I read an interesting article at The Outline. It starts off by demolishing two diehard myths:
1. Everyone has a book in them.
2. Any story can be turned into a book.
We have to keep in mind though that there are two very different publishing models or paths.
Let’s go over myth #1.
The author of the article, literary agent Kate McKean, explained that just because you may have an interesting story that your family and friends love, it doesn’t mean an agent or publishing house will want to take the time and money to turn it into a book. It doesn’t mean that anyone outside your personal realm will pay money to buy the book.
But, what if people you know tell you that your story is book worthy?
Still, they’re most likely not professionals in the book industry. A lot goes into creating a published book. And, “those well-meaning and supportive people rarely know how a story becomes printed words on a page.” (1)
A look at the self-publishing side.
According to a NY Times article, “81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them — and that they should write it.” (2)
The author of that article notes, “I wonder if the reason so many people think they can write a book is that so many third-rate books are published nowadays.”
This makes creating a book seem easy.
Yes, self-publishing has given those people who want to write a book the opportunity to do so, but should those books be written. Will the finished product be a book that will add value and quality to the self-publishing arena and to the reader?
Unfortunately, in a lot of instances, this isn’t the case.
Let’s go over myth #2.
Can any story be turned into a book?
This depends on which publishing path you take and whether you believe quality matters?
Good writers can usually take any story / topic and weave their magic to turn it into an engaging and publishable book. But, these writers have taken the time to learn their craft – they’re professionals.
According to McKean, “writing a book that people will pay money for or take a trip to the library to read, requires an awareness few storytellers have.”
Along with this, while writing itself is a solitary thing, creating the book for others to read isn’t. When writing, you need to have your reader in mind.
Writing a book is kind of like hosting a dinner party. You do the cooking in the hopes that your guests will love the meal. If you take care to cook a good meal, chances are your guests will enjoy it and even asks for more.
If you don’t follow a recipe, use inferior ingredients, don’t cook it long enough, and so on, chances are your guests won’t enjoy it. In fact, they may be annoyed that you’d serve them something so awful. In this case, do you think they’d ever come back for another of your dinner parties?
With traditional publishing, agents and publishers are the gatekeepers. They ensure value and quality. They decide if your story will sell. While books are considered art, the traditional publishing system needs readers to buy those books in order for them to make a profit.
In the self-publishing realm, it’s another story. It’s a free-for-all. Any story can be turned into book. But, should it?
If you have a story you believe in and want to take the self-publishing route, go for it. But, PLEASE, take the time and care to create a good story, even if it means hiring a ghostwriter to write it for you. And, invest in a professional book design and cover.
If you’re self-publishing a children’s picture book, invest in quality illustrations also.
Shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700
Let’s get your story in publishable shape today!