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tracking wonder - how long to publish

How Long Does it Take to Publish?

tracking wonder - how long to publish

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to publish a book.

I wish I had the definitive answer. Let’s get perspective on the reality and why you might or might not need a traditional publisher.

It took one author a solid 15 years to publish her book because of the book’s complexity and because of the traditional Big 5 publishing process.

It took Lowell Thing over 25 years to see his book The Street That Built a City to life with Black Dome Press. Read more

Tracking Wonder - Challenges of Writing Your Book

Navigating the Challenges of Writing Your Book

Tracking Wonder - Challenges of Writing Your Book

 

Here is what I cannot stop asking myself: How do people get through the inevitable challenge of writing and create their best work? What drives them?

Really, that question has driven me for years to experiment with, research, and create.

It’s driven me to track wonder.

It’s one thing to fall in love with a fantasy. It’s another thing to stand in love with a dream.

Members in the Tracking Wonder community and ecosystem are creating their best work. Like, every week. It’s a pretty astonishing to witness. They’re launching workshops, websites, writing books, poetry & building businesses.

But none of them are without challenges. Read more

Image: Unsplash

Guidelines for Crafting Your Story

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Image: Unsplash

So who’s your Story about?

I generally feel a wee bit disoriented right after shaping a book proposal.

What’s it worth? I wondered. What if my agent rejects it? What if this is all a fool’s errand? What have I done with my life? Okay, I don’t go quite that far.

Last time this happened, my six-year-old peeked in my study. She wanted to show me her outfit – a summer skirt and a short-sleever atop a long-sleever.

“I just couldn’t wait any longer to wear summer clothes,” she said as she twirled around the study. And at that moment, I remembered again why I’m writing this book, why I’m building Tracking Wonder, why I utterly adore engaging readers. Read more

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How Many Drafts Does it Take to Write a Book?

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Image: Unsplash

Writing drafts is a process of discovery

You know, Michael Bungay Stanier didn’t write his elegant book The Coaching Habit in one draft. Or two. Or three. He wrote multiple drafts. In fact, he presented the book with multiple angles and in multiple structures to Workman Publishing, who had published his previous book Do More Great Work (that sold hundreds of thousands of copies) but to no avail.

Finally, after many attempts at getting his book published, Michael took matters into his own hands, hired his own publishing team, and published The Coaching Habit with his own Box of Crayons Press. Read more

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From Writer to Published: Craft & Creative Mastery

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

You want to publish your book.

Whether you’re writing your first or fifth book, you fantasize about finishing that book, getting it into the hands and hearts of people who need it, and what might happen to your life and sense of fulfillment as a writer once that book is “out there.”

But you feel a tension. This tension is the gap between what you currently know and what your skill set is a present, versus what you might need to know and be able to do and create in order to reach that place you fantasize about.

That gap in knowledge can feel like a chasm.

That chasm’s enormity can take your breath away.

The self-masochism begins. Read more

nature-forest-waves-trees

Warning: You Cannot Plug in Your Potential

nature-forest-waves-trees

Let’s face it, this fellow cannot write.”
– Bob Manning about a young Tracey Kidder

“The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it, and flood the parched uplands; even this may be the eventful year, which will drown out all our muskrats.”
– Thoreau, conclusion, Walden

1. The potential for defeat abounds.

Tracey Kidder was twenty-seven years old when he walked into the hallowed Boston offices of The Atlantic Monthly, one of the United States’ most respected and longest running magazines, and asked for a freelance assignment. He found encouragement from an editor, Richard Todd, thirty-two.

Kidder started submitting several freelance pieces to Todd. Some of them  were workable enough that Todd could help Kidder shape them into something publishable. Many were not.

Atlantic’s chief editor, the notorious and tenacious Bob Manning, once scrawled on one of Kidder’s pieces a note:

“Let’s face it, this fellow cannot write.”

But Kidder did write. He had to write. And eventually he learned how to write like a captivating author.

Had Kidder ever heard or listened to the publisher’s voice, Dr. Paul Farmer’s story of wanting to cure the world would never have been told in Mountains Beyond Mountains, readers would never have experienced the inspiring story of fifth-grade teacher Ms. Zajac in Among School Children, or had their minds cracked wide open to a whole new computer wave that not every one could see coming in 1981 as Kidder (and Todd) saw in The Soul of a New Machine.

And Kidder might never have won the Pulitzer.  Read more

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

The New Story of Publishing

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

Creative Commons (Moyan Brenn)

2016 might be the year you create a book that matters. I hope so. We need books that change our minds and change our lives. We need stories that expand our imaginations and expand our hearts.

My team and I are devoted to helping you become a captivating author – or an even more captivating author – this year.  I’m committed to helping you become an artisan-author, someone who learns the fine craft of her medium and genre so she can create exceptional work for her audience. And I’m driven to help you sort through the confusing multi-directions of publishing in the 21st century.

I hear and read a lot of anxious talk around publishing these days. Random House (#1 in the world) recently acquired Penguin (#2) so soon there may be just one mega-publisher. Or with the digital revolution maybe no books. Or with Amazon’s and Jeff Bezos’s dominion maybe no bookstores. The angst-ridden speculations go on and on.

I’m committed to filtering through this “Babel” for you and myself.

Among the things I’m sorting through are the several stories about the nature of publishing, past and present.

Let’s take a look at these stories about publishing and discern what matters most for you to focus on. I’m curious what your take is. Share your views in the comments below.

Read more

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Warning: You Cannot Plug in Your Potential

 

Let’s face it, this fellow cannot write.”
– Bob Manning about a young Tracey Kidder

“The life in us is like the water in the river. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it, and flood the parched uplands; even this may be the eventful year, which will drown out all our muskrats.”
– Thoreau, conclusion, Walden

1. The potential for defeat abounds.

Tracey Kidder was twenty-seven years old when he walked into the hallowed Boston offices of The Atlantic Monthly, one of the United States’ most respected and longest running magazines, and asked for a freelance assignment. He found encouragement from an editor, Richard Todd, thirty-two.

Kidder starting submitting several freelance pieces to Todd. Some of them  were workable enough that Todd could help Kidder shape them into something publishable. Many were not.

Atlantic’s chief editor, the notorious and tenacious Bob Manning, once scrawled on one of Kidder’s pieces a note:

“Let’s face it, this fellow cannot write.”

But Kidder did write. He had to write. And eventually he learned how to write like a captivating author.

Had Kidder ever heard or listened to the publisher’s voice, Dr. Paul Farmer’s story of wanting to cure the world would never have been told in Mountains Beyonds Mountains, readers would never have experienced the inspiring story of fifth-grade teacher Ms. Zajac in Among School Children, or had their minds cracked wide open to a whole new computer wave that not every one could see coming in 1981 as Kidder (and Todd) saw in The Soul of a New Machine.

And Kidder might never have won the Pulitzer.  Read more

The 30-Day #NoAmazon Challenge

robotmonster

Business artists create, act, and choose with integrity. Easier said than done. 

I’ve given myself a 30-day challenge not to purchase anything – flash drives, batteries, paper clips, and definitely not books – from Amazon. Other authors are joining me. (See below.)

If you’re someone who values the free distribution of ideas and books, then I’m inviting you to take the challenge, too.

I warn you: Like any worthwhile challenge, your taking it will stretch your reasoning, check your b.s. rationalizations, and alert you to your default spending habits. Read more

Tina Welling, author. CREDIT: David J Swift

Books That Matter to Wild Writing Author Tina Welling

 

We know that writers walk and that walking can aid in creative insight. But what is the link between, say, walking in the woods and your innate creative energy?

The woods and writing have wedged a union in my imagination since I was a boy scribbling notes beneath trees and carving initials on bark. Thoreau later cinched for me the link between what we do on the page and what earth does on the ground. And when Jacques Derrida introduced me in Of Grammatology to his take on the Chinese word “Wen” – nature, culture, poetry, constellations, tracks, writing, marks – I thought I had found something comparable to “the Word.” It’s possible you could track writing’s origins to Chinese men’s perceptions of marks made on tortoise shells. So goes one theory. We call our homestead “Wen.”

Now comes author Tina Welling’s latest book Writing Wild: Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature published by New World Library (Thank you, NWL Publicity Director Monique Muhlenkamp for leading me to Welling and WW.). Like the best essayist, Welling wanders deep into the woods of her thinking through how the natural world holds the wellspring of our natural creative impulse. Writing Wild offers no simplistic tips and exercises. Instead, it offers a steady companion for anyone wanting to take a walk with that wild side that yearns truly to feel alive again on the page and on the ground.

I was curious what books mattered to Welling and am grateful to share with you those titles in this latest Books That Matter feature. A few surprises turn up, and she divulges details of the mammoth novel that irritated her – a great insight about some writers’ and editors’ apparent lack of attention for their readers. Read more