COLUMBIA — Being a "smart artist" was the subject of best-selling author and Stephens College alumna Lyah Beth LeFlore's lecture today at Stephens.
"You have to be the Beyonce of books," LeFlore said.
LeFlore returned to Stephens to advise aspiring authors on how to succeed in what she called a very competitive literary world.
About 25 women sat in the audience listening to LeFlore talk about her journey to becoming a successful author. Her experiences gave students a mini "how to" for getting published.
A major theme in LeFlore's lecture was about writing as a business. She stressed that no publisher picks up a book that doesn't have selling potential. The only way to get to the top, according to LeFlore, is to get your name out and become your own brand.
"It's all about the buzz," LeFlore said.
LeFlore told students that she had to create a reputation before she could write what she wanted to write. In her case, she had to fight to write a non-fiction novel. Leflore described paying her dues with writing "chick lit" — humorous women's fiction.
She stressed to students to start building up an industry reputation while they were at Stephens by writing for campus publications and starting blogs to establish their voice.
Her message rang beyond inspiring authors.
Freshman Chelsea Tery found LeFlore's lecture beneficial in order to better understand and navigate the literary industry.
"I learned to try to find gaps in the market for my work," Tery said.
LeFlore said beyond industry tactics, being a good writer requires one to disregard personal fears.
"In order to be a writer you must first let go of your creative inhibitions and fears," LeFlore said.
How does LeFlore suggest one to get over this?
"Just write," she said.