Josh j Smith

writing for beginners | Post 5 | Getting Published
December 13, 2007, 8:05 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , , ,

GETTING YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED for dummies.  Honestly I underestimated this book.  A friend who has been helping me through my journey in writing suggested that I get one of these books.  My reflections will include the format of the book, and a brief summary sprinkled with personal thoughts.


The format of this book is genius.  There are little icons for tips, warnings, nuggets of wisdom, points to remember, and for possible points of danger.  And they have designated areas that highlight and list important information.  They are not joking when they say it is for dummies – a grade school student could read this and comprehend it.  The book is by no means short.  It is a wide book, and all the pages are filled with information.  Therefore, the format makes this intimidating book approachable.  My advice, wherever you are in the writing industry the fifteen dollars for this book will probably be worth it.


There are a total of seven sections that move chronologically through the writing process starting with the idea and working all the way up to signing the deal with the publishers.  They cover a wide range of options.  For example, some of them are if you want to write fiction or non-fiction, whether you use an agent or not, or if you use a publishing company or self-published. 


For the summary, I will explain summarize the progression and go into further detail for specific parts when necessary.  Part one is the idea process.  I thought this section was extremely valuable as a first time writer because it inspires me to be or not to be a writer, nothing in between.  At this point I wrestle whether I have the qualifications or the experience.  The book describes how to make writing my profession.  Also, as I think of ideas I have to ask, “What can you offer readers that is worth their hard-earned $15 or $25?”  (Zackheim 2000, p, 21). 


Part two brings is finding and meeting the publisher.  Here the book helps us understand the difference between a book idea and an article idea, a good seller and a bad seller. 


Part three is a short section that walks us through the process of creating book proposals and query letters.  I was able to learn how to have a corner in the market through book proposals.  The next step, part four, gives strategic methods for getting my book proposal in the presence of someone who cares.  Here they explain the difference between working with agents and using myself as an agent, and types of publishers.  They are very generous by including detailed information of several publishers.  I learned in college from the way professors would talk about certain books that publishers are not objective.  Just like anything, publishers have a personality.  Depending on what you write about and what audience you are targeting will influence the publisher you seek and which publishers will be interested.  


Sign on the dotted line – part five, the offer, negotiation, and contract.  After this you are home free.  Part six and seven explain production, distribution, and sales.  Essentially this is the retail, but with a publishing/book twist to it.  Part seven was a section that seemed like they tacked on to give more tips and warnings.  It is a place for all the stuff that did not fit chronologically. 


As I said, the book is great.  It is well designed, easy to follow the progression, and highly informational.  I also appreciate the format to make it easier to use as reference.  So it can either be used as a guidebook to walk through each process of getting published.  Or, it can be reference book to provide helpful solutions for troubleshooting and preparation. 


I hope that my summary and thoughts provided some helpful or interesting information you have not known before. 


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