IMG_6871-450Interested in writing a book? Wonderful! These tips can work for fiction and non-fiction, but each writer is different.

Pick and choose what works for you:
• Most important: Stay focused. Sit down and write. Work hard. Read! Have fun!
• Write a “fat paragraph” summary of the purpose of your book. What do you want to say in your book — boiled down to a couple of sentences. Why this book now?
• Decide who your audience is. Who are you writing the book for? Teens? Women? Fans of legal thrillers? Pick your audience.
• Write something each day (whatever fits your schedule). You’ll likely need at least sample chapters if you sell to an agent or publisher; for a novel, you’ll probably need the complete manuscript. Many authors write in their “spare” time.
• Go to a bookstore or library and look at the Writer’s Market reference guide.  If it’s in the budget, buy a copy. It explains who publishes what, how to write a proposal & more.
• Attend a writers’ conference. Going to a fiction writers’ conference was one of the best things I did when I wrote my first novel. You can also take online courses.
• Seek an agent. You’ll find info in Writer’s Market and online for connecting with agents who represent the kind of work you want to do. Follow their guidelines, often listed on their websites, as you contact them.
• Keep building your potential audience, the “platform” that authors need, whether through social media or your job or your network of friends and family.
• Choose your approach: Perhaps your goal is a traditional publisher, the path I’ve chosen. Maybe you want to self-publish, in e-book or paper format. Again, online research helps.
• Set a timeline for your writing project to give yourself a push to finish it! I start with the end and work back, with specific steps. This keeps me on track.

A sample timeline looks like this:
• Have “final” draft of manuscript complete by ___ .
• Write one-paragraph summary by ___ .
• Get reference material at a bookstore or library by ___ .
• Write outline of possible chapters ___ .
• Write draft proposal. (Helpful in clarifying your thoughts as a writer!) ___ .
• Interview sources (if needed) by ___ .
• Schedule regular writing time by ___ .
• Write ___ words a week or a chapter or _____ a week.
• Have draft ready to edit by ____ .
• Make agent queries or decide whether to e-publish or self-publish by ___ .
• Sit down and write! Find time to write and revise, and keep writing!