The Should-I-Write-a-Book Quiz

All afternoon and evening has been spent trying to get one review written.  I will have that for you tomorrow,* despite the frustrations involved.  Today I have a question for  everyone, and I hope everyone who visits today and tonight will leave an answer in the comments section below.

 

who should write book quiz build post

Today, anyone, anyone at all, can write a story, be it picture book or novel length, and upload it online to sell at Amazon.  I believe Apple is pickier about the books it sells, yet this is only based on a comparison of offerings.  The point being, there is a faint rumble in the literary world that tells everyone, regardless of skill level, or no skill at all, that they can write a book, even a best seller.  That rumble gets louder at certain times of the year.   Would anyone like to temper that roar?

First, let me say I do not have a Master in Fine Arts, or a Bachelor’s in English.  My degrees are in Social Work, plus a course at the Institute of Children’s LIterature on writing for kids.  So I am not an expert, nor have I been published beyond an online magazine article and here at Kid Lit Reviews (which I do not count as a publishing credit in any sense of the word).  I do have experience reviewing books for the past six years, and use the training from ICL when reviewing every book.  When not sure, I consult an expert or an expert guide.   Now, my friends, I need to consult you.

If it were possible to devise a ten question quiz that could give someone an idea whether or not they have the skills to write a book, what questions would you put on the quiz?  What are the most important skills or knowledge one needs to be successful as a writer?  What one thing should tell you not to try publishing, but to keep your storytelling at home?  Must you understand point-of-view, dangling modifiers, or the correct use of a comma?  Is it important to know the formatting differences between writing an online post versus writing for publication?  If a degree is not essential, must there be some sort of training / mentorship, or is picking up pen to paper good enough?

Tell me your question(s) and in a near future post I will compile the results.  Finally, do you believe anyone, as they are today, can write a book?

Reviews will commence tomorrow.  I have a couple of middle grade novels to bring you, that are, coincidentally, self-published and terrific!  Plus several picture books before the Fall season begins next August.  Until then, please leave a comment with your suggestions, opinions, or, hopefully, a question or two related to this post.

*This review will be posted at a later date, rather than tomorrow, in fairness to the author.

20 thoughts on “The Should-I-Write-a-Book Quiz

  1. I believe connection is a key piece when asking yourself “Should I write a book?” If your idea only connects to self and does not touch an audience, it will not be worthwhile. Who are we writing for? I asked myself this question before I began writing children’s books in 2011. A classroom teacher in public schools for 20 years, I began to see my stories reach a true audience. This tangible connection inspired me to begin writing!

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  2. Having worked for a self-publisher for 18 months, I can tell you that not everyone who thinks their story is ready for publication is correct. However, I love that everyone can use their imagination to do so! I wouldn’t think that any of that effort is wasted. One question I would ask is what are their favorite books – if they don’t have a list of at least three, they probably don’t have the background with books to write one.

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  3. I feel like a sponge reading all of this. Just absorbing all of the most important elements of writing for kids, or anyone for that matter. Great feedback form everyone!

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  4. Pingback: I want to write a childrens book… | My Side of Ordinary

  5. Mine would be a pretty simple one: Describe your imagination. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Cheryl, Hop Hostess

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  6. Hmm… To think of something different than what’s already here, (and if any answer is “No” then “NO, you aren’t ready to become an author”.):

    1. Do you enjoy taking hours of time to get such a “simple thing” done?

    2. Do you enjoy people telling you what they think you should do?

    3. Would you not mind if someone told you your story is “Horrible”?

    4. Do you think ANYONE (bankers, lawyers, doctors, the president) can write a good book?*

    5. Are you ready to start your book?

    Erik
    *(this one, if it is a “YES”, then you aren’t ready.)

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    • Erik, it’s okay to repeat. Maybe you would say it better. 🙂

      I like number two. How many times can you put up with someone telling you you are wasting your time writing a book?

      #3 A thick skin is really important. Not everyone will like your work (well, maybe yours will be the exception 🙂 ), so learn how to take those negative reviews in stride. It is just ONE person’s opinion, not the world’s. Good one, Erik.

      #1 Hours and hours of rewriting/editing/rewriting/editing . . . You may not like it but you better not hate it . . . or skip it.

      Thanks Erik! 😀

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  7. Now, I am afraid to see your review of my book based on this post 🙂 Marketing has been the most frustrating money and time guzzler so my questions focus those issues.

    1. How many copies do you have set aside for reviews and submissions?
    2. Do you have the money to spend on shipping and supplies?
    3. What is your marketing plan? Mommy bloggers? Podcast interviews?
    4. Are you prepared to do school visits?
    5. Have you investigated the costs of a media kit? Consisting of bookmarks, postcards, poster to set up at book signings
    6. Did you know an Author can never have too many sharpies? Mine always seem to disappear at my storytimes and book signings 😉

    Hope this will help authors make a marketing plan,
    Kristin

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    • Money is a big issue when you have to pay the illustrator, an editor, a publicity firm. It can really add up. What skills should someone possess before they write? Knowing how to market is a good one. Thanks.

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  8. I like most of the comments I see here. I don’t think degrees and classes are necessary. I do think that if a person can’t write a grammatically correct and coherent sentence fairly easily, they are unlikely to be able to produce a readable narrative.

    And yes, about a million edits, revisions, adjustments and proofings are needed, and if the idea is off-putting, then maybe writing isn’t the right choice,

    Oh, and do stories just sort of bubble up in you? And anyone who isn’t a reader shouldn’t try to be a writer.

    And, finally, anyone who is getting into it to make money probably needs to rethink the project. It’s not that a writer shouldn’t want to make money–of course, we all do–but that if that’s the primary motivation, it’s all too apt to lead to frustration and depression.

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    • You are so right Rebecca. Making money in publishing is difficult. There are 1000 books released a day now. that makes getting your book noticed so much more difficult. Thanks for joining in. 🙂

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  9. Well, first of all, not everyone is capable of writing a professional book. This is proven in many self-published books.
    Here are some of my questions I would ask. If the answer was ‘no’ to any one of these questions, I would recommend that you are not ready to publish your book.

    1. Are you cable of re-reading, editing, and re-reading your book for mistakes at least 15 times? Preferably 20 times?

    2. If you are self-publishing, you do not have an editor to work with. Working with an editor is one of the most important things you can do to get your book to a professional level.. Are you financially able to hire an editor?

    3. Have you taken writing and grammar courses, or in some way studied these?

    4.Do you know what is involved in marketing your book?

    5. Do you know how to keep your story in Point of View?

    6. Do you know how to plot?

    7. Do you know how to create interesting and unique characters that will engage in something important?

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    • What a great list! Really, 20 times? Wow! No wonder it took nearly two years for your book to get to its release date. There are books out that actually claim to show you how to write a book in 30 days. I doubt much, if any editing and rewriting is involved. Plotting, POV, fully fleshed characters, grammar and punctuation are hard enough, but then marketing. I’d forgotten about that one. Great list! Thank you! 🙂

      There is a site called the CBI Clubhouse http://cbiclubhouse.com/ that for around $5 a month you have everything you need to learn in one spot, all about kids books, and written by experts in their fields. Everything I learned at ICL can be found there and more, including critique groups. A year in that site, studying it three times a week, would have you ready to write practically any book, let alone a children’s or teen book.

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  10. I would start with, “How many books (in the genre you plan to write) have you read this year?” Let’s face it. There’s not a magic formula or a secret sauce, but knowing the genre is certainly going to give you a feel for how your story needs to sound.

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    • Nice question and one many will not be able to answer yes. This question is the impetus for this site. My mentor told me to read at least, at least, 100 books in not only the genre, put in the type of book I wanted to write. If I wanted to write a middle grade book that is comical, read 100 comical middle grade books, not simply 100 middle grade books. It was also suggested that I outline each of those books for scenes, arcs, conflicts, etc. The same for picture books, the two main genres on this site.

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  11. Wow, Sue what a great question to pose. Deep breath, sigh…., feel sick to the pit of my stomach just in case my book is the one you have had frustration reviewing, now, all that aside….
    In my publishing journey, I have learned a few things which I think are extremely important, especially when writing for middle grade. I may not be qualified to comment on traditional publishing in general, but I am a reader and a parent. today that will be my qualification, so listen up potential authors……

    1. How old is your protagonist. Middle grade is generally considered between 9-12 years of age. If your protagonist is several years above this age group, I would like to suggest you are writing a Young Adult Novel. The years of development past 12 are fraught with huge changes, so kids in this older age group behave, speak and grasp concepts well above the middle grade audience.
    2. Is your language appropriate for this age group. Cursing, swearing, calling other kids derogatory or inappropriate names will not endear your middle grade readers, but most importantly, this will cause alarm bells for parents who are the filter for their children. Find other words to express your protagonists feelings, as this will save you a lot of scrutiny in the future.
    3. Do your protagonists commit serious crimes or perpetrate murder, but still remain the heroes. If so, I would suggest you change this because as a parent, I do not want these theme’s justified in any way for the sake of a good story or creating a climactic ending.
    4. Are there inappropriate levels of sexual tension, conflict, or situations that would cause a parent of a middle grader to be uncomfortable with their child reading your book. If so, change it, remove it, rewrite it.
    5. Is your story told through the eyes of your protagonist and does it include your characters having highs and lows, all culminating in the finale. I should mention in no uncertain terms, that the resolution of your story should never, ever be solved by a parent or a person other than the protagonist.
    6. Finally, ending on a climax in middle grade will completely frustrate young readers. Give them closure, but leave the door open for another story to follow.

    Okay, I have blathered on long enough. THE END.

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    • Wow, Julie, what a response. Now I feel bad about your book. Nah, just kidding. Those are great questions and I agree with each one. 😀 Great! Terrific! ‘Wow! (You did blather 🙂 )

      Unfortunately, I have seen each of those at the wrong time and in the wrong book. What bugs me is when I get a 16-year-old protagonist and I am told, in no uncertain terms, that it is a middle grade book, their publisher told them so. Both the author and publisher should know better. And since it was self-published, what is causing this dissonance?

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