(Note: This blog posting is an abbreviated written transcript form of the audio podcast)
The Why, What, Who, Where and How of Writing a book
Book writing has changed in a great way over the last few years. Much like the music industry has changed. Where we were once at the mercy of the big book publisher and the big record labels, I now find that people who have had their manuscripts and/or music rejected by the big boys are simply producing there own work by self publishing their work themselves. I will be talking about the process of self publishing in later session but today I want to talk more about ” the Why, What, Who, Where and How in the beginning stage of book writing.
Why do you want to write a book?
It really seems pretty obvious that if you can answer what you want to write then you would automatically know why you are writing it. But I don’t think that’s a true statement. For example, say that you are really interested in the art of making model air planes……so interested in this topic that you think that you will write a book about it. This may or may not be a good idea. Just because this hobby is of interest to you does not mean that you have what it takes to put together a good book that really explains the craft of making model air planes…..and this statement can be true whether you are a novice or pretty good in making model air planes.
I’s important to know why you want to write a book. I would never try to discourage anyone from doing what they feel they simply must do…..so if writing on a particular subject is what you have in your heart to do then all means do it but I think that it is important to make sure that you are at least doing it for the right reasons. Writing something just for the sake of writing and to be able to say that you’ve written a book will…..more than likely come back to haunt you in the end. The bottom line is you are the best judge as to whether or not there is a book in you that simply must come out and be published.
After you’ve tacked the “Why” you want to write…….. then the “what” you’re going to write should…..at least in most cases come naturally. Some people are born writers, they love to write and these people usually know exactly what they want to write about. The topics are near and dear to them they have a definite passion, desire,yearning…for writing.
I find that most of the authors of whom books that I have read tend to stick with………, at least in general………., the same subjects and topics. For example, Seth Godin, a prolific blogger and marketer, writes books and articles that center around the idea that marketers no longer have the power to command the attention of anyone they choose, whenever they choose with what he call “interrupted marketing” ….the type of interruptions that we get with TV ads. He’s writing center around the discussion that in today’s marketplace the consumers have more power and that marketers must show more respect and stop spamming the consumers. I have nearly all of Seth’s books and they are my “go to” books when I want to learn more about how to better relate to others in today’s mass media arena. Seth also has some nice books that encourage the readers to step up and start doing and living the life you are suppose to live……. you know those “Hire yourself” type books.
What type of book will you write
The author should also have some idea as to the type of book they want to write (the type of book can be considered a part of the “what” you want to write about); for instance is the book a romance novel, is it a mystery novel, is it a biography or an instructional/educational book or a children’s book etc. As I mentioned earlier I really believe that some of the most successful authors are those that write about things they are passionate about and more times than note they are somewhat of an expert on the subject…..or at least know how to dig up the relevant information about the subject. Most cookbooks that I’ve read are books written by people who love to cook and are good at it. What do you love to do? What do you love to read? These may be clues as to what you should write about. Putting the spot light on a problem and then giving your input on how to solve that problem is definitely something you can and should write about.Once you’ve figures out the type of book that you want to write then you should know who you are writing for and where you can find them.
Who are you writing for and where are your readers
If you have a passion for writing children’s books you should think about starting a blog and writing entries about children’s books…..or maybe you can start a FaceBook page and open a forum to discuss children’s books……you should also join other conversations on FaceBook and twitter where there is already a congregant of people taking about what you love and join in the conversation. The time to get involved with others is way before you write your book. You should be contributing and engaging in the platforms that are already in place to give and receive relevant information. By joining the conversation; in a group such as Facebook groups before you write your book you just might be surprised to see that a lot of the information discussed is information that you can use in your book.
Now that you have a topic and know who you want to reach and where…at least in general…they are…..now you need to start with the first steps in getting your book together.
How do you start; one of the first steps in writing your book: Start with an outline
Practically every article or book that I’ve read about the first steps in getting a book and/or any type of article together, even a blog says that you should start with some type of outline. That’s right your basic outline. If you do a search online for how to write a basic outline for writing a book you can find tons of examples. Ehow is a good place to start at www.ehow.com and search for how to write a book outline.After your outline is done then you need to start gathering information for your book. as I mentioned earlier it is a good idea to join in the conversations with others that are interested in your topic in the social media circles you can get a lot of information with this type of engagement. Some other good places to get information for your book would be from reading newspaper articles; going searches on Google, Bing and other search engines and of course by reading other books. You can as mentioned earlier join forums and personal meet ups;attend conferences and seminars; interview people; poll people…brain storm….the sky’s the limit.
Who was the author after some 43 rejection letters from publishers; went to publish this book “And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street” published in 1937 by a friend?
A) Tom Clancey
B) Walt Whitman
C) Theodor Geisel
If you answered…….
You are correct!!
Well his actual full name is Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel otherwise known as Dr. Seuss did not let those first rejections get to him in fact he went on to publish some of the most popular and amazing children’s books such as “the Cat in the Hat”; “Horton Hears a Who!”; How the Grinch Stole Christmas”; and “Green eggs and Ham”.