Welcome back to Member Monday! We had a great meeting with author Pamela Britton and today please join me in welcoming Writers Forum member Chloe Winston to give us a recap.
“Quit making excuses and write!” Award-winning best-selling author Pamela Britton gifted Writers Forum attendees with a pyramid of crucial writing advice at a recent Saturday Forum meeting. With over a million books in print and being discussed by TV gurus like Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert, she brought authenticity to the writing process.
Patience, production, and proposals are the keys to publication, she said. She also discussed two other “p” words: pay and pitch.
One major focus of her talk was a clarification about category writing and single title work. Category writing is shorter (55,000+), has a short shelf life, usually has one protagonist, and is easier to build an audience. A single title has over 100,000 words dealing with conflict between two protagonists, is harder to build a loyal audience, but is globally published, a plus financially.
A second focus was her list of 12 steps to writing success, including be kind to oneself; do pages each day, every day; keep your own voice; have writer friends (critique groups!) and write where you write best.
Write to make people laugh, cry, change, and touch lives, but enjoy what you do. Be sure to craft an “elevator pitch” so that you are ready at moment’s notice to impress an editor or agent trapped in an elevator with you . . .or elsewhere.
A third major focus for this Cottonwood author was successful marketing by the writer and by the publisher. The key to success is not only good writing that responds to the market’s moods, but also the author’s willingness to be visible in public and “on the road.”
She also spoke about agents and publishers, describing their delicate relationships with authors. (Head nods by published Forum members indicated she was “right on” with her comments.) Britton was frank about her income from her business-like approach to writing, as well as how she interacts with publisher and agent requests for changes. She mentioned the need to “stalk editors and agents” and to regard the sanctity of deadlines. She also touched on the emerging market of E-books.
Writers need to have thick skins, she said, with high energy, an ability to maintain focus, be open to continued working on writing skills, and to realize the value of professional promotion following publication.
A writer’s voice is crucial as one develops a style that readers recognize . . .and respond to. And buy! See what else is selling, spot a trend early on, and write, write, write. Her last words of advice: be aggressive, be strong, don’t be shy, have a sense of ego. Be generous, embrace change, stay healthy, constantly learn, maintain focus, and like people
She reminded us that if one writes a page a day for a year it results in a 365 page book, so she challenged Forum members to get busy with their own dream novels. She ended with: “like winning the lottery, lightning may strike!”