Friday, July 31, 2009

So You Want to Be an Author (Part 2)

This is the second in a series about being an author. As I posted yesterday, when I sat down to write my first book, I just did it. I didn't take any writing classes. I didn't read any books about writing. It was more of an intuitive thing for me.

However, many people truly need some help and guidance. Because I live in Los Angeles where there are lots of resources, I'm well aware that the UCLA Extension Writer's Program is one of the best programs in the country. And they offer online course as well although the price is fairly steep for both onsite and online classes.

But, I'm quite sure that other colleges and universities offer excellent classes. Usually, it's just a question of going online and Googling writing programs, or checking out your local community college, high school night school, or university.

And there are plenty of books as well. Years ago I read Judith Applebaum's How to Get Happily Published, and I remember thinking it was a very good book. If you're considering publishing your own book, I'd recommend the Complete Book to Self-Publishing by Tom Ross. He and his wife Marilyn also have a great web site, Self-Publishing Resources.com.

Another good source for self-publishing is Lulu.com, which is a site, which will enable you to publish your book. There's no money up front; and it's a print on demand operation.

If you're writing a memoir about your illness, another option is Chipmunkapublishing in London. They published my memoir, Bipolar Depression Unplugged as an eBook, and the top guy there, Jason Pegler, is bipolar.

Finally, a few more recommendations. Two books I really like about writing are The Writing Life by Annie Dillard and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Two books I like on writing memoirs are Writing for Your Life by Deena Metzger and Writing the Memoir by Judith Barrington.

One of the best books on writing (at least to me) is On Writing Well by William Zinsser. And two books I like on promotion are The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform by Stephanie Chandler.

As one author to others, "Good luck and God bless!"

10 comments:

Syd said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks for the great advice!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Syd,
You're welcome!

Susan

Alex Jenson said...

Hi,i like your site. I have also been published by chipmunka,and have started a blog to promote it and also offer some insights into mental health receovery. Would you be interested in swapping e-books? I would be interested to read yours.
Best wishes
AJ

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Alex,
Thanks for your comment, and good luck with your site. I'll drop by in the next few days. Unfortunately, the book I published through chipmunka isn't one I'm interested in promoting. But, I wish you the best with yours!

Susan

WillSpirit said...

Hi Susan

I left a wordy comment on either this or the other of the two 'how to be a writer' posts. It does not look like you got it, or if you did you decided not to post it. I'm hoping it wasn't the latter, since I'd hate to think I said anything to upset you. If I did, I am truly sorry. Mainly, I wanted to let you know how much your advice and information helps me. Thank you. Will.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Will,
I never got your other comment. I rarely don't post comments. I only exclude them if they're overt advertisements (which sometimes happens) or somewhat hostile--which has happened although it's unusual.

Hopefully, you can resend it. If not, I'm sorry it got lost in cyberspace.

Susan

WillSpirit said...

In truth, I did not think it likely you had deleted my comment. My emotions are quite shaky at present because it has been ten days since I abruptly stopped Cymbalta. Even though I'm on plenty of other medications, the change has made me extremely sensitive and despondent. I managed to alienate a good friend by worrying that I'd been devalued, when that was not the case. My main point in today's comment to you was supposed to be that I truly appreciated reading your advice about writing--since that is the direction I am trying to take my life.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Will,
Actually I wrote this post with you (and a few others) in mind. I'm glad it is helpful.

In terms of your friend (although you didn't ask for my advice), this has happened to me and I'm sure others as well.

I've found that when I've felt bad about myself--either because I was depressed or because of all the struggle with this illness and the awful consequences of having been so ill for so long--I, too, have felt very sensitive and frequently devalued by friends.

Once I realized it's me and not them, I have usually apologized. What's worked best for me is to send a really nice card with a heartfelt apology.

Good luck with this. Sorry about the difficulty of withdrawing from Cymbalta.

Susan

bizauthor said...

Thanks so much for recommending my book (The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform)! Much appreciated!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Stephanie,
You're welcome!

Susan