Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Fifth Edition: Five Times Tougher Than the First

The good news is that my little book, How to Write a Nonfiction Book: From Concept to Completion in 6 Months, is selling on Amazon and my website. The other day I counted my remaining copies and realized it is time to start thinking about the next edition. That’s about all it took; I haven’t thought about anything else since then. The seed was planted.

So, I packed up my new MacBook and went off to my latest dog-sitting gig, full of ideas for what I might add to the content. It seems the longer I teach, the more I realize how much I have to learn. The article sites I contribute to are goldmines of information, new perspectives, and advice on how to get from your first book-thought to your first book-signing. I read other people’s wisdom and find myself newly inspired. There is so much to share with aspiring authors who buy my book or sit in my classes.

Every time I revise what was once a pretty thin eight-and-a-half-by-eleven-inch workbook that focused primarily on how to write a book proposal, I add more to the other key aspects of writing, publishing, and promoting a nonfiction book. There are so many good books and so many experts, it’s a bit intimidating to publish what I want to say. Yes, it’s true; even veteran writers feel that way!

The first questions I ask myself are what do authors want to know? What are my students, clients, and book buyers asking me, and have I answered their questions in this book? I look for gaps in the text, and I find them. Why do I have to write a proposal? Do I need an agent? How do I find one? What should I send to a publisher? What is involved in writing a memoir? What’s the difference between POD publishing and self-publishing? And on and on.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a member of my writers’ group with her query letter to a publisher attached. “What do you think?” she wanted to know. “Let me get my thoughts together,” I wrote back and immediately set off on a research and writing journey that culminated in an article, as well as a new section for my book. This was undoubtedly much more than she ever wanted to know; but, when I tried to answer her question, I realized I didn’t really know enough about book query letters to do so.

The first edition of my little book was easy as pie to write; the second a little more difficult; and so on. It has taken me five editions to realize that the best way to learn about your subject is to write about it. I am dedicating this book — if I ever finish it — to my writers group, students, clients, and book buyers. Thank you all for continuing to ask questions I can’t answer without some serious thought.


Kim said...

It is fun to know I contributed to the next edition. I know you will finish it, and I can't wait to buy it!

Pat Berg said...

Thank you Bobbi for being so good at this. You are an inspiration to many.