Rosemary Vestal is the publicity manager for UNP. She doesn’t drink whiskey but will happily read about it while drinking a Malbec.
The New York Times recently published an article called “A Golden Age for American Whiskey Writers” about the talented people writing about whiskey and the growing number of books written by those people.
This makes me happy for two reasons. The first reason is it’s proof that there are passionate people writing about subjects they love which means there are equally passionate people willing to pay for books about those same subjects, right? Right.
The second reason is Potomac Books author Fred Minnick is featured in the article. Long before Minnick published with Potomac Books, he was a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, before that he was an army journalist in Iraq. Since I met Minnick in 2013, he’s published two other books: Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker (Zenith 2015) and Bourbon: The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of An American Whiskey (Voyager Press 2016).
He’s a great example of someone who found what they were passionate about and made it their duty to write about it for the greater good. When UNP acquired Potomac Books in early 2013, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the books we would be publishing soon after. Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey by Fred Minnick was certainly a welcome surprise.
Whiskey Women was released in the fall of 2013 and, in my publicity opinion, was one of the best titles for Potomac Books that year. What is even better is that the book continues to sell. And that isn’t because the book continues to get reviews or because people are talking about the book, it’s because people are talking about the writer.
It’s not enough to write a single book and expect great things to come to you immediately. You have to work at it. You have to continue to write. You have to discuss the subject with other passionate people. You have to encourage and buy other authors’ books. You have to be more than the author of Book X, you have to be a writer who is passionate about your subject.
You don’t have to be featured in a New York Times article, although that doesn’t hurt, you just have to establish a voice that draws the attention of other people who find joy in the same thing you do. And even then you still need to hope the passion of those people compels them to buy your book. I think Minnick understands that an author’s passion for a subject can make him or her stand out from the crowd.
Fortunately, the passion in this example is whiskey.