Write a best-seller on company time? Novel idea!

PhotobucketTired (literally) of dragging your sorry ass out of bed at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday to crank out another 500 words on your first (second, third) novel? Sinking facedown onto the desk at work by mid-afternoon because of sleep deprivation?

Your problems are over.

At last night’s Orange County Press Club - “Journalists Turned Authors / How You Can Live Your Fantasy Life!” - Orange Coast magazine’s editor-at-large Martin J. Smith offered the perfect solution.

During one period in his nine years at the The Orange County Register, Smith couldn’t figure out what the feature writer in the next cubicle was actually doing all day. Sure, the guy was pounding away at his keyboard, but he never seemed to actually get anything in the paper.

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All was revealed when the industrious chap suddenly announced one day that he’d just sold his first novel. The guy? Robert Ferrigno. The novel? The Horse Latitudes. The publisher advance (with eventual foreign rights)? Almost $500,000. Time magazine hailed it as “the most memorable fiction debut of the season.”

So, there you have it. Get your eight hours a night, write your book at work while pulling down a paycheck, become rich and famous. If your boss is less than amused by your sudden non-productivity, bribe him with the promise of an effulgent dedication as a patron of the arts. (Hey, might work!)

Smith, author of three crime novels and two nonfiction books, Steven Thomas (former OC Metro editor; author of Criminal Paradise), Carol Lachnit (executive editor at Crain’s Workforce Management; author of four mystery novels) and moderator Michael C. Carroll, author of LAB 257, had a wealth of valuable advice and encouragement for the wannabes in the audience.

Wanna find literary agents who represent your kind of writing? Go to your library or bookstore and check the dedications by people who write your kind of stuff – most of them thank their agents. Bingo!

Now, I just need some advice about wallpapering my bathroom with the agent rejection letters spurred by my serial killer/Death Wish meets The Crying Game/sexual identity twist/police procedural. I’m at 17 and counting. Do I paste them up chronologically, in descending order of form-letter-uninterest and/or condescension, or spread the rest around the two beauties that not only rejected my blood, sweat and copious tears but had the world-class gall to try to sell me a book on how to write a book?

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