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 Fiverr.com 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

How Good Are You At Marketing or Planning?

6 January, 2014 § 9 Comments

Just listened to a woman I met a few years ago and she was talking at a seminar a while back.

Lisa has been building a stellar career and has become a published author more than once. She knows a thing or two about writing and getting published. I had always thought she had come from a background in the field. Turns out she had only attended a one-day publishing workshop. It was at that she realised she her career skills in marketing and strategic planning were more critical to her ability to become a published author than her knowledge of the industry.

Yet, how many writers pay ANY attention to these areas. They focus exclusively on the writing.

As I’ve said before, as mammoth as it is to write a book, getting it published is far trickier!

Yes, what you write is important and you need to move from writing to editing to ensure you produce a quality book. But you need to learn about marketing and planning a launch if you hope to publish.

Oh, and if you think a publisher will snap you up ( it has happened), then the more you know about publishing and planning the more likely you are to maintain some control.

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Finished Your 1st Draft? Next…

4 January, 2014 § Leave a comment

There’s a great warm feeling that rushes through your veins when ‘finish’ your first draft. You type “The End”, print it out, get the satisfaction as you rap all the pages so they are all aligned and you clip it together to …

What comes next?

Lots of work. Lots.

Sadly, if you intend to publish, writing the book is actually the beginning!

You now need to have your work reviewed BEFORE submitting it to a publisher or agent, to see what’s working, what’s not and how to make it better.

Here’s a list of just some of the things you’ll need to cover off before you get it on sale.

  • What are the books strengths and weaknesses?
  • How marketable is it?
  • How solid is your plot, characterisation, pacing, structure?
  • How appropriate is it for your target market?
  • Where are the errors – grammar, mechanics, spelling, style?
  • What method and process will you use to revise the work?

What about proofreading? Sure, you’re careful, but then… grammatical errors, punctuation, capitalization, verb tense, spelling, sentence structure… Get things proofread – there are tons of people who will help you for a fee eg http://bubblecow.net/proofreading/ – or, do it yourself – http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/02/10-proofreading-tips-for-self-publishers-058/

Got a short story that needs critiquing? Know how? Try this – http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/bobtam/website/guidelines_for_writing_a_critiqu.htm

Know how to write a query letter? Research that.  For example – http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

Know how to write a good synopsis? Look it up. For example – http://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/6-steps-for-writing-a-book-synopsis/

Want to do your own line editing? Find out how. For example – http://www.deepgenre.com/wordpress/craft/line-editing/

Once you’ve actually written the work, the rubber starts to hit the road. How committed are you to getting it properly prepared for sale or for enjoyment by friends and family without distractions of poor style etc.

If you believe in what you’ve written, isn’t the extra work worthwhile?

How many people will read a 1st draft that collects dust in your drawer?

Don’t be THAT person. Finish the thing! Stay the course and produce your work.

 

 

 

Why Writing Is The Easy Part!

20 December, 2013 § Leave a comment

As writers we agonise over our plot, our charaters, whether we’ve got the right dialogue, if we’re consistent in our timeline, and much much more.

We think writing is difficult.

And it is.

And this is why it’s not:

be a better writer

If we want to be published, there’s so much more to do and the true writer stays the course through all the edits and decisions to reap the rewards – often not monetary or fame but pride and satisfaction in seeing our book in print.

What’s the toughest part about the writing journey for you?

Warning: Changes at Amazon for Book Publishers

1 December, 2013 § 2 Comments

Amazon has been besieged over the recent year or two by authors trying to ‘game’ the system. A number of marketers have been promoting hacks and methods that are reminiscent of the techniques used to game Google, such as keyword stuffing. Why? The methods succeeded in pushing your books up the rankings, gaining more visibility and more sales. When something works, people jump on the bandwagon and the methods get overused.

Like Google, Amazon is awake to these tricks and is cleaning out its bookshelves of books it believes may be using such tricks.

The unintended consequence is that ‘good’ authors and publishers get caught in the crossfire.

See what’s at play in this article, and the updated one, then review descriptions for any books you have on Amazon.

Click here for the article.

What Should You Do To Get Published?

28 November, 2013 § Leave a comment

Here’s a neat little article with some true advice for any writer hoping to become published.

Another day, another rejection letter—what’s a new writer to do? While holding your breath, stomping your feet, or crying might sound cathartic (not to mention dramatic), it won’t help your writing get published. You can, however, develop certain behaviors that will increase the odds of a literary agent or editor saying “yes” to your work.

Read the 5 key pointers here … http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/27/writing-advice-_n_4349394.html

Which one sounds right to you?

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