Writing a "How To" book has changed forever. Now, before you write and tell me that you prefer to have a hardcopy book to refer to and how you will never use any other source of information to learn how to do something new, or different, or better, or whatever, let's look at the facts.
The cost of information today is virtually zero. If you have "access," which means a connection to the internet, then you have more information than any one person could digest in 10 lifetimes, maybe that should be 100 or a 1000. How to change your life, learn Spanish, fix a leaky faucet, make cookies, make love, write a book, take a picture, build a bomb, paint a house, travel cheap, lose weight, cure illness, play Sudoku, improve a golf grip, plant a get it - anything is available...for free. It may be a bit unruly, trying to organize all of the information and sort through the accurate and inaccurate, but it's all there.
This is a bit self-defeating in my case, but writing a book to show people "how-to" is going the way of the dodo bird. For those tasks that require pictures, there is You Tube, the second biggest search engine in the world and besides clandestine videos of partiers gone wild, there is also an unbelievable number of factual and informative videos posted by professionals and amateurs alike who will show you exactly how to perform a task. Can your self-published, hard copy book that suffers from under-financed marketing and promotion compete - maybe..but yours will be the exception. BTW, thank God for exceptions but really, from a business point of view, there are thousands upon thousands of videos, blogs (like this one) and other online resources who are giving it away for nothing.
Most of the people who read this offering are writers and I realize that my tone today is rather cynical but reality is hard to sugar coat and besides I read a blog saying that too much sugar isn't good for us - writing a book for simply "informative" purposes is rather risky. Assuming of course, that you are also writing to make a living or at least return your investment of time, perhaps we should consider some alternative projects to write about. Now, sometimes there is SO much information available that is contradictory, ill-informed or unreliable (think climate change) that it begs for a reasoned, objective and updated approach and perhaps you are the person to tackle it - go for it! But, to simply offer a plain "how-to," full of lists of instructions is unlikely to start any viral marketing fires.
So here is a thought, if we truly want to change the world, provide "access" to the third world so that they can learn to fish and feed themselves for a lifetime - of course, we might also create competition for those of us comfortably ensconced in our safe worlds of information at our fingertips. OK, I'm climbing down from my soapbox but their are still millions of opportunities to write non-fiction and make a difference - what are you writing?
I have also heard a rumor that there is information online about punctuation and grammar - a new search starts!!!



You have decided to create a book. You have decided that finally, you will write your own book. Good for you! You could not have picked a better time in history to write a book and offer it to the world. So, now what? Do you grab your laptop and head to Starbucks, buy a latte and find a corner and begin writing - after all, didn't J.K Rowling do something similar when she created the Harry Potter series. What will your opening sentence be? How will you create the perfect teaser to grab the attention of your reader? You have taken the creative writing courses and have tons of ideas so do you just take the plunge and start that attention-getting first paragraph?
Sometimes that will work. Occasionally, a J.K. Rowling or a Stephen King will break out of the pack and hit the big time - is that your hope, prayer, intention? Regardless of whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, writing is a business and you will invest a lot of time, energy, emotion, sweat and tears into creating your own book. It will be torn apart by editors, critics, interviewers and the reading public - if you're lucky. If you accept the fact (and it is a fact) that writing is a business - your business, then shouldn't we take a slightly more business-like approach before we invest ourselves?
Before you order the latte, take a look at the five questions that follow and when you can answer them, you will be ready to begin the writing process. What is the point of writing a great book if you don't sell any and no one gets to read it? There is no point - great literature be damned. There have been thousands of great writers tossed on the scrap heap of publisher's refusals, but those days are over. You have complete and total control of your writing and so it is time to start treating what you do as a professional rather than a hope and a prayer. Start with these five questions and your book will be better written and just as importantly better received, purchased, shared and enjoyed.

Who are you writing to?
How will you find them?
Why will readers buy your book?
What is the main message, theme or storyline?
Can you define your book in terms of genre and purpose?

If you want some help in answering these questions and many more, my book The One Hour Author: non-fiction book writing for busy people will definitely help you. If you have read this far and see some benefit in buying my book, let me help you with that, too. Use this code and buy a copy to download as a PDF or load on to your e-reader or computer and pay only $4.99, a $5.00 saving. Here's the code and the link:
THE ONE HOUR AUTHOR: non-fiction book writing for busy people

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