Writing the books is really the easiest part

By Anthony Buccino

One thing to remember when you write your book is to keep it as timeless as possible.
That way, whenever it is read it will seem as if to be both in the present and in the past.

For what may be obvious reasons, whenever anyone former employee, man on the street, historic novelist enters our office with the bright idea of talking to someone who could help them with a book they've written, the neophyte author is sent along to my desk.

Sister Dressed Me Funny by Anthony BuccinoWith one book out of print and two still floating around, I have become the designated book publishing guru. The easiest part of doing a book is actually writing it. For those so inclined, the writing of the book should come naturally, or not at all.

The first piece of advice a lot of writers get is to look at the top-seller books and write one just like it only slightly different. Then you too can be a top-selling author, make a lot of money and rest on your laurels on some sunny verandah sipping a cool glass of fresh lemonade.

Doesn't that sound terrific? It is not likely, but it does sound terrific. Judging from the success of "When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple" perhaps I should call my next book, "When I Am an Old Codger, I Shall Wear Polyester Pants." At least "When I Am an Old Codger. . ." would be a probable sequel to "Sister Dressed Me Funny," which is a real book, by the way.

Sometimes writing a best seller is pure luck, such as being a juror or a lawyer or a judge on a nationwide case, then whatever you write is almost guaranteed a huge advance and a shot at the top ten list.

Unless it's you that is the writer who stands to make a lot of money. Maybe things will be different. The publisher will tell you, after all, there are various and sundry expenses to be remunerated before the lowly author sees anything more than the advance. But not to worry, it's standard in the industry.

The way I've written my last two books was to gather things I've written and put together all the seemingly timeless ones and bind them together.

Of course, I'm oversimplifying. I had someone else actually bind the books together but the results were essentially the same. In fact, even years after the books were printed, many of the essays are as timeless today as they were long ago.

One thing to remember when you write your book is to keep it as timeless as possible. That way, whenever it is read it will seem as if to be both in the present and in the past.

That is, of course, if you are writing what passes today for nonfiction. Another thing to remember is that I could probably go on and on in this rambling sort of way for hours talking about publishing.

The last thing to remember, for now, is that not everyone who writes a manuscript is a writer, and not everyone who cranks out a top ten best selling book is a writer, but the ultimate determination as to whether the book inside you is a book that others will want to read will be evident, sometimes painfully evident. As well it should be.

The book inside you will come out.

Originally published June 26, 1997, in Worrall Community Newspapers.

1997 by Anthony Buccino

Adapted from RAMBLING ROUND  Inside and Outside at the Same Time

Read: A Writer's Life For Me


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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.

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