Advice to Writers … Write for the Reader, Not for Yourself …

I have read a lot of books, some because I wanted to read them, many others only because they were required. Let me explain, I have worked with books since age 18. The summer after high school I was hired as a phone rep at a small book distribution center “while I found something better”. I stayed at that company for seven years and have now been in the book industry for 25 years. Many of the books I have read have been self-imposed “homework”. I would like to tell you that most books were great, but the majority were not even good, and many were poor, especially in the non-fiction category. Let me share two observations:

  1. Don’t write for you. Unless you are writing a memoir, please, please, don’t talk so much about yourself. Granted, everyone will have personal stories, and readers love personal stories, but don’t assume that everything about you is interesting to others. Make sure the story illustrates your point but don’t overdo it; your life is not that interesting to most readers. 

  2. Be original. Don’t have an original idea? Don’t write. I cannot tell you the many times I have read a book that I have read before. Don’t copy other ideas, don’t make your book a compilation of everything you have read. That is laziness, dishonest and is called plagiarism, which is illegal.

 Continue to look for that original idea … if you have the talent and the discipline, you’ll find it!