Saturday, August 18, 2007

How To Write A Book

Berkun offers some straight-forward statements on book writing: it's just writing, and as long as you're not trying to be a millionaire or get a big contract, getting published isn't that big of a deal, either. The devil's in the details, of course: self-publishing needs the proper steps, small publishers aren't always the nicest to their authors, and the mechanics of putting a book together can be tedious.

What's lost in Berkun's post is that people who want to be a writer actually need to produce a manuscript. This is a distinct difference -- a book is ink-and-paper, a manuscript is the writer's words. Writers need to be encouraged to write a manuscript. Once that's done, then worry about getting the book published. Amateur writers get ahead of themselves, concentrating on the book's sales and production, even before they write a thing. Most published writers have their manuscript done long before they think about publishing it...and some manuscripts, completely written and edited, end up in a drawer and don't ever see the light. Writers write -- get that done first. Don't even bother with the 'how to get published!' books at Barnes & Noble. Learn how to write, and the publishing part will come easier. Publishers hate nothing more than an author who can't write worth a damn, regardless if you follow the 15 Easy Steps To Getting Published book to a tee. The most common tip from a published writer is "write something every day," but amateurs wonder, "isn't that wasting time -- when do I start writing my book, then?" The answer: the writing every day IS a book. Maybe it won't ever be published, maybe it won't come out on paper in book form, but it's words. That's Berkun's most important point: "A book is just a bunch of writing." Write without intentions, and a book will appear. If a book is just a bunch of writing, you need a bunch of writing first. A house is just a pile of boards, a computer is just a bunch of circuit boards, a car is just a bunch of metal and plastic. None become what they are unless someone puts them together.

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