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Question
I have written a short book about myself and how my chronic long term disease has affected me. It is humorous. I made it short to be able to keep the interest of the chronically ill i am focusing on. I have written just over 9000 words. Is it too short? Can I have it published and quickly?
I would like part of the proceedings to go to a specific charity, how do I do this?

I am very keen to have this published as the first of a series of short books.

I look forward to your advise.
Asal.

Answer
Hello Asal:

You have written a most interesting question. I fully understand why you want to make it short and I think that is an admirable goal. However, it is difficult to know how a publisher would react to it. If a publisher was sufficiently enthusiastic about it, they might issue it as a "trade paperback," paperback books of varying sizes. Finding a publisher who is agreeable to this arrangement, however, might take years.

If you can afford it, I would suggest you publish it yourself. This involves preparing a perfect manuscript and taking it to a printer. Once it's printed, in say, a run of 1,000, you can sell these and then have another 1,000 printed. They will have to be bound, of course, but a printer may be able to spiral-bind them for you.

Of course you can also approach a "vanity" publisher with your idea. For a certain sum of money, they will print and bind your book and may even advertise it for you (a little). The oldest and most familiar of these is Vantage Press. My sister had her book printed this way and it turned out very nice, but I doubt she'll ever sell enough to meet her cost, which was around $400, I believe.

If you decide to self-publish, you will also have to take care of the distribution. That means trotting around to bookstores with a trunk full of your books and trying to persuade them to put it up in your store. Difficult ("Why should we feature your book and not somebody else's?") and time-consuming, not to say exhausting.

You might also consider setting up a website and selling your books online. That way, when an order comes in, you can collect the money through PayPal or by credit card simply make it possible for the reader to access the book. That is the way I sell mine.

Another possibility is to write all your "short books" and combine them into one. If they are of book length you will no doubt find it easier to sell them. Surely the chronically ill can handle one story at a time.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 600 questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand

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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 http://pygmypress.com, 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.

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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.

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BA degree in Written Communication

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