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Re: need advice - writing a book

ae3afdad
Active Member
John W Member Since: Apr 12, 2019
1 of 25

I have a book idea, but I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to get started. How could I use upwork freelancers? What do I look for?

martina_plaschka
Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
2 of 25

John W wrote:

I have a book idea, but I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out how to get started. How could I use upwork freelancers? What do I look for?


A ghostwriter and an editor. 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 25

And be aware that when it does go wrong, it can do so in a spectacular fashion....

bevcam
Community Leader
Bev C Member Since: Jan 2, 2018
4 of 25

Be sure that you have conceptualized your idea well enough to convey accuartely what you're looking for before you hire a writer.

 

I've had two clients hire me with an idea for a book, but when we got down to elaborating on content they didn't know what they wanted. If I, as a writer, am writing your idea you have to give me a definite framework to work on.

 

Now I insist on a written outline for me to get started. 

 

Otherwise, you could end up wasting your time and money. 

kfarnell
Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
5 of 25

> What do I look for?

 

Someone who's written more than one book. Some people can write excellent articles, but that doesn't always translate to being able to write a book or handle a long-term project.

 

Other things depend on specifics. Fiction or non-fiction?

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 25

John:

You literally don't need to know ANYTHING about the process!

 

You can post a job stating exactly what you told us. Post an hourly job stating your goal, and say that you want to hire people to consult with you.

 

Hire different people just to talk to. The more the better. At least four. Talk to them while they log time. For ten minutes. For an hour.

 

Ask questions. Discuss. Pay a small amount of money, and end up with much greater understanding of what you need to do in order to move forward.

kfarnell
Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
7 of 25

Given that book writing tends to be fixed price, that process will exclude a lot of relevant freelancers.

 

And you'll need to say more than you have here to get decent bids.

allpurposewriter
Community Guru
Anthony H Member Since: Feb 22, 2017
BEST ANSWER
8 of 25

Wow, Preston: "You don't literally need to know anything about the process."  Sure, if you don't mind learning by trial and error. On the other hand, I think the thread was posted so he could eliminate some of that. 

So, anyway, John, you have a book idea ... great. Let's go over the basics.

To get a book completed, you need four people. You need a writer, an editor, a proofreader and a publisher.

 

In this day and age, thanks to the Internet (mostly), people want the writer to also do the editing and the proofreading. This is a great idea if you want to save money and throw the quality in the toilet. 

 

Nonetheless, have at it. I don't know what kind of book you want, but it doesn't matter that much. I supose you need a taste tester if it's a cookbook, but otherwise you still need a writer, an editor, a proofreader and a publisher. (And an artist, I suppose ... I forgot about them.)

What's the problem? The problem is in the last category: The Publisher.

Nine out of ten people who start a book project on Upwork have no idea that their role is to be the Publisher. They don't know what a publisher does ... haven't a freaking clue. They can vaguely imagine what the other roles are -- except they want one person to do them all, which should be a capital offense. But they have no concept or even appreciation for the role of the publisher. 

Consquently, the projects either fail or they're just a huge mess. Or, since they forgot they need an editor and a proofreader, (because good publishers aren't cheapskates) they end up with some scratched out e-book that has their name on the cover that nobody gives a poop about.

That's what it sounds like for you. It sounds like you haven't figured out your role as publisher and what they do. That would be my first recommendation. Figure that out.

I could tell you; it's not rocket science. A publisher represents the money. So -- they are the boss. They know what the book is expected to look like, sound like, what attitude it will have, what style, whatever. They hire the editor and INSTRUCT the editor on what kind of book you want. What are the goals? Who is the audience? What is included? What isn't included? 

Here's somthing else publishers do: They Do Their Homework. They study other books. They compare and contrast. They can discuss styles and content. They have an idea on the artwork. 

I can tell you unequivacably that 99 out of 100 Upwork clients have done absolutely zero homework on what they want. They think. Hey, book. Hire writer. That's all there is to it.

Do your homework. Hire people. Train them or instruct them (isn't that what employers do?). Support them. Get them the material they need. Don't be a slacker ... be a publisher. Publishers get paid. They don't sit in their office all day and look out the window. They "usher" a project through. That doesn't mean hire people and take a nap. 

Anyway, you get the idea. This is the age of the Internet; Nobody remembers how it's done anymore. Figure out your role. It isn't just "You literally don't need to know anything about the process." It's exactly the opposite: Know exactly how the process works ... someone writes, someone edits, somone proofreads, publisher in charge as supportive as possible. 

Anyway, what do I know? I've just been doing this since computers were only found in sci-fi books.

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tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
9 of 25

Anthony H wrote:



Do your homework. Hire people. Train them or instruct them (isn't that what employers do?). Support them. Get them the material they need. Don't be a slacker ... be a publisher. Publishers get paid. They don't sit in their office all day and look out the window. They "usher" a project through. That doesn't mean hire people and take a nap. 

Alternatively, you can hire a truly seasoned professional ghostwriter to take charge of the project, extract the information from you through artful questioning and knowledgeable guidance, structure and write the book, hire the editor, and present you with a polished text. However, you should expect to pay a bare minimum of $30,000 for that, and possibly quite a bit more.


 

allpurposewriter
Community Guru
Anthony H Member Since: Feb 22, 2017
10 of 25

Good point, Tiffany. But if you hire a truly seasoned ghostwriter, you're still the publisher. Secondly, never have someone edit their own work. That's just ... well, insane. Of course, it's the kind of insanity that doesn't cause anyone to flinch anymore, so maybe I should just say "thank god we got rid of those expensive editors and proofreaders -- who needed them, anyway?"

I just happen to see empirical evidence every day that there's a difference between publishing a book and publishing a good book. Do you think the folks at Houghton Mifflin ever say, "Hey, we'll just have the writer edit and proofread! Think of the money we'll save!"

I sincerely doubt you'll ever hear that at any respectable publishing house. 

Using a writer-editor-proofreader approach isn't just a cultural norm. It's a PROCESS. It's a process that has come down through centuries of publishing. It's about checks and balances, double checks and double balances.This is the most elegant, streamlined, efficient way to do it or the publishing houses (believe you me) would do it another way. They're in it for the money. But they know publishing crap will put them out of business. Believe me, if there was a simpler, more elegant process, they would do it. 

 

Then along comes who gives a crap publishing ... modern times, the Internet. I mean, what good is an e-book if you can't even use it for toilet paper?

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