Month: January 2011

Selling Books in the Trenches

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

So far, we’ve been talking in these What It Takes posts from our own point of view, from the angle of the writer and his agent and publicist. Today I’d like to turn that around. Let’s get down and dirty–in the trenches, selling books to bookstores. We’ll talk with Random House’s David Glenn, who’s one of the key sales reps working to “sell in” The Profession—and one I’ve had contact with since Gates of Fire back in 1998. SP: David, welcome and thanks for giving our readers, many of whom are writers and artists, a peek into the real world…

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Collectively-Enforced Mediocrity

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

Have you seen the movie, The Fighter? It’s already won Golden Globes for Melissa Leo and Christian Bale–and looks like a strong Oscar contender in a number of categories. I loved it. The movie is also–in its depiction of the psychological dynamics within the Ward family of Lowell, Massachusetts–one of the great cinematic evocations of Group Resistance, or what we might call Collectively-Enforced Mediocrity. How does Resistance play out within a family? Let’s see what the film’s writers and director–Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson and David O. Russell–have to say. A collective myth Early in the opening…

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Art & Commerce

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

In my last post, Rubber Meets Road, I talked about “the number.” Here’s what I said: A number gives you clarity. Don’t fear a number. Embrace the number. It will focus you like nothing else. After some analytical research, I came to the conclusion that THE PROFESSION’s number is 15,000.  Fifteen thousand sold copies will put THE PROFESSION on The New York Times bestseller list its first week on sale.

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On the Subject of Fear

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

[Today’s post is an interview with me in fear.less online magazine. If you haven’t heard of fear.less, it’s a terrific enterprise founded and run by Ishita Gupta and Matt Atkinson, who are two young stars of new media. [Fear.less appears once a month; it’s free; you can sign up via the link above or below. The magazine features interviews with artists and entrepreneurs, where the thrust of the discussion is to probe the individual’s inner life on the theme of fear–and the overcoming of it. It’s an idea whose time has definitely come, and Ishita and Matt do a tremendous job…

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Bringing It All together

By Callie Oettinger | 4 Comments

Do a Wayback Machine search for and check out the late 2002 version of Steve’s first author site—and then check out the 2008 version. Not much of a difference . . . Steve’s first site was a traditional early 2000’s author site—a stylized resume, offering readers information about authors and their work. Steve’s site was static, so readers visiting once a year could catch up on the previous year’s additions within a few minutes—and then wait another year before returning. Information flowed one way—from Steve to his readers—void of interaction/engagement.

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Resistance Tomorrow

By Steven Pressfield | 26 Comments

I just came in from getting my stuff ready for the gym tomorrow–packing my bag, loading up my gear, leaving it in the car. It got me thinking about one of the most useful books I’ve ever read, Dr. Robert Cialdini‘s Influence. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. In the book, Dr. Cialdini lays out seven proven ways to influence other people–in other words, to get them to do what we want them to do. One way, for example, is the Principle of Reciprocity. If Joe does X for me, I will feel an obligation to do…

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Scott Oden

By Steven Pressfield | 4 Comments

Hailing from the hills of rural North Alabama, Scott Oden’s fascination with far-off places began when his oldest brother introduced him to the staggering and savage vistas of Robert E. Howard and Harold Lamb. Though Oden started writing his own tales at the age of fourteen, it would be many years before anything would come of it. In the meantime, he had a brief and tempestuous fling with academia before retiring to the private sector, where he worked the usual roster of odd jobs—from delivering pizza to stacking paper in the bindery of a printing company to clerking at a video…

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Rubber Meets Road

By Shawn Coyne | 15 Comments

My last post was about the tried-and-true book publishing methods of making sure that the most important element of publication—getting books in stores and displayed—is successful. Selling-in a book at the retail and wholesale level is vitally important. So the early discussion at our December 1, 2010, marketing/publicity meeting at Crown covered this ground. Here is what is planned for The Profession. Crown will feature The Profession as a lead title in its summer 2011 catalog. A publisher’s catalog is a sales rep’s calling card. Getting featured placement in it is crucial to launch a bestseller campaign. Crown will produce…

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Panic is Good

By Steven Pressfield | 22 Comments

My friend Paul is writing a cop novel (I mentioned this in an earlier post, on the subject of trusting your instincts, even the darker ones–particularly the darker ones.) Paul has written screenplays and stuff for TV, but he’s never tackled a novel, which is really his native medium. At the same time, he’s writing more from his true center than he ever has. Paul’s about halfway through and, though he puts up a brave front when I ask him how he’s feeling, I can tell from his eyes that he’s in full panic mode. He looks like a rabbit caught…

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