The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?
Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?
How Ordinary People are Raking in $100,000.00... or more Writing Nonfiction Books & How You Can Too!
New, Updated Edition
By Marc McCutcheon
Quill Driver Books: 2006
Reviewed by Herbert White - Posted August 7, 2012
Have you ever come across a book, and then hit yourself in the head saying, "Why didn't I write that?" If you have, Marc McCutcheon's newly updated book, Damn! Why Didn't I Write That? is for you. In this handy guide McCutcheon shows, as the subtitle suggests, How Ordinary People are Raking in $100,000.00... or more Writing Nonfiction Books & How You Can Too!. McCutcheon is well suited to write this book. He is the author of several nonfiction books including Roget's Super Thesaurus, a book which I've been using for years and one which I highly recommend, as well as The Compass in Your Nose & Other Astonishing Facts About Humans and Descriptionary.
When I first picked up this book, I had only meant to scan through it to get an idea of what the book was about - before I knew it I had read it cover to cover, and I'm now brainstorming about what my first nonfiction book will be about! What this book does is illustrate the plethora of nonfiction books that have been published by people who, in many cases, did not really know anything about the subject they were writing about until they got down to the work of actually researching their book. Instead, what they did was identify a market, and then write a book targeted toward their target audience. The result in most cases, was huge book sales, and equally huge profits.
This is not to say that writing a book, or getting a book published, is ever easy. What McCutcheon explains in this book is that there is a tremendous demand for nonfiction books - and he puts the proof on the table that ordinary folks, from housewives to high school dropouts are making big bucks in this lucrative arena - and you can to!
More than just inspiring you to pick a subject and get writing, Damn! Why Didn't I Write That? also provides invaluable information on the business side of writing a book. It includes how to write and submit query letters and book proposals, sage advice on how to negotiate a book contract and get yourself a higher advance, as well as determining if you need an agent to sell your book. He also provides practical advice on getting started writing your nonfiction book, ranging from tips on what to write about to how to locate 'experts' to interview for your book.
Throughout, this book is peppered with real life examples of nonfiction books that made it big, and the difficulties that some of these authors had in getting their work published. To this end he examines the steps that you have to go through in hunting for a publisher to accept your book, and he gives numerous examples of writers whose perseverance paid off. My favorite example is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen's Chicken Soup for the Soul. According to McCutcheon this book was rejected more than 140 times before landing a publisher. So hang in there!
Damn! Why Didn't I Write That? is one of the best motivational writing book that I've read. I learned long ago that while I enjoy writing fiction, the real money is in nonfiction, and I've done a fair job of supporting myself in this field - but it just never crossed my mind to try writing a nonfiction book. After reading Damn! Why Didn't I Write That? I'm sure as all get-out, going to give it a try!
Whether you are a raw novice looking for advice on writing your first book, a hitherto non-writer with a marketable idea, or a seasoned pro looking to expand into a new market - this book is for you. The advice that McCutcheon offers on negotiating a book contract is worth the price of the book alone. However, when combined with his insights into the publishing world, the wealth of resources scattered throughout the text, and handy tips on improving your writing - you can't go wrong. Before you know it, you to could be a published author raking in $100,000.00 or more!
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