Monday, June 08, 2015

Writing Books

A lot of readers ask me for advice about writing books. Here is what I say in response.

  1. The best way to get good at writing is to write. The more that you write, the better you will get. One good way is to write a blog. It does not cost anything, and it is easy to do. Try to write something every day.

  2. Find someone who is a good editor. Most friends are too kind to show the flaws in your writing. Find someone who knows good writing, and who loves you enough to give you an honest critique. We all have blind spots. A loving friend can help us see them.

  3. Find a business model that works. I use Createspace, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. Using Createspace, I can do the layout and presentation of my book, myself, with minimal cost to me. However, I have had to put the effort into teaching myself how do this. Createspace prints on demand at a reasonable price. For me, that is better than trying to work out how big a print run to do. It also avoids a big layout up front. That works for me, you need to find out what works for you. The other book advantage of Createspace is that books go straight on to Amazon with no extra work.

  4. I also use Kindle Direct Publishing, because Kindle is the way many people read these days. It is a good way to distribute books cheaply. Because I am familiar with HTML, I am able to format a Kindle version myself.

  5. The toughest part of writing a book is marketing. Writing a book is easy. Printing a book is straightforward. The hardest part of the process is marketing and getting people to buy it. I read once that the average book sells about 8 copies. That means that most fail. If you get a publisher, they might help. But these days publishers rely on their authors to do most of the marketing, so they do not help as much as they used to. However you do it, you are going to have to do most of the marketing yourself.

Have a go, but understand that publishing and selling books is hard work.

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