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The Glamour of it All

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

When I first decided I wanted to write for publication I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect of all the glamour. I would be rich and famous. Everyone in the world would clamor to get their hands on my books and they would be talking about me in the grocery store lines as they gawked at my picture on the front of all the major magazines.
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
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. 

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( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
I'm not concerned with fame and glamour,
but only with success.
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much how I feel, too—I really, really want to do well, but I have no aspirations of being recognizable. But then, I've always preferred to be a spectator, rather than a participant :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jul. 31st, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - brennayovanoff - Jul. 31st, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 31st, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Fame - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
i don't really want people digging through my trash and asking me what breakfast cereal i eat. i do want to write great stories. and i hope when i get published that tiny bit of credentialing will give me access to teaching and empowering children and adolescents.
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
Just in case,
put the kittybox siftings in bags that tear easily...
that won't stop the truly determined diggers,
but you'll feel better knowing what they went through
getting whatever they did dig up...
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Jul. 31st, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
One man's tras - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: One man's tras - tracy_d74 - Jul. 31st, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
Fame, Glamor, Success
To previous comment, I say: success is a relative term. For some it might just be fame & glamor!

From what I've seen, it takes most authors a heckuva long time to get what Karen is saying. The myth is perpetuated through the media, where we only hear about maybe 3% of published authors and their successes. We *do* watch them, hang on their words and make the assumption that it wasn't all that difficult. But clearly, it wasn't just the luck of the draw, the pull on the slot machine handle that made most of these authors famous. Persistence, hard work, making sure they were in the right place at the right time. Oh, and having a decent book doesn't hurt, either.

Pam Ripling
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Fame, Glamor, Success
'Oh, and having a decent book doesn't hurt, either'

Dang! There's always a catch, isn't there? :)
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
I've been told I've got a good chance at making the cover at the local Post Office.


Jul. 31st, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
You sure they didn't say 'WANTED' poster, Norm? :P
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
There is no glamour, at least not that I have found, still waiting. You, however have the double exposure, author and publisher. Didn't you find Printers Row glamorous? Lifting heavy boxes filled with books,arranging chairs and tables to fit into a tiny space, tripping over your authors and avoiding dripping rain...you didn't think that was glamorous? Hmmm.
Nope, no glamour.

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Jul. 31st, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it counts as glamour, but I'm excited about giving talks and running workshops. As for the heavy box lifting etc, isn't that just part of the price we all have to pay?
Glamour - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
For those who crave the cave
This is a great blog post. I will send in my August Marketing Plan today or drop my computer on my bare foot. There's another side to this glamour dilemma. Those of us who try to live "stealth." So no one knows where you are or throws a fit because you had to track down that Santa Muerte shrine a few blocks off Reforma in Mexico City...my husband won't be reading this, right?
Barbara DeShong
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
Re: For those who crave the cave
For the sake of your toes, I sincerely hope you make that deadline, Barbara :)
Jul. 31st, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
I really don't want to be a celebrity - I just want to write a really good book (close to accomplished, IMHO), and then have people read it. Do you really have to be a celebrity in order to get readers? I hope not!

Still, an interesting post, and it's wonderful that you're working on helping kids to read better, Jon. That's a great thing to do, and I wish you every success.

I do think, as a full-time librarian, I am doing something towards encouraging literacy already, though, don't you agree?
Jul. 31st, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
To celeb or not
I don't know that you so much need to be a celebrity, but in order to sell enough books to make it worth your publishers time and expense you do need to be well known, which actually does allude to some level of fame or celebritydom.

The more well known you are, the more books you will sell, so it is really not possible to be a well-read author if you are not well-known. We all figure we can make out name on our friends and family buying books and spreading the word, but the cold reality is, they don't!

In order to get on a valued best seller list, you need to be able to sell like 50 thousand books in a week. A WEEK! How can you do that if you live a stealth life?

(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 31st, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 31st, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
The glamour of it all
I'm still working my butt off, doing my own laundry, my own cooking, and driving a 13 year-old car. I'm thinking about rolling a little piece of red carpet outside my own front door for that elusive feel of glamour. If nothing else, it'll get the neighbors talking, and talk is good......as long as it's about our books.
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Re: The glamour of it all
Lol, I like the sound of that red carpet. I might just do the same :)
Jul. 31st, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
I suppose glamour to me is after a school presentation, having a 5th grader come up to me and say, "I'm going to be a famous author like you some day."

I've been warned!

Mary Cunningham
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Glamour
Nice one :)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
'I'll stick with two more right now'

Hehehe, that's two more than me, Dylan :P
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
There are tons of us out there
Too right. There are tons of authors and would-be authors out there all vying for attention. It's not all about writing any more. What good is writing a book if no one knows you've written it?

Morgan Mandel
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Re: There are tons of us out there
'What good is writing a book if no one knows you've written it?'

Excellent point.

For writers, the best thing about computers is that they made it it possible for anybody to write a book (or at least attempt it). Of course, for writers, that's also the worst thing about them :)
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Wonderful post! I love the idea of helping in the community! Will have to put my thinking cap on :)
As for glamour...I don't think I've ever thought I'd be rich and famous being an author. I have noticed you rarely see them in magazines or on tv. I imagine other than becoming the next Rowling or Meyers or shacking up with Brad Pitt its unlikely. ;)
I would just like to share my stories and bring others into my little worlds.

jen wylie
Jul. 31st, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
It'd be pretty cool to be the key-note speaker at a conference though, wouldn't you say, Jen?
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jul. 31st, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Great post! Thanks for the chuckles before bed.
Aug. 1st, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
Hi Terri,

Thanks for posting that Amazon review of Fur-Face, it's much appreciated :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Aug. 1st, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 1st, 2010 10:29 am (UTC)
"Fame" is a relative thing. Consider that 3000 new books are published each year, and most book lovers cannot name 3000 authors period (never mind each year). And a writer might be well known by readers of one genre and completely unknown by readers of another; something professors also run into. For a writer to be known by the general public means they've entered the pantheon of demi-gods (sales wise); for writers to be remembered by history is godhood.

I enjoyed reading her interview, and linked over to her publishing company's website, but when the submissions guidelines said I had to include a "full" marketing strategy, I stopped cold. I haven't the faintest idea what that requires. My marketing strategy is creating an online presence, starting with LJ as practice and later moving on to a website of my own. I don't have the time or money for much else.
Aug. 1st, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
'Consider that 3000 new books are published each year'

It's a smidge more than that, Paul.

According to Bowker’s Book Industry Statistics(http://www.bowker.com/bookwire/IndustryStats2009.pdf), there were about 77,000 fiction and juvenile books published in 2008 in the USA alone (an average of more than 200 EVERY day) – and that number doesn’t even include POD, short run and self-pubbed titles.

As for that marketing strategy, it sounds odd, but the very fact that you recognize you need one, puts you ahead of the game.

Like Karen said in her post, some folks sincerely believe that once they write a book they can just hand it over to someone else to do the rest of the work. Those days are gone (if they ever existed at all).
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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