Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE YOU WRITE YOUR NONFICTION BOOK

1. Why do you want to write a book?

There are as many reasons to write a book as there are books. Whether you are truly an authority on a subject or not, just put that subject between book covers, and people will assume you must be. If you do a good job of promoting your book, you may actually make money on it. Although writing books does not guarantee that you will get rich quick, or at all. When you know your topic and want to share what you know with others, a book is one of the best ways to do it. High-profile CEOs often write books to pass along their business philosophies and practices to the next generation of leaders in their organizations; to articulate their personal visions for their companies to significant stakeholders; or to apply the hard-won lessons of their lives to the broader context of business, society, academia, or government.

2. What's holding you back from writing it?

Is it that writing a book is an overwhelming project? Perhaps you feel you wouldn't even know where to begin? Or, is it that your plate is so full, you simply don't have the time? You can overcome every one of these reasons! All big projects seem overwhelming when you view them in their totality. Mountain climbers preparing to climb the Himalayas don't expect to do it all in a single day. They have a plan, and they execute it a day at a time. More accurately, they do it one step at a time, and that is exactly how one writes a book. Anything you do for the first time has an element of mystery, simply because you haven't done it before, but a visit to any bookstore will clearly demonstrate how many thousands of people have solved the mystery.



3. Do you have what it takes to write a book?

First it takes desire. Do you really want to write this book? You must be excited about your topic, and believe you can you keep that desire alive through every step of the process. If you don't have a clear idea of what your book is about, you are not ready to begin. A plan is like a road map for a trip. Don't start out without one. This is where many first-time authors go wrong. They have the romantic idea that one begins a book by sitting down at the computer and just "letting it flow." A nonfiction book takes planning and lots of it before you are ready to write a word. A book takes months to plan, research and write. You need a long attention span to stay interested in from the moment you get the idea to the moment you are holding it in your hands. Self-discipline is doing what has to be done, sticking with it even when it's not fun, and reasserting your commitment as many times as necessary. Support & guidance from a writing coach, a good editor, a book on writing, or even a writing group is the element that can make all the difference between going on and giving up.

4. How is your book unique special important?

There are probably many other books on your topic. You need to know what they are, how your book is different or better, what void in the market this book will fill, what problem it will help solve, how readers will benefit from reading it, and why anyone would buy it. Sources of this information are amazon.com, Google or your favorite search engine, and, of course, real bookstores. Don't be concerned if you find that your topic is not unique. In fact, you don't want it to be unique. You want it to be better.

5. What makes you uniquely qualified to write it?

If you are a bonafide expert, this will be easy to answer. Simply show how your credentials relate to the topic. Otherwise, consider your relationship to the subject matter. Why does it interest you? Is it a memoir or a personal recollection? An outgrowth of your education or work? A topic you have thoroughly researched? A philosophical or spiritual exploration? Why are you the best person to write it?

6. Who is your audience?

Don't make the mistake of writing a book you think "everyone" will want to read. You must have a clear picture of your reader in mind. Build a profile. Is the book gender specific? Is it targeted to a certain age group, educational level, income bracket, or social class? What does your reader do for fun? What newspapers and magazine does he buy? What movies does she attend or rent? And, most important, how that person benefit from your book?

7. How will you reach that audience?

Whatever publishing method you choose -- conventional, print on demand, or self-publishing -- you are going to be responsible for a large part, if not all, of the marketing and promotion. Promoting your book is partly art, partly science. The possibilities are as vast as your imagination. Consider presenting lectures and workshops, sending out press releases and review copies prior to publication, writing magazine articles, arranging for book reviews, holding book signings, appearing on radio or TV talk shows, and launching a Web site or a blog. The more you do, the more books you will sell.

About the Author
Bobbi Linkemer is a ghostwriter, editor, and the author of 12 books under her own name.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Writing with Rhythm

When I was substantially younger than I am now, I wrote masses of anguished adolescent poetry. My favorite verse form was the sonnet, a style and format that is maybe little surprising for a teenager to be writing.

For those who slept through this part of their English course, a sonnet is a formal 14-line poem with a complex rhyme scheme in iambic pentameter.
I no longer indulge in such musings, but I learned many tricks and techniques from writing my sonnets and other poems.
First and foremost, writing poetry, especially formal poetry, tells you a good deal about the internal rhythms of the English language. Most of the spoken English language moves to a fundamental iambic rhythm: di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM. Put five of these together and you have a line of blank verse:
Now is the winter of our discontent

Or

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?

Or

The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damn’d.

In the second line of the last quotation, note how Marlowe breaks the rhythm slightly for emphasis (if you don’t slur the word “devil” into one syllable, that is), and then reverts to the set rhythm for the second half of the line.
You don’t have to write in this formal style, of course, but you should make yourself aware of the internal stresses in English prose, and how they carry readers through your writing.
Until relatively recently (a few hundred years ago), all reading was done out loud – everyone read by vocalising the written words. When these rules of internal rhythm are broken, as in this quotation from a camera manual, the result is clotted prose – prose which does not flow:
Depth of field is the area of acceptable sharpness in front of and behind the subject in focus. The larger the F-number used (from F2.8 to F22), the deeper the depth of field. On the contrary, the smaller the F-number (from F22 to F2.8), the shallower this zone of acceptable sharpness”.
It’s not bad English – it’s free of jargon – but it’s not good either.
Another reason why these sentences do not flow is the lack of “macro rhythm,”the pauses for comprehension (and breath!) in the middle of a sentence. For another example, take this sentence from a recent Pentagon report:
There is a crisis of confidence among Afghans in both their government and the international community that both undermines our credibility and emboldens the insurgents.
If you read this out loud, it’s all got to be done in one breath. There’s no pattern to the sentence. By the time you’ve got to the end, you forget what the beginning was like. Here’s a suggested rewriting:
The Afghan people are experiencing a crisis of confidence in both their own government and the international community, and this is undermining our credibility, as well as emboldening the insurgents.
Not perfect – I’d probably split this sentence into two – but the sentence now has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Note how there is also an implied contrast between the “Afghan people” and the “insurgents” in my version that is somewhat lacking in the Pentagon original.

Returning to my youthful bad poetry (and here is an example of “super-macro rhythm” in a piece of writing – the thematic tie-up between the start of a piece and the end), the other major thing I learned from writing formal verse was to use a mental thesaurus, and not to be afraid to change the order of my words. I say a “mental thesaurus”, because a paper thesaurus can be too restrictive; wandering around the canyons of your mind can produce some interesting twists and turns that would never be explored using a printed page.
It’s all too easy to write bad ungrammatical verse:
As on my bed I toss and turn
Remembering things I tried to learn

But relatively easy to recast these lines into something more grammatical
and natural:

I’m lying wide-eyed in my bed
While half-learned facts race round my head

By forcing the grammar to be natural, I have also forced myself to think of different words and thereby avoid clich├ęs and hackneyed phrases. It works for prose too. Try to read your work out loud before you submit it. Does it work as a live reading? Does the language flow? Do the sentences hang together? Does the piece have thematic coherency? In other words, have you got rhythm?
Hugh Ashton is a writer and journalist who has lived in Japan for the past 21 years. As a copywriter and rewriter of translated material, he has become increasingly pernickety and critical of his own writing and that of others. His latest published work is an alternate history novel, Beneath Gray Skies, which is available from Amazon, etc. Details of the book may be found at http://www.beneathgrayskies.com.


Monday, April 9, 2012

7 Profitable Reasons to Write a Book and Grow Your Business by Earma Brown

Are you ready to add a new profit stream to your life? Write a book this year and discover new ways to get extra money. What could you do with extra money? I have a few ideas. With new income streams, you could fund your dream vacation. You could help pay the bills with money left over. Or better yet, write a book and launch a whole new career. Now that you've thought about what to do with your extra money, here are 7 profitable reasons to write a book to grow your business:

1. Write a book and gain credibility. When you write your book, people will more readily trust you. Remember, whether you are selling products or services people tend to buy more and do business with people they trust. A book sets you apart from the non-author colleagues in your field. Write a book this year and receive a boost of profits from your clients because they trust you.

2. Write a book and become global. After releasing your book to the world, you become global. You have the ability to reach out and touch someone across the globe. Your customers may live in your neighborhood or across the world in another country. A book will extend your reach and profits to new areas.




3. Write a book and start a new career. You can use your new book to launch a new career. Or you can simply use a book to leverage your existing career to new levels. With your book, you can consider starting a career in publishing, speaking or consulting in your field.

4. Write a book and create an ebook. Develop your book into an ebook. Technology has advanced making it easier and easier to electronically publish your own e-books. The profits from each sale on a per-unit basis can be 10X the royalties earned by your original book.

5. Write a book and become the expert. Become the go to guy or gal in your field. Pull potential book readers in with free articles and tips to help them. People are always looking for good information, a whopping 85% of Internet users are looking for information. Supply them with good information and they will think of you (a trusted expert) when they're ready to buy.

6. Write a book and grow a database of potential clients. Put a sign-up form on your book's website. Give away something free to entice your visitors to sign-up. Develop newsletters, columns, courses based on the information gathered for your book. Email newsletters offer you another opportunity to keep in touch with your readers. Your newsletters can be either informational or opinionated. Either way, they give you an opportunity to remain visible, grow your list and build even more credibility.

7. Write a book and create other products from it. Write your book in chunks, chapters, sections and parts. Writing this way will allow you to refine, repeat and repackage your information. Develop a continuing with a website and a stream of follow-up products and even services to build your book, your brand and your profits further.

If you don't get started writing your book this year, you may never receive the additional profits you deserve. So go ahead; write a book and start growing your extra profits today.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Literary Terms You Should Know

Hamartia: Aristotle coined this word to describe tragedies, particularly those brought about by an aristocrat’s ego, gluttony or silly mistake rather than outright sin.