So You Want to Write a Book: My Read on the Question

By Mark Atteberry

If you want to write a book, you should give it a try. But here are some things you should know going in.

First, if you haven’t read lots and lots and lots of books, you’re not going to be successful. There’s no such thing as a successful author who isn’t also a reader. In my opinion, reading 20 books is more helpful to an aspiring writer than flying across the country to attend the most highfalutin writer’s conference. And cheaper too.

10_Atteberry_book2Second, the competition is fierce. Millions and millions of people want to write a book, and a good percentage of them are banging on their computer keyboards at this moment. So if you’re not serious about this, save yourself the time and energy.

Third, unless you captured Bigfoot or single-handedly brought down the Taliban, don’t write about yourself. I never cease to be amazed at the number of perfectly ordinary people I meet who tell me they want to write a book about their experiences.

Fourth, writing a book demands sacrifice. Somehow, you’re going to have to find hundreds of hours to devote to the project. So what are you willing to give up? A couple of hours of sleep every night? Your lunch hour? Golf? Dancing with the Stars? All of the above?

Fifth, it will help if you’ve got an ego the size of an acorn and skin as thick as a rhino’s hide because book writing involves (cue the scary music) editors. After years of complex DNA testing, it has been determined that editors are, in fact, human. You will be amazed at the things they can find wrong with your precious prose. And, though I hate to say it, they’re almost always right.

Am I making book writing sound daunting? Good. It is.

Nevertheless, day after day, agents and publishers receive manuscripts from unpublished writers that knock their socks off. Even the Lucados and Grishams and Rowlings of the world were once unpublished authors with a dream. So if you think you’ve got a book in you, knuckle down and get to work. Your book is not going to write itself.

Mark Atteberry serves as senior minister with Poinciana Christian Church, Kissimmee, Florida.


Books by Mark Atteberry:

The Samson Syndrome (Thomas Nelson, 2003)

The Caleb Quest (Thomas Nelson, 2004)

The Climb of Your Life (Faith Communications, 2004)

Walking with God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel (Thomas Nelson, 2005)

The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do (Thomas Nelson, 2006)

Free Refill (Standard Publishing, 2007)

So Much More Than Sexy (Standard Publishing, 2008)

Let It Go (Standard Publishing, 2010)

Dream (Palisade, 2011)

The Solomon Seduction (Thomas Nelson, 2014)


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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    October 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    All true, Mark. I think one of the biggest things is to have something meaningful to say that an audience truly needs and wants to read. Seems self-evident but that is often one of the hardest things to nail down as you plan/propose a book. I love writing, but the planning and outlining stage is not fun. The rewards, like anything else, come from lots of hard work.

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