Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A writer's good friend - the Internet

I'm really excited to be connecting with you about this very important part of me - Writing. It's what I feel strongly about and would like to discuss as many aspects of it as possible in the hope that I am able to reach out to some of you who wish to publish your own books/articles. Some years ago, I wrote an ebook titled 'Positive Thoughts for Writers'. I sold it to an online publisher called Echelon Press. The company has since expired from the realm of the Internet, though I still have one hard copy of my work left. But so many of the steps that I took to reach my goal (at the time) were significant. I learned a great deal, as you often do, from varied experiences as you get through the Writing Life.

  • Don't be afraid to explore new forms. The tried and true are always there, but with this wonderful entity aka Internet, one can do so much these days.

  • There is no substitute for actually writing. The Internet can, and should be used as a tool. It shouldn't be an end, merely the means to an end. You can spend days and days looking up obscure references about the mating habits of lemurs, for instance, but unless you actually craft an article about lemurs, it's of no use.

  • Not all online publishers are legit. I can't emphasize this point enough. Check out the company thoroughly before you commit your work to one of them. Read between the lines. Anyone can, one fine day, open up a 'Publishing House' in cyberspace. Check their past work, who the main 'publisher' is, and what his/her credentials are.

  • Keep your copyright to yourself. Don't be fooled into gifting it away.

More later.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stages of a book - part 1

I've just completed my second book, 'Champions of Women's Rights - Leading Canadian Women and their Battles for Social Justice'. It is to be published by Formac Lorimer Publishers in Toronto, and should be out next month, my editor tells me.

Some friends have asked me repeatedly how I go about writing a book. So here goes:

The whole process begins with thinking about a tiny germ of an idea. For instance, I love history and was pondering the major movements, let's say, under the broad headings of Canada, Immigration, Women.

Starting from this seed, I began doing preliminary readings to determine if there was any interesting shoot that could be developed to flourish on its own. In other words, I had to come up with a thesis that had legs (enough to write about 30,000 words).

Next, I ventured into more structured reading, and reached a conclusion, a marriage of my interests and practicality of a feasible project. So I drew up a proposal to pitch to the publisher.

Then the waiting begins - for their verdict. That is nerve wracking. Remember, this is the first step only, in this entire process.

When I wrote my proposal for the Champions book, it was completely different from the finished product that the reader will see. The acquistions editor urged me to refine my idea and then we had a deal.

Thus began the work of reading, reading and more reading! To write one book, you read at least 20. And that's the bare minimum.

Will write the following steps in my next entry.
Till then, goodbye.