Often I hear from people who learn I’m a writer that they are going to write a book someday. Many people may profess it, but few actually do it. I’ve read a variety of blogs and heard speakers tell of people sharing how everyone says their life should be a book and their story needs to be told to the world. Those bloggers and speakers share helpful hints with their audience on how to determine whether your message should be dispensed in book form.
Because most of my posts for the next two months are going to be reposts of my ten conference tips, I thought this subject blended well. Because at every conference there are people with a passion to get their story told but no idea how. They hope to find an agent or publisher to agree to publish it.
Is this a book of my heart?
There are many things that have happened in my life—true miracles. There are tragedies as well. None of which I have felt at the present are a book of my heart. Some of those experiences take form in some of my characters in my fictional world however. But if one or more of your life experiences burns in your heart to be told, then I’ll help you explore ways to accomplish this.
Let’s pretend for the sake of this blog post that I have had a wondrous experience, and every time I share it people insist I need to write a book. I’ve never written anything so I find the idea daunting. Yet, the thought takes root in my heart and won’t let go.
Let’s assume I know a writer. And I share my story and my desire to write a book. They smile politely and tell me to take some writing classes to learn the craft. I’m a little offended that they should suggest such a thing. After all, this story needs to be told. I don’t have time to waste on classes. Besides don’t publishers fix your mistakes?
So I attend a writer’s conference with the intent of finding an agent or publisher. I have a handwritten copy of my story and determination on my side. Okay, so maybe I have a typed copy, but it is single spaced. Perhaps I have a copy in 16-point font, single spaced on pink paper all neatly bound in a colorful cover. A few copies even. You see where I am going with this. No publisher or agent takes these kind of presentations seriously. There are industry standards which I will not discuss here.
Even though I strike out achieving my original goal, I make a connection. A writer hears my story and suggests I get a ghost writer. She connects me up with a fellow-writer. During a meeting he decides what I need is a writing coach to help bring my story to light.
This time I am joined at my conference lunch table by a magazine editor. I share my story and my battle plan for getting it published. He asks, “Have you ever consider writing an article about your experience.”
“But I want to write a book.” I declare. I am thinking a magazine article would not have the same impact.
“Our magazine has a circulation of 100,000. I’d love to publish your story.”
“Wow! I had no idea.”
Still another scenario
During a break I am trying to decide what class to take when I overhear someone singing the praises of the Speaker class. My curiosity is piqued and I attend. There I discover a new possibility. Speaking in various venues. I learn how to get the word out about the story I want to share. I immediately order all CDs.
Book form may not be the best way to get the story of your heart before your desired audience. At least not at first. A magazine has large readership and gives your story a great chance to be read by many more than you may get in book sales. The article or series of articles could get you the attention of a publisher and be the outline for a book. Again, learning the craft of article writing is a must.
Perhaps sharing your story in a speaker’s format is more effective. Some stories are best shared orally. These days it’s easy to place stuff on You Tube or create a podcast to share your story.
A writing coach or ghost writer might be the best way to get your message in book form quickly. Otherwise it is imperative to learn the craft of writing well. And that can take years.
Be aware that coaches and ghost writers do this for a living and will expect to be paid. It is worth every penny to give your story its best chance at sales. Many wonderful true stories which have soared to the best seller list were written for the individual by professional writers. Ninety Minutes in Heaven is a great example.
If you have a book in your heart, perhaps these tips will help you decide how you want to share it with the world.
I’d love to hear any questions from those who want to get their story out there. And if you’ve successfully shared your life experience to the masses, please tell us about it.
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