Frequently Asked Questions on Writing and Presenting
The book writing process can be full of questions. Let Bonnie Budzowski help guide you through some of the most common ones.
I want to establish my expertise by writing, but how can I find the time?
If you think of writing as requiring a large block of time, you’ll never get around to it. Plan an article or book that provides small chunks of material, and you’ll find it easier to find time to write. If your article is entitled Ten Tips to Better Whatever, you’ll find it fairly easy to write. Your readers will also find the article easy to read.
Also, give yourself permission to write sloppy first drafts. Go back and edit in a separate session. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to write a complete document of any length in one sitting. Professional writers give themselves permission to write lousy drafts. Give yourself permission too.
Looking for more information? Bonnie has a variety of different programs and services to help you through the writing process.
I have more than 10 years of experience; how can I organize what I know into a manageable book project?
If you are an expert with years of experience, chances are you have a number of books inside of you. Write one book at a time. Readers are more interested in reading what you know in segments rather than a huge book that tells it all. Narrow your book to a answering a specific pressing problem for your target readers. Alternately, develop a book that gives a detailed guide to accomplishing a desirable goal. In any case, remember to pick the problem or the goal from the perspective of your reader, not yourself. If you write what they want, people will buy your book. If you write what people need (from your vantage point as an expert), your books will sit on a shelf and collect dust.
Should I attempt to publish my book through traditional means or self-publish it?
The decision about how to publish your non-fiction book is a personal and business decision, depending on a number of factors. This following list is an overview of the major considerations in publishing a non-fiction book.
- Perceived credibility.
- The need for a proposal and/or agent.
- Likelihood of acceptance for your manuscript.
- Length of time until publication.
- Control of your manuscript.
- Book design, layout, and editing.
- Finances and income.
- Issues of distribution.
- Issues of marketing and public relations.
With so many books out there, does the world really need MY book?
Certainly there are a lot of books in the marketplace—both good ones and bad ones. Yet people keep clamoring for more books and spending huge amounts of money on them. People continue to buy books on topics you’d think were saturated, like leadership, communication, parenting, or cooking.
As long as people experience problems in business and life; as long as they continue to formulate goals; as long as they struggle in relationships; and as long as they grapple with change, they will want to buy and download books.
If you are an expert with a unique approach or angle, with experience to back it up, your book can make a valuable contribution. If you organize information in a non-traditional way or share case studies from your own practice, your contribution with be appreciated.
If your book would rehash what others have already written, however, then I suggest you don’t bother with a book. Wait until you have something unique to contribute.
If you decide to write and publish, make a commitment to do it well. Give the project the time and care it needs. Organize well; use a professional editor; use a graphic designer and/or someone who knows layout design; and by all mean proofread your work multiple times. It doesn’t serve you or your readers to put a book out that is unprofessional or riddled with errors.
How do I copyright my work?
A copyright, protects your intellectual property is easy to acquire. In fact, according to the U.S. Copyright Office website (www.copyright.gov/about.html), “Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” Copyrights protects your original works of authorship, however, it does not protect facts, ideas or systems. It can protect how these things are expressed.
Once you write a manuscript, called “creating a Work,” you are automatically protected by Common Law copyright. Everything in your manuscript is protected (text, photographs, drawings, and maps), with the exception of the title, slogans and short phrases. You may consider trademarking these items. For more information, contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199
If you send it to the Copyright Office, you are registering your copyright and you get some additional benefits. It is not necessary to register your copyright to be protected but it is recommended and most people do.
To show others your work is copyrighted, print the copyright notice on the copyright page near the front of your manuscript, using this form: © 2009 by Samantha Smith.
You do not have to register your copyright to be protected but doing so makes your copyright a matter of public record and provides a certificate of registration. This may be useful in legal situations. To register your copyright, go to http://www.copyright.gov/eco/.