So, I’m toying with writing a nonfiction book. For the sole purpose of making money, of course. I know… right? We writers and other artists are supposed to be focused on ‘the art.’ But, that’s bullshit.
Anyway, in order to write a series of books, it has to be a subject I’m at least tangentially familiar with. While I do have a fairly wide range of interests, the only thing I really know down deep in my bones is writing. So, why not?
I started with a few chapters dealing with questions I would have if I were just sitting down for the first time, but I fizzled out fairly quickly. It’s been a long time since I started out and my memory is fuzzy at best. So, I turned to my non-writing friends on Facebook for help. I posted this graphic…
A lot of people chimed in—and it’s not often I am at a loss for words. Almost 100% of the questions were, how do I get published? Seriously.
One person asked what software to use and how much money could she look to make on a fiction book, so I wrote a chapter about the fiscal realities surrounding a first book. The answer in a nutshell was, you are way more likely to lose money—not make it. Harsh, but true. If your income adds up to the price of a convenience store coffee every day, you’ve hit the jackpot. It really does take more than one book to make a splash in a world where more books are available than ever before… the number is exponentially greater.
Just like marriage—the first one is for love, the second one is for money.
One person asked a very good question. He’s an ex that I already knew I shouldn’t have let get away. This just cemented that.
He said he had a general plot and a few really good scenes in his head and he wanted to know how to connect them without the rest feeling like filler. A freakin’ brilliant question that I’m sure a lot of people have. Looking back, it’s one I had at the beginning, but I just didn’t know how to ask it. Fortunately, though there’s no easy flip answer to it, there is an answer… and I know it!
But back to the publishing thing. I was mortified. How can I get a book published that I’ve never given any thought to and haven’t written a word of? I’m going to address that in the book, since it seems to be pretty widespread.
The answer is going to be a nicer version of:
1. Learn how to write a damned book.
2. Write a damned book worth publishing.
When it’s your first book, no brilliant query letter is going to help you if you haven’t written a book! No agent is going to bother with you until you’ve proven you can write at least one book. We all know tons of people who have started a book and pushed it to the side for when they are ‘less busy’… or have been ‘writing a book’ for the last twelve years.
How about we write a book and THEN get to hustling and making decisions about how to best get it to the readers?
By the way—if any of you can think of questions (that don’t have anything to do with publishing), please let me know. I’m searching for more ideas.