Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New authors: how do you start to write a book?

  1. Decide on your primary objective(s): Change the world, entertain the world, educate, inform, preserve memories, personal fulfillment, fun, money, fame, status, revenge, something else.
  2. Decide on your target audience. If your audience is 'everyone,' it will be very expensive to reach them. If your target is too small, you may not sell enough books to make money. Your mother may be wonderful, but your potential sales of a book about her may be seven books. Or two. More on choosing a topic 
  3. Check out the competition. Does the world really need another barbecue cookbook, JFK bio or post-apocalypse teenage vampire sex novel? More about competition
  4. Come up with about ten possible titles, then cut back to three, and then one. More about choosing a title
  5. Even if you have no artistic talent, make some rough cover designs. More about covers
  6. Write a one-paragraph book description that could go on the back of the book cover and on booksellers' websites, and should keep you focused.
  7. Read books for authors. I've written a bunch
  8. Write. How to deal with writer's block 
  9. Oh yeah, if you plan to write poetry, forget about making money.
  10. Think about how your book will be published: (A) traditional royalty-paying publisher (difficult for a first-time author), (B) self-publishing company, (C) your own little publishing company. If you are considering A, this book will help. If you are considering B or C, this book will help.
  11. Figure out what help you'll need from artists, designers, formatters, editors, coaches, lawyers, accountants. Find them. 
  12. Decide whether you'll use your real name or a pen name.
  13. Decide when your book will be published (it will likely be late).
  14. Decide what formats you'll publish in (paperback, hardcover, various e formats, spoken word—and tentative prices.
  15. Decide how you'll promote the book to potential purchasers and book reviewers.
  16. Decide on the approximate length of the book. Longer books take longer to write, longer to produce, cost more to produce, and have more errors to correct.
  17. Decide on the software you'll use for writing. I use Microsoft Word, but many writers use Google's free "Docs" version, or software intended for writing, such as Scrivener.
  18. Decide on whether you'll write with a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone or multiple devices. Some people insist that they write better books when they use paper and pen or pencil. I think that's ridiculous.


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