Thinking Outside the Box

Last weekend, our monthly KWA meeting was all about Thinking Outside the Box, that pesky thing that tends to place boundaries on how we can be successful.  The following brief synopsis was provided by our own H.B. Berlow, the facilitator for the day’s proceedings.  Be sure to leave a comment below explaining how you’ve been successful thinking outside the box!

Why is it that people tell you not to try something different?   Is it because they think you’ll fail?  Or because what you’re trying to do is just so out of the realm of the usual that it almost doesn’t make sense?

Well, that’s why you’re a writer.  Remember: doing something the same way all the time and expecting different results is crazy.

Looking for an agent used to be as easy as getting the latest copy of the thickest book you could find that listed every agent, editor, and publisher known to mankind. The problem is that once it was printed, it was practically obsolete.  Writer’s Market offers an online service for a monthly fee that is updated regularly. In the Digital Age, that’ called Real Time.

But take it one step further. Figure out what books are similar to yours.  Go on to Amazon.com and look those books up.  There is a section called CUSTOMERS WHO BOUGHT THIS ITEM ALSO BOUGHT.  Now, you have more books similar to yours. A Google search will help identify the agents.

You know you need a platform. So, you start with Facebook, then add a Twitter feed, and ultimately get a Website or a Blog. Independently, they will not draw in as large a crowd as you might think. You have to make sure your Blog posts automatically hit Twitter and get onto Facebook. More importantly, you want to have something to say.

But why just post commentary and profound thoughts? Consider the visual components as a substantial way to impress your targeted audience.  Book trailers are a relatively easy thing to create on your own.  Windows Movie Make, your digital camera, and some creative thought and you have just given your audience a tangible visual.  Or a board on Pinterest with captions from your book. Show them scenes and locations. You might even take a photo of a person that resembles your main character.

The most important thing is that technology does not have to be used in a strict and rigid fashion. A typical household will have computers and digital cameras. From there, the possibilities are endless. As long as you network, keep in touch with other writers, musicians, artists, you will be able to expand beyond the box and even beyond your dreams.

H.B. Berlow studied filmaking and creative writing at the University of Miami in the 1980s and was involved in the Boston Poetry Scene in the mid 90s.  He has been a member of KWA since 2007.  He was recently the featured writer on Keyhole Conversations, Writers Who Cook.  His novels, Kansas Two-Step and Quick, are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu.  H.B. also blogs at The Tikiman Says

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