I had the wonderful opportunity to meet agents Michael Larson and Elizabeth Pomada at the summer 2011 PNWA conference. They are the founders of the Larson-Pomada Agency in San Francisco, CA. The session they hosted detailed the six “C’s” to becoming a writer in the digital age. I’d like to share with my readers the terrific advice they gave.
Content- Your writing starts with passion. Make sure you read plenty of books. Michael emphasized, “Read what you love to read and write what you love to write”.
Creativity- Creativity is the secret sauce. You need to come up with original ideas and think outside the box. As you write, do research. Michael said, “The more you learn. The more you can earn.”
He also suggests you make writing a daily ritual. And never, ever submit too early. Revise until your work is at 100%. Get feedback from critique groups or free lance editors to help with revisions.
Communication- Be a people person. Writing is the only part of the process that should be done alone. You need to test market your book through blogs, podcasts and perhaps self-publishing. A writer should have a platform and be visible both on and off line. Also, have a promotion plan. Great books fail all the time with inadequate publicity.
Contentpreneuring- An author needs to survive and thrive in a competitive market place. Elizabeth said, “Publishing is a circus.” You need to know the trends and rules. How do publishers work? What do they want? What will make or break your book. According to Michael, right now the trend is for shorter books with shorter chapters. Also, a book needs to do well in its launch window. You must have competing media to promote your book.
Commitment- Think of your career as a lifetime of books, not just one book. Go to conferences. Do what it takes to reach your goal and avoid things that don’t help promote your goals. Find a balance in your life that works so that you are able to write at your best. Michael reminds all writers that, “failure happens. Keep learning. Have faith in yourself”.
Celebration- Make sure you celebrate all accomplishments both big and small!