Sunday, January 07, 2007

Always Wanted to Write a Book?

I watched part of a movie the other night. Got bored about half-way through, so I shut it off. But there was one particular scene that struck me as important. (BTW, the movie was called Wonder Boys.) This very successful author, who had been churning out a bestseller every 18 months for years and years, was asked to give a speech to an auditorium filled with hopeful authors. The speaker, played by Rip Torn, asked his listeners what it was that would take them from where they were (hopefuls), to where he was (accomplished). He said it came down to one thing: Faith. I'm paraphrasing now, but in essence he said they had to have faith that they had something worthwhile to write; faith that they had the wherewithal to write it; and faith that when they had written it, someone would be there who wanted to publish it. Otherwise they would forever be too afraid to actually start writing. That struck me as profound.

The thought of putting in the time and effort to write a book, only to find that no one is interested in publishing it, can be paralyzing. That's where the faith comes in. But today, thanks to technology, writing a book may not require as much faith as it used to. That's because getting a book published and distributed can be done electronically. I'm talking about ebooks. Here's Wikipedia's description:
An e-book (also: eBook, ebook), sometimes called an electronic book, is an electronic (or digital) equivalent of a conventional printed book. The term has occasionally been used ambiguously to refer to either an individual work in a digital format, or a hardware device used to read books in digital format, more specifically called an e-book device or e-book reader. E-books are an emerging and rapidly changing technology, that can branch to include other formats, such as a online magazines, such as the Grantville Gazette, published by Baen's Books, or digital books designed to be listened to as audio books.
I began writing a relatively small book a few years ago. I made it to about 75 percent completed. There it sat for about a year. With the growth in the ebook trend, however, I'm ready to finish and market it. OK, how do you create an ebook? There are basically two options in terms of the end product. You can create either a PDF document or an executable document. To manage the second one, you need an ebook compiler. I researched various software applications out there, looking for a free one. Not so easy. But today, as I checked out the Giveaway of the Day feature (on the right of this web site in the sidebar), I saw that one of the pay-versions I had found in my research was available for free, but only today! (It normally sells for $35.95.) Zowie! I grabbed my copy right away.

If you are interested in this sort of thing, make sure you get your free copy before the day is up!