You shouldn't talk about yourself all the time - most of us aren't for sale. Our books are. Talk about them. It's not a question of whether or not you're fascinating on a personal level - it's that your trivia and trials might not have any connection to the tone, tenor and sense of your books.
I've always been fascinated by the concept of reincarnation. I learned that many brilliant people were interested in reincarnation, including Carl Jung. I'm a big Jungian. So I began writing novels involving theories integrating past and present, even if the past element in the novel took place 500 or 1,000 years ago.
I have favorite authors from a lifetime of reading, so there are some I'll automatically read every time they have a new novel. Included in them: Robert Goddard, Jeffery Deaver, Sophie Kinsella, Katherine Neville, Greg Isle, Laurie King, Lee Child, Lisa Tucker, Susan Howatch, Paul Auster. Barry Eisler, David Hewson, Tracy Chevalier.
Back in 1999 and 2000, a few of us... a very few of us... Douglas Clegg, Seth Godin and I... offered free electronic copies of our books in an effort to reach an audience we otherwise wouldn't have reached and to test out a new marketing concept for books. Despite the industry screaming we were crazy, it worked.
I was taught to think outside the box. Before my grandfather was one of the original Mad Men, he and a group of other Air Force Intelligence officers formalized brainstorming as a problem solving technique. He taught the concept that creativity can be taught at Buffalo University. My dad invented toys. My mom was a photographer.
Your agent should be invested in the success of your book past the contract stage. After all, if it sells well, she's going to be getting 15 percent of every dime you make. She can be your best advocate in fighting for your book - not just with editing and the cover, but with marketing and sales as well.
I've always been fascinated by how the past impacts the present. For the first half of my career as a novelist, I wrote psychological suspense mysteries. I wanted to be a therapist but was told that while I was a fine diagnostician, I would be a terrible therapist because I wanted to solve everyone's problems.
I began tailoring my books to cater to one or another universe of readers. I found it incredibly boring; and frankly, it felt stultifying. I'd previously been in advertising. I felt if I was going to create something to fit a specific market, I might as well have stayed with advertising.
When I was in advertising, I did a great deal of work on television commercials. A co-worker and I wrote a screenplay, which led to a few more screenplays, and some were optioned by production companies. I was advised to move to California but didn't want to make the move. I decided to use another form of storytelling, so I wrote a novel.