I got 99 problems, but a book ain’t one

After you get through the long, hard slog of writing a book, publication day represents the culmination of the initial creative process. But it’s not really the end, because a whole new set of tasks begins around then: The hustle.

I must confess that I have mixed feelings about getting in touch with my inner marketing maven. Relentless self-promotion takes a lot of time and effort, if you do it right, and that might be time better-spent on the next book (especially since I already have another project in the on-deck circle). I admire writers who are Zen enough to finish writing one book and move directly on to the next thing, with nary a second thought or backward glance.

Not me. After putting years of work into something, you want it to have the best possible shot at finding an audience. And so you work it as best you can. Or I do, anyway.

To that end, I’ve been very busy lately launching “Step It Up and Go” — in part because, without in-person bookstore readings, I have to utilize whatever is at hand. I’m doing lots of online virtual events, including tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time) at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville with special guest David Holt. You should tune in.

I’m also writing essays, articles and listicles that are tied into the book for a number of outlets kind enough to commission me to do so. Two pieces like that dropped just this week.

One is “The Page 99 Test,” which holds that if you open up any book to page 99, “the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” Interesting theory, but I have to admit it sounds strange and a little random. Nevertheless, it worked pretty much perfectly the last time I contributed, for the 2012 Ryan Adams book “Losering.” And it works well for “Step It Up and Go,” too, especially since page 99 falls in the Doc Watson chapter. That essay can also be found on the Campaign for the American Reader blog.

Also new this week is my contribution to the music/literature blog Largehearted Boy, which publishes book-related playlists by authors. Since mixtapes are kind of my thing, I composed playlists for “Losering” and also my 2015 Ray Benson co-write “Comin’ Right at Ya” at their behest. And here is my latest one, the “Step It Up and Go” Largehearted Boy playlist.

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