I have been so negligent keeping you with this post; and I do apologize. I am using most of the info entitled SEE with Words and also some entries contributors sent to me. This will be only an eBook sold through Amazon for probably $1.99. Right now it is being done digitally–as soon as it is completed, I will inform all you followers that you could get a book mailed directly to your eReader. Once this book is in the marketplace, I will then get back to a weekly wring prompt. Thanks for your patience.
Everybody has a story to tell—your time is NOW. OR IS IT! Before you roll up your sleeves, sharpen some pencils or turn on the computer, clear those dust bunnies from your brain, hone up your imagination to start on your writing journey, STOP, look in the mirror and be candid with the person staring back at you as you answer question #1: why do you want to write?
Writing is a crowded profession—it attracts more people than any of the other arts, made especially popular today with the advent of digital online publishing. Most people who “have a story to tell” may skip commercial or traditional publishers, even subsidy or vanity presses, and go straight to online eBooks. It’s faster, easier, and less expensive, and there’s sometime to be said to “I did it my way!” Approximately 150,000 books are produced each year, and most of them are published by small and independent publishers.
Now answer question #1 honestly. If you want to write for fame and fortune, its best you turn around and choose another career. Pure luck can give some people an edge, and for others talent, friends, relatives in the business, or a famous career in the limelight can help their chances of getting noticed and published.
It’s true you do want a salable book, but marketing and promoting are hard work—sometimes you barely break even. On the other hand, if you are writing because you really have something to say, have the drive of seeing a project through, believe in the truth of your writing regardless of any financial gain, then the chances of accomplishing your goal are reasonable.
Once you answered you writing intentions then proceed to answering the following questions:
- What skills do you have for writing?
- Is there an audience for your kind of book?
- How good are your marketing and promoting skills?
- Do you have the financial means to publish a book?
- With 150,000 new books a year, what makes yours unique?
You will find that writing is the easy part—publishing and marketing take determination and persistence. If you are committed to your final goal, then nobility of purpose will see you through. Writing is a journey—its own reward.
- Write from the heart.
- Write a great book.
- Study book marketing.
- Know your audience.
- Have a great title.
- Set giant goals.
- Time your efforts.
- Develop a business plan.
- Network through clubs/associations.
- Commit to marketing.
- Use book signings.
- Get reviews – be public.
- Give some books away.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Before choosing a publisher or printer
- Comparison shop–get quotes
- Look at other books the publisher or printer has produced
- Talk to other writers who have used the publisher’s or printer’s services
- Understand the terms of the contract; make sure there are no hidden costs
- Verify any promises made
- Find out if the publisher has arrangements with a wholesaler
- Establish a good working relationship with your contact person
- Reread the printer’s proofs carefullly; they are the last chance to catch any mistakes
- Join an organization that offers networking opportunities
- Take a workshop or attend writers’ conferences to find out what resources are available
Consider Some Pros’ Habits
It’s a known fact the Ernest Hemingway wrote standing at a lectern. He frequently wrote in pencil and would usually begin his writing with the ritual of sharpening at least a dozen pencils. Hemingway would shift from foot to foot, and when the writing really began to flow, only then would he sit at his desk to continue.
And Truman Copote described himself as “a completely horizontal writer” and could not think unless he was lying in bed or stretched out on a couch or in a hammock.
Dame Agatha Christie tells us that she plotted her stories early in the morning while sitting in a bathtub of warm water, eating apples. John Nichols, who wrote The Milagro Beanfield War, also found soaking in a tub of warm water conducive for getting ideas flowing. I’m not sure what he munched on at 4:00 a.m. Others who gained inspiration while soaking in a bathtub were Benjamin Franklin, who actually owned the first bathtub in America; the French playwright Edmond Rostand and Vladimir Nabokov both claimed that soaking in a bathtub was conducive to their creativity. A writer friend told me that she needs a grease pencil in the shower. Must be something about warm water that generates the flow of ideas!
Kitchen tables were also a favorite for a number of authors. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote most of Uncle Tom’s Cabin on one. She managed to squeeze in writing between cooking, sewing, cleaning, and caring for her seven children. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte also used the family’s kitchen table to function as a writing desk. Jane Austen worked at a small round parlor table with hardly enough room for her notebook. In fact, she was so shy that at the slightest sound of someone approaching, quickly hid whatever she was writing.
Then there’s William Faulkner who maintained he wrote only when it rained. One wonders how the course of American literature would have changed if Faulkner set YoknapatawphaCounty in Arizona instead of Mississippi.
Tennessee Williams worked seven days a week. He did not think writing on Sundays was a violation of the Sabbath although he did make one exception – Easter Sunday. Issac Asimov also wrote every day from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. and completed 500 books during his career. Barbara Cartland, who also produced over 500 novels, was still writing and being published when she was in her late nineties. And Mark Twain never wrote another word after the death of his beloved wife Livy.
- Identify a topical or regional niche; study the books already available on the same topic.
- Bring an attractive and competitively priced book to the marketplace.
- Reach the target audience through effective distribution.
- Promote, promote, promote.
PLAN YOUR BUDGET CAREFULLY:
PRODUCTION: Cover design, interior book design, editing and proofreading
PRINT: Small or large run, extra covers, dust jackets, galley proof, promotional materials
PUBLICIZE: Review copies, postage, news releases, interviews, book signing events
PROMOTION: Advertising media kit, displays, catalogues, postage for target mailings
5 Reasons to Self-Publish:
Commercial publishers don’t have the time or resources to read all of the manuscripts submitted, upwards of 150,000 titles per year. They are looking for name recognition or authors who come with certain sales potential and definite outlets.
Within recent years, self-publishing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry. Some of the best authors may not initially be published by a major publishing house, but after the book is printed and marketed in published form, and the author establishes a track record in sales, that book may be picked up by a major publishing house for an attractive contract.
Two such success stories are:
Laurie Notaro’s The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club was originally published by iUniverse, then placed twelfth on the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller List which landed her a six-figure, two-book contract with Random House.
Steven Keslowitz’s The Simpsons and Society was first published by Wheatmark before the book was published by Sourcebooks.
So here are the 5 reasons you may want to consider self-publishing:
- Keep control of your project;
- Control the time frame for writing, editing, and publishing;
- Fill a specific niche;
- Be the sole owner of the proceeds from the book’s sales;
- Get yourself in print.
Check Amazon.com for books published by Eileen Birin.
One More Idea to Consider:
Here’s another important idea you may want to consider as you get started in the writing game. Check local community colleges for adult continuation or special interest classes in writing. Some may even offer workshops or seminars on various aspects of writing. Local libraries are other resources for writing groups, special presentations on writing, or even critique groups. Signing up for a writing course, taking a workshop or joining a critique group can prove beneficial especially if you are a novice writer and may need the support and incentive from others with similar interests. A writing course can also provide the structure and basic techniques necessary for good writing.
Along these same lines, if several of your friends or members of a writing class are interested in working together, you might consider forming your own small writing group. This would allow for immediate feedback and critiquing of your stories, provide opportunities to share similar learning experiences with each other, offer encouragement to get through some of those so called “writer’s block” moments, support each other’s efforts, shed light on new discoveries, and most important, laugh and cry together as you explore the problems of the lonely, yet exhilarating, life of a writer. So with pen in hand and love in your heart, be strong–embrace the unforgiving pain and the sublime joy of the writing life.
Writing is therapy for both you and the reader.
- There are no firm or important rules for good writing.
- However, know them first before you break them.
- Follow writing guidelines; they free you to do what works best for you.
Rules are structures that set limits; true artists transcend to heights unlimited; great art has no borders. But here’s the catch: in order to soar, one needs a solid structure as the launching pad.
Remember those language arts teachers who insisted we bring our journals to class everyday. And then usually before an English composition lesson, we would spend five minutes writing anything that popped into our heads. Forget spelling, grammar, sentence structure, just write, write, write. We were encouraged to free write, to brainstorm all those creative ideas that later would become our coveted “A” English composition papers. No one would ever see these first draft scribblings of ours, but we knew we could never hand-in anything we wrote in our notebooks until we “fixed” it up and made it better for a passing grade.
So too, true artists have learned, practiced and mastered the rules first which then sets them free to soar into their unique creative worlds. Imagine this: what if your novel, story or poem resembled the free writing of your school day journal. How distracting would that be to readers? If the reader doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, if your lack of writing efficiently interferes with the story line, how long will you hold that reader’s attention? Know the rules first before you break them.
That said; let’s explore some useful writing guidelines that have proven successful in a writer’s creative journey.
Materials you may need for your journey:
You’ll need several handy notebooks, whatever fits into your pocket, purse, briefcase, and glove compartment – use whatever works best for you. Once you start writing your novel, you will be amazed at how many new ideas begin popping into mind any time of the day and night. You’ll want to jot down that good idea, or clever quip before it is lost once again. Good places to keep notebooks are:
ü bedside table
ü den or TV room
ü pocket or purse
ü outside garden or patio
2. Tape recorder:
Some of you may prefer to use small tape recorders instead of notebooks. Recorders work best in cars, especially if you’re driving and that tinge of recollection arises, you’ll want to grab that recorder, click the on-button, and talk your heart out.
Recorders also work well on bedside tables. In no time, you will train yourself to hit the on-button in the dark and talk softly into the recorder without even waking your partner.
3. Several more important items to have close at hand:
ü a comprehensive dictionary
ü an authoritative thesaurus
ü an English grammar handbook
ü plenty of pens or well-sharpened pencils
ü computer or word processor
Where do you go from here?
Writing is a craft. Writers write. Writers write every day; that’s their job. By cultivating the habit of writing regularly, it will make the process easier and more enjoyable. Study the craft; exercise the craft by doing it everyday.
Check out Amazon.com for: Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success; and Come Sit a Spell, Recalling and Writing Memoirs.
Considering Self-Publishing? Meet the Masters:
The advent of independent publishing is not a recent development. It has always been an American enterprise. In 1776 Thomas Paine published Common Sense, Ben Franklin even used his own printing press. Walt Whitman published his controversial Leaves of Grass and even wrote the reviews for his own works; Carl Sandburg worked the presses and hand-bound his books of poetry. Upton Sinclair refused to change the content of The Jungle and elicited the support of several friends to help publish the book before Doubleday offered to publish it. In fact, both editions were printed simultaneously.
The list of masters include: Samuel Clemens, Zane Grey, Washington Irving, Stephen Crane, Edgar Allen Poe, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf and others. f
Books originally self-published: Chicken Soup for the Soul, What Color is Your Parachute? The Celestine Prophecy, which Richard Redfield sold from the trunk of his car, Invisible Life, One Minute Manager, The Christmas Box.
And here are a few self-publishing services success stories: The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro, orginally published with iUniverse, #12 on the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller List, landed her a six-figure, two-book deal with Random House; and, The Simpsons and Society by Steven Keslowitz, orginally published with Wheatmark and then picked up by Sourcebooks.
The list goes on. So Let’s Get Published!
Check out Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success, ebook available from Amazon.com