Writing Books/Biography


QUESTION: Hi! I am ready to make a biography about one of these authors: Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde and this man, Joseph Bell (inspiration for Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes).
I have a lot of information about them, but I want to know which one could I take. Is there any way to know who is the best author to write a biography (in Spanish)?
When I have selected my author, how could I begin to look for more information about him? I know I need a schedule to write a little every day because I'm a very lazy person, how could I organized my own schedule? Where to find more information about him? What to write and what not to write about them? how is the process to build a Biography? Where to contact people who can help me? Where to find images about the authors?

Yes, I know its a lot of questions, but I want to be sure before I begin to make this big project. I need a lot of help on this and somebody who want to assist me during the process.


ANSWER: The first place to start is to research libraries and bookstores for any biography that has already been written on your intended subject. This one step can eliminate certain names from your list, if a biography is still in print, unless you have personal information you can add to it; for example, if you have a contact who knew the author personally and can interview the person for a refreshing point of view. Next check to see which authors have the most books translated into Spanish. That statistic may help you decide which one to choose.

I am not familiar with Spanish publishers, but in America, you don't have to write an entire nonfiction book before you sell it. You can write a book proposal and a few chapters. Find out what Spanish publishers prefer, and if they, too, take book proposals under consideration, buy a book on how to write one. It will include the reasons why you are (supposedly) the best person to write that particular book. You'd better have a reason, even if itís just that you have read all the authorís works and have a personal interest in him, or, in the case of Bell, that you have studied his era, life, and methods of investigation and have a personal interest. You must also prove you're a good writer, but the sample chapters will speak for themselves, in that regard.

As far as how to go about the research, the ways are varied and vast, but the Internet is a terrific resource and a great place to begin, then follow the information and the leads and find experts in the subject you are researching, to get direct quotations from them, too.

I wish you well in your endeavor.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Im very interested in how to write books proposal. I know that in Spain works at the same way as in America, so this is a good thing to begin. I want to know how to write one and all the things about how to write it.

Can you help me?

The answer is much too long for an e-mail. I sold my book based on a proposal I wrote by following a book by Michael Larsen titled "How To Write a Book Proposal." Be sure to  follow it exactly, including the format as shown in the sample proposal (Courier 12-point type, etc.). I wish you much success.

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Bobbie Christmas


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.


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.

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

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.

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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