CONTEST and guest blog with Jo Sparkes!!!
Jo’s with me today and she’s giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate to one commenter (drawn at random) during her tour for Feedback: How to Give It, How to Get It - a Writers Guide to Spinning Gold – woot!
You can find her tour dates here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/02/virtual-book-tour-feedback-how-to-give.html
Now, let’s welcome Jo. She’s going to answer a very important question from me before she offers you the blurb and an excerpt.
Tina: What gave you the idea for your book and how difficult was it for you to write/get it pubbed?
Jo: A student asked a question. I was teaching at a college at the time.
His name was Tim, and he’d written a script for a short film. But the student director had hated it, and basically told Tim he knew nothing about writing. The director ripped it to shreds, and wanted a whole new story.
Tim thought he must do exactly what the director wanted. But worse, Tim worried that he couldn’t write. If he was a good writer, wouldn’t everyone love whatever he did?
The question struck such a chord with me, because feedback – criticism – was one of my own life challenges. When Tim’s question came in class, I suddenly heard myself answering beautifully, with all my heart. I thought, wow. I’d better write that down.
So the book was born.
As far as publishing, I’m not sure I ever considered any other way. I’d been editing another book for a client and friend, plus helping a former student with his book. Both of these wise people had chosen self publishing, so in watching their path I just naturally followed.
I love what’s happening to the distribution channels right now. For so very long the only way to publish a book was to find a publisher willing to do it. For a musician you had to have a label behind you; for a filmmaker you needed the money from Los Angeles. Money was always the bar, because it cost so much to make any of those – and even more to get it distributed out to the world.
But today anyone can go out and do it. People do it all the time.
There are many decisions to make, of course. Choosing who will actually publish the copies, which of the channels to be used. Pricing alone can be quite a challenge. And marketing – I know so little about marketing! Cover design was something I never considered, but of course it’s key in getting the book into people’s hands. You want something that can reveal the contents to the casual eye.
If your goal is to get the message out, what a wonderful way to do it.
For me, that was my goal. And somehow the book took on a life of its own. I’m just the proud parent.
Feedback … a kinder word for criticism, is an organic component to life.
When a toddler learns to walk, he falls. He screams, cries – and persists. What would happen to the human race if he gave up after a few bumps?
Before we could read self-help books, before we could understand a language and sit in a classroom, we learned by trial and error. “Feedback” is the natural teaching process. It’s how the creator set it up. It’s how the world actually works.
Here, at last, is a simple process for getting the most from all the feedback the world offers us.
That toddler learning to walk is a great example to us all.
The child has no fear of failure, no concern over how foolish he may look to others. He never pauses to consider if it’s worth the effort. And he pays no attention to anyone pointing out that seventy percent of his peers can already walk.
He wants it. He keeps trying until he gets it.
Somewhere along the path of life, we come to perceive mistakes as ‘bad’. We’re told ‘don’t make them; avoid them.’ You don’t get called in to account for yourself if you don’t make a mistake. Some people actually avoid mistakes by not doing anything at all.
That’s the reality. The only way not to make a mistake is not to do anything. Which means no real achievement, no real success.
I spoke to a friend who had achieved a very great deal – he’d made a huge amount of money as an entrepreneur. He was the type of person most would call wildly successful.
Yet it turns out that before he made money, he had lost money. He’d lost enough that those same people labeling him wildly successful now would term him an abject failure. It cost him two businesses.
But he believes if he hadn’t made that mistake, he would have never found the key to success.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes “writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.” Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer,but a true reflection of her commitment to her work.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program. Years later, Jo renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.
Taking every class she could find, she had the good fortune to study with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter, and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.
The culmination of those years was the short-film “The Image”, which she wrote and produced single-handedly. And in so doing, she became fascinated with the dynamics of collaboration on a project.
Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back. Her body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, television commercials and corporate videos. She’s been a feature writer on ReZoom.com and a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network; where she was called their most popular writer, known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.
She has adjunct taught at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, has teamed with a Producer on a low budget thriller, and a Director on a New Dramady.” She went in front of the camera for a video, “Stepping Above Criticism”, capturing a popular talk with her students.
Her new book, FEEDBACK HOW TO GIVE IT HOW TO GET IT, shares her lessons learned with writers, and indeed everyone dealing with life’s criticism.
When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, along with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.
“In her compact, wisdom-charged Feedback Jo Sparkes provides sharp, sharp, cogent, advice not only for writers but for all people who value creativity and seek to lead fulfilled, creative lives.
“This slender volume provides more bang for the buck than far longer, weightier tomes. It is a splendid resource to which writers will refer repeatedly.”
- Richard Walter Chairman of Screenwriting, U.C.L.A.
“The lessons contained in “Feedback” are not for the writer who is merely looking for a compliment, but rather for those who are striving for accomplishment.”
- Barton Green Author, Screenwriter and long-time friend
Jo Sparks simplifies the feedback process in this concise easy to implement guide to giving and receiving feedback. As an actress, I believe everyone can benefit from her experience, not just those in the industry.
- Tonetta Weaver, Actress
Jo will be giving away a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
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