5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Write A Book (And The 1 Reason Why You Should…)

Photo: marsmet (CC)

Photo: marsmet (CC)

  1. Everybody is doing it. There was a time when writing a book was seen as a major, commendable feat; authors were held somewhat in awe. Not anymore. Since the typewriter was ditched and we all got our hands on new technology, writers have been springing up all over the place. The advent of the internet and the ability to self publish has enabled an explosion of authors into the marketplace. Just look around on Amazon Books for a few minutes and you’ll get the idea (if you hadn’t already realized). Nearly every fifth person on social media sites seems to have written a book or a novella or a travel guide (well, at least if my followers are anything to go by), while virtually every other person expresses an intent or desire to one day write a book. So, yep the market for books is beyond saturated, and if you’re going to write something, you better check that it’s unique or in demand.
  2. It will consume far more time, energy & mental exhaustion than you could ever imagine. It may consume your every waking moment. Just consider your most stressful project, dissertation or creation to date, and how much it took out of you to complete it. Now quadruple that, or even times it by 10 (depending on the length, complexity and genre of your book), and you’d have a vague idea of how much work will go into this brilliant book idea of yours. (For more on exactly what’s involved, check out this article). Despite what you may have heard, writing a book is work, not a stroll in the park. Are you willing to invest that much of your heart, mind and soul into getting your book into print? Thought not. Think again. There are other vocations out there, you know.
  3. It’s not just about churning out text for the content of your idea any more. You’ll really have to look into expending effort into producing a website (or outsourcing it to a professional), and think about additional social media channels devoted solely to your book. Yep, basically more time, and probably a hefty sum of money to get on the writers’ bandwagon these days. If you think such things are an unnecessary extra that really wouldn’t concern you, you better do some research. Even the big publishers are looking for authors who are willing to go the extra mile with establishing an online presence and connecting with readers.
  4. If all that hasn’t put you off yet, maybe this will: The project doesn’t end after the book has been written, or even published. Next comes selling hard copies to friends, neighbours, colleagues, twitter buddies, random strangers etc. It’s all about marketing yourself, chasing leads, requesting reviews and making friends with others who’d happily advertise your book to their friends and followers. Yet again, even if you land yourself a deal with a top publisher, they’ll expect you to do your part in marketing your book. You are no longer just a bona fide writer, you are now expected to be a promoter and marketer. Believe it. Could you actually do this, or does the mere thought scare you silly? If so, now’s the chance to forget that vision of becoming an author and put your ideas on the slush pile of Silly Ideas To Be Forgotten, Never To Be Resurrected Again. Just think of all the stress you’d save yourself, not least the embarrassment of having to sell an actual product to the wider world.
  5. And finally – and this is the most convincing reason of all… In pursuing your dream to write a book, you will subject yourself to the greatest tension ever known to writers everywhere… No, not waiting to see if anyone will buy your book; no that’s really not that bad. After all, you don’t have to tell anyone how many copies you’ve sold! No, the ultimate fright comes after you’ve sold a few and the reviews start coming in – from readers you don’t even know. Yes, waiting for reviews, and along the way requesting reviews, often having no idea what they will say, could possibly be the scariest moment of your life. Are you ready for those 1* reviews to come in from those who think your book is the biggest load of rubbish they’ve ever read? I have not asked anyone for 5 stars, not even my over enthusiastic big sister – and yet a few glowing reviews have rolled in. But I am not naïve. When I think about it, I don’t think I would even give myself 5 stars! I know those 1* reviews will likely soon come in. How am I so sure? That’s easy, just check out the reviews for your most favourite book ever, or a well known blockbuster that comes to mind. Scroll down. Yep – there they are – the 1* reviews from disgruntled readers who really weren’t impressed with the story or style of that hyped up book! Do you really think that if J.K.Rowling couldn’t avoid 1* reviews, that somehow you’re so special that you won’t get any? You must be joking (unless you only ever sell 5 or 10 copies to your best friends and family.)

The 1 Reason Why you Should Write a Book…

If all the above has failed to deter you from pursuing this writing malarkey, then here’s the one reason, and one reason only, why anyone should actually press on and write that book they’ve so wanted to write. And here it is (drum roll, please)… The ONE reason you should ever write a book is because YOU HAVE TO! Because it’s stirring in your bones & your soul, and you finally relent & accept: ‘This is what I absolutely must do. I will get no peace unless I get the words out, printed on the page/screen/scrap of paper.’ If this is you, then what are you waiting for? Get on and get writing your book! We want to hear about it. Tell us about your book idea in the comments below.

And while you’re here, why not check out the links to my novel and book website? Thanks!

Recipe for Writing a Novel (In 20 Easy Steps, Ahem)

Just Published: The Book Beyond Time

Just Published: The Book Beyond Time
>>>Where faith and fantasy collide

Out Now!  (Link to US publisher) Or here. (UK)

Step 1. Let your mind carry you away with a crazy idea for cooking up a brilliant story. Stay up half the night writing it down.

Step 2. Add main ingredients: setting, plot ideas and a few main characters.

Step 3. Stir in some conflict, minor characters and a couple of subplots.

Step 4. Spice everything up with up with an original title. Change your mind 5 or 10 times. Return to your first title.

Step 5. Outline the story into individual chapters. Blend in help from a writing coach or editor (if you’re a novice).

Step 6. Turn up the heat: Write, write, write. When you’re not eating or sleeping, write. Ideas in the middle of the night? – Write!

Step 7. Lower the heat: Edit, edit, edit. Turn up the heat: More editing.

Step 8. Mash up what you’ve created by writing a second draft.

Step 9. Repeat steps 6. And 7.

Step 10. Submit manuscript to publishers. Allow it to simmer a while. Get rejections.

Step 11. Consider adding a huge dollop of self-publishing, read all about it. Forget that idea. Submit to literary agents.

Step 12. More rejections. Reduce heat: Edit some more. Receive standard rejections from literary agents. Stir in some more publisher submissions.

Step 13. Work on side dishes: Sort out a website; Liaise with web and graphic designers.

Step 14. Novel rises: Gain some interest from a couple of major publishers. Get all excited…only to get rejected. Author deflates.

Step 15. Feel dejected, throw in the towel and ditch the idea altogether. Feel like a fool. Pursue other projects and forget about the whole thing.

Step 16. Just as you’re getting on with your life and other interests, receive an unexpected email from a publisher offering a contract.

Step 17. Stir up some major panic. This is really happening! More final edits, proofreading, self doubt and thoughts of disbelief.

Step 17. Frantically create more than 20 different possible blurbs for the back cover. Eventually select the final version you write.

Step 18. Add the finishing touches: Liaise with the publisher. Manage to whisk away a few more minor errors or typos. Finalise proof. Breathe a sigh of relief.

Step 19. Bake at 180 degrees: Leave it in the hands of the publisher and printer.

Step 20. Remove from oven: See the finished product on Amazon and the publisher’s website. Inhale and admire the finished product. Congratulations, you just baked yourself a novel! Maybe it took three years, but hey – who said this was an easy recipe?!

(UK readers, find my novel here)

Note: Someone just pointed out that there are two Step 17s! Which proves again the importance of Step 7. I never said that I was any good with numbers 😉 …

In which I make an announcement…

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Well, I’ve been putting this one off, and I really don’t know why. I should be jumping for joy!

Having chased publishers for the better part of a year, and had my hopes raised and dashed a few times, the children’s novel that I wrote has been accepted by a little publisher in Texas. Yes, I have a publisher!

Having consigned myself to the fact that I probably wasted two years of my life – planning, writing, re-writing and editing – I’ve actually gone ahead and signed a contract. This is really happening…

The Book Beyond Time (website to be updated) will be released early December by eLectio Publishing.

Watch this space.