The surprise sale of The Washington Post to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has been the buzz of the media world this week. The news prompted me to recall Peter Drucker’s brief involvement with the newspaper in the late 1930s, soon after he came to the United States from Europe.
The Austrian-born Drucker was in his late twenties when he did a brief stint as a freelance foreign correspondent for the Post, during a return visit to Europe in the spring of 1938. This is recounted in Drucker’s charming memoir originally published in 1978, Adventures of a Bystander.
He notes that he cold-called the foreign editor, Barnet Nover, walked into his office, and left two hours later with an advance for the first two pieces.
By the end of the all-day event, which I also wrote about earlier this week, it was reinforced that authors, whether with a traditional publisher or self-published, have many avenues for self-promotion and to increase opportunities to earn money. (Although a recurring theme, besides that of continuing to hone your craft as a writer, was “don’t give up your day job.”)
During a morning panel session, the novelist/freelance journalist Jennifer Miller related her promotion efforts for her novel The Year of the Gadfly, originally published last year and now out in paperback.
The first annual Books Alive! 2013 conference was a terrific all-day event for authors (published and aspiring) and book lovers. It was sponsored by the Washington Independent Review of Books and held June 8 in suburban Maryland at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. It featured panelists and speakers on writing, publishing (including self-publishing), marketing, publicity, promotion, platforms, income and related topics. Attendees also had the option of pitching book ideas in brief individual meetings with a variety of literary agents.
The luncheon speaker, Maria Arana, detailed her fascinating career working in publishing, editing, reporting and writing books, including her memoir American Chica and the new biography Bolívar.
Writing my blog post last week gave me the impetus to update my post on spiritual writing from March 2012. As we go into the summer season, we need the messages of spiritual writers, both contemporary and classic. As I mentioned in that post last year, the best spiritual writers help us to uncover and understand the deeper meanings of life. I have relied on a number of sources to help point me toward some of the most valuable writers in this genre, and it is rewarding to find that some of them have been updated.
Guy Kawasaki is Exhibit A for the power of personal branding. So when after writing best-sellers for traditional publishers he began to self-publish books, lots of people were likely to have taken a more favorable view of this burgeoning end of publishing. Now, along with co-author Shawn Welch, he has written a comprehensive guide to the process: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book. Guy, whom I also wrote about last July when we were at the SLA Annual Conference in Chicago for different reasons, is well-connected because he works hard at it. He produces quality products and wants to help others succeed.
The holiday season marks the publication of various business-oriented best-of lists. I always enjoy reading these roundups, and also wrote about them in 2011 and 2010. Jack Covert and his colleagues at 800ceoread have picked The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni, as the business book of the year. Earlier, they released the “elite eight” of picks, subdivided into categories, with The Advantage picked in management. Other winners included Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You (personal development), which, along with Lencioni, also appears in the Top 10 Business Books of the Year, by Harvey Schachter, in Toronto’s Globe and Mail.