01 Dec 2016

Dear Future Author…

Advice from fellow alumni scribes


Edited by April White

Josh King(photo via LinkedIn)

“The first question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Do I have something original to say, something that hasn’t been said before?’ ”
Josh King (PGL 2, 1999), public relations executive and author of Off Script, about the stagecraft of political campaigns


“There are so many things that can keep you from writing. Chief among them is not considering yourself a writer. Once you cross the threshold and start telling people that you are a writer, then you will be on the best track.”
Renny McPherson (MBA 2011), three-time entrepreneur and coauthor of Entrepreneurs in the Midst

“The only advice I was ever given that bore fruit was that the art of writing is the art of application—the application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair in front of the computer (or, in my now historic experience, the typewriter).”
Ralph Hancox (PMD 26, 1973), who spent six decades in the publishing industry before “retiring” to publish a memoir and novels, including The Ape & the Peacock

“Only write when you feel the urge to do so. (I know that this is not in line with the advice of many writers who recommend a more disciplined approach.)”
Peter Pruzan (MBA 1959), professor emeritus, Copenhagen Business School, and author of Research Methodology: The Aims, Practices and Ethics of Science

Gabriela Couturier (photo via LinkedIn)

“A book is not finished until it’s published, so I would say to just sit down and get on with it. It will be rewritten enough, so it doesn’t need to be absolutely perfect the first few times.”
Gabriela Couturier (MBA 1993), whose novel, Esa Otra Orfandad (That Other Orphanhood), debuted this year


“Hire a good editor.”
Loida Nicolas Lewis (OPM 30, 2001), former Immigration and Naturalization Service attorney and coauthor of How to Get a Green Card, now in its 12th edition

“Know your motivation. Know what drives you to write and publish. You don’t have to want to change the world. Ego alone is a great reason to write and publish. In other words, do this to please yourself.”
Robert Goldmann (MBA 1961), business and personal coach and author of Act from Choice

“Keep your expectations modest. The writing is only half the battle. Then you have to market the book 95 percent on your own.”
Bob Vanourek (MBA 1966), a five-time CEO, lover of literature, and author of Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse

“Writing the book is the easy part! Getting your book read or heard in today’s crowded market for content is a real challenge. It is important that you invest as much time and resources into promoting your book as you do writing it.”
Douglas P. McCormick (MBA 1997), investor, entrepreneur, and author of Family Inc.: Using Business Principles to Maximize Your Family’s Wealth

“[Investment consultant and fellow author] Charley Ellis (MBA 1963) told me to make sure I had fun with the project from start to finish.”
Ted Seides (MBA 1999), investor and author of So You Want to Start a Hedge Fund

Return to The Year in Books 2016

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