By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about the benefits of staying with your long career in publishing.
As a writer, you’ve heard the advice about how important it is to stay the course; keep writing; keep submitting your work to literary agents and publishers; and to continue your efforts in the face of rejections and rewrites. You’ve heard people say it, but are you listening?
Many of us have found significant benefits that have come from staying with it in an industry that is forever in flux.
The publishing industry is a hot bed for multi-faceted experiences. You may start out as a writer and then find yourself in the position of an editor, agent, publicist or others. Conversely, industry professionals often find themselves as authors at some point.
There are a variety of aspects to this ever-changing world of books. These days, there is digital publishing – of both books for your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPad or phone and also digital magazines about publishing and writing that you can subscribe to and write for.
The landscape of publishing is inconsistent. It contracts and expands all at the same time. The beauty of this is we as industry professionals find great opportunities to expand our work as a result of the changes we see occurring.
For example, this week’s show guest, Rick Frishman, has been in some facet of the industry for more than 33 years. While you may think – wow, he must have seen it all…he’ll tell you as he did in today’s interview that the industry has changed tremendously since he got into it so many years ago. His career has also expanded from the hallways of Planned Television Arts and becoming its founder to being asked to be a co-author and having national bestselling books. He was also invited to join Morgan James Publishing as its Publisher and he’s been running Author 101 University for more than a decade. Rick has supported his own career by supporting the careers of others in his various capacities. He is a fountain of knowledge and experience because he’s done it.
Other professionals, who like Rick, have expanded their careers by supporting the careers of others include:
Phil Sexton, the Publisher and Community Leader of Writer’s Digest Magazine, has been in the industry for over 20 years. During that time, he has served in numerous capacities, including Vice President of Sales for F+W Media, Sales Director of Adams Media, and the Director of Merchandising for United Magazine Company and Independent Bookseller. He has sold to Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon and most every other major book retailer and wholesaler. These days he is at the top of one of the industry’s leading publications. Separately, he is also the author of A Picture is Worth 1000 Words and Legends of Literature.
Peter Rubie, the CEO of FinePrint Literary Management, was a former BBC Radio and Fleet Street journalist prior to his book publishing career. He was also a professional jazz musician. For several years he was the director of the publishing section of the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. He was a member of the NYU faculty for 10 years, and taught the only university-level course in the country on how to become a literary agent. Prior to becoming an agent, he was a publishing house editor for nearly six years, whose authors won prizes and critical acclaim. He has also been the editor-in-chief of a Manhattan local newspaper, and a freelance editor and book doctor for major publishers. He was also a regular reviewer for the international trade magazine, Publishers Weekly. These days, he runs his literary agency and FinePrint Productions and continues to represent authors as an agent. Separately, he is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. Quite an array of experiences indeed!
Maxwell E. Perkins was an editor who was the literary intimate of almost every great American writer of the first half of the twentieth century: Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (The Yearling), and many others. As an industry professional, he eventually expanded into the role of the author himself and published the book, Editor to Author: The Letters of Maxwell E. Perkins, which according to an Amazon reviewer, “…was almost a textbook on how to get along with authors.”
My career has also expanded as I’ve continued to stay with it in the publishing industry.
My experience started out as an author, a publisher and a book marketer. Following my success as a bestseller and an award winner, I received requests from other authors and writers to become a consultant for them to help them get published. I obliged and a brand new career unfolded for me, one I never planned on.
I subsequently got asked to be a freelance writer and to write a variety of pieces for all sorts of magazine publications. I ended up winning one of the most prominent awards, the 2009 Silver Eddie Award in my category from Folio Magazine, for a piece I wrote for a national women’s magazine at their request that was published in 2008.
I then received an inquiry about becoming a ghostwriter that I accepted. That led to being invited to qualify for and become a subcontractor for the nation’s leading ghostwriting company.
These days, in addition to continuing to write my own books and consult and ghostwrite for others, I’m also the popular host of this show, Your Book Is Your Hook!, which I got invited to create by the founder of WomensRadio, Pat Lynch.
I’m also still a speaker, trainer and educator for other authors and writers who are coming into the industry for the first time or who are seasoned writers and bestsellers.
These days, I expand my services to support the needs of authors and writers as the industry continues to change. I’m now also a Literary Agent Matchmaker who helps writers to better prepare their submissions to agents, present them properly, and reduce the confusion about which agents to submit to and the respective roles in the agent-author relationship. This way when the writers submit to an agent, they’ll have the best chance at getting picked up and moving forward with their own publishing career.
I even created a new workshop called The Next Bestseller to provide a venue for select writers to work with me and six additional industry professionals at the same time so as to provide a dream team of expertise to support the writer with their preparation for and to practice their approach to agents, publishers, publicists, speaking bureaus, booksellers and others. It’s a unique opportunity for writers to be up close with live industry professionals who are focused on facilitating the writers in the workshop and who are not limited to just presenting information for the attendees to absorb and make sense of on their own.
I even got asked to be an agent – twice. My response in these conversations was, “Then who would help the writers get prepared to meet and work with me as an agent like I do?” So far, I’ve chosen not to expand my career into the world of agenting – not yet anyway.
I continue to enjoy expanding what I do and seeing how others expand their careers in this industry too.
Whatever you do, a career in the publishing industry holds many opportunities for a variety of experiences.
Any way you slice it, your book is your hook to a long-lasting, ever-expanding career in publishing.
So keep writing.
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Google News and Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.