So, You Want To Be an Author, Part II

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So you’ve been practicing your writing and are ready for the next step? Let’s get started.

This section focuses on things to do before you even start your book project.

Do you already have an idea for your book? Yes, did you say? Before you decide that it is definitely what you want, do some research. How many books are the same as your idea? Different? In what ways? Figure this out now regardless of whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. It’ll be one of the first questions a traditional publisher asks, and if you’re publishing yourself, you need to highlight this to potential readers if you hope to stand out and sell your book..

You don’t really have an idea? Okay, let’s get some ideas. Write a list

  • Of everything you’re Interested in.
  • Experienced with.
  • Has happened in your life or in the life of someone close to you.
  • Of sports, crafts or extracurricular activities you have or have had.
  • Conflicts, both past and present.

Nonfiction that hits an area not commonly discussed usually fares better than fiction. Some areas of nonfiction are totally filled, but there are lots of others barely touched. The next time you journey to a library or book store, look around. What are 3/4 of the books? NONFICTION! Do you have experience in one of these areas? Do you know enough or can gather enough for a book? (if not, it might be a great magazine or blog article…for another time) If you do, you’re set! Write a brief outline before you start. You need to make sure you hit everything important. Can the outline be changed? Absolutely, but it gives you a starting point and a road map. When you travel, you sometimes see a place to stop, or you figure out a better path. The same goes here, but you have to have a starting point and a path to return to and your outline will serve as that. Your outline is your always-changing course of action.

Fiction is more your forte’? Nothing wrong with that, but you do need something that sticks out a little to the reader. Ever look at the science fiction part of a library? You’ll see thousands of books in the same genre. What will make yours stick out?

Want to write fiction but are clueless as to what? Just a thought: keep a dream journal. I have cool dreams, and a nightmares almost every night, but within an hour of waking up, they are out the window, forever lost. Keep a journal near your bedside, and as soon as you awaken, write down whatever you remember. After a few weeks, a month or so, look back at them. Do some sound like a movie or a great book! Yes? Then you are on your way! Again, write an outline. As characters come about, write them down too. Your mind can’t be relied on. A notebook or computer will help. Do this, and you’re on your way.