Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bold, Brash & Brilliant: Getting it Published

Getting a book published today, even with the internet and self publishing, is not as easy as it seems.  A writer can publish a book through various self-publishing sites, but both the visibility and marketing wherewithal are dubious.  To get a book out in the public domain today, you really need a sponsor or literary agent of some type.  That begs the question, how do you get the attention of a literary agent?

I have done a great deal of research on Chaplin, Kelly and Jobs, but also on how to get my book published. I've gone through the trouble of getting it copyrighted with the copyright office in Washington, DC.  That will protect the name and basic premise from interlopers.  One of the main ways to attract an audience is through social media, e.g; Facebook, blogs, Twitter and a webpage.  I've done all, but Twitter.  I need to have a partially established fan base before taking my book to an agent or publisher.  There has to be an interest in the marketplace 1st.  No publisher will take a chance on a first time author unless the author has or had direct access to the person they're writing about or from those who worked with or knew the subject directly.

I originally wanted to do a book on Gene Kelly alone, but while he is well known and still relevant in today's world of entertainment with shows like, Dancing With The Stars, the interest would be somewhat limited.  His widow, Patricia Ward Kelly has been working on a book for years and her direct knowledge of the subject will be unparalleled.  I could not compete on a biographical account with that kind of access. Unless I could find and interview anyone still alive who had worked with Kelly, who had not been interviewed previously, I'd have nothing new to offer on the biographical front.  The same goes for Chaplin. Anyone can Google the Who, What, When and Where of Chaplin's, Kelly's or Job's lives.  What I'm writing about is the Why and How.

Chaplin is still incredibly popular and will be for all time as will Kelly.  His movies and brand of comedy will continuously be rediscovered by generations yet unborn.  There was only one Chaplin and one Kelly and they were the top of their field.  I feel safe stating that there will never be a comedian or dancer of their stature to come along and dominate like they did.

Steve Jobs was and is a cult figure similar to Chaplin in the late 19 teens and early 1920s.  Steve was revered, admired, despised by some, feared by others and given that rare place as a technology giant and visionary. The definitive biography on Jobs was written by Walter Isaacson during the last few years of his life and released just after his death.  While others will write biographies about Steve claiming this and that, they will all pale in comparison to Isaacson's work.

So, rather than pick one man, I decided to do three, not in the biographical sense, but more of the type of men they were in their day to day work environment, what provided their incredible drive, their hunger for perfection, how they drove themselves during exhausting creative periods and what kind of people were able and willing to join their quest for that perfect product, whether it be a gag, dance or consumer product.

By picking three artists of the highest caliber, all geniuses in their field, I hope to get the attention of a literary agent or publishing house.  I don't want to self publish.  That is akin to giving up before you start.  If my book is to be a success and get out to the widest possible audience, it has to go the traditional route.  In addition, when I see the dribble and "garbage" at the book stores that is piled high on the front tables of Barnes & Noble, I have to wonder if a book about three men of talent, drive and prestige in their field might do better.  A book that should be interesting to many people of various persuasions covering three icons instead of one might just be able to wade through the mass of romance novels and some of the more dry non-fiction.

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