Tag Archives: self-publishing

Writer-Preneur: When Size Matters

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul creates a new job title, reconsidering his belief that bigger is always better.

Smile, you're a Writer-Preneur!

Size matters.  Anyone who has read Episode 14 Happy Soul knows about my appreciation for large endowments.  But lately, I’ve been reconsidering that position at it relates to myself.  Sometimes wondrous things come in small packages—and not just robin egg blue Tiffany boxes.  I’m talking gems of little independently published books like, well, Alphabet City.  Even the New York Times is acknowledging the (r)evolution in self-publishing.

Writing in last week’s New York Times Magazine, one my favorite culture critics Virginia Heffernan observed:

Book publishing is simply becoming self-publishing…And self-published books are not just winning in terms of numbers but also making up ground in cachet.  As has happened with other media in this heydey of user-generated content, last century’s logic has been turned on its head: small and crafty can beat big and branded.

She goes onto quote IndieReader, a boutique online marketplace for self-published books as saying, “Think of these books like handmade goods, produced in small numbers, instead of the mass-marketed stuff you’d find at a superstore.”

I love that image—I’m like the farmer at your neighborhood greenmarket—you treasure her artisanal products way more than the crap picked up at Key Foods.  And like that farmer, crafting the product and getting it to market takes a lot of chutzpah—something the press has been asking me about a lot about as I do advance interviews for book tour.

Like a good trend and branding expert, I’ve given a name to the special blend of talent and hard work it takes to be a successful independent author: Writer-Preneur.  To me, a writer-preneur is someone who combines artistry with business acumen.  Someone who explores all methods of connecting with readers—blogging, books, twittering—and then working creatively with companies interested in connecting with those fans.

In my own writer-preneur case, I’m working with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to create the Alphabet City Book Party Tour.  Kimpton Hotels is known for their marketing and outreach to the lesbian and gay community, and always looking for ways to expand those efforts.  They want my readers to become their guests.  I want their guests to become my reader.  How can we partner to accomplish both of our goals?  We came up with a plan for me to travel to many Kimpton Hotels during June’s Gay Pride Month, attend their guest wine hours (expand my market), and host events in the hotel with my other partner the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (expanding the hotel’s market).  It’s a win for Kimpton—they expand their reach in the gay community.  It’s a win for me—I get to market my book to their guests.  Layer on top of that Book Club Parties in friend’s homes, appearances at independent retailers and bars, and you’ve got the makings of one big non-traditional book tour.

Given the economy, I believe writers have to be more creative and work harder to succeed.  The days of sitting back and hoping that a major publishing house puts serious money behind your book are over—for most of us.  As a writer-preneur my job is to get my writing in the hands of my fans directly—by all means available.

Don’t be surprised if you see me pop-up in unlikely places selling Alphabet City—everything’s fair game when you’re like me—a small in stature but big in spirit Writer-Preneur.


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Something’s Coming, Something Good

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul takes matters into his own hands becoming a self-made/published man.

“Blogs are the new books,” a fellow guest said to me this past Saturday night at my friend (and avid reader) Meg’s annual holiday gathering.  The cookbook author was explaining why she wouldn’t necessarily pen a follow-up to her 2005 entry.  “The publishing world is totally different now.”

You can say that again.  Everyday there seems to be another disheartening story about “the end of books.”  Quite a depressing thought for a writer who’s always dreamed of seeing his name in printed letters.  People keep encouraging me to move on from type—and focus online.  No doubt, this blog has given me an enormous boost of confidence about my storytelling prowess connecting with readers.  Believe me, I need that pick-me-up after the number of times I’ve heard from literary agents, “I just don’t find your narrative voice engaging.”  Turns out, hundred of daily readers of this blog are proving them wrong.

The conundrum of print vs. online reminds me of when I was interviewing for a job at Condé Nast in the late ‘90s just as the Internet boom was taking hold.  Friends told me I was crazy to consider going to “old media” when the dot-com boom was all the rage.  But I just couldn’t shake my dream of working for a publishing giant—it seemed like what a Mary Tyler Moore wannabe would do.  I’m glad I followed my MTM gut instinct that time, and I’m going to do the same now.

I’ve never been one to sit back and let others control my artistic development.  When I wanted to get into movies, I made my own film GayTV: The Movie.  So now, I’m publishing my own book—the magic of the Internet allows me to get Alphabet City directly to your hands.

There are a lot of decisions to make, and that’s where I need your help.  Take a few moments to answer some survey questions for me on format and pricing.

CLICK HERE to Take my survey

Now stand by as I make a few finishing touches on the manuscript and cover artwork.  As I round the corner to my 41st birthday, the book will be a gift for me—and hopefully you.

And I think that would make my role model Mary very proud.

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