Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why I Write

It was suggested to me that I write a blog describing the process of developing and publishing my book. As this topic really doesn't fit in with the content of my other blogs, I thought it would be better to form a new one.

I suppose like most people I have always wanted to write a book. In my mind's eye, it would be a book for children on the process of composting. My husband and I own a commercial composting facility, and as I spoke to classrooms it quickly became apparent that there are no good books for kids on the subject.

Time passed, and though I took a class on writing for children, the composting book just never jelled for me. I became interested in researching the history of our home as it neared its 100th birthday. I wanted to obtain the coveted Century Home plaque awarded by our local historical society. Thinking it would be a cake walk, I headed to the local library for information, and then to the county government center. Long story short, it took three years and ultimately a trip to Chicago to find answers to the questions of who our house had been built for, and in what year. Determined to remove the frustration and put the fun into house history research, I decided to write a book to help others discover the stories of their houses.

The best thing that I did was sign up for a community college class on how to write, publish and promote a non-fiction book. Then I signed up for the follow-up class. Bobbi Linkemer's classes were just the thing I needed to get my book organized and on track. The second best thing I did was to write my book proposal. I was well aware that due to the limited audience for my book, a traditional publisher would probably not be interested in it. So, why would I need a book proposal, you might ask. The answer is quite simple - the book proposal makes you think about you book from another perspective. Why are you writing this book? Is there really a market for this book? What other books are out there on your subject? And why are you the best person to tell the story?

The book proposal is work, no question about it. But, as Bobbi reminded us, everything you do for the proposal will be used by you again in and for the book. It is not a waste of time. I just can't understand why anyone would write a book without doing the proposal research first. Why would you put all the effort and expense into a book only to find out there is no market for it? The exception to all this, of course, is if the author is writing the book only for him or herself, or to share with family. Obviously if you have no intentions of selling your book, there is no need to write a proposal.

More on the book next time...

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