More Writing Guides
In an unusual move for Publishers Weekly, the September 18th issue includes a page about how-to-write books under the heading Writing Guides. I was amused with Bill Goldstein’s first sentence, “Publishers who worry that no one reads books anymore can take solace in the fact that just about everyone wants to write one.” It strikes me as close to the truth from my experience. The article covers some recent and forthcoming books. From my years of reading these books, I know there is a steady stream of these niche books entering the market. I’m a part of it with my Book Proposals That Sell.
This PW article includes a snippet of advice from Jerry B. Jenkins, author of 155 books including Writing for the Soul, Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life. For many years, I’ve known Jerry and appreciated him. Writing for the Soul has been on my reading list but I had not opened my book until I saw this article. After hearing Jerry speak about writing a number of times, I knew his book must have much more valuable insight than a sign which says, “The only way to write a book is with seat in chair.”
I will have more to say about Writing for the Soul when I dig into reading it—but for a taste, here’s a brief section on page 91 which is part of a Q & A with Jerry:
“You’re an extremely fast writer. Do I have to write fast to succeed?
“No, If you write quickly and your writing looks dashed off, you’ll regret it. Although I write fast (because I think, of my journalism training), I never want my finished product to appear rushed. I care about every word and want that to show. At a certain point, however, reworking something makes it only different, not better. I have friends who struggle over every page. Sometimes they labor for hours on a single paragraph. That doesn’t make them slow writers. They simply take more time up front; my tedious work comes at the other end of the process. I get that first draft down and see it as a hunk of meat to be carved. You have to find what works best for you and stick with that.”
You can see Writing for the Soul is packed with substance.
Wendy Werris’ book, An Alphabetized Life: Living It Up In the Business of Books isn’t a writing guide, but it is related to the book publishing business. Her book doesn’t release until late next month (October) and I have not read it. I was fascinated with the excellent excerpt in today’s Shelf Awareness Newsletter. If you aren’t subscribed to Shelf Awareness, the price is right—free. Make sure you sign up and receive it on a regular basis.