Starting Your Book Over the Summer

I received 4 books this week that were the final results of work on with my clients over the past few months or longer – One of the books was published by John Wiley & Sons and 3 of them were self-published. All of them are available on Amazon.com.
This is a time of major change in the book publishing industry. I have a lot of sympathy for individuals who want very much to write books successfully but don’t know:
1. How much it should/will cost
2. How much time it will take to get the book out
3. How to go about writing a marketable book
4. How to avoid mistakes in the process
5. How to find quality professionals to get help in taking all the steps in the right order
Summer is a great time to begin a project and see where the journey takes you. I created a free website with publishing information and downloads at http://www.AssistedSelfPublishing.com which will provide some initial answers to your questions.

Common Writing Problems to Avoid

Even the most compelling writing can fail if you let the small irritations get in the way of that connection with your reader. These include:

1 Poor organization. Sometimes, people can’t follow an author’s line of reasoning or organization. The writer hasn’t created a beginning, middle, and end that anyone can understand. As a writer, you are taking your readers on a journey, so don’t lose them along the way.

2 Passive voice. When an author lacks confidence in what she is saying or in her expertise, there is a tendency to write in the passive voice: “The boat was overturned” versus “I overturned the boat.” The passive voice is a legitimate writing tool, but most authors employ it to avoid their own power. Used this way, it undermines the strength of the material.

3 Limited vocabulary. A book is a two-dimensional medium, so it is up to the writer to deliver the words to paint a picture that becomes three-dimensional in the mind’s eye. This is true even for a nonfiction book. If the words are trite or uninteresting, the book becomes forgettable.

4 Poor sentence structure and grammar, misspellings, incorrect abbreviations, and capitalization. If you make these mistakes, the reader may assume your ideas are in error too.

5 Wordy sentences. You may find that you ramble when you write a first draft. If so, you go back and shorten sentences by taking out the extra words.

 

For example, “I’ve often thought that we should consider what we want out of life so we won’t make so many mistakes.” Translation: “Consider what you want from life to avoid making mistakes.”

6 Trite phrases. For example: “As I’ve always said…”. We don’t need to know what you’ve always said. Just tell us what you want us to know.

7 Over-emotionalism. Your book will be most effective in making your point if you tell your story clearly and let the readers experience their own emotions. That doesn’t mean you can’t use words to make a story poignant and meaningful; it just means you shouldn’t tell the reader how to feel about the events. Tell only how you feel. A sign of this is when a writer uses exclamation points throughout his or her book. If you use more than one exclamation point per chapter, you’ve probably used too many. Another amateur mistake is using words with all capital letters, the written equivalent of shouting. It is much more effective to talk softly.

8 Quoting or referring to other people’s opinions, including those of experts throughout. Use quotes sparingly, and refer to other people’s books, seminars, opinions, and more, only a few times in the entire book. This is your book, and although your thoughts may be a result of other people’s input, you need to give your reader a reason to read your book instead of a compilation of other people’s thoughts.

Write a Transformational Book

The thing that differentiates a great book from simply a good one is its ability to transform the reader, no matter what the topic of the book is.

 

Transformational books are the kind you always remember and which touch your life.

There have been hundreds of these types of books on dozens of subjects — from business to motorcycle maintenance. It isn’t the subject matter but the author’s ability to communicate universal messages that makes a book transformational.

 

Almost any book can increase its audience exponentially if the author looks beyond the mere subject to the life lessons that can be communicated through his or her subject.

 

Authors of transformational books use their subjects to advocate a view of life that is usually bright, positive, and hopeful about new directions.

Although it is possible to improve the sales possibilities of almost any book with a good media message and aggressive public relations, books won’t be purchased or may be returned if they aren’t well written.

 

Why write a book that isn’t going to impact the life of the reader?

One of the things that keeps a writer from making the leap to transformational is that the writer tells only his or her own story, assuming it will be interesting on its face to other people.

 

Don’t make readers figure out your point. You must guide them to make the connection — deliver the message, and then illustrate it with your story and, if applicable, the stories of others.

 

It is also vital that you write in an authentic voice. People read between the lines and can get a sense of whether the writer is justifying a point of view, is angry about something, or is bored with a subject. Write when you are feeling passionate about your subject, and the passion will come through in the words and be contagious.

 

If you have any doubt about your ability to write a transformational book, work with a creative coach and a book coach who can help you  get your message right early on and give you feedback throughout

the development or writing process. An editor can help you with the common writing problems described below, but you may need a book coach who can challenge your thinking to be sure your book is transformational.