Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Platform building?? Yeah, that ...

When we began writing our Route 66 book, we were told early on that book publishing had changed in recent decades and we now had to ‘build our platform’ and have a following before any publisher would take us seriously.  Really??  (yeah, that was our reaction)  Sort of a Catch-22:  it used to be that the marketing effort following publication of your book was supposed to drum up publicity to gain you a following, so that people would buy your book.  Now, apparently, book publishers are a lot fussier and expect you to gain a following before you’ve finished writing the book, let alone found a publisher – in fact, you have to have that platform and following before most publishers will consider doing business with you.  And that’s assuming they like your book idea and manuscript in the first place.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The travails of book writing, or: Oh. My. God. What have I gotten myself into?

A year ago this month, I and two colleagues began writing a book about the former U.S. Route 66. Yes, that Route 66. The historic road of every driver’s dreams. Specifically, the beginning section between downtown Chicago, where the route began, through to the southern edge of Joliet, where the route’s path leaves urban civilization behind and meets the open road.

Yow. What an undertaking. And I say that as someone who loves to write and is damned good at it.
You’ll forgive this long initial entry, I hope; I have to set the stage.

You say there are already lots of books about Route 66? Agreed: tons. And precious few of them bother much with this particular section of the road. Oh, they might have a few paragraphs to a few pages about Chicago or the four best eateries on the road between Chicago and Joliet, but that’s about it. We figured out that much when we tried to arrange ourselves a day trip for this section last summer (see our newly begun book blog here for more on the backstory).