Two Jobs -- One RolePosted by Donna Levin on June 28, 2010 | READ & ADD COMMENTS BELOW
Keith Raffel made a dramatic career change when he left behind the world of Sillicon Valley venture capitalists for a career as a novelist. Or did he?
Raffel has published two mysteries since he left his “real” job: Dot Dead and, just a few months ago, Smasher. They’re the first two installments in a series starring high-tech exec Ian Michaels, and each is set in a harshly competitive and sometimes even sinister world of Silicon Valley. Like all novelists with a strong sense of place, Raffel has taken his setting and made it his own.
We all know how brutal the business world is, and nowhere more so than in the “real” Silicon Valley, with corporate spying and intra-office backstabbing going on before you have lunch at your desk.
Besides, you have to work so damn many hours. As the saying goes, if you can’t come into the office on Saturday, don’t bother to show up on Sunday. Self-employed? You’ll be putting in a lot more hours.
But the life of a writer! Follow your bliss!
Never mind the truth under thatrock. What’s interesting is that Raffel found that being a novelist was eerily similar to being a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. “When you’re coming up with product ideas in the high tech world, you look for a niche that will make your product distinctive and competitive,” he says. ( http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2010/03/not-new-career.html) Then “you need a compelling story about that product.”
No, none of us want to think of our books as products. But you’re better off if you start thinking now. When Raffel says, “You need to draw the listeners in and have them buy into your dream,” he’s not talking about pitching to an agent, he’s talking about pitching to a potential investor. (I love the phrase, “buy into your dream.”)
“It’s not enough to build a great software product nor to write a great book. You have to spend your time and ingenuity promoting them.”
Raffel has toured the country doing just that, but with his tech background he also knows the value of “virtual appearances.” You can keep track of his whereabouts, physical and otherwise at his website, www.KeithRaffel.com.