“How I Got a Book Deal (Or How to Succeed in Shameless Self-Promotion Without Really Trying)” by Andrew Farago, page 2
I should mention that at no point during any of this was I actively campaigning to write anything and it didnít even occur to me that anything like that was even a possibility. My day job keeps me busy enough that I donít really go out of my way to find additional work to pile on top of the 40-60 hours that a typical week at an arts-based educational non-profit. Nearly every side project that comes along (apart from sporadic self-published comic projects) is something that drops into my lap.
Iíve found that most of these projects come through what Iíve come to refer to as stealth networking. The handful of Marvel Comics that my wife and I wrote came about because we befriended a cartoonist about three years before he was hired as an editor at Marvel, and he hired us because he was a fan of my wifeís work and he knew he could get along with us over the course of scripting a short story. My professional animation writing came about because a friend was too busy to take on an assignment and he recommended me to his editor. And so on.
So, I got a book deal by spending a decade becoming an expert in my field, constantly meeting new people (and doing whatever I could to help them out), then eventually stumbling into a series of serendipitous coincidences. However, that non-strategy wonít work for everyone.
I recommend that you do your best to meet people who do the things that you want to do, either through the Internet, old-fashioned letter writing, conventions, book signings, lectures, etc., and find out how they got to be where they are today. When you do meet these people, donít be a jerk. Thatís a huge part of the battle right there. You might think that telling your favorite author where his last project went wrong is doing him a big favor, or that heíd appreciate hearing that youíve downloaded copies of all of his books from filesharing websites, but take some time to think about what you say before you say it, and youíll stand a much better chance of making a good impression and, just maybe, a valuable connection.
You should also start a blog, send submissions to magazines (print or online), and write as much as you can. Even catching up on old e-mails is a good way to hone your skills. And did I mention the part about not being a jerk? Thatís useful in pretty much any profession outside of the NBA, so take that advice to heart.
Back to my own book project story. As I said, my editor enjoyed my other animation writing, and thought Iíd be a good fit for the proposed Looney Tunes Treasury, which would be an art book and a history book with a twist. Instead of a straightforward history of the Warner Bros. StudiosĖsomething thatís been done very well alreadyĖhe proposed writing autobiographical essays composed in the voice of each character. Bugs Bunny would tell his life story, both onscreen and as an ďactorĒ working with various real-life directors and animators, covering key moments in the studioís history along the way. And heíd tell that story in his singular tone with all his vocal mannerisms and memorable catchphrases.
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