Archives: debut

Books are made on word-of-mouth.
At least those books that receive critical acclaim or top the bestseller charts. Think The Help or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and countless others.

This is more than publicity. This is the unquantifiable magic of human capital. No matter how much you spend, it can’t really be predicted.

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A tweet can make a difference.

I see this happen all the time. But many writers I’ve advised to blog and tweet, will grieve: “no matter what I do, I don’t see anyone coming to my blog!”

But then, suddenly, one day, one hour, and within ten seconds, that changes, and one of the most influential Twitterers falls upon your blog, and tweets about it to his thousands of followers. And suddenly, you see 20 new follows and an unprecedented spike in your web traffic; if you’re published, maybe even a spike in your Amazon ranking.

In publishing today, there is no such thing as “build it and they will come.”

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Here is the last segment of this week’s social media series before we say sadly say goodbye to Man of la Book. If you missed prior posts in the series you can find them here and here. And we’ll be back with more interviews with authors, bloggers, and publishing experts on in our next series on Authors and Social Media, coming soon.

First question: are there any favorite author Twitter feeds you follow? Why?

My favorite authors to follow are Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) and Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter). They talk about writing, life, research, and you can always find them engaging with their followers.

It seems that the most popular tweeters constantly a) tweet constantly and b) link to breaking news, blogs, etc. According to your profile, you are a book blogger, engineer, “wood worker,” father and husband. How is that you can also tweet with such enthusiasm?

My secret is that I’m pretty good with technology. Combine that with obscene laziness and you find good solutions for such issues. I use the cotweet online utility to send out tweets at intervals (30 min. to 1 hour), but check Twitter several times a day to answer questions, interact with others or see what I might be missing (sometimes not much, but that doesn’t stop all of us on Twitter from checking anyway).

But don’t be fooled: it takes great patience, persistence and hard work. Though often a great substitute for real work.

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At the top of the list for all authors, their publishers, their agents and their publicists, there’s always been one wish that stands head and shoulders above all in book reviews: The Sunday Book Review supplement of the New York Times. But in the hundreds of books that editors see every week, all vying for this coveted review space, only few can garner the interest for review. Writing, like all art, is subjective: its beauty lies in the eyes of its beholder. Further, the books one reads about in the Review Section are usually those up-and-coming, already acclaimed, “big books,” the kind published by Crown/Random House or HarperCollins, or perhaps that literary novel that’s being talked about as the next major American novel.

So many authors aspire for Times’ recognition; so few see it happen, even over the course of a lifetime career. So, you can imagine my surprise when one of my authors, a debut novelist, who spent twenty-five years honing her book, In the King’s Arms, realized this nearly impossible impossible dream. And furthermore, was given such a glowing review that the hair-tearing process became worthwhile–all those years, all those countless rejections, such indifference to a story so embedded in the author’s own history and the world history of the Holocaust. I thought readers, including myself, were tired of this theme: how many times can we re-live the pain, violence, and guilt of such human atrocity?

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