Today I've got two announcements. I'm switching jobs and writing another book. The first is happening because of the second.
For the past three months, I've been VP of Marketing for Byliner, a great startup aiming to be both a discover engine for and a publisher of narrative journalism. It's been my job to not only get attention for our published titles but for Byliner itself. And because we are a young company in a still-forming area of the market, the challenge was considerable, my hours long.
Shortly after I took the job, I received word from my wonderful agent that Prometheus Books wanted to publish what would be my second book "Practical Classics: Why You Should Reread Your High School Reading List." "Practical Classics" is an essay collection written this time entirely by me. My first book "Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times" was an anthology, plenty of work, sure, but not of this regular, multi-hours a day of writing, kind.
Much as I loved my new job, I loved the idea of writing another book more. And given what they both demand as this stage, I don't see how I can give both my best effort and not end up cheating both.
I made a decison. Professionally I am a writer first and everything else second. I need to finish this book. Byliner is a great company, run by great people with a mission I admire. But there are other jobs. Someone wanting to publish a book of yours doesn't come along often enough to shortchange it.
I consulted with my wife and called our accountant. We would be okay--not flush but okay--until next year if I worked fulltime on "Practical Classics."
That's what I'm going to do. I told Byliner and they understand. I'll still consult with them on a per-project basis, sit in on editorial meetings and generally shift to an at-large role within the larger company structure. I'll keep all my stock and extended relationships with the company.
As far as partings go, that's about as amicable as it gets.
Starting this week, I'll be writing fulltime. I plan to work up to 4 hour a day regimen of writing and about that much on reading and research. I'll take the occasional freelance assignment for diversity and needed income. I'll continue to honor public speaking commitments (3 this fall) and be present on social media.
Most importantly, I'll be writing. This is an absolutely rare chance. I'm grabbing it while its still here.