Friday, August 7, 2009

A NEW LIFE: Journalists on how they reinvented themselves - Part 4 - Reggie Rivers

I asked journalists to share their stories of how they reinvented themselves. At this time of great disruption in the business, I hope it's encouraging for those caught in the storm to see that there's life after newspapers, or in today's example, TV news. Reggie Rivers has an extraordinary story to tell. He worked for me as a freelance columnist contributing to the Rocky Mountain News' commentary section, after a career with the Denver Broncos and while hosting a news radio talk show. He also wrote for The Denver Post. Then he became a sportscaster. And now....

Reggie Rivers, fiction writer

Hi John,

I don't know if you can call my situation a true reinvention, because I'm really just expanding an enterprise I've been doing on the side for 15 years.

I'm focusing full-time on promoting my self-published book, "The Colony: A Political Tale." It's an allegory about foreign policy told through two colonies of ants, and it is my fifth published book. I recently earned a Master's Degree in Global Studies and I wrote this allegory as my thesis.

I knew two months in advance that my contract at CBS4 would not be renewed, and my wife wanted me to spend the time contacting other news directors about potential openings. But I knew that stations everywhere were cutting back, and as an experienced self-publisher, I wanted to concentrate on this new book.

So the past three and a half months (two before I was laid off and one and a half since) have been filled with the effort of getting the cover designed, interior pages laid out, finding a distributor, promoting the concept on Facebook and Twitter and visiting book stores asking them to carry the book.

Only time will tell if "The Colony" will be successful and the effort I've put into it will yield a livable income. But I'm encouraged by the fact that just three days after I announced on Facebook that I was taking pre-orders at , I've already sold 46 books.

People are paying for a novel that they won't receive for more than a month! It's remarkable, and it speaks to the power of social media, because 80 percent of these sales have come through Facebook (the other 20 percent are family members). Hopefully, sales will be even stronger when the books arrive from the printer, and readers can actually see and feel the item that they're purchasing.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story,



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