Write From Home
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Dollars . . . .
by Alyice Edrich
Turn Your Column Into A Book
Copyright © 2005, Alyice Edrich
Columnists write fresh, new material on a daily,
weekly, even monthly basis. But once the column is written, the columnist
usually forgets about the piece and moves on to other columns. After a few
years, those columns add up to a great collection of material. That material can
breathe new life in the form of a book.
Check Your Contract
Before beginning any project, always check your contracts. Make sure you only
gave up one-time rights to your column. If you gave up all rights, you cannot
resell those columns or compile them into a book unless you get written
permission from the company who purchased all rights to your material.
Begin With Your Column
The type of column you write will determine the type of book you write. It will
also determine how much work you'll need to transform your column into a book.
Essayists can put together a book of essays within a week. Just sort through
your essays, find a common ground, and plug them into a word document. There are
several options available for essayists, such as:
• The best of Column Name
• Essays by theme.
• Essays by chronological order.
• Favorite essays you've written, with a note at the bottom updating the status
of your life or circumstance since the time you first wrote that essay.
Essayists can even take their essays a step further by using several essays as
the heart of a book written with all new material. In other words, did some of
your essays spark ideas for new books? Can you use a few essays as the basis for
chapters in a new book?
Question and answer columnists will have a little more work cut out for them,
since their answers may not be long enough become a chapter all by themselves.
But having done most of the research to write the material in the first place,
adding meat to the chapters should be a breeze. There are several options
available for Q&A columnists, such as:
• 105 Theme Tips
• X ways to your theme
Interview columnists can put together a book of interviews and increase the
book's value by adding photos, background information, and lesser-known tidbits
about each interviewee.
Food columnists can put together a book of their favorite recipes, giving credit
to each chef, cookbook author, and/or restaurant. They can also put together a
book of their favorite restaurants and include interviews with the owners,
background information about the restaurant's theme, etc.
Financial columnists can put together several money books, each book geared on a
specific theme, such as:
• How to get out of debt in less than a year.
• How to save for your child's college education.
• How to live on XX dollars per month.
• How to save for your child's college education.
Format Your Book
Formatting your book makes it easier to read your material and find important
information. Formatting your book will vary depending on the size of your book
and whether or not you'll distribute your book as an electronic downloadable
book or a print book. Formatting consists of page layout, margin widths, font
size, picture layout, chapter titles, sub-titles, page numbers, table of
Add More Meat
While you may want to just insert your columns and be done, it's wise to take
the time to read through your columns. Some information may be outdated and some
information may need clarification. Remember, when you first wrote your column,
you wrote it for an audience who already had some knowledge about your topic,
and what your column was about.
As an author of a book, you have to take into consideration the hundreds, if not
thousands, of potential readers who know absolutely nothing about your topic and
decided to pick up your book to gain insight.
Find Expert Quotes
Since you are the columnist, and the expert you may feel it's not necessary to
include expert quotes and depending on the type of column you wrote, you may be
right. If, however, you feel expert quotes will enhance the value of your book,
take the extra time to include a few quotes. And don't pull the quotes out of an
already published book; try to get fresh quotes by interviewing your sources.
Edit Your Work
Editing is very important. Taking the time to edit your work can make a huge
difference in the quality of your work. If you are an essayist and decide to
publish a collection of essays, take the time to read through them before you go
to print. While you may feel they were edited and good enough to go to print
several years ago, your writing style may have changed. Reading through past
essays may allow you to improve those pieces.
Copyright Your Work
Your column may have been copyrighted by the publication you sold first rights
to, such as listing you as one of the licensors. But the material is not
officially copyrighted in your name until you take the time to register your
works with the United States Copyright Office. Many columnists will save a
year's worth of columns and then save them under the name, Author's Name:
Compilation of Essays, Year. The fee is only $30 to register your material and
will save you a lot of legal headaches should someone try to lay claim to your
Sell Your Book
As a columnist, you probably have many contacts you can use to help promote and
sell your book. Take advantage of those contacts. Renegotiate your contract to
include a free advertisement in the publication that showcases your column. If
you can't get a free advertisement, make sure the byline in your column includes
information on how to purchase your book.
In a matter of 14 days you could have your very first book.
Alyice Edrich is an affordable
freelance writer specializing in how-to articles and Q&A interviews for the Web.
To view her freelance writing rates, or to hire her for your next writing
project, visit http://alyiceedrich.net.
New to freelance writing?
this informative article.
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