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September 01, 2011


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Tyler Hurst

Promotional talent aside, did her other titles include: Feel Good Stories For Drug Addicts, Tales Of Positivity From Rehab (again) and How To Make Addiction Fun And Profitable?

While your points are certainly good for anyone looking to promote a book, I'm very disappointed you chose to promote this one. Do we REALLY need more people buying into the lie that being drunk often is somehow a good thing as long as you haven't died yet?

Disclosure: I haven't read the book and am totally inferring all of this from the title, but c'mon.

David Meerman Scott

Tyler - This is a blog about marketing. I liked her approach to getting herself out there and I thought that the ebook was funny so I wrote about it.

You are reacting to the title. Why don't you read the ebook.

Mark Ivey

Great tips. Bottom line is you have to prove yourself first. Also avoid doing another "me too" book (right now there are tons of social media titles for marketers, CEOs, Mom, etc-better come up with a unique angle...your "Drunk Girl's Soul" is a good ex). And sometimes a gimmick will work. I heard of one author who produced a YouTube video targeted just for a single publisher-lot of work but apparently it paid off. Also suggest an agent if you're new to this- a good agent knows the publishing ropes, and can get you a better advance.(your thoughts on agents?)

Stephen Baker

I thinkbdoing research is important and often overlooked

Tyler Hurst

Nope, I'm not going to reward an author for glamorizing irresponsible behavior or using such as a marketing technique.

Publicity at any cost!


Tyler - I totally get your point, but Summer is not condoning alcohol or drug use. Rather, it is a compilation of her experiences through her eyes and her humor. Many of us have all been there - drunken nights, accidental drug experimentation, foolish decisions, etc. The delight here is that she admits to her, lets call them... stumbles from grace, and is the first person to laugh at herself in any situation. A quality that I, and many of those who know her, find completely admirable and enduring. She knows who she is, and embraces it completely. It's true, some of her stories are NSFW, and I wouldn't share them with my grandmother (well... maybe MY grandmother), but for the most part they are incredibly entertaining and totally readable (not to mention pretty hilarious). My hat is off to you for all of your hard work, creativeness, and determination to follow your dreams. I say with complete confidence that I know you have what it takes! Good luck to you Summer as you continue on this journey! Can't wait to see it on the stands!

David Meerman Scott

Mark - Agents are much less important than they were a few years ago because now the Web serves as a way to introduce writers to publishers. And agents and writers have different agendas -- agents want the biggest advance, but first time authors who do not earn back a big advance don't write again.

Hershey - I do like Summer's work and you describe it well.


I'm very surprised that you are promoting such an old method of getting published these day aka going through a traditional publisher when it seems like Ms Land already has the skills to go the self published route having just released her own ebook. The traditional model is dying and authors no longer need to put up with no control and poor royalties now that the distribution models have been opened up to all. You don't need a 'publisher' to get published now. Go directly to amazon, b&n, iBooks etc yourself.

Since you are all about the 'new' ways of finding your audience online, why promote such an ancient way to get a 'book deal'?

David Meerman Scott

Tracey - As of yesterday Summer was already a self-published author by virtue of publishing her own ebook. Summer's goal is to get published by a major publisher.

I disagree with you about the value of traditional publishing. I work with Wiley and they provide me distribution that I simply could not get on my own. My books (in English) are sold in dozens of countries. My books are translated into more than 25 languages. My books are used at nearly 1,000 Universities. My books are on all the major ebook platforms - Kindle, Nook, Sony, Apple. You simply cannot do that on your own! My books are in hundreds of physical bookstores (including chains and independents).

Babu M Varghese

Great article. Lisa Genova's book Fried Chicken For The Drunk Girl's Soul gives lot of food for thought. It great to know the foot steps she had taken to get it published. Blogging would be the easiest method to attract attention of the audience. Joel Comm and Tamar Weinberg are 2 other persons like Lisa. Here is a summary of what they did. They did slightly different strategy. Here is their tactics if you are interested to read http://www.twitterblogpost.com/top-twitter-blog-posts/
Thanks for sharing. I really admire your views


I too am with Wiley (two traditionally published books), but I simply can't see that this is the way forward. With so many book store closures the distribution benefit they had is diminishing. The rest of the benenfits: cover design, editing, marketing, this authors CAN hire out or do themselves.

True self pubbers might not get into Universities and (whats left) of bookstores, but I've already self pubbed onto all the major ebook platforms. So yes you can do that on your own.


David Meerman Scott

Tracey, we have different opinions here. There is no one "best" way.

I agree with you about everything except distribution.

For me Wiley provided -- Getting into other English speaking markets like UK, Singapore, Australia. Getting translated into 25 languages. Getting audiobook versions. Getting into Universities. I could not (easily) do any of that on my own. And frankly I'm way too busy to deal with the minutia of running my own publishing company.

Any author should study the options and choose the best way forward for them.


Our experiences are obviously different which of course influences our opinions. That is the case for everyone.

True there is no 'best' way and each author should choose what's best for them.

Your book is a perfect fit for Universities. Ms Land's is not. Her book is a perfect fit for ebook readers to download to their kindle/nook/ipad (whatever) and have a fun read on the weekend.

She could upload her book to Amazon's KDP and have it selling on Kindle tomorrow.

She could then let Smashwords distribute to the rest: Nook, iBooks, Sony etc and have them selling within a week or two.

And that's worldwide. WORLDWIDE.


And earning money too no less.

Or should could wait for a publishing deal (which I'm sure she could get) and MAYBE have her book out in 1 year or more.

But like you said, each to their own. ;)

David Meerman Scott

Tracey -- Summer has already self-published her ebook. Good for her.

But you're right - she could be selling it worldwide through the various e-reader platforms. She should probably do that right away. Thanks for the suggestion.


I couldn't agree more with your list. In fact, I think if you do the first three points with fervor, frequency and great content you'll end up being approached by a publisher anyway. That's exactly what happened to me. I didn't plan on writing a book, but after I was approached by a number of publishers I decided there must be something to it.
Can't wait to have the book done. It's painful... so different than my blog strategy or writing guest posts for others.... arghh....

Thanks again for your insight.
- Drew

Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive

Those that are disagreeing with DM - the title is 'How to Get a Book Deal' - not 'how to get published' or 'how to make money with your writing' - those are different motives.

I chose a publisher this year. For money? LOL NO! But for a different platform, different credibility (mainstream publishing still holds credibility in many old-school arenas) and for different placement with an audience that was NOT already mine.

It is a painful, hard work process. But well worth it. To know that my book is in B&N and other booksellers is gratifying. To know that complete strangers (NOT already on my list or in my social media) will see it, is great. To know that other countries will have it, is amazing.

Will I do it again? Maybe, maybe not. But for now - the credibility that can STILL be had with a 'book deal from a major' is still vital for speakers, mainstream experts and the like.

So I agree with all the self-publishing thoughts, self-promotional, etc - and ALSO with DM - it depends on your motive. Don't start with 'I want to write a book' - start with 'what is my motive for telling this story or teaching this thing?' and then once your motive is established, choose your route: self publishing as an end game, self publishing as a route to a publisher, mini reports, etc. Totally up to you. THIS is how the game has changed ;)

Great post DM.

David Meerman Scott

Drew & Carrie -- Congratulations on your book deals! That's awesome. I hope that having a book out by a major publisher changes your life as it has mine.



Interesting post. I haven't seen an author featured on their way to becoming a published author - usually posts about how to get a book deal talk about what an already published author did to find their agent, publisher, etc.

I relate to what you say about the need for authors to brand themselves (esp online), and develop their community long before seeking a book deal. I'm surprised to see how many authors approach me with virtually no platform hoping to use their book as a leverage tool to build their platform. While that doesn't usually work in the traditional publishing world, the alternative you suggest about using an ebook or other product to establish sales can be used in this way. Once sales are proven, you're right - it's much easier to convince publishers that you have a developed, passionate audience.

Finally, one of the big takeaways for authors is that yes, getting a book deal is a ton of work, and attempting to publish at the level of a major publisher is even more work. Meaning, achieving the sales that your publisher expects. It truly is a rare person that wants to engage in that level of work. From that perspective, the evolving models in publishing are wonderful because they give writers a wider suite of options. If they don't want to jump through the hoops necessary to work with a major publisher, they don't have to. People have all different sorts of goals for being published and the beauty of the times we're moving into is that authors can choose options that best serve their needs.

Thanks for your post!

- Kristina

David Meerman Scott

Kristina - Thanks so much for your perspective! As a professional, your thoughts mean a lot. Yes, I thought this was an interesting example in that I wrote about Summer very early in her journey.


Tyler....Age old lesson?? Don't judge an e-book by its cover??


Wow! I really have enjoyed reading all of your comments! It seems like there are many different routes to take on the publishing journey, and these are all great ideas. I definitely have a lot of work to do and options to consider.

When it comes to my motive- it is to inspire people to laugh at themselves. I feel like so many questionable and embarrassing things happen to all of us and we tend to bury the shame and carry on by putting on a facade. I on the other hand love to tell stories of mishaps and hiccups in life because it usually opens the door for other people to have more fun at their own expense. The more people I can reach, the better. I am hoping that people relate to my stories and feel a little bit more comfortable with themselves knowing that other people have also accidentally dropped the "F-Bomb" at a family gathering. (At the age of 12).

Thank you all for your feedback.

David Meerman Scott

Keep writing, Summer. Keep writing.

A Facebook User

Great advice David. I love what Summer has done here. After all, publishers are looking to make a profit. If an author builds a platform, perfects a powerful messages, and can prove their is an audience to consume it... their is a chance for a publisher to make money. If not, the risk is too high.

To put it in a musical context, nobody gets a record deal for being a great musician. There are dues to be paid and lessons to be learned from playing for small audiences and perfecting the craft. The Beatles played Hamburg relentlessly on their way to stardom.

David - you may recall dispensing similar advice to me a few years ago. I've been following it and gradually building a platform and a following, and creating a great story to tell to publishers (and others) down the road. So far it seems to be working. I'm grateful for your direction!


It's unfortunate that book deals don't fall from the sky. Immersing yourself in literary circles should be a good start. If you take a degree that involves writing, the people you meet at school (classmates, professors) can be your first audience, and you expand your circle from there so you can build an audience. Utilize your online and offline network.

David Meerman Scott

Good for you Steve -- good luck with your book.

Email marketing

Excellent findings in this speech.
Hope there'll be a space for the publishers in the new internet economy ... otherwise the world will be a copy/paste universe.

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