Friday, July 2, 2010

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength... (Psalms 8:2)

Well, dear reader, I'm clearly not a good blogger (bloggist?).

If done right, a blog should provide new information, or a fresh perspective on old or little-known items, with links to relevant Web sources. You think?

It should incorporate words and pictures and maybe even video clips. Right?

Most of all, it should be updated.  Frequently. In fact, the more often, the better. No question.

If all that sounds like a full-time job, that's because it does to me, too. A full-time job without pay.

Which is why this humble blog-manque is so often neglected. Or at least it's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

But then, suddenly, the world changes.  Or a portion of it.  My portion. 

Yesterday, I got word from a publisher that he's interested in publishing my book except I don't have the "platform" to push it through his bosses and bottom-line-oriented bureaucracy. Platform, in this case, is really a kind of launching pad--a promotional launching pad to spur book sales to soar. Or as my younger daughter put it recently, "You're not famous, Dad? Why should anyone want to read about you?"

I figure I need a ramp to my platform!

So rather than my traipsing through downtown in the nude, or some other pointless act of sensationalism, this publisher suggested I build an online following. He gave me 6 to 9 months to generate readership--active, dedicated readership--for this, my blog, and/or my Twitter musings. After which, he said, he would like to take a second look at my book proposal.

The thing is, he's not the first potential publisher to say something like this.

The good news is, I don't have to rewrite my manuscript to get it taken seriously. My writing style and content are not the problem. But I have to work harder at this blog business.

If you've gotten this far, kindly click on the FOLLOW button to the right (that is, if you haven't already).

For those of you who have already done that, my humblest gratitude!

So, onto the problem of how to keep feeding my blog while maintaining a career as a freelance journalist ...

Again from the mouth of babes (no offense) came the wise answer!

My elder daughter (and 10 no-prize points to whoever can explain the difference between "elder" and "older") suggested, "Why don't you 'leak' small segments of your book? Just enough to whet readers' appetites..."

And so I shall. Beginning Monday. Stay tuned...


  1. Hi Ben -- I just started following your blog. I came across it when looking up your email address. I am a freelance author/editor, and I am hoping to use your essay, “People Like Me: Is there room in health care for the disabled?” for a book I am compiling for Greenhaven Press: Social Issues Firsthand: People with Disabilities. Greenhaven has a huge (mostly library market) readership. The folks at the press will contact you about permissions for the article, as I don't do that. In the meantime, tell that publisher that people ARE reading you and taking an interest in your work. Is your memoir disability related? Certainly the slew of disability memoirs in the past 20 years especially should be the Platform you are looking for. Or, have you tried some of the presses that publish disability memoir? I'm thinking of somewhere like Beacon Press, who publish Nancy Mairs and Leonard Kriegel. Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Grimmgirl! I can't track down your e-mail address or I'd write you directly. I'm delighted you're including disabilities stuff in your book. I certainly can't claim to represent my entire cohort, so I hope and assume you're quoting others, too, but what the hey? As for Beacon Press, yes, my agent did try someone there named Gayatri Patnaik a while back. (Can that possibly be right? Ah, I've just looked it up. He or she is a senior editor there: -- University of California Press, 2120 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, tel 510-642-4247) I probably shouldn't publicize that, but again, what the hey?

  3. Hi Ben -- I am My book is a collection of articles/excerpts by people with disabilities. I tried to get a full range of voices in there -- now it is just a matter of the press getting permissions for all of them. I do a lot of freelance work for Greenhaven Press on a variety of topics, but as disability is my field of study in English, this book was more interesting for me to do than, say, Life in the Rainforest! Keep shopping that memoir around! I'd suggest Greenhaven, but they only do in-house titles.

  4. Have enjoyed "Miracle Boy" a great deal. While it is very compelling reading, I would love for it to be in book form so it could be read for longer periods of time. Eagerly awaiting this to be in that format soon, as well as other writings you may have done. Regards, Gail