“We are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving bread crumbs of our personal information everywhere we travel through the digital woods.”…Gary Kovacs
We’re now up to 17 language editions (!) and I thought I just spotted a Ukrainian version recently on Instagram? I still haven’t found the right words to express the gratitude I feel for catching this wave at the right moment when it crested.
But I digress…
The number one question I get surrounding the book is how I got a major publisher.
People are curious about my proposal and pitching process. How did I land that specific publisher? Do I have an agent? (No, by the way). How did I get on their radar? Especially people who are coming across my work for the first time, or have lived in Sweden much longer than my eight years here.
This got me thinking about Hansel and Gretel and their trail of breadcrumbs which they left so they could be found. And more importantly, to be found by the right person.
You see, I didn’t do any of the traditional things when it came to publishing. The pitching, the book proposal, the chasing this time around.
The publisher found me because I had left them virtual breadcrumbs.
My beat is exploring culture through food, tradition, and lifestyle. I have been writing about Sweden for over a decade for several high-profile publications. I contribute to Sweden’s official website and have written some of their most viral stories to date on Swedish culture. I contribute images to Sweden’s official image bank and was their photoblogger for many years, crisscrossing the country. I’ve written deep reflective pieces on Swedish culture and I’ve written more light-hearted pieces as well. I also happen to run an editorial site dedicated to exploring my stunning city called Slow Travel Stockholm.
Plus, my signature piece on Lagom for Roads & Kingdoms/Slate called “The Silence of the Swedes,” which I wrote 4-5 years ago before it ever became a trend has been quoted in several articles this year.
That was the final breadcrumb that led the publisher to me.
And the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
My relationship with Sweden is deep, raw and complex. Like lovers who throw things at each other only to find themselves in each other’s heated embrace the very next second.
You see, what we deem as success never happens overnight. There are often decades of preparation, daily toil, and unrelenting passion that go into doing what we love and potentially making it our career as well. We never go it alone either as we often have friends and family members who fully believe in us and support us beyond words but with tangible actions that make a huge difference too.
We have those special contacts who say our names in important rooms when we’re not physically there.
Like an artist working fervently on a piece, leaving dabs of paint here and there, splashing paint in their wake, on their clothes, on their walls. Those are their own breadcrumbs. Those symbols and signs that let us know a passionate artist resides there.
In essence, my whole writing career, one in which I proactively advocate having a clear niche too, has been a virtual book proposal strewn all across the internet as breadcrumbs.
The publisher only had to follow those breadcrumbs… pages in my virtual proposal… to find me.
Here are some of my tips as you begin your journey of leaving a digital trail connected to the work or subject matter you want to be known for:
My advice is to leave a trail of work you love and are proud of. In small corners and in unlikely places. Leave specific breadcrumbs, not generic ones, because it will lead the right relationships to you.
...the Swedish way to happiness based on the idea of not too much, not too little.
Lagom is not just a word but the very essence of what it means to be a Swede.
...Lagom teaches you to strive for the ultimate balance in all aspects of your existence, including well-being, relationships, work, finances, diet, and home life.
One print copy of Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well
“Embrace the Swedish Way to Balance and Happiness”
Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!
All comments must be left prior to midnight on Friday, May 31st, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Saturday, June 1st.
Lolá Akinmade Åkerström
Born in Nigeria. Educated in the United States. Based in Sweden.
My photography and travel writing are often characterized by vibrancy and hope. I graduated with a Masters (MSc) degree in Information Systems from the University of Maryland with a minor in Geography. I specialized in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for 12+ years and my affinity for the geosciences and maps meant I was born to travel.
Recipient of the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year Bill Muster Award
In addition to contributing to several travel books, I am the author of the following books:
I have recently signed on to be represented by Craig Literary
My photography is represented by National Geographic Image Collection; and I have been recognized with multiple awards for my work. I was honored with a MIPAD 100 (Most Influential People of African Descent) Award within media and culture in 2018.
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Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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