Posts Tagged ‘how to write a book’

‘How Can I Write My Book Faster?’ – A Quick and Easy Guide

June 24, 2013

Words I often hear from clients are these: “I’m slow at writing and frequently get stuck. I wish I had a magic want to enable me to concentrate on writing and improving and work faster!”

This is an incredibly common problem – slow writing and getting stuck – even for experienced authors. This is because self-doubt creeps in for so many writers and they start wondering if they are writing a ‘good enough’ book.

The trick is to set aside thinking time and to plan out your book out before you start writing. I strongly recommend you do this for any type of book. This is because it’s so much easier to alter a one-page outline than a 300-page book if you suddenly decide your hero should be a heroine or that your book should be written in first person rather than third person!

Jeffrey Archer, for example, lays down on his bed for a while before starting his writing each day. This helps separate from his daily life and allows him to submerge in his fictional world.

It might feel slightly uncomfortable setting aside ‘thinking time’ as you may feel like you’re doing ‘nothing’ or may be keen to get cracking with writing your book. But it really is worth setting aside time for planning before you get started and even when your book is underway.

You can plan out your book in a simple way using post-it notes and a series of bullet points. Or you can do it more comprehensively. Barbara Taylor Bradford wrote a 100-page outline before she event started ‘A Woman of Substance’ for example. John Gray (author of ‘Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus), on the other hand, always tries out his ideas for at least a year on his clients before putting them in his books.

Conflict is the motor that drives any plot. So, if at any point, you are wondering why your story has ground to a halt, just think of a fresh challenge for your characters to get the story rolling again. This can be a small internal challenge, such as conflict in a character’s mind, or it can be a much more dramatic external conflict.

The same applies to non-fiction books. If your plot grinds to a standstill, ask yourself if there are enough challenges, problems or conflicts to be overcome.

Also try to set yourself a writing target each day if you can – such as 1000 words or 3000 words. A standard book is approximately 70,000 words in length. So by setting yourself a target of say, 1500 words, you will reach your goal in under 28 days. This will give you a solid first draft that you can then edit and re-edit to your satisfaction.

I have a number of clients who have written their entire books in two to five days using this approach. However, one of the wonderful things about breaking down a book into a 28-day writing plan is that the ‘impossible’ suddenly seems much more achievable. You’re not trying to tackle the mountain in one go which would be exhausting. You have a clear strategy – with achievable daily goals – that will get you to where you want to be.

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Do get my FREE guide ‘How to Write A Six Figure Book and Why Most Writers Get This Wrong’ at http://www.millionaireauthorsbootcamp.com/report

I’ll also be uploading my new FREE guide ‘How To Sell a Million Copies of Your Book: 7 Strategies You Can Use Today’ in the next couple of weeks.

 

How To Find A Publisher Or Literary Agent For Your Fiction Or Non-Fiction Book

October 10, 2012

Feedback on your fiction or non-fiction manuscript can often be confusing… or even contradictory.

A complaint I often hear is that several literary agents or publishers are giving conflicting advice. Whose advice should you listen to if you want to get published?

For example, an author recently emailed me recently saying that two separate publishing houses have asked to read the entire manuscript for his crime thriller.

Publisher A rejected the manuscript saying the plot was too complex.

Publisher B said the book was too long and identified various sub-plots to be removed if they were to publish the book. The author did this, but was then told that the plot was “too thin”.

He said: “This has left me a little confused; now with two versions, and two opinions, I’m not sure how best to improve and move the novel forward, before resubmitting elsewhere?”

Here is my advice, which I hope will help any other author who is in a similar position, whether they are writing a novel or non-fiction.

First of all, to get ANY publisher or literary agent to read your manuscript is extremely encouraging and is a signal that your manuscript is marketable. This alone, is a very positive sign. Most publishers and agents receive hundreds of manuscripts per week. They certainly won’t read your book unless they think it has promise. They simply don’t have the time or resources for flattery!

Yes, responses to a book, likes and dislikes, can be very subjective. However, bear in mind that all publishers have a different ‘housetyle’. Think of this as a ‘brand’ or ‘hallmark’ that differentiates them from one another.

So first of all, check if they are actually reading your manuscript. If you are receiving a ‘generic’ rejection letter that looks like it has been xeroxed and could easily be sent to any author – then the chances are that your submission letter and pitch were not compelling enough.

If this is the case, then you need to go away and work on writing a more attention-grabbing letter and synopsis.

If, on the other hand, editors and agents are reading your submitted manuscript, then you need to assess whether they are simply asking that you adapt your book to their particular housestyle. This can make sense of what otherwise may seem like conflicting or contradictory comments.

The time to consider rewriting your book is when you are getting the same feedback consistently. For example, several editors may tell you that your first chapter is weak. Or they may say there is not enough conflict in your plot. If this is the case, it may be time to give your manuscript an overhaul.

You can do this with the help of a literary consultancy or a writers’ coach who will give you an objective opinion on your book. Critique services at Oxford Literary Consultancy, for example, include a 10-15 page report giving feedback on your manuscript, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, as well as making suggestions for improvements.

This can make an enormous different in fine-tuning your writing you before you begin submitting your manuscript again.

Writers – Don’t Do It!!!

September 2, 2009

I just HAD to write this blog as it concerns a publishing ruse all writers should be aware of.

I certainly wasn’t aware of this before now… so I’m sure it will catch some of you by surprise too.

I have to say that I nearly fell off my chair when I heard about it.

A first-time novelist has just sent their book to what they thought was a publishing house.  The publisher told them their book wasn’t of a high enough standard for their list. However,  it was suitable for self-publishing with their sister company… At a cost of… drum roll… £10K for just over 100 books.

£10K folks! Are they mad? Do they really think writers will fall for this ruse. Obviously not all that mad, because the writer who told me about this was considering paying this sum.

Please, please, please do your research before considering anything so drastic.  Most publishing houses are charging in the region of £2.5K per 1000 books. That’s around £2.50 per book. If you want a smaller print run, then you’ll be paying even less.

It’s easy to feel disheartened and crushed when you’ve had one too many rejections. Yes, you can feel like you’re never going to reach your goal. But there really is no need to go reaching for your credit card when you’re offered a ‘solution’ that costs £10K. This just reeks to me of manipulation.

If you’re having no luck getting your book published, then learn about marketing, get a mentor, rewrite your book, have someone check over your pitch.  Look at independent publishing houses or take a SERIOUS look at self-publishing.

Self-publishing is NOT – most definitely not a ‘second best’ these days. For someone of an entrepreneurial mindset, it can actually be a better option than a mainstream publisher.

But NOT when you are paying £10K for a handful of books. That is vanity publishing not self-publishing. You and your book deserve far better than this.