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Thread: Writing books

  1. #1
    Initiate ecco's Avatar
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    I wrote a book last year, which was published last November (textbook). I've just received my first 6 month royalty statement today and it's rather piddling. I always knew it wasn't Harry Potter and it certainly reinforces the view that in terms of time versus reward, there's few worst professions. Having said all that, I know people don't write just for money. There are other benefits and for one,the satisfaction is immense.

    Any other writers out there on OM- either published or got a book inside you ? Will you ever write another or your first ?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    The royalties from my first book provide a bit of pocket money - a couple of hundred quid a year, even after 7 years, so I guess that's not too bad. The publisher of the second book bought out the copyright at the beginning, which was quite useful as I got an albeit not very big lump sum, but that helped towards rebuilding the rear elevation of my house!!

    Considering the amount of sweat and tears (literally) that goes into writing books, the rewards for academic publishing are peanuts, but it's part of the job so you do it anyway.

  3. #3
    Ultra King Jamie @ www.trekkingbritain.com's Avatar
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    Closest I've come to writing a book is a seven page document I have typed entitled "How I fell in love the hills" which I am hoping will be the sort of forward to a photography book I plan on doing. A trip to Scotland four years ago and the reason I went changed my life forever and I pretty much written about that. Looking forward to sending off this piece and the photo's this summer to a few places to see if they'll do anything with it.

  4. #4
    Initiate ecco's Avatar
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    Good to know there's someone else out there feeling the same way, Kate.

    Jamie - sounds like a great project. One of my favourite books is a photo-book - paterson's cape wrath trail. You might find that you need to "theme" your book in a similar way to pique the interest of publishers.

    It'd be great to write professionally for the outdoors. The ultimate job (within reason) ??


  5. #5
    Widdler Jon D's Avatar
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    Erm, hi,

    A colleague and I have talked to a publisher about one... well they contacted us, but I think they were contacting many people. But we don't seem to have done anything about it for the last 12 months or so. Unfortunately, I don't think it would be as popular as Metric Kate's books.... I think I would get a lot of satisfaction out of it, but where do you find the time? Having said that, I'm on OM.... Oh.

    Jon.

  6. #6
    Initiate ecco's Avatar
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    Yeah - its a lot of time. It took me 4 months to write 75k words (200 pages) and another 2 months of edits and revisions.

    On reflection, I should have included a boy-wizard & a bible code/holy grail to give it a boost :-)

  7. #7
    Mini Goon
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    I have a book I'm still researching and currently writing at a rate of about one page a month ....... but it's not hillwalking related and I doubt I'll ever finish it yet alone get it published.

    The only published book I contributed to (I wrote three short chapters of a book about the British coastline, although these were edited a bit by the 'editor') was 20 years ago and netted me a grand total of £75. But I enjoyed the experience and would do it again.

    Most of my writing has been non profit stuff, like for the MBA Newsletter. Although I keep thinking I should start pushing out a few magazine articles some time (is Cameron reading? )


  8. #8
    Initiate ecco's Avatar
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    I think i've read some of your stuff in the MBA newsletters & on the MBA forum. I've love to write a piece for the newsletter - just got to get away from this desk & get bothying !!

  9. #9
    Übermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    Having written 17 outdoor books I can say categorically that it's not worth doing for the money! However I do find satisfaction in being able to expand on topics, rather than having to stick to a magazine 1000-2000 word limit, and have more control over the contents. I also enjoy the intensity of writing a book, spending weeks and months immersed in a project.

    The latest survey shows that authors on average earn a third of the UK average earnings. Most do other work as well as (as I do).

    In terms of royalties it's very important to check the contract terms. Authors aren't paid as much as in the past and contracts have become more complicated. My first royalties were 10% of published price but the demise of the Net Book Agreement and now I tend to get 10% of net receipts, which is much less.

  10. #10
    Initiate ecco's Avatar
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    Good point Chris. I get 15% of net, which after trade deals and amazon can leave not very much !

    I like the idea of doing what you have done - plan and do a trip and then immerse oneself through the (winter) months crafting and shaping it into a book.

    Got any new projects/books planned or on the wish list ?

  11. #11
    Übermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    Ecco, at present I'm writing a general guide to the Scottish Hills, which has become a monster that is taking far longer than I thought. It's been listed on Amazon for some time and I haven't even finished it yet!

    Getting a publisher for an account rather than a guide or how-to book is difficult as stories don't sell as well. I've written four stories of long walks over the years plus one collection covering seven long walks. I enjoy writing these books most and wish they sold better so I could more of them. There are none in the pipeline at present but I do have some ideas (as always :-)).

  12. #12
    Initiate
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    I wrote some "country" notes for the cycling tourist club back in the 80s,money never entered my little head but I was proud to see my name prominently displayed.

  13. #13
    Ultra King Mikel el Bastardo's Avatar
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    I had an article published in the News Line (Workers Revolutionary Party) back in the late '70s. Does that count!!!

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    Not a full book but I have had numerous articles published in magazines associated with a completely different hobby.

    It's specialist, requires an amount of precision, used to take hours and hours, and I refuse to do it any more because I got completely hacked off by editors who knew nothing about the subject (but were in-job because this series of titles was on Future Publishing's career route) making the "informed" decision to leave out/amend instructions which often made the articles nonsense.

    This didn't only reflect badly on the magazines but made it look like I couldn't prepare accurate articles.

    The money was nice but I've got much more time now!

  15. #15
    Mini Goon
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    In a recent article, PCPro magazine reckoned that LULU were one of the best sites for printing short runs of books, or even just a single copy. Apparently for $100 you can even have the book listed on Amazon! The magazine said 150 page paperback for $8 plus postage from the USA. No affiliation, etc.

  16. #16
    Mini Goon Bob Mahon's Avatar
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    I presume you cannot include the name of the respective publications / publisher on this site as it might be construed to be advertising. However, I am asking for details from ecco and co. to tell me what your publications are - as you are answering my question, it's not an advert. (I might not buy, but at least I know the product exists!)

  17. #17
    Übermensch Andy Howell's Avatar
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    I've written several books and numerous chapters and articles, edited several journals and such - not much in the outdoor world.

    I used to be a partner in a nice, small, publishing operation. we never made any money out of the books or journals but did make our living through related training programmes and consultancy.

    I love writing and can understand what Chris was saying about intensity. I hated writing the books mind - I'l love to write one about something that I really could enjoy putting together - say a subject I really enjoy playing with.

  18. #18
    Mini Goon
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    I'll second CT's statement that you don't write outdoors books for money!

    My experience isn't a great as CT's - I wrote a single guidebook to walks in the South Pennines almost a decade ago. The publisher decided within months of publication that they were getting out of the guidebook business and sold the series to another publisher ... but didn't include rights to my own in the sale, so it was remaindered.

    I bought the lot, very cheap, and hawked them around shops and information centres in the area myself, whenever the opportunity arose.

    I might ? might ? have made a few quid in the end, that perhaps ? perhaps ? paid for the gas I used on the drive between Scotland and Hebden Bridge once a month!

    My next book, Harry Potter And The Naked Gardener's Guide to Soap Opera Cookery For Reality TV Shows, will be published under my psuedonym, Stephen King.

  19. #19
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Well I've just been away for the past couple of weeks... writing a guidebook!

    For anyone thinking of doing the same, I can only hope that they get as much fun out of the walking part of it as I do, coz the money part of it isn't exactly spectacular.

    I suppose I could get a job earning lots of money, but then my time outdoors would be squeezed and I wouldn't be happy about that.

    Next stop... going away for 2½ months to write another guidebook... which should just about bankrupt me if I'm really lucky!

  20. #20
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    The only published book I contributed to (I wrote three short chapters of a book about the British coastline, although these were edited a bit by the 'editor') was 20 years ago and netted me a grand total of £75. But I enjoyed the experience and would do it again. (Andy Mayhew)

    Andy - I just looked in the 'acknowledgements' section of the book you contributed to. Which bits did you write? I got SW Scotland and NE England.

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