Looking for the ‘Write Stuff’
Do you have the world’s best novel underneath your bedpost?
Have you always thought you could write the next great “Twilight” series?
Now could be your opportunity as a new reality show slated for the CW network kicks off auditions in Houston this weekend.
It started as a lunch discussion between friends two months ago. Cyrus A. Webb, founder and president of Conversations Book Club, was talking about some of the difficulties an emerging writer has breaking into the business. “A lot of authors all have the same challenges,” he said. Finding a publisher, distribution, marketing; it can be overwhelming to someone new.
“Cyrus, you ought to do something about it,” said his friend.
From there it snowballed. At first, plans were to give winners prizes. But while discussing his plans with Brian Smith of Hollygrove publishing, Smith said he wanted to give the winner a one-book deal. That offer just blew Webb over. It has been growing wildly from there. The winner will also receive a marketing plan designed just for them by New York Times bestselling author J.L. King, a two year contract with a public relations firm, a Dell laptop computer, a monthly column in a national magazine and several other magazine opportunities. “Everything they need to get their career started,” said Webb.
He feels so optimistic about the project, Webb is already making plans for the second season even though the first one is just starting auditions.
He has been asked many times why the auditions are starting in Texas, when he is from Jackson, Miss. The answer is simple. Since the publishing house that is offering the big prize is in Texas, he felt it should start there, but the first challenge, once taping starts, will be held in Mississippi.
One thing different with this show; it will tape on weekends, so contestants don’t have to quit their jobs to participate.
Orange County native Sylvia Dickey Smith, author of the Third Eye Mystery Series set in Orange will be one of the judges at the Houston auditions, along with authors Kia Stokes, P. Elaine Archie, Ron Seybold, Bruce Williams and Elaine Flowers.
They will hold a special “meet-and-greet” 6-8 p.m. Friday evening at Quality Inn and Suites, 9041 Westheimer Road in Houston. The gathering is for those that would like to find out more information, meet the judges and network with authors. Admission is free, but a new book of your choice, to distribute to libraries and / or organizations in each city; is requested.
Auditions will be 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday at the same location. Contestants must be 18 years or older, come prepared with five copies of an essay, no more than 500 words in length. The essay should tell them about you, what your talent and skills are, as well as what you hope to get from the experience offered through “The Write Stuff.” Essays will be read by the contestants, while the judges read along. Don’t forget to bring your personality.
You can attend one of the open casting calls, or submit a short, three minute video through the web. There will be eight live auditions throughout the country with the closest after Houston being Saturday, Feb. 7, in Metairie, La.
For more information on locations and complete rules, go to www.thewritestufftv.webs.com.
The first show will air June 6 in 16 states to over 15 million households. Winner will be revealed the first week in September and auditions for season two will begin in January 2010.
Authors who have already published a book are not necessarily disqualified; as long as they are not under a current contract.
Webb doesn’t want to discourage anyone from trying out. “They may have self-published a book, but don’t have the marketing tools they need to succeed.” Tasks to be performed on the show will encompass all aspects of the business including deadlines,
presentations and pricing. One week they will be creating a product to sell from start to finish.
“They will all be winners,” said Webb. “They will be able to say, ‘I was a part of something.’”