I had a chance to catch up with the blog’s founder, Joel Friedlander and took the opportunity to find out what he’s been up to, and what we have to look forward to in the coming months.
TBD: Great to see you, Joel, how has 2019 been for you so far?
Joel: Thanks for asking. We had a pretty tough 2018 during which both me and the key people in our businesses all faced very significant personal challenges, from critical health issues to relocation to explosive family issues. When your energy and attention is riveted by unavoidable problems, it can be difficult to do business as passionately as an entrepreneur is used to.
That’s why I’m really glad it’s 2019, and things have been looking up in the first quarter.
TBD: That’s pretty heavy, and I’m sorry to hear it. But does this have anything to do with book publishing?
Joel: You know, this also touches on branding concerns, and the persona we choose to present to the world, both online and in real life.
Marketers know that the persona that’s best at attracting people is one that’s both authoritative—able to call on years of understanding and insight into their field—and likable—with the ability to attract a wider variety of people than those that are repelled by the same persona.
So when your personal life takes a big left turn from your professional life, it can put a lot of strain on the persona you present to the world.
How do you write chirpy, optimistic emails if you’re worrying you might only have months to live? How do you get excited about putting up a new landing page when your family is in complete upheaval and your spouse is only able to move from one floor in the house to another by sliding on her butt?
Life is messy, but nobody wants to read or hear about that in the middle of a product description or an instructive webinar. Somehow we learn to stretch ourselves to meet these often conflicting demands.
TBD: Let’s talk about book publishing and online business, shall we?
TBD: What’s new on The Book Designer blog?
Joel: Our lineup of Contributing Writers continues to change, and author and former publicist Sandra Beckwith, a fount of book marketing knowledge and ideas, has recently joined us. I’m sure readers are going to learn a lot from Sandra over the coming months.
We also now have Lee Foster writing for us. Lee is a photographer, travel writer, and hybrid author who is also a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, Silver Winner, awarded by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
We’ll soon have another addition to our outstanding group of Contributing Writers, and that’s one of the reasons The Book Designer continues year after year to be at the top of rankings and ratings of sites for indie authors.
It’s something I’m really proud of, and grateful to the experts who offer their original content here. You’ll see more of that in 2019.
TBD: You’ve been writing recently about a new book you have coming out, can you tell us any more about it?
Joel: Why yes, and thanks for asking. The book is Meeting the Muse: 28 Ways to Unlock the Pleasures & Avoid the Pitfalls of Your Creative Life. I’ve told the story about how this book came to be on my blog, and run some excerpts, too.
TBD: What’s the publication date?
Joel: I don’t have one yet.
TBD: Don’t you recommend setting your publication date well in advance? I’m sure I’ve read that on your site.
Joel: Why yes, yes you have. But you know, publishing like everything else, has to respond to the other pressures in our lives. Right now, to reduce the stress of a new book launch, I’ve decided on a softer launch.
I’ve also hired out more of the tasks I would usually take on myself. The existence of a ready marketplace of experienced publishing professionals is a great boon to independent publishers like me.
It’s important for my books to be every bit as good, from a publishing perspective, as I can make them. Because I’ve been doing this a long time, it’s more obvious than ever that the quality of the books we produce is of lasting importance in the history of that book.
As publishers, putting in the time and effort, and hiring people with expertise when necessary, will repay us in the long term.
TBD: What’s different about your new book?
Joel: It’s the first book I’ve written that’s not about book publishing since the 1980s. And it’s very personal. Although it’s a modest book, I’ve put more of myself in it in terms of telling personal stories and opening up a little about my own approach to life.
TBD: Anything else going on in your world?
Joel: I was pretty excited to recently add Gourmet, a template design for cookbook authors to our collection over at Book Design Templates. As an avid cook and baker, I hope it will give lots of other cooks an easy way to get their cookbooks into print.
Besides that, I’ll be doing a bunch of interviews for the launch of Meeting the Muse, and that will give me the opportunity to talk about creativity, one of my favorite subjects.
Book publishing is a funny business in a way. As authors and entrepreneurs, we get caught up in cover designs, advertising strategies, avatar design, email vendors, and all the other bits and pieces of doing business online.
But the books we create will last far longer than we will. Does that give you pause, or are you completely wrapped up in this week’s to-do list?
TBD: Well, you’ve give us a lot to think about. What’s the best way for folks to keep up with all your activities, Joel?
Joel: Best way is to get on my mailing list here. I look forward to hearing from you!
“That moment — not just of being published — but of being read is where the magic happens. When the intention of the author meets the worldview of the reader. When those two things meet, art happens.”—Dan Blank