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Question
Dear Jannie,
  I am writing my memoirs from the 60ís and want to understand a few things about writing a book before I get too deep into it.  I recently found notes that I put down after I got out of the navy in the early 70ís and they were way to funny not to compile into a book.
1.    What is the average number of words I should work around for a 250 page book?
2.   What font and font size should I use?
3.   I want to double space.  Is that a problem?
4.   I am having a couple friends reviewing the pages as I draft them.  Too risky?
5.   As my writing is not what it used to be, what is the best way to make it more colorful, readable, and marketable once my 1st draft is done?
6.   And of course, what is the best way to market it?

Thanks, Dick Schlueter
Richard Schlueter
Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Ikonisys, Inc.
Five Science Park
New Haven, CT 06511
Ph: (203) 776-0791 ext. 210
Fax: (203) 776-0795
Richard.Schlueter@ikonisys.com
http://www.ikonisys.com  

Answer
Dick, you have your hands full. An interesting idea.

Average number of words for 250 pages is simple math. But, that's up to the editor to decide how many words and how many pages upon printing. But in the meantime, as a manuscript format to present to a publisher, use approximately 250 per page which is "standard."

Different publishers require different font and size format. You can research this by visiting their "submission" guidelines. Most publishers require Courier font size 10-12. Research that. And they require line double spacing, paragraph indention and no italics; instead underline what is suppose to be in italics and that informs them. The reason for this is it makes an easier read for editors, and faster. No confusion for them.

Friends reviewing your work is fine. They can "see" any typos you might have, and they can tell you if there is any confusion in what you wrote. Utilize the best of the best of friends, the well-read ones if possible.

As far as marketing it colorful and marketable, I think a humorous voice would be fitting. Since it is set in the 70's after being discharged from the Navy, the humorous factor is there to capture every sight, sound, event/happening, things noticed, the changes that occurred while in the Navy, the new world seen through new, naive, virgin eyes with a humorous tone. Readers love humor, even Dr. Phil writes serious books on serious subjects with a sense of humor and ease. This helps your reader "relate" to your story, as many men and women went through the same as you did. They will appreciate remembering and relating to the humor instead of the fright and vulnerability you might have felt then.  (make the memories good, not bad to recall: humor is a healing and a self-survival technique)

But a note on that: That doesn't mean you can't get serious at times and even dramatic, it is the nature of the story. But then lighten up again and move on.

The best way to market any new book is to build your own author web site. That's good promotion. Don't forget to submit it to search engines using good keyword meta tags. Use the web site link in your e-mail signature. Join writers workshops (free ones are out there, I teach one) and advertise there among writer comrades. Join networking sites such as Crimespace and Ryze. There are many to join. Google writer networks. Research book promoting. There are thousands of good articles and tips. Make a favorites folder to add good ones and read and compile a list of technique you want to implement, and do them.

Submit short stories to ezines and magazines (mags are online for submission now) and get that "writer's resume" started. You will need credentials to get noticed and taken seriously by agents and publishers/editors.

Any publishing credits you can muster on any works is considered "seasoned" and will count for professionalism.

I know it sounds difficult if not complicated, but it's not really. As I said, make a job list and work your list. That is the best tool a writer has. To organize his priorities to achieve his goal of getting published.

Good luck, and if you need any more advice or this isn't clear, feel free to ask me again.

Jannie Balliett

Writing Books

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Jannie Balliett

Expertise

I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.

Experience


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Organizations
Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Publications
Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Education/Credentials
Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

Past/Present Clients
I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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