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Writing books as an after retirement project  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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This was inspired by r ranson’s great topic, but I have different questions, so I’m starting a new topic.

I may have to take an early out retirement, possibly as soon as this summer. I have three books that I’ve been thinking about writing for years. I know I should have just started something years ago. I really need time get into the zone and live in it until I’m done. It’s hard to explain. I can’t seem to start typing until I know almost exactly what I want to say. I’m pretty confident that I can do this after retirement.  I’m not sure what to do after the book is written.

Do most people self publish? If not self publishing, how to you get a publisher to read it?

Also,  I’m not quite ready financially to retire.  I need a kidney transplant. I don’t like my desk job, I think it’s time to do the things I really want to do. I’m 55. I had planned to work five more years. If I retire now, a little extra income would be very helpful. Is there anything in between possibly losing money self publishing and getting rich from selling a best seller?

I think I have some good ideas for writing a fantasy novel and a horror novel. I’d also like to write a book about my edible landscaping projects . I’ll need to learn a lot about photography before I write that one.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

 
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I have been exploring the same idea.   I have found several, resources that might be helpful.  One is a book by Larry Brooks called Story Engineering mastering the 6 core competencies of successful story writing.   It's very detailed about how to construct a story.  It basically provides a format that you can use to refine the story you want to tell.

I also took an adult education class through the local school district on novel writing.  One thing in  the class you would find helpful is to check out createspace.com  This is Amazon's self publishing platform.  I am not at a point where I need to think about publishing just yet.  So, I haven't looked at it in great detail.  But, it appears you can upload a manuscript and format it using their tools and they will print on demand as copies are sold on amazon.
 
Ken W Wilson
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I've heard of creatspace.com but wasn't sure how it worked. It sounds interesting, I will try that book.

I have a minor in English, but I haven't studied creative writing. I've been wanting to take a class, but it hasn't been offered here as a night class.

What type of book do you want to write?

 
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I think it mostly depends on how comfortable you are writing, there are some great writers groups web sites where you can post some of what you are working on and receive good critic reviews.
This does two things for the budding writer, it helps you get used to the sting of a critical view of your writing and it gives you positive feed back at the same time.
Most of the "budding" writers I've known could not handle all the rejection letters and they gave up, discouraged from no one else liking what they wrote.

Writing is a process, you write then get others to read it and tell you where you went wrong, and where you went right, then you revise and go through it again and again until you have it all right.

Learning how to write a good cover letter is very necessary unless you plan on self publishing, you will be sending those letters to Literary Agents trying to convince them you are worth their time and trouble.
Always have at least 3 chapters totally finished and ready to publish on hand and bother to learn what format they will want your words in before you send them.

Redhawk
 
Ken W Wilson
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Thanks Bryant!

I have a fear that getting other people involved too early in the process might discourage me and prevent me from finishing. I know it could also turn out to be very helpful. I think I want to have most of it written before I show it to anyone. At that point, I should be fully committed and criticism wouldn’t be as likely to make me quit. Talking about my ideas in a writing group might be helpful though.  I guess I’ll look for a group.

I think I would prefer to self publish, but I’m not sure if anyone is very successful that way.  Also a professional editor would be helpful. 

I know someone who has self published a few books, but I’m not sure if they’re really selling or not. His family is wealthy, and he may just be publishing for his own satisfaction. I guess I’ll try to talk to him about it.

I have started making notes about some of the characters that will be in the fantasy book. That is the book that is most important to me, but I think it will be the hardest to write because I have to invent and describe a whole world. That will be fun for me but still not easy. The horror book would be much easier.  I can’t decide which to write first.






 
gardener
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I write for a living. Both fiction and non-fiction. I am also "successful," by writer standards. I self-published a book on Florida Gardening which has done quite well (it pays the rent), then a publisher picked me up to write my book Compost Everything, Grow or Die and Push the Zone - three more non-fiction titles. They've done well, and I've gone on to voice audiobook versions of all three which have also done well.

Don't worry about people discouraging you. To write, you need to write, write, write. Start a blog and make yourself post daily. Or make yourself write 500 words a day, every day. You need to learn to be creative on demand, then you'll make it. I put on some music, drink some coffee, then type out at least 2,000 words a day.

Non-fiction is probably a better place to make money than fiction, unfortunately. Breaking into fiction is very difficult unless you're driven and also quite good at writing. You also have to be a relentless self-promoter. With non-fiction you can write articles to make money. I've written for Backwoods Home, Mother Earth News, prepper websites, The Grow Network, Self-Reliance Magazine, etc., to bring in some extra cash and raise the profile of my books.

But fiction or non-fiction, if you write every day, write well, and can promote relentlessly, you will have success. If you attack it half-baked, you will almost certainly fail.

One of my favorite self-published writers is Larry Correia. He's worked his tail off and is now successful. Another success story is Nick Cole. His publisher didn't like his view on something and cut him off, so he went and self-published instead. He's probably a millionaire at this point from his ongoing Galaxy's Edge series. However, he and his co-writer publish a new novel every single month. That means he's writing at least 2500 words per day every day.

Currently I'm working on a five-book fiction series under a pen name doing the same thing. 50k words per month, every month for five months. That is with a publisher, however, and they're doing the promotion. Thus far it hasn't touched the sales on my gardening books but as the series grows it's likely to catch and may even make more.

As for "going broke" self-publishing, don't worry about that. Use on-demand printing or just stick to kindle versions. It's very easy to publish with Amazon and they're the world's largest book market. Don't spend any money on printing. Invest in someone to do the kindle and print layouts, though.

And WRITE WRITE WRITE! No excuses. If you can write even 500 words per day, you'll reach 100,000 words in under seven months. That's a solid book. I made myself write 3,000 word per day back in November and hit 90k words in one month. I eventually divided that into two novels, one of which will be coming out soon, followed by the second.

You can do it, but most people won't put in the work. It's not a great way to get rich but it's very satisfying.

Good luck!
 
Ken W Wilson
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Wow, David! That’s really impressive!

Learning the formatting and computer programs worries me almost as much as getting the writing done. I’m shopping for a computer, and then I think I’ll try Scrivener. Have you used it? I only use my phone now, so I’ll have to learn a word processing program. I’m not the best with technology. I work at a computer all day, but we don’t use much commercial software.

Do you do your own photography for the nonfiction? I’ve been wondering how good of a camera it takes?
 
David Good
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I do almost all my writing on an iMac desktop with an older Logitech keyboard. I've written 2500 words today already and I'm still at it. I like the clicky keys better than the flat Mac keyboard. I've also written books on a 10-year-old Dell laptop, no problem. Heck, George R. R. Martin writes on an ancient computer. For a quick backup in case the computer crashes, email the document to yourself now and again so you have backups in your inbox. Redneck data security!

I have heard good things about Scrivener but I like the simplicity of LibreOffice. It's like Microsoft Word, back when Word was good. It's also free.

https://www.libreoffice.org/

It works on Mac, PC and Linux systems. My Dad was also a writer and was no techie but he learned it quickly.

As for pictures, even a decent smartphone takes good pictures. Some photographers would disagree, but I think good shots are now more in the framing and adjustments of brightness/contrast and cropping now than in having an expensive camera.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Thanks!

I’m glad I don’t need to buy a camera. I have a good iPhone. I guess I’ll start taking pictures of my garden projects right away.

I’ll try that program. Can you export directly from it to Kindle Publishing? I’ll probably end up with Windows on my new computer, but it looks like it comes in a windows version. My old Dell works fine, but they don’t make an OEM Dell battery or power supply for it anymore. I ordered replacements from Amazon, but they got recalled as fire hazards.

 
Ken W Wilson
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Thanks for all the help! You have all really inspired me to start something right away. I’m going to start taking pictures of my gardening today. Actually it will be a picture of the April snow on a fruit tree.. I’ll order a computer as soon as I can decide which one.

Reading about direct marketing on Amazon, has given me another book idea. I have a wide range of interests. I think my first book might be about baking rolls. I’ve developed a really simple recipe and techniques for making great hot rolls and cinnamon rolls. The book would be a complete how to bake rolls instruction book and also have a lot of possible variations. I’m not sure if it will be long enough to publish, but it sounds like it might work. It’d be a great learning experience and a lot less intimidating that starting a 400 page novel.

One thing that worries me about a cook book, is that there are so few ingredients in roll dough that there might be a similar recipe published somewhere. All roll recipes are going to have most of the same basic ingredients. I wonder if this will be a problem? I developed this recipe from just knowing the basic incredients and a general idea how much. I’ve tweeked it over many years. It’s mainly about the technique.


 
master steward
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For me, writing is the easy bit. 

Where I'm having trouble is the editing, pictures and layout.  It's very important to me that the images show up well in black and white so that they show on an e-reader. 

I'm thinking that permies people would make a good audience so when it's ready, I plan to sell some on the digital market here.  It also allows me to give affiliate fees to people who advertize the book on their site.  The theory is I'm crap at marketing, but other people are good at it and I want to reward them with cash.

 
Ken W Wilson
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There are all a lot of things to consider.

I was a writing tutor in college, but that was a really long time ago. Since then, I haven’t written anything longer than a Permies post. I’m sure it will come back to me or I can relearn it. I think writing will be slow going for a while.
 
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r ranson wrote:For me, writing is the easy bit. 

Where I'm having trouble is the editing, pictures and layout.  It's very important to me that the images show up well in black and white so that they show on an e-reader. 

I'm thinking that permies people would make a good audience so when it's ready, I plan to sell some on the digital market here.  It also allows me to give affiliate fees to people who advertize the book on their site.  The theory is I'm crap at marketing, but other people are good at it and I want to reward them with cash.



When taking photos with the standard 35mm camera using b/w film, I used a yellow colored filter to increase contrast and sharpen detail. I haven't tried it in a paint program but it might work. Or, take the photo in b/w mode with a yellow tinted filter over the shutter. If you don't have access to filters there might be some yellow cellophane left over from Easter at a dollar store near you. Improve is fun.

I was drawn to this article for the writing, got sucked into Davids world for a couple hours, yes his videos are awesome, spent some quality time on the IRS website, I feel like I can sleep now. I hope I've helped in a small way.
 
raven ranson
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I adore David's books.  An excellent writing style. 

I haven't seen many of his videos yet.  I'm not much for videos.  But the ones I have seen have been great fun to watch.
 
David Good
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r ranson wrote:For me, writing is the easy bit. 

Where I'm having trouble is the editing, pictures and layout.  It's very important to me that the images show up well in black and white so that they show on an e-reader. 

I'm thinking that permies people would make a good audience so when it's ready, I plan to sell some on the digital market here.  It also allows me to give affiliate fees to people who advertize the book on their site.  The theory is I'm crap at marketing, but other people are good at it and I want to reward them with cash.



Yeah. I have hired artists in the past for illustrations, since black and white photos of gardens can get messy and hard to see.

I look forward to your book.
 
David Good
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Ken W Wilson wrote:Thanks!

I’m glad I don’t need to buy a camera. I have a good iPhone. I guess I’ll start taking pictures of my garden projects right away.

I’ll try that program. Can you export directly from it to Kindle Publishing? I’ll probably end up with Windows on my new computer, but it looks like it comes in a windows version. My old Dell works fine, but they don’t make an OEM Dell battery or power supply for it anymore. I ordered replacements from Amazon, but they got recalled as fire hazards.



You can use a doc as a basis for a kindle book and LibreOffice will make those, no problem. It might be better to hire someone if you want it to look perfect, though, unless you want to try out Sigil: https://sigil-ebook.com/

I find that program easy enough to use, but I know some html.
 
Ken W Wilson
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I didn’t know that readers were black and white.

Do you use color for the print version and black and white for digital?

 
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I've been writing books for years now, and somewhat successful.  Self published, sold out one printing of the first one, which gave me enough money to finance another book.  Just been saving for printing costs and have not sold enough of the others to pay for themselves (yet).   I did not get an ISBN number so they are not listed anywhere, and I've relied on word of mouth, which actually worked pretty good.  For anyone truly trying to make money at it, you should probably get the ISBN # and list anywhere you can.  

I write about what I know and love, which I think is a key element if you are going to be successful.  First one was about getting in touch with your soul's purpose, slowing down and smelling the roses and enjoying life, called Out of the Fast Lane, Into the Flow.  Second was Surviving Grid Down, third was all about health and nutrition, called Body Beautiful, Weight Loss & Rejuvenation.    It is a creative outlet for me, especially during long, cold winters here on the farm.  Rest of the time I'm too busy farming, mending fences, patching the roof, tending livestock, milking goats, etc.  Another one has been in the works, which is my family history during the civil war, when the family plantation was sold for taxes, the women hid the silver and other valuables in a cave to prevent looting and had to hide the canned or preserved food so troops wouldn't take it and their families would not starve.  Overall I got really creative with this one and turned it into a love story/novel, with a lot of hard facts sprinkled in.  Fun writing it, but not in print yet, due to cost. 

If you use a company like 48HrBooks, they have a formatting download (free) you can use.  You can even download a picture from your computer and add title, etc., all on their format.  E-mail to them and send payment after they further format it for printing.  Quick and easy.  I do my own editing, which is not recommended, as sometimes it helps to have another set of eyes looking over your work.  Several good companies out there to self publish, check around.   Whatever you do, proof read, again and again and make absolutely sure it is edited properly before printing.  If a company printing has to make any changes after you've sent it in, you'll incur added expenses. 
 
Ken W Wilson
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I bought a new desktop computer and Scrivener. Scrivener is going to take a while to figure out. It does sound worthwhile though. I need to watch some tutorials.

I joined two great Facebook groups. Writers Helping Writers and Authors and Writers Helping Each Other Grow. They are very active groups, and they really are helpful.

I think I’m retiring 6/30. I don’t have to decide for sure until 6/15. If I do retire, I think I might just jump right in and start on the fantasy novel.

 
I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam - the great philosopher Popeye. Tiny ad:
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