Write your book in 40 hours! Really?

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Writing Bestselling Books

I receive a ton of e-mail from all segments of the publishing industry. Trying to keep on top of what’s going on can be a full time job.  In addition I selectively subscribe to entrepreneurial events related to small business.  These are the places where Brilliant Idea Books can be most helpful and where we might find more people who understand the value of the $20 business card concept.

One recent e-mail really caught my eye. An upcoming event boasted that the speaker/author promises to help you write a “bestseller” and whole lot more:

You can be rich, successful and he can help you write your book in a mere 40 HOURS!

Uh-huh. This con game has been around for decades and takes different form. The internet is full of people who claim they can help you by pass what hundreds of hard working writers, editors, and publishers have taken years to perfect – write a book in a few days or a week – and easily make it a bestseller.

While the speed of publication is one of the real benefits for self-published authors this must be tempered with the notion of quality. In fact, quality trumps speed every time.  There would be very few writers, I would argue, who could produce even a semblance of a rough draft manuscript of 30,000 or 40,000 words in a mere 40 hours.  Who would want to?  It is mentally challenging, physically draining, and would be a worthless exercise that produces a sub-standard product.

A manuscript takes on a life of its own, building up some chapters, moving around other paragraphs, deleting sentences, all while trying to arrive at the final destination of a completed first draft.  It breathes, relaxes, runs, sprints and then sits waiting for you to contemplate what you’ve produced so you can, most likely, start it up all over again. Letting it sit while you get on with life is a key part of the process. Looking, reading with fresh rested eyes can sometime change the entire focus of the book. And as much as I like material to arrive from my authors in a reasonable timeframe, I know each book takes on this life of its own and is ready for me, well, when it’s ready.

This, my friend, cannot possibly happen in 40 hours.

I have had authors who claim it will only take a few weeks to write their book. Odd I usually never hear back from them. I think some assume it will be an easy process as they have some semblance of writing experience and have oodles of enthusiasm but in the end they find out what countless writers, editors and publishers have learned over decades – good writing takes time, patience, and work.

So please do not fall prey to the charlatans who gladly take your money – eventually – in these schemes. They may have some snippets of good advice and information buried in their claims. But to be whipped up into frenzy that you, too, can produce a “bestseller” in 40 hours defies logic and plain common sense.

Finally, I hear the term “bestseller” thrown around all the time.  This is not only from the quick scam artists but from many writers who I speak with at various stages of the process. In a future blog I’ll address what a bestseller is and how it has turned into a watered down descriptive word in publishing that needs clarification.

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