If filmmakers can do it, why can’t authors?


Earlier this month, The New York Times ran an article with the headline, “As Studios Cut Their Budgets, Indie Filmmakers Go Do-It-Yourself.”

In the article the writer makes the following observation about the changing landscape for the marketing of films:

“Here is how it used to work: aspiring filmmakers playing the cool auteur in hopes of attracting the eye of a Hollywood power broker.

“Here is the new way: filmmakers doing it themselves — paying for their own distribution, marketing films through social networking sites and Twitter blasts, putting their work up free on the Web to build a reputation, cozying up to concierges at luxury hotels in film festival cities to get them to whisper into the right ears.”

I would suggest authors are following this same path. As traditional publishers contract their marketing dollars and focus on celebrity authors, more and more authors are finding they can use social media to build a platform and develop a following for their work.

In coming posts, I will share some examples of authors who are doing this.


How to get from idea in your head to book in your hand

I can’t tell you how many people I talk with who tell me they have an idea for a book, but can’t seem to get the manuscript finished. That’s not surprising because it’s easy to come up with an idea for book. It is even easy to start writing a book. The challenge with being an author is writing to the finish or completing the manuscript. I have talked to hundreds of authors and most would agree it takes a significant commitment and discipline to get a book done.

If you’re comptemplating writing a book or if you are in the midst of a manuscript, these tips will help.

1. Set a date when you want to have the book in your hands and on the market. That means you may have to create an event like a book signing or book launch party. However, without a deadline, you may never get the manuscript finished.

2. Decide when is the best time of day to write and put an appointment on your calendar. For most people, there is a time in the day when they are most productive.  In fact, one author told me he can get more done writing between 7:30 and 9:00 am in the morning then he can writing for four hours later in the day. Pay attention to when you write best and target that time each day.

3. Make yourself accountable to someone for your end date and plan to get done.  You may one of those rare people who is disciplined enough to keep a schedule once you set it, but for most of us, we need to have someone who prompts us and encourages to stay the course.

Although none of these tips are probably that surprising, following them is often the difference between having an idea in your head instead of a book in your hand.

authors, self publishing, writing

The Gutenberg Effect: The Power of a Book to Change Culture

Five centuries ago, Johan Wilhelm Gutenberg introduced a new technology — the printing press — which radically changed the world. Prior to his invention, the creation of content was controlled by a few influential people. Elite church scholars decided what was worthy of writing and distributing. Scribes were a bottleneck in the reproduction of books. Consequently, the dissemination of knowledge and ideas was greatly restricted.

Gutenberg’s press changed all that. He put the power to produce books in the hands of the publisher instead of the scribe. The availability of his new technology removed boundaries which previously existed and changed the course of history. Martin Luther and others were able to produce and distribute Bibles and other books in their native tongues, which fueled the Reformation in Germany and throughout Europe. Education, learning and literacy exploded throughout the West, which led the way for scholarship in a multitude of disciplines. The effect of Gutenberg’s contribution had a profound and lasting impact on publishing, but it also brought about dramatic improvements in culture.

Today, we are experiencing a second Gutenberg effect brought about because of self publishing, which puts the power to produce and distribute content in the hands of the author, instead of just the publisher

Take Reg Green for example. Reg and his family became known around the world 15 years ago when their eight-year old son, Nicholas,  was murdered in a botched robbery while vacationing in Italy. At the time, Reg and his wife made the decision to donate Nicholas’ organs and sustaining and improving the lives of  seven Italians.  Since then Reg has written two books, The Nicholas Effect, which will be re-released in October and The Gift that Heals, (http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=49176), which tells stories of organ donation from a number of perspectives.

Because of these books, Reg has become a sought-after speaker and advocate for organ donation. His impact on this cause worldwide has been profound — Reg speaks and organ donor declarations increase. So when one life is lost, many others are saved.