I started writing in 1993, when I was in the hospital. I happened to hear an episode of the Rush Limbaugh show in which he stated he believed that no American could save even $2,000 to fund an IRA, let alone anything significant. I got inspired. I took one my my manuscripts to a literary agent, and was told I’d be better off self-publishing than trying to shop it around. So, I used a small printer for two of my poetry books and a self-help book.
I took those books to poetry readings all over Los Angeles, California where I was living at the time, and sold 1,200 of them, around 10 at a time. After a while, I started leaving copies with bookstores that also held readings. They sold another 700 off the shelf. I decided to take the show on the road so I set up a “Greyhound” book tour. I jumped on buses to San Francisco, San Diego and Denver, Colorado. I sold 250 poetry books and another 500 of the self-help book.
Through the literary agency I’d approached, I met a woman who was looking for screenwriters. She liked one of my poems, and offered to help make it into a screenplay. Little did I know at the time but her method for doing this was to teach me how to write screenplays. I’ve since written five, we’ve sold a TV pilot, and one of our screenplays has been optioned. I can’t stress enough the importance of having a mentor.
I’ve also written articles for poetry magazines, my self-help book has been used as a text by St. John Fisher College in Rochester NY and I, myself, now teach writing techniques to beginning writers in Rochester.
And, all of my writing success was inspired by a challenge I heard on the radio 24 years ago…
Thanks for reading this! I hope it helps. Happy writing!
Have a Freelance Success Story to share? We pay $40 on acceptance, non-exclusive electronic rights only. Success stories run around 300 words but we're very flexible. Our guidelines are here: http://writersweekly.com/writersweekly-com-writers-guidelines
Lawrence Berger, a.k.a. “Laughing” Larry B has authored nine books of original Poetry, A self help book that was used as a text at St. John Fisher College in Rochester NY, five screenplays, and a TV pilot, several articles and three blogs. He also teaches his writing techniques to beginning writers in Rochester, NY.