We love fiction and we need fiction. We learn from fiction, we upload our imaginations to access fiction, we feel our way through fiction, we connect and we find ourselves and others through fiction. How does fiction make this possible?
Independent book editor and publishing expert Janet Spencer KingÂ joined me on âTurn the Pageâ to discuss how to become a published author.”
In this post, JanetÂ offers additional advice to help make your book a success!
WILL MY BOOK BE A SUCCESS?
Janet shares, âJust about every client I have ever had asks me the Big Question: âWill my book be a success?â No one can answer this question upfront; there simply isnât a way to determine if a bookâhowever good it isâwill do well. However, there are several factors to keep in mind when you decide to write and publish your book.
Fiction writers need to keep writing! Most first-time fiction authors canât expect to sell many books. But we fiction readers are a greedy bunchâwhen we find an author whose work we like, we want more. Authors who hang in there, writing another and yet another novel, have a much better chance of being discovered. It may not be until the third or even fourth book, but once success starts creeping in, readers are apt to go back to purchase your previous titles. The beauty of being a self-published writer is that your books live on in perpetuity unlike traditionally published ones, most of which are pulled off the market well within the first year.
Many non-fiction writers have the advantage of an existing platform that will help sell their book. Given that non-fiction is often based on a successful business, or expertise in particular areas, these authors may already be doing presentations, holding workshops, and in other ways meeting people who are in their reader niche.
Read books in your genre that are currently popularâyouâll find out how to handle many areas in your own book by learning what other authors did. Go to writersâ conferences as often as possible. You will learn lots more about writing and meet editors and agents. Google lists conferences around the country according to region and genre.â
CRAFTING YOUR WEBSITE URL
âAll writers, whether fiction or non-fiction must have a web site! I advise using a URL with your name plus the word âauthor.â For example, www.spencerkingauthorservices.comÂ . The reason is that your site now welcomes your next book and your next. Using one bookâs title locks you into one book only. Non-fiction authors might want to link their expertise to their name in the URL.â
âMany traditional publishing houses are setting e-book prices nearly as high as print books, but self-published authors are free to set their own. I advise no higher than $9.99 and as low as $6.99 for smaller books. Amazon pays 70% royalties on sales of e-books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, and 35% on books that are priced higher than $9.99. The price on your e-book must be at least 20% lower than the print book in order for you to get the 70% rate.â
WHY ITâS SO IMPORTANT TO OWN YOUR BOOKâS ISBN
âYou must own your bookâs ISBN! It tracks all information including the publisher (you!), sales and revenue. The ISBN cannot be transferred; once purchased by someone, it remains with that entity and youâll want it to be you. In the US, purchase of ISBNs are through Bowker.com, one number or a packet of ten. I suggest purchasing a packet since you can use it for e-books and other future books.â
Janet recommends, âThe Novel-Makerâs Handbookâ by Diane OâConnell (Station Square Media), and âJeff Hermanâs Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents,â by Jeff Herman (New World Library).
Listen to our conversationÂ for guidance on navigating the options of traditional and self-publishing, and more tips on writing a professional-level book that will sell!
The Investigation Room â Blog:
The Investigation Room is designed to expel fact from fiction and probably theory from outlandish rumor. Each week, if and when one of the guest shares something of use to the Investigation, we will share our finding with you.
FACT â Objective and multiple sources confirm and/or there is tangible evidence to back it up.
PROBABLE THEORY â Subjective; however, most people can understand the line of reasoning.
OUTLANDISH RUMOR â Subjective and is a personâs point of view that no one can substantiate or see as plausible.
THEORY/FACT â We are still working to determine this.
This weekâs guest on Goodnight Marilyn Radio included: Holly Beavon, well-known professional Marilyn Monroe impersonator; Douglas Kirkland, who has been named âPhotographer of the Yearâ (PMDA) and âMentor of the Yearâ (Fotofusion). Kirkland is also the author of “With Marilyn: An Evening/1961” and famous for his legendary bedroom pictures of the star; Lois Banner, honored professor at University of Southern California and author of many books and scholarly articles on women and gender, including two books on Marilyn. âMarilyn Monroe Personal, A book taken from her file cabinetsâ and âMarilyn: The Passion and the Paradox.â
OUTLANDISH RUMOR: Recently, 78-year-old retired CIA officer Norman Hodges says he has a series of confessions, one being that he was the responsible for murdering Marilyn Monroe. Darryl Connorton, a CIA officer and member of Goodnight Marilynâs Investigation Team member is looking into this.
For more information on Holly Beavon please visit www.hollybeavon.com.
What has your experience been as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator?
Holly was discovered in Indianapolis by Bernie Wayne, an American composer and director, who wanted to take her to Vegas to become a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. To Holly, the most rewarding part of being a Marilyn impersonator is having the opportunity to uplift others and instill confidence in fans worldwide.
On the show, Holly stated several reasons why the public loves Marilyn. She was so beautiful, passionate and intelligent. However, Marilyn also was vulnerable to many insecurities and dealt with issues that many can relate to.
For more information on Douglas Kirkland please visit www.douglaskirklandphotography.com.
What were your interactions with Marilyn and what were your impressions of her?
FACT: Marilyn was emotionally unstable at the time of her death and even 9 months prior, as described by Douglas Kirkland.
FACT: The image Marilyn portrays to the public is not actually who she is in reality.
Renowned photographer Douglas Kirkland has worked with celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland. He had a photo shoot with Marilyn at her bungalow in Brentwood nine months before she passed away. He described his interactions with her on Goodnight Marilyn.
The first evening, he met her at her bungalow on Doheny Drive to discuss the concept of the photo shoot. There were only two chairs and a bed in her bedroom. To his surprise, she was very modest and humble, unlike the persona she portrays to the public. She appeared more like the girl-next-door rather than a sexy bombshell. It was Marilyn who came up with the vision of the photo shoot: chilled Dom Perignon and Marilyn wearing nothing but white sheets while laying on her bed.
Kirkland came back the second evening to do the actual photo shoot. His interactions with Marilyn were very different than the night prior. Marilyn transformed when she came into the room. She was enticing and sexy, there was electricity in the air â this was the movie star known to the public eye. Kirkland later said that the true power of Marilyn was her ability to live in a sexual framework. Rather than having to instruct her, Kirkland had a natural dialogue with Marilyn. She was no stranger to the camera, she and Kirkland flirted playfully while he took her photographs.
Twelve hours later, Kirkland returned a third time to review the photographs with Marilyn. He rang the doorbell 2-3 times and eventually became worried after not receiving a response of any kind. However, after several minutes of waiting, Marilyn came to the door wearing dark glasses and a scarf over her head. This was a much different side of Marilyn than Kirkland had seen previously. The room even appeared darker than it was before. Kirkland was not sure what had happened to Marilyn, this was neither the quiet girl nor the sexually charged woman he met. According to Kirkland, Marilyn began referring to herself in third person. She spoke about a truck driver, whom she described as a manâs man, and how men like him would love to be with a girl like that in the picture.
After the photo shoot, Kirkland flew to Paris for another assignment. Unfortunately, he learned of Marilynâs death while abroad. He very much enjoyed the brief interactions he had with Marilyn.
You can purchase the book Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner.
How did Marilyn feel about her first husband, James Dougherty?
FACT: Marilynâs first husband was James Dougherty. They were married from 1942 to 1946.
FACT: Marilyn had a crush on him in high school, he was big man on campus. James (Jim) was captain of football team and student body president. The marriage was suggested to her guardian at the time, but she was not opposed. Her guardian was leaving Los Angeles and Marilyn was underage, her guardian did not know what to do with her. She may have had to go back to the orphanage otherwise.
FACT: Jim was a very nice man, Marilyn was happy to marry him at first and content with being a house wife for a year.Â However, the demise of the relationship was the realization that he didnât have the sensitive side she was looking for. She became lonely and a bit depressed, she was often left at home while he went out with friends. She got a job at an aircraft factory while he was overseas.
How did Marilyn feel about her second husband, Joe DiMaggio?
FACT: Marilynâs second husband was baseball player Joe DiMaggio. They were married for a year in 1954.
FACT: Joe had many sides to him. He would go from being very nice and loving to overbearing and difficult. He was a Sicilian Italian man, who became a famous athlete at a young age.
FACT: Marilyn and Joe had a very passionate sexual life. She was very attracted to him.
FACT/THEORY: Marilyn man have married Joe because she was having problems in her career and she wanted to be protected by his fame.
FACT/THEORY: She had many affairs while married to Joe DiMaggio.
FACT: Although great as friends, they were quite opposite in their ways. He was neat, she was messy. She was always late, he was timely.Â Once married, he felt he possessed her as his wife.
How did Marilyn feel about her third husband, Arthur Miller?
FACT: Marilynâs third husband was playwright Arthur Miller. They were married from 1956 to 1961.
FACT: Marilyn and Arthur had met in Hollywood a number of years before they were married. He saw her out at a party and was drawn to her charisma. He was married at the time and felt he had to leave Hollywood because he did not want it to turn into an affair. They met again in New York a few years later.
FACT: Marilyn became his student in a sense; he trained her and studied with her. They had a vision that they would control the acting stage together in New York.
FACT/THEORY: Our guest expert Lois strongly believed Marilyn was a party girl. Based on Loisâ research and after speaking to many producers. She believes Marilyn was very sexually free. At the time, party girls were Very high class. They didnât think of themselves as prostitutes but, would go out with men in Hollywood as demanded by acting studios and sleep with them.
FACT/THEORY: Many say the reason why Marilyn and Arthur divorced was because they could hardly talk to each other, especially after Marilynâs affair with Yves Montaud, an Italian actor and singer. Marilyn and Arthur fought horribly on the set of the last film they made together. She was angry with him and felt he had taken over her career and used it for his own intentions.
Of all of her husbands, who did Marilyn love the most?
FACT: Marilyn loved Arthur Miller the most, he was the love of her life. Marilyn was very upset when the divorce occurred.
Did Marilyn have plans to remarry Joe DiMaggio after her divorce from Arthur Miller?
FACT: Marilyn did not want to get back together with Joe. There were no records of phone calls between Marilyn and Joe the last month she was alive. She wanted to move to New York and study at the Actorâs Studio.
OUTLANDISH RUMOR: Marilyn and Joe had plans to remarry. They were to be married the day of her funeral.
FACT: Joe was trying to help Marilyn in her last months. Marilyn enjoyed the companionship and friendship of Joe. He was a protector, he was able to get Marilyn out of the mental institution.
Was Marilyn romantically involved with any other men?
FACT: Robert Slatzer was not romantically involved with Marilyn. He knew Marilyn in her early days in Hollywood. Those who were struggling in Hollywood would form friendships. She had many male friends in that period, but she was never married to him.
FACT: Marilyn had a well-publicized affair with Yves Montaud while married to Arthur. Montaud is an Italian actor and singer.
FACT/THEORY: Marilyn was in a relationship with Hal Schaefer, a jazz musician.Â People say she shouldâve married him.
FACT/THEORY: Marilyn was in love with Fred Karger, a composer and musician. This occurred early in her adult life and he did not want to marry her.