Done is better than perfect
4 things to think about this week + a quote: keep going, a first-time author’s reflection, uncovered interviews with legends, save a magazine…
photo credit: illustration by Leah Pearlman, creator of Dharma Comics
We made it to Tuesday; congrats. I thought this would be a Monday newsletter, but you know what, hardly anything good comes from setting a goal for Monday. Therefore, this is now the Tuesday Newsletter. And while I hope this newsletter is good, I’ve been studying a lot of authors lately, and almost all the Greats say to get the first version of something done because it’s likely to suck, but then you can move on. And hey, done is better than perfect, so here we go! I would love to hear your feedback or comments.
And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to my newsletter for future posts and get a free copy of my ebook, The Good Author MBA Starter Kit. I published an excerpt here; hope you like it.
Here are 4 things to think about this week + a quote:
SOMETHING TO READ
I recently discovered Austin Klein, author of several books, including Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, and Keep Going. In addition to loving his writing style (I’ve stolen much of his framework), I adore his artwork and book packaging. But his book, Keep Going, stands out to me. I advise authors regularly to KEEP GOING, meaning don’t wait for anyone to take notice or to jump in and make your success for you. In my ebook, The Good Author MBA Starter Kit (free when you subscribe to this newsletter), I share a horror story about an author who, at the first marketing meeting with his publisher, revealed he’d cleared his schedule for a year to be available for anything we brought his way! This is precisely the WRONG thing to do. You are the best at your work, and you know how to reach your audience (hopefully) — it’s likely why a publisher took a chance on you. As Klein says, creative work is hard, but don’t stop getting your work out there. KEEP GOING! I also highly recommend his newsletter for ongoing creative inspiration.
SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO
Rachel Rodgers, author of We Should All Be Millionaires, shares everything she learned a year after her book’s release on her Hello Seven podcast. The most important takeaway is how she grew her brand, business, and overall awareness of her work. Rodgers shared an incredible moment when she got recognized for being an author and how that shift impacted her — more than she expected. Her bio reads, “Rachel Rodgers is a Black woman, a mother of four, and a seven-figure business owner - in that order.” Despite all her incredible accomplishments, it wasn’t until she became an author that she learned the power of a book to reach people and create change in their lives. Check it out.
SOMETHING TO WATCH
I've been watching these old interviews with legendary authors on Manufacturing Intellect — a YouTube channel with a mission to "rescue and preserve the greatest intellectual voices and bring them to you." You can follow the "authors and literature" category to find some great tips for authors. Funny, watching this interview with Hunter S. Thompson is a good reminder that some authors are much better writers than speakers, and that's okay. But I love hearing how writers learned to hone their craft. And Thompson shares how he used to type out other people's work so he could understand their rhythm and style.
This interview is in the same vein as the book I mentioned above, Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Klein — often, you need to study others, those that are much further along in their journey, to pick up skills you need now. I advise authors to do the same thing regarding media interviews — study the Greats and see how they are on camera. How do they tell a story? How do they always bring a question back to a topic they want to discuss?
Here’s another good one to watch: Stephen King talking about his least favorite part of writing: handing the manuscript off to the publisher. Thank you to Jane Friedman’s newsletter, The Hot Sheet, for pointing me to this resource. If you don’t already follow Jane, you’re missing out on a gold mine of information for authors.
SOMETHING TO KNOW
My career in publishing started at a magazine — a lifestyle magazine serving the beach and downtown districts of San Diego — it was called Revolt in Style. I was 22. It was a dream job. I was tasked with attending all the latest nightclub openings, concerts, skate and surf competitions, and meeting and hanging out with the most creative people in San Diego while still a senior in college! My first question at the time was, why didn’t anyone tell me sooner that this could be a career?!! It wasn’t long after that I switched my career path from finance to publishing.
So when I read The Magazine Business, From the Coolest Place to the Coldest One, by Alexandra Jacobs, I got all nostalgic just like she did — longing for the time when glossy magazines were EVERYTHING. Teenage and early 20’s me lived for magazines and still gets excited when I see a beautiful print mag. Authors still particularly love seeing their name and work in print — it’s like you’ve finally made it into those pages you longed for. Sadly, Jacobs illustrates how much the magazine industry has shrunk, with several books recently closing. Not even Playboy magazine could survive this generation — after 66 years, they’ve ended their print edition.
What does this mean for authors? Please understand it means there are far fewer opportunities to appear in print. Magazines and newspapers are disappearing quickly (although new ones are popping up). And the ones that remain can’t possibly make up for the lost space. Go easy on your publicist and yourself — there are just far fewer chances to see your work in a beautiful glossy and zero chance of seeing it in O Magazine since that, too, is gone.
What can we do to help? Support your favorite magazine with a subscription. And learn to appreciate the value of your work published online because it may soon be all that’s left. On my kitchen counter and coffee table, you’ll find Vanity Fair, GQ, National Geographic, and maybe I’ll pick up Better Homes & Gardens — a far cry from Revolt in Style, but hey, things change ;)
QUOTE TO INSPIRE
It’s a quote I refer to often and the foundation of my career as a publicist, as a mom, and as a human:
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
Thanks for reading my first newsletter! Subscribe for the latest on what I’m reading or working on, and on Sundays, I’ll send out a longer piece with either an interview or publicity tips. It’s all free for now, but sometime in the future, I’ll make the Sunday emails for paid subscribers, along with some additional benefits.