Best-Selling Authors, Book Experts Give Their Top Tips On Writing
Ten authors and book business professionals appeared at workshops for writers held at the recently concluded Spring Book Show in Atlanta. Here, they volunteer what they considered to be the top tip in their presentations.
[USPRwire, Thu Mar 12 2009] More than 100 fledgling authors registered for workshops held during Spring Book Show 2009, which concluded its three-day run on March 8. Long the South’s largest bargain book show, the Spring Book Show and the Authorship 101 and Authorship 201 workshops were held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in north Atlanta.
The Authorship 101 workshops on March 7 focusing on “How to Become a Successful Writer” featured eight best-selling authors and book business experts in presentations designed to help novice writers.
Brad Cohen, author of “Front of the Class,” shared the journey of how his book was turned into a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie that aired on CBS. Brad reminded the authors to never give up on their book idea, but at the same time, to think big and have the ability to see that their idea may be much more than just a book that sits on a shelf. It too can become a movie where their words come alive. Brad's story is about following his dream of becoming the teacher he never had. He challenged writers in his session to continue following their dreams.
Patricia Sprinkle, author of 20 mysteries, reminded participants of the difference between writing mysteries and other writing. “You actually have to write three stories to get one,” she pointed out. “You need to have at least in your head what led up to the murder (motive), what happened at the murder scene and how the mystery is solved. Then you have to weave the first two stories into the third. You also have to write backwards - instead of clear, direct writing, you need to conceal clues in long lists and throw-away phrases, or you need to distract the reader from clues by focusing attention on something entirely different. And you must give the reader a satisfying ending. Mysteries are one of the few moral genres left. The good guys win and the bad guys must lose.”
From Man Martin, selected as Georgia author of the year for his humorous novel “Days of the Endless Corvette,” came this advice: “Humor is not what's on the page - it's what happens in the mind of the reader. You've got to give just enough information to describe a humorous scene so that readers can imagine it for themselves and leave them to fill in the details.”
“Don't be afraid to promote yourself through press releases and articles that build your listings on Google,” advises Darlene Ford Wofford, author of “Edgewise: An Assignment to Remember.” "We cannot afford to be bashful or shy in this business. Be pro-active, researching the names of radio and TV producers, chapter officers of various clubs and community groups, editors of magazines and local newspapers. Then make the contacts. Remember, it's not necessarily who you know, but who you get to know through your personal contacts and networking at meetings, church, social events and blogs that may lead to that magic break.”
According to Ahmad Meradji, CEO of Apex Book Manufacturing, Atlanta’s top digital book manufacturer, “One thing I suggest to the writers from a printing point of view is to keep the book’s entire layout including size in mind from the conception to the final product. That will save them time and money when they are ready to publish it.”
Anna DeStefano, best-selling romantic suspense author and immediate past president of Georgia Romance Writers, shared with conferees the exciting evolution of the modern romance novel, key breakdowns of the various segments of the romance market and noted that romance is a leading genre in North American publishing, with $1.375 billion in sales generated in 2007. Her main tip to new writers was to become involved in networking in professional writing organizations as they launch their publishing journeys.
The Authorship 201 workshops on March 6 provided advanced instruction in “Writing for the Christian Market.”
Speaking to the Christian writers, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, the author or co-author of 112 books with Christian themes, urged fledgling authors to be sincere. Cec cited jazz great Charlie Parker's advice to the artist: “If it ain't in the heart, it don't come out in the horn.” Among the books Cec co-authored is best-seller “90 Minutes in Heaven,” written with Don Piper, which has four million copies in print in 32 languages."
Nationally syndicated “Hot Topics” TV show host Kimberley Kennedy, whose book, “Left at the Altar,” just published by Thomas Nelson, offers valuable advice on how to handle rejection, was on the program with Murphey. “Don’t expect your publisher to do the work of promoting your book,” she advised. “Mine hired a New York public relations firm to help promote ‘Left at the Altar,’ and the firm arranged a number of radio interviews for me, but the bulk of the promotional work, such as blogging, is still up to me. I’m happy for all the good advice on book promotion that I get from my agent, Blythe Daniel of the Blythe Daniel Agency.”
Other presenters included Atlanta (soon to be New York) book publicist Russ Marshalek, Atlanta book publisher Barbara Friend Ish of Mercury Retrograde Press and Hollis Gillespie, whose first three humorous memoirs are published by HarperCollins and are soon to become the basis of a new TV sitcom series.
About the Authorship workshops: Authorship seminars are organized by Southern Review of Books editor Noel Griese of Atlanta, and are presented at the Spring Book Show in Atlanta and the Great American Bargain Book Show in Boston.
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