10 Easy Steps to Writing a Book
by Vincent Borgese
How often has a friend come up to you and said, “Wow! What a great story. You should write a book.” Or maybe, as your probing mind throws question after question at that same friend about his night out that his wife knew nothing about because she thought he was working late to make up for the day he took off to get a colonoscopy, which he actually didn’t get because he spent the afternoon canoodling with a young woman he met on Tinder, he would turn and ask, “What’re you writing a book?” You see, you are an author, and everyone knows it but you. So, isn’t it about time to sit yourself down — or stand if you think it will add a few years to your life since sitting is the new cholesterol, although standing for long periods in one spot can produce pooling of blood around the ankles, forcing you to wear support hose years before you should — and start banging away at those keys in search of your inner Hemmingway? Well, it’s easier than you think. Simply follow these 10 simple steps and you, too, can be a published author giving your book away for $.99 on Amazon, after promoting it at $0 for your kid’s entire K to 5 schooling, and having your cousin’s neighbor — whose daughter is studying graphic arts — edit your book for free since he was assistant editor of his high school newspaper in junior year, as long as you compensate his daughter for her cover design to the tune of $975 in cash and a Chipolte gift card. So, here goes:
- Come up with a big idea. Something like the “for Dummies” theme, or maybe O’Reilly’s “Killing” saga, or Michener’s “Hawaii,” but don’t write about Hawaii because it’ll cost you a fortune to research, and he pretty much hit that book out of the park. The idea is, you don’t want to be a one-hit wonder like that Jay McInerney fellow, so think series. Think of something.
- Okay, you have a format. Now, come up with a subject matter and story that will grab readers from the very first sentence, keeping them glued to your book till the very last word. That should be easy.
- Now you have a theme, you pretty much have a storyline, and somewhere along the way, you’ll develop your own style. The hard part is over.
- Make tea.
- I would say to develop an outline so there’s coherent flow and development of characters, but that would take a lot of time. And god knows, you probably already have a plot line picked out for your second book. If it’s incoherent and rambling with absolutely no empathy for your main characters, well, that’s just your style. Even Hemmingway was misunderstood for his simplcity, till he shot himself in the head. Only then was he truly appreciated, but there’s no reason to take it that far — not at this point anyway. Not yet.
- Get a cookie, a cracker — something. It would have been better if you thought about that when you made your tea, but true artists such as yourself gets so wrapped up in their work, they often forget to eat.
- Eat lunch.
- Okay, so you have a beginning, a middle, and now you have to come up with an ending. Oh, did I mention plot? The ending should have something to do with the plot, unless you’d like to pull an O’Henry — or Cheever for that matter — and shock the crap out of them. Great! You’re book’s finished.
- Now it’s time for you to promote it. I say you because I’m assuming your novel was not picked up by a major publishing house. My best advice — start a blog. While it would be fun blogging about the overhead lighting at Costco versus Home Depot, you should really stick to your book. Give them bits and drabs, and make them want to plunk down almost a buck (half-a-day’s pay in some countries) for your hard work. What you want are eyeballs or clicks or something. You would also like them to comment on your work and follow you. Not literally, of course. Well, I guess it could be “literally” since it is a work of “literature.” You see, that’s a pun and injects a bit of humor into your tale, but I should have mentioned that sooner. “And how can I promote my blog?” you ask. Easy. Go on everyone else’s and leave comments on how much you liked their story, their pictures, their writing style, etc.. And don’t forget to follow them. (Again, I don’t mean home.) Just say nice things, and remember to compliment their “About” page. In other words, just make shit up.
- Sit back and watch the glowing reviews with one eye, and your multiplying sales with the other. It’s now time to quit your day job.