Everyone has a book inside them
Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying this during a conversation with colleagues. Hitchens was known for his sardonic wit. The whole quote (or something similar) is “Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where it should, I think, in most cases, remain.”
As a living human being, you have a story. We all have. Whether this story is interesting to anyone else is a matter of opinion. I recently read ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ by Trent Dalton, which he has said is a bit of an autobiography. If it is, his story of growing up in Queensland is an incredible story of surviving drug dealers, his parents breaking up and dealing with a brother who has special needs. Dalton writes beautifully and his journalistic background shows in his style. In Dalton’s case, his gamble to tell his own story (with parts that are fictionalised) paid off. His book has won awards and is on the bestseller list.
The fact is, there are more books that end up on the scrap heap than there are bestsellers. Fiction is the main genre where it is difficult for a debut writer to make their mark. This does not mean you can’t write your story; whether it be true, fiction or any other genre. If you enjoy the process of writing, then go ahead and write your book. Maybe this will be the only one you write, or you may find you have more to say. If you write for pleasure then your book will find its place, it may not become a bestseller, but you will have placed your story out for readers to enjoy.
I have written short stories, a science fiction trilogy and novels. I published for the first time in November 2019 on #Amazon #Kindle and have sold a few books. I’ve received 5-star reviews and had a successful launch in September 2020 (in the middle of the #COVID #pandemic). My stories are still finding their place and I am pleased that people are enjoying my stories. My motivation to write is that I enjoy it, I do it largely for pleasure and I love seeing my characters come to life. Story ideas come to me without me asking, and most of them will not be ignored.
Hitchens may have been a little hard with his comment, but unfortunately in most cases, it is true. The publishing industry is always on the lookout for the next bestseller, why shouldn’t it be your story? Every writer has to start somewhere, so what are you waiting for? Sit down and start writing.
Making your book stand out is not easy because there are at least one million books published each year in the USA alone. Just in the photo above, there are over a dozen covers visible. In fact, there are many reasons NOT to publish, but for me, the stories in my head needed to come out. If this is what makes a writer, then I guess I’m on the right track.
If you are going to become a writer, then invest in some creative writing courses or one good university course like Journalism or English literature. An internet search will help you decide. Once you do start writing begin to find your ‘tribe’, this is the group of people who will help you along the road to publishing. Allow them to read your work and learn to take constructive criticism. Once you are happy with what you have written, invest in an editor, a local book printer and a graphic designer. This will mean a significant investment is needed, but using professionals will give your book the best chance of selling. Especially the cover, a good graphic designer will design a cover that will be professional and depict your story in a way you may not have thought of. Writing may be a solitary job, but having a tribe means you won’t be alone in this endeavour. So, go ahead and let that story inside you become a fully-fledged book.