Week 2 recap: this entry will summarize the 2nd week on the path from writer to author. I picked up a used copy of "how to write a book proposal," by Michael Larsen, on Amazon after last week's post, and most of this post comes out of my take aways from the first 100 pages.
It's an excellent book of ideas for writers looking to become authors. There's actually more ideas than any one person can pursue, so I'm going to have to break down today's post into four sections: WHAT I'VE DONE, WHAT I HOPE TO DO, FEARS and DECISIONS that I hope come true.
WHAT I'VE DONE
It's been a good week. (By the way, when I give lists or write in topics, I try to rank things from most important on down). The highlight was sending in my 180 page thesis to Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000. With a simple one page form and a $45 check with $2.21 postage, I went for a copyright. Funny, it sounds so easy here at this blog, but the mental trauma over the past years never really forsaw this moment. Closure and endings always seem anticlimatic for me.
Anyway, the thesis is in the mail and according to the website at www.copyright.gov I should get back a receipt in 4 months. It's a pretty interesting website. I recommend it for budding authors, filmakers, bloggers, media types and even IT people into content.
The next step I took to secure my content, was to register a .com ($4.99/yr) and a cheap .info ($2.99/yr) related to the name for the book. I found those cheap sites by doing multiple searches using keywords cheap domain name sometimes combine with host.
Of course the next most important thing from today's perspective (it might become much more important in the future) was read the first 100 pages of Larsen's 3rd edition. With his ideas and some day dreaming and a Eureka moment, I made a few decisions I'll get to shortly...
WHAT I HOPE TO DO
really has to do with shooting for the impossible, a best seller. My logic is that shooting for a best seller will actually produce better results than shooting for a few thousands copies sold out of a small business I start or something. The reason being is that the experience is usually more valuable than the thing or it, from the perspective of having no connections.
See, I have the opposite problem as corporate America. Mine is too many good ideas and no teams or resources to implement them. So shooting for the top should yield an interesting path if nothing else.
Back to writing my first book...Larsen's book is chock full. So I had to choose a few things that stood out for me. I think the most important things I can do by myself with a few bucks are: Website, Blog network, Read, Bookeeping and then the standard entrepreneurial plan I'll get to last.
A personal website is pretty easy these days. You can lease a domain name and get a starter website for a year with all the software you need for ten bucks or so. My plan is to get a website that breaks down the content I've produced. Simply images that link to other websites.
Some thoughts are some of the 20 years of song lyrics at myspace (bad idea?) shot by scanner on napkins and stuff, add a little poetry maybe. Another link will point to LinkedIn.com, my professional bio. I hope to rewrite that into all writer stats. What else... Oh, a link to my eBay Power Seller operations. Maybe a link to some entries at Wikicars and several blogs I respond to. Also probably a link to my hobby website. Oh, and maybe a link to my career as a tax preparer (writer), etc.
A blog network is something I'm still trying to figure out. I'm not sure what's going on out there in search engine world, but I do know one thing that's very strange. When you conduct the exact same seach and click search over and over, you may notice sometimes that the results are different. Sometimes different every second. Why?
I'm not sure. My hunch is that the internet is changing faster than it's growing. Most people are obsessed with bandwidth and growth. I'm thinking change is the really the only contant. Change is scary. What you put up yesterday, may mean nothing today. That would explain why some prominent magazines have suggested that blogging for dollars means 7 days a week 12 blogs a day.
To me, that just means quantity over quality. My strategy is quality. So my blogs will be ranked, thought out for a week and sporadic. Hopefully they have some sort of quality, we'll find out later...
Reading and bookeeping are essential for any enterprising or entrepreneurial or indi contractor or business owner, etc. I've been trying to read more. For the first time I've realized that I cannot keep up with the growth of content. This is depressing that I've admitted that I can't read everything. So my response to a friend who gave me a ride back from the temple today who asked, "so you're a reader?" I said no, I'm hoping to become an author. Yes I read, but I'm more of an avid writer than reader.
Oh, I should define writing as (ranked by volume): emails, academic assignments, web, business communications, song lyrics, poems, journals, a long research report and now blogs. That is not the typical portfolio of someone who wrote a century ago. Most of my writing is live in real time and unedited... Can you imagine using a typewriter?
The last of the four things I did this past week to prepare for that first book was bookeeping. Actually I did my 2004 taxes. I didn't owe, but had never filed. Going through a year of transactions as an eBayer with a seller's permit wasn't too fun. But now that it's over, I realize that it's a reality with writing. So, I'm preparing my books for filing a 3rd Schedule C in 2006 as a writer and online book seller.
FEARSare usually outnumbered but somehow tend to linger in the brain closer to the front. Most of what Larsen wrote is doable with committment and time. The only area I feel that some are born with and some are not is public speaking professionalism. To go bigtime and payoff my student loans, I might have to start speaking. A stat stuck with me. It's a definate takeaway.
You can assume in your book proposal, that you sell 1 out of every 4 attendees a book, at each speaking engagement. Oh, and you have to go on tour nationwide to really make an impact. Every large city, with large organizational connections, etc. You really have to be a solo rock store.
The bottom line is that with all the blogs, hits, articles, books you read, plans, money, websites and fans in your hometown, you really won't go best seller unless you tour. I thought touring was for rock stars. Oh yes, I had that dream once... Anyway, that's a scary thought. Gussied up in suit and tie hoping on planes with my last buck and pushing my book like a traveling salesman...
Maybe I can do that, maybe not. Since I know I can't do it well without education and training and luck, it's scary...
CAN WE FINISH THIS BLOG YET? OH YAH, DECISIONS: I decided on the title, well I have to thank Dr. Norma Carr-Ruffino for that. But in the shower the other day, I discovered the beginning of what I call the tagline or part after the colon.
This is really tough. Readers give a cover a few seconds. The words have to speak to all. It's not nailed down, but I have the mindset and topics. Global, people and big business.
I can't give it all away, but I can say that early on, well in fact it's only been a week (writing this feels like a month ago), that, I've decided on early and powerful versions of a TITLE, TAGLINE and COVER!!!
Thanks for stopping by, I'm flattered and appreciate your time!!!
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