The workshop for humor writing, human interest writing, networking and getting published

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So you want to be an author?
That’s funny!

Once upon a time, all it took to write a book and make it a success was a good story and a lot of luck. Today, most manuscripts end up in the slush pile, unless the author is a criminal or a celebrity. The only exception — if the plot contains vampires. Let’s face it, books are changing and so are readers.

Since my book Mishegas of Motherhood. Raising Children To Leave The Nest…As Long As They Come Home For Dinner came out last year, it seems that I’ve spent as much time learning how to monetize my blog as I have writing chapters for the next volume.

By the way, since when did “hashtag” become a word?

For moms out there who believe that they have a book in them, here’s some general advice on how to turn your passion for words into a profitable business:

• Develop a comprehensive marketing plan on the back of your grocery shopping list.

• Position yourself as an expert in the field, such as “Specialist in disguising leftover chicken to look like something new for dinner.”

• Establish your brand, you know, “Coupon Mommy.”

• Identify your platform, and I’m not talking high-heeled shoes.

• Expand your reach, and I’m not talking Pilates.

• Increase traffic to your web site/blog by promising free cookies for whoever “likes” you.

• Engage in regular conversation and build relationships with readers via social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube so that you have no time to clean the house, run errands, feed the dog, make dinner, take out the trash or make love to your husband.

• Convert your print book into an ebook with multiple formats. In other words, hire your teenager to use his video game skills to explain modern technology to you.

• Create speaking events and workshops, and pretend that you don’t have stage fright.

• Guest post to promote your own blog, and basically be your own pimp.

• Produce podcasts, web shows, videos. Just make sure your hair looks brushed and there are no poppy seeds stuck in your teeth when you’re in front of the camera.

• Learn the pros and cons of self-publishing, then get a REAL job to pay for it!

• Exercise everyday, and eat chocolate. Self explanatory.

• Obtain an alternative source of income or win the lottery.

• Don’t give up. It will make you appear weak in front of your kids.

For moms especially, it’s important to try to set a good example for your kids by teaching them that hard work pays off, even if it’s not monetary (at first). Sure, rejection letters can hurt, but constructive criticism from experts isn’t nearly as painful as the constant ridicule you get from your own children who complain, “This dinner sucks!”

Look at rejection as positive reinforcement to keep moving forward. It’s better than being ignored. Consider this:

Harry Potter was rejected 12 times before J.K. Rowling went from poverty to one of the richest people in the world, selling more than 400 million copies.

Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl was rejected 16 times and has now sold more than 30 million copies and has inspired numerous novels and films.

• Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times and was actually thrown away before his wife uncrumbled it from the trash and convinced him to try again.

• Kathyrn Stockett, author of The Help, survived a whopping 60 rejections and has now spent more than 100 weeks on the NYT bestseller list.

Good luck!

— Ellie S. Grossman

Ellie S. Grossman is the author of Mishegas of Motherhood. Raising Children To Leave The Nest…As Long As They Come Home For Dinner, which is a combination of domestic satire and Jewish wisdom that applies to all modern families.

Reflections of Erma