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Question
Ms. Christmas,
  I'm going through a situatin in my life that  would love to write about.  I would love to publish it so i can fell like i accomplished something.  I don't know if i should write a shorie or a journal.  Just wondering howto start.  Please Help....Is it hard to get something published.   Do i have to lay out any money?  

Answer
: You are not going to like my answer, but I will be straightforward and honest. The quality of the writing in the question tells me that the quality of any story, article, or book by the same person would not be high enough to interest a publisher. Getting published is extremely difficult, and the chances of success are low, even for excellent writers.

Serious writers spend years writing, learning, taking classes, and honing their craft. Self-published writers (the ones who lay out money to get published) tend to be those who did not want to put the work into improving their writing, and as a result, no one will pay them for the work. Why they think someone will buy a poorly written book is beyond me.

After all that discouragement, though, I encourage you to keep a journal, jot down notes about all that you are going through and your feelings regarding the situation. Record all the details. If nothing else, journaling gives you some perspective on your situation and may help you get through it.

Next, if you are serious about wanting to write your story, learn more about writing. Take writing classes. Join a critique circle. Read good books on writing. After you hone the craft of writing, you can use your journal as the basis of your article or book.

Another option is to pay a ghostwriter to write your story for you, but if you go that route, be prepared to pay a substantial fee to the ghostwriter. Few write on the speculation that an article or book may get sold to a publisher, because even when the writing is perfect, the odds of selling to a publisher are extremely low.   

As part of learning about writing, be sure to sign up for my free newsletter for writers. Go to www.zebraeditor.com to sign up.

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Bobbie Christmas

Expertise

Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.

Experience

Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Organizations
Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Publications
Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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