Monday, April 30, 2007

Publishing a book is like...bowling with a snowball!

You know how sometimes you'll hear about somebody new, and then suddenly, they're everywhere? That's how the past three days have been with me and this guy I've never met named John Elder Robinson.

I first learned of John from Kim's blog - John has a memoir coming out in September, a chronicle of living with Aspergers (a form of autism). Intrigued (although it's true, I'd probably read a memoir about finding new ways to cut your toenails over the course of a lifetime if it had a good cover, so perhaps my bar is not so high...) I surfed over to his website, then promptly added his book to my Amazon wish list. Even if he never shares his toenail cutting habits, I'll read his book - this guy can write.

Then today, I find his blog. In a single post, John Elder Robinson (let me pause for a moment to confess that I also have name envy here - JER makes me want to call myself Patricia Nadine Ryan - or at least introduce myself by my childhood alter ego, Trisha Bedine) answered all my questions about how the pile of pages my editor and I are wrestling into submission will become a book. In a nutshell, a book is like a snowball, he explains. As it rolls downhill, more and more people - editors, cover designers, publicity folks - will get stuck to my snowball and roll along with it, adding (God willing) to the momentum. Honestly, this post alone makes me a JER fan for life; I may even have a t-shirt made. If you are any sort of writer or reader, or if you just think your latte tastes better in a bookstore, you're gonna love this post.

(BTW, I was going to call this post "Wanna hop on my snowball?" but I did that thing smart people advise and thought for a moment about how that might sound, how it might be taken altogether differently than I intended, and realized...that it's amazing how ponderous I can be over my blog posts when I'm procrastinating! It's enough to make me wonder if the entirety of the political correctness movement in our country isn't the inadvertent byproduct of a bunch of people who were trying to put off what they were supposed to be doing???)

Anyway, that's enough for now. This is Trisha Bedine, signing off - and returning to my snowball!


Alyssa Goodnight said...

I'm off to read that post--sounds inspiring! And I think it a wise choice to have reconsidered that blog title. ;)

Holly Kennedy said...

Love the snowball Trish.

I couldn't agree more. John Elder Robison is fascinating with a spot-on way of putting things. Can't wait to read his book!

John Elder Robison said...

I'm glad you enjoyed my little story about book writing. I realized that the editors play a very similar role to the engineers in creating a new product and I though that was fascinating.

At one time, I was one of those engineers. Now, as an author, I am more akin to the inventor.

More and more people are getting stuck to my book . . . yesterday I heard from both my "commissioning editors" and my publicists for Australia, New Zealand, and England. They have recruited themselves to the book's cause, too.

"Commissioning editor" is a term we don't use in the USA, but it's equivalent to the executive editor's role.

After reading your post about the guy with the dating book, I looked for it but it's not out yet. However, one of the benefits of being with a big publisher is that I was able to call and ask for a copy, so I'll read it and tell you what I think.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the book. I wish you luck with your own project, too.

And about John Elder . . . I use my middle name because that's what they call kids down south . . . Little Bob, Stumpy Jim, and Jimmy Pete being other examples from my childhood.

It sets me apart from the other John Robisons and John Robinsons out there, who write about detectives, hookers and sluts, slot machines, conspiracy theories, and who knows what else.

Travis Erwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travis Erwin said...

You are right, that is a great analogy and I too have stumbled across Mr. Robison's name a lot of late. And his cover looks great. It and the title go great together and I imagine the combination will sell a lot of books. Can't wait to check out the actual writing.

mcewen said...

thank you - you've helped me track down JER.
Best wishes