Ellen Meister Week: Day Five
I’ve you’re nearby, be sure to make it over to Book Revue in Huntington, NY tonight where Ellen will be speaking about and signing her book.
Q & A:
MC: What of your past employment prepared you for your life as a novelist now? Are there things from other jobs that you use not only for your writing but also for the business of writing?
EM: I have to say that my marketing/copywriting background has been invaluable in every possible way.
In terms of writing, I’ll never forget advice I got from my boss when I was writing a brochure for a financial magazine. He said, “You have to picture your readers holding the brochure over a trash can as they scan it. If you don’t grab their attention right away, it’s over.” That resonated with me, and I still try to tap dance my heart out in every paragraph.
As far as selling the novel, my marketing background was useful in each step. Sales letters were one of my specialties, and that came in handy when I was writing query letters to agents. And once the book was sold, I worked very closely with the publisher on marketing efforts—from brainstorming on who to target and how to reach them, to the nuts and bolts of copywriting.
Also, I think my years of running my own sales promotion agency helped me appreciate the hard work and creativity of everyone I dealt with at my book and audio publishing companies, as well as my literary agency. I’m not just blowing smoke when I tell you those folks are very smart and work awfully hard. They impressed me again and again.
Oh man. I don’t know what to say other than every time I read this story it makes me laugh: