Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and seventy-first, is of author and talk show radio host Francine Silverman. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Francine Silverman is a New York City girl, born and bred. As a child she loved writing letters and “poems” to friends and kept a diary. Ironically, her first published piece was at age 12 or 13 in the New York Post to columnist Dr. Rose Franzblau, complaining about her father’s failings. Fran never had any parental support on her writing and only discovered she had talent when a teacher at Bronx Community College gave her an A on a piece she penned.
Her first published article was in a judo publication. She and her husband belonged to a YMCA gym that had a track above the gym and they would watch the judo class below (their nephew was in the class). She got the idea to write about the beloved judo instructor while jogging around the perimeter. She recalls calling a writer she knew – the father of her daughter’s friend at school – and asking his take on the piece. He said it was full of clichés. It was but she was devastated!!
Fran honed her writing skills as a newspaper reporter. While married and raising a child, she worked at a local weekly newspaper as a sales person. She never liked it and one day interviewed a local doctor. She wrote the article and nervously asked the editor if she would publish it. Voila, she did, and from then on contributed articles. She remembers when she left the weekly, the staff said goodbye without fanfare. They were used to reporters and photographers leaving for greener pastures. She went on to freelance for a daily newspaper, doing feature articles. She was eventually hired by the daily and part of her responsibility was to go out and interview the man on the street about local issues – and take their pictures. Writing for newspapers was a wonderful experience and she recommends it to aspiring writers. Of course, there are less newspapers today but the Internet has many opportunities for writers.
During the time at the weekly and afterwards, she took myriad writing courses. A funny thing happened at one of them. She told the instructor where she would be working and he pooh-poohed the weekly. He must have assumed it was a rag. (Its editor later won a Pulitzer Prize!) A few months later, the instructor contacted her to ask if they would publish an article of his. Wonders never cease!
The second half of Fran’s life began with her ezine, Book Promotion Newsletter, launched in March 2003. She had written two guidebooks, Catskills Alive (Hunter Publishing 2000 and 2003) and Long Island Alive (Hunter Publishing 2003), but didn’t know how to market them or know any authors with whom to seek guidance. The ezine began with 10 authors and grew into the thousands. Recognizing the ingenuity of her subscribers through the questionnaires she sent them and their newsletter contributions, Fran took 325 of their best marketing strategies and put them into a book, Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2003).
A reviewer at www.bvsreviews.com wrote: “In this book, more than 300 authors give the reader some insight on the who, what, where and when and how of marketing a book…There are a few known entities here, but for the most part, the authors in this book don’t have the recognition of someone like Stephen King, John Grisham… But that doesn’t mean their advice isn’t worthy. On the contrary, these folks get to the core of how to get your book out there, published and recognized.”