I recently achieved 20,000 Twitter followers and, as I’m writing this, my website is approaching 10,000 views in its first 7 weeks. In terms of fame, I would liken myself to the reporter in that viral video who accidentally had a bird crap in his mouth? Have you seen the video? No? Well, eventually someone who wanders across this site may have, and that’s about where I am. Let me tell you how well my fame pays: It doesn’t. I make about as much money off my Twitter account as that aforementioned bird makes every time someone watches it crap in that guy’s mouth. The sad thing is, despite the fact that my writing career has made me just about enough money to be homeless person once you take away my other expenses, I still sometimes find my ego getting away from me. That’s an easy thing to have happen when Sam f***ing Neill is following you on Twitter.
The guy from “Jurassic Park”? No? “Event Horizon”? The original TV “Merlin” miniseries? You’ve still never heard of him? “Jurassic Park 3”? “Daybreakers”, for Pete’s sake!
Nevermind. Anyway, the direction I was going with this conversation was that with my newfound fame (or lack thereof), more and more people have been asking me for “the best advice I can give on getting published”. Unimpressed with my earnest shrug, they inevitably ask again. Then dismayed by my “write a really, really, really, really good book” response, they always ask a THIRD time. So here it is, ladies and germs: Here are my four can’t miss tips to absolutely ensuring that your book will get published, presented in my typical dry and sarcastic manner. Warning! These answers, though quite true, are not to be taken seriously. For actual advice, please see my other articles.
1. Be Famous: Want to be guaranteed a book deal that will pay you millions and make millions more in return? I want you to pay close attention: Be famous. What? You mean you’re NOT famous? Well, you really need to work on that.
So right now, I want you to look at your life and ask yourself: Am I famous? There are a few ways to tell if you are, so I’ll guide you through the process. Turn on your television and flip through the channels. Do you see yourself? Okay, now open the magazine nearest to you, and comb through the pages. Any luck there? What about the last time you went to a movie theater; did the movie you saw star YOU in any significant capacity? Try this: Go to your window and let me know if you see any flashing lights similar to the kinds that cameras might make. We’re done. Now, if you said “Yes” to any of those scenarios, please proceed to the next paragraph. If you said “No” to all of those examples, skip to the paragraph after that. Understand? Good.
A) CONGRATULATIONS! It appears that you are probably famous! The good news is that you barely have to spend any time at all on your book and you’re all but guaranteed an instant book contract that will make you even wealthier. You’ll be required to put the minimal effort into your book and, most likely, you will make a complete mockery of the years of labor that “normal” writers put into trying to find an agent or publisher. Hell, you may not even have to actually write the book YOURSELF! Pat yourself on the back, famous person; although you’ve probably done nothing to deserve it, you’ve found an opportunity to make yourself even more famous. The world hates you.
B) Oooo, that’s gotta sting. Tough luck there, friend, but you know what? You gave it your all. It turns out you just aren’t famous. But that’s okay, because there are still several options available to you. Let’s look at the next example and maybe you’ll have better luck.
2. Marry a Famous Person/Have a Famous Child: So you’re not famous, but there may be another avenue available. I want you to turn back on the television and flip through those channels again, Friend. Do you happen to see your wife or husband anywhere? What about your child? You did??? Oh, no, you didn’t; sorry, I completely misread your facial cues on that one. That was my mistake. Damn. I was really hoping that would work.
And it’s a shame your spouse or child wasn’t on television just now. If I had to break down the easiest possible strategy for finding success as an author, it would go something like this: Step 1) Marry a Kardashian, Step 2) Set fire to manuscript. Step 3) See Steps 1 & 2. Okay, it’s a little gender specific. It’s not a perfect strategy, but it has been more successful than my attempts to woo literary agents. Okay, AS successful. I don’t hear back from agents, and I don’t hear back from Kim Kardashian. She’ll break eventually, though.
They always do.
3. Have Something Incredible Happen to You: This is an easy alternative for those of you who aren’t famous or didn’t have the good fortune to marry someone famous or having a child who is a culinary/rock & roll prodigy. All you have to do to get published is have something truly incredible to you. Take the story of Ann Elizabeth Hodges, for example. In 1954, the Alabama native had a fragment of a meteorite careen through the roof of her home and strike her while she slept on a couch. Have you had meteorites hit you that you didn’t think were fascinating enough to tell people about? Because goods news! Not that many people have been struck by meteorites who lived to tell the story, so you might have a good book idea there!
You could even write a book about something incredible that happened to you as the result of your own stupidity/carelessness, as was the case with Aron Ralston, who wrote his memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which of course was adapted into the fantastic movie “127 Hours” starring James Franco, about a young adventurer who ended up trapped in a ravine and had to cut his own arm off with a dull pocket knife in order to save himself. Which do you think would be easier: Trying to publish your 200,000 word fantasy debut or cutting your own arm off and writing a book about it? The answer…might surprise you.
4. Win the Lottery: Okay, here’s my failsafe. This is what I like to call the easy way out. Assuming that all the other options failed for you, all you have to do to get published is just win the lottery. Then you can use the money to publish your books yourself! So, what are you waiting for? Go out and win that lottery!