Have you ever held a burning ambition to be a writer but have never really found the time or known where to start? Even with all the time in the world, writing isn’t always easy, as many of our published authors will vouch for! Should you be in any doubt about where to start, we’ve put together a few tips for budding and seasoned authors who want to focus their ideas while under lockdown and guard against the dreaded ‘writer’s block’.
Why Should You Write?
‘Whilst I was studying for my paramedic degree and my first Master’s degree, I kept returning to ethics and really struggled to find published material that applied specifically to paramedics. I guess I wanted to provide something to future students, and the profession as a whole, that wasn’t available when I was studying.’Georgette Eaton, Author of Law and Ethics for Paramedics
Writing can be a really rewarding experience and there is nothing quite like seeing your ideas come to life in print. But before putting pen to paper it’s worth taking a moment to consider why you want to write? Most likely this will influence the kind of publication suited to you, although there are often several different motivations for writing.
Are you a persuader? The persuaders are those writers who have an ardent message they want to share with the world. For instance, they might want to challenge a commonly-accepted view or promote a better way of doing things.
Often persuasive writing will have a clear focus and should have a firm evidence-base to back up the writer’s arguments; however, it may be narrower and more subjective than a reference guide or educational resource. The aim of the writer is to make the reader believe in a particular idea or opinion – an obvious example might be an ad campaign but there are lots of other examples of scholarly, persuasive writing too!
Are you an informer? Do you have knowledge about a particular topic which would be beneficial to share with the world? Do you have a talent for making large chunks of complicated information accessible and easy to understand? If so, perhaps you are an educator.
One of the really rewarding aspects of this style of writing is the impact it can have on thousands of learners, who may use your work as a resource as they develop into a profession or study for a course. This type of writing should cover the key aspects of the topic and usually aims to be clear and concise in order to facilitate learning. If intended as a reference guide, the text should also be objective and based on factual evidence.
A Creative Outlet
Writing can be a great way to express yourself and even when writing informatively, the author’s voice will often still shine through the text. Fiction is an obvious example of writing creatively – but, actually every style of writing can be classed as ‘creative’ as an author will still be making artistic decisions about material to include in order to bring the text together as a whole. Writing narratively, including analogies or case studies to demonstrate a point, all contain a strong element of creativity.
To persuade, to inform, and to entertain are commonly perceived as the three primary reasons to write – and hopefully publish – material. However, as you have probably already noticed, there is usually significant overlap between these motives. Persuasive writing can be also educational and, despite what students may say, it’s entirely possible to be entertaining and informative at the same time… at least we think it is at Class Publishing anyway!
Who Should You Write For?
‘Independent Prescribing for Paramedics arose from discussions with my colleague, as she was receiving enquiries from paramedics to undertake the Prescribing course and she was trying to find specific and appropriate resources that were not nursing orientated. There were none, so we thought we could write something’.Amanda Blaber, Author of Independent Prescribing for Paramedics
Who are you writing for? This may sound like an obvious point but it’s actually a very important one. Again, your motivation for writing will have an influence on the potential audience, and this in turn will have an impact on the medium of publication and writing style. Keeping in mind your reason for writing as well as your intended audience can also help you make wise decisions about which material to include.
Different publishers will also cater for different audiences, and this is something to bear in mind when considering a publisher. Trade publishers will produce titles for a general audience, and commonly publish the kind of titles you might come across in your local bookshop. Academic and professional publishers, however, usually focus on a particular subject area and will likely target a specific audience, such as a profession or those taking an academic course. For example, Class Professional Publishing provide specialist resources for a range of healthcare professionals and students.
So How Do I Get Published?
Publishers may have slightly different processes, but professional, scholarly publishers, such as Class Professional Publishing, will often ask for a brief outline of your idea (also known as a proposal) before expecting you produce a complete manuscript. A good proposal will cover some of the aspects mentioned earlier, including the kind of text you have in mind and who you expect the readership to be. It should include the following points:
- A description of the kind of resource you have in mind
- The intended audience/level of readership for your project
- A draft contents list with a brief summary of what each chapter or component will contain
- How your proposed text might compare or relate to other resources already available
- Your own experience and expertise within the appropriate field
You can download a copy of Class Professional Publishing’s proposal guidelines here. This should help you understand the kind of information we look out for when assessing a new publication.
The publisher should also be able to provide feedback on your proposal and will likely send this for external review before offering a contract for publication. Given the specialist nature of many professional or scholarly texts, it is generally helpful for both authors and publishers to obtain feedback before proceeding to publication.
Even so, it can be difficult opening your work up to criticism in this way, especially when you’ve worked hard on a project or an idea which is close to your heart. Feedback may be positive or negative but should be received as constructively and objectively as possible. Remember that once the text is published and available in the public sphere it will also be open to comment and, by this point, it may not be so easy to make any necessary amendments. The review process is also a good way of ensuring that you’re on the right track in terms of content and structure before the writing process even starts. This can save a lot of time and effort later on!
‘I was once referred to as ‘tenacious’ – I didn’t understand what that meant at the time, but years on, my university lecturer was right. I am driven to influence the conversations we have regarding safety, and being an inclusive leader.’Amanda Mansfield, author of Emergency Birth in the Community
There’s no beating about the bush, writing is hard work and takes a certain level of commitment and motivation. We’ve all heard of the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ and starting is often said to be the most difficult part of all. Whilst starting a project is certainly difficult, if you have followed the points outlined above and you have a solid understanding of your text in mind, then you’re already well on your way to becoming a published author!
A firm outline and structure is vital to maintaining focus and avoiding going off on tangents when writing. Some chapters may even begin with a list of objectives or learning points outlining what the text will cover – with this in mind, you don’t always need to start at the beginning; instead you may decide you want to start in the middle or even at the end.
Our advice is to keep writing and don’t lose heart… it may take a lot of time, effort and caffeine to bring a text together but seeing the final published result is always worth it. Equally do go easy on yourself too – writing is rewarding but it can also be hard and it can sometimes be difficult for outsiders to understand the amount of rewriting and editing which goes on underneath the surface of a seemingly effortlessly written piece of work. Above all, we at Class Professional Publishing are here to help – so if you have any questions or doubts about whether you have what it takes to become an author or if you’re feeling inspired to write then get in touch!
Why Work With Class?
Lianne Sherlock is our senior editor at Class, who commissions the new book titles and manages them through the entire publication process. She has worked in the publishing sector since 2008 and joined our Class team in 2017. Lianne is always happy to discuss new ideas for books so please do get in touch with her here: email@example.com.
You can also head to our Authors’ page for more information about writing a proposal or to view our author’s profiles.
“Class were absolutely fantastic. They were always on hand if I had any questions, put up with my constant re-ordering of chapters and finding new chapters to be included. The support throughout the project was fantastic…”Georgette Eaton, Author of Law and Ethics for Paramedics