PERPETUALLY AROUSED ZOMBIES?

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I got an email recently from the VP of my publishing company, Belle Bridge Books, detailing the marketing challenges faced by smaller presses, like Belle Bridge, and relatively unknown authors, like myself.

The VP, Deborah  Smith (a New York Times best-selling author, BTW), harbors a great deal of wisdom and a laugh-out-loud sense of humor.  Her comments are worth sharing.

The email from Deb was in response to a question of mine about ARCs, Advance Reader Copies.  ARCs are sent out prior to the publication of a book to get endorsement blurbs, the brief quotes you’ll often see on the front or back cover of a book proclaiming what a great read it is.

ME AND STEVE BERRY

SteveBerry-Media-200x300Steve Berry is an international, mega-best selling thriller novelist.  According to his website, he’s sold 19 million books in 51 countries. Me? Another 18.9 million copies and I’ll be right there with him.

I’ve met Steve several times, but let me make it clear, we aren’t necessarily BFF.  If we were to meet again, he might recognize me, but might or might not remember my name.

He probably doesn’t realize it, but he’s been an “encourager” of mine, always, whenever we met, urging me to keep writing and reminding me–as he has many others, I’m sure–that “if I [meaning himself] can do it, you can do it.”

A WRITER/METEOROLOGIST’S REVIEW OF SUPERCELL

Tornado chasers on the Great Plains.

Tornado chasers on the Great Plains.

As many of you know, I’m a meteorologist in novelist’s clothing.  (Or is it the other way around?)  Well, whatever.  I majored in atmospheric science in college and took a couple of courses in creative writing.  I think I did fairly well in them (it was a long time ago), even though I recall being severely intimidated when I entered a classroom full of English and English Lit majors.

At any rate, though I’ve always been a writer, I really didn’t do much with the creative aspect of it until relatively late in my life.

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE BEGINNING WRITERS MAKE

images-1There is an abundance of guidance available–books, blogs, hand-outs–that illuminate the steps or “rules” to becoming a successful writer.  Be warned, however, as NYT Best-Selling Author Steve Berry says, “The first rule is, there are no rules.”

Similarly, there’s a plethora of material out there for novice writers, whether wannabe novelists or nonfiction authors, that expound upon the snares hidden along the path to publication.  That is, the mistakes that can be made.

But there is one mistake that beginning writers make I think is key.  I know, because I made it.

DOESN’T WORK FOR ME—-SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE WRITING PROCESS

The writing process is different for every author. There is no right or wrong way. No, that’s not entirely correct. The right way is whatever works for you.

There’s one school of thought that says the first draft of your book should be pounded out just as fast as you can get the thoughts from your brain onto paper . . . or into your computer. Don’t worry about mistakes, typos and clunky sentences. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to make changes and corrections later—-you know, second draft, third draft, ad infinitum. The key is to capture your ideas before they flee into the ether.

WRITERS CONFERENCES … WHY?

Some of my friends, non-writers, knowing I’d just returned from the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop, asked me what goes on at such conferences.

First, I must explain, there are different types of conferences. Some, such as the one sponsored by the Southeastern Writers, focus on teaching the craftsmanship of writing. Many, like those held by the Atlanta Writers Club, are designed to put authors in touch with literary agents and publishers. Still others, usually bigger gatherings—-the Willamette Writers Conference, for instance—-are a combination of both, sometimes with film agents thrown into the mix.