Thank you for coming to us today, Marlene. We thank you for your time, your creative input and your expertise at Pen and Prosper.
Q. Can you tell readers about your background and how you started your career as a writer?
I started my career as an English teacher. The love for words was a matter of course. As one of my students – in all seriousness – asked, "Was General Electric an American?" I knew that I had to write an article. An educational journal accepted it, my first published piece. When I left high school and taught at UCLA and the National University (which resulted in me teaching in a company in America), I started submitting curricula I had written to publishers. My first request to HRD Press was based on a course I taught. It explored the language used by celebrities in various walks of life. The language of the guide was my first book and was actually chosen by a major book club as the main selection.
Q. What do you like most about being a writer?
I love the creativity of everything, the ability to put ideas together into a coherent whole. Picasso once asked, "Why are two colors arranged next to each other?" I like to explore the consequence: "Why are two words (or sentences or phrases) juxtaposed?" The songs fascinate me every day.
Everyone has a story, and I love to use words to expose the wonderful anecdotes and experiences they may have never shared before. For example, in the pool yesterday,
A young man and I talked. I asked him if it was a job that brought him to my hometown. "No," he explained, "I'm running for a living." "I'm running for a living!" Are not you fascinated by the story behind these words? His parents had apparently invested a quarter of a million dollars in his education to make him an electrical engineer.
But he gave up everything because … he just wants to run.
His story is no different from Kris Kristofferson's. (I've seen Ken Burns's documentary on country music.) His background is peppered with words like "summa cum laude," "Phi Beta Kappa," "Rhodes scholar," "Oxford University," "Army Captain "," Helicopter "Pilot", "West Point Instructor". But like the runner above, another force moved him away from what he "should be," making him an unlikely choice. In Kristofferson's case, music was his unique love. He gave up a promising military career and became a janitor in Nashville. His parents have rejected him.
Events conspire for writers. And the interface between swimmer and janitor is an article on my bunch of others waiting to be written.
Q. What challenges you most?
For me, the challenge is to find time. I am half retired and do not do things as fast as before.
Q. What would surprise others to know about you?
I've discovered that my artworks sell mainly to charity organizations. I'm really not that talented, but I'm adding quotes to my drawings and I think the combination attracts buyers.
Q. If you had a literary "superpower", what would that be?
I wish I could write fiction as easily as non-fiction – especially the "soft side" of business. For 20 years, I worked six days a week as a corporate trainer and an average of three books a year. As I tried to write a fictitious essay to honor my father, I realized that I was struggling with every single word. I was satisfied with the final result, but how difficult it became.
Q. What do you think of blogging and social media? Do you consider it a necessity today?
It may not be a necessity for everyone, but I believe it is a necessity for all writers. The publishing protocol has changed fundamentally since I wrote my first book. Then publishers marketed. Now, publishers expect authors to share much of the marketing burden. Many are more interested in your followers than in your manuscript … at least initially. As an illustration, I recently sent a request to a publisher describing a book I wanted to write. Instead of asking for more details, they asked how big my social media was. My followers? I do not even have a cell phone! I have never tweeted or tweeted. "Hashtag" sounds like a note I could make to buy breakfast food. I do not do Facebook or Linked In. Needless to say, I have no allegiance but would encourage younger writers to build theirs. The age of electronics is over.
Q. I see you have written several books on leadership and business. What advice can you give us to make our freelance business more profitable?
Almost every city has a SCORE group … Service Corps of Retired Executives. You can give excellent (and free) advice for growing your business. If your city does not have such a group, find out about other business owners and the ways they've expanded their customer list. Or how other authors have managed to develop a cadre of dedicated readers.
Q. Any suggestions as to how today's writer can build a "platform" solid enough to secure publication by a traditional publisher in such a tough competition?
It is the best thing you can do to make your presence known. As mentioned earlier, you need to build your social media followers. They can also occur in bookstores or author groups. When I spoke at a major secretarial conference years ago, I subsequently sold hundreds of my book The Quality Secretary. Call local radio and television stations and tell them you want to be interviewed. (Make sure you're getting a really good hanger.) Contact your local newspaper, especially if your book matches local or national events. Blog wherever you can. Write articles in national publications. Include a business card that promotes your book for every bill you pay, and every letter that leaves your home and goes to the post office. Build a network, participate in network events and distribute your book / business card. Have an elevator speech ready for random encounters.
After completing her PhD at the University of Rochester, Marlene Caroselli left the public classroom and her native New York in 1980 and moved to the West Coast. She soon worked as a manager for Trizec Properties, Inc. and as associate professor for UCLA and the National University. (She has also completed programs for Clemson University, the University of Rochester, Michigan State University, and Southwest Missouri State University.) Her university work resulted in training contracts with the Department of Defense and Fortune 100 companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, TRW, Hughes Aircraft and Allied Signal.
In 1984, she founded the Center for Professional Development and began adding books to her list of professional achievements. Your first book, The language of leadership, was selected by the Executive Development Book Club of Newbridge as the main selection. Since that publication, she has written fifty-four additional books. (See Amazon.com.) A recent book, Basic conviction: influence on integrity, sale with standards, was named Director & # 39; s Choice by Doubleday Book Club. Your newest book, One to one for managers, was selected by Barnes and Noble for an online course.
In addition to books, Dr. Caroselli frequently for Stephen Covey & # 39; s Executive excellence, for the numerous LPR releases from Lakewood and for the National Business Employment Weekly Earlier as well as many other printed and electronic publications.
Picture credits: Pixabay.com
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