Sunday, May 4, 2014

World of Writing

-- World of Writing -- 

* We are joined today by Christopher L. Hedges who shares his experiences in the world of writing. Christopher is a journalist and best-selling author specializing in the area of politics and society. He has traveled in Paris, Europe, Asia... and has now settled down in Florida (USA) where he pursues his passion for playing with words on paper.  

Q: Who inspired you to pursue a career in writing?

A: I was inspired to pursue a writing career by Wesley Whittaker, the co-author of several books that have been published by John Wiley & Sons, whom I met at a Toastmasters meeting purely by chance. I was running a struggling club that Robin, Wes’ wife, was assigned to mentor and he just happened to be tagging along one night.
After the idea of writing my first book hit me, I sent my first 8,000 words out to a handful of friends to read. Was the idea good? Did the writing connect with you? I was looking for some feedback to see if I was wasting my time, subconsciously hoping to hear those 8,000 words were terrible and I needed to just give up.
Robin forwarded my email to Wes to get his thoughts; mind you, by this time it had slipped my mind that he was a published author. Long story short, Wes told me to keep writing because I had a story I needed to share. That’s how a seasoned author talked a novice nobody into becoming a published author too.

Q: How does writing help you make a difference in the world?

A: My first book won’t officially be released until August 5th so I’m far from knowing how my writing actually made a difference in the world. However, I would like to hypothesize based on what I’m hoping for. With the book itself, I’m hoping that the reader is inspired to confront the adversity in his or her own life and pursue his or her own aspirations. With my cross-country book tour, I want to raise awareness for all the great work that the Ronald McDonald House does for the families who have children that are fighting life and death health issues.
Q: Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a query letter or project proposal?

A: I recently had someone ask me this very question. If you are truly serious about sharing your message with the world, I will expound upon what I say here if you contact me directly.At the end of the day, you need to realize that this is a business, and you MUST treat it as such if you hope to work with other professionals. First and foremost, you need to do your due diligence. That includes knowledge about the publishers you want to work with, your book’s market, marketing, and the list really goes on and on. When you approach professionals in the industry, you need to know that they see thousands of proposals. If you want to have a fighting chance, at the very least you need to exhibit the perception of being a seasoned author. Mind you, this is just my opinion, and I only have limited knowledge. I submitted one book proposal to one publisher and got one contract offer. The year Morgan James Publishing extended me an offer they had over 6,000 proposal submissions and made offers on around 140 books. Your book may be art to you, but it is business to a publisher or agent. Publishers and agents honestly only want to work with proven commodities or people who understand that it’s a business.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

A: Writing-related activities. Writing a book is the easy part. The real work starts after the book is complete and you have to begin marketing the book and selling it. I spend my free time now doing things that I see as beneficial to my career going forward. I seek out coaches and mentors that can enlighten me in areas I see as important like image and branding, marketing, and video production. I promote the book in interviews like this and at live appearances. I spend time on social media building a presence for myself. Everything I do when I’m not writing is in someway tied directly to promotion because your commitment to your promotion will determine how successful your books will be.
Q: What gave you the idea (inspiration) for this book?

A: I was inspired to write when I honestly came to terms with the fact that I was no different than a speaker I had paid good money to go see. The only real difference between us was that he had developed a platform and was willing to put himself on the line for the world to judge.
The book itself was written because I had never seen anything similar on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Every book I’ve ever read has always been written by someone who talks about what they did in hindsight. I feel it’s nearly impossible for people to truly relate to these icons of success because we somehow label them as different or special. I wrote Average Joe’s Story in as close to real time as possible so that the reader can see the growth as I go through it, thus, may be he or she will be more apt to connect with the book. I joke that it’s the first book on success that was written by someone who isn’t successful.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in writing your non-fiction books?

A: Some of my biggest challenges I faced were financial and physical issues related to a health condition I’m dealing with. However, the challenge from my process of writing had the largest impact on me. Half of Average Joe’s Story was based on experiences and face-to-face interviews I had with people scattered all over the southeastern United States. There were times I would be in a holding pattern for periods of up to sixty days before our schedules lined up. During those periods my negative self-talk was so bad that I nearly walked away from the book altogether. Sometimes you can become your own worst enemy, and I almost did.

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1 comment:

  1. Good interview and tips on the profession of writing.


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