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’s how to do it.
Method 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’s only a line or two. Ditch the perception that you have to have a minimum number of lines on each page.
Method 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.
Method 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.
Method Four: Hire a Ghost. As I stated in my book, The Art of Hiring Someone to Write Your Book: A Step by Step Guide to Successfully Collaborating (Instant Publisher, 2004), “A ghostwriter will gather content for your book by handling research, poring over books and articles, conducting interviews, and launching Internet searches. They extract the information that best meets the needs of your project, organizing it, reshaping it, and giving it a creative twist. After they put it all together, they go over their own work, polishing it to flawlessness. As the project develops, they invite your input and seek your approval. Because you have the final say over the project, they comply with whatever changes you suggest. ”
Whichever method you opt for, happy authoring. I’ll see you in print.
About The Author
Michelle McGee-Jones is a freelance business writer, marketing consultant and author of The Art of Hiring Someone to Write Your Book: A Step by Step Guide to Successfully Collaborating (Instant Publisher, 2004). The book is available online at Amazon.com or by sending a check or money order for $9.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling made payable to Michelle McGee-Jones at P. O. Box 3058, Elmira, NY 14905. NYS residents please add $.80 sales tax. All rights reserved. This article may be freely reprinted provided this entire byline is included.