BOOKLIFE by Jeff Vandermeer

November 18th, 2009 • Posted in Recommendations |

I’ve always steered away from ‘how to’ books.  If they’re trying to tell you ‘how to write’, their inevitable subjectivity means that they can’t possible work for everyone.  If they’re telling you ‘how to’ make a living from this business then, unless I know the writer’s name very well, there’s an obvious fault there somewhere.

PrintWhen I read about BOOKLIFE by Jeff Vandermeer it didn’t seem like any other book I’d heard about before on this subject.  And because I know Jeff a little, and have great respect for his work and his intense promotional efforts, I took a chance on this one.  Glad I did.  Because Jeff’s book isn’t a ‘how to’ book at all.  If you pick this up thinking it’ll make you into a successful writer able to sell your work far and wide, you’d be wrong.  What it will do – and this is perhaps the most important thing that any non-fiction book about writing can do  – is inspire you.

I’ve had my own experiences at marketing and self promotion.  My best-selling book is the one I put most effort into marketing myself in addition to what the publisher did for it.  That points to something, doesn’t it?  But since then I’ve spent a lot less time involved in marketing and promotion of my work, mainly because I write full-time now and started thinking that I can’t make the time.

BOOKLIFE is for someone just like me. Sure, if you’re just starting out on your career it’ll help immensely, giving you tips and hints on the processes involved in book publishing and marketing.  But I think it’s best aimed at writers who have some level of success already, and the beauty of the book is that, if you read it properly (with a notebook by your side) and take from it what suits you best, I’ve no doubt at all that it’ll improve your sales, your work-life balance, your approach to your writing, and the pleasure you get out of it.

Jeff’s style is easy, precise, conversational, and his asides, where he gives examples of experiences he or his friends have had, are always relevant and insightful.  I found myself smiling in recognition at a lot of what he said (when he mentioned his wife Ann taking his router away … I often send my modem plug to work with my wife, cutting me off from internet access for the day).  And most of all, I found myself inspired.  I’m raring to go at a promotional plan for my next couple of books, and in fact I’ve already drawn one up and come up with what I think are some great ideas.

Since reading Jeff’s book, I’ve devised my own short-term and long-term plans, and gone some way to putting them into place.  I’m using my time much more efficiently.  And BOOKLIFE sits on my reference shelf, already well-thumbed and well-used.  It’s invaluable, and I recommend it without hesitation.

Please Feel Free to Share:



2 comments on “BOOKLIFE by Jeff Vandermeer”

  1. Mike Arnzen says:

    I totally concur, Tim! I got this one in ARC, and I immediately was swept into the thinking. Even when I disagreed with things, I was totally engaged with the issues which Jeff raises with honesty and a lot of intelligence. I even posted a review on, after not doing something like that for years. The thing that spoke to me most is that it really gets you thinking about the big picture of your career; the long haul. Totally recommended. And I look forward to seeing the results in where it takes you!

  2. Tim says:

    Isn’t that the guy who used to publish short stories in Fear magaine years ago? A bit of a blast from the past for me!!

Leave a comment: