Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book deals come easy for Hannah Montana

Book deals come easy when you're famous. 15-year-old Miley Cyrus, possibly better known as Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, has just signed a book deal for a her first book to be released next Spring.


How long, dear writer, did you languish in virtual anonymity before you received a contract--if it's even happened yet--and upon it's release how long were you at the top of the bestseller lists, interviewed on national TV, and endured book signings that lasted into the wee hours of the night with clamoring readers camped out in front of stores.

Me neither.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against young Miley. I think she's darling. When she won an award on the Kids' Choice award, also on Disney, she attributed her success to her faith in Christ. That wasn't the first time I've heard her mention her faith. My granddaughter is absolutely mad about her, and I think she's one of the few positive role models for young girls who put entirely too much stock in these things. (Every night I pray she stays true to her faith.)

But I digress. If you are reading this you probably haven't acheived the success of Miley Cyrus. So what can an unknown writer who managed to stand out in a slush pile long enough to get the elusive book deal, do to get noticed?

1. You better have written an outstanding book. You don't have looks or fame or notoriety, or tons of money to put behind a book tour, so your book better be awesome.

2. It helps if you have a top publisher behind you, shelling out money to give your displays top spots in the stores. Without those, you'll languish on the shelf while crowds buy the crap out of Joyce Meyers and Mary Higgins Clark's latest.

3. Have you starred on Broadway? Served time for a heinous crime? If not, you need to do something to attract attention. Find a hook from your book that relates to a current event. This works better with nonfiction. I'm still trying to come up with something for my plain old fiction.

4. Get over yourself. Dreadfully shy, I had to learn to get up in front of people and speak. I started out talking on the local level to my neighbors about how little old me got a book published with a royalty publisher. I have since progressed to speaking at writers' conferences and events. Gotta say it's more fun than I ever imagined.

Find what works for you and run with it. And try not to take it personally if your next book is released the same week as Hannah Montana's and no one pays attention.

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