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Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

Kristen Lamb — Photo

Posts Tagged: Hollywood

Made it back from my trip to LA on Monday. Six days away from home, but it was a blast. It was a real treat to get to attend the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, and I would recommend it for any author, even if you don’t happen to write romance. This conference, first of all, is MASSIVE. I believe someone said that there were 1500 attendees, and from what I witnessed, that number appeared accurate.

I arrived in LA on Tuesday afternoon, which was nice in that it gave time to get to the hotel, wind down and find a few authors to talk to. The Bonaventure is a leviathan, and I believe it was designed by MC Escher. Seriously. Like elevators that don’t go to every floor and stairs that seem to lead nowhere.  The inside of the hotel, while lovely, reminded me of the video game HALO…where, coincidentally, I spent most of my time lost as well.

I wore my Body Bugg the first day and I took almost 12,000 steps that day, mostly because I always seemed to be in the wrong place or the wrong floor. By the time I figured out what I was doing and where I was going, it was time to come home to Texas.

Sigh. Ah well.

My panel was Wednesday afternoon, and I have great news. Apparently, the lessons I have been giving you guys are spot on. As if you doubted. I was even quoted by the Los Angeles Times as an expert, and since then have not been able to fit my head through a door.

RT had a stunning array of experts to teach about EVERYTHING. Forensics, firearms, screenwriting, you name it. The wealth of training offered is worth the conference fee alone, and they hold some pretty killer parties, too (though I was too wiped to enjoy those to the fullest).

The best part of the conference, though, was that I was able to meet a lot of really talented authors of all levels. I even got to know some top-notch authors—those folk who live at the level I hope to one day see. The cool thing is…and don’t tell anyone that I told you…they are actually human and even very nice. Kathy Lyons (a.k.a. Jade Lee), Stephen Jay Schwartz, Allison Brennan, April Smith, Boyd Morrison, Brett Battles, F. Paul Wilson, Dianne Emley, Barry Eisler, to name a few. I hope you guys will check out their sites and their books. I bought books from each just because they were all such great people.

I  even got a chance to meet…

Are you ready for this???

DEAN KOONTZ!!! HOLY CRAP, I GOT TO MEET DEAN KOONTZ!!!!

OMG!!!!!!!

I have read Dean Koontz since I was in middle school. Back when I was a kid, there was no such thing as YA, and so I read a lot of J.R.R. Tolkein, L. Ron Hubbard, Stephen King, David Eddings and, yes, Dean Koontz. I don’t tend to be much of a fan-girl as far as music or movie stars, but boy do I get silly when it comes to meeting some of the writers who have inspired my career choice. And my favorite of all time has got to be Dean Koontz, so to get to meet him was sublime. And, he is really interesting and funny and brilliant and at the end of the day I realized…I like Dean Koontz.

I find it interesting how I can preach this stuff all the time, and yet still be amazed at the truth the lessons I share with you guys each week. It is so critical that others like us. Being likable has tremendous power.

I came home with a suitcase full of books that I’d purchased for the simple reason that I liked the author and wanted to support him or her. It is strange how likability filters into how we spend our time and money as consumers.

I remember when I was growing up, there was a comedian whom I LOVED (won’t mention any names). I would rent his videos over and over and over and play them until I thought the tape would break. When I made it to college, I scraped up enough money to go see this comedian, and he happened to be signing autographs before the show. I stood in a line that went on for miles in the freezing winter weather all to get my 30 seconds to tell him how much I loved his work. Yet, when I finally got to talk to him, he was a nasty, sarcastic ass who was too good to be bothered with the likes of me.

I was crushed.

That night’s show was the last time I ever watched him. His career seemed to dissolve away after that. I wonder if his poor attitude finally caught up with him. Maybe all the people like me realized we could find another comedian to love, one who would be nicer and more grateful to have our devotion.

The authors I met at RT were all so wonderful, and I know that I will actively support them in any way I can. And it is for no other reason other than they were kind. Fame can make us weird. I know I am nobody and let me tell you, when I saw my name in the LA Times, it was easy to get a puffed up ego. But, I think we are always wise to remember that this…all of this writing and blogging and tweeting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is ALWAYS a team effort and we need to always thank our team, remember them and let them know we would be nowhere without them.

Authors only become best-sellers because readers are willing to part with their money to support us. Twitter only works if others are willing to help us spread the word. Yes, there are increasing numbers of self-published or indie published authors enjoying large sales numbers, but often that is due to the social platform who was willing to help spread the word.

I work very hard to post great content regularly, but it means nothing if you guys don’t take time to read. I am so very grateful for your support.

So what do you guys think? Today, we’re running a very unscientific social experiment. What makes an author likable? Am I putting too much weight on likability? Would you buy books from an author you liked as a person, but didn’t care for her novels? Conversely, if you met an author who was a real toad, would you still buy his books because his writing was superb? Same with movies. Do you find it harder to watch movies with starts known for poor behavior? Or? Does that not mean anything to you? I want to know what you guys think.

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

WINNERS CIRCLE

Last week in March Winner of Critique of First 5 Pages (approx.1250 words)–JM Cornwell

Month of March Winner of 15 Page Edit (approx. 3250 words)–Patti Mallet

April Week One Winner of 5 Page Critique (approx. 1250 words)–James Loscombe

April Week Two of 5 Page Critique (approx. 1250 words)–Jenyfer Matthews

Please send your pages, double-spaced in a Word Document to kristen at kristen lamb dot org.

Happy writing!

Until next time…

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

Blogging live from L.A. I have good news and bad news. The bad news first. I have done everything I can, and yet no Hollywood agent has “discovered” me yet. I don’t get this place. How has no one seen what I have to offer? Surely there is some movie in need of a cute, slightly fluffy thirty-something-year-old writer. If not, then I could write it FOR them. What a bargain! Not only could they have their STAR, but I could write the script and I would even be willing to direct and…ooh…I would even be happy to do casting, too.  And wardrobe? I could totally handle that too. I am an excellent multi-tasker. Just drop me off on Rodeo and…

Yeah, well they clearly don’t understand that this gem won’t be here for long. Limited time offer, Honey. And … well, they’ll be sorry.

The good news is that this conference seriously ROCKS. That has helped to take my mind off the fact that launching my career as a movie star is not going according to plan. According to my original calculations, I should have been signing a movie deal by now.

But back to the conference…

The Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention has gathered together a mind-boggling collection of experts; everything from forensics experts, to the ATF, to NY Times best-selling authors to teach attendees how to be the best they possibly can be.

Thus, the only nugget of advice I can give you guys is to invest in yourselves. Invest in your careers. We are in amazing times to be a writer. There are so many potential career options. It is liberating and terrifying to think that now everyone can be published. In ways, this is excellent news, but it is staggering to think of the competition we will face in the coming years.

Ah, but the cream will always separate, which makes it even more vital that we do everything we can to learn our craft and take our business seriously.

Thus, a handful of tips for every budget.

1. We must read books about our craft. I gobble up everything I can, particularly books about structure. My opinion? Writers who really understand structure are faster, cleaner, more prolific writers, regardless their style of execution (plotter/pantser). It might take 5 years to write our first book, but when it comes to book two? We need to significantly shorten that timeline without compromising quality.

2. Get on Twitter and follow every agent, editor, publisher and best-selling author you can find. We have to do everything we can to know the ins and outs of our business. Knowledge is power. Twitter is one of the few places that stalking is encouraged. Apparently here in L.A., it will get you banned from a restaurant I didn’t like anyway. Jerks.

3. Read novels of all kinds. Yes, we can read our own genre, but the real art side of the craft often comes when we blend elements from other styles. It gives new blood to our genre and helps our work stand apart.

4. Build a social media platform to support our careers for the long-term. I can attest that it takes time to get momentum. You will feel like nothing you are doing is making one bit of difference. Just keep at it, no matter how discouraging. Too many writers give up just shy of the tipping point.

5. Do everything you can to go to conferences. Feel free to start small with local conferences, but when you get a chance try to go to the big ones. It is a totally different world and the relationships and professional connections you’ll make are priceless.

Everyone can be published. That is now a reality. BUT, not everyone will approach being an author with the skill, energy, focus and planning necessary to thrive as a career professional in this new paradigm.

All right, so back to choosing an outfit for the day. I need something eye-catching. Maybe the Hollywood people just haven’t seen me yet. Okay, well one saw me. I went to the Hollywood track yesterday to become peeps with the producers, but then nothing. Can you believe that? I couldn’t either. So I figured that they probably just didn’t make a big deal out of me because they were worried they might make the other writers jealous. I was not one to give up.

Anyway…

I think that producer Lee Goldberg turned his sprinklers on deliberately to flush me out of his hedges. Ruined my stack of head shots. Some people are so rude. But I was gracious and slipped one under his windshield wiper along with the script I wrote on the plane about the story of my life. I clearly stated in my note that I was totally willing to play the part of me to save the studios money, but that he was free to cast Reese Witherspoon. I would approve.

What does a writer have to do to get famous in this town?

I miss you guys and thanks so much for all of your comments. You have no idea how awesome it has been to read your thoughts and opinions in between speakers. I just don’t understand how I could be so naive. You guys can see how awesome I am. What is wrong with these Hollywood people? I think we need you guys to take over, because clearly you have superlative taste.

What are some of your tips to make it in this modern publishing jungle?

Okay, publishing smublishing. More about me.

I’m running out of time. Any suggestions of how I could get my movie deal? Maybe you guys can think of something. The world needs to know the story of me, or it will be a sad, dark little place where life is never fully experienced. So help me out!

And, in return for your assistance with launching my stardom…

For the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Stay tuned for March’s winners. Will post soon. No Mash-Up of Awesomeness today. The hotel Internet connection makes glaciers look fast. I nearly tore out all my own hair just trying to get the blog posted. Okay, done whining. The MUA will resume next week. Promise.

Happy writing!

Until next time….

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

Yes, I am in L.A., the land of the rich and beautiful. Well, I have heard rumor they are around here somewhere. Didn’t see them last night when I snuck off to Broadway for dinner at El Pollo Loco. I found myself wolfing down my food prison style (arm curled in front of the plate, plastic knife at the ready). Why? Um…the five homeless people banging on the glass next to my head might have been a tad nerve wracking. I was tired, been flying all day, and I was not sharing my chicken with anyone, even if they were willing to trade me a bag of aluminum cans.

Point?

Yes, I have one. So here I am in L.A. and I walk into the hotel and see a gaggle of romance writers in the lobby. It was so refreshing to see FACES I knew from Facebook and Twitter; peeps I have seen float by my screen for-like-ever.

Channeling my inner Valley Girl. Oh muh Gawd!

Oh, yeah. Back to my point. Here in L.A. everyone has a headshot. Probably even the housekeeper who bought me extra towels. They have this headshot…just in case. They want to be movie stars and movie stars have pictures of themselves…which got me to thinking.

Yes, I made sure not to stand next to anything flammable.

Best-selling authors all have pictures of themselves on their Twitter (normally it is the picture on the back of their books). Experts and authorities all have a picture of their face. And suddenly it struck me how pleasant it is to see a human face. Not a cover of a book, or a cat or a landscape or even a hunka hunka’s six-pack abs. A face. A smiling, friendly, happy, inviting face.

I enjoy seeing faces. I connect differently with tweeps and FB peeps who use a picture of themselves. The people who hide behind book covers, to me, are always at a distance.

Thus, my position as social media expert is that we always use a picture of our face. It connects with people. It makes us more approachable. We don’t have to be model-beautiful. Some of my favorite faces on Twitter are real people…with a smile and twinkle in their eye that says, “Let’s be peeps.”

Oh, I know some people with wail and gnash teeth over this. But, I have to be blunt. The first people I approach at conferences are those I recognize. I also am far more likely to repost their stuff and promote them. Must be a subconscious thing because I just noted that behavior. If NY Times best-selling authors all use a picture of their face, and we want to eventually be like them, stands to reason we would watch what they do and emulate it.

I know that my avatar for the longest was a picture I had taken of myself. You know….where you set the camera on the counter and press the button and jump back and hope it is just blurry enough that none of your wrinkles show. Finally, as a gift to myself, I let the professionals take over and invested in a headshot.

What do you guys think? Author’s smiling face? Or book covers? If you don’t use your own picture, why? I’m curious. What’s your opinion?

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Stay tuned for March’s winners. Will post soon. No Mash-Up of Awesomeness today. The hotel Internet connection makes glaciers look fast. I nearly tore out all my own hair just trying to get the blog posted. Okay, done whining. The MUA will resume next week. Promise.

Happy writing!

Until next time….

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.