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Items Of INterest
The West Hollywood Book Fair
By Barbara Bordenave
November, 2007, 07:00

The WHBF encourages reading, writing, and literacy in the West Hollywood area.
The West Hollywood Book Fair is a journey into published books, publishing, and literature that entertains readers of everything from reality to fantasy. This year, pavilions offered vibrant and colourful displays of genres and created networking opportunities
 
The Sept 2007 topic at the Writersí Pavilion was Taking Charge: The Ins & Outs Of Independent Publishing. Kathleen McGowan, panellist and self-published author, told listeners about how she bought copies of her book, sold them from the boot of her car, and then on her website and made more money. She believes you must write because you have to write.

"Cream rises to the top," she said, meaning good writing will be recognized. "You donít need a publisher to validate your writing, but when one does offer you a contract, donít appear too excited. Read the contract carefully, negotiate."

Promotional Tips

  • Get a website to promote your book.
  • Make the manuscript interesting and fun.
  • Give free books to fans.
  • Get someone to review your book.
  • Come up with a catchy phrase to further sales.
  • Email a synopsis of your book to friends, companies, and organizations.
  • Have a guestbook online for visitors to your website to sign. This encourages conversation.
  • Put energy towards your dreams. Work hard to prove you are a writer. Be clear about what you want, whether itís writing books, scripts or novels. Know the genres.
  • Form your own Yahoo! group to get people talking about your book, script, or novel.
  • Inquire about writers you like. Send a query to their agent. This may lead to representation.

Be persistent

Paula Edwards, panellist and self-published author, said that Stephen King's nonfiction book On Writing awakened her inner writer. She prepared her manuscript, formatted, uploaded it, had it professionally edited, had a graphic designer make her book cover and submitted it all to the publisher. This turned out to be an economical way to publish a book. She suggested Book Surge as a publishing source.

She also suggested joining literary groups and making financial contributions to them to help other writers. "Successful people donít see obstacles," she said. "Focus on your goals. Donít give up, be persistent."
      
Brand It

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter, winner of the USA Book News Best Professional Book 2004, promoted her book with a CD and gave individual tips and ideas on publishing. She pointed out that John Grisham, a lawyer, found time at 4:00 am to write for two hours before going to work. She recommended branding yourself as a writer as he had done.

Know what your work stands for and market toward a particular group of readers. Create products with your writing business; find a strategy brand like using a promotional CD. Tell yourself, this book will put money in my pocket. Get feedback from reliable people. For another affirmative boost try saying, "This is what I want. This is what I'm going to have."

Another comment from the panel is that the foreign market is your best friend. You want to be in multiple languages with an agent, or publisher to help you sell all over the world.
           
Get your manuscript ready; make it perfect. Drive yourself to achieve, and polish your craft.

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Barbara Bordenave is a freelance magazine writer and a script supervisor for independent films. Her passion is screenwriting, and she's working on the next Rush Hour. Her goal is to speak to the reader in every scripted word. babbord@yahoo.com


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