Anita Shreve, the American novelist, died recently. Several serendipitous events make her career interesting to Kiwi writers. After graduating from Tufts University she taught English at a high school for five years. The work fed her body but not her soul so she left teaching to become a full-time writer.
- Tip #1: She expanded two of her best magazine articles into books. Her first novel, ‘Eden Close’, didn’t appear until Anita was 43.
- Tip #2: Even modest success didn’t reach her until middle age. She kept on writing. Then she had a lucky break. Her sixth novel, ‘The Pilot’s Wife’, was picked almost at random from a stack and featured on Oprah Winfrey’s TV Book Club which had millions of viewers. Oprah liked it. Suddenly sales of Anita’s earlier books rocketed from a few thousand per title into the millions. ‘The Pilot’s Wife’ book Oprah endorsed sold four million copies. Then 13 million Oprah fans discovered her earlier novels (which were quickly re-issued) and they sold a million each.
- Tip #3: It was her sixth novel which struck the jackpot, not her first. Be patient and keep writing.
- Tip #4: Shreve’s novels featured flawed characters, broken relationships, dark secret family back-stories and catastrophes which happened to ordinary people. She used lots of dialogue to tell her stories.
- Tip #5: Recognise a winning formula when you have one given to you.Find
My aim is to produce a new ebook every two weeks. My other aim is to show as many people as will listen how to write their own ebooks. That means giving talks to writers groups, ‘How-To’ workshops and NZIBS writing courses. I know the topics of my next 40 ebooks, but there are only 25 hours in a day.