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wildfoodie

writing a book

Are any DSers thinking about writing a book? working on a book? have found a publisher for their book?
I'm interested in any level commitment about a chunky writing project, fiction or otherwise (40,000 to 100,000 words chunky)
From
- I'd love to but don't know where to start, to
- I've got lots of pages written but need to get it all into some kind of order, to
- I'm on the final draft, to
-I'm on the road to getting it published


I'm asking cos I've reached that stage in my life where I think I'm just going to write a book because it's been on my things to do before I die for too long and I've had several of those synchronous encounters and events just recently which have pulled it off the back burner of my consciousness... no pressure no expectations of fame and fortune just the satisfaction of doing it...

Smile
dpack

the folk i know who do just do it and then chuck it then do it etc til they have a good un
wildfoodie

yeah that's what I was thinking... just do it... Smile
sally_in_wales

Just do it, get the writing done first and worry about how to get it published when you are about 2/3 the way through. I self published my first handful of booklets and it was only when I reached about 70,000 words on the next one and still had loads of notes to deal with that I realised I needed external help and went and got an agent then. I have several more books (non fiction so multi tasking works ok on these) on the back boiler now and will do exactly the same, once they are almost there I'll assess then whether to give my agent a call and see if she's still talking to me, or whether to self publish.
tim_and_nicky

What Sally said. I started (and even finished) several before I had anything worth showing to anyone else. Like most things, you get better with practice.

You can self-publish free via Amazon Kindle if you want to test the water. I've got a couple on there and am currently looking for an agent to handle another one.

Best of luck with it. Smile
troyannick

Ive been writing notes on Bulgaria to hopefully one day collate a book, guess just keep writing then present it to a publisher or someone who can collate all the info into book format, if its interesting I guess people will want to read it. I saw lots of young people reading books on the various planes and trains back here so books are alive and well.Go For It
sally_in_wales

Ive been writing notes on Bulgaria to hopefully one day collate a book, guess just keep writing then present it to a publisher or someone who can collate all the info into book format, if its interesting I guess people will want to read it. I saw lots of young people reading books on the various planes and trains back here so books are alive and well.Go For It


From my own experience, these days publishers want as finished a product as possible, unless you are writing on something very topical and cash generating (thinking some of these awful celebrity kiss and tell efforts) then they will be very unlikley to take unfinished notes, they will do the final layout, but as for collating, you will be expected to do everything including generating your own index pages. You will also be expected to demonstrate to them who the audience is and how many potential buyers there are and where your book overlaps or improves on what is already on the market. It was quite a learning curve and I initially wasnt prepared for just how much work the publishers want the author to do beyond the actual book writing itself. Just something to bear in mind as a lot of this you can pre-empt as you go along if you know its expected!
wishus

I am an editor - mostly freelance copy-editing and proofreading, but I do some small press commissioning/substantive editing too...

So, I've seen a lot of new books!

My advice would be forget the market, forget trends, forget your favourite writers.

Work on finding your voice and the story you want to tell. Even non-fiction will have a narrative thread of sorts that pulls the whole thing together. You'll know it when you spot it.

Write your dream book. Take your time on it, get it right.

Do not show draft versions to the people who are closest to you. This can cause rows.

Select trustworthy beta readers if you will... but 'that's nice', and 'I enjoyed it', won't help to get it published.

Always rewrite.

Get a nice clean ms together that's relatively free of grammar errors, typos, spelling errors etc before you let any professional people see it.

You may want to pay someone to read/proofread it before it goes to a publisher/agent.
troyannick

Interesting and good advice, its obviously like everything in life not that easy, but a great ambition.To most people even having an article published in a mag somewhere would be a great acheivement, I would love to do that.
Duckhead

I am an editor - mostly freelance copy-editing and proofreading, but I do some small press commissioning/substantive editing too...

So, I've seen a lot of new books!

My advice would be forget the market, forget trends, forget your favourite writers.

Work on finding your voice and the story you want to tell. Even non-fiction will have a narrative thread of sorts that pulls the whole thing together. You'll know it when you spot it.

Write your dream book. Take your time on it, get it right.

Do not show draft versions to the people who are closest to you. This can cause rows.

Select trustworthy beta readers if you will... but 'that's nice', and 'I enjoyed it', won't help to get it published.

Always rewrite.

Get a nice clean ms together that's relatively free of grammar errors, typos, spelling errors etc before you let any professional people see it.

You may want to pay someone to read/proofread it before it goes to a publisher/agent.


That is good advice, thank you.

At the risk of sounding daft, how many words are in a book? I mean if I have a 150,000 wordcount in MS word, is that a slim thing? How many words are there in a 2" thick Robert Ludlum for example.

Thanks
tim_and_nicky

At the risk of sounding daft, how many words are in a book? I mean if I have a 150,000 wordcount in MS word, is that a slim thing?

"Full length" would normally be 60,000 words plus, so 150,000 words is plenty.

How many words are there in a 2" thick Robert Ludlum for example.

Probably too many. Confused
wishus

At the risk of sounding daft, how many words are in a book? I mean if I have a 150,000 wordcount in MS word, is that a slim thing?

"Full length" would normally be 60,000 words plus, so 150,000 words is plenty.

How many words are there in a 2" thick Robert Ludlum for example.

Probably too many. Confused

Actually 40,000 is just a novella, so 60,000 is still quite tiny. A few years ago, 80,000 would have been just the right size, but this is considered a 'slim' book now. 120,000 is a good size. Your 150,000 may grow or shrink....
vegplot

An excellent piece of software which can help with layout and organsiation is Scrivener - it's designed for the task. wildfoodie

I've just found and been playing with Yarny

and joined nanowrimo - the forum bit of the site is a bit unwieldy size wise, but you could practically SMELL the writing enthusiasm and creativity on the discussion boards. But I'm a total group experience person - find I work so much better when I don't feel alone.... nanowrimo probably not for everyone, tho there are an awful lot of members...
Cool
Barefoot Andrew

Get yourself a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - Amazon link.
A.
arvo

I had a go of WeBook for a while and that was good fun. I found a group of folk on there prepared to do lots of looking and editing of each others stuff (however on there was also *lots* of sub-grim faux vampire rubbish written by angst ridden 15 year olds). The folk I got on with have moved on and I was writing so slowly that I think I lost other folks momentum on there (stuff got in the way as it does).

I may go back and have another punt to see if I can find another group of willing 'I'll have a read of yours if you have a read of mine' kind of editing buddies. It does help.

I'm finally 37k in to something that I hope will wind up 120k.

Gawd I write slowly. Sad
OtleyLad

Having had a lucky break I wrote this.
I was surprise how little interference there was from the publishers in the whole process. It was very much, you write it and we'll sell it. But they already had an established series of dog-friendly walking guides.

The down side:

Puny advance that barely covered my petrol costs to/from the walks.
(The advance comes off the royalties too, don't forget).

Tiny (between 7.5-10%) commission that is on the publishers (often discounted) selling price, not the cover price.
Commission arrives 1 year later - my book was first published July 2011-I have not had a penny yet and won't until this July.

The up side:
I have a book in print!
I have even seen it on shelves in bookstores.
Friends are impressed.

So for me financially it has been a loss-maker. Maybe over time as it becomes a classic it may add a little luxury to my retirement.

It has however encouraged me to write more - and I am now writing a four-part historical novel. But I am going to self-publish it via amazon. As a programmer/web-designer the production of an E-book from a word document is not a challenge. Someone at the publishers actually advised me to do this - saying it was a better bet than going through them!

Advantages of E-books:

70% commision
You don't wait years to get it.
You can promote it yourself - for example build a website, send articles to magazines, etc.
You could save the early income and get it printed too.

Iím 2/3 through the first book and hope to finish it in the next couple of months. Look out world!
toggle

Get yourself a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - Amazon link.
A.

Pilgrim1975 posting.

As a writer of several years experience I can safely say tht the Yearbook is really useful, pretty much an essential purchase in my humble opinion.

I'd also recommend www.firstwriter.com which is well worth looking at. I have a life membership of Firstwriter and it's a vast database of competitions, agents, places to copywrite your work, editors, consultants, publishers and so on. Basically, it's a one stop shop for whatever you might need to get started as a writer. They don't supply the necessary writing ability, though, or write for you when you'd rather have a nice cup of teainstead. But, as a famous writer once said:

'The first rule of writing is to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.'
OtleyLad

I just got my first ebook onto amazon. I started the story July 2011 and have been writing pretty much full time except for a 3 month break (to earn some money building a website). So it's no small task (or maybe i'm a slow writer).
The book ended up about 125k words.

I showed it to my partner (the book, that is) who did some good proofreading. We did argue though when her proof reading turned into re-writing the story (at one stage she said my writing was sh*te).

Thought about showing it to friends/family but then would I believe what they said about it? Personally I'd hate to tell someone their work was rubbish or even mediocre, so I didn't want to put people on the spot.

Thought about finding a publisher/agent but decided it would be too time consuming/expensive. As it grew, printing it out was just far too wasteful of paper/ink. I reckon it would have cost £30 to print and post it to each publisher.

The dog walking book gets me 7.5% of the price the publisher sells it - 10% if they discount it. As they discount at 50% to distributors I'd be lucky to get 30p per book. Apparently 7.5% is standard even for established authors. Another thing is that royalties are sent 6 months after each 6 month period. So you don't see a penny for over a year. If something takes you a year to write, you won't see 1p until the following year.

So ebooks via amazon gets you 70%. You set the price and they pay royalties after 60 days - and then a month at a time.
Of course amazon put it on their website but don't promote it - and as there are 1,412,295 ebooks on there (that was this morning) you have to do something 'offline' to get your work noticed.

Ebook formatting is free (lots of free software you can download) but there's a lot of conflicting advice out there too about how to do it. As a programmer/web designer I'm familiar with html etc so I could eventually get my head around it. Also I used photoshop to produce the images (cover, chapter headings).

If you are not a programmer/web designer then its a very steep learning curve. To produce a book that functions well (table of contents, etc) and is well laid out takes time and skill. There are a lot of ebooks out there that are just functionaly crap and ugly - seriously undermining the credibility of the contents.

Here's what I did to produce it:

Wrote it in Word
Converted to html (exported as a filtered web page).
Spent weeks tidying it all up (using a notepad type text editor).
Put it through Mobipocket Creator (free software) to convert the html to kindle format.
Tested it on my kindle
Spent a couple more weeks formatting and getting rid off spelling/grammatical errors.

The Amazon KDP forum is friendly enough but I didn't find it helpful - each person seems to be an expert and tells you: 'don't do it that way, do it this way' without solving your problem. I was sent down several blind alleys, downloading different software, learning it and getting stuck.

Would I do it again?
You bet - subject to actually earning something from the first book (or else my partner will finally kick me out).
gleefulgoat

I agree with everyone else....Write your book first (i am now on my second one)....make sure your happy with it, the chapters are in the right place, spelling, make sure you have a decent margin both sides on your pages (the book needs this to be put together).

Then look for your publisher....decide if you want a publisher or want to do it yourself....
I used Lulu.com. it gets the book out on Amazon....but someone like Waterstones will use their own....But none of this matters if the book isnt written Wink
Sally Too

Linky to your book GG? What type of book have you written? Gervase

An excellent piece of software which can help with layout and organsiation is Scrivener - it's designed for the task.
Wholeheartedly agree with Scrivener; it's a superb piece of software that makes writing much easier, and has the added advantage that at the end you can compile a manuscript and format it as an ebook for Kindle, iTunes or any reader/distributor and have the finished product on your desktop in minutes, ready to upload. It can also import from almost any format - doc, docx, pdf, rtf, html etc - and has a very intuitive 'notes' section where you can store your research.
It seems to be becoming the software of choice for a lot of writers now, both in fiction and non-fiction, and is certainly hard to beat for features or ease of use. It's also a lot cheaper than Word!
Sally Too

Is the material all stored on your own computer - or is it backed up to a secure area online?

I wonder with all the enforced rest I've had to take if I might pick up the metaphorical pen again......
gleefulgoat

Linky to your book GG? What type of book have you written?

It's called "a Diary Of The First Years Smallholding - Warts an All!"

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diary-The-First-Years-Smallholding/dp/1471696952/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361297289&sr=8-1

And its basically that....a diary of how we coped as first time small holders, it should have been called "how not to run a small holding" Laughing

I wrote a diary most days, of the antics of chasing goats, falling over in pig...er...poop, the fun with chickens, and also the hard ship we had when my husband lost his job and we were snowed in for 3 months....the people who have read it said its very funny...wasn't really the intention hahaha but i am glad it made them laugh.... its a little crude in the making, but its my first one and i am now on the second one Wink

It's okay that its a little crude in the making though 300 people like it so far, and I enjoy making it, and if it gives someone a laugh at my expense well its good, thats what matters.

So give your writing a go... read it and proof read it as much as you want or feel happy....THEN look for publisher Wink
toggle



'The first rule of writing is to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.'

i prefer this:


ust because Mr or Ms Bottom is paying a trip to Chair Town it does not always follow that productive work is being done. If you give yourself the whole day to write, you will spend the whole day writing and, in the process, drive yourself bat shit crazy.


alongside a recomendation of not trying to write for more than 2 hours or work on something that is research based for more than 6 hours in a day.
toggle

An excellent piece of software which can help with layout and organsiation is Scrivener - it's designed for the task.
Wholeheartedly agree with Scrivener; it's a superb piece of software that makes writing much easier, and has the added advantage that at the end you can compile a manuscript and format it as an ebook for Kindle, iTunes or any reader/distributor and have the finished product on your desktop in minutes, ready to upload. It can also import from almost any format - doc, docx, pdf, rtf, html etc - and has a very intuitive 'notes' section where you can store your research.
It seems to be becoming the software of choice for a lot of writers now, both in fiction and non-fiction, and is certainly hard to beat for features or ease of use. It's also a lot cheaper than Word!

i'm using scriviner as a combi writing tool and database for my thesis. the ability to write chunks of text and throw them about without risking deleting them, or throw them into the 'junk' file to rewrite for later or turn into an article for soemthing else. and i can link text to pdf files, so i can easily check my quotes and confirm my intrepretation when i go bak for rewrites.

combine it with somethinbg like a dropbox account, throw the save files into the dropbox.

only thing for me is the lack of formatting, like the arsey thing with footnotes or lack of endnote integration, i'll have to export into word to do that. but it's better than anyhting else i've played with. Might try playing with latex at some point. but it looked a bit scary and i think it's more than i actually need.
Pilgrim1975

Might try playing with latex at some point.

Kinky.
marigold

I'm another Scrivener fan Smile . Chez

I can't imagine how I missed this thread the first time round. Off to look at Scrivener now. Selkie

I'm thinking of writing a book if that counts.
My husband is always telling me to write. Trouble is there are lots of books out there saying much the same thing. I have been teaching swimming for many years and many local council lessons are done very badly. I stopped working for councils after one decided that controlled epilepsy was a reason to send me to 4 doctors in a year (last doctor said he had no idea why I was there.), for the last 10 years I've taught swimming privately and trained other teachers.

My husband complains that there are many kids that would benefit from a private instructor but cant afford it - hence the book idea. I rekon I could write a book now that would help parents teach like a swimming teacher, get round sticky issues and most importantly have fun teaching their child to swim....and possibly save money on lessons.

I do wonder how some of the books out there on 'teach your child to swim' got published...

I guess I'm asking everyone here who are parents if you think its a good idea. Waterproof pages essential!
Sally Too

Cool Sounds a great idea.... Type of book I might have bought back when they were all little and couldn't swim! Wentworth

Just do it - write a book - that is the hardest part, commitment to finish it. The rest will come when you have a completed manuscript/print out. Selkie

Sorry for not replying I've been applying for a job - heavens knows how many times I have re-written my CV or the covering letter. It will likely still go to someone in performance swimming or who has coached at a successful club.

Anyway I was thinking of submitting an article about teaching swimming as practice for the book. Has anybody got any particular problems or issues with their or a child's swimming - anything? I've taught adult & child classes, complete beginners of all ages, improvers, stroke/competitive development.
I'm happy to give advice.
Wentworth

How to help build confidence in the water
Safety aids for children
Dangers of swimming in open waters.

I am sure others will come up with more - An article would be great.
arvo

Sorry for not replying I've been applying for a job - heavens knows how many times I have re-written my CV or the covering letter. It will likely still go to someone in performance swimming or who has coached at a successful club.

Anyway I was thinking of submitting an article about teaching swimming as practice for the book. Has anybody got any particular problems or issues with their or a child's swimming - anything? I've taught adult & child classes, complete beginners of all ages, improvers, stroke/competitive development.
I'm happy to give advice.

Definitely submit an article on here, it'll give you a chance to see what your writing looks like on the page and see what style you have. It sounds like you have *loads* of expertise and a different take on what to write. Don't worry about what everyone else has written. A mate of mine says 'only you have got your voice, only you can tell your story'.

FWIW it sounds like we'd buy it already (one very active 5yo Leo and one 4yo Nenna to teach to swim).

Good luck Smile
Pilsbury

Defiantly interested here, we have a 2yo boy who we took swimming a couple of times in his first year but he dint really like it, we are going away this year so we have been taking him every week and in 6 weeks have gone from big floating ring seats through rings and now he is happy walking and splashing with no buoyancy but we need to get him to take the step from slashing and playing in depth or holding on the side to actually swimming....
That might be a bit specific actually but I think an article would he great lol.
Jamanda

Yes please Selkie! That would be very well recieved.
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