Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
Blast your book into the spotlight!
As you have quickly discovered by now, that besides
having a good product, it is the amount of people
contacted that make all the difference. Anyone can
have the best product in the world and be the
smoothest salesperson, but if you didn't actually
make contact with lots of new people, you're sunk.
This carries over equally to writers and perhaps the
best example: the entertainment industry. Every
actor knows that if he/she isn't consistently mailing
out headshots, meeting people, sending out updates,
doing showcases, etc., he/she has little chance of
getting work. This applies to writers as well. Relying
on just one source for writing work or script sales or
not doing enough marketing, nets the same result as
the actor who doesn't send out headshots, etc.
Letters to the Editor
I love your website! I want to send something to Tom
Cruise and I am finding conflicting addresses. Your
website gives his address on Melrose Ave in
Hollywood, the Ross Reports gives CW productions on
the lot of Paramount Pictures in LA. I looked all over
the net to confirm and can't find anything. Please
Whoa Kristin... hang on to your pantyhose!
First the Melrose addy is for his production
company. And yes it is on the Paramount lot.
Use this to reach him:
'Mission Impossible 3'
Cruise/Wagner Prods./Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Filming begins: August 2004 Until: No Date Given*
In the News
IS THIS REALITY TV INXS?
Maybe they're just upset they can't qualify for
VH1's "Bands Reunited," but '80s rockers INXS are
going to great lengths to replace their lead singer,
They've called in Mark Burnett, the reality TV
impressario who is best known for making "Survivor"
and "The Apprentice" watercooler talk for years. The
remaining members of INXS hope they'll do the same
for the band, which had a string of hits in the 1980s
and 1990s and sold more than 30 million records.
"Rock Star" will appear on what a news release on
the band's Website (http://inxs.com) called "a major
U.S. television network" sometime next year. The
competition will open with auditions on five
continents and include some sort of viewer
participation, although it won't be the deciding
factor. The band will have something to do with the
choice, since rock 'n' roll bands are often unstable
enough without the stress of a lead singer who
doesn't have some sort of a connection.
There will be a competition, as the finalists will have
to prove their mettle as songwriters, performers,
producers. The winner has a tough act to follow.
Hutchence was a bona fide rock star, his face and
voice instantly recognizable all around the world.
Hutchence committed suicide in late 1997.
"After Michael died, we wanted to search the world
for a new singer but didn't know how we could
effectively do that," INXS member Tim Farriss said on
the band's Web site. "By having Mark and everyone
at MBP [Mark Burnett Productions] embrace the
concept, we've now found a fantastic way to make
Scripts & Tips
I am looking for two different types of comedy
The first one I am looking for is a completed African
American 'Charlie's Angels' meets 'Austin Powers'
comedy script that takes place in the hood.
The second one I am looking for is a completed
African American Comedy in the vein of 'Friday'.
My most recent credits include: 'My Big Phat Hip-Hop
Family' and 'Treasure in the Hood'. WG and Non-WG
both welcome to submit Please email a logline
followed by a synopsis (no email attachments will be
read) to: Greg Carter
25 Steps to Becoming a Screenwriter
by Richard Showstack
There are about 10,000,000 people in the greater Los
Angeles area. Of those, approximately 10 people have
the power to decide what movies get made.
All the rest want to be screenwriters.
Why does anybody want to become a screenwriter?
Is it because they love movies? Is it because they
love the creative process? Or is it something deeper,
something more sacred, such as the desire for the
fame and fortune that go along with it? (Don't forget
the babes! They love screenwriters because they
think screenwriters can introduce them to people who
are really famous and make the really big bucks.)
1) Ask yourself: a) Is there anything else I can do?
and b) Can I live with myself if I do not become a
screenwriter? If the answer to either is "yes," get a
real job. If the answer to both is "no," proceed to
2) Find a psychiatrist and get your head examined.
(If he diagnoses you as an obsessive-compulsive with
masochistic tendencies, that's a good sign.)
3) Read as many books on screenwriting as you can.
Then forget 99 percent of what you have read.
4) Pick any three subjects and, under the tutelage of
someone who knows how to write screenplays, write
scripts about them.
5) Throw the scripts away-they're terrible. (But at
least now you know the format and structure of
6) Check in with your psychiatrist and get a
prescription for anti-depressants.
7) Write three scripts about the three things that are
most important to you.
8) Whew! Good thing you got that out of your
system! Now throw those scripts out, too-they are
9) Write another script, this time focusing not on
what you want to say but on what will entertain,
emotionally move and transport an audience to a new
virtual world, in the process helping them to learn (or
relearn) something important about the human
10) Send out 50 letters of inquiry to production
companies. You will never hear from 40 of the
production companies. Five production companies will
return your letter unread, saying that for legal
reasons they do not accept unsolicited inquiries.
Three will write back and thank you for your inquiry
but say they are not looking for any scripts at the
moment. Two will ask you to send your script.
11) Send your script to the two companies and spend
the time waiting for a response rehearsing your
acceptance speech for the Academy Award for
12) One of the companies will write back and tell you
your script has great potential and that they will be
happy to rewrite it for you for $5,000. You will never
hear from the other company, but at least NOW YOU
ARE IN SHOW BUSINESS!
13) Try to limit the amount of time you spend sitting
alone in the bathroom banging your head against the
wall to three days.
14) Try some interesting new combinations of drugs
and alcohol to see if that helps you become more
15) It doesn't.
16) Find someone with an interesting story to tell,
and write a screenplay based upon his/her story.
17) See steps 10 through 13.
18) Go to a writers conference and meet lots of other
screenwriters (your competition). Discover that they
are not only younger and more talented than you are
but they all seem to know each other. In addition,
they all have optioned scripts already.
19) Ask everyone you know if they know anyone who
knows anyone in Hollywood. Find out that your
mother's dental hygienist has a patient who knows
a "Big Hollywood Star."
20) Write a letter to the Big Hollywood Star,
mentioning your mother's dental hygienist's patient.
Introduce yourself to the BHS and suggest that the
two of you get together to discuss script ideas.
21) Receive a head shot of the Big Hollywood Star in
the mail with a photocopied note thanking you for
being a fan.
22) Call a suicide hotline but have trouble talking
because you suddenly get an idea for a script about
a person who works at a suicide hotline.
23) Go see a lot of movies to remind yourself why
you wanted to become a screenwriter in the first
place. Only now you can't enjoy any of them because
you spend the whole time thinking about how the
screenplay for the film would look on paper, and,
after the film is over, you realize you could never
write anything as good as that. (Alternately, the
movie was terrible, and you can't figure out why
anyone bought that piece of crap when you can't
even get your phone calls returned.)
24) With the money you have saved from your "day"
job (you weren't crazy enough to give that up, were
you?) start seeing a therapist. The therapist will try
to convince you that it is/you are crazy to keep
pursuing a career in screenwriting. If you agree with
the therapist, give up on your dream. If, however,
you think the therapist is a boring sludge who is just
jealous that you are doing what you really want to do
and is secretly being paid by your parents to crush
your dream and is probably writing a screenplay
himself anyway, and that, no matter what anybody
says, you are not going to give up that dream, then
you are ready to become a screenwriter.
25) Tear open your heart and write the script you
find there! (Of course, you won't sell it, but--)
Richard Showstack is a full-time
writer/editor/screenwriter. He has had two scripts
optioned. Two books of his "fables with moral lessons
for teenagers" will be published by BeachHouse
Books, an imprint of Science and Humanities Press.
Set up a free sampling program
Gourmet grocers put out trays of freebie treats and
eats for customers to taste. It's inexpensive and
effective. It will work in any business. You just have
to use some creative thinking and figure out how to
make it work in yours.
Each business, of course, requires custom-tailored
marketing. But if you think like your own best
customer, you'll come up with ideas that are long on
results and easy on the bank account
4 ways to build buzz for your brand
It's not easy being a baby.
But nowadays, as customers lean toward tried-and-
true products, building buzz for a brand-new business
or novel takes real smarts, creativity and persistence.
What is a brand? It's the promise you make to
customers. It's the "emotional connections that
create feelings of loyalty to a product or a company."
To get customers to notice your infant brand quickly
and affordably, you must stay focused. Don't chase
after huge or unlikely prospects right away. Don't
squander time and resources by broadcasting mixed
messages. Keep it simple. Make sure your marketing
material has a recognizable identity, with a
consistent logo, palette and tag lines.
1. Get inside the customer's mind.
Most new business owners research their target
buyers. So you likely know something about your
customer demographics, such as income and age.
That's good, but it's hardly enough.
In this climate, you need a serious fix on what will
propel people to buy so you can gear your messages
accordingly. "What need will you fill for the
customer?" asks Scott Gold, chief executive officer of
The Brand Consultancy in Washington, D.C. Once you
know that, he suggests, "it's easy to find the low-
2. Get endorsements that ring the right bells.
Expert or third-party endorsements can mean a movie
star, a banker or a tech wizard. If you have invested
in characterizing target customers, coming up with
personalities who will fuel buzz should be a snap. The
hard part may be getting access. You might need
special marketing to reach them.
3. Get the attention of hot prospects.
Find the industry seminars or annual shows that
attract your top-of-the-line customers. Then spend
what it takes to design a snazzy booth. Or, sign up
for media coaching and pay a speechwriter and
design team to develop newsworthy presentations.
Or, hire a marketing firm to create a memorable way
to demonstrate your product. You want to make a
standout impression at the high-profile show.
4.Get public relations pros to open markets.
Your products don't have to instantly make people
attractive, guarantee weight loss or offer the promise
of eternal youth to benefit from press attention.
In fact, there's a great range of small, local or
industry press and media coverage that can boost
business, as well as sales. But you could benefit from
the expertise of a public relations agency to do the
legwork and the pitching for media placement.
A good PR agency can come up with a hook or
positioning that works for editors in that field.
Bennett advises entrepreneurs to choose a small
agency so you become a key client. Make sure you
interview a few agencies before signing on. Retainers
typically run $3,000 to $5,000 a month, but you
might try a fee-for-project probationary period until
you're sure of the fit.
Buzz and word-of-mouth marketing is a cheap and
effective way to get out your message. Figure out
what it will take to start customers talking about
your brand. That way, every customer turns into a
COLOURS TV SIGNS U.S.TELEVISION DISTRIBUTION DEAL WITH JWS PRODUCTIONS
HOUSTON, TX - June 17, 2004 - CoLours Television
Network, a Dish-Network and subsidiary of Black Star
Communications (BSC), has signed a U.S. television
distribution deal with JWS Productions.
JWS Productions will develop and produce original
programming for the CoLours Television Network.
JWS's produced programming will begin airing on the
network 1st Quarter 2005. They will be distributed
over the CoLours television satellite/cable distribution
network. The initial programming offering will consist
of children's programming, reality show(s), sports,
cooking, talk, sitcoms, special events, movie of the
week and travel. The programs will target Asia,
Hispanic, African American, Native American, Indian &
Middle Eastern audiences. "Our objective is to
produce content with multi-cultural themes that
focus on better living, education, adventure, and just
great television" states John Wayne president of JWS
Productions. "We are looking forward to working with
the CoLours Television Network" stated Joel
Stevenson, vice president of JWS Productions. "We
are pleased to be a part of the growing CoLours
Television Network. We hope our produced and
acquired programming will add to the CoLours
JWS Productions is a music video and commercial
production company with offices in Houston, TX &
Chicago, IL. JWS has created content for domestic
and international television networks, Fortune 500
conglomerates, records labels, international events
and many other businesses. Producer/Director John
Wayne founded the company in 1993 and is credited
with producing over 200 music videos & 70 television
commercials. His work has aired on BET, MTV, Much
Music (Canada), VH1, FOX, the BBC, Channel Four,
SKY (Europe) and other networks around the globe.
JWS Productions television division Johnny-Nem' Films
will oversee this distribution agreement. JWS is also
currently reviewing international television distribution
Writing the letter
This question came from Sharon J. Long author of
Any suggestions on how to get celebraties to review
A: First I don't send out any books, only letters. The
method I use is quite easy. I send a one page letter.
Break this down by paragraphs.
- Introduce yourself and your novel
- What do you want them to do (endorse)
- Explain why their endorsement would be of
- Praise their work and thank them for their time
- Last sentence: Ask where you should send a
complimentary copy to
Does it work?
A: Of the 11 letters I sent out: I recieved 5
responses directing me where to send a copy. 2 of
those were by phone.
The 1st response came only 2 weeks after I mailed
out the letters, the next day I spoke by phone, and
the others arrived a month later. Do remember that
some celebrities may take longer (if they're on
location) to respond.
But once you have your response letter in hand - fax
that to your publisher. Why? Let them send out the
book, as it saves on expenses.
Want to write for magazines?
"Typically, we salute the efforts of individuals working
to change political systems while steering clear of
Typically, we avoid institutions of religion but remain
interested in individuals whose lives are inspired by it.
Typically, we are interested in the human story
behind what is visible. We are a magazine searching
all corners, all surfaces-the dark and the light-for
aspects of humanity too precious to avoid or ignore.
Our mission is to explore the places where hope often
fades, and to share stories of struggle and triumph,
where the heart of hope is often found."
Pays up to $1500 for a feature article. Query by mail
to editor, Kimberly Ridley at HOPE Publishing, PO Box
160, Naskeag Road, Brooklin, Maine 04616
Complete guidelines can be found at:
Pays up to $2000 for articles on acceptance. Query
first by email or snail mail.
"Reason covers politics, economics, culture, and
science from a broad-minded libertarian perspective.
We look for original analysis and research and do not
like simple rehashes of well- worn libertarian
See the complete guidelines here:
Sending us your articles
For those of you who have been asking:
Yes we do accept articles- such as: poetry/short
stories/jokes/news tips/announcements and anything
else you might think our readers will enjoy.
Our newsletter goes out every Friday morning during
wee east coast hours, so we need to receive your
article(s) by Wed. morning - this ensures us time to
have edited for length and if we have any questions -
we can have your response before its release.
Please enclose the following information with your
Name and brief tag line
Optional: email, & website url