February 22, 2018

Road to a Novel #3: Selling Beyond the Bookstores

 September 10, 2013  Paul Plansky

“Only 25% of authors make a living as a writer.” That was one of many eye- openers from Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada at the daylong Writers Workshop in Monterey, CA (see “Road” Blog Posts #1 and # 2).

Both literary agents offered such know-how and insights as:

“Pay your dues to the muse. Write every day,” said Elizabeth who noted if you write one page a day, that’s one book in a year. Then she quoted William Faulkner who said, “Write when the spirit moves you, and do it every day.”

They also implied that authors shouldn’t fake it until they make it. “You must be an expert on your subject,” they said, and cited Ernest Hemingway: “You should know ten times more than anyone else.”

Noting that, “less than a third of books today are sold in bookstores,” the couple urged authors to promote their book with a blog or website. They encouraged attendees to “crowd source” the book to build an online fan base. Homework:  Read “How to Blog a Book” by Nina Amir. Of course, someone’s blog already morphed into a book – which later became a movie starring Meryl Streep — “Julie and Julia”, about a foodie blogger who paid homage to Julia Child by emulating her famous recipes.

Michael noted there are 800,000 reading groups in the U.S.A. Great place to start would be GoodReads.com, which boasts millions of members. Write mysteries like me? Then do a net search for “mystery writers book groups”. When seeking potential agents, publishers, and readers, said Elizabeth, the Internet makes that task “better, faster, and easier.” And that’s one reason why Larsen and Pomada say, “Now is the best time ever to be a writer.”

“Road” Blog Post #4 will be the final Larsen-Pomada piece and will focus on the all-important “pitch” – the cover letter that goes out with your manuscript to agents and publishers. Tune in to learn how writers wow them with their pitch …

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