Why Write A Book?
a guest post by AJ Barnett
“Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast.”
– Logan Pearsall Smith –
Message, What Message
So you have a story deep inside, and its bubbling to get out. You simply must put it across to people. You are passionate about it. You’re convinced there’s an audience waiting to read it, and you’re intent on writing a book…
Wait! Is a book really the right vehicle for your message?
Will another medium be more suitable for your idea? Have you considered writing it as a short story, or an article? Or will it be better suited to a television documentary or radio play? Okay, I realise a book can serve as a prelude to one of these, but sometimes it’s better to aim for a different medium right from the outset, rather than try to wedge your grand idea into a book.
Why write a book? A book embraces between 50,000 and 250,000 words – a lot of time and effort. Not everyone can cope with writing so much on a subject – especially if they have no previous experience. The inspiration you believe will make a novel might actually only furnish sufficient words for a short story.
In The Swim
There’s little to be said for embarking on a writing career with a 100,000 word book as a first project. It’s rather like swimming the English Channel when you’ve never dipped your toes in water. Sometimes it’s prudent to start with lesser undertakings. Small assignments allow you to acquire a feel for words and how to handle them before embarking on a larger project. Why not learn to swim a length before swimming a mile?
Okay, so a few paragraphs in a local church magazine might not sound impressive – but you’ll finish it faster, and you’re more likely to get it published than a full length book. It will certainly be in print quicker than a book would. Writing a short piece of work will give you most of the stimulus and satisfaction of writing a long one – and you will finish it quicker and lose less, if your work isn’t accepted. So, why write a book at such an early stage in your writing life?
If you later decide to move on to larger projects, you’ll be furnished with evidence of your published material. Publishers prefer publishable writers.
Speculate to Accumulate.
College lecturers and researchers, accumulate status by publishing articles in academic journals. Poets work in much the same way. It’s unusual for poets to launch into publication in book form. Most poets begin by introducing poems in magazines and suchlike, and move onto anthologies before progressing to their own collections.
Do be circumspect and ask yourself why you want to write a book. Ask yourself whether you’re ready to write and sell a book, or whether you’d improve your chances by gaining experience, understanding, and respect, by writing on a smaller scale.
Read more posts from AJ Barnett on Tell Me A Story
Jenny is not related to Spanish artist, Juan Garcia. She has never heard of him, never met him, and certainly never been there before… So why does she vaguely recognize some of the rooms and smells?
It freaks her out when Juan bequeaths her the enormous villa in his Last Will and Testament… Especially when there is a painting of her in the entrance … and she is totally naked…
Without Reproach is romantic suspense, available from Amazon Kindle $2.99
Aside from Thea: I wrote a post about my motivation for one of my novels here. Feel free to check it out.