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January 30, 2009


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Michael A Stelzner

David - Really a great story! - Mike

Tapio Liller

Wow, that's an amazing story and so encouraging for many authors out there. I believe every story, every book can get an audience and the Web is the place to spread the word.

Actually, there's a book project in German where the author publishes every section of the book she writes as she writes it. At http://sechziggrad.de you can read the latest chapters as they unfold and in addition the author blogs about the thoughts and problems when planning the next section. Facebook, Twitter, the German social network StudiVZ are all part of the project as tools for building a fan base early on. She even wants to involve readers in deciding about the name of the main male character. (Disclosure: I'm the author's partner, yet I'm excited!)


Agreed. If you believe in your work, taking "no" for an answer is a cop out. I'm encouraged by this story, as I am currently following a similar path!

John Flynn

I worked in publishing for many years. When a client comes to me about publishing a book I first suggested blogging the book and publishing it using the many self-publishing tools out there.

It a long tail sell but you have total control of the process and over time you will do better then working with a publisher.

Plus what are the real advantages of using a publisher. We can control the distribution systems now (Amazon).

Blog, write free e-books and then self publish. The way to go!

Lisa Genova

Hi David,

Thanks so much for blogging about me and Still Alice! It really has been and continues to be an amazing ride. This time last year, I was selling copies of Still Alice out of the trunk of my car, and today it's on the New York Times Bestseller list for the 3rd week in a row!

It's such a cool privilege now to be in a position to inspire others. Go for it! Just read David's book before you do!!!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Lisa. I am so happy for you. Your success is inspiring (and well-deserved). David

Kat Meyer

Thanks for this post, David. The lesson is one for all authors, everywhere (or at least for those who aren't recognized brand names) -- put yourself out there and become a part of the community that makes up your readers. Build their trust - offer them a reason to care about you and what you have to say, participate and be of use to that community. While traditional publishing undergoes changes, the need for "vetting" in some form will NOT go away. It may be agents, editors, reviewers and booksellers, OR it maybe the community of readers who stand up and vouch for you as a valued member of their circle. Authors would be wise to recognize this before they venture out into the evolving world of book publishing.

And, congrats, Lisa! Sorry the road was rocky, but your lessons are going to be of great help to other authors.

~ Kat Meyer


What an amazing - and inspiring - story about marketing, self-publishing, persistence, and social media! I'm so glad I took the time to read this today. Alzheimers is such a tragedy, and it's dear to my heart...

Casey Hibbard

Thanks David and Lisa for sharing this story. I self published too. I appreciate the inspiration to keep at all the social media stuff I'm doing!


Kit Cooper

Extremely informative and valuable post, thank you.

A question for Lisa...

I understand the role of social media and online marketing.

But was there a "list marketing" component as well? Couldn't take away if the endorsement from the Alzheimer's Assoc also led to marketing on their lists, website etc.? [Just to get an idea of how much book sales mileage, during self publishing phase, you got from having advocacy within this niche.]

Thank you, Kit


Very very very cool! I've heard of this book via word of mouth. And now I'm very much interested in reading it.

I have a family friend who an inspiring author and is going through the same struggles that Lisa went through. I've been trying to show them how social media can help - and now with this excellent example, I believe they will pay close attention.

Thank you for sharing this story.

Chris Ryan

Good for you Lisa. And kudos to David to publish your encouraging story. I've self-published one book and had three published by traditional publishers and based on these experiences, will probably go the solo route on the next one.

Chris Ryan

Mark Schweitzer

That's a great story and a very inspiring one as well. Things have changed so much since I self published my first book in 2002 - social media and the opportunities it offers is really a game-changer. Great Post. I will have to find your book.

Account Deleted

I went thru the usual attempts to get an agent for my book a few years ago. while agents mean well they are not omniscient about what will sell. i had 5 agents tell me my book (“real men don’t rehearse”-- about playing in orchestras) was great, and yet "no one would buy it." they did not know that there are millions of people who are into classical music in a big way. so after wasting a lot of time on that dead end process, i self published and am now in the 5th printing. when you self publish you have the option to do new and unique marketing, without the pressure to make or break in 3 months. You also get 85% instead of 15%. And it’s just fun. Of course, you have to write a book people want to read . . .


The most profitable rejection of my life occurred 30 years ago with Toronto publishers. I finished an oral history with lots of classic pics of the only blizzard in history declared a major disaster, The Blizzard of '77. It swept across the USA and Canada and buried Western New York and parts of neigboring Canada and was world news for a week. Publishers turned it down because the blizzard did not hit Toronto and I was an unknown author. "Come back when you're famous." was the reaction. I published it myself thank goodness and it continues to have brisk sales. White Death The Blizzard of '77 has become a classic and I'll never have to use another publisher in my lifetime. On my website www.whitedeath.com click on the pics and click the video for 7 minutes of emergency radio broadcasts. Or on You Tube click on Blizzard of '77 slideshow and read the comments of viewers.
Beware of snowflakes!

Erno Rossi

Jack Barrow

Hey, this is such a great story. I, like so many others am going through the same process. Back in 2006 I published The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil about three magicians who save the universe at the weekend because they have to be back at work on Monday morning.

I’ve been doing the MySpace and Facebook thing for about two years now and it’s good to know that it’s not wasted effort. I find that I get about three new sales for every 100 people that I invite to my MySpace friends list which is about the same as any other direct marketing effort, or so I’m told. The Facebook page has been going a lot less time so it’s a little more underground at the moment.

What I keep asking is where it all ends as generating a few sales on MySpace can only go so far, whereas I’d much rather be picked up by a major publisher. I think having an issue to write about helps and having the Alzheimer's Association’s endorsement must have made such a difference.

I’m so with you on the self doubt thing, wondering if it is good enough. I know I’m a real writer as I’ve been making my living from words for 20 years now, just not in creative writing, but I still wonder if it is good enough.

I’ve often likened the whole process to pushing a bag of wet sponges up a hill, but you can never afford to give up as the top of the hill might be just one more push away.

Anyone interested I’m on Amazon and elsewhere. Just search for me. Cheers!

web designer

Wow, it's quite encouraging. I feel inspired. Hope I can keep it tomorrow.


I read Still Alice two month ago and even today remember almost everything. I am really astonished!

Roger C. Parker

This is an inspiring post; thank you for sharing it, David.

The more stories you share like this, the more it will encourage subject area experts to recognize that this a new world--and that the "New Rules" really work!

I wonder how many other "Lisas" are out there who still feel that a trade publisher's lack of interest in a project is a kiss of death?


David Meerman Scott

Thanks Roger! Lisa is a superstar.

Sheri Varela

I just self published my book, AFFIRMATIONS WITH ATTITUDE!, less than 30 days ago and I am working hard at getting the word out. Like Lisa, I believe in the value of what's between the covers of my book. I know that my book is different because it is a book full of (200+) affirmations & inspirational statements that have a sassy, fun tone to them which can draw a traditional and maybe not so traditional audience that looks for inspirational books for themselves & friends. I want to make it "the little book that could." Lisa has inspired me! Wow! Thanks David for posting this which is so timely. Sheri Varela, http://www.AffirmationsWithAttitude.com


If you believe in what you do and know how to optimize social media that can be done. BTW I may be late to say congratulations!

Andrea Marie Norwood

Hello David and the rest of the Literary world! I am also a self-published author with two books already published by JAKAYLAH PAPER BACK PUBLISHING. I am in the process of publishing a third book, a novel, and I agree with Mrs. Genova that self-publishing is the way to go now a days, because it's so much easier to get the word about your book out to a broad audience through facebook, twitter and myspace etc.

Jon David K.

That is exactly what I plan to do.


So inspirational story! I think i'd better improve my ability in writing first before dreaming BIG!...

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