Presenting the second half of our conversation with Lee Goldberg, author of the original novels based on Diagnosis Murder and Monk. On his popular blog A Writer's Life, he shares insight gleaned from his dual careers as television writer/producer and author.
A member of International Thriller Writers, he's written several novels and non-fiction books. His TV credits include Hunter, Nero Wolfe and Monk. For several years Lee wrote and produced the hit CBS series Diagnosis Murder.
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AS A READER, WHAT MAKES A BOOK INTRIGUING TO YOU?
An interesting story, a strong voice, and a first page free of any cliches ("like a needle in a haystack," "up the creek without a paddle," etc.)
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Write a lot. Read a lot. Don't EVER pay to be published. Don't EVER pay an agent to read your work.
WHAT DO YOU WISH NON-WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
That writing is hard work. Actually, I wish that more writers understood that.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WRITERS UNDERSTOOD?
Rewriting is part of the job. The first draft is just that: the first draft. I also wish some writers put as much effort into writing as they do into promoting themselves.
That said, if you think your job ends when the book is published, then you're setting yourself up for failure. You have to promote yourself and your work, you can't rely on your publisher to do it for you. It's hard to strike that balance.
YOU BLOGGED ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY IN COMING UP WITH NEW MYSTERIES WITHOUT REPEATING YOURSELF -- HOW DO YOU RECHARGE YOUR "MYSTERY WRITING" BATTERIES?
Actually, I have no idea how I do it and I often fear that I've run out of new ideas. But I keep surprising myself (or fooling myself. I'll let you be the judge of that).
FOR THE WRITER WITH A NEW BOOK, WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE BEST THING TO PROMOTE IT?
Word of mouth. I believe the best advertising you can do is to buy 50 copies and send them, with a personal cover letter, to key reviewers, bloggers, fans, booksellers and other opinion-makers to get them talking. A successful author once told me that the biggest mistake she ever made was hiring a publicist -- that she should have spent that money on books and postage.
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Many thanks to writer Lee Goldberg. He regularly blogs at A Writer's Life and on MySpace. His official Diagnosis Murder site features all sorts of behind-the-scenes info about the show and the novels. Lee also posts main title sequences from classic television shows at Main Title Heaven.
The USA Network has an official website devoted to the Monk books, with an excerpt and video interview with Lee. (Plus downloads, Monk mini-webisodes, and other great features.)
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG, PT 1
Mr. Monk and the Amazon review
Diagnosis -- Murder!
Mystery TV Themes: MONK
Q&A: ROBERT WHITLOW (Mountain Top)
Q&A: ANDREW KLAVAN (Damnation Street)
Q&A: LINDA GILMORE (short story writer)
Q&A: BRANDT DODSON (Seventy Times Seven)
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