Have you always wanted to write?
Are there ideas churning in your mind waiting for just the right time to get them down on paper? Do you have a unique perspective on a subject or problem facing many people? Do you read a book or article and think, “I could write better than that?” Have you ever said “someday, when I have time, I am going to write a book?”
Perhaps now is the moment for you to put your excuses in the garbage and your fingers on the keys. You will never ‘find’ time; you simply have to ‘make’ time to write. It is important to carve out little bits and pieces of your day to organize the information churning in your head to an outline on paper.
Where to begin?
Although I have started thousands of books in the shower or in my dreams, the first book I ever completed was done in half hour segments over a nine-month period. By getting up at six am every morning and writing on my old typewriter in a corner of the bedroom before the children woke up, I was able to finally pull what was hiding in my brain and put it into book form.
We were living in frigid Glasgow, Montana and you can’t even imagine how tempting those flannel sheets were every morning. But I knew that my soul was hungry to get the information that I had to share in a format that would reach thousands of people and change lives. The thousands of people, mostly relatives, who bought that book turned out to be numbered in the hundreds or less , but I was now an author and determined to write about what I knew best, parenting.
Fiction or non-fiction?
Since 90% of the books sold are non-fiction and most of those are not sold in bookstores, I knew that if I wanted to reach my particular audience, parents and child care providers, I had to come up with an angle. My goal was to teach, not to entertain but I wanted to write what people would buy. Focus groups told me that young parents want small booklets with narrow subjects, lots of bullet points and stories of other families they could relate to.
They did not want psychobabble from so-called experts, statistics or be laden with guilt. They wanted and needed real life experiences from people they could trust. The main information that came out of the focus groups was that the books had to be “hand-around” size and under $10.00. I knew I could sell my product at my parenting workshops and also through local bookstores.
Long or short?
You don’t have to write a 200 hundred page book to be considered an author. How about starting out with an article of 300-750 words on a subject you know about for this magazine? You may want to consider a booklet (6 -50 pages), a special report (3-25 pages) a workbook (7-30 pages), or a book ( 32, 64, 96 or 128 pages). If you want to begin with a personal essay, see my website http://www.ArtichokePress.com for a free article on how to write an effective “Slice of Your Life.”
Another viable option is the e-book, which is rapidly becoming the way information is sold and delivered. When I attended a seminar put on by Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul
fame, one of the speakers said that e-books typically sell for 4 times what anybody in the right mind would pay for them! The information buyer is impulse driven and ready to pay for a solution to an immediate problem.
What will you write about?
What do you know that I don’t? Pretend I am having tea with you and asking you all about raising Icelandic Sheep dogs or whatever your area of expertise is. Write down every question I ask and leave a large space. Go back later and answer the questions and you have your book outline or chapter thesis. When I learned this formula from Judy Cullins at http://www.bookcoaching.com I was amazed how easy it was to write a short book fast.
Is it worth the effort?
Yes. You have information that people want and need. You know something about a certain niche that only you can teach. This information has been churning in your head and heart long enough. It is time to squeeze out half an hour each morning or evening to put your thoughts on paper. It has never been easier to get your book in print since the advent of self publishing. Wouldn’t you just love to be able to say at your twentieth high school reunion, “I live in beautiful Montana and write books that change people’s lives?”
Trust me; it doesn’t get much better than that.