Happened again today: I opened my email to find a note from someone who heard I worked at well reputed publisher. She wanted to take me to coffee so she could tell me about her literary aspirations. She has a book idea; she wants to get published.
Before I tell you how I replied, let me get off my chest what I wanted to say to her (and the dozens of other people who write to me on a monthly basis in this vein): the Internet is your friend.
In most cases, the aspiring author is not a sweaty, tempted plagiarizing undergraduate. The average I-have-a-book adult has a well paying job and the germ of a story he/she wants to tell to someone. Anyone. They just can’t figure out how to get pen to paper. This is the first problem. The non-writer, we’ll call this type, because the person who professes to want to publish a book HASN’T WRITTEN ONE. Ever. To this person I say forget the debut novelist bestsellers. This is the same as dropping out of college and saying you’re going to be Jobs-like genius.
Keep it simple, non-writer. Start writing. By yourself. At home. In the cafe. In groups. As Nike says, Just Do It. And when you’ve finished a story, a chapter, a manuscript, then we’ll talk. Writing is about commitment. Show your great idea some.
The second most common problem is the what-do-I-do-with-my-book. If you are reading this from a laptop in the comfort of your home (or on a desk top at work) then you are amongst the more fortunate 10% of the world who have access to education and technology. Do some research with your best friend for dinner party debates, Google. There are literally hundreds of thousands of articles out there for first time writers. The indie boom has meant that everyone who has self published talks about, blogs, about, tweets their publishing stories. There are even some related links in this post below. Read them. Apply. Repeat.
If you’re too lazy, clueless or busy to do either of the above, then check out my book So You Want to Sell a Million Copies which is the result of two years of my guest blogging publishing advice at Writers and Artists Yearbook.
I got my own job in publishing; I published my own books. You can too. If you still want more details, join me and the media master mind Rachel in the OC this Tuesday 9:00 p.m. (Doha time) on Spreecast. It’s free to setup an account and we’ll share our wisdom at no extra charge. And this is when I’ll tell you what I said to my latest I-have-a-book inquirer.