MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Radio Publicity Expert Alex Carroll

The best source for do-it-yourself radio publicity is Alex Carroll, who has made millions for himself and others with his tried and true techniques for grabbing interviews by “do it yourself” phone calls. His “Millionaire Package” will put you on the road to succeeding as your own radio publicist, with over 1000 of the top markets (including the right name to call, the right phone number and email, etc.).

Sell Anything! ... Your books, products, services, cause, seminar, newsletter, website, campaign etc.


· You get to advertise for FREE. Radio interviews cost nothing!

· You can do radio interviews from any phone, anytime,anywhere

· You'll often get an entire hour or more of free airtime per interview

· You'll become recognized as the expert on your subject

· You'll have captive audiences of thousands ...
even millions ... of listeners

· Your bank account will explode

· You could become the next household name

Don’t even think of promoting your book without using his methods. It will be the best investment you’ve made. To order just click on http://www.webmarketingmagic.com/app/aftrack.asp?afid=1205085.

Clients included:

* Deepak Chopra (whose career she is credited with launching)

* Wayne Dyer

* Neale Donald Walsh

* Marianne Williamson

* Louise Hay

* Kenny Loggins

... and many more

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor The End of an Era in Publishing




By GARRISON KEILLOR
Published: May 26, 2010

I ran into my daughter’s favorite author, Mary Pope Osborne, in New York the other night, whose Magic Tree House books I’ve read to the child at night, and a moment later, Scott Turow, who writes legal thrillers that keep people awake all night, and David Remnick, the biographer of Obama. Bang bang bang, one heavyweight after another. Erica Jong, Jeffrey Toobin, Judy Blume. It was a rooftop party in Tribeca that I got invited to via a well-connected pal, wall-to-wall authors and agents and editors and elegant young women in little black dresses, standing, white wine in hand, looking out across the Hudson at the lights of Hoboken and Jersey City, eating shrimp and scallops and spanikopita on toothpicks, all talking at once the way New Yorkers do.

I grew up on the windswept plains with my nose in a book, so I am awestruck in the presence of book people, even though I have written a couple books myself. These are anti-elitist times, when mobs are calling for the downfall of pointy-head intellectuals who dare tell decent people what to think, but I admire the elite. I’m not one of them — I’m a deadline writer, my car has 150,000 miles on it — but I’m sorry about their downfall. And this book party in Tribeca feels like a Historic Moment, like a 1982 convention of typewriter salesmen or the hunting party of Kaiser Wilhelm II with his coterie of plumed barons in the fall of 1913 before the Great War sent their world spinning off the precipice.

Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm, often combining letters and numerals (U R 2 1derful), blogging like crazy, reading for hours off their little screens, surfing around from Henry James to Jesse James to the epistle of James to pajamas to Obama to Alabama to Alanon to non-sequiturs, sequins, penguins, penal institutions, and it’s all free, and you read freely, you’re not committed to anything the way you are when you shell out $30 for a book, you’re like a hummingbird in an endless meadow of flowers.

And if you want to write, you just write and publish yourself. No need to ask permission, just open a Web site. And if you want to write a book, you just write it, send it to Lulu.com or BookSurge at Amazon or PubIt or ExLibris and you’ve got yourself an e-book. No problem. And that is the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.

Back in the day, we became writers through the laying on of hands. Some teacher who we worshipped touched our shoulder, and this benediction saw us through a hundred defeats. And then an editor smiled on us and wrote us a check and our babies got shoes. But in the New Era, writers will be self-anointed. No passing of the torch. Just sit down and write the book. And the New York Times, the great brand name of publishing, will vanish (POOF) whose imprimatur you covet for your book (“brilliantly lyrical, edgy, suffused with light” — NY Times). And editors will vanish.

The upside of self-publishing is that you can write whatever you wish, utter freedom, and that also is the downside. You can write whatever you wish and everyone in the world can exercise their right to read the first three sentences and delete the rest.

Self-publishing will destroy the aura of martyrdom that writers have enjoyed for centuries. Tortured geniuses, rejected by publishers, etc., etc. If you publish yourself, this doesn’t work anymore, alas.

Children, I am an author who used to type a book manuscript on a manual typewriter. Yes, I did. And mailed it to a New York publisher in a big manila envelope with actual postage stamps on it. And kept a carbon copy for myself. I waited for a month or so and then got an acceptance letter in the mail. It was typed on paper. They offered to pay me a large sum of money. I read it over and over and ran up and down the rows of corn whooping. It was beautiful, the Old Era. I’m sorry you missed it.

Tribune Media Services

Friday, June 25, 2010

ATLANTA: WRITE THE WORLD

KEYNOTE SPEECH: TAP-DANCING ON THE RAZOR’S EDGE


In cooperation with Atlanta-Rio Sister City Committee and the Atlanta Writers Club

© Kenneth Atchity

If you’re an authorpreneur, a writer, an artist trying to make it in today’s toughly competitive global market, you’re tapdancing on the narrowest bridge in the world—spanning the cactus fields of the UNKNOWN world and THE PROMISED LAND where the grass is greener and the trees are tall and mighty.

It’s the smallest and most dynamic and most important bridge in human experience—one that everyone would like to be standing on but few have the courage to attempt:

It’s the bridge of VISION--that links dream with reality.

It’s a very small bridge and very narrow and uncomfortable when you first step onto it. But the longer you’re on it, the more maneuvering room you realize you have. The more comfortable it becomes standing on what you recognize as the razor’s edge.

You learn to tap dance.

You learn to laugh and cry again.

You learn to enjoy the dance, to sing while you dance.

You learn perspective. You build character. You turn from butterfly to lioness.

Sooner or later you should begin to feel, as I do, incredibly fortunate to be doing what we love the most—STORYTELLING—and getting paid to do it. As a producer, editor, literary manager, author consultant, and brand launcher I get to be an alchemist, turning STORIES into GOLD.

And as someone who tries hard to always think OUTSIDE THE BOX—especially since the boxes either are crumbling or have already crumbled--it has been thrilling to see my clients’ DRACULA THE UNDEAD on page one of cnn.com and on the New York Times extended list—after I added a brand name to the mix; and to be producing my clients’ Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbin’s THE KENNEDY DETAIL, which appears from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster this November after we found a way to get Clint Hill to write the forward, and we managed to set up, with our reality partner Renegade83 a 2-hour Discovery Sunday special which will appear at the same time as the book launch. These clients danced the danced successfully, and because they, like all storytellers, are inveterate masochists are already back on that bridge dancing that crazy dance again.

No one is forcing you to do this. Remind yourself of that when the going gets toughest. You’ve chosen this career, and you can only lose at it if you quit.

What you are doing, in business terms, is creating the most valuable commodity on earth, “intellectual property.” And today that is worth more than real property! Who would you rather be, Donald Trump or Steve Jobs?

You are entering an infinite profession, of unlimited potential. Not even the sky is the limit—my client Nik Halik’s The Thrillionaire has been in outer space! In this world of studios crashing, networks retrenching, publishers conglomerating, where everything is changing all the time—at least one thing is constant: the need for stories never ceases.

“Trackers” are highly paid by the major studios to find stories and bring them in.

No wonder storytellers were considered sacred among the ancient Greeks--because they were the channelers of STORIES, stories that described reality in terms humans can relate to.

Therefore don’t let your ego prematurely destroy your career, as I have seen it do for so many writers. “No ego” should be your mantra, as you take your WORK, not YOURSELF, seriously.

Eventually, on that razor’s edge, you’ll learn that though the Promised Land IS worth the promise it’s the struggle to get there that is the most valuable experience of your life.

As storytellers who are here this weekend because you actively pursue your vision, you know full well how narrow the bridge we stand on is, how fragile. But you should also know that we’re heroes for even attempting to cross this bridge. I’d like read a tribute to your work by the greatest Greek poet since Homer and Sappho. His name was Constantine P. Cavafy, and he lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and died less than a hundred years ago:

The First Step


The young poet Evmenis
complained one day to Theocritus:
"I've been writing for two years now
and I've composed only one idyll.
It's my single completed work.
I see, sadly, that the ladder
of Poetry is tall, extremely tall;
and from this first step I'm standing on now
I'll never climb any higher."
Theocritus retorted: "Words like that
are improper, blasphemous.
Just to be on the first step
should make you happy and proud.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
what you've done already is a wonderful thing.
Even this first step
is a long way above the ordinary world.
To stand on this step
you must be in your own right
a member of the city of ideas.
And it's a hard, unusual thing
to be enrolled as a citizen of that city.
Its councils are full of Legislators
no charlatan can fool.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
what you've done already is a wonderful thing."

So let’s pause to celebrate--and applaud ourselves right now--for even being here today, on this step—whether it is your first, or whether you’ve taken a few steps already. If you are among the latter, you’ll appreciate the words of the great playwright-poet Samuel Beckett: “Do not come down the ladder. I have taken it away.”

Let’s also face it :you’re in “show BUSINESS,” as my client and partner Michael A. Simpson constantly reminds me; and you must deal with it as the BUSINESS of SHOW. What years have taught me is how important it is, never more so than today, to understand the BUSINESS of being a visionary, a person others call “mad” or “insane.” Remind them of Salvador Dali’s response: “The difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad.”

I always say that the difference between a visionary and a con man in the creative world is SUCCESS. No one believes you can really do it, because everyone has told them how hard it is—and they themselves are too fearful to try.

Yes, it is difficult. That’s why, though everyone in the world has a story, NOT everyone—only YOU—are doing something about it.

Your personal cutting edge difference will be dealing with your career as a business on all fronts. Business requires a plan, an investment, a marketing program, and unceasing determination to move the flag across the field, remembering, for consolation, that if you die in the midst of your own dream that, by definition, has to be a happy death!

As Muriel Rukeyser said, for us humans, “the universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” Whatever it’s really made of, all that matters is how we perceive it. And it’s through stories that we form our perception.

When you’re standing on the razor’s edge in fear, or complaining—as all of us constantly do--remind yourself:

No one is FORCING you to tell your stories to the world. No one is holding this gun to your head but yourself.

You’re here by your free choice, while they are behind their counters or their commuting dashboards or their tellers’ windows because they are afraid to take the chances you are getting used to.

Meanwhile, you are following your dream.

Welcome to the world of storytellers:

What is a storyteller? A storyteller is a simply a communicative dreamer—a person who dares to learn how to communicate her dreams to all of us.

Doing so is not only his privilege, it’s his responsibility. I always told my Occidental College students, “If you have a dream, and fail to express it, you have denied all of us a unique vision that only you can bring us.”

But Aristotle said, “Excellence is not a plan.” Dreamers need to plan. An authorpreneur who truly wishes to succeed in the commercial world of storytelling needs to analyze it from a business point of view. AMBITION and VISION are NOT ENOUGH. You must equal them with CRAFT, TECHNIQUE, AND SKILL.

In my book, A WRITER’S TIME, I wrote that four things are needed to succeed in Hollywood:

1) Persistence (endurance, determination)

2) Contacts (networking)

3) Being a fun person to work with (and its corollary, “Staying off everyone’s life is too short list”) and

4) TALENT

It’s sobering to realize that any one of the first three are sufficient in themselves. Bad movies can be made through sheer persistence; mediocre books can be published just through strong contacts. But the 4th, the one we’re all looking and hoping for, is NOT sufficient. Talent alone must be combined with the others.

And add LUCK or GOOD TIMING and, remembering what someone said that the “harder I work the luckier I get.”

You might also add ORIGINALITY—which Joe Roth defined as “being able to think of something that hasn’t been on TV!”

Recently, trying to maintain the business of show business, my company has evolved. We raise independent financing for films, and encourage writers to become filmmakers to move their projects forward. We consult with writers on their career strategies one on one. We launch brands. As literary managers, we look for the next Sue Grafton or Robert Ludlum whose vision CLEARLY extends into the future.

What we learn from the tap-dance on the razor’s edge is:

TOUGHEN UP.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD DESPITE YOUR PRESENT MOODS. A week from now, you won’t even remember how you feel today; so don’t let it stop you from working. My wife Kayoko is always reminding me that Gandhi said, “Full effort is full success.”

PERSIST. NEVER GIVE UP. Yes, you may be going through hell. But “if you’re going through hell,” Winston Churchill advised, “keep going!”

NEVER PUT DEADLINES ON YOUR CAREER.

TAKE YOUR CAREER, NOT YOURSELF, SERIOUSLY. Don’t go from saying “I just want to be better” to “I just want to write what I want to write.” I’ve repeatedly seen clients lose the humble perspective created before success hit them, and sabotage their careers.

NEVER PUT ASIDE YOUR VISION, BUT PERFECT IT, PERFECT IT, PERFECT IT and make allies of those who can help you do that to bring your craft and skills to the level of your talent and ambition. If you continue pursuing your dream no matter what until you achieve it—and then you’ll have bigger dreams, of course—by definition, YOU CAN’T FAIL. Carlyle put it this way: “Success is steady progress toward a worthy goal.”

Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for Disneyland.

Frank Herbert’s DUNE was rejected 36 times. Don’t let your representative give up at 32!

George Lucas was forced to put up his own money to pay for “Star Wars” because NO ONE believed in his vision. By the time the film came out, he was bankrupt. He is now fabulously wealthy of course—PRECISELY BECAUSE HE WAS UNABLE TO SELL ANY OF THE RIGHTS TO THE FILM OR ITS SEQUELS. Shakespeare played politics to get the Globe Theater built for his own plays. Sophocles and Aeschylus had to do the same thing in the time of classical Greece. Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, in fact most late nineteenth century novelists began their careers SELF-PUBLISHING.

Jerzy Kosinski’s STEPS won awards, but was rejected by publishers 34 times—once by its very own publisher, after it had already been published.

Remember what William Goldman observed, in his Adventures in the Screen Trade: NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.

In today’s tough world of authorpreneurship, be flexible and always THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

Yes, the business of becoming and being a professional writer is hard. The hard part is the great part. That’s why you’ve chosen to do it. The river is wide between where we are now and the success and attention we want is on the other side. The razor’s edge is thin and dangerous. You don’t NEED to do this. You’re DESTINED to do this.

What could be a happier mission in life?

How can you fail at being yourself?

And now you know what the bridge is—a razor’s edge--and how to dance on it, just promise me and yourself that you won’t fall off.

As for this great conference, organized by Atlanta AEI Associate Manager Mardeene Mitchell, Tudo Azul!

Muito obrigado – Boa sorte!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

LITERARY MANAGEMENT: OUTSIDE THE BOX

Book-Launch Consulting for Self-Publishing Authors

As the paradigms in the book market are shifting, I’ve been progressively frustrated by my inability to spend sufficient time with my own self-published clients, and I’m sure they’ve shared my frustration!

After experiencing the torture of submission to the regular publishers and the uncertainties of the marketplace even when regular publishers do get involved, more and more authors are, quite properly, taking their literary fates in their own hands and getting their books in front of readers by the most direct routes possible. That means one form or another of self-publishing, an honorable tradition, by the way, that goes all the way back to classical Greece.

Because of detail-intensive, experience-based challenges like this one, where we have much to offer, many ways we can help, AEI is now offering a new “book launch service” for our self-published clients, where we coach, guard, and guide them through the marketing, platform-building, dealing with publicists, foreign rights, contests and awards, etc.

I’m now already doing it for several, who are finding it productive. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

I’m very efficient with my use of time and frugal in billing against it, btw. I love giving your books the full attention they deserve, and am happy to have found a way to do so.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

THE 2010 NEW ENGLAND BOOK FESTIVAL - CALL FOR ENTRIES

BOSTON, MASS_(June 14, 2010) _ The 2010 New England Book Festival has issued the call for entries to its annual competition honoring the best books of the holiday season and added several new categories.

The competition will accept entries in the following categories: non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, young adult, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, photography/art, poetry, spiritual works, compilations/anthologies, gay, unpublished stories and wild card (for books that don't neatly fit elsewhere). All entries must be in English.

Our grand prize for the 2010 New England Book Festival winner is $1500 cash and a flight to the awards in Boston in January, 2011.

Submitted works will be judged by a panel using the following criteria:

1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.

2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.

FESTIVAL RULES: New England Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.

NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries on our web site (www.newenglandbookfestival.com). Because of the anticipated high volume of entries, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries.

Deadline submissions in each category must be postmarked by midnight on November 25, 2010. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and on the web site. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions at our meetings.

TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at www.newenglandbookfestival.com or may be faxed/e-mailed to you. Please contact our office at 323-665-8080 for fax requests. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee of $50 in the form of a check, money order or PayPal online payment in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee.

AWARDS: The New England Book Festival selection committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project.

The 2010 New England Book Festival is part of the JM Northern Media family of festivals, which include the DIY Convention: Do It Yourself in Film, Music & Books, New York Book Festival and Hollywood Book Festival. The New England Book Festival is sponsored by The Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, eDivvy, Shopanista and Westside Websites.

# # #

CONTACT:

NewEnglandBookFest@sbcglobal.net

323-665-8080

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS interviews Seal of Excellence winner Alaya Johnson about her newest release Moonshine.

RT Editors Announce May 2010 Seal of Excellence Winner: Alaya Johnson BY admin, JUNE, 01 2010 | PERMALINK

or RT BOOK REVIEWS second Seal of Excellence recipient, the editors choose Moonshine by Alaya Johnson. This tale set in 1920s New York is a seamless blend of historical romance and urban fantasy. If you are only going to read one book this month, our staff agrees you should take a chance on Johnson.


RT Managing Editor Liz French loved the world building in Moonshine, the oppressed minorities including vampires shapeshifters and even a golem. Mostly she was impressed by the "shades of gray - the bad guys had some good pints and the good guys had some bad points. It was nuanced," she raves.

Stephanie Klose, RT's senior editor and reviews coordinator, had this to say about her favorite parts of Moonshine, "everything Liz said" hits the nail on the head.

RT Assistant Web Editor Whitney Sullivan loved the "quirky and civic-minded" heroine Zephyr Hollis, a young woman who is determined to better the circumstances of all the opposed groups, immigrants, women, and vampires alike. As Zephyr campaigns for social justice throughout the city she wins the hearts of her fellow characters. And Whitney warns, "don't be surprised if you fall in love with Zephry as well." Further kudos to Johnson for deftly handling Zephyr's interracial relationship while never shying away from the issue of prejudice. It is rare to find so much civic-activism packed into such an enjoyable read!




Friday, June 18, 2010

ATLANTA: WRITE THE WORLD

KEYNOTE TALK: TAP-DANCING ON THE RAZOR’S EDGE


In cooperation with Atlanta-Rio Sister City Committee and the Atlanta Writers Club

© Kenneth Atchity

If you’re an authorpreneur, a writer, an artist trying to make it in today’s toughly competitive global market, you’re tapdancing on the narrowest bridge in the world—spanning the cactus fields of the UNKNOWN world and THE PROMISED LAND where the grass is greener and the trees are tall and mighty.

It’s the smallest and most dynamic and most important bridge in human experience—one that everyone would like to be standing on but few have the courage to attempt:

It’s the bridge of VISION--that links dream with reality.

It’s a very small bridge and very narrow and uncomfortable when you first step onto it. But the longer you’re on it, the more maneuvering room you realize you have. The more comfortable it becomes standing on what you recognize as the razor’s edge.

You learn to tap dance.

You learn to laugh and cry again.

You learn to enjoy the dance, to sing while you dance.

You learn perspective. You build character. You turn from butterfly to lioness.

Sooner or later you should begin to feel, as I do, incredibly fortunate to be doing what we love the most—STORYTELLING—and getting paid to do it. As a producer, editor, literary manager, author consultant, and brand launcher I get to be an alchemist, turning STORIES into GOLD.

And as someone who tries hard to always think OUTSIDE THE BOX—especially since the boxes either are crumbling or have already crumbled--it has been thrilling to see my clients’ DRACULA THE UNDEAD on page one of cnn.com and on the New York Times extended list—after I added a brand name to the mix; and to be producing my clients’ Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbin’s THE KENNEDY DETAIL, which appears from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster this November after we found a way to get Clint Hill to write the forward, and we managed to set up, with our reality partner Renegade83 a 2-hour Discovery Sunday special which will appear at the same time as the book launch. These clients danced the danced successfully, and because they, like all storytellers, are inveterate masochists are already back on that bridge dancing that crazy dance again.

No one is forcing you to do this. Remind yourself of that when the going gets toughest. You’ve chosen this career, and you can only lose at it if you quit.

What you are doing, in business terms, is creating the most valuable commodity on earth, “intellectual property.” And today that is worth more than real property! Who would you rather be, Donald Trump or Steve Jobs?

You are entering an infinite profession, of unlimited potential. Not even the sky is the limit—my client Nik Halik’s The Thrillionaire has been in outer space! In this world of studios crashing, networks retrenching, publishers conglomerating, where everything is changing all the time—at least one thing is constant: the need for stories never ceases.

“Trackers” are highly paid by the major studios to find stories and bring them in.

No wonder storytellers were considered sacred among the ancient Greeks--because they were the channelers of STORIES, stories that described reality in terms humans can relate to.

Therefore don’t let your ego prematurely destroy your career, as I have seen it do for so many writers. “No ego” should be your mantra, as you take your WORK, not YOURSELF, seriously.

Eventually, on that razor’s edge, you’ll learn that though the Promised Land IS worth the promise it’s the struggle to get there that is the most valuable experience of your life.

As storytellers who are here this weekend because you actively pursue your vision, you know full well how narrow the bridge we stand on is, how fragile. But you should also know that we’re heroes for even attempting to cross this bridge. I’d like read a tribute to your work by the greatest Greek poet since Homer and Sappho. His name was Constantine P. Cavafy, and he lived in Alexandria, Egypt, and died less than a hundred years ago:

The First Step


The young poet Evmenis
complained one day to Theocritus:
"I've been writing for two years now
and I've composed only one idyll.
It's my single completed work.
I see, sadly, that the ladder
of Poetry is tall, extremely tall;
and from this first step I'm standing on now
I'll never climb any higher."
Theocritus retorted: "Words like that
are improper, blasphemous.
Just to be on the first step
should make you happy and proud.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
what you've done already is a wonderful thing.
Even this first step
is a long way above the ordinary world.
To stand on this step
you must be in your own right
a member of the city of ideas.
And it's a hard, unusual thing
to be enrolled as a citizen of that city.
Its councils are full of Legislators
no charlatan can fool.
To have reached this point is no small achievement:
what you've done already is a wonderful thing."

So let’s pause to celebrate--and applaud ourselves right now--for even being here today, on this step—whether it is your first, or whether you’ve taken a few steps already. If you are among the latter, you’ll appreciate the words of the great playwright-poet Samuel Beckett: “Do not come down the ladder. I have taken it away.”

Let’s also face it :you’re in “show BUSINESS,” as my client and partner Michael A. Simpson constantly reminds me; and you must deal with it as the BUSINESS of SHOW. What years have taught me is how important it is, never more so than today, to understand the BUSINESS of being a visionary, a person others call “mad” or “insane.” Remind them of Salvador Dali’s response: “The difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad.”

I always say that the difference between a visionary and a con man in the creative world is SUCCESS. No one believes you can really do it, because everyone has told them how hard it is—and they themselves are too fearful to try.

Yes, it is difficult. That’s why, though everyone in the world has a story, NOT everyone—only YOU—are doing something about it.

Your personal cutting edge difference will be dealing with your career as a business on all fronts. Business requires a plan, an investment, a marketing program, and unceasing determination to move the flag across the field, remembering, for consolation, that if you die in the midst of your own dream that, by definition, has to be a happy death!

As Muriel Rukeyser said, for us humans, “the universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” Whatever it’s really made of, all that matters is how we perceive it. And it’s through stories that we form our perception.

When you’re standing on the razor’s edge in fear, or complaining—as all of us constantly do--remind yourself:

No one is FORCING you to tell your stories to the world. No one is holding this gun to your head but yourself.

You’re here by your free choice, while they are behind their counters or their commuting dashboards or their tellers’ windows because they are afraid to take the chances you are getting used to.

Meanwhile, you are following your dream.

Welcome to the world of storytellers:

What is a storyteller? A storyteller is a simply a communicative dreamer—a person who dares to learn how to communicate her dreams to all of us.

Doing so is not only his privilege, it’s his responsibility. I always told my Occidental College students, “If you have a dream, and fail to express it, you have denied all of us a unique vision that only you can bring us.”

But Aristotle said, “Excellence is not a plan.” Dreamers need to plan. An authorpreneur who truly wishes to succeed in the commercial world of storytelling needs to analyze it from a business point of view. AMBITION and VISION are NOT ENOUGH. You must equal them with CRAFT, TECHNIQUE, AND SKILL.

In my book, A WRITER’S TIME, I wrote that four things are needed to succeed in Hollywood:

1) Persistence (endurance, determination)

2) Contacts (networking)

3) Being a fun person to work with (and its corollary, “Staying off everyone’s life is too short list”) and

4) TALENT

It’s sobering to realize that any one of the first three are sufficient in themselves. Bad movies can be made through sheer persistence; mediocre books can be published just through strong contacts. But the 4th, the one we’re all looking and hoping for, is NOT sufficient. Talent alone must be combined with the others.

And add LUCK or GOOD TIMING and, remembering what someone said that the “harder I work the luckier I get.”

You might also add ORIGINALITY—which Joe Roth defined as “being able to think of something that hasn’t been on TV!”

Recently, trying to maintain the business of show business, my company has evolved. We raise independent financing for films, and encourage writers to become filmmakers to move their projects forward. We consult with writers on their career strategies one on one. We launch brands. As literary managers, we look for the next Sue Grafton or Robert Ludlum whose vision CLEARLY extends into the future.

What we learn from the tap-dance on the razor’s edge is:

TOUGHEN UP.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD DESPITE YOUR PRESENT MOODS. A week from now, you won’t even remember how you feel today; so don’t let it stop you from working. My wife Kayoko is always reminding me that Gandhi said, “Full effort is full success.”

PERSIST. NEVER GIVE UP. Yes, you may be going through hell. But “if you’re going through hell,” Winston Churchill advised, “keep going!”

NEVER PUT DEADLINES ON YOUR CAREER.

TAKE YOUR CAREER, NOT YOURSELF, SERIOUSLY. Don’t go from saying “I just want to be better” to “I just want to write what I want to write.” I’ve repeatedly seen clients lose the humble perspective created before success hit them, and sabotage their careers.

NEVER PUT ASIDE YOUR VISION, BUT PERFECT IT, PERFECT IT, PERFECT IT and make allies of those who can help you do that to bring your craft and skills to the level of your talent and ambition. If you continue pursuing your dream no matter what until you achieve it—and then you’ll have bigger dreams, of course—by definition, YOU CAN’T FAIL. Carlyle put it this way: “Success is steady progress toward a worthy goal.”

Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for Disneyland.

Frank Herbert’s DUNE was rejected 36 times. Don’t let your representative give up at 32!

George Lucas was forced to put up his own money to pay for “Star Wars” because NO ONE believed in his vision. By the time the film came out, he was bankrupt. He is now fabulously wealthy of course—PRECISELY BECAUSE HE WAS UNABLE TO SELL ANY OF THE RIGHTS TO THE FILM OR ITS SEQUELS. Shakespeare played politics to get the Globe Theater built for his own plays. Sophocles and Aeschylus had to do the same thing in the time of classical Greece. Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, in fact most late nineteenth century novelists began their careers SELF-PUBLISHING.

Jerzy Kosinski’s STEPS won awards, but was rejected by publishers 34 times—once by its very own publisher, after it had already been published.

Remember what William Goldman observed, in his Adventures in the Screen Trade: NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.

In today’s tough world of authorpreneurship, be flexible and always THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

Yes, the business of becoming and being a professional writer is hard. The hard part is the great part. That’s why you’ve chosen to do it. The river is wide between where we are now and the success and attention we want is on the other side. The razor’s edge is thin and dangerous. You don’t NEED to do this. You’re DESTINED to do this.

What could be a happier mission in life?

How can you fail at being yourself?

And now you know what the bridge is—a razor’s edge--and how to dance on it, just promise me and yourself that you won’t fall off.

As for this great conference, organized by Atlanta AEI Associate Manager Mardeene Mitchell, Tudo Azul!

Muito obrigado – Boa sorte!