When I had the great opportunity to talk to the head of my publishing company a few weeks ago, I asked him his advice for new writers. Without missing a beat, he said "write the book."
This is easier said than done, as my mind always races ahead to the fun part, like marketing and speaking and connecting with my audience. My editor has been great at helping me rein in all thoughts about book promotion. But there was one thing that needed to get planned ahead: A panel at the annual SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
I don’t know about you, but I salivate at the thought of spending a few days with smart, technical, creative, musically-inclined social media maniacs. It pretty much sums up my ideal target audience.
So when given the opportunity to pitch a panel on "Blog to Book Deal: How-To" with Hugh McLeod, Kathy Sierra and Ariel Waldman, I jumped at the chance. I have been a long-time hopeless fan girl of Hugh and Kathy, and have really enjoyed getting to know Ariel’s work (Hugh introduced us).
The way the SXSW festival works is they solicit proposals for panel speakers, which the general population votes on in their "panel picker." The conference organizers take this data into consideration as they make the final conference schedule.
The blog-to-book phenomenon has really exploded in the last couple of years, with people like Penelope Trunk (Brazen Careerist), Gary Vaynerchuk (101 Wines…), Seth Godin (Small is the New Big), Garr Reynolds (Presentation Zen), Andy Wibbels (Blogwild), Christian Lander (Stuff White People Like) all landing book deals.
What will the panel cover?
traditional publishing dead? Apparently not, as many bloggers are
landing book deals that extend and enhance their online work. Learn
the ins and outs from bloggers that have done it including Hugh McLeod,
Kathy Sierra, Pamela Slim and Ariel Waldman.
Key Info Covered (we will massage outline if we get in, but this is the general gist):
- What are traditional publishers looking for in blog-to-book deals?
- What are the benefits of self-publishing vs. getting a publishing house?
- How is writing a book different than writing a blog?
- How do you cull years of posts into a coherent storyline?
- What are the advantages of adding a book to your portfolio of work?
- How can a book benefit long-time blog readers?
- How should you structure a new blog if you have a book in mind?
- How can you involve your blog readers in the writing of your book?
- What comes first, platform then book deal or book deal then platform?
- How can you use your blog to market your book?
- If you’re writing a blog first, how much of the the blog should end up in the book, how much to leave out?
- How does having a blog change the traditional publishing model, for both publishers and writers?
- What if you don’t get a book deal in the end? 😉
I will be honest. I want to do this panel! It will be a blast and hopefully very useful to those in attendance.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Vote for us! Go to the Panel Picker and search on "Pamela Slim" under the "Business/Entrepreneur" (update: it is in Advertising/Marketing)category. Or go to the shortcut here. In order to vote, you must register, which just takes a minute. Feel free to add a comment with suggestions, questions, etc. There are a ton of great submissions in many categories, so if you have time, vote for others that sound good. The voting deadline is August 29.
Thanks so much for your help, and I hope to see you next year at SXSW!
Scratch that, I’m definitely coming. I’ve been wanting to go to this for years, and my brother just moved there, why the heck not?
Definitely gave you five stars! Maybe I can make it there to actually see you, that would be even better.
Thanks so much Kate, we appreciate it!
It would be fantastic to see you and all the other virtual blog readers in person! That is one of the things I am looking forward to the most.
All the best,
Thanks for introducing me to the conference … I had no idea it existed. I’ll be sure to vote for your panel! Good luck.
Pam, that is so funny that you view marketing, speaking, and connecting with your audience as “the fun part” of writing a book.
One writer interviewed in the Paris Review even has an assistant write his blog so he can sequester himself and work on novels. Another writer I know, who has a solid genre fiction franchise going, stays off of the computer entirely, as she says it provides too many social distractions.
I fall somewhere in between those ends of the spectrum. 🙂
It is a character flaw Barbara, believe me.
I will sequester myself very soon too — you really have to go into a certain zone when you reach the critical writing stage.
I do like to write, but as to the whole process, I am with my buddy Martha Beck who says that “to have written” is sometimes better than “to write.”
Back to the book!
Totally voted 5 stars for your panel.
Something I’d like to hear about: How do publishers lock you in to their way of doing things? Do you have to be exclusive? Do they not allow you to give away free sample chapters? etc… My friend is a fiction and bio author and she basically put her book’s marketing at the mercy of her publisher, and now she can’t shop around, her next few books have to go through that publisher, whether they suck at marketing or not.
This is the same thing that happens to musicians when they sign with a label.
One thing that’s clear is that having more followers and bigger body of work gives you more leverage. Think about how powerful it is to be able to dramatically drop your traffic and subscriber stats on the conference table and say “I’m awesome and I’m in charge.”
Those are great points, and it may vary a lot between publishers. I will make sure we cover it on the panel if we make the cut!
One thing I have heard from every single published author I have met, even those w/high profile books: if you rely solely on publisher for marketing, you are screwed. It is critical to have a platform to do promoting yourself.
Also, most people say to look for ways to extend and enhance the content (speaking, workshops, interactive communities, etc.) since book sales themselves won’t make you rich.
Um…better let Stephanie Pearl-McPhee stick to the knitting humor. 😉
OK, I put my vote in! And I could point you in the direction of several other “blog to book” authors in the knitting world–there are several considerable success stories there. One woman has even managed to land large-scale book tours that net her hundreds of attendees at her events. Her book category? Pretty singular–“knitting humor.”
I love it Amy!
Now THAT is what I call a niche. I want to include it in my book! Is that a good idea or knot? (get it? knitting humor?)