"Books Were My Real Mentors" —Derek Sivers
Books were my real mentors. Yes I had a few smart friends that helped with a bit of advice, and that helped, but not as much as all the widsom I got from these great books. sivers.org/book is my list of recommendations with the best at the top.
Actually many times my smart mentor friends gave me advice that was just… uh… wrong! Didn’t work. So really glean the best wisdom you can from great books, and really only you know what’s best. The other mentors who may give you advice are kind of like semi-random fortune cookies. They don’t really know you. Sometimes what they say helps, but really only you know your full situation.
… there’s a huge audience out there which wants to consumer news content not by going to a particular publication each day, at a given time, but instead will encounter your journalism through channels you don’t control but can tap into and optimize for. That means your story needs to be told through YouTube. And written to attract on Twitter. And maybe you want to use Tumblr. And perhaps you need to be better designed for Flipboard. And how can you ensure you are doing better in Google?
I wish I understood work. Work is the key to anything you want to do. If you want to play the guitar—anybody can learn to play the fucking guitar—you can be good at it. Maybe you won’t get to be a genius but you could be good. You can be good enough to write good songs or make a good film or whatever. There’s no such thing as not having enough talent to get to that level. I mean, persistence is talent, really. Just sticking with it. Talent is not stopping.
We need to start pressuring these organisations to do the right thing and stop accepting advertising from Author Solutions. Thanks to The Bookseller we now have an example of a company which made the right move.
This month’s Writers Digest is particularly useful, I think. An outstanding piece by Chuck Wendig on the long game of indie publishing. A really useful primer on the ebook market from Jeremy Greenfield. And a fun Top 10 list of publishing people-resources. The last feature, compiled by …
As ever, branded media must surprise and delight their audiences. Simply delivering useful content is not - and never has been - sufficient. So that’s the biggest challenge we face today, and was the biggest challenge we faced 15 years ago. It is more critical today because there are many new sources of simple information that’s not surprising or delightful.
Interestingly, the new availability of direct publishing is also helping to drive what I’ve experienced as an increase in advances for the best projects. As nearly every publisher and editor privately admits, standard ebook royalties are unconscionably low right now. For authors with strong marketing platforms (which should be every author in this era), a useful element of negotiations is to compare what publishers are offering with what the author might earn via direct publishing. For many reasons, it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison, and few authors have the interest, experience, or aptitudes to take on all the publishing roles necessary to direct publish successfully. But these comparisons do increasingly influence conversations between agents and acquisitions editors. (I posted a sample spreadsheet demonstrating these calculations at bit.ly/royaltyscenarios.)