10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE WRITING A BOOK

Chances We Take, Choices We Make200This is a guest post by Rick Flores, author of “Chances We Take, Choices We Make“.

Rick Flores is a bible study teacher, inspirational speaker, writer, and the author of his first published book, “Chances We Take, Choices We Make.” He has been in love with writing since he was in elementary school, and at the age of 53 he is still going strong.

Rick writes with passion, stirs in humor, and uses his 30 years of Student Ministry experience to enlighten the younger Christian generation to the vast number of choices they will come face to face with in life.

Through this practical and relevant book, teens and millennials all over the globe are discovering that the Bible addresses their common questions, concerns, and challenges.

Rick Flores

Author

If you’ve ever written or begun to write a book, there is no doubt you have struggled with finding the time and the place for writing. As a full-time postal worker and a part-time writer, allow me to share the ten most important things I learned in writing and publishing my first book:

1.You will never “find” time to write a book. 

You are going to have to make time to write your book, and it is not going to happen overnight. You need peace and quiet to focus on writing exactly what you want to convey. Set aside an hour each morning before anyone else in the house is awake. Perhaps an hour also after everyone has gone to bed. Look for other opportunities during the day to write. Never sit idle at places with long waits, such as doctors’ offices and mechanic shops. While other customers are busy checking their social media accounts, the writer in you will see this as an opportunity to progress toward your goal. Always have your tablet with you and turn a long delay into a chapter of your book!

2.Don’t write a book because you have a passion to get rich; write a book because you are rich with passion to get read.

It must be a passion so strong that you’ve just got to share it with the world. Let’s face the facts: Unless you’re a big-name author who can slap a book together in a month and sell a million copies, you will most likely not become a household name with your first book. However, if you would write that book regardless of any notoriety at all, that’s when you know you have the drive and motivation needed to get started.

3.Write to a specific audience, with a specific goal in sight. 

The world is too diverse to believe that everyone will desire to read your book. Figure out who you are trying to reach, then go at it with fervency. Do your research and check your facts. Go beyond the normal call of duty and make it the best book they’ve ever read on your subject. Remember to be extremely patient once your book is out. Unlike a well-known public figure or a professional author, you are not interested in making the NY Times best-seller list in your first week.  Being a relatively unknown author, your book will need time to blossom.  Your biggest sales could very well come six months to one year after publication.

4.Keep it interesting. 

Ask yourself: If this was a tv show, would it be entering its second season or would it be cancelled by the end of the first chapter? Read it through and ask yourself if you would have bothered purchasing your book had you not been the author of it.  Get advice from a few trusted friends; people that you know will be honest and straightforward with you. You are not just digging for compliments; you are digging for feedback.  Don’t be upset with their honesty. They may save you a lot of time and frustration down the road. On the other hand, if you keep getting five-star reviews from these trusted friends, you’re probably on to something big.

5.Know your reader’s attention span. 

Are you writing to children, teenagers, millennials, or adults?

You’re probably not ready for publishing until you reach at least at 16,000 words for young children, 50 to 60 thousand for teenagers, and 60 – 80 thousand for adults. If you exceed 100,000 words, you better have the next big thriller on your hands if you expect your audience to read it from cover to cover.

6.Be prepared to encounter set-backs. 

Like in any other project, things will not always go so smoothly in writing a book. You will encounter mental blocks where you feel you cannot find the words to adequately convey your thoughts. You may feel your chapters need re-sequencing because you do not like the way they flow. You may feel you have written all you had in you, only to find out your 10, 000 words away from a book that will be worth the money and time people invest in it. There will be times you are confident your book will be the best book ever, and then there are times you wonder if it will be the worst book ever. However, many times it’s through these very struggles that you will do your finest work. Remember, perfection comes with a price.

7.If you see a turtle on a fencepost…

You’ve heard the old saying: If you see a turtle on a fencepost, it didn’t get there by itself.

If someone is especially beneficial to the outcome of your project, consider including their name in the acknowledgement section of your book. This may include several people, from those who have helped shape your life, provided you with financial support, free editing assistance, or just greatly encouraged you. Although people may tell you that they do not desire credit, they will love the fact that you thought so highly of them. You didn’t get there by yourself; so let the praise flow.

8.Be prepared to invest some money into your book.

You’ve already invested your time; now you must be willing to invest your money. I remember in the beginning, trying to keep count of the hours I spent writing. Before long, I threw out the chart and figured it didn’t really matter anymore.  It wasn’t the hundreds of hours that people were going to appreciate; it was the final outcome that really mattered. But a book is nothing but a lonely piece of art if it never gets read, so now is the time to start shopping around for a great self-publishing company. Find a good one with several positive references, a long history of publishing, and one that will do much for you in the way of editing services, coaching, and marketing.

9.Don’t forget about free Press!

In addition to the marketing packages which your publishing company will offer you, you are living in an era of unprecedented free marketing potential because of the Internet.  Now is the time to build up your friends’ lists on social media, as well as your email contact list.  You will want to notify as many people as you possibly can that you have written a book. You should strongly consider joining Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Face Book.  Think of the power of free advertising when you share your work with thousands of contacts, and then they in turn share your posts with thousands of their contacts!  I recommend you share quotes and short excerpts, reviews, and links on how your book can be purchased. Send out mass emails to everyone on your list announcing the arrival of your new book. Your greatest hope is to be picked up by multiple bookstores or on-line outlets, as well as receiving recommendations and “shout-outs” from people of influence.

In addition to this free form of advertising, I recommend you set up a FB page exclusively for your book.  You can the “boost” your posts (for a relatively small fee) and create an “audience” of thousands who share interests in book reading and in the specific topics your book covers.  Face Book will then display your ads in their newsfeeds. Lastly, do not forget why it is called the world-wide web; do not limit your outreach to your own country.  There are hundreds of thousands of book lovers all over the world!

10.Ready? Set? Now just write. 

Don’t stop writing until this dream of yours has been set to paper. I don’t care if it takes you months or even years to complete. Just remember to keep saving your work as you go. Save it on multiple devices. Email it to yourself. Save it on an outside Internet “cloud.”  That last thing you need as a part-time writer is a computer crash in which you lose all your hard work. You can do this thing. The world doesn’t have enough books yet, because yours is yet to be read!