Thursday, July 21, 2011

Advice From Authors Needed, But Usually Avoided

In the recently released Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris (3.5 stars out of 4), the story line examines relationships, time travel, and the craft of writing, as well as Woody’s perennial theme about life’s meaninglessness.  What was interesting is he had his main character, a novelist struggling to complete his book, go back into a time period he thought was great – the 1920’s.  Along the way he meets leading writers and artists of the day – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, etc.  He gets advice from them that guides him to not only improve his book but to find his path to love.

It made me think if other writers wish they could be mentored by others, especially the very ones we see as heroes.  I’d find it too intimidating to get into detailed, tactical discussions about writing from luminaries. I know it makes no sense not to learn from the pros, but I think all I’d be left with is envy, knowing they made it and I haven’t.

It is an odd situation.  One can improve their writing by getting ideas and constructive criticism from best-selling authors, and yet many writers may be too star struck to focus and appreciate what’s being said.  And many writers don’t want tips from anyone, and they won’t share their work until it is complete.

I might make an exception for Woody Allen.  He is probably the script writer/director I’d most want to meet.  But if such an opportunity arises I might not stick around for his advice. 

Interview With Publisher Norm Goldman

Norm Goldman, publisher and editor of  for the past nine years, created his site to create an online book community.  Prior to creating the site he practiced real estate and estate law for 35 years in Montreal.  His site features author interviews and book reviews. The site comprises over 25 active international reviewers that come from all walks of life and that review all genres. Book Marketing Buzz Blog had the pleasure of conducting an email Q & A today.

1.      Your site has reviewed thousands of books. What are the key ingredients to a good book? For works of non-fiction some of the elements are:  the author must have something new to bring to the table; the book must be well-written and clearly focused and organized; it must provoke thought; encourage exploration; show evidence that the author has done his or her homework; make a good argument; its ideas should be practical and can be applicable to our lives. For works of fiction some of the elements are:  there must be tension that will cause readers to have an uncertain feeling or questioning feeling that may even drag you somewhere that you had not thought about;  the story must sweep you away; it must have a convincingly fictional world; characters must be believable and at the same time they say and do things that we wished we go do; the story must involve events that will have an impact on the reader; authors are not afraid to dig into their deepest selves without holding back;

2.      Do we have too many book blogs and online reviewers – or not enough? Why?  We certainly have many book blogs, however, I question the number of blogs that post well-written reviews. I would like to see reviewers pay more attention to their spelling, sentence structure, grammar etc in addition to putting sufficient meat into the review.

3.      What advice would you give to today’s new author? Read, read, read and make sure you write every day.

4.      What do you love most about book publishing? Its creativity and willingness to reinvent itself.

5.      Where do you see the industry heading I five years? This is a very difficult question as right now we are not certain as to the extent of the impact digital publishing will have.  This is also the case of self-publishing, which over the past several years has certainly expanded by leaps and bounds.

6.      There is a lot of info on online. How can the consumer know which authority to respect for his or her views? Check and verify the credentials of the author and the source. What are their qualifications, what have they contributed, where have they been published, how respected are they among their peers, in other words you must adopt the position of the devil's advocate before accepting anything.

Brian Feinblum can be found on Twitter @theprexpert. If you need assistance promoting or marketing your book, please consult and email

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