Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer

Overview


The world has changed, and with it the craft of writing. In addition to the difficulties of putting pen to paper, authors must now contend with a slew of new media. This has forever altered the relationship between writers and their readers, their publishers, and their work. In an era when authors are expected to do more and more to promote their own work, Booklife steers readers through the bewildering options:

-What should authors avoid doing on the Internet?

-How does the new paradigm affect authors, readers,...

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Overview


The world has changed, and with it the craft of writing. In addition to the difficulties of putting pen to paper, authors must now contend with a slew of new media. This has forever altered the relationship between writers and their readers, their publishers, and their work. In an era when authors are expected to do more and more to promote their own work, Booklife steers readers through the bewildering options:

-What should authors avoid doing on the Internet?

-How does the new paradigm affect authors, readers, and the fundamentals of book publication?

-What’s the difference between letting Internet tools use you and having a strategic plan?

-How do authors protect their creativity while still advancing their careers?

-How do you filter out white noise and find the peace of mind to do good work?

Award-winning author, editor, and Web-entrepreneur Jeff VanderMeer shares his twenty-five years of experience to reveal how writers can go about:

-Using new media: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, podcasts, and IM

-Effectively networking in the modern era (why it’s not all about you)

-Understanding the lifecycle of a book and your role in the publication process

-Finding balance between your public and private lives and personas

-Creating a brand and identity tied to your strengths and your writing

-Working with your publisher: editors, publicists, marketing, and sales

-Taking the long view: establishing short- and long-term professional goals

-Getting through rejection and understanding the importance of persistence

-Enjoying and enhancing your creative process and more

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I've long marveled at Jeff's mad alchemist-like techniques of creation, promotion, and artistic survival through his artful navigation of brambly networks of writers, artists, musicians, historians, hatmakers, bloggers, booksellers, reviewers, and fans. To steal a line from an Eddie Izzard stand-up act, 'No one can live at that speed.'"
—Leslie Ann Henkel, publicist, Berkley/New American Library

“Jeff VanderMeer has written a fascinating book on managing a writing career.... Recommended for anyone who writes, wants to write, or has written and now wonders what to do next.”
—Nancy Kress, author of the best-selling Write Great Fiction

“Absolutely invaluable...a guide to the 21st century for a writer more up to date and accurate than any other book I’ve seen on the market.”
Tor.com

“If you’re at all interested in writing, especially an eventual career in writing (which nowadays requires considerable skill in self-management and strategic use of promotional tools), Booklife should be on your bookshelf.”
—Brad Moon, Wired

Booklife is an ambitious and successful attempt at a comprehensive guide to maintaining your sanity while chasing your dreams.”
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

“Many books tell us how to write, but Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife tells us how to be an author....VanderMeer made me think, question my own path, and make plans for a more focused move forward.”
—Mur Lafferty, host and creator of the podcast Geek Fu Action Grip

“Who better than VanderMeer, master of the blogosphere and online innovator, to guide us through the burgeoning, oft-breathtaking realm of new media....”
—Joseph Mallozzi, executive producer, Stargate SG-1

“VanderMeer has struck a new sort of balance with the Internet: charming his dedicated fan base on the Web, creating multimedia promotional tools for his books, and actively seeking out new readers like me in the digital crowds.”
The Publishing Spot

“Jeff VanderMeer has written a smart practical jungle-guidebook for the wilds of 21st-century publishing—its incredible pressures, joys, poisons, and, most importantly, the dangers of a false sense of control.... Floaty creative types—prepare to be taken to task.”
—Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk

Booklife serves as a much-needed corrective to the sad ‘market your book like a carnival huckster’ approach too often found in books of advice for writers these days.”
—Michael A. Arnzen, Gorelets

Booklife is to authors in today’s publishing climate what Writer’s Market was fifteen years ago: essential.”
—Michelle Richmond, New York Times best-selling author of The Year of Fog

“Excellent advice on building a sustainable writing career.”
Sacramento Book Review

Publishers Weekly
Author and blogger VanderMeer (Finch) outlines ways for writers to harness both the emerging power of the Internet and their own creativity in this informative guide. VanderMeer differentiates between a “Public Booklife” (marketing the book and the writer) and a “Private Booklife” (strategies to help get words on the page) and suggests that one's ideal Booklife is a dynamic balance of the two. Even though the Web's landscape is constantly shifting, his hints about ways to maximize a writer's exposure—including weighing the pros and cons of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter—can certainly be applied to future social networking sites and blogs. The tips for creating a flourishing Public Booklife will appeal to a wide variety of writers, from those just starting out to those trying to navigate the changing world of book publishing, while the Private Booklife section seems more tailored to new authors. With anecdotes from VanderMeer's own life as a writer, reviewer and blogger, as well as input from agents, editors and publicists, this guide will surely help writers traverse the often difficult journey from first draft to finished product. (Oct. 15)
Publishing Spot
VanderMeer has struck a new sort of balance with the internet: charming his dedicated fan base on the web, creating multimedia promotional tools for his books, and actively seeking out new readers . . . in the digital crowds. One of my favorite writers.
Wired.com
One of the things that sets VanderMeer apart is his embrace of technology and media. His online presence is considerable and includes a number of web sites, frequent blogging, a short film adaptation . . . his Alien Baby photo project and even a project involving animation via Sony Playstation.
Ron Hogan
One of the most literary fantasy writers or fantastic literary writers we've got working these days, take your pick.
Mediabistro's GalleyCat
NPR Weekend Edition Sunday
The thing about life is that it's bittersweet. It is both funny and dreadful and horrific and beautiful and everything else. And so to capture that . . . I turn to fantasy for that reason.
Cory Doctorow
Well-organized master-class in understanding how to fit both writing and a writing career into your life.
Boingboing.net
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781892391902
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 728,890
  • Product dimensions: 8.96 (w) x 6.08 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Vandermeer

Jeff VanderMeer is the best-selling author of City of Saints and Madmen, the noir thriller Finch, and the quintessential guide to writers, Booklife. His award-winning novels have made the year’s best lists at Publishers Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Wall Street Journal. His nonfiction and reviews have appeared in Washington Post Book World, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times Book Review.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Boring

    What comes to mind while slogging through this tedious tome is, "Will this guy ever shut up?"
    Once in a while there is a kernel of useful information. Otherwise, we get page after page after page of me, me, me strean
    of consciousness rambling.
    I bought this book hoping, expecting to learn something about the business or writing, publishing and PR. Not to read about the life
    and times of (yawn) Jeff Vandermeer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2011

    Belongs on every writer's reference shelf

    Writing used to be all about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). In the 21st Century, there are so many other things for a writer to consider. This book aims to answer some of those questions.

    Every published writer needs some sort of Web presence. Will yours be a static website to which you post every week or so? Will yours be an active blog to which you post every day, along with daily Facebook updates, and a couple of tweets daily? Choose which is best for you; every minute blogging or tweeting is a minute taken away from writing. Isn't writing the most important part of all this?

    Create checklists and stick with them. For instance, write an entire short story, edit it, and get it ready for mailing, every month. As soon as a story is returned from Magazine A, get it in the mail to Magazine B as soon as possible (the next day, if possible). How do you juggle a full-time job with a writing career? Few writers can make a living from writing. If writing is important enough to you, you will make time for writing (even just an hour a day).

    Most writers will have to handle their own marketing and publicity. How good are you at reading a selection from your novel (no more than 15 minutes long), then answering questions from a live audience about it? If you have a hard time with that, then concentrate on podcasts and posting to other people's blogs. Again, choose which is best for you. Along with seemingly every other business book written in the 21st Century, the author stresses the power of networking. That person you casually meet at a literary convention may be a popular blogger, or know a magazine editor who would be interested in a submission from you.

    On the personal side, the book looks at the process of editing and revising your stories, and how to re-charge your creative batteries.

    This book will not help you get that first novel sale (there are plenty of other books available for that). But when you get that first check from a publisher, one of the first things you should do is buy a copy of this book. It will be of immense help in answering that eternal author question, "How do I get people to buy my book?"

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