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Finished the First Draft of My Book!
Old 03-18-2011, 12:18 AM   #1
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Finished the First Draft of My Book!

I powered through today and finished the first draft of the book I have been working on. I wanted to be a writer when I retired so this milestone kind of makes me one I suppose. Now there is just the "simple" task of reading, revising, editing, copy editing and formatting for both e-book and print. So that means I'm probably about 20% finished. Once I publish the book, I can call myself a published writer, all my blogs not withstanding, then if I sell any books, I can call myself a professional writer.

I guess I'm living the dream. Best part is I need to take a trip to Las Vegas, the subject of my book, to take some photos and do a little further research. Can probably deduct it from my taxes too.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:30 AM   #2
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Sounds like it is a non-fiction, a documentary of some type?
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:53 AM   #3
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Sounds like it is a non-fiction, a documentary of some type?
Yes, a travel guide. I traveled extensively to Las Vegas in my working life and decided to use that knowledge and do a little research to write a book. Since I was on per diem, finding deals was essential. That's what the book is about essentially. Finding deals no matter what your price range. Also a lot of advice on how to have fun in Vegas, gambling, drinking and dining tips, etc.
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:41 AM   #4
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Congrats on your progress thus far.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:14 AM   #5
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Yes, a travel guide. I traveled extensively to Las Vegas in my working life and decided to use that knowledge and do a little research to write a book. Since I was on per diem, finding deals was essential. That's what the book is about essentially. Finding deals no matter what your price range. Also a lot of advice on how to have fun in Vegas, gambling, drinking and dining tips, etc.
That research must've been a killer.

I wonder if you could tie in the marketing with these guys:
http://www.3dlasvegas.com/
or these:
frankosmaps: Las Vegas for Families & Non-Gamblers!
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:44 AM   #6
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Best part is I need to take a trip to Las Vegas, the subject of my book, to take some photos and do a little further research. Can probably deduct it from my taxes too.
Possibly, as long as the "research" doesn't include a side trip to the Mustang Ranch
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
I powered through today and finished the first draft of the book I have been working on.
Congratulations!
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfishnevada View Post
I guess I'm living the dream. Best part is I need to take a trip to Las Vegas, the subject of my book, to take some photos and do a little further research.
Hey maybe you'll see Orchidflower while you're there.......
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
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Great book idea! I live in just outside Vegas and I'm regularly asked for info like what you're writing...once you're finished I can point people to your book!
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:15 PM   #9
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As a professional part time writer (over 40 books, 2.2 million copies sold), I have been deducting things for over 20 years: computers, cameras, copiers, supplies, travel all over the world, and even office space in my home. The IRS has never bothered me (knock on wood). But then I've always shown a profit. Check with your tax accountant or attorney.

You're about right on with the 20% figure, but finishing the first draft is the hardest step. Congratulation! You are on your way. Keep chugging.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:52 PM   #10
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Congratulations on becoming an author !
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone!

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Possibly, as long as the "research" doesn't include a side trip to the Mustang Ranch
Well, the Mustang is outside of Reno, the Chicken Ranch is outside of Vegas. And while I won't go there, there is a whole section in the book about brothels, strip clubs and such.

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Great book idea! I live in just outside Vegas and I'm regularly asked for info like what you're writing...once you're finished I can point people to your book!
Thanks! I am surprised that there are so few books like this for such a popular destination. Of course, there are the Frommer's and such, but this is different. It's short on specifics, you know, eat here, stay there, do this and do that, and more general info on how and where to get deals and what all there is to do and see.

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As a professional part time writer (over 40 books, 2.2 million copies sold), I have been deducting things for over 20 years: computers, cameras, copiers, supplies, travel all over the world, and even office space in my home. The IRS has never bothered me (knock on wood). But then I've always shown a profit. Check with your tax accountant or attorney.

You're about right on with the 20% figure, but finishing the first draft is the hardest step. Congratulation! You are on your way. Keep chugging.
Thanks for the encouragement. I have more ideas in my head and am itching to start another book, but at least on this first one, one book at a time.
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:48 PM   #12
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Good to hear that you have other ideas. Once publishers can see how you write and how you can get books out the door, they'll come knocking on that door.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:57 AM   #13
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Congratulations on writing the first draft of your first book! I had expected it to be about flyfishing. Maybe that will be the subject of Book 2!
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:22 AM   #14
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Good to hear that you have other ideas. Once publishers can see how you write and how you can get books out the door, they'll come knocking on that door.
Actually strongly considering self publishing. I want to be in control and my theory is that if people want a book like this, they will find it. May not be on book store shelves, but being listed on Amazon ain't so bad.

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Congratulations on writing the first draft of your first book! I had expected it to be about flyfishing. Maybe that will be the subject of Book 2!
Yes, I was going to start with a fly fishing book, but the muse did not visit and then I figured that it might be best to do something else first to get my feet wet. I want the fishing book to be something special. I am covering a subject that to my knowledge has never been covered and I want to get it right. Plus that one will require a lot of photos and maps which I will be developing.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #15
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ebooks and the lower cost of publishing has enabled many to explorer their literary talent (and get it out there)
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:03 PM   #16
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Actually strongly considering self publishing. I want to be in control and my theory is that if people want a book like this, they will find it. May not be on book store shelves, but being listed on Amazon ain't so bad.
I think it depends on whether you want to write for yourself or whether you want to write more for your readers. Either is a great motivator, especially if you don't have to make a profit from it.

I was going down the self-publishing route until I realized that without a certain distributor the book would likely be locked out of the military exchanges forever. Since I wasn't a starving author in any particular hurry and I was making it up as I went along trying to learn everything I could about publishing, I decided to see how hard it'd be to find a publisher. We readers all know the bar can't be very high, right? My personal expectations were certainly low enough to get me through the manuscript-writing process, so I extended them to the publishing process.

I'm just a newb, but the publishing world seems very dysfunctional-- or perhaps a better description is "overwhelmed by chaos". Editors must prefer to let agents tell them what they think be their filter, and you'd expect both species to be better at communicating with at least the written word.

Despite many publishers' apparent inability to make a decision, let alone discuss it, when I went through the process I taught myself a lot and learned even more. Before I could write a query letter, let alone self-publish, I had to learn more about the publishing business. Before I could approach the publishers I had to learn more about their motivations... which led me to figure out exactly who would want to buy the book in the first place (other than a couple hundred loyal E-R.org members). Then I had to actually persuade these faceless authority figures why they'd want to spend their time (and hopefully their money) stamping our deathless prose on dead trees.

Editors grope for decisions by asking annoying and seemingly pointless questions like "Who should want to buy this book?" and "Why is that the title?" Another editor told me "20-somethings don't buy books." They got me to realize that I was writing for too narrow an audience and picking a title that might drive away a lot of customers. I had also put a few other snarky irreverent features in the book that didn't seem so funny when an editor asked how they'd attract an audience.

One publisher actually (*gasp*) expected me to write a marketing plan with the query letter. (Well, damn, isn't that what publishers are for? Oh.) People want to see the authors marketing the book, not the publishers. Besides, if I self-published then I'd have to craft the marketing plan anyway, so why not write one now and get some free feedback?

In some ways I got lucky. I ran the manuscript by one publisher twice, got turned down both times, and later learned that I'd inadvertently evaded the author's version of editorial & legal hell. In the process they asked a lot of great questions and helped me improve both the manuscript and my query letters. Another publisher drifted away from me but left behind a fantastic guide to online marketing. A senior editor at a large publisher agonized over their decision for six months (even hiring a consultant to tell them what they thought) and eventually lost out to a more decisive rival. But when I took back the manuscript they very nicely forwarded both their comments (and the editorial board's comments) as well as the consultant's comments. They couldn't ram a freakin' decision through their committee, but I'm going back to this particular editor for more blogging and advertising.

And so it went for nearly a year. I taught myself more before approaching each publisher, and then they taught me more just by asking questions and talking about what makes their lives easier.

I'll put in a shameless plug for Impact Publications. By the time I got around to them I'd about burned out on the idea of using a publisher, and I'd held off writing them only because they weren't quite as "big" as the whales I'd been chucking harpoons at. (I'd been approaching one publisher at a time instead of shotgunning the crowd. That was probably another newbie mistake, but my aim got better with each reload.) Impact had done well for a couple authors I knew and Impact's distributor puts their books in military exchanges. In some ways their query letter was the most difficult to write, especially if by this point you're expecting to be dragged through a mosh pit for another six or eight months. But they were on my list so like a good little nuke I kept plugging away at it no matter how painful or tedious it seemed to be.

The response was stunning and gratifying. Publisher's school had clearly forgotten to teach Ron Krannich how not to make a decision. He got the query letter on a Wednesday afternoon and must've deliberated for, gosh, nearly 24 hours before calling me on the phone to talk about it. Once he'd heard enough to decide that I wasn't a blithering idiot (which took a few minutes while I got over my shock and realized that my friends weren't playing a practical joke), he told me he was sending me a contract. And then he sent me a contract.

Control has not been an issue. The editor has made the manuscript better at every turn. If they thought something wasn't relevant or if a technique wasn't working, then they shared their opinion and asked for my reasoning before we (!) made the decision. As an engineer, it had never occurred to me to have a real no-foolin' graphics artist do the cover. It had never occurred to me that there were typesetting techniques which would make the text pop even more than our compelling prose already does.

If you approach a publisher then you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that this experience hasn't been about control-- it's been more collaboration than competition. Nobody at Impact has been trying to "win" any decisions. They've appreciated the way I've approached some topics and they've promptly backed off when they've understood why I've chosen some techniques. A few of my ideas have turned out not to work for the last 15 or 20 authors or during the last couple decades, and would probably only be worth doing in an e-book or in a blog. So I'm still learning.

Another "director's cut" way for an author to exert control is through their blog. I'm using mine for all the material that wouldn't make the book (for one very good reason or another). If the publisher or editor won't do something, then I can take solace in realizing that they're right I can always put it in the blog. If it's popular on the blog then I can take it back to the publisher for another discussion.

Here's some questions that Ron taught me to ask: Would your book sales be bigger if you also offered a 4"x5" 64-page "pocket guide" version for your readers to carry around as they saw the town? Would the Las Vegas Visitor's Bureau (or, more likely, one of the hotels or casinos) want to buy 50,000 or 75,000 customized versions to hand out to their customers? Would your sales be improved by writing a custom version of your manuscript to appeal to certain types of visitors? (We Hawaii residents enjoy a popular weekly newspaper column by a Hawaii expat who tells us the latest Vegas gossip & deals, and then encourages us to visit his website for special offers.) Would you want to put together a smart-phone version of your text, perhaps augmented by Yelp! or 3DLasVegas, for customers to download as a 99-cent paid app?

I think you have nothing to lose by engaging in a discussion with a publisher. After all, the default case is self-publishing. The only issue is how much time you spend on design & marketing before moving to sales.

Customized Pocket Guides and Books
Impact Publications - Impact Travel
Under Construction
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:43 PM   #17
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Congratulations on finishing the most fun part of the publication process: writing the book. Consider it step 1 out of 20 :-)

I decided to self-publish using print-on-demand because I wanted to retain control and keep the book in print forever. If I could choose any kind of publishing route I wanted, I'd still do it myself. At one point I even considered binding my on books, but there are probably better ways to get high than gluing books together.

I write in a niche-field; hence the focus on control and the long-term. Most publishers work more like venture-capital. They toss money at a lot of books, most of which will fail, and try to make it back of the few best sellers. I suspect publishers are not very good at judging what will sell. Even classic best sellers have been known to be rejected more than a dozen times before some publisher picked it up.

It's worth keeping in mind that I already had a blog to promote it on which would probably beat anything a book publisher could do in terms of marketing. I also know authors without a platform who POD'ed and proceed to sell extremely little.

The "if people want it, they'll find it" is generally not true (needle in a haystack). Another untruism is "if the book is great, people will buy it". As long as a book is "good enough", marketing determines everything. Sad but true.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:39 PM   #18
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Wow! Two great posts above. Thanks for the perspective and advice.

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The "if people want it, they'll find it" is generally not true (needle in a haystack). Another untruism is "if the book is great, people will buy it". As long as a book is "good enough", marketing determines everything. Sad but true.
I say that because an Amazon search turns up only a handful of titles. The self published ones are really poor. For the most part the pothers are more detail oriented. Addresses, costs, amenities, etc. Frommer's type books. I think mine will find a niche, but I also realize the importance of marketing. A website, blog, etc. Nothing is decided yet. And I fully understand that I don't understand a lot.

All I know is Nords experience makes me want to self publish more than not. I'm more interested in writing books than spending all my time trying to find a publisher. I guess in some ways this is more for me and my reader than an attempt to become a famous author and make a million bucks.
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:02 PM   #19
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Yes, a travel guide. I traveled extensively to Las Vegas in my working life and decided to use that knowledge and do a little research to write a book. Since I was on per diem, finding deals was essential. That's what the book is about essentially. Finding deals no matter what your price range. Also a lot of advice on how to have fun in Vegas, gambling, drinking and dining tips, etc.
A travel guide book would need to be updated periodically. If this takes off, it will keep you busy in the future doing the refresh. Congrats!
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:27 PM   #20
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Congratulations, Fly! It's a special feeling to type "The End" even if it's on the first draft.

Here's a website that started in 1997 to help protect writers and creators from unscrupulous agents: Preditors & Editors Now it has lots of information about lots of aspects of publishing. A good resource.
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