A Consultation with David Henry Sterry

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I had a chance to talk with David Henry Sterry – bestselling author and all-round superstar of books that help writers get it done and sell it.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry and his own website speak for themselves.

I was given a free 20 minute consultation with him after buying The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published from The Book Doctors.

I told him about my ongoing project. I won’t (yet) give away too many specifics, but it’s a serial fiction project that will be released in flash-fiction sized chunks. Like David Wong did with John Dies at the End, I will publish parts of it and try to gather up fans and hype as I go.

Sterry liked my idea, remarking that it is a very modern way to get published. There was nothing so wrong with the idea itself, or the concept of its release. The main problem was pitching it! After I described my story in broad terms, he had me recite my pitch for it. My pitch fell flat, to say the least!

The problem with my pitch (and so many others) is that it removed the danger and the excitement – the scope of the story from the characters’ perspectives was utterly lost! A good pitch should get into the action, in medias res, and convey the consequences for characters worth caring about.

I also learned that, along with a good pitch, artwork is essential. This is a major obstacle, since I can barely draw a stickman. I will have to hire artists for my covers – no ifs, ands, or buts. This website is overdue for some decent graphics – I’m currently talking with artists I know.

Social connections are the final key he told me about. Interviews with experts in the field are essential, and I should be running them regularly on my blog. Only through lots of good connections with writers, editors, and publishers can I hope to succeed with any writing project.

My next post, due this time next week, will tell of the best advice Sterry has to offer modern authors!

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