Authors: I Remind You About Doing A “Five Things I Learned” Post

In this time of pandemic fuckery, the book publication situation is a goofed up. Release events are canceled, for one. No tours or anything. And that sucks. You’re an author! You’ve written a book! That’s exciting. It is deserving of as much pomp and circumstance as you can muster, and one must not let a rampaging disease strangle your delight — or your release — with a wet towel.

So, currently I’ve not much to offer, but I do reminder that I have slots available here at the blog for a FIVE THINGS I LEARNED WRITING [Insert Your Book Name Here] post on the week of your release. The way these work are:

You email me at terribleminds at gmail the following:

– Your book’s jacket copy/description.

– An author bio.

– A link to a high-res graphic of your cover, or an emailed JPEG of that cover, under 2MB in size.

– Then, a post where you detail five things you learned while writing your newest book. These do not have to be writing-related things, though they certainly can be. They can be about cool research (“I learned whales hate Swedes”) or even things you learned about yourself (“I can’t start my writing day until I have eaten an entire pork loin in one bite”). Each of these five things is given a leader (aka, the thing you learned) and then following are one to several paragraphs about that thing. No limit on post length, though my guideline is usually: if it’s under 1k, it might be too light, if it’s over 2k, it might be too beefy. Be earnest or funny or interesting. Don’t go into “sell sell sell” mode.

– Links to your author pages (bare minimum: a website and Twitter address).

– Links to your book’s purchase pages, bare minimum one from Indiebound, another from Amazon.

Now, for the post itself?

A good example is right here.

When you send it, I’d like it in .doc or .rtf.

Do not copy it into the body of the email.

I’d like minimal formatting: no italics, no bold, no headers, nothing. If the five things items are not clear that they’re the five things, just number them. (I might pull the numbers out for posting because I think it looks better). Also, no carriage returns between lines — I don’t need a blank line (return/enter) between paragraphs. Means I just have to hand-delete them, and in a bigger post, that’s a pain in the butthole.

Try to get me all of this the week before your release. By Thursday of the week prior to your book coming out. And that’s it. It won’t solve your lack of in-person promotion, to be sure, but I have a mailing list here of 11k and more who come to the blog without subscribing, so you at least catch some eyeballs, maybe? I’m far likelier to lean into traditionally-published authors because, real talk, I cannot always confirm the quality of indie books in advance of the post, and further, it’s those traditional authors whose releases are most disrupted right now.

Certainly, if authors don’t wanna ping me, publishers or agents can, too — just know that I also have aggressive spam filters on, so hopefully I’ll catch whatever gets caught in ’em.

Note, too, if you’re a person who has already done a FIVE THINGS post for an earlier book, you’re certainly welcome to submit a guest post of your own choosing? Your call!

Onward we go, folks!