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Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  77 reviews
The world has changed, and with it the craft of writing. In addition to the difficulties of putting pen to paper, authors must now contend with a slew of new media. This has forever altered the relationship between writers and their readers, their publishers, and their work. In an era when authors are expected to do more and more to promote their own work, Booklife steers ...more
Paperback, 329 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Tachyon Publications (first published November 24th 2007)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  413 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Kenny Cross
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is INTENSE! The First half is about your public booklife and the second half is about your private booklife. The first half covers topics about dealing with editors, how to promote you books, Strategic and Tactical planning for your career and the goals you should set. A ton of awesome intel and advice for the Public Booklife of your writing career. This book so far is such an eye opener, a splash of ice cold water on the face. If you are serious about a writing career, a Booklife, it' ...more
Matthew Kressel
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it
"The Artist's Way" for Secular Materialists.

Heavy on instruction and light on inspiration, this HOWTO book made me feel like I was reading a textbook. Non-fiction should be informative, but it should also be fun to read. This book was informative, but man was it a slog to get through.

There's an enormous amount of helpful information in this book, which is why I'm giving it 3/5, but Jeff could have used some of his fiction chops to enliven the seemingly endless series of bullet points and glossar
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Writing used to be all about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). In the 21st Century, there are so many other things for a writer to consider. This book aims to answer some of those questions.

Every published writer needs some sort of Web presence. Will yours be a static website to which you post every week or so? Will yours be an active blog to which you post every day, along with daily Facebook updates, and a couple of tweets daily? Choose which is best for you; every minute blogging
Alyce Wilson
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
First, a shout-out to Greg, the owner of Between Books in Claymont, Delaware, who recommended this book. James VanderMeer takes a detailed, informative look at the practical realities of the modern writer. Many books have been written about the writing process, but VanderMeer writes from a business and marketing perspective, with hints on how to go from being someone who loves to write to someone whose works are published and read.

His instructions are inspirational and helpful, not just because
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
Unlike so many books about writing, this one is primarily about *how* to be a writer. Everyone knows that a writer writes, but what does a published author do once the book comes out? How do you ask other writers for help? How do you maintain an online presence without pissing people off -- or being so frightened of pissing people off that you mute yourself? How do you deal with envy of other writers' triumphs? How do you deal with failure -- or success?

I found so much food for thought here that
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
VanderMeer provides an interesting and useful perspective on writing as both a process and a business. He breaks down everything from public appearances to controlling your image to managing your life to ensure continued writing time (and hopefully success) into bite-sized chunks. What I liked most about it was that it encouraged me to think outside the dreaded "box" in terms of some projects I'd like to be working on. It also got me thinking about how to restructure some of the ways that I'm ha ...more
Jacob Gillam
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In Booklife, Vandermeer provides examples and rationales for effectively balancing publication, networking, and promotion for internet-age writers. He draws heavily from personal experience and his network of peers--publicists, editors, agents, and other authors--to inform his suggestions.

The book is not a feel-good text about writing-as-expression, nor does it romanticize the profession of a mid-list fiction writer. Instead, Booklife posits that writers in the internet age must approach the bu
Andrew Shaffer
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A decent roadmap for publishing in the (early) 21st century. So much of the digital landscape the book covers has changed in the past 10 years since this book was published, however -- the rise of ebooks, the downfall of MySpace, the rise of Twitter, the downfall of Second Life -- rendering parts of the book already obsolete.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
After finishing Vandermeer's excellent Southern Reach trilogy I was excited to check out his guide to "strategies and survival tips for the 21st-century writer". It's great, pragmatic, and straightforward, honest, and not afraid to get a little deep to. there is a lot here that I will revisit, and a page or two that I will probably copy word for word in my notes. It's that good: insightful and practical advice for writers.

It is an up to date how to be a writer manual, that encompasses everythin
Tom Franklin
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
How to survive and thrive after your book is sold to a publisher and takes on a life of its own.
Borja Vargas
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: escritura
Lo más llamativo de 'Booklife' es que VanderMeer, uno de los más prodigiosos estilistas del fantástico actual, decidiera escribir un libro sobre escritura con un tono plano. No llega a aburrir, pero en ningún momento apasiona. Es un texto algo soso y poco inspirado y, por eso, no demasiado inspirador. Se puede entender como un amigo escritor que te cuenta, medio por obligación, lo que sabe del oficio mientras os tomáis un café. 'Booklife', no obstante, merece la pena por un texto en concreto, co ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great resource for any writer! Whether you're unsure how to publicize your work, need ways to bust writer's block, or simply looking for tips and tricks along the way, Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer is your go-to reference!

Jeff VanderMeer walks readers through his experiences and provides a guide for many aspects of the writing journey. From creating a goals list for each day, week, month, year, and even five years down the road, to discussing how to handle
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Beginners with zero novels finished may find this book intimidating; its focus is mainly on what to do once you have a text to offer for publication, and how to create and manage your budding career. However, VanderMeer has many intriguing thoughts about writing and writers, and gifts the reader with valuable insights into the actual process of publishing.

The second half of the book is about your "Private Booklife" and more concerned with creativity, time-management, and the hurdles and pitfalls
Adam Windsor
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book is over a decade old now, so it's already looking rather dated in some places (an inevitability that the author acknowledges in the text), but it's still a solid introduction to all the parts of being a writer that are not about getting words on a page: what editors do; what agents do; how you can build a public persona; how to protect your private persona; how to help promote your work, etc. Well worth a read if you're at all interested in pursuing a writing career.
Anthony Vicino
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't think I would enjoy this nearly as much as I did. There is a ton of useful information in here.
John Kenny
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Anyone with a genuine interest in writing, with a view to not only getting published but also making a career of it, if you might call it that, invariably reads one or more books on writing. There are many books on writing out there, many of them good, several of which I’ve read. But I haven’t come across a book quite like Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife.

Most books on writing focus purely on the craft of writing, how to make your story the best it can be so it presumably has the best chance of gettin
Book Calendar
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Telander
Sep 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Jeff VanderMeer is a writer who’s done a little bit of everything, whether it’s publishing compelling fiction, editing his own anthologies (as well as co-editing with his wife, Anne), going on book tours for author appearances, or presenting writer workshops around the country. He’s the sort of guy who has a lot of say about writing and publishing and advice he can offer just about any level of writer. Fortunately, he’s done just that in his new book, Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for t ...more
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
From my blog:

Most writing books focus on technique–the nuts and bolts of writing. Some even detail the ins and outs of publishing. But what sets Booklife apart from these other books is its focus on the writing life. It is decidedly not a how-to book, but more of a written coach on the creation and maintenance of, for lack of a better term, your Booklife.

The first third of the book focuses on your public life as an author: leveraging social media and other forms of
Kate Padilla
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
From my experience there are two levels of books written about writing. The first is to establish the writer within himself, the second is to establish the writer within the community. Level one is neither better nor worse than level two, it simply reflects the comfort that the writer has with her craft.

Keeping this in mind, Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer is a level two book. It does assume an expertise from the writer. It is meant more to gently guide the wr
Cameron James
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is an important read for anyone that is trying to manage or achieve a professional career in writing. It’s essentially broken into two major sections — your public booklife and your private booklife. The public section covers everything you need to know about PR — how to interact on social media, how to manage public appearances, and general guidelines to keep in mind when managing the public side of your writing business. The private section discusses how to strike a healthy balance f ...more
Dan Varrette
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
This is a comprehensive look at writing and publishing, both on the creative side and on the promotional side. I particularly liked how VanderMeer wrote parts of it in a way that protects it somewhat from obsolescence concerning the ever-changing Internet. Despite being published in 2009, this book still holds up well in terms of relevancy.

The book covers everything, and VanderMeer speaks plainly about the issues. He gives us no gimmicks and doesn't hide from us the difficulties and struggles o
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
With my first novel coming out in September, I have been looking for a solid resource for how to traverse the seemingly infinite avenues for its promotion. Finding the right balance between new media and classic ways of book promotion seems increasingly more daunting, although the ability to reach an audience that much more in reach.

BOOKLIFE is great. Whether you have a book with a traditional publisher or self-publishing, it clearly goes over the various options out there to a writer. It is not
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I wasn't quite sure what this was about before I started reading. But it's about your Public Booklife and your Private Booklife. What are your goals for each? What do you hope to get out of writing and publishing? Do you have an overall strategy? If not, why not?

Jeff VanderMeer discusses the role of social media and web 2.0 in your public booklife and talks about tactics (as opposed to strategy) for promoting your work, and etc.

I do wish he'd started with private booklife first and then public.
Eric Juneau
Dec 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic resource for someone like me whose almost in the game but not quite. It's one of the only books I've read that has more to do with the promotion/publishing game than what adverbs to choose. It provides much needed guidance on how to promote, how to plan for your future, how to have an effective public marketing appearance. This book tells you how to do that.

The second half talks about how best to set up habits, mental health, and so on. But not so much about the nitty-gritty
Pearse Anderson
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
So technically I still have a few appendices to leaf through, but essentially I did finish Booklife. I don't have to read all of it though! A lot did not apply to me in my current stage. I took a lot of unnecessary notes on book readings and the advertising world and whatnot. I would've liked a few more issues to be addressed in this former topic. Like book trailers: what if yours, like many others, sucks? What's the best way to quantify a piece of literature into other mediums for publicity? If ...more
Kater Cheek
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
This is, as promised, not your garden-variety book on how to write. First of all, there are few passages that talk about the craft. Rather, it discusses strategies for nurturing the creative side (private booklife) and developing the career side (public booklife.) What I liked most was hearing these terms, private booklife and public booklife. I'd often thought to myself how different the act of writing was from the things that a writer must do to promote her work, but I'd never heard it put lik ...more
Kal Cobalt
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is simply an essential volume for any author who's made a few sales, has established a little bit of an internet presence, and doesn't know where to go from there. As far as I know, there are no other books that address this uncomfortable place in a writer's life. This is finally something to fill the gap between the "how to submit a story" manuals and sitting down with an agent to discuss marketing strategy.

I can't emphasize enough how helpful this book was in helping me focus my public au
Tyrannosaurus regina
There are times when I think I would like to just let Jeff VanderMeer run my life. That is, if I weren't worried he would let me be devoured by a carnivorous fungus or something. Really, he's always struck me as a guy who has his shit together...which is why I was so interested in reading Booklife.

A lot of the social media information and examples it provides in terms of connection with audience and promotion is dated at this point (myspace, second life), but the book acknowledges that it's not
Allyson Shaw
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an invaluable tool for the writer engaged in new media channels-- how to negotiate them for collaboration, promotion and production while keeping a balance so they do not infringe on your imagination and energies.

This book is generous in its transparencies. What most published authors refuse to reveal for fear of being vulnerable, VanderMeer shares with wit and compassion.

Without sounding too cheezy, I found this book to be medicine for my wounded writer's soul. To know other write
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application 2 7 Aug 06, 2018 06:25AM  
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NYT bestselling writer Jeff VanderMeer has been called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. His most recent novel, the national bestseller Borne, received wide-spread critical acclaim and his prior novels include the Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance). Annihilation won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards, has been translat ...more
“Renaissance artist Gregorio Comanini, has counseled the equivalent of “Live an ordinary, regular life so you can be irregular and brilliant in your creativity.” 1 likes
“Create a mission statement to keep focused on what’s important. (Revise annually.) Create long-term and short-term goals documents. (Revise quarterly, but look at daily.) Create a general task list associated with these goals. (Revise monthly as necessary.) Create a specific tasks list associated with these goals. (Revise quarterly.) Work the general and specific tasks into a monthly document broken down by week and day. Include in this monthly document any deadlines and any tasks that you need to perform but that are not connected to your long-term and short-term goals. (Review/revise daily.)” 0 likes
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