How To Turn Frustration Into Literary

Writing-and-Speaking A friend sent me a clipping from a local paper that featured the story of a first time author who is enjoying some great success with her book on shopping etiquette. Normally my first thought would be " Why send this to me?" but within a few seconds I realized why. It was written by a 69-year-old grandmother, named Kathleen Small, who never fully recovered from a stroke. Talk about the right attitude being crucial to success! She extended that great attitude and took the most annoying things people do in stores and turned them into a paperback goldmine. I was intrigued so I read the book and then called her for an interview for my newsletter. After a few minutes I realized this was one of those rare instances where the less you know about the writing business, the better. You see, Kathy had never even read a book on how to write let alone attended a workshop. Not surprisingly, she made some rookie mistakes. However quite surprisingly, they actually made her book better, which I can attest to after nearly choking on my Pepsi just two pages in. As it turns out, her book is very funny. Another pleasant surprise. I started the interview by asking what made her think a book about shopping etiquette would sell? Her response? "I didn’t. I just wrote it for fun and a when I showed it to some friends, they all asked where they could buy copies for friends and family. One of them commented that she thought it was a book just about anyone could relate to. And that got me thinking." When asked where Kathy got her material I was surprised and impressed when she responded, "I did it like that old shampoo commercial. You know: And she told two friends, and she told two friends and so on…" It seems that, aside from solitaire, email is the only thing on her seven year old laptop she uses so she put it to good use by asking friends what bothered them most when shopping. And here’s the part that made this magic. She added a small note that nobody could resist, and meant it sincerely "I know you’ve got a lot of friends. Do you think any of them would like to share a story?" Before she knew it, Kathy had enough material for two books. And it just keeps coming. Having several close friends in the publishing business I know that even professional comedians have trouble getting humor books published. So when I asked Kathy how she pulled it off, the answer really floored me. "I didn’t even bother talking to any publishers. I know a very talented writer who works her heart out then waits weeks or months just to get a rejection letter. I’m too old to play that game. I once heard that ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ was self published so I gave it a try. And I’m really glad I did. I’ll never be famous and that’s okay. To me, having my name on a book that some people really seem to enjoy is like winning the lottery." I realized that Kathy struck gold with self publishing so I asked for details. Here’s some info that can help you on your way to a bestseller: Scott: "What publishing service did you use and why?" Kathy: "I used one my son knew about called LuLu Press ( because it was free and looked easy to use. Money is tight so that was a big factor but I knew I made the right choice when the first copy was printed. It was beautiful and when I saw my name on it, it was all the sudden real. That was one of the most exciting things of my life." Scott: "Now you said ‘free.’ Don’t they charge for layout, typesetting and cover design?" Kathy: "Yes. In fact, more than I could afford so my son did all that for me. He used MS Office to do it all. LuLu can accept Word documents but he converted it to PDF on his own and sent it in that way. Then he used their ‘cover wizard’ to make a beautiful cover." Scott: "Your book has some great illustrations. Are you an artist?" Kathy: "Not at all. Even stick figures are too much for me. I hired an artist through a website called Rent A Coder ( that my son told me about. He hires computer programmers through it and told me I could probably find a talented artist who was trying to build his portfolio or earn extra money while in school. And he was right. The artist and I both ended up very happy." Scott: "And finally, can you offer any selling tips to self published authors?" Kathy: "I think the most important thing is to think of what’s important to you and let that be your guide. For me that meant three things: "First: Make it affordable… For me, on a fixed income, that meant under ten dollars." "Second: Make it easy to purchase… For my book this involved my son buying the domain name ..KSSmall.. and then ‘pointing’ it to the sales page at LuLu…" "Third: Give people options… In this case I was able to make the book available for immediate download for half the price ($4.95 versus $9.95) because the printing costs were eliminated and, of course, there is no shipping fee to worry about. I recently found out that some people even went back and bought the download version after the print version, just so they could print as many of gag awards and game sheets as they wanted." I make a living as a writer and I admit that I was humbled by the simplicity and .mon sense approach that works so well for Kathy. Each time I read her book I am amazed by how a first time author managed to spin her "everybody everyday" tales of frustration into gold, especially after so much just for the opportunity to try. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: