Become an Author - Yes, You Can!

By James F Weinsier

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Come on-admit it!

From the time you are taught how to print the entire alphabet you’re asked to write. First, words, then sentences, paragraphs, essays, short stories, and so on…. The length of the assignment grew as you advance through school. You’re up to a thesis in order to get a doctorate. The point is in your formidable years your creative writing ability is used in the line of education. As schooling is left behind, so too is writing for most. Some still write letters (but with the advent of email that’s all but become extinct), and others may have diaries or journals, but in all these cases the thoughts and entries are brief. Once you’re out-of-school there’s no longer the tendency to apply the 3-E’s of assigned writing- Embellish, Expound, and Elaborate. After all, in today’s hustle-bustle world, who really has the time to sit down and write something of substance? Never mind substance, where did capital letters go, and when did the spelling of “you” become “u”?

Though you may not take the time to write extemporaneously, all the while you read books the thought of writing a book, selling millions of copies, and becoming rich and famous crosses your mind at least once or twice. Even if you jot-down an idea with ambitious intentions, that’s generally as far as it goes. As the next event in your life comes along, or you put it away in some catchall drawer, it’s forgotten. How much good-stuff has fallen by the wayside because so few make the time… or maybe write-it-off figuring it couldn’t possibly go anywhere? Had Shakespeare, Dickens, or J.K. Rowling dismissed their creations imagine the void. Whatever your excuse, it fit the conditions of yesteryear not today.

The fact of the matter is while technology is always introducing something new in cell phones, Blue Ray players, and laptops, it hasn’t exactly left writing and the printing process in the dust. What once took months to write and assemble, and necessitated printing thousands of copies, has all changed. Today computers can be used to quickly and easily write, insert, delete, cut-and-paste, add artwork and change colors with the click of a mouse. Small projects can be printed, collated, and bound at the corner copy shop overnight. Through a technique called “Print On Demand” you can have a handful of books printed in a few days at a nominal cost. There are virtually no more excuses….

While the possibility of publishing now comes into focus, there’s a new set of obstacles (or perhaps tasks is a better word) to consider before you reach your goal. Since you’ve never before taken the next step, and now the pathway has been cleared, you need to watch out for loose stepping-stones along the way so you don’t (pit) fall.

Passion, Not Profit: Don’t give up your day job. Anticipating a large publisher, or periodical, will pay you a chunk of money up-front for the right to publish your work is a mistake. In fact, counting on making money at all in the foreseeable future is equally foolish. If it happens, “Great!” but you’ll be disappointed if you bank on it. If your project isn’t a passion, think twice about the ramifications and taking the next step.

Determine Your Objectives: Decide what you want to do with your creation. Will it be something for personal use, or will you be trying to sell it to the masses through magazines, or in the case of a book to chain stores? Are you trying to reach a specific target-market, or everyone? The answers to these and a myriad of other pertinent questions have a direct bearing on how to proceed. If you’ve written a book the quantity to print (in turn cost) should be considered. Also, which company will be the best choice to handle your needs, one that specializes in a particular facet of the publishing process (i.e. most cost effective in printing), or a company that is known for its prowess with a specific market (i.e. an authority in the sports industry)? Outline a plan that’s subject to change.

Get Published Versus Self-Publishing: Depending on where you’re at in life, as far as time to allocate to promotion and sales, you may want to consider having someone else (a company) publish your creation versus self-publishing. Companies offer a wide variety of services that can be packaged; securing a copyright, ISBN number and bar code, printing, promotion, entrée to sales outlets, storage, shipping, and so on. While you can find companies that specialize in one, or two, of these tasks, for the most part they won’t touch the project without a publishing contract. Thus, once you decide to self-publish you’ve dramatically limited your options. On the other hand, the hefty percentage of profit that you would be paying for these services will be in your pocket.

Research Your Options: Before any decisions are made on whom to hire to do the things you may not be able to do, such as edit, format, printing, and so on…do your homework. After compiling a list of possible choices, reflect back on your objectives and weigh the options. Which satisfy more of your goals than the others?

Ask For References: Don’t be shy or embarrassed about asking for references, and then contact them. You will receive referrals for one thing, or another, along your way, but you need to do some due diligence. The person passing on the tip may be a business associate, or personal acquaintance of the referred, thus motive. Just as unreliable without exploration, they may be the only satisfied customers this business has ever had.

Check Everything Yourself: While you rely on others to proof read, edit, and print your manuscript, you must check the work of others every step along the way. Always remember, regardless of the fact those you hire are professionals, no one cares as much about your creation as you.

If you’re less than adventurous, perhaps these tasks will set your mind back to square one-the overwhelming stage, but if you think about it pretty much everything worthwhile in life takes some doing on your part. Rest assured the rewards of accomplishment and gratification will more than compensate for your time and effort. Go for it!

Read other articles and learn more about James F Weinsier.

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