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writing a book

(45 Posts)
desjumeaux17 Sat 24-Aug-19 16:34:45

Has anyone here written a book and published it?
I have tried for sometime but just cant get past the half way mark. And if I do complete the story how can I publish it?

BradfordLass72 Sun 25-Aug-19 12:38:08

Yep, several. Random House published mine.

Writers work in different ways. Some prefer to get their notes all sorted, know what's happening from chapter to chapter before they even begin.

Others just write as the muse takes them and then edit and re-write until they are happy with the result.

A lot depends on whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction.

With the latter, you have to check and re-check all your research because sure as eggs is eggs, if you get something wrong, there'll be a reader out there who will spot it grin

Even in fiction you can fall on your face. I've lost count of the books where someone pulls out a revolver and it has a 'silencer' on it !!

Not so very long since I read a story in which someone was singing, 'Maybe its because I'm a Londoner'. Trouble was, the book was set 30 years before the song was written. Editor, publisher and author all at fault. Sloppy.

I ran creative writing classes for many years and most people wanted to be published. Just writing and learning the craft was not enough.

Very few of them would ever reach publishable standard because they thought they were already brilliant.
Many had been members of writing groups where they'd been told their abysmal prose was wonderful. So they were not interested in improving.

You have to work at writing, like any other craft, as very few people are good natural writers without doing the hard yards of practice first.

I began by writing stories, submitted articles to newspapers, then became a journalist on a local newspaper. Later had my own column in a glossy magazine; wrote comedy sketches for TV and so apprenticeship which helped me improve.

There are several writers and authors on Gransnet so I'm sure you'll get other perspectives.

Self-publishing is very easy these days - just start a blog smile Never pay anyone to publish your work.

Jane10 Sun 25-Aug-19 15:12:54

Why can't you get past the halfway mark? What stops you?
Before even thinking of publication, get it written!
Once written think of your market. Who is it for? What sort of book is it? Crime thriller, romance, social comedy etc etc. The previous post has lots of useful info especially the bit about not paying to publish!

kittylester Sun 25-Aug-19 16:40:35

My son wrote a book about his experiences have had a stroke. He self published.

SarahGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 26-Aug-19 07:13:35

Morning all,

Don't forget we are running our writing competition at the moment - it might be the motivation you need to finish your book!


Jane10 Mon 26-Aug-19 08:52:53

What writing competition is that? I don't like writing for competitions generally as so many of them are just money making rackets. I just write. If what I've written is bought then that's a good enough reward for me.

ElaineS Mon 26-Aug-19 09:40:26

Publishing your book couldn’t be easier nowadays. I have 8 novels, 2 novellas and 2 books of short stories published through Kindle (KSP). You can now also produce paperbacks through them, too.
The hardest part is the writing! There’s no point in finding out about publishing a book if you can’t finish writing it. What is it that stops you doing that? Does the story peter out? Are you unsure of how to develop the plot?
I would suggest you work on the story. Once you know whose story you are telling and where the story is going then just sit down and write it. Finish it! And then go back and edit and rewrite. But you have to write!
Good luck with it!

Maccyt1955 Mon 26-Aug-19 09:47:26

I am beginning a creative writing class this Autumn.
I hope I don’t get a cynical tutor like you ‘Bradford Lass’, making fun of students ‘who already thought they were brilliant’. Not very nice.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Mon 26-Aug-19 09:57:50

I've written a memoir about my life experiences and am editing it for the enth time.

It's readable but probably not saleable and that's another difficulty.

Many agents are looking for the next Harry Potter, Fifty Shades, etc because there's an obvious profit in them.

notentirelyallhere Mon 26-Aug-19 10:02:01

I did a very good creative writing course with Future Learn last year. It was fabulous seeing the range of creativity, getting ideas and exchanging with others.

However, there was one student who sticks in my mind, she rushed about commenting on other's work, full of confidence in her superior abilities but reading what she herself contributed made the heart sink. Unfortunately, you have to be able to take criticism to improve in the arts. I worked in publishing for years and a good editor is a treasure.

Many famous authors have struggled for years to get published. You have to keep going, keep writing, join a group, get feedback, be prepared to rewrite and rewrite. Find out how, to place your work if you are serious, the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook is good for this. And pray for good luck!

Sheilasue Mon 26-Aug-19 10:17:19

Glad that subject was bought up. I belong to a Monday get together group at our local community house. They ask if we have and ideas about people coming along an giving a talk.
I asked if a local author could come along and give us a talk on writing a book and to read a chapter of one of their novels.
I got a lot of interest and hoping they can get someone.

lovebooks Mon 26-Aug-19 10:27:55

Yes. I've been writing professionally for a very long time - first short stories for women's magazines, and much later, novels for children and Young Adults, with Walker Book, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette etc etc Still doing it in spite of the fact that I'm ANCIENT!

Decades ago, I did join a local writers' group, which I used to keep me working at a long adult novel by convincing myself I couldn't turn up at the weekly session without a full chapter tucked away. The woman who ran it became a friend, until she went back to America and we lost touch.

I have never self-published, but I have professional colleagues who have, and they are excellent writers. I have never entered a writing competition. As someone on here has already said, having a good editor is like gold dust, and I was amazingly lucky in that respect.

Join the Society of Authors - pricey, but worth it. If you're female, look into MsLexia, an excellent magazine for women writers. If you make it into traditional publishing, be prepared for book death, or being out of print - almost as devastating as an actual bereavement. Do it for the joy of doing it, with no expectations, is the healthier way to go. Good luck anyway.

holcott48 Mon 26-Aug-19 10:32:04

Try self publishing first. Amazon have great help pages. KDP. We my husband Peter and I have just published our first two “Autumn Daffodils” books about characters our age, Charlie and Joanna. He’s author and I’m admin! It looks daunting but is so interesting. Do definitely join ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors. They have a immensely helpful facebook page for answering questions, Members only. It’s worldwide and I’ve had SO much help and advice to seemingly trivial questions. Can be re content and publishing and marketing. Don’t give up please. Go for it. It’s fun! Carol Turnham

Annaram1 Mon 26-Aug-19 10:33:19

I have finished a book but it has not yet been published. I am currently working on getting an agent. My niece has published 9 novels for young adults, published by Amazon.
She self-published as it is very difficult to get an agent, as I am finding out. She has sold a lot of books and has a dedicated following, judging by her website.

There are good writing courses online. I have tried a British one, Jericho Writers, and also an American one, The Write Practice. Both cost around £30 a month. I have just started The Write Practice, which makes you write as it demands a certain commitment and homework each month. I think its called The Hundred Day Book. You get some money back if you manage to fulfil your commitments and get your book finished in 100 days. I am not advocating one over the other. Both help with ideas etc. There are no writing groups in my area, which is why I chose an online course. You probably have to pay something to go to a local evening class but I have no idea what,
Good luck, and do NOT pay Austin Macauley or any other vanity publisher to publish your book. There is a lot about them online too, see "Austin Macauley and Victoria Strauss" for example.

GrannyAnnie2010 Mon 26-Aug-19 10:47:24

Maccyt, what words would you use to describe someone 'who already thought they were brilliant’?

b1zzle Mon 26-Aug-19 11:23:15

I self-published all four of mine through Publish Nation (contact Gwen). They were brilliant. Best remedy for getting past the halfway mark is to walk away from it for a while (always with a notebook and pencil in hand!). Don't even think about it and if you're meant to finish it, the words will come. Eventually. You may have to wait a while for the inspiration to come through, but it'll be worth it and that feeling of holding your first published book in your hand is incomparable!

b1zzle Mon 26-Aug-19 11:25:44

PS. It always pays to have it edited once you get to the end and I can recommend Tony Fyler and Jefferson Franklin. It costs, mind you, but it's definitely well worth it.

Missiseff Mon 26-Aug-19 11:35:33

What if you need an illustrator? How do you find one? Can you still self -publish? And if you do self - publish, how do you go about selling your book? And if you want to go down the traditional publishing route, do you HAVE to have an agent? And do you try & get one first? confused

Jane10 Mon 26-Aug-19 11:38:09

Good advice here. Bradfordlass's comments were spot on. I didn't think she was cynical, just speaking from experience.
People do seem to want to write about their own life experiences but it's important to remember that there's most likely a very small market for it. Not being nasty just passing on what my publisher told me.
Publishing is all about money these days. Writing a book is only the start of a long complicated process. Good copy editors and editors are vital.
Re the Society of Authors, one has to have been published before they can join. It's not too expensive though and they offer a lot including good public liability insurance for author talks and events and membership of ALCS which collects royalties from secondary sources.
I think there is a difference between writing for pleasure and writing as a business.

dragonfly46 Mon 26-Aug-19 11:44:06

My FiL discovered radar during the war with Watson Watt. In 1946 he travelled around the world setting up radar stations. After that they had a lot of contacts in Scandinavia with the Atomic Energy company and made many important friends. He was also in the South Pacific when they tested the Atom bomb. My MiL wrote a book about her life and what it was like living with a boffin.
We self-published but had to keep getting more copies as more and more people wanted one.

Disgruntled Mon 26-Aug-19 11:48:45

I recently sent a synopsis of my manuscript to Hay House, but they rejected it because I have no social media presence.

Jane10 Mon 26-Aug-19 12:44:48

Yes. Twitter account and Facebook help as does having your own website/blogsite.
Do you have more than a synopsis? Is the book written?

Maccyt1955 Mon 26-Aug-19 12:51:42

Sorry if I sounded critical...but I found the post a bit depressing. Yes, there are bound to be people who think they know it all and so on...but not great to have this pointed out by a tutor..who in my opinion should remain neutral
I am not posting anything else.

notanan2 Mon 26-Aug-19 13:01:03

Im sorry but I would want my course fees back if a tutor "remained neutral"

Authoress Mon 26-Aug-19 14:08:07

Yes, lots smile Just get a first draft down on paper. The first draft is for your eyes only, and is only there to give you some raw material to shape in the editing process.
The secret to finishing is to do some writing-related activity every single day - but not to make that commitment seem overwhelming. Try making an absolute promise to yourself that you'll write for just 15 mins a day. If a day is so busy/stressful that 15 mins is all you can manage, that's fine; but on other days, you'll get lost in it, and it could be hours.
Then when it's done, it's straightforward to publish it; marketing it is the problem for most authors. I run a little business helping people to self-publish, and I have a free PDF showing you the things that need to be considered; if you're interested, PM me and I'll send you the link.