My Book Went Out of Print, Now What?

When I learned that my publisher decided to let One Person/Multiple Careers go out of print just a few months after its second printing, I didn’t know what to make of it. The book hadn’t sold millions of copies, but it had sold thousands, had a loyal following — and garnered continuous media attention around the world.

As someone who spends a lot of time talking about the book business with other writers, this just didn’t make sense. But rather than whine, I took action. I asked the publisher to revert the rights back to me — which happened with relative ease and no cash on my end. And I decided to release an electronic version and a new paperback edition on my own, as the first “Heymarci.com” production. In fact, the thing that pushed me to get moving and get the e-book finished was a wave of recent interest (nearly five years after the book’s publication) outside of the United States. It was killing me that there was no way to buy the book other than through Amazon, where the handful of used copies would surely run out at some point. I had some other reasons, too.

I wanted to start a conversation with other authors who are in the same position — wondering what to do with an older book that still has readers but has been orphaned by the original publisher.

I also wanted to model the kind of entrepreneurial thinking I encourage others to adopt. The timing was awful. I’m weeks away from delivering a new book manuscript to a new publisher. And my head is focused on encore careers — the subject of my new book. So the only way I could do this was by minimizing the labor involved. I tapped my network, found a great consultant to handle the technology parts, and gave her the updated introduction I had written months ago. I signed up for a PayPal account. My husband designed a new cover. And voila, we were ready to go in about two weeks.

So here it is. You can download the new introduction for free. And if you or anyone you know has been awaiting the digital version, you can order or share with this link. If you’re inclined to help spread the word – either about this new edition or about how authors can be more entrepreneurial, I’d so appreciate it. And here’s a few easy ways to do that:

1.  Tweet (#slashcareers) or share this post on Facebook.
2.  Write a review on Amazon.
3.  Share this post with other authors who may be wondering what to do about books that have gone out of print.

Oh, and don’t forget to join the conversation about “slash careers” and share your experiences with others. There’s a slash “/” careers group on Facebook that I plan to revive. I also regularly get calls from reporters doing “slash” stories and love having handy case studies ready to share. If you tweet, use the hashtag #slashcareers.

In a follow-up post, I’ll cover the steps you need to take to take a previously published book and reissue it as a digital and POD (print-on-demand) edition.

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When the Assistant Is an Entrepreneur

Increasingly, administrative assistants are becoming as entrepreneurial as their bosses.

Slash "/" Careers on Facebook

I have joined the growing numbers of authors on Facebook! If you’re already a Facebook member, check out the conversation that is getting started on my new Slash “/” Careers group, where people in all stages of slash careers are invited to share stories, tips, and questions. If you’re not on Facebook, consider checking it out. I was surprised to see how many people I know are already on Facebook, and it’s been fun/interesting connecting with people in a new way.

I’m hoping the the Facebook page turns into a rich discussion of slash living that so many people have been asking me for.

I am also looking for a handful of savvy slashes from the Facebook group to feature on the Heymarci Blog. If you have a website, blog, portfolio, resume, or video that showcases your “slash” identity in an innovative way, please consider sharing it on the Slash “/” Careers group discussion board – or just stop by for a little slash inspiration. I hope to see you there!

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Creating buzz around your ideas (NYT.com)


Yesterday, my Shifting Careers column at The New York Times online focused on ways to create buzz about your ideas. Based on the flood of reader emails I’ve been getting, I’m not the only one interested in this subject. If you have any tips to share — especially ideas for those who are uncomfortable about self-promotion and/or who can’t afford outside p.r. help, please share them in the comments. (There’s no way to comment on the NYT website yet, so leave your comments on the blog.)

Here’s the article, “Tools and Tips to Create Buzz Around Your Ideas.”

Note: Through some weird URL glitch, the link to the 360 Profiler mentioned in the first paragraph was published incorrectly. If you want to try the tool, click here.

UPDATE:
Just stumbled on this article on Forbes.com “The Single Greatest Marketing Tool” that does a good job of explaining public relations — from both a do-it-yourself and a hire-an-expert perspective.

** Afraid of missing new posts to the Heymarci Blog? Why not just get the blog delivered to you by email? Just enter your email address into the box at the right and you’re all set!


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Workaholism… who me?

I had a brief appearance on CNBC this morning talking about the rise in workaholism. As my mom commented, my piece is so short that you can miss it if you blink. But it was great practice. You can watch it here.

Ironically, I left my Blackberry in a taxi on the morning I taped this segment. It wasn’t returned and I was Blackberry-less for about four days that week. Aside from the initial few hours of withdrawal, those were the best four days of the past year. The Blackberry wasn’t returned and I had insurance so I got a new one within a week. Wish I could tell you I stayed off the wagon.

** Afraid of missing new posts to the Heymarci Blog? Why not just get the blog delivered to you by email? Just enter your email address into the box at the right and you’re all set!

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Good Self-Promoter, an Oxymoron? (www.nytimes.com)


This week my Shifting Careers column at the New York Times online talks about getting comfortable with self-promotion, something we all need to do these days. Read the column here.

Last week, my friend Gretchen over at the Happiness-Project, wrote about reframing. That post helped me to figure out that my biggest problem with being called a good self-promoter was the language. I know I’m good at self-promotion. Just not sure I like those words. It’s a lot like how I feel about networking — essential skill, bad image.

** Afraid of missing new posts to the Heymarci blog? Why not just get the blog delivered to you by email? Just enter your email address into the box at the right and you’re all set!

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Pondering the future of publishing, in San Jose


I spent the past few days in San Jose at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference , a techie-meets-publishing idea extravaganza.

My dear friend, Sarah Milstein, is one of the conference chairs, and she and Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, opened the event with an amusing romp through publishing innovations from the beginning of recorded time. (Sumerian tablets were nifty, but not too portable.) One of the highlights of their talk was a hysterical video called “Medieval Tech Support,” which has been making its way around publishing offices for some time.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.

The video captures the tone of the conference perfectly: new technology has always been a little scary for users; over time, we adapt and see its value.

I got a chance to speak with Wired editor and “Long Tail” author Chris Anderson in a panel about how publishers and authors can be better partners on book promotion. Some of the subjects we hit upon included:

  • how to reconcile what might appear to be the misaligned interests of publishers and authors (e.g. Chris’s interest is promoting the Chris Anderson brand, which now includes earning income from speaking as well as from selling books, whereas his publisher might be primarily focused on selling books.) Upon further discussion, it became clear that these interests might not be misaligned.
  • techniques for partnering and sharing innovative ideas with other authors and in the greater publishing community (what I am starting to call “Author School”).
  • the need for all writers to become adept at self-promotion (for which we were properly challenged when an audience member questioned the wisdom of applying this same standard to fiction writers.)

It was a provocative discussion, the kind that left me with as many questions as answers.

Chris also talked about his latest slash, Booktour.com, a site he’s founded along with Adam Goldstein (who I coincidentally profiled in my book way back when Adam was a mere high school student/author/software developer) and Kevin Smokler (author/founder of Virtual Book Tour) where authors can list their upcoming events and potential audience members can search for events in their areas. Booktour would have been a godsend for me these past few months, but I plan to use it going forward for all my events. If you’re an author doing events, get there pronto. The site is still in Beta mode. I believe the official launch is next week.

Below is a small writeup about the panel on Mediabistro’s GalleyCat:

Tools of Change: Chris Anderson Will Take Your Call

Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson teamed up with NYT online career columnist Marci Alboher for a Tools of Change panel on getting more out of marketing with authors, and opened with a whammy: “All authors are underserved by the book industry,” he said of current marketing and publicity efforts. For the next half hour or so, the two discussed ways to change that situation, including building up an author’s “word-of-mouth in the permalink world” and giving authors the tools to become their own best marketers. “We need to destigmatize small success,” Anderson said, referrign to the disappointment some writers still feel when their book gets mentioned on a blog rather than in a newspaper’s book review section. And we need to look to the long term; “if an author is the best expert I can find for a topic in my column,” Alboher said, “I don’t care if the book’s three years old.”

In response to a query from the audience, Anderson made a bold promise, which he said when I introduced myself afterwards I can pass on to you: He’s willing to do a free conference call with any publisher who wants to discuss these marketing issues and bring their authors into the conversation. “As long as I don’t have to get on a plane,” he quipped.

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Denver wrap-up


I’ve just spent a few days in Denver, where I’m happy to report that the low humidity does wonders for those of us prone to the hair frizzies. In other news, Denver was also home to a some very slash-receptive audiences and even a spot on local tv, so that’s always nice.

Here’s the link to my appearance on the Denver morning news.
http://www.9news.com/life/programming/shows/mornings/article.aspx?storyid=71943
(I’m told this will expire in 30 days so please watch soon!)

On Wednesday, Carol Ross, a career coach who specializes in Boundary Crossers, interviewed me for the Northwestern University Alumni Club. Carol’s work is very innovative and she has an excellent blog worth a visit. And last night, I organized a salon called “The Secret Lives of Writers” through the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, which is hosting a great two-week LitFest. If you’re anywhere near Denver and interested in writing, get yourself over to the Lighthouse site and sign up for some workshops and panels. More information on that here.

The New York Law Journal covered my book today in this article, “Lawyers Find Bliss in Pursuing Alternate Careers” (not sure if the registration will let you in, but if it doesn’t, I’ll see if I can post it to my website.) This is shaping up to a pretty perfect Friday! I’m now turning off the computer and getting ready for a walk in Washington park with my old friend Jen before hopping on the plane.

** Carol Ross also blogged about her interview with me. You can read it here.

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Time Magazine blogger covers ME!

Last week I had lunch with Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, one of the best workplace bloggers out there. My intention was to talk shop, grouse about being on book tour and how hard it is to self-promote all time — and frankly, get some advice about being a workplace columnist. We never got to that last part because she whipped out a pen and told me she’d like to interview me about my book for her blog. (I had pitched her ages ago, but when she didn’t write about the book, I didn’t want to press.)

Here’s what she wrote.

If you’re the kind of person who reads my column and blog, you’ll definitely want to keep up with Lisa’s blog. Another interesting fact about her is that she wrote an interesting/wacky book on the business and rituals around death and funerals. You can read more about it (and check out some cool photos) here (on yet another book site that reminds me I have to redesign my website/blog once life quiets down.)

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Book Tour — What they don’t teach you in Author School


Today a friend with a book coming out in the Fall asked me for 5 things I learned on my book tour.

Here’s the first five I came up with:

  1. Events don’t fill up unless you do something to spread the word.
  2. Because of #1, you can find yourself talking to an intimate group of 12 folks thrilled to have a private salon, while the bookseller pulls up a chair in your discussion circle in the middle of a bar. Be prepared to quickly modify your presentation for such occasions.
  3. If you have young children, live in New York (near lots of media outlets), or have a job in addition to your book, think twice about whether your “tour” needs to involve leaving your home. Radio tours and online efforts (e.g. reaching out to bloggers) allow you to reach huge audience without going anywhere.
  4. Partner with other authors. You’ll get a chance to build an audience among the other authors’ readers. And if the other authors happen to be enjoying the limelight, you’ll bask in that glow too. Choose some authors in your niche — for me writers like Tim Ferriss, Penelope Trunk, Josh Piven – all who had career books out around the same time, and some whose books are nice complements but not necessarily in the same niche (Sue Shapiro’s book on fix-ups made for a good program on fixing your love life/work life.) You’ll also learn a lot by thinking of how your book relates to the ideas in other books.
    And it’s just more fun.
  5. Spend money if you can. I hired an assistant which was extremely helpful on pitching the press (both to save effort and to avoid having to blatantly flak myself) and organizing events. I’m still wondering whether I should have hired outside p.r. help.

Authors, please weigh in with your top 5. I’ve got many more 5s where these came from and I’ll post a few more after the next few weeks of touring. Cape May NJ, Denver, and San Jose all coming up. Gotta up those B-12s.

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