Welcome to industry 101 with The Red Carpet Hero. This will be your official guide on how to make it in the industry. What makes me an expert you ask? Besides being a publicist to your favorite DJs, fashion designers, bloggers, radio personalities, reality stars, and recording artists, I also write for top magazines and websites. This column is here to help you build your career. Feel free to shoot all your questions to @pqchanel on all your favorite social networks!
Lets start our new lesson of #Industry101 “So, you want to be an author? ft Angela Marie Hutchinson. Author of BReaKiNG iNTo HoLLyWooD and two children’s picture books Charm Kids and Sepia Girl.
1) Know Your Craft – Before you dream about being a personal writer, you must know how to write well. Writing a book is different than writing on social media or even a blog. Learn the AP style guide. Make it your bible.
2) Make an Outline – Before you start writing your first novel, you should outline the entire book. Most will find they hardly have enough content for a short story, yet alone a novel.
3) Editing is Key – Get a copywriter. I repeat, get a professional copywriter.
4) Research Publishers- If you haven’t received a major book deal from any of the famous publishing houses, know the different types of self publishing options. Do your research and do what is best for you.
5) Be Heard, or Read- Its one thing to write a book, it is another thing to have others read it. Before you publish your book, think of your marketing or public relations strategy. How will others know about your book? What can you do to gain awareness of the book? Your plan should be well thought of before you release.
6) Don’t Be Afraid – Don’t be afraid to take risks. Whether it be in your writing stage or in the marketing stage of publishing your book, do not be afraid of doing things out of the normal approach. You might be well rewarded.
7) Be Persistent – Even if you get a “no” from a publisher, be persistent and follow up in a four to six month period. More than likely if they will have some sort of work for you, even if in a small capacity.
Now for some insight from Angela Marie Hutchinson. Angela Marie Hutchinson is a casting director, former talent agent and the author of three books: her comedic memoir “BReaKiNG iNTo HoLLyWooD” and two children’s picture books “Charm Kids” and “Sepia Girl”. A Chicago native with over 10 years of industry experience, Angela Marie has worked for MGM, Warner Bros. Television and the GRAMMYs.
How did you get your start?
About 9 years ago, I was inspired to write my first manuscript after a mentor of mine who was one of my college advisors at the University of Michigan had written a book that was published by Lee & Low Books. She encouraged me to apply for a writing contest which could lead to a book deal. I decided to write a book idea that I had based on my mother’s life. It’s a children’s picture book entitled, “Sepia Girl,” which celebrates diversity and the beauty of brown. I submitted it to the contest and although it didn’t win, I enjoyed the process of writing the manuscript. I later wrote another children’s picture book and then a comedic adventure memoir on my journey to breaking into Hollywood.
What are the first steps of becoming an author?
When I think of an author, a writer with published works comes to mind. I would say the first step to becoming an author is to complete a finished manuscript. Next, copyright your material through the US copyright office. Then, have a professional editor to edit the book for errors and ways to improve the book. After polishing the book to be the best it can be, try to secure a literary agent and/or publishers that may have an interest in your book. If that doesn’t work, I would self-publish the book and promote it within your community and network of people that you know. Then, I would hire a publicist to help you promote the book and use social media as a tool to promote the group, as well as top book bloggers, trying to get them to say something positive about the book.
Number one rule for an upcoming author?
The number rule for an upcoming author is not to quit. Other than that, I don’t think there is any set of rules to becoming an author. I do think it’s important for aspiring authors to have a goal in mind as to why they are writing their book. In other words, is the purpose to have a best selling novel or is there more of a desire to just convey a story or thoughts that have been in your head for a while. Maybe you aren’t really looking for the fame aspect of it. If so, self publishing can be the way to go instead of writing a manuscript and trying to find an agent or publisher.
What should today’s up and coming author stay away from?
In my opinion, authors should avoid writing books that do not help to move society forward in a positive light.
What makes one author stronger than the next?
A writer’s voice I think is what helps them to stand out from the next author. You can tell a good writer when you get one of their book fans to read the book w/o knowing who the author is and they must be able to identify the author based on the style of writing, how the character’s speak and the overall tone in how the message is delivered.
Co Author? yes or no?
I think co-authoring is a great way to have some else on your team who is passionate about the book. When it comes time to promoting the book, it won’t be just you but also that person’s family, friends, colleagues and social media fans. Just be sure that both you and your co-author have signed an agreement stating a 50/50 split in proceeds or whatever share is appropriate for your situation. Also, I think one author should be able to have the final say on when to accept a book deal or what to do and not do with the book. I think it’s fair to split proceeds equally but I would suggest one author retain more control.
What general career advice would you give any mentee (not just a writer)?
Write from the heart, but also stay abreast of what is selling. In my opinion it does not good to have a passionate book from the heart that know one is interested in. The other school of thought though is that you can make people interested in things even when they might not usually be—such as advertising. How many times have you not been hungry but saw an ad for something on TV and maybe started craving it or purchased it the next day. But it costs lots of money to advertise so for those who don’t have the money to do massive ad campaigns for your self-published book. I’d say focus on telling a good story that you think people might also care about enough to recommend the book to a friend.
State a social media do and dont. –
Do – Do provide useful information to your followers about your area of expertise.
Don’t – Don’t bore followers with everything you ate or everywhere you went during the day. It’s nice to give your social media friends a glimpse into a day in your life but don’t over do it.
How can someone work for you?
I am always looking for interns or volunteers for our organization’s events. People can go to www.breakingintohollywood.org to learn more about my nonprofit which helps people break into the entertainment business.