Advice to would-be authors

What does it take to write a book?

I think this has to be the number one question I have been asked. The answer I tend to give to this question is:

  • You have something you want to say (a book needs loads of good ideas in it.)
  • A burning desire to say it.
  • What you say is something lots of people will benefit from reading.
  • An ability to easily write highly readable text. It is blindingly obvious what makes a good book great ideas written in a style that makes the book enjoyable to read.
  • You enjoy the mechanics of writing and revising. Writing a book is a very large endeavour. If you do not enjoy the mechanics of writing then you will find it very hard to complete the whole process.
  • Patience. I cannot believe how slow the whole process is. After years of research I started typing. My first book took over three years to get into print from the time I typed the first word. My second book was virtually complete when I approached Pearson Education and that took a year to get published, with everything going very smoothly.
  • Luck. Assuming you have written a good book (great ideas written in a good style) finding an agent and/or publisher is really hard. There are lots of really talented would-be authors chasing agents and publishers. The chances are that there are lots of books in a similar area to yours chasing the same publishers and agents. You just have to hope you find people who believe in your book (thanks Rachael and Sam). But, do not kid yourself, a lot of it comes down to luck.