Diary of a Guidebook Writer: Launch and promotion of Moon Norway

Two copies of Moon Norway guidebook.

Photo: David Nikel
Want to win a copy of Moon Norway? See below!

David Nikel
Trondheim, Norway

After 18 months of work and more than a year of these columns, Moon Norway is finally on the shelves. Just before I sat down to write this article, the box of author copies arrived on my desk and I’m finally able to hold a physical copy in my hand. What a feeling! Suddenly it’s all real.

Reading the book was a truly surreal experience. I had ordered a few Moon books before I started writing to get a feel for the style, structure, and so on, so I thought I knew what to expect. But in the end, Moon Norway topped out at 400 pages, much longer than I’d expected.

Marketing the guidebook
Of course, the launch is about far more than just sitting back and enjoying the final product. I need to help sell the thing! While Moon has a marketing team with the power of the Hachette publishing group behind them, they also have hundreds of other titles on their roster.

So while Moon’s marketing team does a chunk of the work, I’m just as responsible for driving sales. At the end of the day, the more copies sold, the more money I make in future royalty payments so it’s well worth my time.

One of the best things about attending the TBEX travel writing conference in Stockholm last year was the contacts I made. People like travel website publisher and author Tim Leffel; the host of the long-running Amateur Traveler podcast, Chris Christensen; and host of the Zero to Travel podcast, Jason Moore. When I reached out for assistance with the Moon Norway launch, all three of my new friends were only too happy to help.

Telling stories to promote the book
Tim Leffel runs Perceptive Travel, an award-winning online magazine home to the best narrative travel stories from published book authors. I chose to tell the story of my visit to the North Cape and how I found the journey there far more enjoyable than the North Cape itself. The colorful characters—both human and animal—in this remote part of northern Norway were a truly memorable experience. Leffel seemed to agree, as he gave the article top billing in the latest issue.

Chris Christensen is a podcasting legend who has been producing his destination-based show, the Amateur Traveler, for an incredible 12 years, before the term podcasting had even been coined! So it was an absolute pleasure to go on his show to talk about the Lofoten islands, my favorite part of Norway. I started off super nervous, but Chris is an expert host and put me at ease in no time at all. I’ve received great feedback on the show, and he mentioned the book far more than I expected, so it’s all good!

Jason Moore is a relative newcomer to Norway and we had a blast on his show discussing what it’s like to live in Norway as a foreigner. Although the topic was supposed to be how to see the northern lights in Norway, the conversation veered off in all sorts of directions, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. Jason must have too, because he’s invited me back on his show later in the year.

Roam with Moon & The Norwegian American

Man and woman holding copy of The Norwegian American in Røros

Photo: Mark and Johanna Loury
This picture is from Femundhytten Gård, part of the Røros UNESCO world heritage area.

Want to win your very own copy of Moon Norway? We are hunting for creative photos of The Norwegian American out in the wild. If you’re going somewhere interesting, take us with you! Show us around your own hometown. We’ll publish our favorites in the paper and on social media, and our very favorite will win a copy of Moon Norway. That way you can roam to Norway (and take us with you)!

Email high-resolution photos to naw@na-weekly.com by November 1 to be entered.

Dipping my toes into podcasting
These two podcast appearances have finally persuaded me to go ahead with a project I’ve had in my mind for a couple of years: a podcast of my own! The Life in Norway Show will extend the already successful Life in Norway website with audio interviews.

By the time you read this, the first episodes should be live. I’ll be speaking to Lorelou Desjardins, the French woman who writes the super popular blog A Fjord in the Fjord, and Dave Smith, a former U.S. marine who’s successfully settled into life in Trondheim and is one of the most popular writers on the website. I have no idea if the podcast will be a success or even if people want to listen to such conversations, but it sure will be fun finding out.

Looking to the future
As for what the future holds for me, I’m not quite sure. My client work here in Norway continues, and I’m contemplating whether I would take on another book project. Working with a traditional publisher has been an eye-opening experience. I’ve written before about how guidebook writing makes nobody rich, but self-publishing more books about Norway is absolutely an option. Maybe even fiction, if that’s something people would be interested in.

Before I sign off this month, I have to wonder out loud about the future of this column. Do you want me to carry on, and if so, what sort of things do you want to hear about? I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, thanks for your support and to everyone who has asked questions and provided feedback throughout this process.

You can pick up your copy of Moon Norway from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other bookstores across the country. I hope you enjoy reading and using the guidebook as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

David Nikel is a freelance writer based in Norway. He runs the popular www.lifeinnorway.net blog and is the author of the upcoming MOON Norway guidebook.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 22, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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David Nikel

David Nikel is a freelance writer based in Norway. He runs the popular www.lifeinnorway.net website and podcast and is the author of the Moon Norway guidebook, available now in all good bookstores.