I’ve had the privilege of writing and publishing 2 books, and I’m working on my third. I’ve also been able to help 7 other authors achieve their dreams of being published; numbers 8 & 9 are already on the docket. It’s a thrill to be a part of the book-making process. Now that I have a few books under the ol’ belt (what does that even mean?!) people frequently ask me how to write a book or how to go about being published. While the book writing process is challenging, and publishing can get pretty complex, there are a few basic steps that are fundamentally true for anyone wishing to write and be published.
Here are three thoughts about finishing your book:
- The first step to writing is always the same: start writing. I’ve talked to many authors, a few other publishers and a handful of other people involved in the publishing business. They’ve all repeated this advice to me. In fact, it was in consulting with other authors that I finally put the finishing touches on my first book. Overboard’s latest author, long-time published writer, Mel Walker told me “Joe, if you want to get your book done, there are three important actions you must take. Write. Write. And then write some more. I started by writing articles for youth ministry journals and then for a daily devotional site hosted by my friend, Danny Ray. Each of these experiences gave me the opportunity to develop my writing voice and to work on the skills necessary to put together an entire book.
- Write about something you care about, something with which you are passionate. Sometimes while you are writing, especially if you are trying to do some freelance work, the temptation will come for you to start writing about things that mean nothing to you. Some might advise you to take the opportunities that come your way, but I would suggest to stick to those topics or styles that you love. I’m certainly not opposed to someone expanding their skills through different genres, but I really believe that writing about your passions is the easiest way to develop the habit of writing. For me, it would be really hard to sit down and hammer out a blog or a short article about the benefits of crocheting a scarf with a K-hook; it would be a piece-of-cake to write about Magic John’s baby hook that destroyed the evil Boston Celtic empire in the 87 NBA finals. http://youtu.be/PqUCum1y8Kg Write about what you love.
- Let others read and comment on your writing. Writing is intensely personal. I imagine it’s like any other art form or creative exercise. When you’ve taken the time to create something, it can be very challenging to let others see and critique it. As gently as I can say this…GET OVER IT! If you want to become better, be willing to be praised and corrected. Your worst critics are not your worst enemies. My biggest fans are my wife and my mom and both them read my stuff and offer up corrections. Don’t even get me started on my editor. In fact, the included picture on today’s blog is from a page of the first draft of Project Joseph. You’ll notice there is far more red than black! Your writing will improve as soon as you allow others to speak into it. My writing is better today than it was yesterday, and if I keep writing and learning, it will be better tomorrow than it is today.
I hope these tips will encourage you to keep pursuing your passions to write, or maybe to start that writing project you’ve been putting off. Thanks to all of you for reading this blog, encouraging me with kind words and corrections and for buying Overboard Books from our different authors. Your support makes all the difference.
Go ahead and take the plunge, your writing will be better on the water!