Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.
He has reviewed books and stageplays for http://CurtainUp.com and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE
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A professional writer was once defined succinctly as a writer who gets dressed. In this cleverly titled book, part guide (often to other guides), part pep talk, Ms. Solon correctly notes that in the Internet Age, coming well after the Ice and Stone ones, the rules are quite different for aspiring writers. For the Internet, which permits writers and others to “socialize” to an unprecedented extent, paradoxically permits pajama anonymity as long as the webcam is not in service.
Despite the irritating injunction ending many agent and publisher rejection letters to “keep writing!” the truth is that most serious writers need no such prodding. Excluding the masochistic minority, writers write because they love doing it, especially when they believe they’re doing it well. However, the same sensitivity that prompts a person to write in the first place may well cause a writer to be less than enthusiastic about the aggressive huckstering that has increasingly become an integral element in a writer’s career. This is where Ms. Solon’s book comes in.
The general arc of book publishing has “progressed” from traditional publishing, where only a cherished few had their dreams fulfilled, to vanity or essentially vanity subsidized publishing, where members of a larger group could buy their way to glory, to today’s world of self publishing, where anyone with a computer can, without much more, claim the much devalued gold of being a published author. Without commercial success following self publishing, holding one’s book aloft is basically a futile and vainglorious exercise of interest only to members of the author’s friends and family calling circle. Here again, Ms. Solon seeks to come to the rescue.
The book is a well intentioned and moderately serviceable overview of self-publishing essentials. It identifies the weeds of the industry, but does not purport in its 80 pages to do much digging into them. The author’s personal recommendations of routes to success, though undoubtedly well founded, may be a hard sell for some writers whose natural modesty and individualistic instincts may cause them to recoil from the notions of more or less constant Internet postings resembling Chinese water torture, the promotional offering of free or nearly free copies of life’s-blood-bearing books, and collaborating with other writers in both creating and promoting their books. Some of these writers may prefer to live by the lyrics of songs such as “I Travel Alone” (Noël Coward) and “By Myself” (Dietz and Schwartz).
Perhaps having the fortitude to grin and bear what some may characterize as indignities is the new definition of a professional writer. Ms. Solon is certainly not the only one advocating this path.
Ms. Solon emphasizes the importance of a good book cover—hers is cute in a sort of paper doll sort of way—and an attractive author headshot—hers is drop-dead gorgeous. Another feature of a marketable product is surely a well edited manuscript, and here Authorpreneur falls short in three categories: vocabulary (then v. than, advise v. advice) subject/verb agreement (at one point in a chapter title of all places, “Joining Contests Provide Exposure,” and in the use of pronouns. Also, in a book as short as this, every word counts, and it is wasteful at best to remind the reader twice, within a page of each other, that distress pricing will not produce substantial royalties but will enhance exposure—a concept not sufficiently complex to require rapid-fire repetition.
Authorpreneur’s principal value is as a short and not-so-sweet warning to aspiring writers that notwithstanding the informal attire allowed, the work of a writer after publication is anything but relaxed or relaxing.