March 14th, 2004
by Skip Press
(with Hot Leads from the estimable Gary Phillips, reprinted from the Natl. Writers Union Newsletter)
Ive sold my last three books online, and recently got a fourscript assignment for a new UPN TV show the same way. The book are real, print books, not the ebook variety (although theres nothing wrong with electronic publishing). When I tell other writers about my success over the last year and a half, even if they have Internet access they seem a bit baffled as to how I do it. So heres some tips:
About 18 months ago, I got the job writing The Writers Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors and Screenwriters Agents (Prima) by searching the Member Directory of America Online. Even if you use AOL (and can get on without a busy signal), most people dont know you can click on Member Directory and get a search engine screen in which you can enter keywords. I entered book publisher and up came every AOL member who has filled out a member profile (many dont) and had the phrase book publisher in their profile. I read through the profiles, narrowed the field to just over 30, and sent them all a message telling them about some of the other work Id done and announcing my availability. Two weeks later, I had a book contract.
When that book was done and I was running out of funds, I began browsing the message boards on AOL and came up with a ghostwriting job that had been ignored by just about everyone else. Result? A fine novel were putting the finishing touches on. I was paid to write it, from the memoirs of a retired businessman, and well split the profits when I sell it. Not only had many people ignored my friend Jacks to-the-point post, the boards were full of yapping back and forth rather than serious writing discussion. I was serious about it, and made a sale.
To give you some idea of the pointless yapping in cyberspace, on the Screenwriting message board, the biggest posting area is Complaints with over a thousand posts. The next largest post area is barely a couple of hundred.
Maybe this is one reason my Writers Guide is doing well in the stores. In the chapter You Can Get There From Here I discuss how anyone, wherever they are in the world, can make sales even to Hollywood via cyberspace.
Which brings up my latest sale, to Perfectly Round Productions of Wichita, Kansas. Theyre doing a new kids show for UPN. I found a short post from them on a board at the site:Hollywood Network. I have member access ($39 a year), but I got my moneys worth several thousand times over by sending my electronic resume to the company. The writers are scattered around the countrywere doing everything electronically.
And my latest book sale came from an AOL writers newsletter put out by email@example.com and a duplicate post found on another Web writers site. This led me to Richard OConnor, author of "How to Sell You & Your Book", a book which should be must reading for anyone trying to publish any book. Richard is the new acquisitions editor at Renaissance Books in Los Angeles and actively looking for non-fiction titles and non-fiction writers. The company is the new print arm of Audio Renaissance books-on-tape and is funded by St. Martins in New York. I offered to trade books with Richard online, and one thing led to another.
So get online and browse around. If you want some more tips, read my two Writers Digest articles about it (for free) at: hollywoodnetwork.com/skip. May you have a profitable surf!
Hot Leads (not his usual hot lead) from Gary Phillips -- Salon online magazine is looking for submissions. Send a query to the editor at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org , and check out their Website.
James Carville, David Horowitz and Camille Paglia make regular appearances there, to give you some idea of their scope.
Interested in forensics? Then look into the upcoming lecture series in Orange County April 26-27. Bones Tell The Tale II will be held at that Atrium Hotel at the Orange County Airport. The two-day package for writers (professional or student) is $175. For more information, contact Judy Suchey at (714) 525-1265 or fax her at (714) 524-5150.
For you budding TV stars, the Crook & Chase Show is looking for guests. Alison Corblis is the producer, and subjects of interest include country music, celebrities and current events. Got something along that line? Call Daniel Gil, researcher. Hes also interested in hearing about books or authors that will appeal to a Middle American audience (Crook & Chase started in Nashville). Call Daniel at (213) 852-7971 or fax him at (213) 852-7906.
Also, the Our Home on Lifetime Television is also looking for guests. Scott Phillips is the researcher. Hes actively looking for authors of new cookbooks, and also authors along the lines of those who would appear on Regis & Cathy Lee. (Is John Grisham in the audience?) Contact Scott at (718) 706-4785 or fax him at (718) 706-3549.
Gary gets a lot of leads from (and highly recommends) Book Marketing Update, edited by John Kremer. For more information, contact Open Horizons Publishers, P.O. Box 205, Fairfield, IA 52556-0205. Phone is (515) 472-6130 and the fax is (515) 472-1560. You may also email the editor at: email@example.com. The publication is $95/year.