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So about this book...

Saturday,  01/04/03  12:15 AM

First, I'm not ready to say what it's about yet.  It isn't any great secret, but I have something to say (that's why I'm writing it), and I need to think about the best way to say it.  It is nonfiction, philosophical, somewhat political, and [probably] controversial.  I hope so, anyway.

Seems to me there are two big tasks.  {Actually three, task zero was figuring out what to write about, but after six months of thinking and writing some preliminary essays this is done, at least at a high level.}

Task One is writing the book.  In my infinite hubris and inexperience, this seems doable.  Here's what I'm planning to do, in approximately this order:

  • Come up with a working title.  Right now I like "Unnatural Selection", which could give you a clue what the book is about.  Another was or is "The Idiot Quotient".
  • Write an elevator statement.  I should be able to say "what is this book about" in like one sentence, in a way that everyone "gets it".  When I have this, I'll share it with you, I promise.  My budget for this is one month, starting now (although of course I can always amend/enhance later).
  • Write an outline.  Use it to organize everything I want to say and how I'm planning to say it.  My budget for this is two months, starting now.  Actually I have started this already.
  • Write each chapter, conforming to the outline.  When I'm done, I should have this massive 200-300 page Word document.  My budget for this is six months, which could be hopelessly optimistic, but hey, I'm a hopeless optimist.  I have begun two of the chapters, each of which started out as an essay, unrelated to the other.  It was realizing that they were not unrelated - at all - which prompted me to realize "hey, this is important, and hey world, check this out!"
  • Do a bunch of research to backup my writing.  The book will propound a theory.  The more facts I can find to bolster my theory, the better.  Google is my friend. 
  • Get as many people as possible to read as much of the book as they're willing, and give feedback.  The trouble with a book is that - unlike, say, software - once it is out there, it is what it is.  You can't fix typos, you can't reword unwieldy sentences, and - gasp! - you can't make an incoherent argument more coherent.  Seems like you have to get as much feedback as you can up front ("beta testing") and incorporate as much of it as you can, and then hope for the best.

Task Two is getting the book published.  I have no clue where to begin.  I can't even make a list.  So, here's my plan to make a plan:

  • Contact as many people as I can, and ask them for help.  Lots of people have written books and lots of people know people who have written books.  If I talk to as many of them as I can, maybe I'll learn about the process.
  • Scour the Internet looking for information about writing books.  Google is my friend.
  • Join writing clubs, etc. to associate with writers.  Not only is the networking good (I can ask the people I meet for help), but this has to be a shared problem.  Also I might learn much which will advise the actual process of writing (Task One).

Any comments?  What would you do?

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