February 28, 2011

Who Will Be The Next American Best Selling Author?

With all the reality TV shows cluttering the airwaves, how come they haven’t yet done a “So You Think You Can Write” show where they pick the next American Best Selling Author?

Think about it: Millions of wannabe writers give a pitch in front of a panel of three judges. I’m thinking the judges should consist of a famous writer (preferably British), an attractive female agent, and then a third judge who no one really knows what he does except he is “involved in the industry” and wears really cool glasses.

There would be no age limit for this competition. 80 year old wannabe writers would be pitted against 15 and 16 year olds who squeal, “This has been my life-long dream! I’ve wanted it since I was 14!”

First the wannabes have to do their audition pitch in front of the judges. If they impress them, they get a golden ticket to go to New York City (just seems right to hold it there). People who wear the gimmicky chicken costumes to give their pitch usually don’t make it through to the next round, although if you wear nothing but a bikini and you have the body to pull it off, your chances might be increased.

During New York week, contestants participate in the dreaded group sessions where writers with different styles and running on no sleep have to work together to produce a great piece of writing.

And so the competition continues….all the way up to where the American public calls in their votes for the writer who they think has the most talent--or just the person they like the best, because we all know it isn’t just about the writing--you have the have the whole package to be the next American Best Selling Author.

I thought up the idea for this show a couple of years ago, and you’d think it would be fair to say if the reality show ever does come into being, I should get royalties for the idea. However, I did an internet search on the title “So You Think You Can Write” and come to find out other people had similar ideas. Just goes to show, few ideas are original—it’s how you present them that matters.

February 14, 2011

It's Almost a Real Book!

On Friday the book proofs for “Tammy Rarities From Around The World” were delivered to my home.
Here’s a sneak preview of what the book is shaping up to look like: 

 After snapping this photo, I thought about jumping in the middle of the pile and rolling around in it, but being the refined and dignified person that I am, I resisted. 


February 8, 2011

So Close, Yet...Not

Big News! Harper Collins called my home. Harper Collins, as in one of the world’s leading publishing houses!!!
When I saw their name on caller ID I nearly piddled myself with excitement thinking they were calling to tell me they wanted to publish one of my YA books. But then confusion took over and I wondered how they even knew I had an unpublished YA book since I had never contacted them telling that? Could a friend of a friend of a friend’s brother-in-law’s cousin have mentioned to someone who worked there that I write YA books?
I picked up the phone using my most bestselling-author-like voice.
Me: Hello?
HC Person: Is this Representative Boehner’s office?
*pause while confusion boggled my brain, then…*
Me: No, I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.
HC Person: Oh, I’m sorry.
Phone: *click*

That was the closest I’ve ever been to negotiations with a major publishing house.

*logo copyright HarperCollins

February 4, 2011

Why I Became A Writer Instead Of An Artist

I wasn’t one of those people who knew right off that they wanted to be a writer. “Back in the day” I sort-of/kind-of wanted to be an illustrator. I liked to draw when I was a kid, and one of my childhood friends loved to write, so we decided that she would write books and I was going to illustrate them.

This is a typical picture I drew when I was about twelve or thirteen years old, and as you can see, I wasn’t exactly a child protégé when it came to drawing human subjects (truth be told, I was better at drawing houses or other square things). As a kid I didn’t let the fact that I wasn't that good detour me from the thought of being an illustrator anyway.

Then my sort-of/kind-of dream of being an illustrator completely disappeared in high school after my art teacher wouldn’t sign for me to go on to advanced art because she said I “fooled around too much” in Art 101 class. I’m guessing it was probably her way of telling me she didn’t think I had much artistic talent. The fooling around part she referred to was me making faces at my sister who spent lots of time hanging around the back door of the art room. I blame my face-making antics on “middle-child syndrome”--you know, that obsessive need that middle children (or children from large families) have to get attention. As for the part about not-pursuing-my-dream-in-spite-of-what-that-dream-crushing-teacher-thought, that part I blame on not really wanting the dream all that much anyway.

Fast forward five or six years. A pile of rejection letters from editors of magazines I submitted to didn’t crush my new dream of being a writer. Writing success came slowly and in little bits, but the thing I had going for me is that I wanted this dream bad enough that I wasn’t going to let any dream-crushing comment or rejection detour me along the way. I practiced, and took writing classes (where I still made faces at people), and attended seminars until I learned the skills necessary for editors to finally say yes.

If you ever decide to give up on a dream, don’t blame it on someone else. If someone tells you don’t have the talent or skills necessary to reach your goal, don't let that cripple you. They may be right, and if they are, then do everything you can to get those skills and foster that talent. If they're wrong, prove it. Success is the greatest revenge against dream-crushers.