How to Write a Book

Hovey with blunderbuss in N.C.

Being passionately interested in something is the first step towards writing a non-fiction book. 

“One word at the time,” is an accurate answer to the question, “How do you write a book?”, but one that is not of much use to a would-be author. While books are only words and one must follow another, it is quite one thing to come up with a statement, “I am,”  and it is quite another to follow those two words with some 39,998 others to complete a 200 page 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 softcover book.

The most significant thing in book writing is that the author has enough passion about the topic to complete a task that will likely take three months or longer to finish. Some people take years to write their book while others can do it in weeks, depending on the length of the book and the topic. I am considered an average writer who is expected to complete the text and gather the photography for a 200-page book within three months of signing a contract.

Three months is a realistic goal for a non-fiction work if the author has previously made an outline of the book’s contents, named its chapters, produced a working title and started gathering the photos or artwork . All of this and likely the preface and two sample chapters were necessary for him to secure a contract and get an advance for his book. For a commercial author who writes for trade publishers, the concept of the book is fairly well firmed up before he collects his advance and goes into his “book-production-mode” and starts pounding out copy.

E-mail sized cc crossbow cover

One of the author’s books that was accepted and published by a commercial publisher. In this case the publisher was  Stackpole, a well-established publisher of outdoor books. This title is still in print and available from Amazon.com and other sources. 

These publisher-imposed deadlines do not apply to those who will self-publish their works, but for most people deadlines and goals need to be set. This is a job. Instead of having a quota of products to put out in a given shift, the author has a number of pages that he needs to get out each day. Just two pages of copy every day will finish a 200-page book in 100 days – the math is simple enough. It is the doing of it that is difficult. Some people are sufficiently self-motivated pound out copy to this schedule, while others need someone pushing the project to get it done.  After you have done five books, or so, you will have discovered what production method works best for you.

A Time To Write

Repetitive, regular work is what produces books. I use the early morning hours to do my original work. Typically my writing day when in “book production mode” is to get up at 2:00 AM, write until 5:00 AM, have breakfast, take a nap, resume writing, have lunch and then do whatever household tasks that need doing. In the early evening I relax by perhaps watching a movie on my TV after supper. I go to bed at about 9:00 PM and get up again at 2:00 a.m. to restart the process. My schedule is  allowable because I no longer have a wife and children, and I am only responsible  for my own activities and those of my canine companions.

Time is the one thing that we cannot buy and likely never will have quite enough of to do what we want to do each day. Many tasks are put off from one day to the next, and this condition gets even worse when you are over 65.  As a person ages the work flow becomes more like, “It takes twice as long to do half as much.” Even so at 76, I am still pounding out copy every day.

We are all different human animals and have different family responsibilities. Nonetheless, carve out some regular time each day for writing. At first this will seem to be real drudgery, but you will come to look forward to working each day and making page by page and chapter by chapter progress towards completing your book.

Maybe you feel that you have only one book in you – one that that you are passionate about that you feel MUST be written or you have failed yourself and mankind. You don’t have the confidence that you can do this by yourself  and that you need help to finish the book and make it a financial success.   You have a missionaries’ zeal, but do not have the skills. These skills can be learned in formal situations like college;  by selling copy to the newspaper, magazine and book market; or through working with a variety of consultants or companies who will guide you through the production process or even ghost write your book. You can subscribe to magazines like Writers Digest. The same organization that publishes the magazine has a very robust on-line presence with tip-laded articles, many books and annually publishes The Writers Market, which list magazines, their editors and gives addresses and requirements for sending in manuscripts.

My previous 15 books have had modest success, but I wanted to do more with Create Your Own Job Security: Plan to Start Your Own Business in Midlife.  I had worked with Steve and Bill Harrison’s writing-consulting company, Bradley Communications, years before and decided to enroll into two programs that they offer, Quantum Leap and The National Publicity Summit that they hold in New York City. These programs are not inexpensive and with travel, meals, etc. could cost $10,000.

NYC Skyline potential cover (2)

Steve Harrison’s National Publicity Summit allows authors to go to New York and pitch their books or projects directly to 100 or more members of the national media over a three-day period. 

Quantum Leap is a year-long program that assist authors in all aspects of writing their books, outside of doing it for them. They offer periodic consultations on selecting a title, designing a compelling cover, opinions on the best way to present and sell the book, how to define an audience and selecting the best method of getting it published. Even more significantly, this program explains how to capitalize on the book after it is published by getting paid speaking engagements and landing consulting contracts based on your book. It is with these related activities where the author makes significant amounts of money, over and above, what he might get from royalties.

The most effective parts of the Quantum Leap program is the ability to continuously consult with your assigned book coach and consult on an as-needed basis with specialists who give specific guidance in every aspect of book writing and promotion. There are also special seminars for Quantum Leapers in Philadelphia several times a year where you can get face-to-face input on your projects as well as meet with members of the publishing media, journalists, radio and TV producers. There is also a private Face Book Page where you can “Focus Group” your concepts with your fellow writers and get their input about your activities.

Once you have your book concept firmly developed or your book published, you can attend their National Publicity Summit in New York City where you will, in something like speed dating, be brought into contact with over 100 members of the national media who want your content for their print, radio, on-line or TV outlets. Among those who attended a past summit was Harrison Ford, of Star Wars fame.  A number of attendees have been to the summit more than once to launch new products or new aspects of their book, consulting or cause-marketing career. To receive information about Harrison’s Bradley Communications activities you can go to their website: http://www.steveharrison.com where you can sign up for a number of free seminars which are teasers for his for-pay offerings, but do contain much useful content.

I am using various of Harrison’s activities to launch two books in 15 months. One is the Create Your Own Job Security that I have already mentioned and the other is Never To Old To Hunt for the outdoor market that I also serve. I do not recommended that a  writer dissipate himself between so many different fields and activities. Nonetheless, this is the creature that I am. I am driven to be a very creative individual, and blog readers will hear more about this in the future, including my being invited to China to speak on Finding the Creatives in Your Corporation or Country, paid for by the People’s Government.

Harrison offers periodic free telephone and video seminars on many related topics that often feature guests who made their reputations doing whatever programs that they are promoting. One, for example, might explain how to start your own radio show, which I did. This show was Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures and can still be heard on WebTalkRadio.net. Because of my diversity of interests and content, I was never able to obtain sponsors and dropped the show after trying to capitalize on it for a year. This activity was replaced by my doing YouTube videos, and I have over 675 of them up at the moment. My doing radio, TV and international speaking are direct consequences of my being an author and writing books.

A Place to Write

It is extremely convenient to have a place to work where you are alone, can spread out your documents around you and have a second computer handy to go on line to check facts, get quotes, look at potential photos, etc. Or you can use your smart phone for this function. In my case I use a new office built on what  was the site of the external kitchen of Whitehall, my  1790s plantation house.  This room allows me to have a 1,000-book library, a location free from the distractions of what is happening in the house and not having to share the phone with other family members.

Having an office to use exclusively for writing is not possible for most people. Many writers have a room in their house which is  their “sanctum-sanctum” that is kept inviolate, as if it were holy ground.  Many writers dream of having a room like this, but most likely are working out of their bedroom or on their kitchen table.  Graduate students in major universities may all be thrown in a room with partitioned-off spaces containing a desk, chair and some shelving. This works for most people while they are pounding out their thesis or dissertation, and can also work for an author. Somewhere, somehow make a space where you can work on your book. To just be able to sit down and write your book, rather than having to regather and set up everything new for each day’s work is a considerable aid in encouraging you to be more productive.

Books have been written about this book-writing business. By all  means get and read some of them. My own book, Create Your Own Job Security, is proceeding apace. I have finished the text, am working on the cover and hope to have copies ready for sale in August. In it I consider writing as only one of very many opportunities to start businesses during a lifetime to raise immediate cash and to ultimately decide on and execute a life-long passion into a business that can insure your and your family’s future. My book differs from similar titles in that I advocate having numerous businesses to satisfy different needs and accomplish different objectives during your lifetime.

I am taking advanced orders for the book for $19.95 which includes getting an autographed edition and free shipping. You may place an order by using the Pay Pal button below.

Create Your Own Job Security

Generally available for special promotion price of $10.99.

$10.99

 

 

 

 

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