As with any of the projects I’ve undertaken in my life, working on this book has been a learning experience.
In writing this book and then working to get it published, there were lots of things to consider including my motives, my ability to commit financially, a realistic assessment as to the market size and definition and how much time I could allocate to the project.
I can tell you with great conviction that if your goal is to succeed as a first-time author with a mass-market book, you need a literary agent in order to get a publisher, because without a publisher lots of things won’t happen. Writing a book is one challenge; getting it published and out into the world is another.
Once the book was accepted by the publisher, we had to do the equivalent of creating an early-stage company – complete with financing, a marketing expert, a publicist, a web site, a social media strategist, a writer, an assistant, and a seemingly unending array of digital applications that do exist, but needed to be activated, learned and used.
The goal is to rise above the nearly 20,000 books PER WEEK that are released. In order to rise above the noise level for a first-time author, it takes the same kind of magical combination that any new venture also requires, i.e. luck and an amazing amount of work, attention, responsiveness and pro-active pushing.
If you have a story along with the drive and the passion to see it through, by all means go for it – that’s what I’m doing!
The Eagle Has Landed
All of that work has led up to today’s release of our book, The Dog Who Took Me Up a Mountain, published by HCI Books and distributed by Simon & Schuster. I have treated this project as my next major adventure, on a par with climbing all of the 58 mountains over 14,000’ in the Rockies.
The first step was coming up with a story that people would want to read. I was fortunate that my wife Pamela, always an animal lover, did the work of researching the unusual Australian terrier breed, selecting Emme and training her – Pamela is the one that started Emme on hiking. While neither of us knew how amazing Emme would turn out to be at being a fourteener climber and motivating me to go for it as well, after a few adventures with Emme we started to think we had some stories worth telling.
Pamela also loves to photograph her dogs and that helped when the publisher wanted to add photographs to the book.
The actual writing of the book feels like it happened eons ago. First I wrote 61,000 words about my time hiking with Emme. After receiving some good advice, I brought an accomplished author and writer, Joe Cosgriff, on board to rework my thoughts and experiences to be more appealing and expressive to the mass market. What does that mean? Well, maybe ask Joe, but in my view, he clarified and highlighted the emotion of the story, spent countless hours researching my claims and the details surrounding the stories, asked Pamela lots of questions and made the book more fun to read. In short, Joe made it a better book, and that is being confirmed by early reviews.
Next there is the editing – that comes from the publisher. There I got lucky with HCI Books. Despite the nightmares you hear about publisher editors, mine was totally into the story and everything she did improved the book further.
The Book Tour
I got twice lucky with HCI Books because their marketing executive assigned to my project turned out to be a wonder. I’ll bet there have been 300 or 400 emails back and forth as she worked her way across the country setting up the book tour at the best author-event bookstores in each city that normally just want known authors.
Speaking of the book tour, I will be busy. I start right in Aspen at Explore Booksellers and then travel to Dallas, Palo Alto, La Jolla, Vail, Denver, Colorado Springs, Miami, Palm Beach and New York City – and that is just October. Take a look at https://rickcrandallbooks.com/the-book/events/ to learn more about all of my upcoming events and maybe tell a few friends. I promise I will bring my “A” game to every one of those and if you or they haven’t gotten a book yet, just about all of the event hosts have a web site where you can order and pick up or get shipped a copy of the book.
Publicity and Exposure
You already know I like to write – which has come in handy since some great publications have accepted articles on subjects covered in the book or adding to what is in the book. A few of the bigger ones are:
October 9th, AARP digital (that would be 12 million of the over 50 crowd)
October 16th, BACKPACKER magazine print and digital 1.4 million
Aspen Grassroots local TV – 57-minute interview on The Jerry Bovino Show replayed 61 times all during the summer to 58,000.
75 Airports shop bookstands for all of November and December
Others are in the works that I can’t disclose yet, but believe me, stay tuned …
How Does it Feel Being at Release Day?
I barely have enough time to think about that, because now the work is really hitting a frenzy. I just got some advance copies of the book – I love it. Yes, as soon as I opened the box I sat right down and read it again, now in its totally finished form with all the photos, typestyles and formatting. I am proud of it – that is really, really important because now I can talk to friends, acquaintances and strangers with passion, expression and authenticity. I truly believe that this story is one people will want to read, and that there is a powerful underlying message that comes through strong and resonates – that it is never too late to find a new passion in life.
I don’t have the pre-sale counts yet, but I know there are plenty, from Amazon, to Barnes & Noble and to the Indie bookstores at which I’ll be speaking and signing. I am already past the first reviews phase – about fifteen came in during the past few months and every one is great – many of which are on the web site.
I hope my motive with this entire project is clear – I have an opportunity to inspire and to motivate readers towards a more positive outlook, greater health and more mental vitality through finding and following their passion. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO FIND A NEW PASSION – I found mine by following a 20 lb dog up some of the highest mountains in the country! Why passion? The benefits include less anger, more happiness, more engagement with others, more creativity, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a counter-balance to some of the less fun but necessary daily mandates – and lots more.
I want lots of books out there to touch lots of people – that is what motivates me and will help keep my energy going once I start living on airplanes and hotels.
Now that the book is real and out and the tour has begun, there are things happening every day. Updates will likely be more frequent, so sign up for my newsletter to stay informed. The job of rising above the noise level has just begun and I’m all in!