Over the last few years I have finally convinced myself that I can write something that is worth reading. That is why it has become increasingly frustrating that it isn’t being read. Perhaps even more frustrating is the lack of real advice on how to at least try to get attention because it doesn’t matter how good your writing is if no one reads it.
“How to Become A Famous Writer Before You’re Dead” by Ariel Gore is one of the few books I have found for writers that focus on the second part of the success formula for writers. The first part is writing something that is worth reading, the second being how to get people to read it.
This book switches between practical advice from the author and interviews she did with other famous authors, who have a different outlook on the point of that the chapter is making. It’s a good formula, and the author has a personable and enjoyable voice which make it enjoyable to read even beyond any value its advice has.
Moving onto the advice. I didn’t disagree with any of her points, which is far more than I can say for most books on how to write. Which may speak to my lack of knowledge on the subject, but those parts I know about contain excellent advice so I trust the rest. That said, like with most advice books not all of it applies to me. I have no intention of using a pen name, so the small section on that didn’t give much value. But, as much as I hate the idea of doing it, the section on press releases is something I should follow, as are the points on book readings, which fills me with terror, but I also know I should do it, which is one of the best sign something is good advice
The end of each chapter has practical homework, like listing your favorite books and why you like them or writing the book jacket synopsis for your work. if you haven’t tried these, you should at least once. Trust me, writing a two hundred word synopsis of a 300-page book can teach you a lot and it never hurts a writer to consider why they enjoy things. (If you’re not a writer, I suggest saying blissfully ignorant since learning to understand story structure is like being given a spoiler to nearly every movie and book ever written.)
Ariel Gore is an excellent writer, and this book fills a niche. The only minor negative is that having been written over a decade ago it doesn’t speak to more modern tools that may, or more likely may not, have any value to the aspiring lit star. So, if you’re a writer willing to do what it takes to get your name in front of people then this book is a great place to start. Now excuse me while I look for anthologies to submit my work to.