Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Most adults hope to write a book. Why not do so before it is too late? The author, a retired scientist who has published over 100 articles and has authored, co-authored, or edited a half-dozen books, tells the would-be author how to plan, prepare, publish, promote, and reap the pay-offs from writing a book, fiction or non-fiction.

Plan: determine your goals. Why are you writing? For self-satisfaction? For family, friends, and acquaintances? For the mass market? Your choice will influence how you go about publishing: merely printing, self-publishing, or using an indie, subsidy, or traditional publishing house. Writing for a large audience requires thinking about demographics: who is your ideal reader? Age, gender, location, race, ethnicity, income, politics, ethnicity, marital status…all count.

Prepare: book writing tips are given, from a constellation of authors. Nonfiction, approximately the truth, requires a degree of research that fiction, not necessarily the truth, will not, although historical fiction will need to take place in a real time and place. Your nonfiction title needs to be short, descriptive, possibly a bit puzzling, clarified by your subtitle. Your fiction title needs to evoke curiosity while signaling the genre of the book, as readers rarely buy books in genres other than their favorites. More advice is given on title, cover, dedication, table of contents, acknowledgment, foreword, and preface…what’s up front counts. Find time and space, then sit, think, write, perhaps “open a vein.” Heed the guidelines from Elements of Style. Dr. Cooper describes the basics of the most popular types of nonfiction and fiction books.

Publish: computer manuscript preparation and print-on-demand technology have revolutionized publishing. A million new titles per year can reach the marketplace, ten times what was typical a decade or so ago. Authors can print their own books, work with an independent (“indie”) publisher, pay a subsidy or “vanity” press, or try to get published by a traditional publishing house, usually requiring fame or celebrity. Dr. Cooper tells of his use of Outskirts Press, a subsidy publisher that allows him editorial control, retention of all rights, speed to market, and electronic and print formats.

Promote: Once you’ve written your book, you want it read. To get beyond family, friends, and acquaintances, you need to have it known and to generate interest in it. Publicity is free advertising. An extensive chapter marshals the advice from a host of experts on getting maximum publicity for your book and for becoming yourself known, liked, and trusted, crucial if you are to translate book sales into other pay-offs. Traditional advertising as well as social media methods of free and paid notice are covered. If lucky, your book, and you, will go viral.

Pay-off: The author’s first book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, was written largely for family and friends, but went beyond that circle due to favorable publicity, with its themes of the power of love, the importance of marriage, and the value of life, even if severely disabled. It thanked many who had helped them. It opened up a writing and coaching business for him. Often books bring their authors benefits that dwarf royalties from book sales. A book can be “the best business card in the world.”

Write Your Book with Me combines a lighthearted, encouraging approach with insights derived from this author's experience and the wisdom of experts.


Published in December 2015 by Outskirts Press, available from them and amazon.com. bn.com, and other online booksellers. Free Kindle ebook copy now available at writeyourbookwithme.com. Comments welcomed. You will not be put on mailing list unless you request it.

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