If I write to you will you write back or will I just get an automated response?
I reply personally to about 90% of the emails that I receive (it's a form of madness) so if I don't reply to you it's because either a) your email hasn't reached me for technical reasons or b) your question is so complex that I filed you intending to get back to it later (questions on Tibetan Autonomy tend to get filed) and then 2 months go by and I haven't opened the right file to do back emails or c) my spam filter zapped you. But mostly I reply personally. Also if you post on my author page on facebook I check the posts there regularly and if I can give you a quick and easy reply I will.
Will you come and do a speaking event for us or come and visit our book group?
Again 99% of the time the answer to this is Yes. If you are a small book group then you have to find a way to cover my fare. Fees for larger events vary. Please ask. I have a sliding scale of fees depending on the type of event. I try to make all things possible for everyone. Including myself.
Can you help me get my book published?
I have been asked this so much I have recently started to offer one to one sessions. I look at your pitching package and the first page of your manuscript. Email me for details. But please don't write to me and ask me to read your book and endorse it. This is the one request that I aways say, 'no' to as I just don't have time and I'm cowardly. I'd rather not read it than read the first few pages and know that I don't like it and not know how to say so. So I just won't read your manuscript. I'm SO sorry. But anyway you need someone famous to endorse it.
I'm thinking of becoming an author. Do you recommended it?
Only if you LOVE writing. You have to love writing as that's the best bit. Don't go into it for the money as (with the notable exception of Ms Rowling and a few others) there isn't any. As an author you create a product and then give away 90% of the profit. This is the stark reality.
How do you write a book? (I get asked this a lot.)
You have to love writing. Then you have to have something that you want to say. Then you have to have some kind of structure (like writing a good essay - never begin without some plan for the structure even if you change it later). Cut up into bite size pieces. Begin. Keep going till you are finished. Then don't be attached to anything you've written as it gets better the more you take out.
Do you have any tips on how to get published?
Yes - look out for my 'How to Get Published' talk on the events page. It's a fun evening full of useful tips. Here, briefly, are
1. Buy the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook.
2. Work out who will want to buy your book and why.
3. Think about the book not as a work of art (at the selling stage) but as a product. If a publisher thinks that they can make money from your work then they'll publish it.
4. Perseverance pays. You have to have rejection letters.
- Or contact me - I charge £40 an hour for advice on your pitching package.
I've had three rejection letters. Should I give up?
Did you know that Johnathan Livingstone Seagull was rejected for publication 98 times? I hope this will be a source of encouragement.
Here are some reasons - each one from a different publishing company -
that explain why 'Battersea Park Road to Enlightement' wouldn't sell.
The book has so far sold over 100,000 copies and been translated into 14 languages..
So if you write or have anything that you'd like to do and you really believe in it - but you have rejection letters - I hope you enjoy reading these...
-- We liked this very much but we don't feel that this book is right for us. It doesn't fit with our list. We are too mainline for you.
-- There was some worry here about your book covering so many different subject areas. We felt this was wrong.
-- I think this is fabulous material but that it's more of a novel than something we could sell as non-fiction.
-- We didn't have the necessary degree of enthusiasm for your book.
-- It is amusing and interesting but we felt it was too personal an approach.
-- As most of our list is bought by an older readership we felt that this 'fun' approach would be hard to sell.
-- The book is neither proscriptive enough, or satirical enough. We also think that it is too autobiographical and personal.
-- I found your book witty, engaging, colourful and funny. Unfortunately we have found it difficult to publish first-person narrative accounts and we suggest that you approach.
-- I really love this. Isabel sounds terrific and the book is great fun and I think could be very successful. However I felt that she should inject more factual information into the book and, much as we would love to do it, we don't think that we are the right publishers for it... we feel that we should be concentrating on areas where we already have a strong presence.
-- We felt that this approach was too journalistic... it does not carry enough clout at book length. Not quite funny or witty enough on the one hand, not too many hidden depths on the other.
-- I found the material hugely entertaining and more than a little enlightening.. but this was not a book that fits naturally on our list. We felt that such a personal approach could be difficult to sell without a high-profile or 'name' author.
-- We loved the appropriate melange of humour, skepticism and faith. Losada has a bouncy, resilient, open voice which makes her the ideal commentator.. however it would prove impossible to categorise and market in the trade as a result.
-- We felt that what you are doing is incredibly brave in it's honesty and humorous in approach... however we felt that your book would perhaps work better on the list of a more straightforwardly commercial publisher.
-- Your writing has pace, clarity and lightness bringing to the book an overall accessibility even when complex things are being described. Your powers of observation both outward looking and inward looking are remarkable.. however - I have doubts that there are enough people nationwide who will want to part with £7 to read a book of this kind. It would be easier to sell if Isabel Losada had her own prime time TV show.
I'm a writer and have been working for 5 years on my novel and a publisher has just offered me £500 to publish it. Should I take it?
Do you have any tips on how to live a happy and fulfilled life?
Yes. 'Use everything for your learning, upliftement and growth' (Insight seminars - chapter one 'The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment') Live simply. Forgive everyone for everything and if you find that hard get the help you need from wherever to make it possible. Do what you love. Don't smoke - it hurts you and life is short. Don't eat meat (if abatoirs had glass walls we would all be vegetarians - Paul McCartney) Eat organic vegetables and a lot of them. Be kind to everyone - all the time - no exceptions. Stand up for what you believe it but do it joyfully not aggressively. If you are angry - your anger is your own. Deal with it and then change the world with positive energy. The world needs changing but anger won't help. Action will. And finally a word from a famous man that lived a very long time ago -
'Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy-keep thinking about these things.' When things get hard - I 'think about these things'
Oh and please read my books as the best of everything I've learnt is in them. And they will make you smile and laugh too. And that makes me happy. x i
Do you think you get a bit preachy sometimes?
Moi? :-) x i