How do I write a book 1
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Do you want to publish? Do you want to write a book? Write a good book. Ha! What kind of tip was that? I'm serious. Write the best you can. Get busy with writing. Read advice on it. Read books in the genre you want to write in. Find a writing group. Sign up for my free three-lesson video series on writing. Writing is a craft with techniques that you can learn in large part.
You can't imagine how bad some manuscripts are that publishers receive. Not only are they full of misspellings. In some cases, the authors have not dealt with the basic rules of verbatim speech, dialogue structure or narrative perspective. But you don't have to be a genius to master this. Such things are easy to learn. Even a painter has to learn the watercolor technique first. And yes, there is also a plot structure that can be learned.
That doesn't mean you have to write a schematic Hollywood film later. You can really do what you want. You can develop your own rules. But if you don't know which narrative tradition you are moving in and what your reader's expectations are, then you will write a worse book.
At the same time: don't get discouraged. Have you ever thought: How did this book find a publisher? It's sooo bad! Take that as encouragement. The book market has room for many tastes and for many books. Write the best you can.
Register here for the free resource library for helpful downloads, such as original synopsis, templates for plotting for scriveners, original letters and worksheets for plot development.
You can download it for free here
Learn to explain your book idea in a few sentences. You will have to do this over and over again when you introduce it to someone. You need that in every conversation and in your cover letter. If you can't describe what your book is about, then something is probably wrong. And only if you yourself understand this essence of your book, in my opinion, you can write it properly. Then you understand the underlying theme, maybe you can play with variations and so on. It will just help you tremendously.
You have to finish writing your first novel before you can offer it with a cover letter and synopsis. You also need to be clear about where your book belongs. What is the genre? Where will my book be placed in the market? Later, a publisher MUST place your book so that readers can find it in a very busy market!
You may want to be different from everyone else, but in the end it is a great advantage in the market if you are like others!
Because then the bookseller knows immediately where to put you. And the publisher knows how to offer you to the bookseller. "Our new Kerstin Gier ..."
Nonfiction books are only sold on the basis of an exposé and one or more sample chapters. The market plays a role here. An exposé usually goes into more detail on the market situation and why the book would probably have a good chance on the market.
Research the potential publishers and agencies that publish books of your kind. I also took an online course to search for a publisher, which you can access here. You can find the publisher and agency addresses here in my resource library. And remember that there are so many ways to get a book published these days. Also, check out the options for self-publishing a book. You can find sources for this here and here. But no publisher or agency looks at books that are outside the genre represented. This is a waste of time for everyone! No, a publisher doesn't open a new division just to accommodate your book. Your best bet is to check out my article on genre. It's a really crucial point in your application to publish.
So, I can only repeat it again: You shouldn't offer your book by showing why it is different from anything that has ever been there. It is of course different, every book is individual. But when introducing it, it is better to show what it has in common with other genres that are as popular as possible. Of course there is serious literature, in publishing jargon one sometimes speaks of high literature. The rules are a little different and I would like to say, fortunately. But most books of high literature are financed through literary prizes, the editions are often rather small - all the more great when authors such as Jonathan Franzen or earlier John Irving undermine this whole division into different "values" of literature. They are literary and popular. Great.
Learn to deal with rejections. I promise you will get some. Maybe a lot. Take a look at how many and what kind of rejections I have received and also what I have learned from them. Publishers are “just people too” with different tastes and preferences. I've received countless rejections in life. I have received form rejections and personal rejections. Some of the rejections were so wonderful that I kept them. Editors have little time, so if someone sends you a personal rejection, it's an honor.
Don't send inquiries and wait for an answer. I send inquiries and forget about them. When someone answers, I am really happy! You have to be patient, especially at the beginning, because not many projects work out. The crazy thing is that when a lot of projects suddenly work out, you have to cancel yourself. It's not always easy either. But no, I admit: it feels better. But it took me a long time to get to that point.
Now I have a great literary agent. I once had a literary agent who didn't bring me anything. It would have been better not to have one. The agent only slowed me down at the time, even though she was with a “big” agency.
It's not about having a famous agency, but one that likes you, values your writing and represents you with passion. A literary agency does not yet guarantee that your book will be sold.
But some large publishers in Germany no longer accept manuscripts at all without an agency. Small ones are, however, an agency can even be an obstacle.
By the way, you can find them in my download library a whole list of literary agencies in Germany. You can download it here.
Find a network of authors who also want to write a book. It's really easy today. If you don't like Facebook in any other way: Become a member for the sake of the groups. It's worth looking for groups of authors there. For the same reason, the book fairs, the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Leipzig Book Fair, which today have many events for authors and “budding” authors, are equally worthwhile. Incidentally, I made a video about the differences between the two trade fairs, which you can find here. Get to know other writers! Then you can exchange ideas. It is good for you and helps you further when you have to decide whether you can sign a contract like this or not.
Research all possible advice. There are many ways to write and publish a book. I still remember how the publishing world was like a hermetic building for me. How did it work? Visit a book fair and check out the variety of publishers. I made a video at the Leipzig Book Fair about what I typically do there. Behind it are people, some you like, others don't. Some people think very differently from you. There is no one way. You have to find yours and find the people and publishers with whom you are on the same wavelength.
Writing is not an easy path to success, and it is not easy to make money from either. But I couldn't imagine not writing. I don't see any alternative. Maybe I'm a little masochistic, a little hermit (writing is lonely! And in the café you are also lonely, if less alone). Maybe I'm just writing for those happy moments of having written a book. To have held onto a little bit of life somehow. To have connected to someone else through my story. For me it is worth it.
Register here for the free resource library for helpful downloads, such as an agency list, original synopsis, plotting templates for scriveners, original letters and worksheets for plot development.
You can download it for free here
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Filed Under: Better Writing, Marketing
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