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Ottakee

Writing a non fiction book----has anyone done this? Know how to do it?

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A friend and I have a burden to write a book or possibly books.  Hers might have a wider audience but mine honestly would be a more niche audience.  

She was widowed young with 2 children and said she found very little on navigating life as a young widow....esp months and even years later.
I am a "prison widow" (now divorced) and there is NOTHING out there for navigating this life, esp. not from a Christian perspective.
Both books would be from a Christian perspective but  hopefully accessible to women of all faiths.

Some of our book information would overlap but some would be unique to each situation (hence likely 2 books but maybe with some of the same/similar chapters).  We would also like to do something for the church and friends on what to do, how to respond, how NOT to respond, etc.

We aren't looking to get rich at all as we know these are not "best seller" type topics, etc.

Any been there, done that type experiences to share?  Warnings?  How to maintain a friendship if we do this sorta together?
 

 

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I've worked for several small publishing companies, one of which was Christian.

Pray. Write an outline. Pray. Write a chapter. Repeat until you're done.  Put it away for at least 3 weeks for "fresh eyes," then check for spelling and grammar issues. Go to www.grammarly.com and have it check for grammar issues.  Read it again and mark anything that isn't smooth, clear, or compelling.  Go back and re-write what you marked.  Check grammarly again.

Go to a stock photo site like iStock or Shutterstock and find a photo or image you like for the cover. Format it into a book cover image that fits whatever the current kindle guidelines are.

Find online instructions on Amazon to publish to kindle first.  If you want it to look really professional you can use software like Vellum to format it for you. Do kindle only first, do their exclusive free promo, have several people you know read it on different devices to check for formatting/spelling/grammar issues you missed.

After 90 days consider taking it off exclusive deal at Amazon, distributing through other e-book routes, and paying the money to have Amazon publish it paperback through createspace, and include the options you pay for like putting the sort of ISBN where people who request it at Barnes and Noble can order it. There are a few other companies out there that do that sort of thing, but last I knew CreateSpace was the best.

I would work separately, helping each other where you can, but be prepared for one or both of you to drop it before you're done.  It's possible figuring everything out will be therapeutic but so raw it may not be something you want to have so out there. It's also possible you'll figure out you don't have as much of this figured out as you think you do, and you might be better off spending a few years writing a blog or starting a YouTube channel, where you can respond to readers and answer questions and turn it into a ministry rather than a one time thing.  You can always use the material for a book later.

You could also contact prison chaplains and offer them copies of the book for free, if you decided to do this as a ministry rather than a business.

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Thanks for the input.  I do have access to a professional writer/editor which is good.

It would likely be a ministry thing, at least to some extent.

Another friend mentioned writing a blog or short devotions or something similar.  Since my situation involves underage victims I want to be very conscious of not exposing them or their situation (so maybe a author name instead of my own) but yet I have come across so many hurting women in similar situations to mine that I feel the need is there to address their hurt and need for hope and direction as well. 

 

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A blog sounds like a great place to start. You can get some of your thoughts out there, start building an audience, and also get some feedback ( in the form of comments).

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You might also private message these 2 WTMers who have published nonfiction (Christian devotional) books:
MerryAtHope (blog article author and book author of Invisible Illness, Visible God on her journey through her husband's debilitating Lyme disease)
- FloridaLisa (blog article author, and book author of 100 Days with Christ, Countdown to Christmas, who was suddenly widowed)

So very sorry for the painful circumstances in your life and your friend's life. (((hugs)))

Edited by Lori D.
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If you are interested in self-publishing your book(s), check out Joanna Penn's site, The Creative Penn. She is a very successful self-published author and has hundreds of articles and podcasts on her blog about the writing and publishing process. She has also co-written a few books with other authors and has articles and podcasts about that as well. I think she's even written a book about co-writing.

In addition to her blog and podcast, she has a book out called How To Write Non-Fiction. And there is a course you can take that goes deeper than the book. I have not taken her non-fiction writing course but I have done her course on writing a novel and I was very impressed. I'm quite confident that I could write a novel based on what I learned from her in that course (how good it would be is another matter 😉 )

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Over the years, two people suggested to me that I write a book about Retirement in Colombia.  I did look into it. One of my cousins and her DH have written a bunch of (short) books that are published on Amazon.  She explained to me that one must be totally dedicated to the project.  I wasn't and decided against it.  Also, the cost of hiring an Editor would have been outside our budget.  Would I have sold some books? Yes. would I have made a lot of money? Probably not enough books for that, but no way to know unless you give it a shot.  If your goal is to get the knowledge you have out there, then look into the process and decide whether or not to proceed. If you hope to make a lot of $, probably that's not going to happen, but it might.  Good luck to you and your friend!

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Just FYI, CeateSpace.com was bought out by Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon).  These are free on-demand publishing companies.  I miss createSpace.  There have been complaints about Kindle Direct Publishing not paying authors.  There is also Barnes & Noble Press for free self-publishing On-demand books.

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