assume that the big hurdle is convincing a publisher to go with you. That is a hurdle (and the most awful thing about it is–As Godin points out–the long time a manuscript sits on a desk or slush pile before being read), but really publishers only know of expensive ways to promote your product; they think in terms of budgets, not in terms of strategy. That said, I have to admit that some press releases are well written and effectively targeted at the right people; but more often, it is the individual’s actions that result in “publicity,” than anything the company does. Publicity agents do what they can with the resources they can. But they have other products to babysit; you can’t demand all their attention.

Say what you want about blogging, but it is a way of creating a virtual space in the Internet, a way of showing that you know how to address an audience. I know of people who do incredibly artsy things on their weblog, and perhaps if I thought seriously about art of weblogging, I would try to do the same. Instead, what you have here are notes, sketches, links to cool things and occasional profundities.

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