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seasons
Neophyte
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I don't know where else to post this; I figured body and SOUL (the part I am writing for) would be appropriate. I would LOVE, absolutely love to write a book, however, ideas are few and far between. I also don't know if you can get a book published as a college student/without a degree or background in English.

Does anyone know anything about writing and publishing?

Posts: 39 | From: The United States | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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The long and the short of most publishing right now is that you have to show a publisher two things:

1) That you're capable of writing a book (it is a very grueling process and is about a lot more than just doing the writing: plenty of doing a published book is actually quite soul-sucking rather than soul-nourishing), and
2) That your book/writing will sell. Publishing houses need to have a good idea that the time and money they will invest will be a worthwhile investment for them.

So, if you haven't yet, the first thing to do is to get some things published somewhere, be that articles, short stories, what have you, in magazines, newspapers, other anthologies, websites, the works. In other words, you need clips and a resume first.

Someone getting a book contract with no professional writing experience before is incredibly rare, and usually only in situation where a person has had a high level of notoriety in another field before. Even with those clips, as a new writer, you may need an agent to help get your ideas to a publisher in the first place: "cold calls" don't tend to go very far with most publishers anymore unless a person is an established writer, and even then, it's tough.

After you do that, you do need a solid idea about your book (including why others will buy/read it) and a solid, well-presented book proposal. A good proposal will usually include things like an outline, a few sample chapters, some demographics on who the book is for and why the idea is compelling as well as a pitch for why you're an excellent author for them to work with and a list of your other published work.

You can't just come to a publisher and say you want to write a book, but you don't know what you want to write about. You need a fleshed-out, specific topic and a good sell on why they should choose to publish you and your work.

[ 06-08-2008, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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orca
Scarleteen Volunteer
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It never hurts to take some writing classes, too. Writing well doesn't tend to be a natural born talent, but rather something that you have to work on and develop, just like any other talent. A few basic writing classes would be a great start, especially some workshop classes where the other students will read and critique your work, which will help you to figure out if you are accomplishing what you hope to accomplish with your writing. A class on publishing would be especially important for you if your main goal is publishing. You could probably take some classes at a community college or community center, or if you are in college or starting soon, then you could select writing as a major or minor.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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