• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

I want to write a book  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 622
Location: Soutwest Ohio
114
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am a little late jumping in here, but having been published and working my way slowly towards being an author full-time, I can hopefully lend useful insights. I'd say that one of the things you absolutely have to remember is that everyone's first draft is garbage. If they say otherwise, they are either lying to themselves or are trying to publish something below their potential. The first draft isn't about being any good. Your first draft is about getting all of those creative and interesting ideas onto paper. If you try to edit and write at the same time, it bogs everything down. You'll be far less creative and you'll often decide the whole thing is garbage and chuck it into a fire. Sound familiar?

Only after you've piled words onto paper and completed your first draft do you try to edit. From here, you cut words away like a deranged madman in a horror movie. Anything that repeats, pitch it. Anything that doesn't make sense? Cut it away and replace it. Find strange wordings or confusing sections? Cleave them from the text and heal it over with a better wording. Don't just rely on an outside editor here. There are different types of editors, but the one you are most likely going for will be a line editor. Don't expect them to catch everything though. Some of the independent ones won't adjust wordings, instead just fixing grammar issues. Find one who has experience with books you know and thought were well edited and who will not stop at grammar. Find one who also looks for ways to improve the overall text flow.

When in doubt, you should also do your own editing. Since most people aren't very good at editing their own work (even people who work as editors) thanks to too much familiarity, I suggest using the following two sites; Hemmingway App and Grammarly. Hopefully all of this information proves to be helpful to you.
 
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You guys are brilliant!  Thank you so much for helping me build the courage needed to move forward with this.

I think I've finished my initial email introduction to the publisher.  I actually used a bunch from something I wrote earlier that I would have tossed if someone hadn't bossed me into not throwing it on the fire.

Question: How many words do you think "a one or two page overview" is?  I'm guessing 300 to700.  More importantly, how long is an attention span?  I'm at 607 words for my introduction to the publisher on what my book is about and why I am the one to write it.  I'm wondering if I should try to cut it down more.
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 622
Location: Soutwest Ohio
114
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
250 words per page if it is double spaced, 500 otherwise. That assumes 12 point font of course. You're lucky in doing non-fiction, as the work doesn't need finished before attempting a proposal. With that said, you might consider finding an agent rather than going to the publisher directly. An enthusiastic agent can net you way more advance than you could ever hope to get on your own and they will have a lot more sway with publishers as well. At the very least, please take some time to look up 'nonfiction proposal letters'. Familiarity with the common structures will improve your chances of gaining interest. Good luck moving forward! Glad you're feeling encouraged.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm feeling discouraged and disappointed in myself right now. 

I've done as much of the background as I can.  I even got in touch with an author and asked her a bit about her publisher.  What's the experience like?  Why did you choose that publisher?  Her answers were thought provoking.  The publisher guided her through the process from idea to book.  I'm glad to hear that the publishers are so helpful, especially at connecting the writer with an editor that both knows the subject and is good with language.  It's interesting that some publishers demand their money back if the royalties don't make enough.  I would rather have a smaller advance than have to pay the money back if my book is a failure.

Her publisher is one I'm considering getting in touch with because 1) they publish books something like mine will be, and 2) they are excellent to work with when we do book promotions here on permies.  I haven't gotten in touch with them yet because several of the books I've read by then have spelling errors that I can pick up.  That's concerning to me.  

She suggested that self-publishing is the way to go if one wants to make a living writing.  So we talked about this a bit.  I told her about my concerns and my lack of confidence, and we both felt that a publisher was the right path for me.

One of the things a publisher wants to know is if this book will sell well.  I wonder what ways I could gather together potential buyers to show there is interest out there.



What has me discouraged is myself and to a lesser extent, the universe. 

I want to get the draft done so I can start editing this winter and get it out there late winter or early spring.  Possibly an overly optimistic timeline as I have no idea what happens after the draft.  The way to get this done is to start writing and trust that the right publisher will appear at the right time. 

Yesterday, I had my thoughts all lined up, picked a chapter to write, turned off the internet and phone, put some paper in the typewriter and with a deep breath, stretched my arms and looked up at the window.  Out the window, a bald eagle dived in the sky.  Eagles are beautiful creatures, especially when hunting.  Incredibly fast and if you are ever on the receiving end of their dive, it sounds (and feels) just like a freight train (don't ask how I know this).  And then I saw it's prey, Miss Lemon, my 'hugmonster' chicken.  Miss Lemon, who won't go to bed at night until she has a hug from me.  She pecks at the door each night until I come out and pick her up.  She chatters about her day, then squirms a bit to indicate she's ready to trot on off to bed. 

Well, the story ends sadly.  No more hugs from my beautiful buff hen, Miss Lemon. 

Today, I've been shut in the house due to rain.  I've tried to write but can't get my thoughts together making me even more frustrated with myself.

I've got to shatter this funk before it takes hold.  No more procrastinating, it's time to write.
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 622
Location: Soutwest Ohio
114
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

It's interesting that some publishers demand their money back if the royalties don't make enough.  I would rather have a smaller advance than have to pay the money back if my book is a failure.



This is generally spelled out in the contract. More often than not, they don't offer an advance they aren't reasonably sure they can cover by book sales though. In fiction, at least, the requirement to pay them back is rare. Instead, it just usually impacts the advance offered on subsequent books with /any/ other publisher. At least that's my own experience and research.

Her publisher is one I'm considering getting in touch with because 1) they publish books something like mine will be, and 2) they are excellent to work with when we do book promotions here on permies.  I haven't gotten in touch with them yet because several of the books I've read by then have spelling errors that I can pick up.  That's concerning to me. 



Those two points are excellent ones. Having a publisher who does similar work and who you can get excited about is important. It's possible they are using the British English spellings, though you'd probably be able to figure that out quickly enough. Depending on the number of errors, it may not be that unusual. Invariably some errors will make it into a book. No copyeditor is perfect, nor the author, nor the editor, etc. It might also be that they only employ a line editor and not a copyeditor. I've heard some publishers cut costs by only employing one or the other, though I've not encountered it. If you aren't great at self editing (most people aren't, even editors) then your best bet is to use something like Grammarly I mentioned above. It has a free option that will catch most spelling and grammar issues. No matter who the publisher is, you'd then have a mostly cleaned up work to send them that doesn't need a strong copyeditor to clean.

She suggested that self-publishing is the way to go if one wants to make a living writing.  So we talked about this a bit.  I told her about my concerns and my lack of confidence, and we both felt that a publisher was the right path for me.

One of the things a publisher wants to know is if this book will sell well.  I wonder what ways I could gather together potential buyers to show there is interest out there.



Self-pub is awesome, but has pitfalls too. The most successful self-pubs I have seen have one of two things going. First is they may have already built a small following through traditional publishing. The second are those who have taken a lot of personal time to promote themselves through various social media, blogs, vlogs, promos, etc, while also publishing a steady stream of books.

I want to get the draft done so I can start editing this winter and get it out there late winter or early spring.  Possibly an overly optimistic timeline as I have no idea what happens after the draft.  The way to get this done is to start writing and trust that the right publisher will appear at the right time.



The best laid plans are often wrong. If you're interested, I can help you work out what a reasonable schedule is for you. It would involve figuring out your writing pace, a reasonable schedule and accounting for things like research and prep. Just hit me up with a PM if you'd like.

Well, the story ends sadly.  No more hugs from my beautiful buff hen, Miss Lemon.



I'm sorry to hear about your lost hen. Sounds like it would be something that really brings your emotions down.

I've tried to write but can't get my thoughts together making me even more frustrated with myself.

I've got to shatter this funk before it takes hold.  No more procrastinating, it's time to write.



I can't recall, did you already do a full outline or just a basic draft outline? Many people find that a full outline and knowing an exact road map for each day dramatically improves their ability to chug forward.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

  It's possible they are using the British English spellings...



Actually, they publish in US English, for the most part.   As much as I want my book to have British or Canadian spelling, I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll lose that battle.  Even Canadian publishers use American spelling now. 

The books they published that are closest to my topic all seem to have decent spelling.  It's just some of the other areas that I noticed aren't as polished as I like.  I'm told that they match the editor with the subject matter and I infer that the editor for textiles is very good with spelling and grammar. 

They are just one of three publishers that I think would be good for this book.  Another publisher is a bit big and... um... assertive when I've dealt with them for other things.  I'm not confident a small fry like myself would be able to create the best book working with such a large company.  The third, I'm told, is absolutely lovely but I don't know if I'm good enough for them.


I can't recall, did you already do a full outline or just a basic draft outline? Many people find that a full outline and knowing an exact road map for each day dramatically improves their ability to chug forward.



I've got the basic outline and a moderately filled in outline done.  Only about one to two paragraphs per chapter plus point-form notes.  It's enough for me to work from.

There's two chapters/sections that I still need to research, but I've got a timeline for learning that and some teachers.  It should be done by fall.  That's why I set early winter for my target to write the first draft.  Perhaps foolish, but arbitrary timelines help me.  I'll write what I know in the meantime. 


The best laid plans are often wrong. If you're interested, I can help you work out what a reasonable schedule is for you. It would involve figuring out your writing pace, a reasonable schedule and accounting for things like research and prep.



I want to dedicate 1 to 3 hours a day, at least 5 days a week to writing and editing this.  At that rate, I think I can have something like a second draft (about the skill of what I write in a forum of blog post) ready by new years.  If I get a laser printer, I can read what I write on paper instead of a screen,  I could probably have it in the early winter or late fall. 

I don't know what happens next and I need to stop imagining and worrying about it.  I'm not there yet, it's just another distraction. 



All that is dependent on me getting past this preliminary procrastination and getting words on paper while I have momentum.  I had the chapter worked out yesterday.  It wouldn't come out of me today, but I wrote some crappy stuff for half an hour to unclog my brain.  I just need to try again tomorrow when I'm less sad about my chicken
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've started. 
Finally, I'm past the starter's and writing meat and potato, main course kind of stuff.
Feeling better now. 
It's midnight and I really need to get my four hours sleep before my early start tomorrow.  I'll have to wait until tomorrow to type it into the computer.

But you know? It's really is no more difficult than writing a paper in uni.  Write until the mindblock is clear, then write the good stuff.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Both computer and typewriter were difficult to get the word-flow going.  On the computer, my thoughts jumble together in their rush to get out.  The typewriter forces me to slow down and focus on structure.  Neither was giving me results I could be happy with. 

Instead, I dug out my fountain pen and some blue black ink.  This is going great.  This writing has personality and enough structure to mould into my vision when I type it into the computer.   But my muscles aren't used to writing by hand anymore and my hand cramps before my mind is ready to stop writing for the day.

I need to learn some arm strengthening exercises so I can build up some stamina.
 
gardener
Posts: 2024
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
199
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I've been toying with the idea of writing a much less in-depth book and I still don't have any idea if I'd be able to finish something like that in a year, much less a month or two.  That being said, I feel like from what I've seen on the forums you're a little bit more focused than I am.

  Me too.   I think these points might be true of many, Micheal.  R Ranson is a driven person. 

So is that deadline to get this done in a month your deadline R, or did someone else give it to you?  If it is yours, then you need to relax and get some sleep and not let it overwhelm you.  If it is from the outside, and you are set on making this imposed deadline work for you, then you need to manage your time better outside of writing... which might mean canceling or delaying other commitments, as you said. 

Either way, if you need sleep, then you need sleep, and the quality of your work will drop off if you don't get that recovery.

On a different note, this topic should not be in meaningless drivel.  It is anything but meaningless.  It is your project, and should be in your project page.   Just sayin'   Good luck and take care of yourself. 

I
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2024
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
199
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi hugelkultur solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

  But my muscles aren't used to writing by hand anymore and my hand cramps before my mind is ready to stop writing for the day.

I need to learn some arm strengthening exercises so I can build up some stamina.

I had tennis elbow bad from work and the physio said it would be 6 months before I could lift stuff properly.  I cured it in two months.  I did some reading online, and followed her advice.  But I am dedicated to the project of rehab.

Your hand and lower arm muscles are meant to have repeated small contractions and releases and not be under constant tension.  You will damage your tendons if your arm and hand muscles are not stronger.  You need to take small breaks and to some tension and relaxation.  Do this while brainstorming an idea, or formulating some thoughts.

As far as arm/hand strengthening exercises, I would suggest getting one of those spongy rubber balls that are sold for people to relieve stress.  Pump/crush the little ball as rapidly and completely as you can until you cant.  Switch hands... and then switch hands again.  After two rounds, take a short rest laying the hands on your lap, maybe 5 minutes total including the sets of reps.  Then go back to writing.

While this link takes you to a site about tennis elbow, I'm sure you can figure out ways to make it work for you.

There are some really great exercises for your arms Here.

I don't know what you are writing with, but, considering the volume you are putting out,  I would also suggest buy the best most fluid flowing pen you can find at a high quality stationary/print shop. 

When ending your day, pour a basin full of hot water (that is just cool enough that you can easily rest the thin skin on the top of your hand in it), and another that is full of cold water with ice cubes in it.  Immerse your arms in the hot bin with your cellphone stopwatch going.  Time out at 3 minutes and put in the cold bin for 1 minute.  Back and forth for three rounds (12 minutes), and then sit with your arms in your lap or elevated, or just go to bed. This will super relax your hands and arms.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto pokachinni wrote:

So is that deadline to get this done in a month your deadline R, or did someone else give it to you?  If it is yours, then you need to relax and get some sleep and not let it overwhelm you.  If it is from the outside, and you are set on making this imposed deadline work for you, then you need to manage your time better outside of writing... which might mean canceling or delaying other commitments, as you said. 



A bit longer than a month. 

My goal is to have the draft done by winter or New Years at the latest.  Admittedly, this is a purely arbitrary deadline based on how quickly I could write in Uni.  I'm not up to that speed yet.  There are a few tools I could get that would help (like a printer) and a few techniques I can try if I am running low on time.  Those cost money so I'm leaving them for now. 

I'm also eager to get this written while interest in on the upswing.  Looking at past trends, interest in growing and producing textiles usually follows disenchantment with the system and/or major weather crisis.  Post great depression, a bit in the 1960s followed by a big surge after the 1974 oil crisis.  Once these reach escape velocity, the movement tends to grow until a new improvement in the standard of living settles in (refrigeration, cable tv, independence, homerule, stuff like that).  I figure that we reached escape velocity about two to four years ago and we have another 10 years on the upswing.  Longer with unpredictable weather and politics.  Having a good guide book that people can learn from, will help build momentum and get more people participating. 

Now that I've decided to write this book, I want to get it done.  If I get a publisher, I feel driven to prove that I can work hard for them.  They are going to put a lot of work into this project, I should put in 10.000 times as much work as it's my name on the front cover.    If I was in the publisher's position, I wouldn't want to waste my time on someone who didn't do work and couldn't take direction.  I need to prove to myself and to them that I can do this and do it in a timely manner. 
 
gardener
Posts: 1504
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
340
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R. - This thread, for me, has been both eye opening and mind boggling. The rough draft that I have stuffed in a drawer is where it is because I had no clue how to move forward. You are really lighting the way in the dark for some of us. Maybe one day I too will be a published author (thanks to your help). I am so proud of your progress and appreciative of your willingness to share your experience through this journey. If you were needing a hug as much as Miss Lemon, I send a virtual hug to you.💓 Thank you.
 
pollinator
Posts: 247
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
23
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson, if you need someone to give things a solid edit before sending it off, I'd editing time for yarn.  I'd give my ability to catch grammar mistakes a B+.  I'd give my ability to point out what does and does not work a solid A.   And I enjoy the topic.  I recently did someone a favor and edited his doctorate on a topic I knew only a little about.  It was fun. I figure it'd be more fun to read something I am interested in!
 
garden master
Posts: 584
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
95
bee books food preservation forest garden cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

R Ranson wrote:
Instead, I dug out my fountain pen and some blue black ink.  This is going great.  This writing has personality and enough structure to mould into my vision when I type it into the computer.   But my muscles aren't used to writing by hand anymore and my hand cramps before my mind is ready to stop writing for the day.

I need to learn some arm strengthening exercises so I can build up some stamina.



I stumbled into a way to relieve my muscle pains. I backed into this method easing wrist tendonitis, carpal tunnel pain. My issues stem from my skeletal neck structure, and pinched nerves. I have used this for muscle pains as well.

From an aticle, describing accupressure, link below.
...Although acupressure is not a substitute for medical care, it is often an appropriate complementary treatment. It can, for instance, speed the healing of a broken bone once it has been set, or aid a cancer patient by helping to alleviate some of the associated pain and anxiety of the disease...
Similarly, acupressure can be an effective adjunct to chiropractic treatment. By relaxing and toning the back muscles, acupressure makes the spinal adjustments easier and more effective, and the results last longer. In fact, the two therapies were originally practiced together in ancient China...
Some acupressure points lie underneath major muscle groups. While points near a bone structure usually lie in an indentation, muscular points lie within a muscular cord, band, or knot of tension. To stimulate the point, press directly on the cord or into the hollow...
http://acupressure.com/articles/acupuncture_and_acupressure_points.htm

Link to a better acupressure chart. My muddling personal experience suggests to relieve muscle pain, find the pressure point closest to the pain, but between it and your heart.
http://purenaturalhealing.com/use-acupressure-chart/
When I have found the correct location, applying pressure, I feel a sort of mumbness, as with novicain, but retaining the sense of pressure. And the pain I'm trying to relieve. And the pain of pushing on the trigger point/knot. (trigger point comes from massage terminology)
The literature I've found recomends using your fingers to apply pressure. Gentle pressure. I was using a more, um, firm application causing finger sized brusing to my arms. Raised eyebrows at the store, about town. More importantly, more pain while trying to apply the technique which works realy well for me. I moved to using a tennis ball, using the same pressure, but it's size spreads the surface area, no more bruising. Well, when in crying pain, and having a sollution, more pressure should achieve it quicker, right? Lets try leaning against the wall and using the ball. Yes, it works! But more pressure also ruptures that @$%##$% ball. I found a tennis sized solid rubber doggie ball for just a couple bucks. I've been using it for a couple years now. It is still in one piece.

The releasing of the "trigger point" and the pain, under your fingers feels sort of like...
Place a string on your table. No, wait, you have yarn don't you? Drape a towel over it. Rest your hand on the towel. Okay, gently pull a piece of yarn under the towel, and under your finger tips. Kind of a rolling sensation. Sorta. Once the trigger point is released pain is reduced. Explore th surrounding area, following the muscles around the pain to find additional, lesser trigger points and repeat.

Now the pain has eased, it will be easier to use the exercises in Roberto's link.

Now I use this when I've over worked my muscles. Such as a couple hours behind an uncooperative tiller. It is that time of year. Yay spring!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I haven't been feeling very well this weekend, so I ended up doing more reading than writing. 

I've ordered some more books from the library.  Basically everything by my first choice of publisher and anything even remotely related to my book.  I also spent a couple of hours wondering around amazon looking for anything that might come close to my subject.  I found one that I hadn't stumbled on before.  The idea of the book is excellent as it's about Slow Cloth - but the ebook sample I got was disappointing.  Some books just don't translate well into e-book and this is something I'm thinking about a lot when it comes to choosing what sort of pictures I want in my book.  I think the print book is going to be very good, but I'm not impressed enough to spend money on it until I see the whole thing so I requested it through interlibrary loan. 

What I'm doing is trying to find books on my topic.  The publisher wants a list of books like mine and why my book isn't like these other books.  Only I'm having one heck of a time finding books like mine!  The Weaver's Garden is about the closest I can get, but that has nothing to do with sheep.  There's a book called "adventures in yarn farming" that is a nonfiction narrative on sheep farming with some knitting patterns tossed in (a very nice book, but not a reference book).  I feel like I'm writing a list of books that I'm referencing rather than books that are like mine.  For example, for the dye chapter, I'm using Rebecca Burgess' Harvesting Color as my starting point as it's the most in line with my approach.  Rebecca goes into far more depth than I can in a single chapter.  So does that really count as a 'similar book'?  If it doesn't, then my list is going to be very short and I'm afraid a short list will convince the publisher that there's no interest because there are no books similar to mine. 


Even though I haven't been writing as much this weekend, there's some great advice in this thread for building up wrist strength.  Thanks guys!  The squeeze ball idea reminded me of those Chinese worry balls like I used in Uni when my wrist hurt. These work wonderfully well and are so much fun to use.

I also need to find out what is wrong with the nib of my fountain pen.  I think I might have dropped it and it's now out of shape because it won't write on the downstroke.  This is my favourite pen for writing with and I've had it since I was a teen.  I looked at replacement nibs and was shocked.  A pen I paid $50 for, and the replacement nib is over $200 US today!?!  Wow!  At that price, I might as well get a new pen but this model is now over $500.  I had no idea I was writing with such a valuable pen.  Ah, but it is a lovely pen!  The sensation isn't of writing, but of guiding a cloud as it gently floats above the paper.  It's very gentle on the hand.  That is when it works.  I'm going to try soaking the nib to see if it's maybe clogged.  I've got other pens to use, just this one has been around the world with me - I didn't realise how much I valued this pen until it wasn't working.  The last time I broke the nib was in the Tate gallery in London.
  There was a pen shop not far down the road, so I got a new nib there, but I don't remember it being this expensive.  It's funny how little things like a favourite pen make a huge difference.  My second favourite pen is probably better for writing because the ink doesn't leak to the other side of the page, but still... Maybe they still have pen shops where I can take it in to be evaluated and fixed. 
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 622
Location: Soutwest Ohio
114
books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Without being at all an expert, and without knowing the exact details of your book, I'll see if I can throw a few books that might be in a similar vein. I know when they are looking for comparable books, they generally want books that are either on the market or were on the market within the last 5 years. Given the tight focus of the book, I think it would be safe to expand that to 10 years. I'll try to use that as my guide. I realize my feeble attempt to help is probably just pulling up things you already know of, but on the off chance even one of these is helpful, I will try.

Initial Findings
The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers - Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson
The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn - Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson
The Spinner's Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose - Beth Smith and Deborah Robson
Yarnitecture: A Knitter's Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want - Jillian Moreno
The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns - Sarah Anderson
Hand Spun: New Spins on Traditional Techniques - Lexi Boeger
Spinning and Dyeing Yarn: The Home Spinners Guide to Creating Traditional and Art Yarns - Ashley Martineau
Spin Art: Mastering the Craft of Spinning Textured Yarn - Jacey Boggs
Intertwined - Lexi Boeger
Get Spun Paperback – Symeon North
Respect the Spindle Paperback – Abby Franquemont
The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn: Techniques, Projects, and Recipes Paperback – Brenda Gibson
Spin Dye Stitch: How to Create and Use Your Own Yarns Paperback – Jennifer Claydon
The Knitter's Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber Hardcover – Clara Parkes

Older books that don't match my date criteria, but which may prove helpful as well.
Hands on Spinning Paperback – Lee Raven
The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn Paperback – Carol Kroll
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That's a great list and some really great books.

The first three are on my list as they help one choose and evaluate fibres and choose which animals are the right for what you want. 

There are a lot of books about spinning.  There are a few that stand out like Respect the Spindle on the list and one by Judith MacKenzie, but for the most part, they are all pretty much the same only said slightly differently with (sometimes) different pictures.  This is a very good example of what's worrying me.  I don't want to re-write someone else's book. 

To make my book comprehensive, I need a couple of chapters on preparing and spinning fibre.  Doing this without re-inventing the wheel is somewhat of a challenge.  I think I have enough to say that isn't in those books.  The majority of the authors are hobby spinners and spin commercially prepared fibre by the ounce.  I'm a production spinner and hand process and spin my fibre by the kilo.  This takes a different set of techniques than most spinning authors talk about.    That's what I want to write about in the spinning chapters.


Growing textiles is what interests me the most and where I want to focus my attentions.  It's 2/3rds of the book.

The only book I can find that focuses on Growing Yarn is Linen from flax seed to the woven cloth by Linda Heinrich.  It's an older book and has a few pages on growing flax for linen.  If you cut out the pictures, this brings the growing part down to about 5 pages.  It's been republished in 2010, so it's new-ish. 

As for the really recent books, The Practical spinner's guide to Cotton, Flax, Hemp by Gaustad has two paragraphs on how to grow cotton and another two on how to grow linen.  That's a total of half a page. 


I can show there is interest in yarn and cloth production.  I can show that there is an interest in growing things.  But can I show that there is an interest in growing cloth?  I know it's out there.  How do I prove it?
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm feeling pretty lost right now.  This book needs to be written, but am I the person to write it?  I don't know.

Arguments in my favour - I know one heck of a lot about this topic and I like writing.  People seek me out for advice and maybe that's what has me so down.

Arguments against - I'm shy.  I don't like publicity.  There are several times I've become somewhat famous.  I stopped my blog several years ago because people (friends and strangers who I don't know how they got my phone number) would phone me up at home and ask me if I was dead because it was 9 am and I hadn't blogged yet.  They meant well, but still... I found it creepy.  People, would come up to me on the street and ask me if I was this blogger because I was wearing that sweater.  So I stopped blogging.  I suppose I could see it that people were impressed with what I wrote enough to remember me. 

Another thing.  I hate the idea of my picture being on the book.  I hate the way I look.  I'm not photogenic.  Books always seem to have author photos now.  like the author is the thing to promote.  I want to promote what I have to say, not make myself a brand. 

I'm also pretty frightened of contacting a publisher.  Non-fiction, they seem to want a proposal before one begins writing in earnest.  I hate getting to know new people, and am especially nervous of people in authority.  It takes me about a year to work up the courage to email someone new.  I usually screw it up.  I made the mistake of contacting my first choice of publisher before I was ready.  Well, I'm ready to write, but I don't have their second step finished and I didn't have my initial contact polished.  This whole thing is just so much bigger than the writing of the book.  Writing easy.  This?  That's hard. 

There are other things, like a few authors I've been in touch with and others I've heard about, receive lots of hate from corporate trolls and the like.  I'm scared of this.


These and other fears are slowing down my momentum tremendously.  I don't think I've ever felt this sort of blackness when approaching a project before. 

The thing is, I still want to write this book.  I still feel that I know enough to make a half decent first draft and with help, a damn good book.  Even though I'm writing at a snail's pace right now (only a few pages a night before bed), I think I could finish the first draft by New Years - IF I could get some motivation going. 

So why am I letting my fears getting in the way?  I don't know.  I think that's the wrong question.  A better question is what do I need to get going at this full speed ahead?  I don't that either.  If I can't answer that, then I'm not good enough for this.


What I do know is that I wouldn't feel this rotten about it if I didn't want it so much.
 
Posts: 102
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
9
chicken food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey, R. Ranson! I didn't see your thread until now.

I *am* a writer--professionally. I've written thirty-one published books under various pen names, and am about to finish up #32, and will soon get started on #33, which I've already sold to a publisher. I am happy to help in any way I can with your questions, if you still have some! Feel free to post them here or send me a private message if you prefer.

I will say this: it's always, always, always hardest to finish the first book. That's what you're running into now, isn't it? It can be so daunting to get to "The End" in #1 that you might drag the process out for years--a lot of writers do, so don't feel badly about it. But do keep on working on your book. Eventually you will finish it, and once you do, you'll wonder what the hell the big deal was, because it wasn't as hard as you thought it was while you were going through it. (I've heard it's much the same giving birth to a baby, but I've got no experience in that arena, so take my opinion there with a grain of salt.)

Here is one pro tip that I'm sure you can use, regardless of how you're feeling right now: it's okay to write crap. If you get stuck and you don't know how to proceed, just write the most atrocious b.s, with no regard for how it reads. Simply get the general idea out--you can ALWAYS fix ANYTHING in edits. I don't know any authors who produce a perfectly polished work on the first draft. We all have room for improvement; that's what edits and revisions are for. One of the trade secrets is that even the best, most-admired authors just hammer out a whole bunch of ridiculous crap, merely to get through the parts where they're stuck and move on. You can't tell by the time it's all finished.

My other piece of advice for you is to be sure you have realistic expectations for your writing. I would never discourage anybody from writing a book--it's awesome and fun, and the world always needs more books--but some of the things you believe about books, publishing, and what it means to be a writer may be based more in popular myth (and hope springing eternal) than in reality. If you're hoping to make a living from this, or even just earn a decent side income, that is ABSOLUTELY possible (and don't listen to anybody who tells you it's not) but it does require a sound strategy, and it requires doing your planning from a place of informed and rational thought rather than pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

Again, I'm always happy to help. Writers have an unwritten (ha ha) code of ethics that makes us lend a hand to other up-and-coming writers and dispense our advice and experience freely to anybody who wants to listen. Let me know if I can answer any specific questions for you! (Or for anybody else here; the offer stands for everybody.)
 
K Putnam
pollinator
Posts: 247
Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
23
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think you've thought your way unnecessarily into an unpleasant box for no good or apparent reason.  What is that really about?

Any venture in life has good people and trolls.  All good things comes with downsides, no matter what the subject, guaranteed.

It might be more effective to first worry about writing something publishable.  Without that, the rest is moot! 
 
Libbie Hawker
Posts: 102
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
9
chicken food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ah! For some reason, the second page here with your updated thoughts didn't show up for me until after I posted my first reply (above) so forgive me for posting twice in your thread.

First off, I 100% agree with your friend, most strenuously, that you will make more money from your book if you self-publish it. Many folks are having a hard time adjusting to that reality, because it wasn't the case six or seven years ago, but it is definitely the case now. On average, authors make five to seven times more per book sale if they self-publish vs. going through a publisher. Publishers also have many other books may become their priority over yours (this is also the case with literary agents) so you are distressingly likely to be shuffled off the List O' Importance with a publisher, and there's nothing you can do about it. You'll never be shuffled off any list if you're handling affairs on your own. I earn a respectable six-figure income from my writing, and 80% of that is from self-published works. You should definitely educate yourself about self-pub, the benefits (and drawbacks, which are few, in my opinion), and how to do it successfully. I've got all kinds of resources I can guide you toward.

On to the rest!

R Ranson wrote:I'm feeling pretty lost right now.  This book needs to be written, but am I the person to write it?  I don't know.



Yep. You definitely are. Just the fact that you feel so compelled to write it means you should definitely be doing this. The fact that people come to you for advice on this topic is even better!

Arguments against - I'm shy.  I don't like publicity.



Good news! With the right kind of strategy, any promotion you do of your book--whether you self-publish or work with a publisher--doesn't need to involve any public interaction. Or I should say, very minimal public interaction. Stuff like: sending out a newsletter to your subscribers once a month or so. Maybe trying out some Facebook pay-per-click ads. Sending books to the right reviewers to get it some attention. All very hands-off, out-of-the-limelight stuff. Most other forms of promotion that involve heavy engagement with people are only necessary with certain publishing strategies, which you will probably not need to adopt, since you don't appear to be writing series books in mega-huge fiction genres like romance or thriller. So you're good.


Another thing.  I hate the idea of my picture being on the book.  I hate the way I look.  I'm not photogenic.  Books always seem to have author photos now.  like the author is the thing to promote.  I want to promote what I have to say, not make myself a brand. 



Ugh, ME TOO. I totally feel you on this. I've been called ugly my whole life; when I started working with a publisher and they wanted a head shot, I literally had a nervous breakdown over the mere thought and couldn't leave my room for like two days. It was ridiculous. But the good news is, you don't need a headshot to be successful (I sold tons of books on my own, before I ever worked with a publisher, and I have no picture of myself in or on my many self-published books.) Nor does your book have to include a headshot. If you're self-publishing, you control that--and if you do decide to work with a publisher, you can strike the headshot out of your contract. What are they going to do about it--NOT publish your book over a stupid photo? Nope. This is nothing you need to worry about.

I'm also pretty frightened of contacting a publisher.  Non-fiction, they seem to want a proposal before one begins writing in earnest.



I'll be totally honest with you here: the odds that you will sell a nonfiction book (or even a fiction book) on a proposal to a publisher with whom you don't already have a working relationship are so long that I'm comfortable calling it "impossible." Unless you are still something of a blogging celebrity and you have a huge publicity platform ready-built, that is. Otherwise, it is extremely unlikely that any publisher will buy your book until the whole thing is written. This is called writing "on spec," short for "on speculation that some publisher somewhere might buy it." Even after you sell your first on-spec book to a publisher, the odds are still long that they'll buy more on spec from you, unless your first book is a really big hit right out of the gate, and nowadays, with publishers cracking down harder all the time with their budgets and bottom lines, the odds that they will throw enough publicity money at a new author's book to make it a huge success right out of the gate are similarly long.

I am not telling you all this to discourage you--far from it! I'm only trying to guide you toward the right path for you.

I've written more than thirty novels, and I've only ever sold two to one of my publishers based on the proposal alone. Those were sold recently in my five-year career, and only after developing a close personal relationship with the acquisitions editor at that publishing company.

Your best bet to give this book maximum success is to forget about publishers for now--they are likely to frustrate and screw you, anyway, I'm sorry to say--and write this book on spec. If you still feel like you'd like to work with a publisher once it's finished, I can help you create and refine a pitch that can help sell the book. However, I still think you'll do much better, enjoy the process more, and make far more money if you self-publish it.

I hate getting to know new people, and am especially nervous of people in authority.



Pffft. Publishers and agents only think they're people of authority. Their business couldn't even exist without authors willing to write for them, so they truly work for us. It's a shame we let them push us around so grievously, though.

You have all the power here. You create the product they desperately want and need to sell. Remember that.

There are other things, like a few authors I've been in touch with and others I've heard about, receive lots of hate from corporate trolls and the like.  I'm scared of this.



This is nothing to be scared of. You CAN'T be scared--you have information people need, and a way of imparting that information that makes people seek you out for advice! We need you!

I've certainly had some hateful comments from people over my books, my writing style, etc. But you know what? I get LOTS more love and friendship than hate. I think that's true of most writers, as long as you're not writing something shocking or horrible. All in all, writing has been a very fun and easy job.

These and other fears are slowing down my momentum tremendously.  I don't think I've ever felt this sort of blackness when approaching a project before.



My friend, I hear this so often from people who are venturing into writing for the first time. I think it has a lot to do with the strange place writing and writers occupy in our collective cultural conscience (ugh, alliteration)--in the zeitgeist, if you will. We have grown used to thinking of writers as people who are touched by the Muse, and who are therefore more special than ordinary humans, and who trail clouds of mystery and glory after them because they are Writers with a capital W. We've grown used to thinking of writing as some sort of magical process that comes from a great burst of inspiration, and out of that passion, genius and art are born. Sometimes it's like that, and it's a great feeling when it is--but more often, it's quite mundane. I hope it doesn't ruin the illusion for you too much if I say that writing is just a job, and that Writer is just my job title; it's not an elevation I've earned through some mystical birth right. I sit down at my desk and I do my work every day, just like anybody else who goes to any other job. Sure, I'm pretty good at it, and I enjoy the heck out of it, and that's worth a lot in a job--but dang it, when you get right down to it, writing is a job like any other. And ANYBODY can do it, if they're reasonably good at communicating and have a moderately developed imagination, and sufficient work ethic. Those are really the only requirements.

I think you're psyching yourself out over what it could mean for you--or about you--if you complete a book and see it published, whether you publish it yourself or somebody else does it for you. Your life is not likely to change dramatically. With time, if you want, you might end up doing this as your sole source of income, but even then, your life is not likely to change dramatically, aside from working from home and setting your own hours.

Writing is great, but it's not worth freaking out over!

Even though I'm writing at a snail's pace right now (only a few pages a night before bed)



Holy crap, that's a fantastic pace!! It took me two years to finish my first book! At this rate, if you write two pages per day, you'll finish an average-sized book (90,000 words) in about six months. You're on fire already!

Hit me up any time you need help or perspective. Writers help each other; I'm always around somewhere, willing and ready to help.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
gardener
Posts: 1504
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
340
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Libbie,
Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a wealth of information. You are quite generous with your offer to help anyone here along this route. And, congratulations on your writing successes to date.
 
Libbie Hawker
Posts: 102
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
9
chicken food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Karen Donnachaidh wrote:Libbie,
Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a wealth of information. You are quite generous with your offer to help anyone here along this route. And, congratulations on your writing successes to date.



Always happy to help!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wonderful advice.  Thank you.  That many books?!  Very impressive.


What I'm hearing most is that I should stop thinking myself into an ugly space and get on with writing already.  There's more to what you're saying, but that's what I need to hear the most.

Tonight, I was filling in some gaps on my flax chapter when my words wondered into another chapter so I went with it.  These words happened.

Starting, not waiting, leads to productivity.



This morning I was eavesdropping on a conversation where a person is growing flax in pots on her balcony.  How exciting, she has no space to grow it "properly" but she's doing it anyway.  She may not get enough harvest for a shirt, but what she will get is a whole year's experience growing flax which will prepare her for a time when she has access to land - be it a friend's backyard, allotment, or a bit of gorilla gardening.  I want to encourage this.  Don't wait, just grow.

So I'm still writing.  Slowly, but writing.  It will go faster with motivation.  I know my speed when I'm in full-go mode.  I'm not sure how to get back there again, but I'm working on it. 

One of my personality traits is that I like to understand the basic structure of what I'm getting into before committing too much energy into a project.  This is why I'm trying to see past the first draft.



People keep mentioning money.  I hadn't thought much about this yet.  Between my pension and my part time job, I have enough income to meet my basic needs.  I can even save up a bit to buy luxuries.  It's not enough I can spend money frivolously, but even if I did have that kind of income, I probably would run out of things to spend it on.  So what would I spend book money on if I had it?

If I got it soon, I would definitely spend it on more paper - I have about two weeks left at this pace, less if I can get my speed up.  Another bottle of ink as I'll be out next month.  A computer desk that doesn't hurt my back would be a nice luxury.  Maybe take my printer in to see if it can be fixed and some toner for that.  So there, I've managed a few hundred dollars dream-spending already.  This book thing is getting expensive. 

If I got really serious and wanted to do some dedicated writing time, I would probably go into seclusion for a few days.  There used to be a local nunnery that rented out rooms for writers and the like.  Back when I wrote poetry, this was a big thing among the local writing community.  If it's not still there, maybe a week in a cob cabin on one of the smaller islands would do the trick.   So there's another place I could spend money - but a long way off as I need to grow momentum first. 

As for money - yes, I like the idea that I could get a check in the mail every few months.  But that isn't my main motivation.  I feel compelled to write this because it's a book I want to exist.  I want this book to be the best book possible.  I can only take it so far on my own, but I feel a publisher can put me together with the people that can make it amazing.  Do I have the skill, contacts and confidence to do this as a self-publisher?  I don't think so.  The people who do are inspiring, but for myself, I would take a smaller cut if it could mean getting help from an expert. 
 
Libbie Hawker
Posts: 102
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
9
chicken food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It really takes very little in the way of special skills to self-publish effectively. Folks have this idea that it's a very involved process, requiring a whole array of particular skills that the average person doesn't already possess. That is simply not the case (not anymore, at any rate. It probably was the case several years ago!) The most critical skill is reading--so you can access and understand the instructions on how to do it right. Good taste is also required, since the book's cover will be the most crucial factor in its success (and that's true of all books, self-published or not), so you will need to choose a good cover and/or a good designer to make it.

The rest is very much "set it and forget it," though. In this day and age, with powerful search engines that allow potential book buyers to discover your books via keywords, there is almost no effort or marketing necessary (and any marketing that is necessary is most effectively done through a similarly automated and simplified process.)

My biggest caution to you would be to have no particular expectations about what a publisher will do for you. Publishers rarely live up to even the most basic and low-bar expectations.

But those considerations are a few months down the line for you! Plenty of time to figure out how to proceed once you've got the book finished. Keep working at it!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just so you know, I'm still at it.

Mostly gathering materials but a bit of writing each day.

Material gathering:
There are a few skills I don't have first-hand experience with, so I've been seeking out and learning from people who do.  I'm especially excited to meet some weavers who aren't afraid to weave with handspun singles (unplyed) yarn.  Most weavers are taught that it is impossible to weave with this kind of yarn, and yet, most of human history did.  Me, I've lacked the courage to try it as my weaving skills are still novice at best.  So I spun up some yarn and the weavers are going to apply their skills to make cloth from it.  Then hopefully, this cloth will transform into clothing.

I don't have sufficient words to explain how exciting this is.  I've wanted this for so long but lacked the courage and the skill to weave the cloth.  So I put my energy into becoming a better spinner and built up my secret stash of weaving yarns for the day when it might be possible.  Now this dream is moving forward.  It feels like a dream.  A good dream.

Last week, someone gave me a pile of old spinning magazines.  This magazine has information on growing, spinning and using handspun yarn.  I've been flipping through them and marking the articles that are most relevant to what I'm writing about.

I also got lost in a few books.  I've been reading everything I can get my hands on by the publishers I'm considering.  There are some amazing books out there.  It's very easy to get distracted.


As for writing, pen and ink seem to be the best for me.  I'm having trouble getting from written page into the computer because my desk set up isn't great and I haven't found a program that matches my style.  Autocorrect is my arch nemesis.  Not only does it choose the wrong word, but it also reduces my ability to learn to spell the word correctly.  My dyslexia has been very strong when looking at words on a monitor.  It's very uncomfortable and I find myself avoiding this part of the task.  So that's something I need to find, a dyslexia friendly word processor.  One that I can turn off the red squiggles when I don't want them, adjust the font to make it easier to read.  That sort of thing.

 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This month I learned...

... That I write much better with an external deadline.
... I get lost in research when left on my own.  Research I don't actually need as I know the topic well enough to write on it.
...That I'm nervous when I start to get a little bit of fame - it creates obligation and this takes my energy that I needed elsewhere.
...But even on low energy, I can still write to a deadline.
...Actually, I think I write better then as I withdraw from other obligations and have fewer distractions from writing.  Writing with fewer distractions is good.
...I want more experience working with an editor so I can improve my skills.
...my dyslexia has gotten so bad that I can't use a normal spellchecker without us both having a complete breakdown.  Thank goodness for grammarly, the only spellcheck intelligent enough to know what I'm trying to write.
...I'm still driven to write this book but feeling inadequate.  I don't know why I'm feeling this.  Could I be developing the artistic temperament people talk about?
 
gardener
Posts: 4653
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
496
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
r. Ranson wrote

I have no idea if writing a book could be like that, but if it is, I'm game.  Maybe each chapter could be a 'paper' and I have a time limit to do it?

I also have all the research finished (it's a non-fiction book) and enough personal experience to fill in the gaps.  I'm also overly-opinionated on the subject which is the kind of author I like reading. 

How do I get from where I am to having written a book?



When I sit down to write a book (poetry, non-fiction or fiction) I first have to just start writing, then, when I stop, I have a conglomeration from which I can set out a series of events in an orderly fashion. (these will be the chapters and the flow of the book is now set down so I can stay on track).
It sounds from your words above that you, like me, don't have a problem filling page after page with your thoughts. Instead it is the flow of those thoughts remaining in a logical sequence that is the hard part.

I have one book I am working on now that is high fiction and the first 200 pages were written in about 4 hours of off and on writing. When I went back and read it, I realized that I had some rearranging to do first then the outline would come easy.
I write in a rather weird way (according to the English professor that got me into writing more than just poetry). My professor told me that he thought I wrote the same way Mozart wrote music, I had it all in my head before I put anything down on paper.
He elaborated by pointing out that in one hour I had written, in class, a complete chapter of what could become a pretty good book (he had given an idea and we had to write as much as we could in the class time and turn it in).

So my advice and encouragement is this; write what comes to you, don't worry about making it flow from the start, just write. Once you have it down, you can do the rearranging and spelling corrections and then you can see if the story flows the way you know it should.
If it does, woo hoo. If it doesn't, then it's time to go through the rearranging again and make an outline of what is there and what is missing. Once you have that done, it is just fill in the blank spaces and perhaps expand what isn't feeling complete.

You can do it R. I know you can, and it will feel great as you do it and once it is done.

Oh, one other thing, I'll be happy to help you any way I can.

Redhawk
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've learned a lot this year.

typing on a typewriter makes my writing go quickly. 

my handwriting would probably be legible if I had a blotter to stop me smearing the ink.  Then again, I am only mildly legible in pencil, so it might not be the ink's fault.

I still am writing this book

I'm very glad I had the table of contents finished before I stalled.  The structure is really easy to work with.  It is simply filling in the blanks.

I cannot find any of the work I did before.  That's probably fine because it was rubbish anyway.

The typewriter forces me to write consciously.  Instead of mindless dumping of words on a computer screen, typewriting on a typewriter takes physical effort.  It hurts if I use unnecessary words.  It has improved my ability to see to the end of the sentence before I start it.

rereading Politics and the English Language by George Orwell once a month is helpful.  Orwell's suggestions on avoiding dyeing metaphors and especially not to mix images in such a way that make no sense are things I'm focusing on improving.

I was totally wrong about the deadline - but that's more because I was putting my energy into other projects that turned out to be a mega black hole of pain.  But a few weeks ago I remembered that frustration can be transformed into something brilliant.  So now I'm writing my way out of the funk.

Not plugging it into the spellcheck until I've done the second draft of the chapter makes it, so I stop tossing the first draft on the fire before it is done.

Plugging the draft into the spellchecker makes me feel flawed.  There are red squiggles EVERYWHERE!  First time I've ever seen ten thousand squiggles in one place (for a 15,000-word document - very sad) not to mention the yellow squiggles and the green ones... sigh.

The more I write, the easier it is to write because it's surprising how much I know on this topic and how seldom I have to double check information. 

During the second drafting, I'm fact-checking and am amazed at how much I know.  Not only did I get the information right, I remembered what book and where in the book it came from.  I didn't know my brain was that clever. 

The way I write the most (won't say best) is if I let myself be slightly bitchy and opinionated. That's probably because those are the kinds of authors I like to read.  I'll edit that out later.

my keyboard on my computer is dying.  The E R T M and now N keys are all sticking but work (much of the time) if I hammer them down really hard.  My typewriter is less exhausting to use.  A new keyboard arrives next month. 

Looking at myself more, I feel terribly unworthy.  I don't feel I'm a good enough writer to pester a publisher but if I'm not good enough for a publisher then I would be embarrassed to self-publish because that just shows I'm not good enough to get a publisher. 

I reread this thread and you've been terribly kind to me.  Thank you.

I wish I had taken all the words I had written about my emotional frailty and procrastination in this thread and used that energy to write the book.

I think I'm more worried about being a success than failing.  I think being successful at something, by not doing it the 'right' way, was probably the catalyst that opened up the mega black hole of pain last year.  Much of what I have to say goes against what I've been taught.  But personal experience shows me this works so why not share it?  But if I do share it, then angry mega black hole of pain.  And yet, I imagine that publishing this book might help others when faced with similar situations.

The writing part is so incredibly easy.  The editing I can manage a good chunk of it on my own.  Thinking about what comes next is crippling. 

I just spent an hour and a half writing and rewriting this instead of spellchecking my document because the angry red squiggles make me sad.

It's past midnight.  I'm going to bed.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Question, if I self-publish an e-book, can I use that e-book as a section in a larger book?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 4653
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
496
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes as long as you are the author and have not sold any rights to others.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Yes as long as you are the author and have not sold any rights to others.



So if I write a little booklet that is basically one section/topic of the larger book.  Get some pictures made and self publish it on Amazon as a booklet.  Would this help or hurt if I wanted to contact a publisher later on? 

 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 4653
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
496
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It can only help really. Booklets are great ways to show a publisher that your product will sell (as long as the booklet sells).
The booklet is it's own entity and that means the publishing rights are separate so the "book" would still have first rights available.

Mark Twain was famous for having some of his stories published in magazines as serial stories, then he would put them all together into a "book".
Some of these first edition books mentioned that they were first published as a serial story in which ever magazine bought the story.
I have a first edition Book called "The Million Pound Note and Other Stories" it's actually a compilation of serial stories from different magazines of the day.
Each story in the book has a  title page that mentions "first published as a series in____".

I had a book (now a long time out of print) that was a compilation of fishing tips and tricks first published in "The Arkansas Fisherman" magazine.
The book had those articles and others that were never printed previously. I didn't have any issues with publishing rights  with the book publisher.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bryant RedHawk wrote:It can only help really.



Great news!

I have a plan.  I found someone to help with the parts I suck at.  She has epic skills and we communicate well - or I should say, I communicate a bunch of vague ideas and she somehow magically understands what I mean.  With luck, I'll have exciting news on this project in a few weeks. 
 
Posts: 9
Location: San Joaquin Valley, California
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
10000 words per day is an INSANELY high number. Though some writers do manage that kind of productivity, it is not at all common.

My daughter and friend currently put out approx 1600 words per day (of excellent, barely-needing-editing output, cuz they've been at it since they were pre-teens, have paid their dues, and now truly understand the process). That adds up nicely. Me? A measly 500. (And not anywhere near as polished as theirs, cuz I haven't yet paid my dues/put in my time) but that actually adds up nicely, as well. :)

 
Ann Duncan
Posts: 9
Location: San Joaquin Valley, California
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great news!

I have a plan.  I found someone to help with the parts I suck at.  She has epic skills and we communicate well - or I should say, I communicate a bunch of vague ideas and she somehow magically understands what I mean.  With luck, I'll have exciting news on this project in a few weeks


Great news!!! Sounds like a great plan, as well!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Things have gotten crazy-far in the last month.*  I have a co-conspirator with wicked-awesome art skills and the uncanny ability to understand what I'm describing when I tell her I want a picture that tastes purple but isn't and has the texture of slightly damp onion skin and the smell of pasta.  Okay, maybe I haven't gone that far yet.  I have a suspicion if I did, she would know exactly what I wanted in a picture.  (by the way, it's a flower I'm describing - my brain says that then I have to try and describe it in people talk.  Not easy)

I'm getting quite frightened by this project.  Originally I thought I would put out a few ebooks and maybe a few dozen people would read them. 

Now it's so much bigger.  We are thinking a print book, maybe even colour photos.  I took one tiny section of the big book and wrote out a manuscript for it.  It's huge!  Way bigger than I expected and I've only put about 10% of what I know on the topic in it.  I could probably fill up the whole huge book on this one topic.  Scary.  Next step - edit it as far as I can then get a second opinion to see if it's worth going further.

What's really scary is how opinionated I am on the topic.  Maybe I can use that as a marketing thing?  An over opinionated & often informative guide to ...

All my favourite authors have strong opinions on their topics.  Funny thing is, even though their topics are drastically different, their opinion is the same - there are many right ways to do a thing.  Find the one that works for you. 

*I know it's a horrible sentence.  I'm just rebelling against my grammar checker and writing silly things today.  I typed my text in without a spellcheck then ran it through various spellcheck systems to see what would happen.  I've broken 8 different spellchecks that have decided I don't write English and shut down.
Only Grammarly so far can stand up to my language (un)skills. 
 
Ann Duncan
Posts: 9
Location: San Joaquin Valley, California
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
O-M-G, r ranson is ON FIRE!!! Going BIG is energizing. Being frightened by the project is a most healthy sign! Being opinionated? Another great sign ;)

Write on, man, write on!


PS: Do NOT bother to apologize for grammar skewing here. It's social media, a forum. So such doesn't count.  I often tell stuffy ole' Grammarly to shove it! ;)
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 10297
Location: Left Coast Canada
1723
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have the text finished for the first booklet.  I'll be sending it off for the first round of editing soon.  I think there are some places that need some major work and I bet there are things that can be improved that I didn't even think about.  On the whole, I'm very happy with how quickly this has gone. 

It was difficult to stop writing because I've only put about 10% of what I know on the topic.  I could double the word count just talking about soil preparation methods.  I have to stop somewhere.  Besides, everything I don't include in this book is extra value to add to the big book when I amalgamate all the little ones together.

Some things I'm thinking about:

There aren't any books on this topic.  There are books about growing that briefly talk about fibre production.  There are books on crafting that talk briefly about growing fibre.  Of the three books in publication right now that are about creating linen fabric, the most recent has 2 paragraphs on how to grow linen.  The others have a small chapter on it but focus mostly on the history and use of linen.   Does this mean that there is zero interest in this topic so no one has written on it?  Or maybe there is no interest in this topic because no one has written much about it?  Either way, when I look at the questions publishers ask, they all want to know who my audience is.  I'm thinking homesteaders and crafters as the primary audience, with people who are seeking practical solutions for a sustainable future as the secondary audience.  I wonder if I'm right.

Because we don't have any books to compare it to, I have no idea if I will sell 10 copies, 100 or 1,000.  I've already got some expenses building up like paying for illustrations and all that behind the scenes stuff that transforms a block of text into an amazing book.  Printing costs are another thing to consider.  Plus distribution.  I would like to include colour photos, but that takes even more money. 

So I'm going to have a kickstarter in a few months to pre-sell the book and get the word out.   That way I can know in advance how much interest there is and it will offset some of the financial risks.  I can't afford to publish it myself, so if the kickstarter isn't a success, I'll have to find another way or not publish it at all.  :(.  But if it is a success, then I want to write lots of little books followed by one giant book! 



 
Just the other day, I was thinking ... about this tiny ad:
What would you cook first in a rocket oven?
https://permies.com/t/89866/cook-rocket-oven
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!