(photo by Joi Ito, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)
Booklife could easily be described as a horizontal as opposed to a vertical learning experience. Its purpose is strategic across your writing life. It’s an umbrella not a sword cane. (I talk a little bit more about that in an Amazon feature today.)
But you need vertical learning experiences, too: ones that drill down to a specific level of detail on an individual project, so you can see how something works or doesn’t work.
Cory Doctorow is providing that level of vertical detail, and a potential toolkit, over at Publishers Weekly, as he begins to blog about his experiences self-publishing his new collection. I’d suggest checking out his posts periodically and taking notes.
The point isn’t to replicate what he’s doing, but to develop a strategy based on his experiences that fits your life and your work. Much still depends on context. I know Cory gets frustrated by people saying he can only do these things because he has the Boing Boing platform, but the general truth is: you do need some kind of leverage to operate at a high-level of visibility.
That doesn’t invalidate his experiment—far from it because the need for leverage/visibility is a given in the new media world. Complaining about someone’s visibility is as pointless as complaining about someone’s shadow being too long. Further, he’s taking a big risk in a lot of ways, and like most pioneers his experiments won’t just contribute to his own ongoing success but will open the way for a plethora of new approaches by others. (In short, it doesn’t matter how Cory’s able to do these things—they’re beneficial to the writing community at large.)
Cory got there with a lot of hard work and talent, and so will you, if in a totally different way because every creator is different. So tailor your approach to what fits your individual goals and the visibility you can expect to get for your project. And definitely monitor that RSS feed from Cory on PW.