Experience & Variety / About the Business / Book Proposals for Nonfiction /
Fiction / How should you start / How I work / Costs
Do you want to write a book but you don't know how, or maybe you don't have the time?
I know how and I can help you have the time by doing the hard work for you.
Plus if you work with me, you'll have fun and I'll insist on it. Otherwise, why bother? This is not factory work. This is a book! You must have passion because it shows up on the page for all of your readers to see. They know if you care.
Professional doesn't mean boring.
I will help you find your voice, and I have a track record of doing so in many different fields - some of which I knew nothing about before I started.
I like to learn, and I love a good story. You are my teacher. My job is to ask you stupid questions until I understand. When I finally understand, I can explain it to others – whatever “it” is.
EXPERIENCE AND VARIETY
I've collaborated on more than a dozen books.
- I've worked with celebrities in sports and business such as Super Bowl Quarterback Joe Theismann; baseball superstar Tom Glavine, hockey legend Cam Neely, and Hap Klopp, founder of The North Face.
- I've worked with business consultants and doctors – who have understood that one of the best brand-building and credibility-building tools in the world is a book with your name on it.
- I've worked with budding novelists who had a great idea and detailed plot for a book but needed writing assistance.
- I've worked with people who want to tell their life story and preserve it for their children and grandchildren.
- I am a trained journalist who has written literally thousands of newspaper and magazine stories.
- I was originally an engineering major in college. I have a strong math background, which helps me organize a book in the right way. Yes, mathematical thinking helps my writing.
ABOUT THE BUSINESS
There are a million reasons to write a book.
Publishers can find a million reasons to publish or reject a book.
Here is the deal. I will be upfront so that you understand what you are up against and why I am different. Trying to get a book published with a trade publisher is a gamble unless you are famous.
It's unfortunate but there is a dirty word in publishing called "platform" and that means what kind of platform do you have to sell your book from? Oprah, for instance, has a big platform. If you know Oprah, she might share her platform.
The odds are not as good for someone who is not famous. A famous moron has a much better shot at getting published than a genius with a compelling story or idea. There, I said it. This, perhaps, doesn't say a lot for those making publishing decisions. But it's a fact. Don't shoot the messenger. Just keep reading if this unfortunate fact doesn't turn you off.
And if you do happen to be famous, I have proven I can work with celebrities, capture their voice, and I obviously I work with discretion and privacy.
Yet in these modern times, rejection of a good idea doesn't mean the good idea has to go away. So even if you don't have a platform and you can't find a mainstream publisher, you can consider self-publishing.
You can write a book yourself or hire a ghostwriter to help make it better and then you can self-publish it at a number of different new houses that produce professional products. Self-publishing is much easier than in the past and also no longer looked down upon. Many authors have made great money doing this and some have later landed publishing contracts with traditional publishers. Google "self publishing" or "print on demand" and you will find many options. I can help if you want.
A book gives credibility and even if you don't make money on the book, you will make money because of the book.
If you hire me, I will help you create a book to be proud of, whether it is published by a traditional publisher, or by a self-publishing company.
BOOK PROPOSALS FOR NONFICTION
You appear to have a compelling story or idea. So, what now?
Well, the first thing is a quick lesson in the business. Publishers publish books but they buy book proposals.
A book proposal, essentially, is a business plan for a book. It is usually 40-80 pages long and includes a number of sections:
Brief Synopsis - Reads like flap jacket copy
The Book or The Story- What is the architecture of the book or, if it is a narrative, an overview in 4 pages
The Market - Who will buy this book?
Marketing Plan - What do YOU plan to do to sell the book?
Author Bio - Why are YOU qualified to write this book?
Collaborator Bio - Me
The Competition - What successful books are like this and why yours is similar but better?
Press - Any press you have received
Chapter Synopsis - Begin every chapter as if writing it, then tell what will be covered. Do this in one page per chapter.
Sample Chapter - The most important section, so pick the best chapter.
Ideally, you get a literary agent to bring your book to publishers. An agent is a first filter and getting an agent to pitch your book helps a lot. I do have an agent. But I know what he would say. "Don't tell me about it. Write it up and let me read it."
One more word about a book proposal... it is very useful in helping shape the book itself. Even if you self publish a book proposal forces you to do the big work - the thinking - ahead of time.
You have to write the entire manuscript and then you submit the first 30 to 50 pages to agents and publishers. If they like it, you submit the rest of the story.
Getting fiction published by a traditional publisher is much more difficult than getting non-fiction published.
HOW SHOULD YOU START?
The first thing to do if you decide to proceed forward with me or on your own - an option - is to begin to organize your thoughts. Thinking is hard work, and organizing a book is actually almost like mathematics. Interestingly, I studied engineering in college before changing to journalism.
So, in organizing, you would want to know how the book begins, how it ends, and what stories and ideas you want to include in each chapter. You want to make it flow and be one book, not a bunch of ideas bound together.
More than that, though, you need to define what is your book about?
Think about this: Through a twist of luck you are on Oprah's couch right now and she turns to you with 30 million people watching and she asks, "So, what's your book about?" Quick, you've got 20 seconds until she cuts to commercial.
If you are interested in spending money and rolling the dice, I would be happy to talk. I also have a literary agent who might be interested but I already know what he would say: "I don't know, I'd have to read it."
HOW I WORK
Writing a book is hard work, and it requires you to do hard work even if you are hiring me. After all, it's your book!
If you decide that you like to write, you can write me a draft, which I would rewrite and then we would pass it back and forth a couple of times.
Or you can meet with me while I record you (I am a journalist, trained at asking questions) and then hire a typist to get the tape transcribed. I would use the transcription as my material to work with, my clay so to speak.
In either case, my goal is to stick to your voice as much as possible. When it works, it's a lot of fun and the end result is a book you are proud of.
WHAT IT COSTS?
What does it cost to build a house? It depends on the house.
It's the same with a book. It depends on the book.
I am expensive. Think in terms of hiring a lawyer. If you want cheap, hire cheap and you may or may not get what you pay for. I am a professional.
If you want top-level help and you are fun to work with, I am interested. Life is short. I want to learn, earn and have fun.
If you do sell the book, I would ask for a small percentage of royalties, besides my pay to write the book. This keeps my incentive at its highest, and you will know I have an interest in sales too.
Remember, a book proposal is a separate document and a separate agreement. All the information put together in such a document is always helpful towards the final product, even if self-publishing becomes your best or only option.
Finally, here's why my prices are high: Thinking is one of the most difficult tasks on Earth. See that picture at the top of this website of me watching TV on the beach? That's me in my thinking chair.