(write on paper, write on a computer, write on your arm, but just WRITE!)
Okay, here's some stuff you won't learn in any book:
I list them here as fair warning to you. For those of you who are already published, recite out loud with me:
Well, actually, they don't tell you a lot, but here's the biggie - they don't prepare you for promoting your books. Getting the book written is relatively easy. Getting the book sold to a publisher is pretty tough. Getting good reviews is even tougher - but getting the THING READ is the toughest. Therefore, be ye not a writer unless ye can hawk - and I ain't talkin' lugies here.
You must do signings, speaking engagements, conferences, interviews, schmoozing and anything else it takes to find a reader. Books do no one any good if they are not being read and you must find your readers. So, if you have been 'my' reader this far, then maybe you'll go a step farther and find my books. And no, there will not be a quiz on any of them.
My funnest sales coup? I sold a copy of one of my books to a solicitor trying to get me to buy some sort of resort timeshare. No lie.
My sneakiest promo? I slip bookmarks into my bills.
My nastiest promo? I slip bookmarks into the postage paid return envelopes for direct mail solicitations. THEY pay the postage and someone has to open that envelope!
The best bang for the buck promo? Postcards of the cover. I buy my own and sometimes, if I whine enough, a publisher will reimburse me. I have minimal information printed on the address side - all along the border, so I can use the postcards as invites to upcoming signings. I figure no less than five actual HUMAN BEANS see a postcard. More than one postal worker has shown up at one of my booksignings!
You have to be just as create in getting published and promoted as you have been in writing your project. Think outside the box. In fact, throw the box away! Well, recycle it in an environmentally responsible manner.
No writer is an island. Building a network is very important. Attend some conferences, schmooze the bars (at a conference - unless you're in search of character studies), introduce yourself, take and leave business cards, build a website, join some professional or amateur affiliations apropos to your genre. I am a member of Western Writers of America (www.westernwriters.org), Women Writing the West (www.womenwritingthewest.org) and The Authors Guild (www.authorsguild.org) I also recommend Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org). Some writers do well in a discussion or critique group. Some writers swear by then, I swear AT them. Just not for me.
There are a ton of writing sites online. I find www.writing.com to be very helpful. Again, some are genre specific and others are for the trade in general.
I always contend that you never know on whose desk your project is going to land. Especially true when you have a real book in your hands and you are looking for film options or subsidiary rights which you might control. You would be surprised how many deals come through the serendipity of a person walking past a desk, picking up a book, and paging through it. Network yourself, your work, your voice. With the internet, there are no excuses. And believe me, I have looked for all the excuses at some time or another.
Jane Kirkpatrick - read everything she writes!
If your stories come to you in the form of words and music, then you need check out Rand Bishop - A gifted musician, recoding industry expert, and lifelong friend. Look for his great new read about the music industry from one who's been there, done that and lived to tell about it.
Bill Gulick - no website, but Google him. Still writing!
Hank Searls - also no website and also still writing
John Duncklee - a sage in the sage
Val Dumond - grammar queen and all around wonderful supporter of writers everywhere
Gregg Olsen - they don't come any nicer, wittier, or more talented!
Brent Hartinger - keep your eye on this fabulous young writer!
Kim Norman - This is a children's author who maintains a blog of authors who will do school visits (just traditionally published writers) listed by state. Nice service to provide.
Writing World( Hi Moira!)
For interesting literary insights and answers from a variety of writers, Eighteen Questions.
All writers are researchers. Better World Bookstore: Used books, honest shipping charges and all to a good cause
Screenwriting software - okay, I know one of the founders
Dee Tenorio - Website Maintenance and Flash designer.
Howard Petrella Photography - Awesome photographer. He did my photos for this site.