Archives for posts with tag: workshop

Anyone who’s ever liked a book wants to be a writer. It’s natural — you’re moved by words on a page, you think, “Hey, I wonder if I can do that?” You start a journal. You attempt to write your own version of Sweet Valley High/Nancy Drew. You make up characters in your head.

Once you’ve written a couple of stories, you begin to think, “Maybe I can be a published author one day.” You start picturing your name on the covers of books on the shelves of National Bookstore, right next to, say, Nick Joaquin or Stephen King. You imagine couples naming their babies after characters you’ve created. You daydream of getting mobbed by journalists at the premiere of the movie based on your bestselling trilogy (right after they finish interviewing the star, maybe Angelina Jolie or Judy Ann Santos). You practice your speech for your first Hugo award (“Thank you, World Science Fiction Society. This means more to me than even my Academy Award for best original screenplay.”)

You find yourself a lot of the time, after reading a book, thinking, I can totally write better than this.

And then that’s it.

For most people, that’s where it stops.

How do you think authors — published, famous authors — got to where they are today? They wrote novels. They wrote stories. Most of them wrote pretty awful stories, but they wrote more stories and they got better. Then they submitted these stories and novels to magazines and publishing houses. They got rejections. They rewrote their stories and novels, maybe attended some writing workshops. Then they submitted some more stories, and got more rejections. (J.K. Rowling reportedly received 12 rejections for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.) They persevered. They got published. They achieved what most of us dream of having — a writing career. Some of them are famous, some of them are rich. Some of them are enjoying fulfilling writing careers doing what they love and making money.

Now between casting actors for the film adaptation of your as yet unwritten masterpiece of a novel and getting annoyed that some author who can’t seem to be able to put together a coherent paragraph has now sold millions of copies of her books, have you ever asked yourself: “Am I doing what it takes to become a published author?”

No, you say. But no one in the Philippines makes a good enough living just being a writer. Most of them have day jobs and businesses.

You will be right. Maybe no one does. Not yet.

You know what the secret is? Getting a bigger audience for your books. If the Philippine market isn’t big enough to sustain a lucrative career, why not the world? How about writing books and selling them to people in the United States? France? Japan?

[Read the rest here.]

Video

  1. Your book cover isn’t an art thing. It’s a marketing thing. A pretty book cover is good, but what’s important is that it be able to sell the book it’s on the cover of.
  2. Do not make your own book covers. Unless you actually do make book covers — meaning, people hire you to do them.
  3. Not all amazing artists can design a decent book cover. (In the same way not all book cover designers can paint a decent portrait in watercolor, or design a corporate logo.)
  4. If a cover looks good for your print book, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the ebook version. You can have different covers for each, or you could just make sure your cover works for both print and digital versions.
  5. If your book cover is pretty or interesting, people will talk about it. This is a good thing.
  6. Don’t underestimate the power of a great tag line. It’s the first words your potential readers will see, apart from your book title, when they look at your book cover. Try to make it interesting (maybe even clever and/or funny) and short.

Tomorrow, 20 April 2013, we’re holding a free indie publishing/writing workshop for high school students, called Author At Once – High School Edition. It’s part of our Author At Once series of workshops, but for writers in their teens. Participants will learn the basics of getting their work published, both independently and through traditional means. My friend Mina V. Esguerra, who’s both an indie and traditionally published author, will be the main resource speaker/mentor. Prose fiction and comic book author Michael A. R. Co will also be speaking. We’ll talk about publishing and book-buying trends, and how to leverage social media to reach out to your (potential) reading audience. I’ll be talking about book covers and social media marketing.

We encourage participants to submit their works after the workshop — selected pieces will be published in an anthology slated to come out this year.

Author At Once High School Edition - Indie Publishing Workshop

Author At Once – High School Edition will be held at iAcademy on Ayala Ave., Makati City on 20 April 2013, from 1.30 to 5.30 pm. It’s supported by Books on Demand and iAcademy. Sign up here!

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