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Writing Books/whats it all about?


can you give me a basic rundown on what it takes to get a small published article and then to move beyond that to making a living at it? what kind of material is best suited for actually selling manuscripts? I was thinking of either childrens books or high concept ideas like human sciences and the study of human behavior and/or political debate/opinions. is there money in either of those? or if a person simply has a passion for or a deep need for writing in general how long do you think it would take to get that going as a way of life and earning money at it?

Hi Peter,

Sorry about the delay in replying, but I have been flying from Pakistan to Australia and then back to Morocco.

There are very few openings for writing articles and getting them published. However, if you look at the major newspapers and journals you will gain an idea of the type of contributions they welcome. It is often a thankless task, but is worth sticking at.

As far as books go. The easiest thing to sell is memoir, followed by general fiction. Children's books are more difficult. The biggest problem is that so many people are submitting manuscripts to too few publishers.

Your final point about having a passion for writing is the most important. My own case is typical. I decided to become a writer at the age of nine, but it was not until I was fourteen that I managed to get a  short story published. For the next fifteen years I only published poetry and then began writing plays. Twenty or so plays later I had still not made enough to make a living. Yet, I stuck at it.

When I switched to writing political thrillers, I started to earn enough to live and now, with ten novels, a children's book and a memoir published, I make a decent living. You ask how long this takes. The answer is a lifetime !

My main suggestion is that once you have produced a manuscript, find a really good agent to guide you towards the best publisher and editor. This is so important.

I wish you the best of luck.



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Sandy McCutcheon


Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!


Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at for a look at his blogging work.

St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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