Book Lust: How to Write a Short Nonfiction Book in 8 Weeks
Following is a draft of the introduction for the book I am working on. Book Lust is the new placeholder title. I’d love feedback on the title and the book concept.
If you are like most Americans – or anyone anywhere, for that matter – you have dreamt about writing a book. It’s on your bucket list for one reason or another.
One study shows that 81 percent of Americans want to write a book.
For most, I suspect, it’s the lovely, anticipatory thought of becoming a published author. Of holding that volume in your hands and admiring your name on the cover. I am an author. It rolls nicely off the tongue, doesn’t it?
For others, it’s the lure of becoming a sought-after expert and being invited to speak at swanky destinations. Or perhaps you hope to make a lot of money from your book. You picture your title as a $1.99 Kindle eBook downloaded by a million readers.
Good luck with that one. It has happened for a tiny handful of genre authors, notably Amanda Hocking and John Locke. It’s not likely to work if your genre is nonfiction or business.
So what does published author mean exactly in the age of Kindle and digital, weightless books?
Oops, I stopped writing just now to Google Paris cooking schools. I may be your typical writer AND reader. I’m finding that the urge to multitask, to fling myself into the rabbit hole of Google on the slightest provocation, is overwhelming. Not that there’s anything wrong with thinking about attending a cooking class in Paris. In fact, my husband and I have that on the list for our planned sabbatical.
The point is that in this age of short attention spans and fractured thinking, the definition of book has changed. Credible books can be digital only. Credible books can be short. And short books can be self-published and still respected.
With the right approach and with impeccable prose and cover design, your book can be smart and stylish and every bit as professional as the eBooks being published by publishers such as The New York Times, Byliner and Amazon’s Kindle Singles.
That is a lot of good news. It means you can take advantage of the publishing revolution to fulfill your lustful dream of writing a book – without investing months or even years of your life searching for a literary agent and/or a contract with a big New York publisher. If your initial goal is to write a short eBook and publish it to Kindle, that is entirely within your reach.
The bad news is that there is still some work involved. There are hundreds of thousands of crappy eBooks available on Amazon. If you don’t care about stylish, intelligent writing – or grammar or punctuation, for that matter – please stop reading right here. I am not the right guide for you and you will become very annoyed when I tell you that the shape of your sentences and the arc of your prose matters.
That is why I am writing this short book. I care passionately about the craft of writing and I want to help you write a short, terrific book. In the following pages I will illustrate how you can write a short, nonfiction book in eight weeks. I will give you a step-by-step roadmap leavened with tons of inspiration, practical tips and wisdom from writing teachers like Peter Elbow, Natalie Goldberg and Anne Lamott.
Your book may not make you rich or famous, but it will turn you into a published author, one who can proudly roll that phrase off your tongue.