Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Revamping of the Elephant's Bookshelf Blogging Experience

Hey guys. It’s been a while, I know. Though it’s not obvious from the number of posts on this blog, I have been busy, and I believe the busy-ness will become evident very soon.

In a nutshell, I’ve spent the past several months working on expanding and developing Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, especially from a marketing perspective. What this means in the short term is that two books are being made ready for publication this year, with the possibility of a third also (though that one may run into 2018).

I’ve also been rethinking my blogging. Not just my schedule but also my purpose.

When I launched Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, my goal was to help unknown writers earn publication and begin to develop an audience. I’m very proud to have been the first publisher of fiction for more than a dozen writers these past five years. I’ve actually never sat down and counted them all; it could be upwards of twenty debut fiction authors.

That accomplishment – both mine and theirs -- has been on my mind as I’ve considered what my blogging should be about. There are a lot of writing blogs out there, and I know I don’t read as many as I used to. So why would anyone want to read mine? Well, I don’t know that they will, frankly. And that’s ok, because creating and building an audience takes time.

Writing is what I do. It’s what I’ve always done – before, during, and after the creation of EBP. These days, I’m not only a writer. I’m an editor, a publisher, at times a songwriter and musician. And increasingly I’m feeling confident that what we’ve been trying to do with EBP is the right thing for writers.

Let’s face it, publishing these days is a heck of a lot easier than it used to be, but building an audience is hard. Very, very hard. There’s so much out there. You’ve probably heard that a lot of it is garbage. To a degree, that’s true. But then that’s always been true.

What’s different is I’ve gotten know a lot more writers now, and the submissions I’ve gotten over the past five years always turn up several gems. Some of the submissions my review teams have rejected were stories I kinda enjoyed, even if too many of those relied on tired old tropes.

From now on, my blogging goal is to build something aimed at helping authors develop an audience. As I said, it’s a big part of what EBP has been about since the beginning, and if this company is going to be something I can expand and possibly even give to my daughters one day, then that topic needs to remain its focus going forward.

How will I do that? To be honest, I’m sure that’s going to evolve, too. I’ll write about author marketing -- the tried and true as well as the new. I don’t have all the answers, because smart new questions are being asked every day. But I’ve spent the past blurdy-blurdy years interviewing leaders of nonprofit organizations all over the country (and outside the U.S., too) about building constituencies, movements, followings; I am confident I can share lessons learned over that time.

One way I’ll do that is by interviewing authors about what they’re doing and what’s working for them. I’ll discuss things like covers (because there are a lot of crappy covers out there. Yeeesh!), and I’ll provide my own experience with certain products to help other authors learn from my experience.

When my friends and I created the late, beloved blog From the Write Angle, the goal was to provide authors lessons from those of us slightly higher up the ladder. In a way, that’s the goal on this blog, too, and with this publishing company. I may even have some guest posts from some of my FTWA co-conspirators.

So, I invite you to check out my updated blog. It’s actually going to be at the EBP site – in fact, you’ll see this post there, too. And if you like what you see, please sign up for my newsletter. I’ll use many of the usual techniques – free stuff, newsletter-only exclusives, etc. – I hope you’ll come to back because you’ll want to read the items I’ll be sharing. So, take a look. And let me know what you like and what you don’t. Let’s get the conversation going.