Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How to Become a Famous Writer before you’re dead

Ariel Gore
(Three Rivers Press, 2007, 265 pp, RRP £6.81)

Ever dreamt of being a lit-star? Working at home in your pyjamas, making a living from your imagination and craft, hobnobbing with other writing glitterati and souping up inspiration? Ariel Gore, author of the alternative parenting zine Hip Mamma and several novels, tells you that it’s not only possible, it’s your birthright. Each step of the publishing processes is explained here in homely detail, with plenty of writing assignments for getting started, advice for killer book proposals and tracking down an agent, and even how to organise your own cross-country book tour- firedancers, backing musicians and standing on street corners in a tutu and gorilla mask handing out flyers, all optional, but part of Gore’s extensive resume of guerrilla self-marketing which she offers up as inspiration. Whilst some wanna-be authors might want more of the actual practical tips of writing, this book focuses on how to be an artist and an entrepreneur, getting your name out there so it will be ‘exciting-familiar in your reader’s ears before you’ve even finished your first book’. Drawing on interviews with other lit-stars like Susie Bright, Michelle Tea and Ayun Halliday, Gore’s book offers a cosy, behind-the-scenes prep-talk for non-fiction writers and storytellers alike, with enough nervy ideas to make even the most timid of writers brave. For anyone who fancies themselves as a latterday Anais Nin or Walt Whitman, this guide is a crash-course in attitude and self-belief, with a good mix of practical advice and irreverent humour showing you how to get on the writing ladder, from self-publishing to securing a 5-digit book deal.

Reviewed by Red Chidgey.

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