The Word for Writers
So YOU want to write a book?
by John Tyler
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So - big deal - YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK!
That’s the tiny first drop of water in a much larger bucket, my friend. Let's go into the real world of writing books - and getting them published!
That was my "teaser line" because I realize that many other articles are being written, so we authors need a "hook' to get the reader – like you, hooked into our story. If I just did it...you can, too!
Now, let's go into the world of writing a book and getting it published.
Let's deal with publishers first. They seem to be busy most of the time hacking around with writers who make them a ton of money already, so they aren't going to take notice of your little book (regardless of how many pages your book is). They will, instead, refer you to some literary agent. In fact, let me get the verbiage from one of the larger publishers...
“XXX Book Publisher's, Inc. does not accept unsolicited submissions, proposals, manuscripts, or submission queries via e-mail at this time. If you would like to have your work or manuscript considered for publication by a major book publisher, we recommend that you work with an established literary agent. Each agency has manuscript submission guidelines. You may wish to refer to The Literary MarketPlace (the LMP), a reference guide that contains a listing of literary agencies. It can be found in most libraries. Another excellent source is The Writer's Market, which you should be able to find in a local bookstore or library. You can also visit their Web site at http://www.writersdigest.com for more information."
Then, when you visit many literary agents - you know - to "pitch" your book, they have almost identical language!
The day of the chain book stores, publishers and literary agents is gone (to wit, Borders, the 2nd largest brick and mortar book store is contemplating bankruptcy in February), so they will all have to think differently. They will have to think online e-books from now on...or go the way of the dinosaur.
Take heart my ink-stained writer friend - we have ways to do everything they used to do, and we can do it ourselves. WE are the reason for the demise of the brick and mortar book stores!
First, think of a title that you dig. Most publishers will tell you to go for a title that is a winner for the public, but I will tell you that some of the best sellers are not well-known titles....like "Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig This guy had exactly 121 rejections - BEFORE HIS BOOK BECAME A BEST SELLER!
I would, however, come up with a title that will sell. For example, I would not be particularly interested in a book entitled, "Wrestling with Multiple Myeloma". Although that's a very important subject on bone marrow cancer, it's specific and limited.
On the other hand, my brother went through this cancer called Multiple Myeloma. Five years ago, it was an automatic death sentence. He could probably write a book about all of the trauma that he suffered going through a bone marrow transplant...and that was only after a new wonder drug called Revlimid came on the scene. Because of Revlimid - he survived, and - in fact, has zero cancer cells in his system as of the last test.
His title, should he ever write about the ordeal, might sell better if it was, "I beat a death sentence from cancer”. That, to me, would attract a lot of cancer patients. It would be beneficial for them to learn that my brother also went through throat cancer twenty years ago and, after his doctor told him he had about six months to live! Here he is - twenty years later - singing and smiling!
So, once you get your title down pat, you should lay the book out in a nice format...like Microsoft Word.
This is what I have done consistently. Then, once the book is finished, and you are satisfied with it...add an index. There's nothing worse than reading a book without an index.
When I wrote “Diary of A Dieter”, I had an extensive index because there was a humorous section entitled "potty humor" in it, and there were sections about blood pressure and the effects that bad eating choices have on obese people. Readers want to go back and reference things that strike them as being important and relevant to their life.
Then, once your book is finished...go back over it and proofread and edit it. You can't believe how many words are misspelled. It makes you look really bad to your reeder. (See - I hope you saw reeder! Are you annoyed)? Reeder - reeder - reeder!
Read your book several times to make sure that you are happy with the way things are written.
Make sure it flows. There is not much sense in writing a disjointed book that has the reader staggering all over the place wondering how he got into a chapter in the first place.
I liken this (and having no index) like going on a trip to New Hampshire without a road map. Or, it's sort of like watching a great crime/drama TV show. All of a sudden, you have this urge to head to the bathroom, but you are stuck in there for ten minutes. You come back out to watch TV, and the actors are wrestling someone to the ground - and you have no idea where this guy came from. That's what it's like to read a disjointed book.
Okay…so now your book is finished. It's ready to go to press. It costs an average of $13,500 to get just one of your books printed with 1,000 copies – then processed – then have a magnificent, eye-catching front and rear cover designed - maybe inside flaps, and to get the book up onto Amazon or Borders or other online e-book stores or brick and mortar stores.
Whoops! $13,500? Who has that kind of money? Would you take the $13,500 risk to have this book of yours printed and published?
Understanding that, I am sure you would likely not take the risk, so now maybe you'll begin to see why book publishers are reluctant to hand you a check for two million dollars for your book!
Ah - but there are great ways to get 'er done, as Larry the cable guy has coined.
My first book – “Friendships - Lovers, Huggers & Others” is still available on Amazon in paperback. They get $14.95, and I love it when they request more books because it tells me that readers across this great world of ours still like my stuff!
That said, let me give you the dirty little secret. Amazon gets $14.95. They send me $6.73. Of that, I had to pay the printer $4.00. Then, I had to ship the book to Amazon for another $2.00. I netted $0.73! Sure, the glory of having shipped books is cool, but we are in this business of writing to also make a few dollars...not chump change.
So, I have devised many ways to get my books to market myself. Online e-books is the fastest way to get published. You've already printed the thing in your computer. It's ready for mainstream! I convert my Microsoft Word masterpieces into a pdf format. You can lock readers out from messing with your books with a secure pdf. All of this great stuff and a lot more free information is available for rookie authors on a website bearing that name plus .com. There, you will also discover that getting your books converted into online e-books is quick –and there's not much of a hassle doing it, and it is very profitable on a per book basis.
Let me illustrate: My books are online - Amazon.com (for the paperback) or Google Books or Relationship Books.com, and elsewhere.
I found the Friendships book on a website when I "froogled" (I'll tell you about froogling in a moment) and the Friendships book was on a bookstore site - in India – no less! They are selling my book in India! Whooda thunk it?
If you go to Google's product search site – www.Froogle.com and do this word search:- friendships lovers huggers and others, you will notice that my book comes right up at the top..in the preeminent position of top-left. In fact, if you Google rookie authors, that website pops up on page one! It's not by accident that this placement happens!
Well, over the years, we learn how to improvise and get the job done!
That website that I mentioned earlier is for rookie authors. All of these ideas are found there, and the information is free, so use it....learn from it. Enhance your ability to get your book written, edited, published, marketed - and sold.
It is my considered opinion that, in the near future, most book sales will be online e-books. Many of my relatives are walking around with a Kindle or other type of e-book viewer. Online e-books, to me, are far greater than any paperback or hardcover because of these reasons:
1. We authors get to edit our onine e-books so they are always current.
2. We can add color illustrations. The reader benefits. Printing physical books in color is way too expensive.
3. It's always going to be contemporary. I can (and have) changed my covers a few times. I've edited on the fly.
4. The price! At $9.95 for an online e-book (mine, of course) the reader gets between 257 - 542 pages in the books - for far less money than it would cost if they bought a hardcover ($22.00) - and the reader gets all color illustrations.
PayPal takes the money from my readers...$9.95. Readers pay by credit card, so all this processing by PayPal is done for me. They keep a pittance for their effort, and I get to put $9.36 into my bank account - and it's done automatically...once I request the transfer of funds. So, you can set up your own bookstore on your own website if you wish to do it yourself. Just sign up with PayPal and create a working website - and Voilà - you have a book store!
The final thing that I do, and you ought to do, is to write articles for Faithwriters.com or Helium, or Ezine...or Biznik – or a dozen other sites. Then, when people read your article, they are blessed with your knowledge because you've already been there.
But - more than that...you get to incorporate a link back to your website where you can pitch your stuff to them...or anyone who chooses to read the articles.
If they love the article, they can Facebook it....Tweet it (Like I always do with my Faithwriter articles), YouTube it - and get your information out all over the social networks.
And that - my formerly ink-stained (now laptop stained) writer, is how you can get the job done without the help (not) of publishers or literary agents - although they are experts at their craft.
They have no idea of the talent that lies within you. It is their loss...but it does not have to be the loss of your readers.
You go girl - or guy!
John Tyler, Author of nine books.
FIVE of my books are bible-bases, so those are FREE!
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