WRITING are words inscribed on a surface as a means of communication. It can also be said to be a system of graphic symbols to convey meaning or it can be an act of composing texts. Book writing is an activity or occupation of composing texts for publication. It is something that can be a hobby and a career.
Who can write books?
Many people harbour this erroneous idea that only special and uncommon people, who live in ivory towers and who speak only the exotic languages of angels, can become writers. That is, those who couldn’t be mistaken anymore.
While it is true that a minority of writers lives in seclusion, and a few do not speak in comprehensible language, they do not represent the majority. Most of the successful writers are just common people like you, but with one difference: they exploited the opportunities available to them, and became well-known or well-loved writers.
Researches have shown that only about five per cent of the successful writers were born that way. The remaining 95 per cent did not come equipped from their mother’s womb. They learnt the art, science, and economics of writing through the hard way.
Any literate person, with the desire to write, and is willing to pay the cost can become a successful and well-respected writer.
In this 21st century and the availability of the World Wide Web, (www) for internet surfing, I will say it costs little or nothing to become an author.
You can learn the art through a good correspondence or regular course where you acquire the linguistic tools that writers need. Then, you should spend time regularly to put your training into practice and keep studying all your life (both the craft of writing, as well as the subjects on which you write). You must try and read books on writing, and books in the genre in which you write. You can become a member of writers’ organisations and online forums. You will need someone to mentor you and walk alongside you for a time. Finally, simply write and read, then write again and read again. Trust your instincts.
Planning and research
Get an idea: You need to get the idea, or else, you won’t have a book at all. So, when you’ve got the idea, look at it and think: “Could that make the book I have been dreaming about?” Look at it very closely so that you can get more ideas about the book.
Write down your idea: You also need to write down your goal for it and a few things about what you want it to do. How long do you want it to be? How long is each chapter? Who will be reading it? Will you have chapters? What genre is it? Will it be told from a character’s point of view, or from the view of the author? There are lots of things that factor into your final story. Get out a pen and some paper, or type on the computer. Writing the first chapter is very important.
Space your story out: Keep writing but keep a record of how many pages you’ve got. A usual fantasy story would have about seven computerised pages a chapter and 250 pages in the book, with roughly 35/6/7 chapters. That should stretch your story out nicely.
Once you’ve got your story done, look over it twice yourself: What do you think? Whatever you do, don’t compare it to a professional author’s books, because those authors have a lot of experience. If you show friends or family, they’ll probably tell you it’s great.
Come up with a good name: It has to have some significance in your book. Scary sounding names are good.
Think about a cover, if you want: This isn’t compulsory as publishers can sort this out with a pro, but it would give you an idea of how you think it should look. The rest of the process should be handled by a publisher.
Cost and potential earning: There are two major types of publishing, online and offline. Online publishing costs little or nothing but offline publishing, which will allow your readers to have access to your book in hard copy, will cost you. The cost depends on your budget but you can actually get your book published with as little as N50,000 and earn N200 to N300,000 depending on the information therein, your audience and the value you place on it.
Reputation and marketing
It’s easy to label yourself a writer. Jot down a poem and call yourself a scribe. But building a reputation for yourself as a writer is the evidence others need to label you a writer. It’s essential that creative writers take into consideration the way their peers, literary agents, editors, and readers view not only the quality of their writing but their credentials and career path.
Successful writers use more than one self-marketing method.
Social-networking sites. These have always been good ways to connect with others in the industry, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, among others, to create a buzz about their work by shaping connections nationwide, even worldwide, quickly and efficiently.
Join an association: Investigate joining a professional writing association, such as the Association of Authors and Aspiring African Authors. Belonging to an association of like-minded writers offers other benefits to your craft.
Create a web presence: It’s important that someone doing an online search of your name is able to find a profile page that showcases you and your work.
Blog/website: It seems Nigerians are beginning to explore blogging these days, but it is especially useful for writers to take advantage of this marketing strategy. If you can afford it, build a full-fledged website.
Explore different genres. Working outside your usual genre can expand your writing palette and even improve your writing.
Stay current. Keep up with publishing trends and market preferences by reading industry magazines, newsletters, and articles. Take courses and seminars whenever possible to brush up on your writing skills, and practice the actual craft of writing at every opportunity.