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Posts Tagged ‘So What Do You Do?’

International Best-Selling Author Paul McKenna on His Writing Process

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Paul McKenna, the hypnotist and self-help guru from the UK, has a gift for writing best-selling nonfiction books. After an early career in radio, McKenna transitioned to TV and then to publishing. He’s written 16 nonfiction books, with provocative titles like I Can Make You Thin, which happens to be the best-selling self-help book in UK history.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, McKenna talks about the way he revolutionized nonfiction books (by putting a CD in the back, with a hypnotic trance on it) and why he’s not interested in writing an intellectual tome:

When I’m writing a book, I imagine I’m holding a copy of the book, and I start to flick through it and I get a sense of the emotional tone, or I get a sense of the pace of the book, whether it’s short chapters or long ones. The other thing I do is imagine the [reader] is sitting in front of me, and I think, ‘What do I need to tell them to help them get better?’ My readers need enough science to tell them that what they’re about to do is safe and has been practiced on other people and is a worthwhile process and then I walk them through it. And I’m not interested in writing intellectual books for other intellectuals to read. I’m interested in helping as many people as I can, in as easy and painless a way as possible.

For more from McKenna, including how he got his very first book published, read: So What Do You Do, Paul McKenna, Best-Selling Author, Hypnotist and Host of Hulu’s McKenna?

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Nonfiction Book Proposal

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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? 

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? 

Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

“My instinct is to absolutely recoil when talking about writing in a mechanistic way,” says screenwriter and producer Michael Hirst. With a bunch of film credits under his belt, along with the award-winning series The Tudors, Hirst talks to Mediabistro for the latest installment of So What Do You Do? Though he writes for a different medium than most of you GalleyCat readers, his advice for research and crafting characters is useful for any writer.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. “A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well. You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

Gossip Girl Author on Working With Book Packagers

Before her meteoric rise to the top with Gossip GirlCecily von Ziegesar worked as an editor for Alloy, a book packaging company, and knows too well what authors experience getting their titles onto shelves.  So what are her thoughts on allegations that the company takes advantage of its writers?

“You know what you’re getting into when you work with that packager,” von Ziegesar said in mediabistro.com’s So What Do You Do? interview. “I think if you honestly looked at a lot of the series where the writers have worked with packagers, they just wouldn’t have happened otherwise, because it takes that many people to get something in that quantity out that quickly — to a certain quality, too, because it’s a big endeavor. And they’re able to make it all happen well and fast.”

For von Ziegesar’s tips on conquering writer’s block and to find out how she got Gossip Girl on TV, read the full interview.

 

 

How James Lipton Formulates Those Inside the Actor’s Studio Questions

James Lipton is more than than just a TV personality.  The  actor, director, producer, choreographer, playwright and founder of the Actor’s Studio Drama School  is also the author of the novel Mirrors (which he adapted for TV) and the nonfiction book An Exaltation of Larks.

In mediabistro.com’s So What Do You Do? interview, Lipton spoke about how he prepares his questions for each episode of his popular Bravo show Inside the Actor’s Studio and explained why he doesn’t believe in pre-interviews.

“Nothing is handed to me. I get raw material from my researcher… and then I watch all the movies, read everything that the person has written about himself or herself, and I go through all the articles that have been written about them, and from that I distill the blue cards, which are approximately 300-500 [cards] for each person,” he told Amanda Ernst.

“And then they come to me and they’re on stage with me for three and a half to four hours, up to five or six hours, because it’s a class. The students would stay all night. I literally threw [the casts of] Mad Men and Glee out of there in the middle of the night.”

To find out which actor just wouldn’t stop crying during his Inside taping, read the full interview here.