I’ve had many conversations with people who are interested in writing their first book. Some are good writers and others aren’t. The good writers always seem to think that writing a book is like writing an article, only longer. They’re wrong.
Books are Bigger
An article might be 5,000 words. A few long form articles run to 20,000 words. A book is more likely to be 30,000 to 70,000 words. But wait, there’s more.
When you write an article, you put down the words and subheads, and that’s about it. There are more parts in a book. There’s a table of contents. There may be a preface, a forward, end notes, appendices, and indexes.
That’s a big difference in the amount of content. The size creates challenges that don’t exist in shorter forms of writing.
An Article Is Just an Article, But A Book Is A Complex System
When you change in one part of the book, you must determine whether other parts should change. The longer your book is, the more there is to keep track of. There are stories and references and quotes. There are sources and footnotes and permissions. There’s more of everything, and you must keep track of it all.
A Book Takes A Lot of Time
Forget those seminars about writing a book in a weekend. You’re probably not going to do it. If you do it, you probably won’t be proud of what you produce. It takes most people at least a year to write the manuscript that will become the book they’re proud of.
Writing your book adds one more obligation to your life. The time that you write affects your relationships and may affect your income. If you don’t pay attention, your loved ones could receive collateral damage from your book project.
A book is not a larger version of an article. The sheer number of words and the increase in the number of parts gives you a lot to keep track of. The writing will take a long time, so you must consider how your work on the book will affect your relationships