If you want to know how to write a book with top selling potential, learn from the pro’s and buy a large jar of elbow grease. Place it next to your computer and use it daily!

There’s a difference between elbow grease and a magic wand or your natural gift. Your talents or natural gifts resonate with desire. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to become a professional writer unless they had a passion to write. That passion is integrally related to a natural ability to verbally express thoughts and feelings.

A writer's passion also includes commitment to the craft of writing well. A professional writer is a re-writer. They’ve learned the necessity of revision. They’ve also learned that the mind is a fickle, multi-faceted child with a left and right brain.

When the two brains copulate to create a beautiful new mind, the infant that emerges needs a lot of tender loving care during those all-important childhood years. To the uninitiated, the world can be a strange and frightening place.

The mind tends to be wild; it likes to go off on its own. As a creative writer, I support and celebrate that. However, like all children between the ages of one and seven, the untrained mind requires discipline and role models in order to acquire basic survival as well as personal growth techniques and strategies.

It has to learn how to work efficiently and skillfully, set goals and get the job done. It also has to learn how to become accountable or responsible.

Basic human virtues learned at an early age become the most valuable assets a mind can have:

  • Perseverance
  • Patience
  • Gratitude
  • Willingness
  • Detachment
  • All of these virtues are prerequisites for becoming a professional writer. Stay with it, even if you have to keep revising your material again and yet again.

    Be your own best critic

    Keep asking basic questions about your work and make sure you’re fully satisfied with the finished manuscript before you send it to a publisher.

    Be patient with yourself. The process of setting aside your work for a short period of time before re-viewing it is so important. The mind needs rest and recreation and that pause that refreshes can deliver magical insights.

    You may even find that earlier versions are better than later ones. If you keep beating a horse to death, the horse will end up being dead.

    Be grateful first and foremost for the time and energy to do the work and then be grateful for others’ feedback. Be grateful for your talents and skills--and for your understanding of the writing and revision process.

    Be willing to listen to others. Attitude is everything. If you become “depressed” about yourself and your work, you will be unable to “express” yourself. Be careful to keep the Flow on Go.

    Stay positive and open, and continue to revise or review. Look at your material from different angles and consider new possibilities for expressing it.

    Stay detached and don’t take it personally

    If I were to name one virtue that stands out above all others and that separates professional writers from amateurs, it would be detachment. If an editor tells you that you need to revise a work, don’t take it personally. You may disagree with them, but be careful before leaping in to counter their opinion.

    Weigh their opinions and spend time considering their comments. Above all, be grateful that they’ve taken the time to review your work.

    Here’s the litany. Recite it often:

  • Listen to others’ opinions… but do not take it personally.
  • Allow others to criticize… but do not take it personally.
  • Write and re-write… do not take it personally.
  • A good professional sets goals and projects reasonable time frames for completion. This is an important part of the work process because it automatically triggers the prospect of completion.

    The professional writer will complete what has been started, without finding a long list of excuses for delays and failure to perform.

    If you have been contracted to write material for another person and they ask you how long it will take you to complete the work, be honest. Tell them you will have an answer for them after you have started working on it and know exactly what is involved.

    If you can roughly estimate the time frame, add 30 days, just to be on the safe side. You could even add 60 or 90 days if that makes you feel more comfortable.

    When do you start charging fees?

    You will know when you are entitled to charge fees, just as you will know when you are qualified to call yourself a professional.

    It would be good to complete two large projects in each area (ghostwriting, book doctoring, editing) before you start to charge. Your initial fees will be lower than those you will eventually charge, since you will be adding your experience to the quotient.

    Often you will adjust your fees to suit the projects. Flat rates work well, but often you will discover less work may be involved than anticipated, or just the opposite. If the work is highly technical or requires much more than the usual type of editing, proofing, book doctoring, etc., adjust your fees accordingly.

    Above all, enjoy the entire process of writing and let your work be a shining example of how to write a book you can be proud of!

    Author's Bio: 

    Carol Adler, MFA has ghostwritten over 40 non-fiction and fiction works for a number of professionals in the education, health care and human potential industries. Her first ghost-written book listing her name as co-editor, Why Am I Still Addicted? A Holistic Approach to Recovery, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and published by McGraw-Hill. Other publications include three novels, four books of poetry, and well over 200 poems in literary journals.

    Carol is President of Dandelion Books, LLC of Tempe, Arizona; a full service publishing company. She is also President and CEO of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc., Write to Publish for Profit and President of the International Arts & Media Foundation, a non-profit subsidiary of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc.

    Her business experience includes co-ownership of a Palm Beach, FL public relations company and executive management positions in two U.S. rejuvenation and mind/body wellness corporations, for which she founded publishing divisions.

    Carol has served as editor of several poetry and literary magazines. Her career experience includes extensive teaching of college-level creative and business writing, and conducting of writing workshops in prisons, libraries, elementary, junior and high schools, and senior citizen centers.