Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Writing Booklets vs. Books

I’ve gotten quite infatuated with writing short booklets rather than books. I came upon this form of nonfiction writing when a friend of mine shared with me what she had learned in a class about speaking and promotion for writers. (Surprise, surprise. We’re back on that subject again, but only briefly.) The man who taught the class suggested that speakers should have something to sell at the back of the room (of course), and he suggested selling booklets. These short (often only 28-pages) little books can be printed at your local Office Depot or Kinko’s, since they are simply copied, stapled and folded. This man’s version didn’t involve a color cover, just cover stock.

I set out to produce one of these when I got frustrated by my inability to get one of my book projects sold to a publisher. I pulled one section of the book-to-be out of the manuscript and published it myself as a booklet, which I called From Empty Practice to Meaning-Full and Spirit-Full Prayers and Rituals…In 7 Simple Steps. Unwilling to wait for a publisher to pick up another book project about which I felt quite passionate, this past year I produced a second booklet, Abracadabra! The Kabbalah of Conscious Creation (10 Mystical Steps to Manifesting Your Dreams and Desires). My Write Nonfiction in November project involves writing a third booklet, again from a book project; while promoting this project I taught a four-part teleseminar based on several chapters in the book. I am now taking my class scripts and putting them into a booklet called The Priestess Practice.

I like this form of publication for several reasons. First, I can revise my booklets as often as I like. I don’t publish very many of them at a time, so if I want to make changes, it’s no problem. I make the changes on my computer and then run a disc down to Kinkos. The next day, I have new booklets. Abracadabra! has already grown by eight pages, and I’m about to revise it once again. When I’m done, it will have grown by at least another eight pages. One day it will be large enough for me to actually get self-published in another form, but in the meantime I can continue selling it when I speak and on my web site, which allows me to promote prior the book being complete.

Second, I really believe that people prefer to read short books. A booklet simply is a short book – a quick and easy read. With the busy lifestyle most of us read today, this published form appeals to many people. In fact, I recently saw a series of booklets on sale in Border’s, which looked just like the ones my friends teacher suggested producing. They were short and simple with no spine – just copied and stapled. (And they were self-published). The fact that Border’s had them featured at the check out convinced me that production and sales of booklets would soon be on the rise.

Third, booklets provide a quick and easy structure for producing a book. I can take an idea I have for a full-length book and write it in booklet form in just a week or two. I then have a product to sell. People get to read what I’ve written, and I get to sell my booklet. In the process, that booklet helps me promote the book I ultimately wan to sell to a publisher. That booklet also helps me show a publisher how I would deal with the subject I am proposing and that I am serious about helping promote and market my book project.

Fourth, should my book project never get published, I’ve not waited around so long that I’ve lost interest in ever writing about that subject. In the meantime, I’ve produced a piece of nonfiction writing that I have self-published, that people can read, and from which I can earn a bit of money.

And, when I go speak somewhere, I’ve got something to sell at the back of the room – like all good writers – I mean speakers – should have.

Blogger's Note: Happy Thanksgiving! No Blog tommorrow. Sorry about missing yesterday. We were delayed in several airports and didn't arrive at our destination until 2 a.m. We travel again on Friday. I'll try to post, but no promises.

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