The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
Turning Thoughts into Books
By Dan Poynter
Para Publishing: Santa Barbara, CA (2005)
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - Posted July 12, 2012
Many people dream of one day being a published author. Most never succeed for one simple reason - they never get around to writing a book. The truth is, writing a book can be a lot of hard work. In Writing Nonfiction - Turning Thoughts into Books, Dan Poynter offers practical advice that takes you step-by-step through the process of selecting a topic, gathering your information, and organizing it into a readable, and more important, saleable commodity.
This is not, however, a 'How-To Write Nonfiction' book. Rather it is more of a marketing book. While it does contain some excellent writing advice, Poynter's focus is on the realities of book publishing, i.e., making money. Rather than telling you how to write a book, Poynter tells you how to 'build' a book. This book will help you to realistically decide if your intended topic is marketable, and it explains in detail how to research your competition, and how to ensure that you slant your book toward its intended audience.
Poynter also offers tips that will help you decide if you should try to self-publish your book or try to place it with a traditional publisher. Be forewarned, Poynter is biased toward self-publishing and much of the information in this book is geared toward authors who will be self-publishing. For those who are not interested in self-publishing, Poynter also offers a few tips on how to find an agent, and / or a publisher for your book.
I found the most useful parts of this book were Poynter's advice on the importance of writing to sell rather than simply writing to write. This can be hard to do, but if your goal is to be a published author, you must take the business end of writing seriously. The other aspect of this book that I found extremely useful was Poynter's recommendations on how to organize your research material so that you have the information that you will use in each chapter gathered in one place. Writing Nonfiction - Turning Thoughts into Books offers some valuable tips on how to select and narrow the focus of the topic you intend to write about, and how to organize your book and your research material. Poynter has also included a valuable resource list at the end of the book, which includes a list of 'how-to write nonfiction' type books as well as online writer's resources. The large print edition of this essential self-publishing handbook is printed primarily in a 16-point font, with headers and major section titles are printed in bold letters. This book is also available in a variety of formats including standard print, PDF, and Palm Pilot formats.
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