MY WRITER TOOL BAG
There isn’t a day goes by I don’t learn something new. So, for those of you of think you know everything – you don’t.
That said, I discovered a few tools lately, and they were right in front of me for a long time. I just didn’t look. We all know writers are stubborn by nature. We like to do things our way and only look for help as a last resort.
As a kid, I wrote short stories and edited the school newspaper. I knew things others didn’t, and that’s not always a great pair of shoes to walk in on a hot day at the beach. You create shortcuts and get in a lot of bad habits. I did get a lot of laughs and assumed I could write about anything. A big head can go a long way.
Then I grew up and relocated to Hollywood. The actors in me struggled but the writer – you know that “other guy” in my head thrived. I sold my first screenplay and remembered sharing with close friends how good and easy it was. What did I know? Aside from knowing everything, I assumed selling the next script would be just as easy as the first. My only excuse was – I was a kid who didn’t know any better. I was also wrong.
My grandfather taught me you never give up when you know the direction you walk in is the right way. I was stubborn and grew thick skin. Rejection was a middle name, but I learned some great lessons along the way. Eventually, I found my niche and became a produced screenwriter. I also had to understand when you sell a script it doesn’t mean it will reach the big screen. Most don’t get their green light. I once again found tools right in front of me I hadn’t seen or used yet and when I did – everything changed.
Along the way, my agent kept telling me to write a novel or two and use some of the screen stories I had created for the base. It took years for me to listen to that advice. I didn’t know how to write a novel. There is a huge difference in-between the art of screenwriting and the compelling ability of completing a manuscript.
Sometimes you write a screenplay, sell it, and after the first, second, or third option runs out the script goes into turn-around. If the studio or production company that purchased, the script doesn’t exercise the final step to complete the purchase – the film rights return to the writer.
Unfortunately, the turnaround option happens quite frequently. I know many screenwriters who make a good living selling scripts that never get produced. It’s not what you want, but it pays the bills.
On one of those occasions, my agent reminded me again. If the studio readers liked the story and script well enough to talk the studio into putting up options money to obtain screen rights, the story must be good. He suggested I to turn it into a novel. He didn’t mention I should look for a few new tools to help me.
Now, after writing several published books I still seek tools to help me learn more. Like I said, you learn something every day if you pay attention. Some of my writer friends were joining groups and clubs to help find their audience. I joined a few, and then I found this one place called Author’s Marketing Club. I checked it out and found over 16,000 authors belonged to the club, so I joined.
I wanted more tools. My writer tool bag is full, but there is always room for more. As a screenwriter I know how to excite the reader, make a strong pitch and write a compelling script. I have sold or optioned over 30 scripts. It’s never easy, and my filing cabinets prove it. I’ve probably written several hundred scripts over the years, and we all know or can guess where most found their resting place – buried in one of my cabinets. What I needed was an author’s tool. I knew there was more than one tool, but you have to start at square one when you enter the tiger’s den with little knowledge of how to feed the hungry animals. I didn’t know how to find my audience, my author’s voice, or basic promotional tools every writer needs. These tools are completely difference than the ones I’ve used all my life. Screen vs. Book and therein lies the battle of confusion. In a screenplay, it is mostly showing a very little fine-tuned selected and tell. In the book, it is all tell, describe, and tell more. Once you find the handle and can tell the difference, you need new tools.
Now my writer tool bag has made more room for all the exciting gifts I am receiving from Authors Marketing Club. There is so much stuff offered you need time to digest all the potential help that is waiting to be explored. How to get reviews is one. They not only tell you what tools you need but provide the main tool to enhance your chances. They don’t get the reviews, but your manuscript and talent are given the basics and shows you how to get it done. They help with advertising, guide you through a book description, offer tidbits of how, where and when to promote, offer workshops for marketing, book writing, cover creation and more. Tools are what you find here that are almost impossible to find elsewhere. When you join as a Premium Member, you get a bag of tools, and many of them are priceless.
Now I know you’re asking – do I work for Authors Marketing Club? The answer is no. I discovered early in my career to helping other writers, filmmakers and actors. You help them, and they remember and will help you back. Sometimes the pay-forward takes years, but the memory is long and a wonderful tool – we never forget kindness or assistance. When you promote your book or help someone else just adding the hash-tag #amcbuzz to a tweet or Facebook announcement creates amazing things, and you get to watch them happen. Even if you belong to other clubs or groups, you help them, and they will help you. To help fill your writer's tool bag, I suggest you join the Authors Marketing Club http://www.authormarketingclub.com and become a Premium Member.
My Writer Tool Bag still has room to learn more, and I’m constantly making room for additional space. Remember – give a fellow writer a virtual hug and that small helping hand will reap untold rewards.
Copyright © William Byron Hillman 2014
Just re-released with new cover and edits:
Ghosts and Phantoms 1 – the first Rollie Kemp Mystery
HOAX – a Rollie Kemp Mystery #5
On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@QuigleyMovie
Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/williamhillman
Twitter Page http://www.twitter.com/@authorwhillman
Dream Searcher http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EC19DJW
Let's Sue ‘Em http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009M9E790
Veronique and Murray: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0071F05MU
Zebra's Rock and Me http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004PL08LM
Quigley's Christmas Adventure http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ANVNQ6G
In editorial – Cheater
In development Veronique and Murray's Honeymoon
Rollie Kemp Novels
Ghosts and Phantoms Part I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056WR6I6
Ghosts and Phantoms Part II: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056WR7YE
Bad Rap: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DNIHCYI
In development Con Job
My next planned film is:
Quigley's Christmas Adventure
www.quigley2.com(Sequel to the hit film Quigley)