If you want an easy way to learn the ins and outs of publishing and doing the grueling hard work of attempting to make writing your prime income source, with with which you clothe and feed yourself, then How to Become Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore in the book for you. In this 262 page volume, Ariel Gore tells it like it is and takes her readers through the process of first establishing a writing lifestyle and then getting the polished and written work out there.
Written to complete her friend Allie’s dream of writing a book on how to navigate the publishing world, How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead is packed with information and affirmations for every writer, and even a few suggestions that just seem like fun. While the title might seem cheesy and the author may not be as well known as Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, the advice offered in this book is advice from a real do-it-yourself type personality that takes the reader through personal experiences, Q&As with other underground writers like Michelle Tea and Margaret Cho, as well as some inspirational exercises to challenge the reader.
This is the second book I’ve read by Ariel Gore (see my review of Bluebird) and at first I have to admit I wasn’t as taken with this book as I was with her psychology text, however I stuck with it and I was very glad that I did. While the first fifty or so pages didn’t hold any particularly riveting information for me, the back two hundred gave me some keen insight as to how to put together a press kit and press release, find an agent, look at publishers, and most importantly, how to look for a publisher that would be the right fit for my writing.
More importantly, these pages had things that I hadn’t considered. For one, the culture of zines and how useful they can be to getting a writer’s name out there. One of the challenges, presented after one of Gore’s interviews, challenges the reader to make a zine and distribute it so that the writer gets hands on experience with the whole spectrum of publishing. This challenge in particular was definitely one that resonated with me and made me want to challenge myself to do something similar.
In the very end, I was glad that I picked up this book and that it turned out to be such an insightful source of information. It really shows how an author can be self-made and how they don’t have to rely on big publishing houses and large advances to get their name out there.
FINAL GRADE: B+