She sits on her white satin sofa wearing white silk pajamas. Her hair is elegantly pulled back with wisps escaping to perfectly frame her perfectly and tastefully made-up face. You can hear a charming giggle as she lays a perfectly manicured hand against her chest.
"Not long," she says. "It only took me two months to get it to my agent. He is such a cad sometimes, because he is so impatient for my work. But you can't rush creativity."
The story above is something a person might expect to see on a 20/20 interview. (The glamour, the writer among the pretty people of the world, so rich, so perfect.) Can you dream yourself into this fantasy? Are you the woman on the sofa, young and beautiful, or dream of seeing yourself parked on a sofa next to Jay Leno, while some guy like Harrison Ford waits beside you to hear your antidotes to Leno's well thought out chatter?
Ask yourself this question? "Why not? What makes those writers any different than I am?"
Think back to the story: A white Persian cat jumps up beside the woman. Its fur is so white that you almost miss the diamond collar that you know is real. The woman on the sofa lets the cat cuddle in her lap.
She smiles. "I bought Felicia her collar with part of the advance."
An unseen interviewer asks, "So how big was your advance?"
"Oh, just a few pennies really."
She smiles, again. Her smile is almost as costly as the cat's collar.
"I read that you sold your last book for a million and a half," says the interviewer.
"Oh, that's because it was just a republication of an earlier book. This book is more elaborate, so I can expect decent money with this one."
Consider these excuses that many unpublished authors tell themselves:
Some best-selling authors hold master's degrees in English, Education, English Education, and Journalism. But, writers are really a diverse people. Some are doctors, lawyers, teachers, while others are scuba divers, housewives, bus drivers, high school dropouts, and even migrant workers.
There are some pretty people out there and a few who have used the money generated from their books to make them "perfect." Cosmetic surgeons still rake in the bucks, but there are also the average Joes who are famous authors.
The first time I saw Stephen King, I thought, Geez, he looks like a half-dozen guys I have met. He is a well- loved author, however, because people can relate to him. Stephen King says he writes about the things that scare him. Now there is an admission to being human that I can relate to.
Here is an exercise for you. Go to your local library. Go to the new book section were the best-selling books are shelved. Now pick up a book and look for a picture of the author. This can be an eye-opening experience. And remember this, the pictures that you find are usually done with a professional photographer.
Authors look like everyone else, with the exception of just a few. Take yourself to Glamour Shots and they can make you look pretty good.
Okay, I do believe they have it. That spark is called talent, though to be talented doesn't mean you can write. I have always said that I can teach anyone to play piano. That person may never be a concert pianist, but if you teach them the mechanics of it and they practice, they can learn to play well enough to enjoy doing it. But if you find a talented musician, deprive him of ever playing, then set him down at the piano, he can't play.
Anyone can learn to write, but a writer that has a love for the written word can write, and it sounds like a concert of perfectly smooth language with words that flow from their heart.
Not really. Have you read a book and felt disappointed because the plotting was confusing or non-existent? Maybe there are grammatical errors, and you think, this must be self-published, but you find out it isn't. You think, I could write better than this. You probably can.
The publishing business is mostly about selling your work to a magazine or book publisher. It is all about the sell. Those guys are there to make a living just like everyone else. Your writing needs to have clarity, literacy, flow, and be accurate, but if a publisher believes he can't sell it, he won't buy it. He gets so many manuscripts on any given day that he can't read them all. This is where the mighty slush pile comes in.
Manuscripts stack up on publishers. He can't publish them all, especially when 99.5% would cost him more than he would make on them. So he reads query letters or reads what is agented work. And when he reads a query letter, it has to zing with salability; otherwise, that manuscript is headed for the slush pile.
But can you, the person you are right now, be a best-selling author? Are you best-seller material? Yes, if you can answer yes to these questions?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you can make it work for you. There are so many resources out there for writers. I have favorite books that are so beneficial that I don't think any writer should be without them.
You can find writing books at the library, but the books I have listed below are must owns. You will use them again and again. And you must learn to be a reader. No writer will make it into the published circle unless that writer knows what publishers buy. Study your genre. Know what sells.
A professional is defined by Webster's as:
1. engaged in, or worthy of the high standards of; 2. engaged in a specified occupation for pay as a means of livelihood; 3. being such in the manner of one practicing a profession.
Does this discribe you? Are you a professional writer? I am.
On Writing, Stephen King, (New York:Scribner) 2000. ISBN 0-684-85352-3
The Elements of Editing: a modern guide for editors and journalists, Arthur Plotnik, (New York:Collier Books/Macmillan) 1996. ISBN 0-03-047410-5
20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them), Ronald B. Tobias, (Cincinnati:Writer's Digest) 1993. ISBN: 0-89879-595-8
The 28 Biggest Writing Blunders (And How to Avoid Them), William Noble, (Cincinnati:Writer's Digest) 1992. ISBN 0-89879-504-4
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them), Jack M. Bickham, (Cincinnati:Writer's Digest) 1992. ISBN 0-89879-503-6
The Writer's Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters, Marc McCutcheon, (Cincinnati:Writer's Digest) 1996. ISBN 0-89879-683-0
Description (Elements of Fiction Writing), Monica Wood, (Cincinnati:Writer's Digest) 1995 ISBN 0-89879-681-4