How To Create a Book

7 December, 2018 § Leave a comment

Writing is like any other endeavour if you plan to make a living from it. The most important thing in any business is to make sure you are offerring a product or service that people want and are prepared to pay for. Doesn’t matter whether you’re selling software, a rotary engine or jewellery, that rule applies. It also applies to the business of writing.

Now don’t go all ‘artist’ on me. Yes, you can write from the heart and for many people that is what the creative pursuit of writing is: forming words, phrases and sentences, telling a story that’s inside them, sharing their idea wih the world. In rare cases, the world wants what you write. In most cases they don’t. So, sure write from the heart and follow your passion in writing. My argument though is, if you want to make money from your efforts, then it is a much smarter approach to write what people want to read.

Bryce Courteney was a firm believer in this approach. After leaving the world of Advertising he ventured into the field of fiction writing. He wrote wonderful novels which sold well (and often timed the launch of a book to coincide with Christmas gift-buying season). But before he went in this direction and wrote, he researched what people wanted to read and wrote to order.

Barbara Cartland found a strong evergreen niche of Romance and became one of the most prolific authors in that genre pumping out an astounding number of novels that were read wordwide. She knew the formula that would keep readers interested and wrote to that formula.

Many writers who are prolific follow a similar vein.

Discover Profitable Book Ideas.

So your first objective is to find a book idea which is trending, which has a readership with a hungry appetite for a particular type of book. Romance is always in demand yet there are sometimes specific categories which trend as well such as rural romance. Mystery is another evergreen genre with the ever-popular thriller categories as well as crime. A walk around any bookshop will give you an idea of what is filling shelf space. A chat with the bookstore owner will give you clues on what people are buying. Reading book review sections of the newspaper will keep you up to speed. Best of all, check out the online book stores for their best selling categories. Find a niche that is selling well and read a few books in that genre to get an appreciation for how those stories work. Make sure it is a genre you’d be comfortable writing in for a period of time. Once you have a book idea clear, it’s time to research and write.

Get Your Book Written

Research the story arcs of books in the style you plan to write. How do they typcally start? How many subplots do they usually involve? Is there a similar pattern to the stories written?

Start an outline of your story. Main characters, main settings, main scenes.

Decide if you will write the story yourself or whether you will outsource it. (Believe me, many great popular writers of today have a stable of ghost writers!). If you want to get a book written fast, and you cannot personally write consistently or well just yet, then outsourcing may be the best way to start to buid a back-catalog.

To outsource you need to be clear on what you want your ghost writer to do so clear instructions are necessary. Review some of their work so you’re satisfied with the standard and style of what they write.

Whether you pen the novel yourself or hire a ghost writer, you must set a deadline. Remember, we’re treating this as a business. The more you publish, and the faster you publish, the more likely you are to profit.

While you are waiting for your work to be completed, hire a book cover designer. Unless you have a great eye for graphic design and understand the sizing requirements of the ebook publishers, avoid doing your own cover. You know that a book cover is the first thing someone sees when they look for a book. It has to impress. Go onto Amazon Kindle and look at a lot of the ebook covers being used – there is  a world of difference between a home-made job and a decent designer. Spend a few bucks and get it done. Services like can get you a reasonable quality book cover made in days. Again, you will need to give them some instructions on the feel and color you are seeking for your book. Check out their past work before hiring.

Publish Your Book

Self-publishing on Amazon is technically doable and relatively easy. You will need to invest a little time in learning the process but Amazon have great guides available to help walk you through and YouTube can be your friend here as well.

Are You Ready To Write?

Many people drawn to writing as a career focus on the writing craft alone. They labour over the right way to write, the fastest way to write, how to write. That’s important but realise it’s the tip of the proverbial iceberg. After writing there’s revising, rewriting, editing, proofing, covers, blurbs, author platforms, publishing, formatting, marketing, signings, talks, and a whole host of other things on the business side of getting your words into readers hands. If you’re not ready for the arduous long-haul, stay a hobby writer and find the pleasure in improving your craft. If you want to be a writer who earns a living from their endeavours, there are profits to be made for those who go about it as a business.

In short, if you want to be a commercial writer making an income from your efforts then focus on where readers are and meet them there. Produce good quality writing with strong storylines and engaging characters. Get it written, if not by yourself then by a contracted writer. Publish it and market it.

the business of writing
Photo : Pixabay

Editing Basics

3 December, 2017 § Leave a comment

It’s a cruel business, this writing thing. Just when you feel elated and broadly satisfied that you’ve completed your work of brilliance, you realise that it’s not over. In fact, the hard work now begins.

Editing is as important as the creative juice flowing over time.

There are two main aspects to editing.

  1. the Actual Words on the Page
  2. the Structure of the Work

In editing the words on the page we’re looking for simple things like typos, poor choice of words, grammar, sentence construction – that sort of thing. If you don’t focus on the words, they will trip you up when you look at the structure so it’s best to fix them first. It’s also a logical way to approach editing so you don’t go bananas when trying to make sense of what you’ve written. Start with analysing your adverbs (are they really necessary?) then look at any dialogue (tighten it up). Be alert to using words for padding, you know, words that don’t add any value. Finally check out your pacing – is it consistent with the storyline?

Once you’ve cleared up the words themselves, or noted what needs another check, it’s time to have a look at the structure. Does your story begin with a long background or scene setting? Or does it start with action and launch the reader straight into the story? How strong is you main character? Are there too many characters or ones that serve no real purpose? Is the plot consistent? How solid are the sub-plots and how do they inform the storyline? Get into analysing your whole story and especially the first chapter.

Taking out the scissors and red pencilling your manuscript is challenging but you’ll end up with a better book as a result. Once you’ve done your first round of edits, get your beta-readers ont it and give them permission to provide as much feedback as they feel is needed to make your story better and more readable.

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