Publishers Weekly has written a good review of Booklife: Strategies & Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer that reads in part: “Author and blogger VanderMeer (Finch) outlines ways for writers to harness both the emerging power of the Internet and their own creativity in this informative guide. VanderMeer differentiates between a Public Booklife (marketing the book and the writer) and a Private Booklife (strategies to help get words on the page) and suggests that one’s ideal Booklife is a dynamic balance of the two….With anecdotes from VanderMeer’s own life as a writer, reviewer and blogger, as well as input from agents, editors and publicists, this guide will surely help writers traverse the often difficult journey from first draft to finished product.”
My only quibble would be with the words “dynamic balance,” which could be misinterpreted. The book constantly reminds the reader that your Public Booklife supports your Private Booklife. The goal is to find balance, yes, but that balance means the bulk of your time should be spent writing, with the things you need to do for your career done smarter, faster, and more creatively–i.e., to not just be smarter but also to find ways to feed your creative side while helping your career. The book also makes the case for how setting effective goals and being “organized”—a word that of necessity means different things to different people—will allow you to be less stressed about your career and thus more able to focus on your writing. I am the first person to want to believe in some version of the romantic vision of the writer in a cottage typing away, but if you want to exist in the reality of that vision, so to speak, you’ve got to put in the practical time, too, to build a life that can allow for it.
Here’re a few more blurbs about the book, which is out October 15th, with the Booklife website going live in early October. It’ll feature distinctive, helpful content three times a week. The goal is to post nothing that isn’t in support of the idea of sustainable creativity and sustainable careers. The goal is to be honest and forthright in all advice, to be both practical and inspirational—where being inspirational means supporting a reality, not a fantasy, about writing.
â€œJeff VanderMeer has written a smart practical jungle-guidebook for the wilds of 21st century publishingâ€”its incredible pressures, joys, poisons, and, most importantly, the dangers of a false sense of control.â€ â€”Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk
“Booklife is to authors in todayâ€™s publishing climate what Writerâ€™s Market was fifteen years ago: essential. A well-organized, lucid guide to social networking, blogging, and the art of being an author in the age of Twitter. Jeff VanderMeerâ€™s advice on maintaining oneâ€™s focus in an era of unfettered public access to the artistâ€™s private life
comes from his own hard-won experience; heâ€™s been a writer at-home-on-the-web since before most of us had websites. With excellent additions by Matt Staggs and others, Booklife is a worthwhile addition to any writerâ€™s bookshelf.”
â€”Michelle Richmond, NYT Bestselling author of The Year of Fog
â€œJeff VanderMeer has written a fascinating book on managing a writing career, including promotion, use of new media, career paths, resources, networking, conventions, and â€” not incidentally! â€” balancing all of this with actual writing. Recommended for anyone who writes, wants to write, or has written and now wonders what to do next.â€ â€”Nancy Kress, bestselling author of Write Great Fiction
â€œMany books tell us how to write, but Jeff VanderMeerâ€™s Booklife tells us how to be an authorâ€¦ VanderMeer made me think, question my own path, and make plans for a more focused move forward.â€ â€”Mur Lafferty, host and creator of the podcasts Geek Fu Action Grip and I Should Be Writing
â€œWho better than VanderMeer, master of the blogosphere and online innovator, to guide us through the burgeoning, oft breathtaking realm of new mediaâ€¦ Jeff helps you hunt down the vast advantages provided by social networks, blogs, podcasts, and
the like. And the best part is the silly pith helmet is optional. If youâ€™re a writer who knows how to use a computer, then this book is for you.â€ â€”Joseph Mallozzi, Executive Producer, Stargate SG-1
â€œJeff VanderMeerâ€™s Booklife is a frank, revealing, riveting manual by a writer for writers, not simply on how to be a better wordsmith, but on how to be a better human being. Iâ€™ll be recommending it to all my writing students. I donâ€™t know how to praise a book
more sincerely than that.â€ â€”Minister Faust, the BRO-Log