Monday, December 7, 2009

Readers and World Records

Does it really take a mention in the Guinness Book of World records to be noticed and interesting to the masses as a writer? I ask this question after a particularly telling class with my students last week. Sure, it’s nearing the end of the semester. Their minds are off past exams, into their winter break and whatever holiday adventures might ensue. I understand those moments. I have them myself. Yet as a writer, standing in front of a class, introducing an internationally best-selling author, my students’ apathetic eyes told the story of how hard it is to capture the attention of the public.

When I mentioned how Paulo Coelho was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the author that has been translated into the most languages (67), some heads tilted in thought, eyes awakening with interest.

This is what we as writers need to achieve. What is that detail that we can say about ourselves that will grab the attention of the public? What makes you different than the others? It’s what we need in those query letters to agents, in those sells to editors, in capturing the minds of our potential readers.

How’s this? I’m working on a present-day thriller based on historical American secrets not even included on Wikipedia. Intrigued? Maybe? Hopefully? This is true, though I’m not quite giving out details yet.

Paulo Coelho has been one of my favorites for years. He’s a writer that’s struck a chord with audiences and apparently his Guinness Book of World Record title gathers even more attention.

We all need to find our angle, though. Do you have any schemes, plans of action, or killer opening lines? If anyone has any ideas how to get into Guinness, definitely let me know.

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