Annik Lafarge's latest book is Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions. "I honestly don't think I could have written this book without Scrivener."
Write Now with Scrivener, Episode No. 4: Annik Lafarge, Author of Chasing Chopin
After a career in publishing, from being a publicist to senior editor, Annik Lafarge is now a consultant and advisor to authors. Her latest book is Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions. Annik talks about how important it is for authors to help market their books.
"I honestly don't think I could have written this book without Scrivener."
- Annik Lafarge
- Chasing Chopin
- David Bellos: The Novel of the Century, The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables
- Michael Gorra, Portrait of a Novel, Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece
- Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic, Dispatches From the Unfinished Civil War
- Scott Huler, Defining the Wind, The Beaufort Scale and How a 19th-Century Admiral Turned Science Into Poetry
- Catherine Raven, Fox & I
- Maggie O'Farrell, Hamnet
After a career in publishing, from being a publicist to senior editor, Annik Lafarge is now a consultant and advisor to authors. She published On the High Line: Exploring America's Most Original Urban Park in 2012, and her latest book is Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions.
Over 25 years in publishing, Annik has held many roles. For her, "what people in the publishing business do for writers is that they enable them: editors enable authors to find their voice and find the narrative thread and shape their books and marketing people do what they do."
As someone with a lot of experience in publishing, Annik knew how to help market her own books. One point she stresses is that "the author is absolutely essential to the process of figuring out how to sell and market her book. And so as an author, I knew that a lot of the burden was on me; that the publicist who works at Simon and Schuster, who published my book, is not an expert in romantic music, or Chopin, or any of these things, and was going to rely on me."
Annik used Scrivener, during the research and writing process, to store information that she knew would be useful for promotion for her book. "I think a lot of authors resent the fact that so much of the burden is on them, they've written the book, they've gone through this whole process, but you're the expert, you've got to do a lot of the heavy lifting."
Annik set up a folder in the Scrivener Sidebar to take notes while she was working on the book. "Every time I had an idea, or I came across a journalist who was writing about my subject, or there was a competition, I would just throw it into that folder in the Sidebar. And then when it came time to fill out my author questionnaire and give information to my publicist, all that stuff was right there, you know, and I had an email list."
As part of her proactive approach to marketing her book, Annik got in touch with me when she discovered the podcast, suggesting that she might be an interesting guest, because of the unique way she uses Scrivener. (Authors interested in being a guest on Write Now with Scrivener can drop me an email at email@example.com.)
Annik was drawn to Chopin because "I found that over a series of many years that Chopin, and in particular, what's known as the Funeral Sonata, the Opus 35, with the very famous funeral march, just kept popping up everywhere I went, including in surprising places, like in a jazz club in Chicago after I had visited a friend there who was dying."
Annik is an amateur pianist, and has long played Chopin's music, but there was more that led her to focus on him. And she set out to look at the history of this work; not so much the musicology of the sonata, but the cultural and historical context around it. "I found that it was a really interesting way to write about Chopin, to write about the fascinating period that he lived in in the 19th century. It was this just exuberant period of innovation and technology and music and publishing. He was a very independent person who I found to be very different from the kind of cliché of the tragic, romantic hero that we've all kind of come to know."
Annik used Scrivener to hold and manage her research for Chasing Chopin. "For me, Scrivener is really like a giant database. And the thing that I love best is that it's like a three-dimensional way to organize and view and engage with every aspect of content in a writing project." And this project was complex. Annik needed to store texts, photos, music files, and more, and her Scrivener project was over 2 gigabytes. "This book involves a lot of different threads. One of the things that I love about about Scrivener is that you can have a thumbnail of a photograph, for instance, in the right-hand sidebar, and you can have a series of links, you can throw an MP3 link in there too, and it'll play in whatever music program you use."
Scrivener is, for Annik Lafarge, an essential tool for her writing. "It's an incredibly powerful search engine, particularly if you have an enormously detailed database like I do. I'm using it in a very three-dimensional way, that I honestly don't think I could have written this book without Scrivener."