How to Get a Book Published
      In 10 not-so-easy steps

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5. Write the book

This seems obvious, but many people try to publish on the basis of a chapter and a proposal. That's possible if you're (1) an established author or (2) a recognized authority on your subject. Most people, though, will have to do the writing.

And that's a good thing. Writing is the best way to learn about your subject and to develop a more sophisticated understanding of it. Often you will find that a book develops in unexpected directions — be open to this.

At this stage you mainly want to get the book down. Make your way to the end and then see what you've got. Don't obsess about polish. Don't worry about whether it's good enough (it isn't — yet).

Don't obsess about formatting or length. Unless you are writing very strict genre fiction it's all about making it work, not hitting some magic number of words.

Most people slag off in the middle of the project. There's an excitement about beginning, and this will sustain you for a while. It's at the middle where you start to fear that you've painted yourself into a corner, that your work isn't good enough, that you will never finish. You've got to suck it up and work through this middle patch. When you hit the home stretch things will pick up again.

Consider nonlinear writing. In fiction, for example, you might want to start with a few key scenes and then fill in the gaps.

The most common cause of failure in writing is dropping out.

continue to step 6






Navigation — the 10-step plan:

1. Read
2. Examine your values
3. Learn about publishing
4. Research
5. Write
6. Rewrite
7. More research
8. Query
9. Submit
10. Persevere

back to the beginning

tom's list of recommended books for writers


glossary of book publishing terms

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