Have you ever written a book?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Big D 51, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Big D 51 macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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    #1
    Hi,

    I hope all is well. I am considering writing a book so I was curious of how many others on MR has written or thought of writing a book. I am assuming a lot of people think about it, but never go through with it; however, I could be wrong. It would be interesting to see.

    If you did author a book, did you create a complete draft then hire a ghost writer to clean it up? How did you go about creating the book and publishing it? Any comments or advice would be great.
     
  2. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #2
    Do you have any background in writing or know any fundamentals about writing structure, narrative, plot, theme, subtext, juxtaposition etc? Cause if not you're in for a MAJOR uphill battle.
     
  3. waloshin macrumors 68040

    waloshin

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  4. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #4
    I have not written a book; however, at roughly 35,000 words/120 pages, my undergrad thesis was in novella territory (though non-fiction). Written over the course of 20 weeks, my own strict deadlines were invaluable. I told my advisor I needed deadlines to keep me focused, and he set firm dates for each section. The strictness, while painful to a serial procrastinator, ensured that I wrote, wrote and wrote more. Whether or not I felt that what I was writing was perfect, I had to push forward to get each section done on time.

    I ignored my initial instinct to stop occasionally and 'develop my ideas'. In fact, I credit my hurried pace for the cohesiveness of the final product: everything I'd written was always so fresh in my head that I was able to jump between sections, moving, deleting, reworking and fleshing out paragraphs. Sometimes I'd alternate writing sentences in three or four different paragraphs at once, bouncing between them as ideas came to me. The fact that I was so rushed kept me involved to a degree I never would have been otherwise, and my frenzied pace kept the material so fresh that I never had to pick up from where I left off.

    I've toyed with writing a book, and while I might not set such vicious deadlines, I'd probably follow a similar strategy. I prefer to get something on the page, then make dramatic and sweeping changes if necessary, than to agonize about the details before I even prove to myself that I can write it. In the meantime I like to write short stories to explore different ways of telling a story and play with ideas to see if they have legs.
     
  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #5
    I've written a few long emails and forum posts. Sometimes I even need twitlonger!
     
  6. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Yes, a few novellas, though never had an interest in publishing them.
     
  7. Badradio macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I wrote a book a couple of years ago and put it out myself. I did a small print run, as ebooks were still getting started, but now most of my sales are via ebooks. If you're planning to write something very "mainstream" and saleable, you could get a traditional publishing deal, but the chances of getting a deal on something with a smaller target audience are very slim right now, so self-publishing might be the way to go.

    As for process, I wrote the first draft and then had a few friends give me feedback, and one edited it for me. If you don't have any talented editor friends, it's worth paying someone to do it. Another designer friend did my cover art.

    A ghost writer is someone who'll write the whole book for you and let you put your name on it for a large fee, so that's probably not what you're looking for.
     
  8. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #9
    As opposed to somebody else's autobiography?

    Good you picked your favorite topic.:rolleyes: ;) :D
     
  9. Firestar macrumors 68020

    Firestar

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    #10
    Yes. I've started three books, two of them are chain books with my friends (which I'm pretty sure are going to stay uncompleted), and one that I'm doing myself and I'm still writing. I have absolutely no plan to publish them, however. I only write because I find it enjoyable.
     
  10. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #11
    Post it!
     
  11. pivo6 macrumors 68000

    pivo6

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    #12
    I'd like to see it too, although I can't remember you posting a thread asking if you should write an autobiography. I imagine it would just be a story about a guy who couldn't make his own decisions.
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Yes. I have written a book, and yes, it was published, and yes, in its field (history) it actually sold well.
     
  13. Big D 51, Dec 23, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011

    Big D 51 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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    #14
    Honestly, I really don't. That was the reason for considering hiring a ghost writer. I was going to draft the document the best I can then hand it over to the ghost writer.

    Great input and congratulations on your ebooks. As you mentioned, ebooks may be the more reasonable route for me. I guess time will tell. I don't mind paying money to have it published though, but it may be a we waste as more people are going digital. The only reason I was considering a ghost writer was due to my lack of writing experience. The book will be on topic that will involve a lot of research. I was going to do all the research, and draft the document the best I can. From there, let the ghost writer turn my work into a book. I am not sure if this makes sense, but this is what I am thinking.

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

    Ouch. lol :p

    Congratulations on your accomplishments.
    ___________________________________________________

    @EVERYONE: Thank you for all the replies as usual. It is great to have a place like MR to discuss topics like this with people all over the world. I know this may seem weird, but to me it is about reaching all my goals. For quite some time, I have always wanted to write a book. If I don't go through with this, later on in life I will regret not doing it. It does not have to be a best seller. It is about reaching all goals in life.

    With my experience, it is looking like hiring a ghost writer will be the best route for me if I want to publish a decent book. I am going to do all the research over the next few years and put together my best draft. From there, hire a ghost writer to take it over to polish things up. I am up for spending a decent amount of money on publishing. I have no idea what the cost would be; therefore, publishing as an ebook may be the best decision.

    Thanks again for all the replies. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas (or whatever your belief may be).
     
  14. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #15
    Good plan, if you've got a decent idea then a ghost writer can really help you flesh out how it would best fit a given structure.

    Good luck to you and keep us updated how it progresses :)
     
  15. Liquinn Suspended

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    Apr 10, 2011
    #16
    I'm thinking on writing a book but how long does it have to be?
     
  16. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #17
    Never written a book but I've created stories and worlds for games. I'm working on an artbook to go with one of them, but nothing more than that yet.

    Silly thing= Ever since I was a kid I was mistold and later evolved the story of a popular opera. I fully believed it was verbatim until earlier this year (I'm 25 now, so this is a 20 year effort!). Girlfriend slapped me with a derp-stick but also said we should write it out, because it was slightly great. Really tempted to go through with it - work permitting.
     
  17. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #18
    The idea that you need talent to be a writer is bunk. Just ask Stephenie Meyer.

    To paraphrase Stephen King, just come up with a good story and tell it. That's the important part.
     
  18. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #19
    I haven't written a book per se, but I do tend to do a lot of scientific writing.

    On a yearly basis:

    6-10 papers that are roughly 40-50k words with 6-12 figures.
    Several grants which are 20-30 pages with different formats but similar in length.
    Heavily reworking undergraduate/graduate theses (usually 100-150 pages in length)
    Small other stuff (short essays, etc...)
    So roughly somewhere between 500-1000 pages/year depending on what's required.
    I'm also working on a synopsis of my last 3-5 years or work which should weight in at roughly 3-500 or so pages.

    During all of this I have found several things out that are absolutely critical to produce this volume:

    1. What's the reason? Passion is essential. Hatred/angst will work as well. Just doing it because "I've always wanted to" isn't a good reason unless you're OK with producing a mediocre product. Personally, I think a "ghost writer" is kinda weak as it detracts from your input. However, I would establish a network of friends/colleagues/people in a similar position (with similar passions?) to read your work and PROVIDE CRITICISM/CRITICAL INPUT. A person who doesn't understand your vision/passion/angst is useless here.

    2. Once the first compilation of the work in completed, you're about half-way done. Half to produce the initial text/figures, then another 50% to get it ready for submission/serious consideration. Most people are shocked by this. Here, I guess that you could hire someone to finish it, but I don't like letting hired people into my creative process.

    3. You need to have a schedule. Is this a side project? Is this your "life's work?" Is this fun and you don't care if you complete it? Personally, I need to set aside a few hours per day to write (realistically, I need to produce 2-5 submission quality pages/day every weekday for an entire year to reach my goal.) I find that if I get up at 4am and make coffee and watch the news for an hour or so, that by 5am I can write for 3 hours until 8am, then have a normal workday until between 5 and 8pm. Without these few dedicated hours per day, it would be patchwork writing and would be not so useful. Maybe start with a dedicated hour or two per day.

    There was a great article in The Guardian about Haruki Murakami and how he does it, here (I found it quite inspiring and 1Q84 well worth the read):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/14/haruki-murakami-1q84

    4. Have fun. It's easy to forget this. But remain serious. Without seriousness, nothing would get accomplished. In addition, really busy people get much more done, because they don't relax. A classic example is Crime and Punishment, which was written to pay off a debt and was essentially uncorrected (i.e. published as written once through with no revisions).

    Good luck and I hope this helps!
     
  19. Big D 51, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    Big D 51 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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    #20
    Fantastic post. Thank you.
     
  20. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

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    #21
    np. When you're comfortable, you could let us know why you want to write a book. My guess is that you wouldn't be alone, at all, in what your reasons are.

    perhaps you should start a MR writing club ... there are several novella writing clubs and I know several people that participated in this when I was at a uni in the US.

    http://www.nanowrimo.org/

    A Nanonovel or something similar is what I think they called it.
     
  21. Big D 51, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    Big D 51 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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    #22
    Another great post, thank you.

    My reasons for writing the book is to help others be successful in life, and it has been something I wanted to do for quite some time. I can care less if I make a dime. I am even under the impression that I will loose money on this deal, but that is ok with me. I have been fortunate enough to work beside many vice presidents and presidents of a large global company at a young age (26 right now). Without spilling too many beans, I am interviewing people to learn what has made them successful (including what I have learned along the way) hoping young motivated people can apply it to there life.

    I appreciate the link and I will definitely look into it. It will be a ways away before I am able to really get a decent draft together (5 or so probably) due to all the interviews and research that will be required. In addition, hopefully I will be blessed to more success in life by allowing me access to more interviews and advanced people.

    To reiterate again, it's just something I have always thought about doing. I look at life as an adventure. In this adventure, I plan to reach all my goals and do anything that ever crosses my mind which includes this book. It does not have to be a best seller. It may be a dust collector; however, if I write it then I will feel as if I stuck to being true to myself in my adventure. If I don't, I may look back as I get older and wish it was something I should have done. I want to live without as many regrets as possible.
     
  22. TheGenerous macrumors 6502a

    TheGenerous

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    #23
    On the charlie rose show there are many writers describing how they made it.
    You can watch tons of interviews there, even by the topic "writing"
     
  23. Big D 51 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

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    #24
    Fantastic. I will definitely do this. Thank you for the post.
     
  24. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #25
    Oh dear god.
     

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