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The Honest Truth about Writing a Book

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The Honest Truth about Writing a Book

If you have ever published one, you must have faced this question, “How do you write a book?”

It is an amazing fact that people who are published authors attract a lot of attention from people who wish they were published authors. Why would anyone ask someone who had maybe published one book, when there is so much information available from those who have published dozens of books? Even the publishers themselves have written on how to get a book in print. It is difficult to take these tire kickers seriously.

The honest truth is that about a fifth of the people who are curious about writing want to hear that anyone can do it and that it is easy. Well, the fact is, anyone can do it and it is easy. All you really need is the desire. If you have access to pencil and paper, computer screen and keyboard, typewriter or crayon, you can write.

There is no law that says you can or can’t write. There is no special education that you must have before you can write. There may be classes and degrees that help you learn to write in certain ways, but to just write? Anyone can do it. The law is not involved in writing. You do not need to apply to the city for a permit. You just need to write. So, if anyone can write what makes a good book different from a not so good book? Well, that is probably the readers. Someone could write a book and have only one or two readers, but they think it is the most wonderful thing they have ever seen. Another book may have a couple of hundred readers and be considered a good book. But the two who liked the first book don’t like the second one. So, it is the reader who defines a good book. Not the number of readers, but just the reader’s point of view.

If you want your book to be considered good by more than one or two people, it will take some work. Writing is work. Besides the study of material about which you might like to write, you have to like to read. That’s an important one. Writers read. Writers write. It is a time consuming effort. You need to sit at your work station and write, word after word, line after line.

Then you have to read it, delete half if it, and write it again.

Publishing your book:

So, this is what you really want to know. Maybe you have an old manuscript that has been sitting in a dusty drawer for years. You want to know how to get a publisher to beg for it and pay millions. There is a popular reference book that is used quite often in the business world that can connect you with publishers all over the city. It’s called the phone book. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Another new invention that is extremely helpful is the Internet. Hundreds of publishers and agents have websites that detail exactly how to submit work for review and possible publication. Not only do most people not even check the Internet, the ones who do, don’t follow simple instructions, and therefore their manuscript never sees the light of day.

If you could imagine how many manuscripts are received by just one of the world’s publishers a day, it would blow your mind. That is why they have set up a system that works to streamline the process of getting your book in and reviewed and published in as little time as possible.

For those who don’t want to, or who can’t be bothered, to follow simple instructions, the process seems unfair and arduous. It’s okay, because these are the people who don’t want to put the necessary work into writing a good book anyway. It’s like natural selection.

There is always the option of self-publishing. But probably if someone is unwilling to follow the instructions to get published by someone else, they probably won’t do the necessary steps to self-publish either.

What’s the Real Desire?

It may be that what these people really want to know is how to become rich and famous. Maybe they think that writing is an easy way to the top of the income ladder. Yup, that sounds like a winner.

Well, there is some bad news. Of the over one hundred thousand books that get published in the US alone, very few make it to the top of the best seller list. A very few sell more than a couple of thousand at most. So if it’s money and fame you are looking for, best look somewhere else.

The many hours that are put into writing are paid far less than a job for some nameless company, where you only have to work forty hours a week. Even if you have the best book ever written it may not make it in the real world. Okay, so maybe not the answers you were looking for.

If you haven’t yet thrown out your crayons in disgust, you may be a writer after all. If you love words, reading and you have an imagination, if you don’t mind sitting for hours looking at a blank screen, If the idea of watching TV when you could be making up characters for your novel repels you, then you may just be a writer after all.

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