Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Interview with Brad Schreiber on Humor Writing Award, Mona Schreiber Prize
1. Please tell me about the Mona Schreiber Prize and what it provides winners. Mona, a.k.a. Mom, was a writer of newspaper and magazine articles and essays and had a strength in humor writing. I started the prize in 2000 to honor her early passing from lung cancer and also to give support to talented humor writers, as yet unrecognized. There are awards of $500, $250 and $100 plus publication and promotion on my website and through my social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads and newsletters I send to MSP entrants and others. I also offer winners advice on writing, networking and contracts, should they request it.
2. Brad, what type of writers should apply to the Mona Schreiber Prize? The weirder the better. When was the last time you saw that in a Help Wanted ad? The pieces should be under 750 words but can be fiction or nonfiction, in any form, whether it’s a story, essay, list, instruction manual, love letter, ad, instruction manual or any damn thing you can think up. Previous winners are posted at www.brashcyber.com, as well as a piece Mona published, criticizing my clothes selection when I was in high school.
3. How are prizes judged? Each entry is judged by President-for-Life and benevolent dictator Brad Schreiber. I take great pleasure in reading all entries, as they honor Mona and her abilities as writer and instructor, strengths she genetically passed along to me. I am not looking for any particular type of piece. You’ll have an advantage if you use language creatively, have a vivid imagination and avoid clichés like the plague…I mean, uh, strive for freshness.
4. Why are applying for awards and prizes a great way for authors to brand their works and market themselves? You don’t have much time to grab an editor or agent’s attention in a query letter. Winning a prize that has been around for 20 years certainly helps. There are plenty of other awards that are well-established, too. Your previous successes will force gatekeepers to think twice before having the unmitigated audacity to hit the delete button.
5. How did you get involved in the book world? By being relentless and stubborn. I totally believed in my ability, despite scores of rejections from editors and publishers. Then, I found a publisher who loved my idea for a parody of the Guinness Book of World Records, WEIRD WONDERS AND BIZARRE BLUNDERS. It became a bestseller for Simon and Schuster, with phony records like Worst Flavor of Ice Cream (Chocolate Salmon Surprise).
6. Brad, as an experienced author, what have you found works for authors seeking to promote themselves? Don’t overlook the influence of discussion boards on the Internet. Much of the success of my early years biography BECOMING JIMI HENDRIX was fueled by creating conversations on boards having to do with classic rock, psychedelic music and electric guitar. And be persistent in approaching well-known authors and celebrities who might like your work. One of my proudest achievements is getting who I consider the greatest humor writer in history, Larry Gelbart (Tootsie, TV’s M*A*S*H) to give me a blurb for my humor writing book WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT? On my rougher days, I derive strength from his words on the cover: “At last, a how-to book by someone who actually knows how to.”
7. What advice do you have for struggling writers? I have had many students and consulting clients tell me they love writing but do not like marketing their work or learning about contracts. I tell them that’s like saying you want to have a child but don’t want to deal with messy diapers or the kid talking back to you. It comes with the territory. Enjoy every step of writing: the act of creation, the process of improving, attaining contacts, getting published and produced and paid. And winning the Mona Schreiber Prize.
8. Where do you see book publishing heading in a few years? I think more authors in the future are going to be more proficient at marketing and promoting themselves, by the use of podcasts, e-newsletters, offering free samples of their work over the Internet and brainstorming with innovative publicists on new ways to reach readers.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.