Saturday, November 15, 2014


Have you thought, every so often, about writing a book?

The idea of writing a book floats in the air like a magic carpet. Golly, just about everyone I know has thought, at one time or another, I ought to write a book.

Aside from a huge desire to visit the kingdom of fame, before you write your book, you need to figure out what you want to write about.

Is it something important you want to SAY to the world?  Or a life story, an amazing adventure -- a love story, passion, addiction, compulsion -- whatever -- grab a pencil and paper and scrawl some words that remind you of various possibilities.

Hey, this could take weeks! You could use the fortuity of having read this blog, and make the list today.

After you eeny-meeny-mini-moe for awhile, pick an idea, and write the first sentence of your book. Just do it. Don't fuss over the first sentence, write it and keep writing for ten minutes.

You're on the magic carpet. It's scary, the world is rushing by above you and below you, and you could lose your balance, but it's the beginning of a marvelous ride.

Don't re-read what you wrote just now. Don't try to share it with a loved one.

I am strongly -- loudly -- advising you, do not get involved with who'll read it or whom you'll read it to, or things like punctuation, spelling, or getting it published. Just keep going at whatever pace fits in with your life.

Selling it -- the 10, 50, or 1000 pages, or whatever you have created, is opening a whole new can of peas. Trying to get your book published can smother you -- divert you from working on the next page, and the next page of your book.

Wait till you're nearing the end of your story. It's a feeling like you're out of gas, sort of sleepy, not excited, aware of books, books, books languishing on shelves, titles in ads, authors talking about books on TV -- that is the time to Google, and investigate "Help You Get Published" links, that will tell you, step by step, what you have to do to get people to read what you wrote.

Realty: It took me about two years for me to get the manuscripts for my six books into an ebook format and get them published.  I spent $5000 on formatting, and creating a website). Right now, after two years online, I have earned about $300.  (You can format and make a website yourself; I could afford to buy help -- my successful actor-husband supports me in a style to which I am happily accustomed.)

This is how I feel sometimes as I read about other authors and their best-seller books, as I am trying to sell mine.

Even do, it's a uniquely fabulous adventure! I'm proud of me! I'm delighted I did it!

My advice:

Just get on the carpet, get going, do it.


Ameer S. Washington said...

Great advice for new and budding authors at the beginning stages of their career in publishing. Nearly 4 years have passed since I published my first work and I'm still figuring things out.

Cara Lopez Lee said...

I know whereof you speak, Em. It took me a few years to write They Only Eat Their Husbands, then a year and 50 queries to land an agent, a year for the agent to almost but not quite snag me a publisher, another year and 24 queries for me to land a small press, another year for my book to be released. That press has since closed shop and I've recently found a new press who released a new edition. It is not a bestseller, but it is a small, respectable Little Engine That Could which has become a calling card for the rest of my writing business. More importantly, sharing my story has meant a lot to me and to the readers who have found it and love it. I love what I do, and I believe that's the most important kind of success!

Jenny Arata said...

I would also add that there is no reason to write from point A to point Z. If you know point M, write it. Then point X, then point L. Don't feel constricted to write in a linear fashion because that can block the creative process. Write what comes to you that day. You can always stitch it together later. Better to just keep writing than to let anything block you.

Stan said...

Great article Em...Writing...oh the agony.

Carola said...

Thorough and thoughtful advice written with your nice light touch. I also enjoyed reading the other comments.