How to Write a Book: Everything You Need to Know in 20 Steps

by Jerry Jenkins
(Serialized)

Part One: Before You Begin

You’ll never regret—in fact, you’ll thank yourself later for—investing the time necessary to prepare for such a monumental task.

You wouldn’t set out to cut down a huge grove of trees with only an axe. You’d need a chain saw—perhaps more than one. Something to keep them sharp. Enough fuel to keep them running.

You get the picture. Don’t shortcut this foundational part of the process. Continue reading

Clearing the Clutter

by Barbara Florio Graham

As a busy writer, consultant, and mentor, my office is cluttered with files. I’m often dealing with many different clients at the same time, and I’m a compulsive collector of newspaper and magazine articles that might be fodder for my regular columns or a future article.

Drowning in paper is a real threat!

I’ve developed a system that works for me, and I’ve also adapted this to my email. Continue reading

Bobbie’s Bill of Writes

by Bobbie Christmas

When I speak to writers, at times I sense their angst. Some feel embarrassed to admit they are writers, as if being a writer were a disease best left undisclosed.

We writers must believe in ourselves, or who will believe in us? We must take pride in our work. We must demand the respect that is rightfully ours. No longer should we be reluctant to admit we are writers. An old Talmudic saying goes, “If I’m not for me, who will be?”

Some folks think they can’t call themselves writers until they sell or publish something. How can they sell or publish their work, though, until they first write it? How can they write it, without being writers? You do not need to be published or paid before you receive validation. To be a writer, you need only to write.

In my book on creative writing, titled Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing, I devote one chapter to what I call my Bill of Writes for writers. If you don’t feel worthy to call yourself a writer or to demand what you need to become an accomplished writer, my Bill of Writes is for you. Continue reading

I Don’t Know Art but I Know I Like Vintage Purses How This Writer Became a Museum Curator

by Wendy Dager

The imaginary handwriting was on the virtual wall. Or more precisely, the end of days for traditional newspapers began as soon as social media became the preferred form of receiving information.

This has resulted in round after round of staff layoffs nationwide at newspapers large and small. Some freelancers, like myself, survived for a while because our services were still needed as the newsrooms emptied. We’re inexpensive labor. Corporate doesn’t have to provide us with benefits such as 401(k)s and health care. And we’re dependable. At least, I was dependable, getting steady assignments to write crime blotters, real estate stories, entertainment pieces, and “advertorials” for special sections. Continue reading

How to Pick the Right Editor

by Bobbi Christmas

Every book should be edited, but well-qualified book editors don’t come cheap, the process takes weeks, and many editors require payment in advance. We’ve probably all heard horror stories from authors who chose the wrong editor. Some failed to finish the project and others did a poor job. Each sad account represents lost time, wasted money, and a less-than-marketable book. How then can you be sure beforehand that you’ve picked the right editor?

When I ask disgruntled authors why they chose a particular editor, they give me one of two answers: “He had the lowest price” or “She had the fastest turnaround time.” Price and turnaround are uppermost in the minds of many authors, yet they are the last things authors should consider. Continue reading

You May Not Need an Agent

by Barbara Florio Graham

Most authors dream about having an agent who will find a top publisher, negotiate a terrific contract, and provide guidance through a successful career.

Agents, unfortunately, can be as difficult to find as publishers, and the process of querying agents can be time-consuming and frustrating.

As with anyone you hire, if you think you need an agent, check out potential agents thoroughly. They should have an excellent website detailing a solid track record, belong to The Association of Authors’ Representatives (which prohibits charging reading fees), and specialize in the genre of your book. Continue reading

Starting From Scratch as a Writer

by Ruth Hill

There are several growth stages in being a writer. Secretly, writers can write anything they want, but then, what to do with it? If the writing is good, no sense hiding your creation in a drawer!

Finding publication for any work can be daunting. It is important to find which publications are compatible with your work. Read their guidelines to see if your work is eligible. In your browser, you can research many publications. Use Duotrope, Winning Writers, or SPAWN, or type “call for submissions” into Google, and filter these down to the ones you want. Continue reading