The New Year is upon us. Everyone is talking about 2012 resolutions and proposing ways to become a better person. Personally, I hate resolutions. It’s fine to desire to be a better person, to lose 15 lbs, to eat more wholesome meals and fewer fast food quick fixes, to tackle home improvement projects, to promise to volunteer at the local food pantry every weekend, and whatever else you “resolve” to accomplish next year. Making resolutions is fine… but then we actually need to turn those personal promises into action. We need to follow through and be focused. And the trouble with New Years’ Resolutions is that, well… it’s become acceptable to admit defeat, to fail. In fact, it’s almost become a sign of humanity, a reassurance to your peers that you will not – this year – actually do better. Resolutions are the promises we ought to be making to ourselves each and every day, not just annually. We should be working every day to be kinder and healthier. We should work every day to get what needs to be done… done.
In lieu of 2012 resolutions, I offer an alternative. Rather than resolve to do anything, how about we review the things we have done the past year instead? Let’s congratulate ourselves on a job well done and then look forward with renewed vigor to accomplish more.
So here’s to the year’s accomplishments here at Swenson Book Development, LLC. In 2011, we have accomplished the following:
- Created a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and Google Plus account for our business – so that we may better interact with clients, our community, and publishing professionals.
- Established a website and blog routine. We posted three times a week in 2011 on books, bookstores, current events, and social media. In 2012, we will drop down to twice a week to better serve our needs and those of our clients. Look for Tuesday’s “For The Love of Books” and Saturday’s “Social Media Strategies for Authors” series through the winter months of 2012.
- Joined online reading communities at Shelfari, GoodReads and LibraryThing.com.
- Held a successful and well-attended author workshop at local Buffalo Street Books on “How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal” and another at the Tompkins County Public Library on “Writing Historical Fiction.” As a result, we plan to host other workshops and events in 2012. The Boiceville Community Building opens in January and Swenson Book Development LLC plans to offer seminars and intensive workshops in this wonderful new warm facility.
- Five dissertation manuscripts prepared for digital submissions and one thesis structurally rewritten for conference proceedings. Another couple of theses are currently in the hopper.
- Six professional assessments of authors’ manuscripts for publication potential were completed for authors now pursuing book contracts.
- Negotiated a successful contract for longtime client and friend, Cathryn Prince with Palgrave-Macmillan for Stalin’s Last Torpedo. She is doing research and moving forward on her manuscript, which you can read all about on her blog. In the meantime, Jill enjoys reading an early draft.
- Cathryn’s last book, A Professor, A President and A Meteor: The Birth of American Science (Prometheus, 2010), was awarded best non-fiction of 2011 by Connecticut Press Club. Cathryn conducted a coast to coast author tour with appearances from Geoff Notkin (The Meteorite Man on Discovery Channel).
- Andrew Kessler’s Martian Summer (Pegasus, 2011) hit #5 in its Kindle release after a successful hardcover release in April, and paperback edition over the summer. Editing his book was a joy but watching him launch its publication even more fun. Interviewed by Scott Simon on Sunday Morning, and featured by CNN and the New York Times, Andrew Kessler took the publishing world by storm.
- Andrew Kessler and Cathryn Prince came to Ithaca in October for a book signing at Buffalo Street Books and a presentation at the Museum of the Earth on Columbus Day.
- Attended Book Expo America in NYC and met with clients Robert Grede and Cathryn Prince on the trade floor to meet with publishers.
- Martin Sweeney’s Lincoln’s Gift from Homer (McFarland, 2011) launched in November to critical acclaim
- Parvaneh Bahar’s (with Joan Aghevli) The Poet’s Daughter (Larson Publishing) also came out this fall; last year we negotiated this publishing contract.
- Several clients currently have agents and publishers reviewing their materials and 2012 looks very promising.
- Generated a team spirit among collaborators and partners with Swenson Book Development LLC that makes our work about the love of books.
- We are excited to be working with four new clients starting in the New Year to prepare their manuscripts, craft query letters and proposals, and develop strategic audience platforms.
- Overall growth as a business and a stronger idea of future projects and the means to accomplish them
In addition to these achievements, I’d also like to take a moment to look back and review the work we’ve done here on the blog. I started blogging here in June and it feels like a long time ago. I started out as a very reluctant blogger, but now I feel like a pro. Write a 400 word blog post? No problem! Give me an hour and I’m done. Okay, maybe two hours if I’m reviewing a book. But still – if I can do it, anyone can. Especially writers who are just starting to develop a platform.
What do you think about New Years’ Resolutions? What are they and what moments of 2011 are you most proud of?
Six or seven years ago my advice to aspiring authors of nonfiction books was to build an audience platform by blogging. An example of how critical blogging could be to securing a publishing contract can be found in the case of Ann Marie Ackermann, author of Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee. After an initial assessment of her manuscript, I had recommended she start a historical true-crime blog, and she did. In fact, the editor of the ideal book series at Kent State University Press became a fan ofRead more…