Reviewer Karen Dahood : Karen lives in Tucson, AZ. After 35 years as a writer for businesses and nonprofits, she has turned to writing mysteries,the subtext of which addresses ageism, unpreparedness for aging, and America's wealth of experience and wisdom. Learn more about eldersleuth Sophie George at the Website Moxie Cosmos; Making Sense of Life Through Writing.
Author: Geraldine Solon
This is a brilliantly-conceived product pitched to first-time authors, and it will have huge appeal to those over-65 who have waited until retirement to write their books. It’s a wake-up call to those who think “self-publishing” is a shortcut.
I am unlikely to become a devotee of Geraldine Solon’s romance novels, although they look to be “deeper” than I would have expected. I am here to judge the relative value of the “how-to” she has been persuaded to write. I can understand why she was asked; she is a smart woman (graduate of Stanford) with clear targets, and yet she has no illusions.
Solon has won awards. Her books make money. At least two will be made into films. The first two were published by a small company specializing in romance. She decided then to become an Indie. This is where to start looking at the differences between a Geraldine Solon and most aspiring authors.
Number one: Solon is humble. She describes her initial bumbling as a novice author. She is willing to learn. She tells writers we are in “…an era of options and opportunities, where change is inevitable…” This book describes a very straightforward approach to success that depends on the tools of the digital age.
Two: Solon is not afraid to be a salesperson. Merging the role of the author with that of entrepreneur, she tells beginners specifically how to establish a “platform” (aka “brand”) – absolutely the first step -- and lists things she has done using many different avenues to promote her work. In other words, she is not dependent on a publisher.
Three: Solon is energetic. She works very hard. No, she works very, very hard. This young woman is willing to (simultaneously) wear more than one hat to move forward in her trajectory, including (besides novelist) editor of a fashion and lifestyle magazine, movie producer, screenwriter, and wife and mother. She is vice-president of the Fremont (CA) Area Writers group.
Four: She is organized, efficient, and disciplined. She picks and chooses her communication routes, and has her antennae up 24/7. I would guess she has at least one assistant and networks with others on the same track, and pays professionals who are skilled where she isn’t. She schedules her tweets on Sundays and reads other people’s blogs two hours a day. (Perhaps she works part of each day in her pajamas.)
Five: She knows what she wants. And that is the main distinction. I learn from her that even if I am positive about what I do and determined to share what I know, unless I dedicate my whole being to getting into the game, I likely will not succeed. Solon says that an author cannot be influential (i.e., make progress) without being credible, and that includes believing in yourself to the extent of showing professionalism at every turn. As she says, you must stay “on top of the game” in a publishing climate that produces 1500 new titles a day and where only 7 % of authors sell more than 1000 books. Still, Solon maintains, “This is the best time to be an author.”
I have only one serious complaint. In describing how to design a marketing plan, Solon advises, “From a woman’s perspective, pretend you are planning your wedding day….[or] From a man’s perspective, picture this project as a job promotion.” This is 2014. Some J.K. Rowlings’s have to work 9-5 as office managers and 5-9 as moms; some budding John Grishams are out of work at law firms and thus writing job applications. They may not complete their books until they are collecting Social Security. And by then the e-solutions will all have changed.
Authorpreneur in Pajamas is a useful handbook, but – forgive me -- there is still one that needs writing by one of the self-published authors who succeeded at 70 with diminished energy and dwindling disposable income.