Friday, July 16, 2010

Articles First? (Part 2a of 5)

When do you jump from articles to books? I don’t know the answer, but here are my ideas.

1. You need to establish your expertise in one area. Once you’ve published 10 short stories about romance or espionage or you produce a dozen nonfiction articles on marriage or saving money, you’re probably ready. You are then an expert on the topic, even if you don’t feel like one.

(My career seems to deviate from my advice, but I started by writing on the topic of marriage and published at least 20 articles. I felt I had nothing more to say so I moved on to spiritual growth. After that I became a ghostwriter and for at least a decade I wrote only books for others. I write in a variety of genres, and I’m an anomaly in publishing. It’s easier to stay in one genre.)

2. For magazine articles, you have to do nothing; for books, you have to do everything. That is, you must promote your books. The more connections you have and the more experience you have in publishing, the easier it is to promote.

3. You must convince book editors that you know your area and that you have connections to promote your books. As you publish articles, you’re learning the craft; as you associate with other writers, you widen your circle of influence. Speaking engagements are excellent. Consider joining Toastmasters or a professional speakers group.

4. Thus, I suggest you find one area that intrigues you and write/sell more articles on the topic. (If you sell only first rights, you can always make those articles chapters of a book with little editing.)

Learn the craft and learn how publishing works before you try to get a book published.


  1. So, how does one learn about publishing?

  2. Thanks, Cec. I wish this business wasn't so overwhelmingly difficult. Thank goodness I have you and Vonda and Jesus...especially Jesus. Thank you for having such a servant's heart.

    Bless you1

  3. Cec, I know a little bit about everything and a lot about nothing. Please pray for my family and myself as you know my book is about to go out to the public. Also, would you please write a small ditty on endorsements? I have many people who support my work, but I am not sure what type is required. God Bless and thank you for all your wonderful inspired advice! Karen

  4. You say, "If you sell only first rights, you can always make those articles chapters of a book with little editing."

    Would this apply to an online publication? I have the possibility of an online editing position, where I would be required to write at least one article a week on my topic. The guidelines state that because the articles are published "one time only", I can subsequently use them in a book. But I'm not convinced. The articles would still be up on the web. Please may I have your take on this?

    Thank you for this informative blog.


What are your thoughts?