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How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights [Paperback]

Ariel Gore
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 May 2007
This may come as a shock, but brilliant writing and clever wordplay do not a published author make. True, you’ll actually have to write if you want to be a writer, but ultimately literary success is about much more than putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Before you snap your pencil in half with frustration, please consider the advice writer, teacher, and self-made lit star Ariel Gore offers in this useful guide to realizing your literary dreams.

If you find yourself writing when you should be sleeping and scribbling notes on odd pieces of paper at every stoplight, you might as well enjoy the fruits of your labor. How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead is an irreverent yet practical guide that combines solid writing advice with guerrilla marketing and promotion techniques guaranteed to launch you into print—and into the limelight. You’ll learn how to:

• Reimagine yourself as a buzz-worthy artist and entrepreneur
• Get your work and your name out in the world where other people can read it
• Be an anthology slut and a brazen self-promoter
• Apply real-world advice and experience from lit stars like Dave Barry, Susie Bright, and Dave Eggers to your own career

Cheaper than an M.F.A. but just as informative, How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead is your catapult to lit stardom. Just don’t forget to thank Ariel Gore for her inspiring, hands-on plan in the acknowledgments page of your first novel!

Product details

  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (25 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030734648X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307346483
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 808,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Hazel
The subtitle of this book says it all: Your words in print and your name in lights.
In this book the author pays much attention to how you can make a name as a writer, before you've written a book. She suggests writing a blog or publishing a zine, and 'become a brazen self-promoter'.
I sort of understand what she means, but before I read this book I had never heard of a zine (and I still have to see the first one).
There are some nice tips about writing and finding time to write, and how to deal with people who are negative about your writing.
She has also interviewed a few published writers (among who, Dave Eggers and Ursula K. Le Guin).

As a whole, this was not the book for me. Maybe it was too much aimed at the American situation, or because I don't want to be published just for the sake of publication.
To be honest, I haven't completely finished it. The first 188 pages took me over 6 months to read. And I've skimmed the remaining 76 pages.
As said there are some good tips in this book, but they can also be found in other writing books, which also tell you how to develop characters, make up good plotlines, what to pay attention to when you re-write, etc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Too Late To Learn 8 April 2007
By John B. Kachuba - Published on
I wish this book had been written several years ago, when I first started my writing career. Ariel Gore's wit and wisdom could have spared me a lot of error and grief. How to Be a Famous Writer Before You're Dead is a breezy and informal guide for the writer looking for that first publishing score. Using her own experiences, as well as those of other writers, comedians, and entertainers, Gore speaks to the reader as if to an old friend and "tells it like it is." Launching a writing career is a scary, but rewarding, endeavor. Gore's encouragement and practical advice should inspire any first-time writer to keep at it. Hell, her book inspired me, even after five books of my own; after all, I'm not dead yet.

John Kachuba
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This little book is a delight. 9 Jun 2007
By Isabel Lewis - Published on
Got a postcard at school advertising a book on journalism. Before I tossed it (I'm retiring -- what do I need another book on journalism for?) I turned it over. There was a picture of Ariel Gore's book, with a brief blurb. I was intrigued and ordered it via amazon when I got home. What a gift to myself it turned out to be. I needed this boost. I've wanted to write for years, and resigned myself to the comments written on students' papers and my own online forum. After reading just the first couple of chapters, I know there are no excuses. I consider this book a godsend. Fun to read, beautifully written, wise and wonderful. Thank you, Ariel Gore!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite writing book 7 Sep 2007
By C. G. La Ferle - Published on
It's funny, it's true, it's irreverent, and it's one of the best new books on writing and publishing available. (Literary snobs won't agree, but who asked them?) I've got three shelves crammed with writing books, and while most are pretty good, they all offer the same safe advice. Gore stresses the importance of marketing and promoting yourself and getting your stuff OUT THERE -- even if it means self-publishing your poems on a copy machine or posting a humor column in the PTA newsletter. While Gore's clear, take-no-prisoners style will appeal mostly to the young and the hip, I'm recommending this book to everyone in my writing workshops, no matter how old (or un-hip) they are. -Cindy La Ferle
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book quite literally changed my life! 5 April 2007
By E. Walter - Published on
This book changed my life! I'm not remotely kidding. I'm embarrassed now to say that I hadn't heard of Ariel Gore until last week, when I stumbled upon this book at Quimby's bookstore in Chicago. I bought it and read it (and highlighted it, which is what I do to the books I love so I don't forget the parts I love most) over the course of last weekend. And now, three days later, I have founded the new Silver Lining zine and a writing group by the same name, finally attended and networked at a literary reading series I'd always meant to go to, and contacted several of my favorite authors (starting with Ariel) to tell them how much I love their work and to pick their brains a bit about writing. That's right! That's just how inspiring and practical this book is. Plus it's a blast to read. Buy it now and use it to further your passions!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Self-promotion for dummies. 16 Jan 2008
By Genevieve Hayes - Published on
This book is not a writing manual. There is no magic formula that can make you write like Stephen King or whoever your favourite writer is. The secret to writing something, anything, is to sit down and put pen to paper. Nothing is going to happen if you don't do that, and on a regular basis. Unlike the authors of many of the other books on writing that are out there, Ariel Gore realizes this and instead of spending pages going on and on about characterization and inspiration, Gore deals with the issues that are most important to those of us who have managed to churn out some of our own work - how to get your name known and your words in print.

"How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead" is a fantastic book on the art of self-promotion. Gore details all of the steps that she went through to get her name in print (and clearly, they must have worked, otherwise I wouldn't be reviewing this book) and in addition, the book is interspersed with interviews with other famous writers (including Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Cho, among others) who also share the secrets of their success.

There might not be a magic formula for writing a best-seller, but there is a formula for becoming a published writer and this book tells us mere mortals exactly what it is.
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