"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Things I've Learned on my Journey to Write a Book

Raise your hand if writing a book is on your bucket list. Me too.
Seems everybody I meet these days is either writing one, or thinks that they can.
But in the interest of clarity, let me rewind here.
I have actually written books before in various genres, in different roles.

I’ve authored and published 5 poetry books; ghost written books for clients; and served as a contributing author to several traditionally published titles by Simon & Schuster, Adams Media, and other important names in the industry. Far be it from me to name drop. :-)

But this... this journey is different. This will be the first time I have attempted to pen a book entirely on my own, with my own agenda, vision and personal goals, to submit to a traditional publisher.

And let me tell you folks, this is some heavy stuff.
It’s harder than it looks: “Kids don’t try this at home!”

Many years ago, I ventured a similar path, (different book, different circumstances), upon the urging of a magazine editor and mentor who believed in my talent and strongly encouraged me to move forward on it.

Long story short, I gave up way too soon. And maybe you have too. Don’t.
More than likely if you do, you’ll always have to live with regrets and nagging “what ifs?”
And most of us have enough of those. True?


Recently, as I shared with you guys previously, I had the opportunity to contribute to a book project through Adams Media and enjoyed it very much. Which subsequently re-ignited my desire to publish. So, here I am. Yep, I’m back on board. Jenny is writing a book. Non-fiction specifically, for writers.  And seeking a publisher to pick it up.
(Knock, knock. Anybody out there...?)
I’ll keep you posted. Who knows? Maybe we can laugh and cry together.

Meantime and in-between time, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the lessons I’ve encountered along the way. Pencils ready?  Class in session…

1. It's harder than it looks.
Of course in theory it's not exactly "rocket science," but it's very involved and taxing on many levels. Not only do potential authors have to write well, express ideas clearly, and have an interesting story to tell, it has to be a marketable idea that you can "sell" to publishers and potential readers.
And the competition is fierce in today's publishing climate.
2. Writing a book causes an array of emotions.
These feelings can range from excitement, to fear, to doubt, to feeling empowered, to feeling, well...exhausted.
Many times producing more internal conflict than the fictional characters we create. 
Is it cocktail hour yet? :-)
3. You've got to do your homework to graduate.  
There's hours upon hours of research for statistics, comparative analysis, related studies, markets, trends, and even casing the competition. It's easy to become overwhelmed with "information overload" in the process.
4. Writing a book can put a lot of pressure on you.
The pressure to achieve. The pressure to succeed. The pressure to prove that you can do it...to yourself, to your family and friends, to the "nay-sayers." The pressure to meet deadlines. 
5. Publishing is a business with "bottom line" objectives. 
We can't just "romanticize" our writing; it has to have value. We have to know how to partner with editors, agents, publishers, illustrators, etc. for optimal success and profitability for everyone. 
6. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I'm not sure whether my "adventure" will have a happy ending. Whether it will result in a signed contract with a traditional publisher, or whether I may ultimately have to self-publish it as an
E-Book series. Time will tell.

What I do know is that I've given it my best. I have been enriched in the process. That I'm stronger, wiser than before.
And either way, at least I can say I've got one more item crossed off my "Bucket List".
And that has value too.

Thoughts? Advice? What was your experience like (for those that have)?



  1. Wishing you tremendous success with your newest book. There certainly is a need, and from what I understand, you must have a large platform. That you do.

    1. Thanks so much, Lin. :-) Can I mark you down for 1 book purchase? LOL Platform can sometimes be difficult to quantify, I believe.

  2. Years ago as a student I had the privilege to interview a few people working at a Publishing Company. That gave me some insights into the workings of the publishing industry.

    While I originally had some thoughts about possibly writing something like a Bestselling Novel, thinking that would involve putting in a lot of time writing a huge manuscript and sell it to a Publishing Company.

    Than I learned that you probably better write something like a book proposal with an outline of rough ideas. Because when you put in a lot of time already writing the complete manuscript, and the whole idea and style of writing doesn't match their audience you might have done a lot of work for nothing.

    So now I only have a folder with a few rough ideas for possible Novels only don't really expect to actually work on such long-term projects at the moment, I do however already have - among other things - a

    Bestseller Writer's Coffee Mug

    And count on it that at least that one will become
    a Bestseller :)

    1. Hi H.P.,

      Yes you are right; a writer should definitely approach a book project with an outline and a prosposal. Always great to get your feedback. Much thanks.

    2. P.S.,
      I just checked out your goods. Very cute merchandise! I just might order the pens and stickers in the future...

    3. Thanks for your positive reply.