Saturday, September 20, 2008

Creativity and the Successful Author

Back in the days when I toiled in advertising, those people who were locked in their offices, hunched over desks either writing copy or designing the layouts for the ads were called "creatives." The "beautiful people" were the account execs who got to wine and dine the clients as part of their job to sign and keep the accounts.

And that is how "creative" can be perceived: The starving artist, reclusive writer and temperamental actor.

I don't like clich├ęs or stereotypes, so today's myth-busting message is that authors can be both creative and entertaining. Here are three examples of writers who extended their imaginations past the page to the public's eye.

The first two were clever enough to tie their work to the event foremost in most Americans' minds right now--the presidential election.

Mark LaFlamme, author of the novel, Dirt: An American Campaign, put his protagonist, Frank Cotton, in the race with a website and blog for the fictitious character. Those who want to help promote Frank Cotton and the book can download a banner to post on their own websites or blogs and get the good deed reciprocated with their links listed on the "candidate's" site as a Friend of Frank Cotton.

My client, Feng Shui expert Pat Heydlauff, wrote and posted a press release/article analyzing the colors worn by First Lady Laura Bush, Senator Hillary Clinton, Cindy McCain and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during their presentations at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. This was not a fashion article, but a commentary on how color helped deliver the speakers' messages with respect to both the outfit and the contrast against the background. The article was picked up by newspapers around the country, with Pat's short bio, website link and mention of her upcoming book, Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It.

Author Deb Sharp overcame her resistance to what she calls "shameless promotion" by poking fun of herself both in her personal blog and in Ask Mama, the blog she created for her title character in Mama Does Time and Mama Rides Shotgun. Deb has even created some radio essays for Tampa's National Public Radio station WUSF-FM that detail the "horrors" she has faced getting ready to be a published author.

I could write a book (and maybe I will) about clever ways to promote yourself. But, you're a writer, too, so you don't need me to tell you how to be creative. Just get in the shower, take a walk, drive your car or whatever gets your muse working and think of ways to get your work in front of readers. And then send me your story so I can tell everyone here.


  1. The shower. It's always the shower with me. How did you know?

  2. Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, said: "Anyone who has ever taken a shower has had a good idea. It's the person who gets out, dries off and does something about it that is successful." Congrats.