Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The never-ending quest to spout the best book advice, ever

After a bit of a hiatus from NPC events and festivities, your book blogger will be back at the National Press Club tonight for a panel event, "Make Your Book a Reality," sponsored by the Club's Professional Development Committee. My copanelists will be Paul Dickson, an accomplished author and fellow club member, Howard Yoon, an agent with the DC's venerable Gail Ross Agency, and editorial expert Barbara Hart.

We will each speak for about 10 minutes on what we think makes a book successful, and I'm on the fence. Part of me wants to say "Model greatness" by looking at what has succeeded before, and another part of me wants to say "Forget all that" since so many wonderful books have arisen out of their authors' own quirky vision of the world. Part of me wants to say "Write about something you love and care about," when my more pragmatic side whispers that many excellent books have been written because someone commissioned the book, or because the author did it for the money. There is nothing wrong with doing something for profit, and sometimes fine work is the result. I think the bottom line is to build your workbox of professional tools by writing a lot and publishing everywhere you can, so that you're really good at what you do when you sit down to write the book. But then again, I know first-timers who wrote terrific books, so maybe that's wrong, too.

Write or wrong (pun!), I'll be there tonight with fellow book lovers. If you want to come, the sign-up information is at the link above. And the photo is of your book blogger looking as geeky and happy as possible standing next to Anne Perry. The National Press Club is a great place to meet famous authors and pretend you know them. :-)