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Where to Begin? (Guest Blogger: Lisa Lutz)

Lutz_lisa_250 When my editor first mentioned to me that Amazon had invited me to guest blog for Omnivoracious, she explained it like this: Michael Pollan was their first-ever guest blogger and now they want you! She sounded both incredulous and pleased and maybe a little bit concerned about the folks at Amazon central. Sure, this makes sense. We'll invite an Oxford-educated professor with several critically acclaimed bestsellers in his wake and just when we've raised the bar of expectation, we bring in Lisa Lutz.

Why thank you, Amazon. I admire your sense of variety.

My problem is that I have no idea what to blog about. See, I write fiction, which for me means that whatever I have to say, I like to put in the form of a story. The story I'm going to tell you about today is my struggle with blogging and self-promotion.

The following is a fictionalized version of my conversation with my editor when she told me about Amazon's blog invitation:

Me: Oh that's great.

Editor: It's fabulous.

Me: What am I supposed to blog about?

Editor: Something related to the book.

Me: Like what?

Editor: Make sure it's funny.

The following is a fictionalized conversation with a friend whom I asked the same question:

Friend: Just read other writers' blogs and do what they do.

Me: Well, I just read Michael Pollan's blog and I really don't think copying him would be a good idea. Plus, it would require a lot of prep time.

And then a fictionalized conversation with a bartender:

Bartender: Write what you know, is how the saying goes, I believe.

Me: Could you be more specific?

Bartender: Trust your instincts.

Me: When does the next bartender start his shift?

If you're thinking I stopped there, I didn't. I asked all sorts of people--friends, relatives, hotel managers, valets (I'm currently on a book tour, so I have access to a wider variety of people).

The conclusion I came to was that I should ask you (you being whoever is kind enough to get this far in the blog). I have some vague ideas of what might make some interesting topics for the rest of the month, but I thought I'd put the question out there and see what happens.

But before I pass this responsibility on to you, let me tell you a little bit about myself.*

141653241201_mzzzzzzz_ I am the author of The Spellman Files (now available in paperback!) and Curse of the Spellmans, the first and second books in a series that chronicles the lives of the Spellmans, a family of San Francisco-based private investigators. Before I wrote The Spellman Files, I spent a good ten years writing screenplays, working odd jobs, and waiting for my big break. Thirteen years after I wrote my first screenplay, I realized that my screenwriting career would never be and I made the very wise decision to write a novel.

Now let's say you've come upon this blog without any knowledge of me or the Spellman books. I'm going to provide a short list of potential blog topics. These are subjects I might have something to say about, but I won't know until I actually get to it:

  • Writing screenplays vs. novels.
  • What is a mystery?
  • The experience of finding success after years of failure.
  • My writing process.
  • The book tour experience (AKA The dog and pony show).

So please vote for a topic or suggest a new one altogether. I leave the future of this blog in your hands. --Lisa Lutz

*Note: This is an actual bio, not a fictionalized one.

Instructions: Leave a comment or send me an email at


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great article lISA. But as screenwriters we eternally believe that they'll love the next screenplay, see the error of their ways and butt out. They never do, and I'm still plugging awqay -- I suppose for that one bit of magic that comes once or twice in a screenplay when you know you got it right.

I loaned my 83 year old neighbor both Spellman books. She just returned the Curse to me yesterday and asked me to let you know she loved them both. The Files is currently being read by my 78 year old aunt, who is also getting a huge kick out of it. Delightful that you can touch so many with your creative wit. Bravo to you!

Betty (Book Bunch Montgomery) We loved the Spellman Files,so don't change to much.You could talk about your the process for writing the Spellman books.

Lisa, I like your style!

Hi Lisa! I'm so glad you're blogging on Amazon. Spellman Files was such a great read, and it's really nice to hear your personal voice out there in the internet ether. You didn't list it as an option, but I wanna know more about working as a professional sleuth.

Writing process and the tour. I just started Spellman Files and it is SO much fun to read. I'm really enjoying it.

Definitely this one
The experience of finding success after years of failure.

I was going to say I wanted to hear about your writing process but I think you already gave us a practical run through when you wrote asking for help...

good luck!

How did you go from Zero to Hero with the Spellmans? I mean other than your decade long battle with Plan B, and the fact that the Spellmans Rock!
When is the next Spellman due out? I just finshed the curse, and I am ready to keep reading.

Maybe you could write about your experience deciding to give up one dream (screenwriting) to pursue writing novels. That's a big change in a career focus and one I'm sure had its ups and downs. Were the Spellmans originally a concept you had for a film? Or were they strictly an idea for the page?

My votes:

1) The dog and pony show
2) What is a mystery? (And do the Spellman books qualify?)
3) Why you started that last war.

Of the topics you listed, I'd vote for

1) Writing screenplays vs writing novels

2) My writing process

Best regards,
Richard A. Lord

I would like to see the writing process, screenplays vs. novels and the experience of finding success after years of failure. I think I have a lot to write about and am thinking of a novel and have years of failure behind me:) just kidding. But seriously would like to see all the subjects I've suggested.

I would like to see the writing process, screenplays vs. novels and the experience of finding success after years of failure. I think I have a lot to write about and am thinking of a novel and have years of failure behind me:) just kidding. But seriously would like to see all the subjects I've suggested.

My personal favorite would be for you to write about your writing process, because I spent several years myself writing poems and short stories. The ones I sent off for possible publication almost beat me back to the mail box. When I realized that in many cases, the material was not even being read, I simply gave up. I still think though that some of my poems are better than much of what I've seen out there that is published. I realize though that poetry is particularly hard to get published because it no longer sells.

Just write about what you did today or yesterday or sometime this week.

Like most people, I like dog stories.

The only thing I like better is dog stories with horses in them, especially if the horses can talk. Also dragons.

I would love to know how you came up with the Spellman's, that family is nuts - but a lot of fun. I would also like to know about the dog and pony show aspect..

Would love to hear about the dog and pony show aspect of book promotion...

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