The Discovery Process: Exploring Strengths and Weaknesses

(Me, reading at a bookstore in San Diego. Doing public events used to be a real problem for me because I’m a natural introvert. Photo by Keyan Bowes.)

This week, we’ll focus on self-discovery as a vital component of a writer’s career and your Public Booklife. Wednesday, I’ll discuss strategies for improvement as a way to minimize the kinds of stress that actually take away from creativity in your Private Booklife.

It’s certainly possible that in the distant past you did not need to promote your work. It’s possible that in the past all writers needed to do is turn in the manuscript and let the reviews, the interviews, and the incoming royalty checks wash over them. But today, unless you’re Salman Rushdie, Stephen King, or Margaret Atwood, you do need to be able to promote your work. Even if you have a contract with a major publishing house, you will need to coordinate some efforts with that publisher’s publicity department. You will need to become accustomed to the uncomfortable feeling that you are somehow being less than true to your core creativity while out hawking your wares.

For this reason, you need to find the level and the type of engagement that makes sense for you and your life. You need to be able to reflect your true personality, you need to find strategies that suit what you’re “selling,” and you need to find ways to separate your writing from your promotional efforts.

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Six Elements That Drive Your Personal Booklife

Your Private Booklife constitutes your core activities: the engine that drives your creative life. It has six essential pillars, or qualities:

• Curiosity
• Receptivity
• Passion
• Imagination
• Discipline
• Endurance

Try to encourage these qualities in yourself and others. Draw them out into the open if necessary, and at times allow yourself to indulge in them. In all ways be generous to yourself so that you can be generous in your work.

Although several of these qualities are useful to your Public Booklife, nowhere are they more necessary than in your Private Booklife. Let’s explore them further…

(What does this photo spark in your imagination? How does it make you curious? Image by the highly recommended Jeremy Tolbert.)

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Booklife on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers


Even though we’ve gone for a soft roll-out for Booklife and Booklifenow for reasons having to do with my novel being published at roughly the same time (the strategy a subject for a later post), it’s been a great week for the book and the site. In addition to a ton of well-wishes and interest from various book sites, Boing Boing posted a rave review of Booklife, writing in part that ” “.

Sparked by that, Booklife entered the stratosphere on Amazon, peaking (for now) in the mid-300s and making Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” list for the most dramatic rise in sales ranking, as noted on the Omnivoracious book blog.

So thanks all of you who helped make that happen, and I hope you share the link to this site with your writer friends. If you haven’t bought the book but were thinking about it, help us keep the momentum going.

Next up–the Pillars of Your Personal Booklife.

Booklife: The Tale of a Cover

(Booklife in an alternative universe.)

Master designer John Coulthart created Booklife‘s distinctive cover. But what that final cover can’t show readers is the long, drawn out process of getting to a great cover. That process was partly my fault and partly an inherent problem in creating something unique for a writer’s manual. After finalizing Booklife, Coulthart wrote about the experience, including several cover drafts from along the way. In doing so, he gives an interesting and invaluable behind-the-scenes perspective. For your enjoyment, and those who might’ve missed it, we reproduce his original post below the cut.

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