It's not often that we see an anonymous author publish a heavily publicized book that may contain classified information about a famous military operation. But it happened this week, so it's worth examining what's ahead for the writer, and the value of having lawyers review your work.
Also, some classic and contemporary advice on writing, extreme acts of writing, and how to promote your self-published book.
No easy day for Navy SEAL author:
The former Navy SEAL and writer of the new book about the operation to kill Osama bin Laden has been revealed. That didn't take long. Fox News identified him yesterday, and defended its position
saying he had no reasonable expectation of privacy after publishing the book, titled “No Easy Day.” A bigger question, though, is whether the author—reported to be former SEAL Matt Bissonnette—will face criminal penalties if he revealed classified information. He reportedly did not run the book past the CIA or Navy, or anyone except his publisher's lawyers. And because of how recently the bin Laden operation occurred, he'll likely get more scrutiny than authors who write operational tell-alls years after the fact. The attention, meanwhile, has translated to sales. Although it doesn’t hit bookshelves until Sept. 11, “No Easy Day” is already topping Amazon’s bestseller list
How to be a writer Today:
There are lots of lists that chronicle the things a writer must do to succeed. They usually revolve around hard work and tactical measures that writers of any kind must follow to make a career of it. But blogger and novelist Roxane Gay has listed 25 things that contemporary writers should do to navigate the world of professional writing. Most of them are not difficult or tactical, including 17a: “You are neither as great or terrible a writer as you assume.” And 21: “If you’re going to have a website, don’t have an ugly website.” Read the post here
Indispensable Writing Tips: BuzzFeed
collected 30 great writing tips from 30 famous authors. A lot of this is stuff you've read or heard before. There are, of course, entire websites devoted to writing advice. But these are some very good highlights, all in one place and with good images of each author. One of my favorites is from Saul Bellow: “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Read the full list here
Insane Acts of Writing:
Speaking of writing quotes, many of them communicate the difficulty of the writing process. But for some it's more difficult than it has to be—either by choice or by circumstance. Cracked
documents six cases of extreme dedication to the craft, each of which turned out to be successful—from a nine-year old girl whose short story was turned into a play and a movie decades later, to a school janitor who spent 60 years writing a 15,000 page novel. Read the list here
Do-it-Yourself Book Tour:
Self-publishing has changed the way aspiring authors crack into the business. But if you want to make a career of it, you still must promote your work. This story from CNN focuses on some ways independent and small press authors can share their work with little to no promotional budget. It focuses on five authors who decided to collectively promote their work on a weeklong five-state tour, and mentions some additional creative ways writers are using social media and live events to complement each other. Read the story here
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.