Want to Publish? 5 Books You Should Read First

If you’re wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you’re in the right place.

5 Books You Should Read If You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five book recommendations.

These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue. So yeah, that’s why I think these are books you should read if you want to publish a book.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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Books you should read if you want to publish a book

I’ve arranged my “books you should read” recommendations into a bit of a road map: figuring out what to write, outlining and drafting, deciding whether to self-publish or pursue traditional publishing, collaborating with other writers and influencers and getting book reviews. It’s the publishing journey if you will. The actual writing, that’s up to you.


The Creative Compass

The Creative Compass: Writing Your Way from Inspiration to Publication

This book could be for the writer who isn’t exactly sure HOW to write a book. Yes, it’s that practical. It could also be for the writer who has an idealistic outlook on what writing and publishing will be like.

Kind of a reality check without being a jerk about it.

When it comes to writing, we can develop our skills and boost our talent through thoughtful practice…. By continuing to write, we build stamina and patience, eventually exceeding our own standards to the extend that we can raise them.

The Creative Compass (117)

What I learned: every idea starts with passion, meets with discouragement and must be battled with persistence.

When writing the most important thing is to find a way to keep going despite the hard work, stress, lack of confidence and insecurity.

DREAM, DRAFT, DEVELOP, REFINE, SHARE

I spent a lot of time in the last third of the book. I underlined, wrote notes, even wrote “Amen!” beside especially good quotes (“If a sentence expresses an essential idea, advances plot, reveals character, or conveys relevant sensory detail that contributes to emotional effect or atmosphere then it’s probably worth keeping…. If not—snip, snip” Amen! [175]).

Fast Fiction

Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days

Even if you don’t call yourself a writer you might want to write a book. There are so many stories waiting to be told and, who knows, you might be the person to tell it.

What’s great about author Denise Jaden’s latest book Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days is she makes you feel like digging out the story deep inside you is possible.

And the 30 days thing? Bonus.

I’ve wanted to write a book for a while now, maybe forever. As a kid I drafted a 100-page Choose Your Own Adventure of twin girls who get lost in Mexico while trying to find an orphanage (scary part—I experienced this trip IRL 10 years later with a friend…) and for the last two years I have felt like it’s time to try for real.

And I have. Tried that is. But I keep getting stuck and I have never known why.

Fast Fiction tells me why: I didn’t know how to write a book. I didn’t plan it beforehand, I just sat down at the computer and expected it to come together.

After reading Jaden’s book I finally get it. I do have a book in me I just didn’t have the tools to dig it out.

self-publishing versus traditional publishing Review Header

How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing (A Field Guide for Authors)

Although the title aptly summarizes the six chapters, I wanted to add it’s not just for those wondering which method of publishing to pursue.

This book works to change the question from “Which one should I choose?” to “How can I utilize these tools best to support my goals?”

I loved Rachelle Gardner’s straightforward approach to this complex question. She spends time analysing the pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self-publishing. As well she works to dispel common self-publishing myths and makes it crystal clear that self-publishing should not be an excuse to publish poor writing.

This short read is packed with material and is perfect for people who aren’t quite sure where to start with publishing, people who want to understand all the different publishing options, and people looking for credible resources to get started.

Did I mention chapter six is all about resources?

In my opinion, this is where the real value of this book comes in. It lists further information on self-publishing, how to get an agent, where to look for editors, reputable book cover designers and more.

Creative Collaborations

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy

The Internet says collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. OK, that makes sense.

And Kirsten Oliphant says it’s like roller derby. I had to think about this for a bit because I don’t know anything about roller derby but I think I get it: you stop being a lone wolf and instead become a teammate.

You work with others to achieve a common goal.

That sounds nice in theory, but isn’t setting up creative collaborations with your competitors risky?

The risks: You could get burned, you could have your work stolen, you could be let down. All of this could happen when you work with others.

However, there are also potential benefits:

  • You could grow strategic partnerships that bring you further than you could go on your own
  • Also, you could make new friends
  • Another possibility is you could join a tribe where you feel encouraged, strengthened and inspired to keep moving forward

Throughout Creative Collaborations, Oliphant overviews different types of collaborations, builds an argument for why we need creative collaborations, teaches the difference between good and bad collaborations, cautions about legal implications when collaborating, and gives tips for creating life-changing collaborations.

If you’re wondering how collaborations can change your business (and maybe your life), you will love this book.

How to Get Great Book Reviews

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers) (Volume 3)

Why you need reviews (I’m borrowing from the book’s argument here, but I hold it as well):

Reviews are platform builders

Regardless of negative or positive, stars or lattes, reviews give you the chance to be a better writer, learn more about your genre, and know your target reader better.

Reviews are resources for endorsements

Blurbs, praise, bullets, whatever. Need some nice quotes? You can get them with book reviews!

Reviews can be networking tools

Both getting and giving reviews gives you contacts with editors of review journals, contacts with other reviewers who are potential reviewers of your books, contacts with other authors who need quotations for their books or referrals.

Once you’re convinced you should get book reviews, then you’re ready for the rest of the book. It walks you through alllllllllllllll the things you need to think through and plan for.

It’s a lot, but they payoff is worth it. Not only that, but once you have the reviews the fun is not over! You can reap the benefits of past reviews for years to come.

If it’s time to do marketing, get this book.

These are my top five books you should read

All five of these books you should read recommendations are quick and practical with a ton of actionable advice.

The big idea is you’ll read through them and then apply what you learn. My hope is you’ll move the needle forward as a result of reading these books.

5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.
5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. If you're wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you're in the right place. These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.

How to Write a Book | 4 Steps to Get Started

If you want to know how to write a book you’re in the right place.

is it time to write your book | 4 steps to get started

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place.

And if you know you need a solid plan in order to write your book then I’m your biggest fan.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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So you’ve decided to write a book

For better or worse, I’m results-driven more than idea-driven. I love finishing.

Therefore, when a great idea comes up, the first thing I do is break it down into smaller pieces and figure out how to make it happen.

I know this approach isn’t as exciting as allowing adrenaline to fuel your writing passion. But what’s the goal here, to feel good or to finish writing your book?

Over the years I’ve helped organizations and individuals publish many, many pieces (articles, books, magazines and more) on deadline. Which is more difficult than you may think.

More often than not the writing part of the process comes down to four steps:

  • Find your why
  • Choose your theme
  • Find your genre
  • Schedule writing time

You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet

Do you want the worksheets that go with this training?

I’ve created worksheets to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the resource library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Now, on to the training.

How to write a book

Step one: Find your why

Think about why you want to write a book and also why you’re the right person to do it. If you take a few minutes to figure out your why you may find you have many reasons. Try and choose a main (primary) reason. This primary why will help you create the rest of your book-writing (and marketing) plan.

Here are examples of possible why’s:

  • Build an audience or platform
  • Be known as an authority in your area
  • Make money
  • Tell an important story people need to hear

There are no wrong answers here. One person’s why isn’t morally superior to another’s why. Be honest and figure out the primary reason behind why you want to write a book.

Write it down.

This will help keep you motivated when it stops being fun and starts being hard work.

Elements in a well-rounded author platform

Step two: Choose your theme

The next step is choosing your book’s theme. Every story has a theme—an overarching point. In her book Story Sparks, author Denise Jaden asks writers to review seven simple themes and choose the one that they’d most like to read a book about.

  1. Love
  2. Faith
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Trust
  5. Survival
  6. Honour
  7. Acceptance

From here, once you have a focus word, you can take it deeper. Instead of “love” your theme may become “love conquers all” or “love comes at a price.”

Find that driving point behind your story an write it down. This will help you develop your story line and characters down the road.

Step three: Find your genre

This step is super practical. You need to know which genre your book fits into so you know what your word count should be. Because, yes, there are rules and the word count change based on your genre.

In general, the main objections I hear to this step are around following the rules or choosing just one genre. Trust me when I say, in general you should follow the rules. Please. For everyone’s sake. Also, this step will help you SO MUCH with step four.

Once you know your genre then you’ll have a word count range for your book. If you’re at this stage, check out the genre/word count list I’ve curated.

(Psst it’s also in the worksheets in my resource library.)

You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet

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Step four: create a writing schedule

Once you know what genre your book is you’ll know more or less how many words you need to write. See? Super practical! Your next step is decide when you want to complete your first draft. This can be arbitrary but it should be realistic. Once you have a date in mind, work backwards, breaking your word count goals into months and then days.

A few things to keep in mind

First, figure out how many words per day you can write. It’s different for everyone so learn what works best for you and build your schedule around it.

Second, build a realistic writing schedule. To write a book you need blocks of focused time. How much do you have available? What do you need to put in place to protect it?

Third, create strategies so you stick to your schedule. There will be days you don’t feel like writing. Find ways to write anyway.

When creating a writing schedule make sure to answer these questions:

  • What’s your deadline for finishing your first draft?
  • How many words is your book going to be?
  • Break it down, how many days per week are you going to write?
  • How many words can you write per day?
  • How many words per day do you need to write to meet your deadline?

If you want more on this, check out my training on creating a writing schedule.

if you want to write a book, following these four steps will help you accomplish your goal

I work as a project manager for my day job, which often looks like bossing people around and saying no to things.

In reality, a project manager brings big ideas to life and organizes tasks in a way that makes it possible for the team to get things done.

This role helps people prioritize and keeps an eye on the big picture. It’s a thankless job but an important one, nonetheless.

When I first took on this role it took me a while to realize most people don’t think like I do. Motivated by enthusiasm and emotion, people tend to dive into exciting tasks without thinking about how it will go or when it should end.

Then, when it becomes cumbersome and less fun…and other projects come up…it gets put aside, unfinished.

The people I’ve met at my workshops and speaking events are much the same.

They get a great idea for a book and dive into writing with little (or no) regard to when they want to finish or how long it’s going to be. And then, when the project becomes messy or other ideas crop up…the great idea gets left behind on the hard drive, unfinished.

My goal is to help more people finish their big, exciting projects by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable and realistic steps. I hope this training has helped you! Please let me know how you fare.

By the way, I taught this workshop from June 13 to 15, 2019 at Write Canada.

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing.

Why Prescriptive Non-Fiction is Worth Considering If You Don’t Know What to Write

The question, what is prescriptive non-fiction, isn’t the only question I received at a recent workshop I taught called Is It Time to Write Your Book. However, it’s one I have also asked so I thought it was an excellent topic to cover.

What is Prescriptive Non-Fiction

When I first started planning my book I thought there were two choices: fiction or non-fiction. But deciding on non-fiction is just the first step.

I outlined this a bit when I explained how word count changes based on book genre. Here is the TL;DR version.

Non-Fiction Genres

  • Devotional
  • Self-Help
  • Memoir
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Biography
  • Prescriptive/How-To

And yes, there are more genres within non-fiction (personal development, practical non-fiction, general non-fiction). But that’s another topic for another day.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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What is prescriptive non-fiction?

Prescriptive non-fiction books are known as being strong topical guides or instructional how-to books. They help readers accomplish something or acquire a new skill.

Here are a few examples.

From these titles you know what you’re getting. First you’ll learn how to walk in high heels, then how to get great book reviews and finally how to write a first draft in 30 days.

What does it take to write prescriptive non-fiction?

In order to write a prescriptive non-fiction book the author has to know and understand the topic at a deep level. Deeper than the people who are learning the topic. An expert, if you will.

Another option, if the author is not an expert, is to curate interviews with experts and compile the information into a book.

Writing prescriptive non-fiction is a good option if you’re looking to write something but you don’t have an idea yet. Because chances are you’re an expert about something.

Think about what you know a lot about, what you have interest in and what you think you could spend a lot of time talking about without getting bored. The more specific you can get, the better.

If you’re looking for a challenge, read Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Prescriptive Nonfiction Book in 30 Days.

Of course you’ll need a tight writing schedule to accomplish that but I know you’re up for it.

Prescriptive non-fiction books are known as being strong topical guides or instructional how-to books. They help readers accomplish something or acquire a new skill.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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Prescriptive non-fiction books are known as being strong topical guides or instructional how-to books. They help readers accomplish something or acquire a new skill.
Everyone is an expert in something so writing prescriptive non-fiction is a good option if you're looking to write something but you don't have an idea yet.

6 Helpful Services a Book Publicist Does for an Author

What does a book publicist do?

what does a book publicist do

In general, this is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales. So it’s an interesting and important role.

But just how does a book publicist affect this positive influence? And what does a book publicist do for an author? And what does it take to be a book publicist?

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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What does a publicist do, anyway?

Think of a publicist as both your biggest cheerleader and a teammate on your book marketing team.

He or she will champion your book to the media and sing about how wonderful it is. And my, how wonderful that feels.

They have one main goal: get positive press coverage for his or her client.

A book publicist gets involved in the process after your book goes to print but (in general) before it’s published.

You've decided to write a book tip sheet free download

By the way, are you thinking about writing a book? You are, aren’t you.

Read the post, How to Write a Book before you dive in. And when you’re ready, grab the complimentary worksheets that go along with the training. They’re in my resource library—just pop your email address in the form below for the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Here are a few things a book publicist does for an author

  1. Gets book reviews
  2. Gets articles written about the book or author
  3. Nominates book for awards
  4. Gets interviews for the author
  5. Sets up and promotes virtual book tours
  6. Schedules book talks and tours

These are all essential ingredients in the book marketing recipe for success.

Now if only you could look at marketing as a creative outlet instead of a thorn in your side we would all be singing to the bank.

But I digress

Of course an author can do his or her own marketing and if this is something you’re considering, here are some of the required skills.

Here are a few skills a book publicist should have in order to be successful

  • Ability to work with all kinds of different clients (every author is different and requires a different approach)
  • Strong writing and oral skills
  • Strong public relations skills
  • Knowledge of the journalism industry
  • Understanding of what journalists and book bloggers are looking for
  • Outgoing personality
  • Good at networking
  • Organized

Considering becoming a publicist? For extra credit, read So, You Want to Work in Publishing: The Role of a Publicist from Writer’s Digest

Your writer's statement worksheet free download

If you can get clear on why you’re writing, it will become a beacon of light showing you the way forward.

Download the Your Writer’s Statement worksheet from my resource library.

Pop your email address in the form below, confirm your subscription to my email list and I’ll send you the password to my free resource library. Once you’re in, navigate to the “writing” section and look for the worksheet titled, “Create a Writer’s Statement Worksheet.”

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There’s no question publicity (aka marketing) helps book sales. If people hear about a book they’re more likely to purchase it rather than one they’ve never heard of.

“If you write it they will come,” isn’t really a thing.

Before you get too worked up, I understand this isn’t your favourite thing but I still think you can rock your marketing. And when you need a boost, hire a book publicist.

Related posts

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

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What does a book publicist do? It's a common question. In general, it is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales.
What does a book publicist do? It's a common question. In general, it is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales.
What does a book publicist do? It's a common question. In general, "book publicist" is a broad name for a person who has direct and indirect influence on book sales. So a book publicist is an interesting and important role. But just how does a book publicist affect this positive influence? And what does a book publicist do for a writer? And how long does it take?

How Long Should My Book Be? How to Determine Novel Wordcounts

Have you ever asked how long should my book be?

How Long Should My Book Be Guide to Word Count

Did you know what a great question it is? GREAT question!

Many debut authors dive into their manuscript with wild abandon and with little thought to structure, plot or word count.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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How long should my book be?

When you’re planning a book (even if you’re a pantser) it’s important to know a few things about your genre ahead of time—things like, well, what genre it is.

And what the theme is. And how many words it will be. Yeah. Even word count should be pre-planned.

And I know how weird that sounds if this is the first time you’re hearing it.

How to write an outline worksheet

Wondering how to structure an outline? It will help you plan your book!

I’ve created a PDF worksheet walking you through the broad strokes of creating an outline. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “How to Write an Outline for Anything Worksheet.”

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What!? There’s a word count for novels!? Yup.

And it’s kind of one of those things you should abide by unless you’re crazy-famous and/or already a successful author (because obvs these guidelines don’t apply to you) or you don’t care about selling books.

Because word count matters. And the rules change for every genre.

So, your first task is to figure out what genre your book is in. After that, check the list below to find the answer to your question how long should my book be?

General guidelines: How long should my book be?

Fiction

  • Middle Grade—20,000 to 50,000 words
  • Young Adult—45,000 to 80,000 words
  • Novels—50,000 to 120,000 words
    • Paranormal Romance—85,000 to 100,000 words
    • Romance—85,000 to 100,000 words
    • Category Romance—55,000 to 75,000 words
    • Cozy Mysteries—65,000 to 90,000 words
    • Horror—80,000 to 100,000 words
    • Western—80,000 to 100,000 words
    • Light Paranormal Mysteries/Hobby Mysteries—75,000 to 90,000 words
    • Historical Mysteries/Noir—80,000 to 100,000 words
    • Thrillers/Crime—90,000 to 100,000 words
    • Chick Lit—80,000 to 100,000 words
    • Literary—65,000 to 100,000 words
    • Science Fiction—90,000 to 110,000 words
    • Romantic Science Fiction—85,000 to 100,000 words
    • Space Opera—90,000 to 120,000 words
    • Contemporary Fantasy—90,000 to 100,000 words
    • Other Fantasy—90,000 to 120,000 words
You've decided to write a book worksheet

Do you want to write a book? Start here

I’ve created a PDF fillable worksheet walking you through four important steps to take BEFORE you start writing. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Non-Fiction

  • Devotional—30,000 to 50,000 words
  • Self-Help—40,000 to 90,000 words
  • Memoir—50,000 to 90,000 words
  • Narrative Non-Fiction—50,000 to 110,000 words
  • Biography—50,000 to 110,000 words
  • Prescriptive/How-To—50,000 to 150,000

Of course these guidelines are only just that—guidelines. And there are WAY more genres and sub-genres (e.g. new weird and slipstream…what now!?) so it’s best to do your own research.

But do pay attention and at least be aware of publisher AND reader expectations. Because you still have to list your word count in your query letter or book proposal!

Sources: The Swivet, Jerry Jenkins, Books & Such Literary Management

Create a Writing Schedule Worksheet

When you’re ready to write a book and you know the genre and how many words it will be, your next step is to create a writing schedule.

I’ve created a PDF worksheet to help you realistic schedule. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library navigate to the writing section and look for “Create a Writing Schedule Worksheet.”

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Other posts relating to publishing (although not answering the question how long should my book be but they’re still relevant!)

Have you ever asked how long should my book be? Many debut authors dive into their manuscript with little thought to structure, plot or word count.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
Have you ever asked how long should my book be? Many debut authors dive into their manuscript with little thought to structure, plot or word count.
Have you ever asked <em>how long should my book be?</em> Did you know what a great question it is? GREAT question! Many debut authors dive into their manuscript with wild abandon and with little thought to structure, plot or word count.