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How did You Write that Book?

July 20th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

The basic steps I have used to writing a professional, non-fiction book and having it published.

I have written about half-a-dozen professional non-fiction books. The counting is a bit fuzzy when you include a second edition or two here and there. These were published by the IEEE and other publishers of such books.

I have met members of my profession who are itching to do the same. They ask me, “How did you write that book?”

For the (somewhat boring) record:

Step 1 – Write a book. Use a basic word processor. Write chapters in a logical order (consult already published books). Create a lot of figures. There, now you have a book.

Step 1a – I sure learned a lot by doing the research, thinking through everything, making my thoughts clear enough to express in writing. Hence, if you stop here, you are much smarter than before.

Step 2 – Now that I have learned so much…do I even care that it is “published.”

Step 3 – Decide how to publish.

a. Just make a PDF and put it out there.

b. Write publishers describing your book that you have in hand.

b.2. They will want editing. Lots of editing work that will probably double the amount of work done to date.

Here is the odd part, at least it was odd to me. Every year, publishers send contracts to people saying, “If you deliver a book to us that meets blah blah blah, we will publish it and pay you royalties.” Every year, the majority of interested writers sign the contract, but do not deliver a book. The writing (Step 1. above), proves more difficult than anticipated or something.

That is why I have the steps in the order they appear above. Write a book first. Once in hand, approach publishers. Seems backwards? Not what you have read? Well, these are professional, non-fiction books. These are not romance novels, novels about teenage girls who fall in love with werewolves, or teenage girls who save the world with a bow and arrow.

And that is how I wrote that book.

Tags: Work · Writing

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