How to Embarrass Yourself and Not Sell Your Book

Inside Hollywood AdIf you want to embarrass yourself, and not sell any books, follow the example set by author and literary agent Jodie Rhodes: take out a half-page ad in the Los Angeles Times and be sure to include a boring and badly written excerpt from your self-published novel. Here’s a taste of her powerful prose:

“I’ve got it, James!” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling. “I’ve got the script for my first picture. But I need your advice on where to go from here.”

He blinked in disbelief. “What do you mean, you’ve got a script? You don’t even have a production company.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that.” She waved an impatient hand at him.

“Anthony has already agreed to set up one.”

“Christ, Erin, you don’t waste time, do you? How in the hell did you accomplish that in one week?”

“It wasn’t all that difficult.” She gave a tiny shrug. “All I have to do is marry him. Anyway,” she continued eagerly, “let me tell you about this script.”

The characters in this thrilling excerpt from “Inside Hollywood” don’t talk. They exclaim, they shout, they admit and they continue eagerly. My favorite line, though, has to be the one about the impatient hand. The heroine doesn’t wave impatiently, she waves her hand, which is impatient.

The ad not only showcases her bad writing, but it also casts doubt on her judgment as a literary agent (she’s the president of the Jodie Rhodes Literary Agency, as she mentions on the cover of her book).  If this excerpt is her idea of great writing, and this advertisement is her notion of a brilliant marketing campaign, can you imagine the kind of advice that she gives her clients? What’s even more shocking is that she’s also a former advertising executive…and yet produced an ad as ugly, ineffective, and outright embarrassing as this one. This cringe-inducing ad should be given to every aspiring writer as an example of what not to do when trying to sell your book to Hollywood, publishers or readers.



Wonderfully Brutal Review

The Have and Have Nots
The Have and Have Nots

Review Gleefully Decimates “The Haves and Have Nots”

I loved Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McCarthy’s brutal review today of Tyler Perry’s new series The Have and Have Nots. Her very funny comments brought back fond memories of the reviews written by famed Times critic Howard Rosenberg’s during his glory days in the early 1980s. Here are some choice snippets from her review:

Well, it’s official: The nine most frightening words to cross a television screen are: “Executive Produced, Created, Written and Directed By Tyler Perry.”

Whatever hopes Perry had for this overwrought, derivative story line are dashed almost immediately by acting that can only be described as uniformly terrible and an unrelenting background score the likes of which has not been heard since talkies were invented.

Characters utter meaningless sentences into the air in front of the camera and then just stare at each other while maddening mood music insists that we feel something.

The show may be crap, but it  scored record high ratings for Oprah’s struggling network. It will be interesting to see if those same viewers who sampled the show return for episode two…