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The Book Professor Mission: Tell Your Story-Solve a Problem

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May I share my philosophy as owner of The Book Professor with you? There are so many problems in our world, so many confounding issues, that we don’t even know how to name them anymore, much less solve them. But we do know what doesn’t work. Top-down solutions from government and other institutions don’t solve these problems. In fact, in many cases, they make them worse and spawn further problems, don’t they?

Don’t despair. I firmly believe that our problems – every one of them – can be solved.The answers are trapped inside of people like you, and when you simply share your experiences and what you’ve learned, what you know, what you’ve discovered, or what you’ve developed, you can actually change lives, save lives, and transform society.  

Two Things People Cannot Live Without: Hope and Help

People need real hope, not some platitude that says, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” You can offer real hope when you tell your story and show others what you’ve been through and how you came out on the other side, how you endured your trials and survived them – changed, but also whole.

People also need real help, not empty counsel that says, “this, too, shall pass.” If anything, that makes you feel even more isolated and less understood. Real help is when you show others the steps you took to get from where you were to where you are now. It gives them something concrete to model, so they can walk through their own situation.

People like YOU who have the answers, and other people, in some cases, are literally dying as they wait for your answers. At The Book Professor, we’re just the hallway that can connect you.

Be The Solution

The time is now. What do you know, what have you learned, what have you overcome, or what have you developed that will help others? We help people write high-impact nonfiction books that will change lives, save lives, or transform society. We’re already eight months into 2018, and 2019 is just around the corner. Imagine if we had 219 solutions in 2019 to some of the worlds biggest problems!

 

What about you? Will you be one of the 219 solution finders?  If you or someone you know is ready to tell your story and solve a problem, please contact us today and we can help you take the next step?

 


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Book Coach Tip: Decide To Write

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Some people are lifelong learners and love the process of going from not knowing anything in a subject area to becoming proficient. That makes sense to me as a book coach. We all want to be the best we can be at what we do. But along the way, we have to learn a lot of little things that can either make us the best at what we do or, if we choose not to learn them, will keep us in the pack of average Joes.

But here’s the deal with me: I only want to know as much as I need to know to use a tool for my intended purpose. I don’t want to learn every single one of its features and functions or try to discover how to use the tool in new ways that I hadn’t considered. You know why? It’s because I’m not a natural lifelong learner. I don’t like details; as a book coach, I love ideas.  I don’t want to learn how to use something; I just want to use it.

In fact, I detest the learning curve. I generally try to find every possible way around it, so I can get on to the using stage. Learning frustrates me; knowing satisfies me. But that’s, unfortunately, not the way the world works. So to know something, I must go through the pain of learning. And I have to follow a process, but I can’t even do that if I haven’t made the decision to do something new and follow through.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
—Lao-tzu

Make a Decision

You know what the hardest part about writing a book is? It’s making the decision to do it. You’ve probably had the idea for your book for a long time. I bet it’s been percolating in your head, banging against the doors to come out. At times it probably drives you crazy, but books don’t write themselves, and the only way yours is going to get written is if you make the decision to do it. You have to decide to write your book then figure out how to start writing it by getting a book coach. It’s your story. Only you can write it.

You Do Matter. You Are Important. You Can Help Other People

You may feel that you don’t have anything to offer that’s worthy of writing a book, but I disagree. Take a look at your life, what you’ve learned, what you’ve been through, what you’ve developed, what you’ve gleaned, what you’ve endured. Take a moment to consider your story of personal growth and all you have done to get to where you are now. You may not know everything else in life, but you do know your own life. You know your own patch of ground, and you know it well. What do you know and what have you learned that can change lives, save lives, or transform society?

If you don’t know how to write a book, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. After making a decision—a commitment to share your story—you just need a plan, a process and the help of a book coach.


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Nonfiction Book Coach Life Lessons: Drop the Perfectionism

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Perfectionism—ugh. Before I became a nonfiction book coach, I spent many years trying my best to be the perfect child, perfect teenager, and later on the perfect wife to please those closest to me and gain their approval. I didn’t know that some of the people I was trying to please were emotionally and mentally sick themselves, so trying to please the unpleasable was physically and emotionally exhausting. I felt like I was stuck on a hamster wheel, always striving for, but never attaining, perfection.

That is, until I hit an emotional brick wall when I discovered my first husband had a hidden life that was incompatible with marriage. Everything I thought I knew about the world and how life worked turned out to be a lie. I’d been duped and betrayed by a man I’d been married to for over half my life, and I literally thought I would die from the pain and grief.

Then came the self-sabotage questions. What was wrong with me? Wasn’t I good enough? I was nice, went above and beyond the call of duty in my relationships and tried really, really hard to get people to like me. Yet, why did it seem that just being myself was not enough? It felt like I had spent my entire life trying to be perfect to gain approval from those closest to me, yet it left me feeling emotionally depleted, false, and disconnected from who I really was. I had abandoned myself.

Fortunately, with the help of intense therapy and deep self-examination, I discovered some things about myself and learned some tools that have allowed me to stay far, far away from that wheel of perfectionism. When I returned to my true calling as professional nonfiction book coach, I made it my life’s purpose to be real and authentic with everyone I’ve had the privilege to help write their book. And with everyone else.

Why Am I Telling You This?

I misspent too many years before I became a nonfiction book coach and brought untold grief on myself because I refused to be me. And I’m amazed at how many other people have done the same thing. And once they’ve figured their lives out, are doing what they were meant to do, and are rejoicing in doing it, they don’t seem to step back to consider how powerful their story is and how it could help others.

I guess it’s easy to undervalue what’s inside us because it’s all that we know. So it doesn’t seem special. It doesn’t seem significant. And it doesn’t seem to offer a path that others can learn and grow from. Don’t fall for that way of thinking! Think about what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, and what you’ve overcome—and be willing to give it to others. Be you! That’s all it takes.

If you or someone you know is ready to make the decision and write a high-impact nonfiction book, please contact us today. We can help you take the next step!


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A Good Walk May Be the Best Writing Exercise There Is

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 SCOTT MCCORMICK

This article originally appeared on Bookbaby.com

Writing is not the best occupation for your health. For most of us, writing involves a lot of sitting, which is why a good walk may be the best writing exercise there is.

I was struggling writing an article for a blog (not this one, but one for Disc Makers, BookBaby’s sister company) about Brian Wilson’s album Smile, when I decided to take my advice from this article and go for a walk. I was literally around the corner from my house when I became inspired, and all was right with the world. During that same walk, I also figured out how to best approach this article, and even had ideas for two future articles.

Not bad for a 30-minute stroll.

Writing is not the best occupation for your health. For most of us, writing involves a lot of sitting, and there is a growing amount of research on how sitting for long periods is unhealthy. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Too much sitting … seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” “Too much” sitting, according to the Mayo, is sitting for four or more hours a day. That’s basically every day for me.

Not only is sitting for long periods bad for your health, it’s also bad for your writing. Your brain works best when it’s stimulated. Sitting for long periods of time can make your brain sluggish.

So, in a way, writing is actually kind of bad for your writing. How’s that for a catch-22?

Luckily there is a quick fix to both problems: Walking.

Hemingway, Dickens, Thoreau, Kierkegaard, and J. K. Rowling have all extolled the virtues of walking. Orson Scott Card said, “It’s worth the time to take an hour’s walk before writing. You may write a bit less for the time spent, but you may find that you write better.”

So why walking as opposed to, say, cross-fit? Frankly, any (safe) exercise is better than no exercise. So if you’re into a specific type of exercise, by all means, do it. It will make you healthy, happy, and better able to write. But there are three kinds of exercise that are especially suited to writing: walking, running, and biking. What these three have in common is that they are solitary and monotonous. In short: they are perfect for letting your mind wander.

I love racquetball. It’s fun and it offers an excellent workout, but it’s not great for helping me write. It’s not a solitary activity, and I have to think about the activity at hand. Yes, it’s good for stimulating the heart and the brain, but it doesn’t give my mind time to wander.

In my interview with Josh Funk, he said, “I find that my best ideas come in those moments where my mind is free to wander.” He’s not alone. Henry Miller wrote: “Most writing is done away from the typewriter, away from the desk. I’d say it occurs in the quiet, silent moments, while you’re walking or shaving or playing a game or whatever.”

Stepping away from your house or office to go for a walk (or run, etc.) gets you away from distractions, and lets your mind do its thing. Albert Einstein apparently came up with his Theory of Relativity while riding his bike. (That anecdote came from a rather great article on this very subject from Psychology Today. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in the science of how walking can stimulate the brain.)

How to walk for maximum effect

Your mileage may vary, but I find that to get the most out of walking, I need to walk without listening to music, and I need to bring my cell phone, with a dictation app launched and ready. I use Dragon Dictation, which is free, and which works pretty well. I prefer to walk at a brisk pace to get the maximum health benefit, but maybe your mind works better at a casual stroll so you can appreciate your surroundings.

I have a dog. When I first got her, I was hoping that walking her would give me the same benefit as walking solo, but I have not found that to be the case. So I have to walk her, and then go and walk myself.

Because I like to have my phone ready to record ideas, I prefer walking to biking. If you don’t need to record your every thought, that may not be a concern. But if you come home from your walk to find, like I did today, that your dog has chewed up three pencils and half of your kids’ homework, you run the risk of forgetting all the wonderful ideas you had while you clean up the mess. (Also, I find I have to pay too much attention to things like traffic and maintenance with biking — but again, your mileage may vary.)

Health-wise, you don’t have to walk every day. Doctors say three 40-minute sessions a week is enough. But for your writing, I recommend walking any chance you can get, partially for practical reasons. The weather may not cooperate. Life may get in the way. I’ve learned to grab my walking opportunities whenever I can. Every walk or run or bike ride won’t necessarily produce immediate results. But that’s OK. If you make it a routine to go as often as you can, you’ll find your ideas will come more easily and your writing will be stronger. And there’s also this, from Charles Dickens: “The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.”

 

Twitter for Authors


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Make a Decision and Plan to Write a Nonfiction Book

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Some people are lifelong learners and love the process of going from not knowing anything in a subject area to becoming proficient, like learning to write a nonfiction book. That makes sense. We all want to be the best we can be. But along the way, we have to learn a lot of little things that can either make us the best at what we do or, if we choose not to learn them, will keep us in the pack of average Joes.

But here’s the deal with me: I only want to know as much as I need to know to use a tool for my intended purpose. In fact, I detest the learning curve. I generally try to find every possible way around it, so I can get on to the using stage. Learning frustrates me; knowing satisfies me. But that’s, unfortunately, not the way the world works. So to know something, I must go through the pain of learning. And I have to follow a process, but I can’t even do that if I haven’t made the decision to do something new and follow through.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
—Lao-tzu

Make a Decision

You know what the hardest part about learning to write a nonfiction book is? It’s making the decision to do it. You’ve probably had the idea for your book for some time. I bet it’s been percolating in your head, begging to come out. At times, it probably drives you crazy. But books don’t write themselves, so the only way yours is going to get written is if you make the decision to do it. It’s your story. Only you can write it.

Whenever I travel, it seems I’m seated next to a chatty type, and it’s always fun to get acquainted. On one flight, I sat next to Don, and he and I discussed the usual getting-to-know-you topics. When he asked me what I do for work, I explained that I help people who aren’t writers become authors of high-impact nonfiction books.

“Really?” Don replied. “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

“Then why don’t you?” I asked.

“I’ve never really looked into it,” he said.

Don’s answer spoke volumes. He’d flirted with the idea of writing a book but had never taken it further than just thatthe idea of writing a book. People tend to glamorize the writer’s life; they don’t realize that it’s a lot of hard work, and it takes a lot of time. Don never made the decision to write his book, so it’s unlikely that he ever will.

Create a Plan

If you don’t know how to write a nonfiction book, how could you know how to get started?

Some people just sit down and start writing. But they soon discover that all the ideas that have been rattling around in their head have no form, no shape. What comes out is like a spaghetti messa bunch of unconnected threads. They have a message, but they don’t know how to get it down on paper. The problem with the “write-first” approach is that it’s like trying to build a house without any plans. You have no blueprint to follow, no foundation poured; and you don’t know what the house will look like when it’s finished. 

I don’t know a lot about building, but I do know that you don’t put up the walls first. The walls have to be attached to something solid. So before you build anything, you pour the foundation. But even before that, you need a comprehensive plan—a blueprint that shows where each room will be and what features it will have. Before you pull out your hammer, you have to have a plan.

The same is true for your book. If you want to save time, energy, money, and frustration, you begin with the end in mind. You take the concept for your book and turn it into a concrete plan.

To do that, we start with the foundation. You may know the topic of your book, but do you know what you want your book to accomplish? If the book doesn’t have a purpose, why write it?

If you don’t know how to write a book, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. After making a decision—a commitment to share your story—you just need a plan and a process.


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Use Your Pain: Writing to Heal

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Life is hard. It’s also good, but it is hard at times. I know that you don’t leave this earth without some scars, but you can use writing to heal. While I’m blessed and thankful to be alive, my life hasn’t always been easy. As a nonfiction book coach, I’ve learned how to write an inspirational nonfiction book when it hurts. And I’ve worked with clients who have overcome unspeakable hardships and have chosen to write through their pain to heal themselves.

Writing to heal has a way of freeing the emotional knots of trauma and releasing pitted anxiety. Before I became a professional book coach and writer, I was an avid journaler and still am today. Learning to write through my own personal pain has freed my soul.

Writing Heals Wounds

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I don’t mean that I’ve always been a professional writer, but I’ve always loved to write. In fact, I’m not sure if I would’ve survived my childhood without my journal. The minute I started writing to heal, I felt immediate release from anxiety and depression, which began to leave my body soon as my pen hit the paper. Years later, I discovered that there truly are some physical and emotional benefits of writing.

Researcher, author, and scientist Dr. James Pennebaker of the University of Texas, explains in his book, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, that excessive holding back of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can place people at risk for both major and minor diseases. More than simply a catharsis or venting, translating events into language can affect brain and immune functions. The subjects he tested had an increase in germ-fighting lymphocytes in their blood and lower stress levels. Writing was found to reduce anxiety and depression, improve grades in college, and aid people in finding jobs. He also reported that months after people had written about traumas over 70% reported that writing helped them to understand both the event and themselves better. (Source)

I don’t know about you, but I’m always fascinated when science backs something I’ve always believed. That sort of validation helps to reaffirm my God-given calling of helping others tell their stories.

What about you? Nobody really knows what you’ve been through.  But they see how strong you are, what you’ve endured, and what you’ve lost. You’re a survivor, an overcomer—not by choice but by necessity. You know what it feels like to be thrust into a situation you neither asked for nor anticipated. Like a snap, everything changed, and you had to learn how to live life on a new plane. The worst part was that there didn’t seem to be any real help, no guide to get you through, and you felt all alone.

Through writing, you can overcome and heal. Who else can you help today? If you or someone you know wants to learn to how to write a nonfiction book, please contact us today!


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writing tips

Nonfiction Writer Tool: Setting

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The time and place of the action in a literary work is called the SETTING.

In literature, the setting consists of where the story takes place, as well as the time period. It is  critical to establish a setting in your story and its scenes, so that the reader can visualize it. Remember when we talked about grounding your reader and answering the journalistic questions who, what, when, where, why, and how? The when and the where are questions of time and place – and they comprise the setting. If your readers don’t know when or where the story or scene is happening, they will be lost.

Setting is, essentially, the context in which a story occurs. You know how a picture has a foreground and a background? So does a story. The main characters and their actions form the foreground. The time and place of the events and the social environment that surround these events form the background, or the setting. People exist in a particular time and place. Where we live may contribute not only to our personality, but also to our values, attitudes, and even our problems. In short, the setting can have great impact on the people in your story and what they do. 

Setting is often a critical element in a story. Can you imagine The Grapes of Wrath set anywhere but in the Dust Bowl era of California? The Scarlet Letter set anywhere but Puritan New England? The Help set anywhere but the south in the 1960s? The Hunger Games set anywhere but a dystopian future? 

Setting: Developing Time and Place

Time and place = where it happened and when. These two elements are the bedrock of your story and must be developed in order to establish and maintain credibility. It wouldn’t make any sense to write about current-day cosmetic procedures in the 1800’s or sending urgent messages by telegram in the 21st century. 

Eudora Welty once said, “Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable, if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else.”

Four Types of Time

There are actually four kinds of time, and each one has a distinct role. They are clock time, calendar time, seasonal time and historical time. 

Clock time can be used to provide suspense or create certain moods or feelings. Think of the pressure of a looming deadline or the girl who sits by the phone, waiting for him to call.  

Calendar time grounds us in the day, month, year, and even a particular day of the week or time of the month. Calendar time can provide an understanding of what takes place in your writing. For example, if you’re in accounting and mention April 15th , Americans will know understand the pressures of tax time.  Others associate meaning with Friday the 13th, or July 4. In the UK Boxing Day is significant and in France, Bastille Day. 

Seasonal time, of course, refers to the four seasons, but winter in Minneapolis is a different setting from winter in Key West, Florida. And since they’re in a different hemisphere, January in Sydney, Australia is nothing like January in New York. Most of us have different lifestyles in different seasons, and even if you life in a moderate climate, it is still dark by 6:00 in December and light until after 9:00 in June.  You don’t snow ski in Vail in July, nor do you water ski in January in Missouri.

Historical time probably has the most impact on setting and can establish a psychological or sociological understanding of behaviors and attitudes. “Time” in this sense refers to specific moments in history. People communicate differently depending on the time in which they live. Americans in the 1950s, overall, communicate differently than Americans in the 2000s. Not that they necessarily speak a different language, but these two groups of people have different assumptions about the world and how to communicate based on the era in which they live. Think of the politically correct language that has replaced the pre-civil rights language from years past, and you get the point. Historical time affects the religious, mental, moral, social, and emotional climate of the setting.

Place 

Now about place. Place can include the geographical location, which can range from an entire country to a single room. I used to love to introduce my university students to the classic fiction story “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, which pretty much takes place in one bedroom, where Gregor, the main character literally turns into a bug. It’s one of the most riveting pieces of literature I’ve ever read, and most of it’s contained within those four walls. 

When writing about a specific location, you might include the physical aspects of the environment. What did it look like, sound like, etc. For example, a subway station has its unique sights and sounds, as does a church. 

But there’s more to it than that. We may find significance in the location where the action occurs, but there are also nonphysical characteristics, as well as physical. And the nonphysical environment can vary from geographic location to geographic location within the same time era. Think of cultural influences such as education, social standing, economic class, and religious beliefs. These certainly vary from location to location. Education is different in Harlem in 2017 than it is in Long Island. It’s different in Catholic schools versus public schools within the same city. There are distinct differences in social standing in India today because of their caste system, in the same year, in the same city. 

Writing tip: Setting

A person’s dialogue, statements, and behavior can reveal their place in society, as well as their geographic location.

 So how do you use time and space to write an effective setting? Quite simply, you use words. Setting is created by language. 

Writing your story involves more than just describing the setting. Using psychological cues from the characters, writers can embed time and place in actions and events, at the same time revealing motivation and goals. The details should be carefully chosen to reflect the character’s inner values, thoughts, and feelings. 

Regarding time:

  • In what period of time does the story or scene take place? 
  • Are there any historical events that affect the characters? 
  • How long does it take for the action to occur? 
  • What clues can you as the author give for the passage of time? 
  • Is the passage of time important to the story? 
  • Does the slow or fast passage of time help to understand the character’s actions and thoughts? 

Regarding place: 

  • Where does the action take place?
  • In what planet, country, locale?
  • What does it look like, sound like, feel like? 
  • Is there a dominant impression of the setting? 
  • Is the geographical location important? 

Setting is, essentially, the context in which a scene or story occurs, and includes the time, the place, and the social environment. It is important to establish a setting in your story, so that the reader can visualize and participate in it.

Just a little more food for thought as you write!


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When Do You Know Your Book Is Done?

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Most authors probably wish they had a gauge of some kind to stick into the pages to tell them when their book is done. It’s not just new, inexperienced writers who have that wish. Most published authors I’ve posed the question to say the same thing: it’s hard to know when to put down the virtual pen.

This post was edited and adapted from The End. Now What?! 6 Steps To Take Your Manuscript To Marketplace In 6 Weeks.

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.

—Truman Capote

Now that’s what I call starting your writing journey off with a bang! But Capote was only expressing the thoughts of many authors who feel a sense of tangible loss when their book is done. The prospect of this sudden void in their lives has led to far too many books being “overcooked.”

I’ve used that metaphor deliberately to help illustrate my point. When I venture into the kitchen to create something for the family, my kids often laugh at the slavish way I follow each and every line on the recipe. Most importantly, I pay close attention to the instructions that tell you when the food is actually “done.”

Want that steak medium rare? I’ve got a little thermometer gauge that tells me when it’s reached 155 degrees. Are the brownies done yet? Stick a toothpick in. If it comes out clean – they’re ready.

Most authors probably wish they had a gauge of some kind to stick into the pages to tell them when their book is done. It’s not just new, inexperienced writers who have that wish. Most published authors I’ve posed the question to say the same thing: it’s hard to know when to put down the virtual pen. It’s human nature to want to constantly improve and tinker with your work. Most authors say if allowed to pick up their work again six months after finishing, they’ll find more than a few things to change beyond some simple typo fixes.

Some signs pointing to the finish line

We’re trying to get your book in shape for the editing it richly deserves – and frankly needs. This post isn’t about fixing those typos or repairing sentence structure. It’s about making sure your book is telling the story you want told, in the way you want it told, and in a way that can make sense to thousands of potential readers. For that to happen, you as the author need to be ready to put down the pen. Here are some toothpicks and thermometers to help you gauge the doneness of your book.

From red to white

One BookBaby author I interviewed uses color to illustrate the progress of his books. After what he calls his “last draft,” he prints out the pages and does some serious self-editing. He uses a bright red sharpie and lays into the pages. After a first ruthless edit, he says the pages look like they’re hemorrhaging, a sea of red. A draft later it’s just a few red slashes. Finally, he says, he’s looking at pages with only the occasional slashes of red. He says to see the progress before his eyes is a satisfying way to know that the book is finally turning into the story he intended to tell.

So obvious. So boring! Authors tell me how sick they get of their precious book. They get to a point where they know more about the plot and story line of their fictional characters than real life family and colleagues. Of course you should – these are the people you’ve been living with for the past weeks and months. Long ago when you embarked on this book project, you thought your plot was marvelous. It still is! You have the curse of knowing where the story leads and ends.

The truth is, the jokes in your story ARE hilarious, as good as the first time you typed them. The plot IS spellbinding; the twists and turns are sure to please. The information I’m relaying here IS solid, professional self-publishing advice. We writers are just bored, which is a sure sign that it’s time to move on.

Change for change’s sake

Look at the last few edits you’ve made to your book. Did you improve it, or did you just change it? You’re not adding value to your book at this point. You’re not making it more interesting or richer or even more readable. You’re delaying the inevitable. There comes a point when the longer you revise, the less return you’re going to get for your effort. You’ve reached a point of diminishing return.

A new story

Every writer has ideas for that next book, or more likely books. Maybe there have been big changes in your life and you’re not in the same emotional place as you were when you started writing. Whatever the reason, your enthusiasm for this current project may be waning. For you to simply say, “I don’t feel like writing this story anymore” is an important sign you can’t ignore. When you lose interest in the book, you’ll stop caring. Your reader will know – who hasn’t read a book where it felt like the writer just lost interest in the project and wrapped it up in an all too fast and unsatisfying manner?

You’re about to enter into a new relationship – actually multiple relationships – with your readers. The reader has entered into the relationship with optimism and interest in your prose. You’re obligated to honor your commitment to entertaining, informing, and delighting your new BFFs. They’re very excited about reading your book. If you aren’t as excited about adding any more to the story, it’s a sure sign that you’re actually damaging your book rather than enhancing it.

Put your book to the test

It’s always good to get some second and third opinions on your book, just as long as they’re not people you spend the holidays with. You should pretty much ignore the comments and less-than-critical critiques from your close friends and family. Beware the praises or critiques of your great-aunt Edna. Few friends or family members can honestly offer you objective feedback. If they CAN, count yourself lucky and listen to what they have to say.

In most cases, you’d be better off joining a local writers group. The authors in these groups can provide tremendous feedback, inspire new ideas, and give great moral support. Writing is often a very solitary pursuit and these groups can be your lifeline at times. Digest their commentary, be surprised at their insights and your blind spots, dust yourself off, and revise if necessary.

Read your book like it’s brand new

You’ve spent hundreds of hours looking bleary-eyed at the characters on a screen. Take it offline for another look. Find yourself a bright highlighter and sit down to read it through as though you’re a reader. Whenever you find an awkward phrase or a sentence – or whenever you want to change or fix something – make a mark and move on. Do not stop to do an edit. Once you get to the end you can go back to your file, start at the last page and work backward, making changes and corrections.

Print a second hard copy, but this time change the font to something visually quite different. If you work in Times New Roman, try printing in Calibri. You’ll see it looks very different and you may be surprised by how many new typos and errors you manage to catch.

Last comes first

On the next run-through, read your manuscript backwards – not word for word, but a chapter at a time. Read the last chapter, then the next to last, and so on until you reach the first. This serves to take things out of context for you and you won’t be as likely to skim over what you expect to be there. It might feel uncomfortable, but it works.

Read it. Write it. Speak it.

When my kids were slogging through high school, I used to tell them, “The best way to master a subject is to learn by the power of three. Read the material, write notes, then speak it out loud.” So get some throat lozenges and find a quiet room. Reading your book aloud can help you “see” it fresh and let you more easily identify awkward phrases or sentences.

Be the reader

The last trick of the trade I’ll share with you is courtesy of Dani Shapiro, the critically acclaimed author of Slow Motion and Devotion. She has also written for magazines such as The New Yorker; O, The Oprah Magazine; Vogue; and ELLE. Shapiro helped put things into context during her keynote address at a recent Writer’s Digest Conference as she described the simple process of sending an email. When you’re composing the note, the words and thoughts express a certain position or point of view. Everything looks right and so you hit “Send.”

As the electrons fly through the ether, you see it: that obvious typo. The one you looked right past 10 times as the author. But what really happened is that the minute you hit the send button you read the message as a completely different person: the recipient.

This is the approach she takes when taking that last critical examination of her book. She actually reads the book as if she’s someone else. She’ll read chapters as if she’s a kindly caring person on one day. On another she reads it as an angry critical person. From the readings of these and other personas, Shapiro is satisfied that her diverse audience is ready to read her next book.

Time’s up. Pens down. You’ve got a deadline.

Maybe the best test of all that your book is done has nothing to do with the words on the page. Maybe it’s the ticking of a clock. As I sit here typing this on a Sunday morning, I’ve put myself into a self-imposed deadline to have this finished by tonight. Time’s up. Got to bake some brownies.

Download your FREE copy of The End. Now What?! 6 Steps To Take Your Manuscript To Marketplace In 6 Weeks today.

book is done

 

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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publishing-writing-book-length

How long should your book be?

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

There’s nothing quite like escaping to your favorite book. In just a matter of pages you’re transported to a new world, sympathizing with some characters, despising others. Yet sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, a book will sit on your table untouched because it’s long, difficult, or otherwise intimidating.

To motivate you to pick up that classic you’ve never read – or reread your favorite book – Personal Creations put together this infographic detailing how long it takes to read popular books, based on an average reading time of 300 words per minute. Though you may like to read at a more leisurely pace, reread difficult sections, or indulge in passages you adore, it’s still a useful comparison of how long various books and series – from To Kill A Mockingbirdto The Odyssey to the Harry Potter series – might take to read.

Take a couple of minutes to read it, then shut down your device and go read a book!

publishing-writing-book-length

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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10-Tips-for-Writers-Writing-Process-Focus-BookBaby

10 tips to help writers stay focused

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In the lead up to National Novel Writing Month, BookBaby crafted this incredibly simple but powerful infographic to help you do the little things to stay focused on writing. Print it out and tack it to your wall, make it your laptop wallpaper, or add your own contribution in the comment section. Then stop dawdling and write!

10 Tip to Help Writers Stay Focused

10-Tips-for-Writers-Writing-Process-Focus-BookBaby

 

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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