Monday, October 15, 2007

A Book is Born--Review

Through a random and completely unscientific sampling of people I’ve met over the past 10 years, there are at least 156 million people in the US writing books, with some 32,490,421 of them actively working on their manuscripts. Many of these writers never expect to be published. In fact, many of them have no idea how to go about breaking into an industry that seems to be dominated by the same 100 authors.

But help is on the way! To be released in November 2007, A Book is Born—24 authors tell all offers hope to budding authors in general, mom authors in particular.

The book’s editor and publisher, Nancy Cleary of Wyatt-MacKenzie Books, a specialty publisher focusing on mom authors, is also publisher for all the writers who contributed to A Book is Born. And while there’s a good representation of the mommy theme (single parenting, working mothers), her authors have also written books about depression and mental illness; about being an Army wife; cooking; dieting; and infertility.

Though it gets off to a bumpy start, A Book is Born proves itself a treasure trove of information for anyone writing, or thinking about writing, a book. Every chapter includes ruminations by the authors, from the general “What inspired you to write this book?” to the more introspective “What did you do the moment you found out that you were going to be published?” and on to the all-important, “How hard is it to actually sell a book?”

Each chapter also includes Tech Talk and Tech Tips, sections designed to acquaint the newbie author with industry lingo as well as providing a way to work through questions such as:
• What are my publishing options?
• Do I need to hire an agent?
• What is an indexer and do I need one?
• What does a PR agent really do?

A Book is Born also offers tips on:
• How to market your book
• How to calculate your ROI
• How to put Amazon to work for you

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, A Book is Born includes examples of how much two different authors paid to market their books and how much they netted in the first year after publication. It’s a stark reminder that, for most of us, writing truly is a labor of love. No pun intended.

In spite of the wealth of information A Book is Born offers, I was initially preoccupied with a quiet prayer of thanks that no one was going to make me drink every time the “birthing” metaphor was employed. And with so many authors, it is perhaps to be expected that the writing would be uneven, especially as some authors are clearly better at it than others. But hang in there, because there truly is a lot of valuable information to be found. If you really want to get published, A Book is Born offers hope that there are ways to make it happen.

Click here to pre-order your copy of A Book is Born—24 authors tell all.

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