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Writing Books/would this book sell? relate chapters?


This book would be non fiction and the "story" of my life. I was wondering if you believe it would sell? The book would touch on being sexually abused starting at age 4 and continuing, cult involvement, and abusive marriage. Joys of life and family would also be included. Mental troubles and where I am today would be included.  How would I start this type of book? How would I divide the "chapters"- by abuses, age related stories, ect? Thank you for your help.

Many people want to write and have some ideas they like, but they don't know how to get started.

Getting started involves bringing this material under control and putting it into some tangible form, and manipulating it until it suits your purposes.

By “suits your purposes” I mean it guides and supports your writing and ensures you don't put a foot wrong.

First you must make a few decisions. Will the book be fiction or non-fiction? A book based on your personal experiences along with a few made-up parts will be a fiction novel. Personal experience along is a non-fiction book – it deals with facts.

Second, you must decide on a premise. The premise is what your story is “about,” and can also  be described as the “takeaway,” what you want the reader to take away from the book. It should be universally applicable (works for all people) and stated in a formula, so: “A + (or -) B = C.” This statement will describe one principle - something your life has taught you.  An example would be “Love plus plenty of money makes for a good marriage.” True or untrue, it should reflect your views on the subject. This is the most important part of your book, so choose carefully.

Once you have your premise, get some 3x5 cards and on each, write a few words around an event in your life you believe supports your premise.  Keep going until you feel you have enough events to fill a book.

At some point, a pattern should begin to show itself. Sort the cards around this pattern until the arrangement suits you. From that, make an outline, keeping the premise in mind at all times. Make sure there's some kind of progression – some movement from A and B toward C.

When you are finished organizing your material, you may begin to write your first draft.

How you arrange your chapters is up to you - there is no "right" or "wrong" way. Arrange your cards around the pattern that develops, until you have some groups. These should help you decide how to arrange your chapters.

I have no way of knowing whether your book would sell or not. There are waaaay too many factors involved, and nearly all of them are out of our control. However, writing it in the best way you know how will certainly enhance its chances.

If you get more than one copy of this, Tammy, please forgive me. It's early in the morning and I think I'm still asleep.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 480 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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