This post is the first in a series about the creation of a new book. To see all the articles in the series, click “The Journey of a Book” tab at the top of the page.
As authors we are often told that we should concentrate on branding ourselves, establishing ourselves not simply as the author of a particular book, but as a brand that can attract brand loyalists, with good feelings that may extend to other “products” of our “brand.” While it might seem a bit mechanized to some of us (and I am one of those people) it’s also true that if you publish more than one book in a category or genre, you build momentum that cannot be built in any other way.
I had published a book in 1986 and then a second edition in 1992 (Body Types) but nothing since. Frankly, with running my business and all the other responsibilities of life, I didn’t think I had the time to write another book at the moment, although I still planned to at some time
Last weekend I headed to the garage to try to find the original review file for Body Types from 1986. Now maybe you have a filing system that allows you to easily retreive paperwork that’s 21 years old, but not me. Don’t get me wrong, we are pretty organized around here, and the garage is lined with a box-and-shelf filing system that contains the stuff we haven’t been able to throw out yet… uh, excuse me, our valuable treasures.
Well, I got lucky. The first box I pulled off the shelf contained much of the press information from that era, when we had our first publishing company, Globe Press Books, along with the original flyers for the book and some blurbs from media review. No review clippings, alas.
While I was appreciating my find, I noticed a stack of plastic file jackets neatly arrayed on one side of the box. Pulling them out, I recognized them immediately.
Long feared lost, it was a complete transcript of a seven week course I had given in 1988 at the New York Open Center, titled “Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way: An Introduction.” We had taped and transcribed the whole series, slapped an ISBN on it and had, for several years when we had a direct mail newsletter, sold copies of the unedtied transcripts.
Although I had often wondered why they continued to sell, with no marketing whatsoever, we just kept getting copies from the copy shop and putting them in cheapo report covers and they continued to dribble out the door.
As I looked at them, I had one of those insights that come only when you are avidly searching for content: I was holding my next book in my hand!
A New Book is Born
I quickly counted up: there were 163 single-spaced pages in 12 point Courier. Experience told me that even with editing out the inevitable word inflation from speaking in public, I would have maybe 70,000 words, more than enough to make a pretty decent introduction to this subject. And although the market was small, leveraging Lightning Source’s print-on-demand technology, I had just taken a huge leap toward publication.
Dashing into the office, I quickly made the following list:
- Assign ISBN
- Figure out how to convert the paper transcripts into Word documents
- Review transcripts to estimate how much editing is needed
- Start a list of marketing ideas for this new title
I was already embarked on a new publication, when all I had been looking for was review clippings.
Follow along with the story as I continue the process of creating a new book from “out of the blue” and bringing it to market. We don’t know what we’ll learn, but it will interesting to find out!