Want to Write a Book in 2008?

Since my book came out, I’ve talked to dozens of people about the book writing process. Everybody and their brother wants to write a book. 81% of Americans think they have a book in them. The first question I ask when somebody tells me their idea is, "Why a book?" A book, compared to other formats, is a rather clumsy way to spread an idea. Why not just an article? Why not a blog? Why not an e-book? Why not a series of emails? Why not an online community?

Playing down the glories of writing and publishing a book through the traditional process at times feels hypocritical — in the same way that MBAs love to bash the value of an MBA — but I think the industry is so backwards, and people’s perceptions of how it will all work usually so off-the-mark, I feel I must.

Perhaps I’ll do a series of posts expanding on the above thoughts. In the meantime, if you are interested in writing in a book in 2008, I want to alert to you a wonderful opportunity from my friend Peter Economy. Peter helped edit My Start-Up Life; I have warm memories of Skyping with him from Kyoto, Japan and debating the titles of my chapters.

Peter has written more than 30 books. He’s a terrific non-fiction writer with deep ties in the publishing industry. And now he wants to give back. He plans to co-author a book a year for free and donate all the proceeds to a charity of his co-author’s choice. That co-author could be you!

All you need to do is submit (by Dec. 31st) a one page summary of your book idea. Peter and his team will review and select one to work on. If you’re the lucky one, you’ll work with Peter to write it. With his experience and connections, I’m sure its publication will soon follow.

Feel free to send me an email with your book idea and bio and I’ll make sure it gets to Peter.

2 Responses to Want to Write a Book in 2008?

  1. Tony says:

    Perhaps I’ll do a series of posts expanding on the above thoughts.

    Please do. As someone about to undertake the process, I’d love to read your thoughts.

  2. As someone who has one book out (Warner Books) and a deal for another (Crown Books) I have to say that I really wonder why most people write books.

    For the advance. That’s a good reason. If you get an advance that ends up being more per hour you spend writing and promoting the book than you would make per hour flipping burgers at McDonalds.

    I also wonder why, if someone has a lot to say, doesn’t he or she write a blog instead. Blogging requires the same daily discipline of writing, and it requires the same level of commitment to marketing and publicity, but it’s more immediate, you have more control over it, you can definitely see who is reading and who isn’t and what is working and what isn’t — which you cannot do with a book.

    Sometimes I feel like people write books just so they can say they did one. Lame. It’s like relying on a boyfriend to make you interesting. Having the book deal doesn’t make a person interesting or accomplished. Having good ideas that you can convey effectively makes you interesting. Finding a great way to leverage those good ideas makes you accomplished. And for only a few people will books be the best way to leverage.

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