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Q&A

Jeff O’Connell, NYT Best-Selling Author, Talks About His Writing Process

Jeff-O'Connell-ArticleJeff O’Connell  began his career as an editor at fitness magazines like Men’s Health and Muscle & Fitness. His writing soon earned him recognition in The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Science & Nature Writing anthologies. It wasn’t long before O’Connell claimed the title all writers seek: New York Times best-selling author.

The book, Platinum Workout, was a collaboration with LL Cool J. O’Connell later worked with 50 Cent (on Formula 50) and in 2011 released his own book, Sugar Nation. Here, O’Connell shares his tips for writers and aspiring authors:

To me, writing is mostly about re-writing. I wish I was somebody that could sit down and bang out 1,000 or 2,000 perfect words, but I’m not. A lot times I can be a perfectionist, and that can be really paralyzing, so I think that it’s important to just get something down on the screen or the page and realize that you’re going to work it over multiple times anyway, so you might as well get started. And then it’s important to find a niche that’s well calibrated to your interests, but also to your talent.

To hear more from O’Connell, including his experience co-writing with celebrities, read: So What Do You Do, Jeff O’Connell, Award-Winning Writer and Editor-In-Chief of Bodybuilding.com? 

Mediabistro Course

Personal Essay Writing

Personal Essay WritingStarting October 28, work with a published journalist to draft, edit, and sell your first-person essays! Jessica Olien will help you to workshop your writing so that it's ready to pitch to editors. You'll learn how to tell your personal story, self-edit you work to assess voice, style, and tone, and sell your essays for publication. Register now!

Best-Selling Author Nicole Williams on Marketing Yourself

Nicole-Williams-blogNicole Williams, resident career expert at LinkedIn, is not only the founder of her own media company, WORKS by Nicole Williams, but also the author of three best-selling books, including Wildly Sophisticated: A Bold New Attitude for Career Success and Earn What You’re Worth. Her latest title, Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules Into Career Success, has even been optioned for a film by Academy-Award-winning producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen.

It’s safe to say Williams knows a thing or two about marketing herself as a brand. Here, she talks about finding a connection with the vice president at Penguin and getting your name out there in a terrible economy:

Ten, 15 years ago, when I was getting my book published, the vice president of Penguin was sitting in on my meeting. And for some reason, I had done [an] Internet search and knew that this guy came from Toronto, Canada, which is where I was born, and it was that affinity that [enabled] me to [get a] record-breaking advance. Use every method possible to prepare yourself and then to market yourself so that you’re someone that gets noticed. There are opportunities out there. And sometimes in a bad economy there’s actually more opportunity than [less]. It’s just a matter of [going] after it more strategically.

For more from Williams, including how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, read: So What Do You Do, Nicole Williams, Author, Entrepreneur and Career Expert at LinkedIn?

Demetria Lucas on Getting Her First Book Published

Demetria-Lucas-ArticleDemetria Lucas first claim to fame came from her uber-successful blog, A Belle In Brooklyn, which chronicled her dating adventures in New York City a la Sex and the City. After scoring a gig as the relationships editor at Essence, Lucas’ friends convinced her to write a book based on her blog. After all, she started her career editing romance novels for Harlequin and BET Books.

She ended up not only writing one book, but two, and is currently a life coach and one of the stars of Bravo’s reality show Blood, Sweat and Heels. In our latest So What Do You Do interview, Lucas talks about the moment she knew she had to write her first book, titled A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life:

I was fortunate to land a spot on Let’s Talk About Pep on VH1, which was another story about four black women dating in New York. I realized I had a really big platform and I should do something with it. That’s when I pitched my book. Coming from a book editor’s background, I knew that you could have a great story, but if you didn’t have a platform to sell it on, nobody was going to know about it. Simon & Schuster took it. After the book came out, I was all over social media and started doing my ‘Cocktails with Belle’ events because I wanted to meet my readers. I wasn’t really looking at it as a marketing strategy.

For more from Lucas, including her thoughts on being labeled the “black Carrie Bradshaw,” read: So What Do You Do, Demetria Lucas, Writer and Reality Show Star?

Best-Selling Author Terrie Williams: ‘Follow Your Inner Voice and Be True to It’

Terrie-Williams-ArticleTerrie Williams is a woman of many talents. No only is she a licensed therapist, she’s also the founder of her own eponymous public relations firm and a four-time best-selling author. Her books include: The Personal Touch (which is being updated in honor of its 20th anniversary); Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting; A Plentiful Harvest: Creating Balance and Harmony Through the Seven Living Virtues; and Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens. 

In our latest So What Do You Do column, Williams discusses everything from the humble beginnings of her PR firm to her mental health advocacy work. Here, she shares the advice she’d give her younger self:

If you could have a 20-something Terrie Williams as your intern now, what would you tell her to do differently?
Listen to your freakin’ inner voice. You know in your gut what’s right but either fear sets in or something keeps you from listening. There are always other forces crowding the good sense you have. Follow your inner voice and be true to it. I know this is about media, but the underlying core is our shared humanity. It impacts how effective we are in particular roles. If you look at a lot of different media personalities, you wonder what drives them because of certain things that they say or do. Even though you don’t know what that person’s journey is, you know they have one and it colors everything about who they are. Assume there’s something you don’t know that had a profound impact on that person.

For more from Williams, including the greatest professional lesson she’s learned, read: So What Do You Do, Terrie Williams, Author, Activist and Public Relations Strategist? 

Brendan Deneen on What Authors Can Do to Get Their Book Optioned for a Movie

Brendan-Deneen-article-2

Brendan Deneen knows a thing or two about getting a book made into a Hollywood film. He’s not only an author and former literary agent, Deneen is executive editor for Macmillan Entertainment, for which he shops TV and film rights for authors, whether the material is existing or created in house.

In the latest installment of Mediabisto’s So What Do You Do series, we talked to Deneen about the optioning process, why Hollywood so often relies on published bestsellers for content and the best way for an author to break into the movie business (no, you don’t have to be a big name like John Grisham, J.K. Rowling or Nicholas Sparks). Deneen also had plenty of advice to share with struggling authors:

Patience is key. I’m 41 and I wrote my first book when I was 18, and I sold my novel this year. It took me forever. And that doesn’t mean you have to not be putting yourself out there and working your ass off; it just means you may get rejected over and over again like I did when I was 18. It should be a badge of honor. It means you’re getting stuff out there. You need to be constantly writing. If you’re a screenwriter, you should be writing a new screenplay every three or four months. If you’re an author, honestly, you should have a new book every year if you’re serious about it — two years at the most.

To hear more from Deneen, including what he’d like his legacy to be, read: So What Do You Do, Brendan Deneen, Executive Editor Of MacMillan Entertainment?

NYT Best-Selling Author and Finance Expert Dave Ramsey on Self-Publishing

a11999Dave Ramsey self-published his first book, Financial Peace, mostly out of necessity. Nobody would publish it, he says, so he went ahead and did it himself, transporting and selling the books out of the trunk of his car. Little did he know that a mere five years later it would go on to become a New York Times best seller.

In the third week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, Ramsey talks about his publishing house, Lampo Press, his new book, Smart Money Smart Kids, which he co-authored with his daughter, and the dos and don’ts of self-publishing:

What advice do you have for a new author who’s deciding whether they should self-publish or try to find a traditional publisher?
I think you have to have a plan if you’re in the nonfiction world to sell the book, whether you’re self published or you’re working with a publisher. If you’re looking to write a book and hand it to someone, and let someone else do all the work, those days are completely gone in our world, with very, very rare exceptions. So publishers are looking for an author that has a willingness to hustle and has a platform of some kind. How are you going to leverage things you’ve done in the past? How are you going to leverage your PR appearances, your knowledge, your Twitter base, your fan base on Facebook?

To hear more from Ramsey, including how his personal finance advice applies to the publishing industry, read: Hey, How’d You Become Your Own Publisher, Personal Finance Expert Dave Ramsey?

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

GalleyCat on Kari Moran’s BookRadio Show

bookradioshow.pngOver the weekend, this GalleyCat editor joined radio host Kari Moran on the premiere episode of her BookRadio Show.

While the show airs on Los Angeles CBS-owned stations KFWB NEWS TALK 980, you can listen to the whole show online. Among the many topics discussed during the hour-long broadcast, we focused on the Apple iPad, the Amazon Kindle, and the future of digital books. Follow this link to listen.

Here’s more about the show: “Last summer, Kari was invited to produce and host ‘The Answers to Cancer Hour,’ sponsored by The City of Hope on KFWB. The live, one hour program opened the door to her new gig as Host of ‘Kari Moran’s BookRadio Show,’ the resurrection of a dream that began in 1998 when she became President of the Internet’s first streaming audio book site (BookRadio.com 1996-2001). Kari interviewed scores of best-selling authors on a broad variety of topics and genres. Her ‘BookRadio Minutes’ were heard on all 200 Talk Radio Network Stations.”

Bellevue Literary Review Editor Interviewed

harding.jpgYesterday novelist Paul Harding (pictured) won the Pulitzer Prize for his Bellevue Literary Press novel Tinkers– a major award for an indie press operated out of the Bellevue Hospital Center.

In February, we interviewed editor and author Danielle Ofri. Ofri is the editor in chief of Bellevue Literary Review and a member of the indie press’ Board of Advisors. In honor of this momentous award, we are posting an encore edition of her interview–including information about pitching the literary journal and more about her recent book.

Press play on the embedded player below to listen. The show will be archived around the mediabistro.com network all morning.

She offered this advice for writers looking to pitch the journal: “What we’re looking for at the Bellevue Literary Review (or anything literary) is something that actually transcends the plot of what happened to reveal some greater truth about what happened… I would recommend reading the Review to see how other people interpret these issues.”

Vote: Book Publishing 10 Years in the Future

This week we have explored book publishing insiders’ visions of the future with Seth Godin, Mark Coker, Richard Curtis, Jane Dystel, Richard Nash and Scott Steinberg. But whose visions, in your opinion, are closest to your vision of book publishing in the future? Vote below and voice your opinion:


Who has the best book publishing vision for the future?(GalleyCat)

How To Survive Writing Layoffs

2903746081_7716a32af9_m.jpgYesterday MediaBistro reported on “major layoffs” at Time Inc.’s Southern Progress Corporation and the Observer reports that Radar is closing again. It’s going to be a long, cold winter for writers.

Looking for advice, we interviewed freelance guru Michelle Goodman, author of the brand new book, My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire. Every week she offers career advice at ABCNews.com. Today, she gives writers specific advice about surviving an untimely layoff, beginning with an initial checklist:

“Sign up for unemployment benefits right away; they can take a few weeks to kick in,” she explained.

“Figure out your health insurance situation immediately; if you can’t get on a partner’s plan and can’t afford COBRA (you probably can’t; it’s insanely expensive), make sure you continue your coverage through your professional association of choice, or comparison shop on your own through eHealthInsurance or an insurance broker. Don’t let your coverage lapse, unless you don’t mind dealing with a nasty pre-existing condition clause from whatever insurance company you wind up with later.”

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