Rob Norman – Author / Actor / Podcaster
Author – Improvising Now – Host of CBC Podcast “Personal Best” – Actor “Sunnyside“
1. Did you have / how did you overcome fears that you would fail when you started publishing your work?
I was “writing” this book for 7 years. But I kept hitting the wall of self-judgment. I was bored and sad and unhappy with my life. So I played a game… I imagined I was going to die in a year.
I thought what things would I be bummed if I never finished. The book was one of them.
After that it was easy. I wrote every day. I hired editors and cover designers. At a certain point, it’s more finished than unfinished and so you just have to complete it. Finishing is hard work. But starting (really starting) is the hard part.
2. What is one piece of advice you now rely on, but wish you knew before you started the process?
Talent doesn’t matter. Hard work does. Talent gives you the premise. Talent makes writing easier. But if you want it and work hard you will get it. You may have to hire an editor or take a writing class (I rewrote my book 7 times before it was ready). People more talented than me probably could have written a book one time and that be good enough. But most of those people didn’t put the work in… So no book for them.
3. What is the most positive part of having your work in the public eye?
I’ve toured Copenhagen, Oslo, Sydney, Montreal, and Mexico City because of the book. Every month I get a check from sales all over the world. I’m not living off those sales. But it’s hundreds of books sold. I’m proud of that.
4. In what way has having your work in the public eye proved to be a negative?
For me personally, having the book in the community did get a little pushback, as in “you wrote a book? What makes you qualified?” But, overall that was only a couple people with chips on their shoulders.
5. What advice would you have for someone looking to get started publishing their work?
Just be practical about it. I invested thousands of dollars but I knew at my book launch I could count on 100 people showing (I charged $20 and gave a copy of the book). So, it was a BIG investment but my budget was based on what $$$ I knew would come back to me. Maybe you don’t want to make a book, maybe it’s a zine. You will have to invest your own money but be smart and honest what $$$ will come back to you. Also… I’d recommend keep your writing and editing processes separate.
Allow your brain to write garbage get it all out in the page. Weeks later come back and “fix it”. So many writers waste time because writerly impulses and editorial impulses are opposite of each other. They end up nullifying each other – that’s writers block baby!!!!
I did a couple things. I put together a book club. I handed out early drafts to six people I could trust. Got them together and heard general thoughts. I also gave a friend some money to edit it ($300) and other friends edited it for free. Basically their job was to mercilessly cut hundreds of hours of work from the book. It hurt too much to do it myself. Finally I paid an actual editor to copy edit – having a single spelling error would have killed me.
Creation and Publication Project
- Making Projects Meaningful
- Placing Work into the World [Written Work]
- Placing Work into the World [Self-Distribution]
- Placing Work into the World [Media Arts]
- The Creation and Publication Assignment
- Connecting the Global Competencies
- Creator Spotlights