Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Write A Book About Gardening

One of the ways that you can use your gardening experience to catapult you into making money from your garden is to write a book about it. Non-fiction books are really the money-makers for most authors although people tend to think of fiction books only. (Of course, if you have a fiction idea that revolves around your garden, then go for it!) For most people, however, the best bet is to try to write a non-fiction book revolving around their gardening experiences.

You should begin to think about how your gardening experience may be unique. Right now organic gardening is a popular topic. Perhaps you have been doing organic gardening for 20 years. You may have some tips that you can share. Perhaps you have won contests with the veggies in your garden. Then you are qualified to write a book about growing prize vegetables.

Even if you do not have something like prize-winning squash, you definitely have knowledge. There needs to be something unique about your experience. It is called a hook, and it is vital if you want to have a way to sell your gardening book to publishers. They need to know why they should pick you over the 24 other gardening ideas they received this month.

You may want to try attaching something to your gardening experiences. For example, you can tell your gardening tips through stories. Tell about how you learned about asparagus when your daughter accidentally trampled yours. Or perhaps you want to consider including recipes from the garden so that you can combine a gardening manual with a cookbook.

Whatever the hook you should have it and be prepared to stick to that theme. Begin by jotting down the ideas you want to include in the book. You can have ideas that form an outline or something more informal where you are jotting the experiences and tips you want to share with your readers.

Once you have finalized your ideas for the book, you can begin to work on it. You should begin by forcing yourself to sit at the computer everyday. Trust me on this one. Even if you love writing, there will be days will you will wish you had someone to duct tape you to the chair. You should focus on setting aside a certain time everyday. Start with half an hour or an hour. Make yourself write during that time for your gardening book.

As you go, you will begin to get into the flow of the writing, and it will be much easier to complete it. Before you know it, you will have the first draft of the book completed, all from your experiences with your hobby. Once you have the first draft, the tedious work begins. You will need to edit the book after you have left it alone for about a week. Come back to it with fresh eyes. Also ask a couple of people close to you to read the book. Although they probably will not give you valuable critiques because they do not want to hurt your feelings, they will allow you to get more comfortable with having other people read your work.

After the close friends, you will need to look for beta readers. It is important to think about your target audience. You will want people from this audience, whether it is old pros or beginners, to read your book. You also should try to find at least one person who is an expert in the subject you are covering. Perhaps a local extension agent who focuses on organic gardening or a wonderful cook who owns a local restaurant. It is important to have a range of readers in this group, called your beta readers, because they will share any holes or questions they have about your manuscript.

Working on a gardening book can be a wonderful way to have more time to spend in your garden. Not only will you enjoy the time because you are working on something you love, but you will have new ways to share your passion with other people. Keep working even if you get discouraged. Writing a book is a long and tedious process, but the rewards are well worth it.

By Julia Mercer

No comments: