This month's book isn't about one particular topic but about an author's career. You can't have been considering a job as a writer without hearing about how the publishing industry is in flux.
There's no denying that this is an exciting and scary time for everyone involved. But the correct career path for you is unlikely to be the trails I'll walk. And while many of us are already on the writer's road, there's always time to reflect on what you want.
I first heard Bob Mayer talk at the 2012 Desert Dreams conference. Bob is both traditionally published and self-published. Ditto for Jen. They had information and experience and were willing to share it. And while the industry is changing, one thing isn't:
Knowledge is power.
No one can afford to cocoon themselves in the way things used to be, not if you expect to be relevant in the next five years.
So I bought the book:
And didn't read it for a year. DOH! Okay really, it wasn't bad. I went to Bob's talk and most of what he said is 1) common sense for those who've been paying attention and 2)was a very condensed version of the book's highlights.
For those who haven't had the privilege of hearing Bob talk, pick up the book and read it (faster than me, please). Some of the information is outdated (ie Kobo and Nook Press) but the information should be firmly tucked inside your brain before hiring an agent, signing a contract, or publishing your own books. It's basic stuff, written in plain language—things like branding, outsourcing for those self-pubbing, and social media (for everyone).
There were very small chapters on topics that I would like to have known more about—metadata, twitter, etc. I would have liked to have embedded links to other sites both Jen and Bob found useful, like they had in other places. But their Write it Forward blog dovetails the information in the book and is updated regularly, so it's all good.
The Shelfless book is about a writer's career, not about one single book. It's the big picture. The one authors need to focus on, not so much the single titled book.
It's a cheap investment for the price. And I think Bob would agree that before you lead or follow, you should at least have an idea of what you're getting into.
What an author doesn't know can hurt her career and her pocketbook.