A friend of mine, David, emailed me and asked me to make some suggestions about how he could go about getting published, based on some (very excellent) writing he's done. I've shared my answer below.
Before you read it though, you should keep in mind that my big book still isn't' published! So what do I know! Well, I know a lot more than I did 8 years ago.
Here's what I wrote to David:
Okay, good. In that case, let me make a few suggestions.1. Read "Made to Stick" - it's a superb book about getting your ideas across and making them sticky.2. Find one or two books which you like and you would like yours to sit beside on someone else's bookshelf. Copy them unashamedly - their style, their structure, and so on. (I chose goldratt's The Goal ... hence the business novel. I wouldn't recommend that because it's soooooo time consuming, but it is fascinating.).3. Write an outline. And, find a book with good reviews which talks about writing non-fiction books.4. Get the software called Scrivener. There is a mac and a windows version and it costs 30 quid and it's the best software in the world. It's like an integrated development environment (IDE) for writers. It is astoundingly useful ... and simple. But ... it takes a little learning before you start to see the benefit. Worth it though.Then ... you need to think about 2 things which are annoying: how to get feedback about your writing as you go AND how to architecturally structure your book so it is easy to change.1. Feedback: you need feedback about whether your writing style is interesting and whether your content is interesting and whether there is a market for your book. It's a good idea, for instance, to write a chapter from somewhere (it doesn't matter where) in the book, then throw it at people who can understand it but be honest about it. I volunteer to be one of them.2. Architecture: you want to be able to cut out (say) section 3 from your book and not have to change everything else. You want to be able to reorder your chapters without causing the book to break. In design terms: low coupling, high cohesion. (Hint: don't write a business novel.)And don't forget: it's easier for me to write this stuff, here, than it is to do it! I've been writing and rewriting and rewriting my big book for 8 years now and, although I've had faith and tenacity, it is horribly hard work.And one last thing: do you have to write a book? Could you prepare the structure, turn it into ppt, then video them, and publish, for instnace? There's still a lot of prep ... but it's in many ways easier because video doesn't have to be as perfect.