When I started the Blog o’ Gnosis in 2005, I considered it a way to attract a publisher for my post-Circle Round books, the first part of building my “author platform.” Luckily for me this move coincided with the complete downfall of the publishing industry, and none of the three books I pitched over the next three years were picked up by any publisher, large or small.
If I had been able to sell a book proposal in 2005, 2006, or even 2007, chances are that I never would have written the long series of posts about Reclaiming that make up my latest ebook, The Baby and the Bathwater: What I learned about spirituality, magic, community, ecstasy and power from 25 years in Reclaiming. It was from commenters on this blog that I realized that there was a story in these posts that went beyond my efforts to make sense of personal experiences, and that writing about it might help more people than just myself. The ebook is made up of several posts I wrote here about Reclaiming over a period of four years, updated and with a new introduction that gives some backstory and puts them all into context.
If I had gotten a publishing contract for one of those early books, I also would not have followed so closely the rise of ebooks and self-publishing, and most importantly the shift in what is considered publishable material. Back in 2005, no publisher would consider printing anything that had been previously posted on a blog. Blogs were considered okay for marketing, but never for writing actual book content. This month, comedian Steve Martin is publishing a book of his previously tweeted tweets. Or rather, I should say that Steve Martin’s huge publisher Grand Central is releasing his book of tweets, which are no less funny for having been published first on Twitter. It’s a whole new world.
My professional life has become much more focused on publishing, with the new Authors Go Public meetups that my friend Suzanna and I are conjuring up in the Bay Area. On April 10, I will be speaking about my self-publishing journey, and how blogging has changed the power dynamics in Reclaiming and other organizations more than meetings or gatherings ever could.
Meanwhile, The Baby and the Bathwater is available here in pdf format. If you like the book, please help spread the word by telling your friends to buy it, and posting reviews on Amazon, the iBookstore, or the Nook store. (It will be available on Kobo soon.) If you are a blogger or podcaster yourself and would like to interview me about the book, I would be delighted.
Now that this book is launched, I will continue to use the Blog o’ Gnosis to develop material for future books. I definitely want to keep working with the California Cosmology idea, and will be writing more humorous memoir pieces as well. Meanwhile, you can read more of my thoughts on publishing, marketing and social media for authors here, and see all my stuff for sale at the newly revamped Serpentine Music & Media.
One thing that hasn’t changed since 2005 is the amount of effort it takes for authors to sell books. I have been doing this for a while, and I’m still learning how to navigate the landscape, how to engage with readers and sell the old stuff while writing the new stuff and making a living meanwhile. I am more excited than ever about what is possible, and know now from my own experience that it really can work. Here’s to all of us taking our empowered, writing selves, and going public with what we know, and the wisdom we have to share.