If Genghis Khan had a big sister, you’d want her as your publisher.
As a writer and blogger I like to think I know a little something about self-promotion, but I’m the first to admit that I know next to nothing about book promotion, which is why I’m so glad to have the amazing Karen Syed, President and COO of Echelon Press LLC, in my corner.
Author of seven novels (published as Alexis Hart), Karen tells it like it needs to be told, and though her no nonsense, take no prisoners, approach may give outsiders the impression that she’s a little like a certain someone’s old gran, she’s actually one of the sweetest people you could ever hope to meet.
I’m proud to call her a friend, and delighted to have her as a guest on my blog today.
The Glamour of it All by Karen L. Syed
Okay, that was more than twenty-five years ago and I still haven't seen my face on the cover of any magazine, and very few pieces of paper in general. So what the heck happened to all my glamour?
There has always been this big sparkly myth that being an author would bring untold riches and notoriety. Sparkly my arse! I found out very quickly that there is little glamour involved. What I did get was hours in front of a blank screen. Days filled with voices rambling around in my head. Weeks of stress over deciding the fate of so many others.
I've been going to writers conferences for all of those twenty-five years and I have heard such a variety of things that make me laugh. Would you believe that there are writers out there who actually believe that once they write a book they can just hand it over to someone else to do the rest of the work and then, as the writer, they will have time to write the next book? Really?
Let's consider the life of an actor. Pretty glamorous. Being driven around in a big limo, being treated like royalty in stores and restaurants. How cool it must be for them to be seen on the cover of Rolling Stone or People magazine (Okay, how weird is this. I just finished writing this post and went looking for my hotlinks. When I get to People, what do I see on the main page? A celebrity standing in front of a Barnes & Noble sign holding her newly published memoir.) As a whole, we are mesmerized by the images of stars and musicians in the most vulgar and compromising positions and places. I admit it, when I am standing in the line at Wal-Mart I go straight for the rag mags.
So why don't we see more authors on the cover of magazines like Publishers Weekly or Booklist? I'm coming at this from a publisher's point of view. This goes back to the myth about what an author's job is.
Most of the authors I run across lately don't seem to understand that in order to be a celebrity they have to have done something worth talking about. Writing a book isn't enough anymore. Everyone is writing a book.
If you're an author you've got to make sure that everyone on the planet knows about you and your book. You've got to tell everyone you meet that you are an author and you need to make a conscious effort to get each of them buy a copy. On top of that you need to make certain that you are doing things that are worthy of being noticed and talked about. To some this may seem mercenary, but consider this.
You want to be a celebrity and there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who need help. You can do something worth talking about by lending a helping hand and giving something back to your community. Can't think of anything worthy? Here are a few ideas.
Tom Schreck, author of the OUT COLD (a Duffy Dombrowski mystery) has made Al, a ruggedly handsome Basset Hound, a main character in his series. He has gone on to use his books as tools to help Basset Hounds in need. Tom does a number of events each year that he donates his proceeds to in order to help Basset Hound rescue organizations. He uses his love and commitment to the breed as a tool to market his books, but more than that he has helped aid in the rescue of countless dogs. In doing this, he has donated tens of thousands of dollars to rescue groups.
I know for a fact that my host, Jon, is putting his best foot forward to help others with his writing. His first Juvenile Fiction book is out in eBook and I know he's working on developing a program that he'll take into schools to work with kids on developing their reading and writing skills. I think this is tremendous. There is no better "cause" than the future of our world, the kids, and Jon is using his role as an author to help these kids. FUR-FACE is a remarkable stepping stone to becoming a celebrity and to helping others.
The bottom line is that being an author can be glamorous—a damn lot of hard work—but if you want something bad enough you can make it happen. But I'd be willing to lay odds that if you ask Angelina Jolie if being a celebrity is easy and always glamorous, she'll laugh right in your face. She spends hours of her life traveling, doing interviews, being hounded by the paparazzi, and doing any little thing she can to ensure that people continue to notice her. It doesn't just happen. It's all about give and take.
Now, as Jon might say, ‘How about you?’
What are you willing to give up for a little bit of glamour?
About Karen L. Syed:
Karen L. Syed is the president and COO of Echelon Press, LLC. Every day is a new success story for her as she continues to grow herself and her business. She has seen seven of her own novels published (writing as Alexis Hart), along with numerous articles and short stories. As a former bookstore owner, she garnered a nomination from Publishers Weekly for their Bookseller of the Year award. She is committed to helping and encouraging everyone she comes in contact with to seek a healthier and more positive quality of life by reaching for their dreams. You can learn more about Karen Syed at http://klsyed.com.
About Echelon Press:
Not long ago, Echelon Press was a dream. Today, they house some of the most incredible talent in the industry. Holding fast to their original goals, they continue to seek fresh voices and voracious readers. Echelon’s quest is and always has been to bring dedicated authors, who are determined to succeed, onto their team to offer readers unique stories. They are pleased to have found a comfortable place in industry. While they publish in multiple formats, including paperback, they are especially interested in growing their E-book line. For more information about Echelon Press, visit.