Requirements for Writing a Book

by | Nov 10, 2021

As a child I read the classic book Little Women and it gave me a romanticized vision in my head of what being an author would be like: a little outside the norm, with frequent bouts of self-exile pleasantly spent in the attic writing and getting great satisfaction and reward for my efforts. For anyone who has actually worked on a substantial length writing project, that naive view of the writing project is laughable. The frustration of sentences and paragraphs that just won’t mirror what’s in my mind’s eye is maddening. But after a time and many re-writes, the satisfaction does finally show up.

Moreover, after 15 years of helping authors publish, I know that a successful book that you can be proud of requires not just the effort of writing, but also the quite different skill set of publishing.

First, the writing part. You must have an interesting and engaging Big Idea or theme for your book that will be intriguing to a targeted and identifiable audience of potential readers. Then you must either have the expertise, research, or resources to write the book yourself, write it with help from a developmental editor, or hire a ghostwriter to whom you will supply your expertise, research, and resources. Then there’s general editing, re-working polishing, proofing and all that. Of course. But that is still only part of the puzzle.

Second, you must get your book into the world: a process collectively known as publishing. It’s a ubiquitous umbrella term that encompasses design, (also known as book packaging), manufacturing, distribution and marketing. Like writing, you can do this yourself or hire any number of experts, coaches or companies to help with this, but to make informed choices, you need to learn a good bit about it all.

I often tell my authors that writing a book is like starting a business. You’re developing, designing, manufacturing, distributing, marketing and selling a product, for which people pay you money. I think if we check with the IRS, yes, that definitely qualifies as a business. And successful businesses rarely operate in isolation. Business is a team sport. Evaluate your strengths, and find others to fill in what you lack. If I can help you through Vision Run Publishing, it would be my pleasure.