No Strings Attached
For the better part of a half century I have met my share of successful people and in most cases I am sorry to say that I was better off with the illusion rather than the reality of who or what I expected them to be.
During the past two years it appears that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. They say that if you want to be successful in a particular field you should learn from those who have succeeded in that area, what you aren’t told is that acquiring that education often comes with a steep price tag. Purchasing books, attending seminars, and buying DVDs, CDs etc. from the likes of The Donald, Suze Orman, or dare I say, Tiger Woods appears to be the norm however, over the past two years I have met three individuals who have changed my somewhat jaded opinion on the topic. Actor John Billingsley, writers L.A. Banks and Jonathan Maberry are three of the most down to earth people that I have ever met.
This past Sunday my daughter and I decided to take a ride to the Barnes and Noble in Willow Grove, Pa. to attend the monthly gathering of a group meeting called the Writers Coffeehouse. The online invitation describes the gathering as “a bunch of writers sitting around talking about writing…with coffee. No agenda…just chat about the latest trends in the industry, about markets, about pitching and selling, about frustration, about keeping the inner fires alight, about dealing with our families, about how damn tough it is to make it as a writer at the best of times and what writers can do to stay afloat in these troubled economic waters.”
Wow, my first thought was, hey this guy must have been following me around. He knows exactly what I have been dealing with lately. I have been an author for sometime now and the one thing that you quickly learn is that being around great writers will help make you a better writer. The gathering was informal and everyone was given a chance to speak. Mr. Maberry moderated the event. His extensive knowledge of the industry is impressive. During the three hour session Mr. Maberry along with a little help from his friends in the Liars Club (a group of networking publishing professionals) answered questions and gave sound advice on everything from signing autographs to setting goals when you are writing a novel.
Last month I was invited to sit on a few panels at Phil Con in Cherry Hill N.J. My first panel was an hour before Mr. Maberry’s True Blood panel and since just about everyone in my family watches the show we sat in on the panel. On the two occasions that I have been in his company he has always been willing to freely share his knowledge of the business and his personal experiences along with a few do’s and don’ts without being preachy or condescending, there’s no pretentious B.S.
During the Writers Coffeehouse a variety of subjects were discussed including editing your work, drive by book signings, word count, how to push through a mental wall, and more. Those who say that if you want to be successful in a particular field you should lean from those who have succeeded in that area are right but, it’s even better when there are no strings attached.