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Thought About Writing a Book?
Not Sure Where to Start?

By John A. Huguley

Below I go over everything from writing your first draft, to more advanced topics like royalties and sales from book distributions.

If you have questions beyond what I answer here, please reach out to me.

Consultations and Quotes are always FREE.

The first step is getting your ideas on paper!
Getting your ideas on paper can be the easiest part or the most difficult depending on how you approach it. Just like learning to drive a car, the easiest part “should be” simply getting in the driver’s seat. So, let’s get you in the writers-seat and get those ideas on paper! Don’t stress over the format, or if you are using proper grammar and spelling, your Editor will handle all of that for you. “YES, your Editor!” Every writer no matter how big or how small must have an Editor. Without an Editor, you will be committing literary recklessness. The job of an Editor is to ensure the material you write has a good flow and is enjoyable to read. That's where I step in!

Decide where your main document is going to live.
Will you be using a laptop, a tablet, a spiral notepad, or a smartphone? - Yes, people have written entire manuscripts on smartphones! Once you decide where your manuscript is going to live, think about how it will get backed-up. There is nothing worse than putting work into a writing project, only to have it mistakenly deleted, or lost. The easiest way to back up your work is to email yourself the latest draft at the end of each significant writing session. You can also backup on to a thumb drive or use one of the popular cloud services to secure a backup copy. But whatever method you choose, back up your work!

Make time to write every day.
Choose a specific time that you will dedicate to writing regularly. Whether it be first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening before bed, stay consistent. If you are having trouble staying focused, I also offer Writing Coach services. As your Writing Coach, I can check in with you and help ensure that you stay on track. This can be accomplished over email, text, or telephone. Sometimes writers just need someone to walk with them through the journey of writing their book. I have coached others to successfully publishing their work and can do the same with you!

Eliminate needless distractions.
While you are creating your literary treasure, do it justice by staying focused. Turn off the television, close social media sites, find a place of peace so that your ideas can flow. Like most things that need full-attention to produce a great outcome, writing is especially important that you get in a zone. 

Pour out your heart and soul on paper! Don’t hold back!
Wow, that thought can be scary for many people. But remember, only you are looking at your writing in the beginning. There will be time to remove things later, but don’t censor yourself now. Your best work is produced when you lay it all on the line and give it your all! - I will repeat, there will be multiple chances to remove things later. But right now, we just need to get the first full draft completed. Contact me today and I will help you do this!

Don’t get hung up on punctuation, grammar, or spelling!
I cannot stress this enough! Leave this to your editor. Too many people get embarrassed or reluctant to write because they feel they lack so-called "proper English” writing skills. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most famous writers have mediocre English skills. What you see in books is the final product after both editing and proofreading is applied.

Refer to yourself as a writer!
If you start jogging, you become a jogger. If you start painting, you become a painter. So now that you are writing, you are now a writer. Refer to yourself as a writer because that is what you are!

Now start writing and write often.
Before you know it, you will have thousands of words written down. Even on those days when you think you don’t have time or the ideas are not flowing, open your document anyway. You will be surprised to find that simply revisiting your work will often prompt ideas.

How much should you write?
That depends on what type of material you are writing.

  • A self-help or how-to book with photos is between 8,000 – 25,000 words. 
  • A typical memoir should be between 20,000 - 60,000 words.
  • A fictional novella should be between 18,000 - 25,000 words. 
  • A fictional novel should be between 30,000 - 100,000 words. 
  • Alice Walker’s, “The Color Purple” is 69,310 words.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is 58,290 words.

Note: You can see your total word count at the bottom of the page in Microsoft Word.

How much does it cost to have an editor review my book?
It should always be FREE to have an editor look over your book. It should also be free to give you a quote. If someone wants to charge to review your writing, it's a scam, run and don’t look back! Contact me today to have your manuscript reviewed for FREE.

How much does editing cost
Editing prices will depend on the length of your manuscript and how much work is needed. There is no single formula for quoting editing because every writer is different. Think of editing cost like hiring a gardener to mow your lawn. The task must be completed, and when it’s finished you know it was worth the small price you paid.

How long does it take to get published?
The publishing process is quick once your final manuscript is edited. Once all the pieces are in place, I've helped writers publish books in as little as 30-days. 

First-time authors generally utilize a book publishing company. There is also the option of self-publishing. I work closely with publishing companies and I have self-published several books. I can help you decide which method is best when the time comes.

Some established authors will choose to pitch their manuscripts to a literary agent. However, out of the over 1-million books distributed each year in the U.S., 70% of those books are published without the use of an agent. Literary agents don't typically take on first-time authors that don't have an established following of readers. Therefore, most authors will publish their first book themselves to build a reputation before pitching to an agent. Book publishing is like the music industry. You must establish yourself before getting signed to a contract with an agent. I can help you get established. I can also help you write a query letter and pitch to a literary agent if that's the direction you decide to take. I have a list of agents that are currently accepting submissions in a variety of different genres. Contact me today, and I can go into more details.

When should I start thinking about a book cover? 
You can think about book cover ideas from the beginning, but don’t lock yourself in to any one idea. There are certain book cover themes and color combinations that attract readers more than others. I have spent years studying graphic design and marketing. I can help you in choosing the right cover design when the time comes.

How many books will I sell & how much money will I earn?
The number of books you sell depends on you - books don’t sell themselvesFirst time authors must believe in their own book for it to be successful. If you don’t believe in it, nobody else will!

I can help you with promotion and marketing tools before and after your book is published. The amount of money you make from royalties depends on the method of publishing you choose. Contact me today and I will go into greater detail.

So, let’s get you started!
Even if you just have an idea, I can help get you going. 
Don’t put it off another day!

Please bookmark this page and return to read the latest updates. I will be posting writing tips, marketing ideas, and motivation advice. 

To receive updates send me an email to with the words, “sign me up” in the subject line.

John A. Huguley
Freelance Editor and Writer

NOTE: I will NEVER give out your email address to any other party and you can cancel at any time!

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Why it's important to have an Editor review your material.

Some believe an Editor’s only job is to catch misspellings and poor punctuation. That's only a small part of an Editor's role. The job of an Editor is to ensure the material is clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent (The 5 C's of writing). An Editor will make sure the content has a good flow to it and is enjoyable to read.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes writers make.
  • Misspelled words
  • Poor punctuation
  • Misused words
  • Run-on sentences
  • Redundancy (repeating the same idea or message)
  • Word Echoing (excessive repeating of words to close to each other) 
  • Uncommon slang or abbreviations
  • Unclear Acronyms 
  • Timeline inaccuracies
  • Confusing location descriptions or directions
  • Weak paragraph transition
  • Wordiness and overuse of common words (i.e., very, really, like)
  • Compound word errors (i.e., never mind vs. nevermind)

A good Editor will detect and fix these problems and more while maintaining the original author's voice.

The next time you’re in need of an Editor, contact me - I can help!

Also, see my write up on the Different Levels of Editing Explained

John A. Huguley

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© 2018-2019

Different Levels of Editing Explained

Developmental Editing - Concept/Idea Level. 
Developmental Editing is at a level typically performed by a writing coach or writing partner. During the developmental stages, a writing coach will review and give feedback on the overall content of the material. Not all writers need Developmental Editing. 

Line Editing or (structural editing) - Book/Chapter Level. 
Line Editing addresses the creativity of the written material. It looks at writing style and language usage. Line Editing will adjust sentences to flow better. However, the goal of Line Editing is not to search the written material for typos, punctuation, and small errors.

Copy Editing - Sentence Level. 
Copy editing is to address technical flaws rather than the creativity. It corrects grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. It looks for consistency in spelling, hyphenations, numerals, and capitalization. Copy editing also looks for factual correctness in text which includes dates and locations. This is particularly important for non-fiction material.

Proofreading - Word Level. 
Proofreading looks for - and fixes typos, punctuation, spelling, and other small errors.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Also see my write up on Why Use An Editor?

John A. Huguley
Freelance Editor and Writer

(link to this article)

© 2019