Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Becoming an author is probably a lot easier than you think. It ‘s time to get that book out of your head and onto the printed page. Ready? Boot out your excuses. Here is how to do it.

Way # One: Think Quality, Not Quantity. To be classified as a book as opposed to a booklet or pamphlet your work needs a mere 49 pages (excluding the cover). Not only that but, depending on your topic, you can be liberal with photographs, charts, illustrations, bullet points, fill-in-the-blank worksheets, etc. Use them strategically in place of text. If it fits your theme, intersperse powerful quotations throughout your book, and give them a page of their own, even if it is only a line or two. Ditch the perception that you have to have a minimum number of lines on each page.

Way # Two: Start Talking. Invest in a tape recorder and shoot the breeze. I must admit that this isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, but if you’re articulate and you have skill at organizing your thoughts and ideas, it’s doable. Don’t try to wing it. Break down your book into chapters. Then prepare a detailed outline of each chapter. If it’s fiction you’re writing, outline the plot. For nonfiction, along with your outline, have any additional material handy that you want to refer to.

After you’re done, have a typist transcribe the tape. Save it onto a floppy disk and give it to an editor. She’ll polish the content. A variation of this method is to use voice recognition software that turns your spoken words into text.

Way # Three: Do an Anthology. If you don’t want to go it alone and you don’t mind sharing the spotlight have other writers contribute a chapter to your book. Then you’ll have only a chapter to write yourself. Whether it’s a collection of short stories or a manual of topics on your subject, this method really lightens your load. Be sure to place each writer’s name on their chapter’s byline.

Find other writers by asking for referrals. Who to ask? Try the librarian at your local library, an editor at your city’s newspaper, an English teacher at a nearby college, or professionals in the subject area of your book. Or place a classified ad in a writers’ magazine. And of course, be prepared to remunerate your contributors.

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