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  #1  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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why don’t more people write books?

Hello people.

Just finished reading the other threads about how you could give away or, get paid for an article in a magazine. It’s got me thinking, why don’t more people write books? I’ve been a member of this site for a few months and in that time I’ve done a LOT of reading, weather it be on the HUBB or peoples blogs and personal web sites.

I get the impression that a lot of people, me included, would love an income from riding bikes around the world. Do your first big ride, whack a book out, get paid then set off on your second jolly for free. If only life was that simple

Seriously, why? I’ve a few books in my bedroom, The Chris Scott handbooks, Ted Simon, LWR boys and the best one I think (apart from AMH5 and SO handbooks) was Lois.

So, I’m using Lois as the example. Lots of people have done a Trans US. I bet when she set off she figured she’d be back in her job when it was all over? Or was it part of the plan to write a book? What or why was that trip so different? Being female? Small bike? Big deal, can’t be the first time, or was it?

The book was a fantastic book, funny as hell. When I finished I emailed her and told her as well, and got a reply! If I had a kick Ass ride, I’d consider it. I'd need help because my writing is rubbish

So, why don’t more people write books?

Shaun

Last edited by ukiceman; 20 Apr 2008 at 13:02.
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  #2  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Why? Because unless you happen to get a best seller, the pay is crap, when you consider all the work/time. The publishing market is EXTREMELY competitive. Ask Ted Simon. I'm just finishing my third book (On a Mission from Dog) and received over 100 rejections from publishers/agents. Responses were:
Brilliant writing, but didn't like the story.
Writing needs work, great story!
Too much focus on animals. Too much focus on travel. Too much focus on relationship.
Get the idea??

Why do I do it? Because I love it. The money isn't important. I'd do it for free. The books supplement my magazine writing income, which ain't great either!!! On a Mission from Dog will be an audio book first, (out end of this month) then as I've done before after self-publishing, I'll shlep it around to publishers again. This worked with my second book, but not the first one about trekking across the Libyan Desert.

There IS a huge amount of money in the publishing industry, but it's that pyramid scale. A few at the top gets heaps of money, but for most, it dribbles in. The most successful writers (financially) are making money writing for business/industrial mags. EVERYONE wants to be a travel writer, which is why the money is fairly poor in this area.

Email me at LC at LorraineChittock.com and I'll add you to my mailing list. ;-)

I'm also happy to answer any other questions too. ;-)
Lorraine
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  #3  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Get the idea?? YEP – Sure do

Please don’t think I’m disagreeing with you, I’m not, I totally understand the reasons you’ve listed…BUT, any one of the following COULD have been said about Lois on the loose; we all loved it because we ride bikes, but, we’re still a minority.

So, if we’re the minority and it possibly won’t sell many copies, and you get told

Brilliant writing, but didn't like the story.
Writing needs work, great story!
Too much focus on bikes. Too much focus on travel.

How did she get it in the shops? Like I said in my original post

“Lots of people have done a Trans US. I bet when she set off she figured she’d be back in her job when it was all over? Or was it part of the plan to write a book? What or why was that trip so different? Being female? Small bike? Big deal, can’t be the first time, or was it?”

Take Grant and Sue for example, surely that long on the road would make a sweet book? Yet - nothing done. Have they already shot themselves in the foot with this site? Would they get told, sorry you’ve said it all once on the site for free.

Is it possible to use your personal web site to tease people in to buying a .PDF file for 3 or 4 quid, by offering a couple of well written chapters for free then have a, buy the rest button. At least this would show you’d interest in your story. You could pad the book out with a second section, lots of pix maybe your version of a how2 and how I prepped kindda thing.

Like I say, I’m just interested bout the whole book thing

Shaun
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Old 20 Apr 2008
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"How did she get it in the shops?"

My guess is a lot of serendipity, meeting the right agent/publisher at a time when they were looking at their current catalogue and said, "Geez, what we really need right now to fill a gap, is a book about some chick on a bike."

So no, Lois wasn't the first, and won't be the last. But, she DID the trip, probably had a dream of being published, (I don't know her personally, but I know she's writing for at least one other mag) did some writing, and the most important part, she APPROACHED someone. To use that US experience, she went to bat. It's not different than anyone taking any trip. Lot of people talk about it, VERY few actually get out of their driveway.

Grant has a sales background, and Susan computers. I'm not sure either of them had ambitions to turn their journey into a book. Although, with Grant's biz background, and smooth talking (are you listening???;-) I'm sure he could've talked any publisher into buying rights.

As for Ted, even though he has a publisher in England, I believe (though could be mistaken) he's self-publishing the N. American edition.

Thanks for your suggestions for my book. I do use my website as a sales tool, (heavy discounts till the end of the month ;-) and after the audio version is finished, if I don't approach a publisher, I WILL be doing a hard version, and possibly pdf as you suggest. Stay tuned.....

Lorraine

PS If you haven't, check out Johnie Bealby's bike book. That was written most likely for the purpose of therapy.
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  #5  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Shouldn't that be "why don't more people get books published?" I'm sure there's penty of writers out there, but getting them made into books? Wel that takes time and effort and skills that a load of us don't have. I wrote a huge journal out from my trip round Oz (back in 1988) family and friends all asked to read it so I made a few copies (slightly cesored) they all said "You should publish", but at that point I was at a loss as to how to do so.

So that I think is the key.

Mind you it can't be impossible, I've just finished "The Linger Longer" by the Raven brothers and I have to say it was a) poorly written, and b) showed no signs of ever having been proofread by anyone who spoke English ("windowscreen" - anyone?)

So, maybe it is worth trying after all.
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  #6  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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If you really feel you'd like to get something published then one easy way out (but not always the best) is the "Print to Order" type of web site, like - Self Publishing - Lulu.com

You write your book, format it with their templates, send it to them, decide on a price for it and voila.
It's free to do, but on the other hand, a lot of the cost per book goes back to the publishers.
There is no marketing either except for people looking at the web site. You can buy marketing packages though.
They will then print off a copy when someone orders it, hence there is no run of e.g. 1000 books printed, it is one by one.

If you are in it to make a lot of money then these are not really the places. But if you are like me, did it for my family and friends out of pure vanity, it seems to work.
For an example have a quick glance at Overlanding 101 and the web site Home for the gallery on the last page.
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  #7  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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sounds about right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexlebrit View Post
I'm sure there's penty of writers out there, but getting them made into books? Wel that takes time and effort and skills that a load of us don't have.
I bet loads of people would love to do a book, and have a good pile of trip notes and pictures for a fine story. My life had been quite normal up until the time I found this site. So, one thing’s for sure, when I set off in two years having slogged my way out of debt and saved the 8k for the trip, I’m going to document it VERY well.

Shaun
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  #8  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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thats interesting

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyMark View Post
If you really feel you'd like to get something published then one easy way out (but not always the best) is the "Print to Order" type of web site, like - Self Publishing - Lulu.com
I like the sound of that! I’m not thinking about becoming the next Ted Simon or Lois or Chris Scott. But, when I die, it would be nice for my kids to look at and say “my dad was nuts, but I’m glad he did this”

I’ll probably also try the personal web site to tease people in to buying a .PDF file for 3 or 4 quid as I suggested to lorraine above. I’ll probably give more away to family and friends than I sell.

Shaun

Last edited by ukiceman; 20 Apr 2008 at 18:22. Reason: i cant spell :)
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  #9  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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In the first few days after setting mine up there were twenty books sold. Then I happened to be at my parents house when a large box arrived. My mother had a sheepish grin on her face and told me she just wanted a few to give to our relations.
Bless her.
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  #10  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Book or article

Lorraine is right, books pay crap. My partner on our double Trans Africa wrote a book about her Trans America trip too, from Ushuaia to Anchorage.... on a push bike!!! They printed 2500 copies and she gets a Euro per copy! I wrote so far 3 articles for a 4WD magazine (basically copied my blog text) with two more on the editors table and made almost Euro 1000,- per article. A book is good for the ego, not for the pennies! Unless you write a best seller and sell thousands of copies but that requires more talent than most people have!

Cheers,
Noel
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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  #11  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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thats funny

Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyMark View Post
In the first few days after setting mine up there were twenty books sold. Then I happened to be at my parents house when a large box arrived. My mother had a sheepish grin on her face and told me she just wanted a few to give to our relations.
Bless her.
what would we do without our mum ?

Shaun

PS: just looked at yours, might go for the download
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  #12  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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Overlanding in a niche market not that many are ever going to do it. Why be hot, freezing, muddy, dirty, oily, hungry, scared and alone all in one day? when you can be siting on a beach drinking having a cute young person at your beck and call. Seen the sale figures for bikes looks like most are for looks than world riding. Heres some books Whitehorse Gear - Books if its not a BMW or HD little is writen about it. All this plays in to publishers hands for turning you down. There looking for hit and byers we just dont have numbers they like.

Then there are the riders we are not right in the head the average person wont do it there ruled by fear we have a wonder lust. Then there is the writhing staying on topic is hard we wonder so do most of the writhing. I cant wright vary well and dont much like to I find lots of the riders rather ride and drink at the pub than sit down and wright book that will get turned down.

Not to cut down Lois but look at this Benka Pulko - 1 Woman, 1 Motorcycle, 1 World thats a trip I remember when she posted her trip on the chain gang website her new web page looks like a professional job now. Its not that we dont want get the story out its we just dont see spending the money on web page and book deals and promotional junk just to get a book deal and make the publishers rich thats time and money better spent on a new trip.

Its all in the name and money the more people know your name and the money you have the more you will get look hot and young and your in. Look at the Long Way Round and Down, Ewan and Charley got all there gear, bikes, support, money, TV, and book deals before they even left there house. Most riders have none of that. BMW and TT wont even talk to anyone begging for a little help with there kit they already have payed for. If your not well known who want to hear your story? Well I do but I dont count.

Then theres perception you see it here people think the BMW 1200GS is THE bike to take. If seasoned riders think that what of all the other people? You dint use a BMW bahh you must not know what your doing no book for you. Oh there will be a few "novelty" books made bout little old ladys on 50cc scooters but not many. Perception is a pain to fight being an American I get it all the time rich fat ugly American, rich gringo, stupid gringo in Mexico and SA. Fat ugly stupid American, war mongering American, American pig rich American in Europe. If was so rich do you realy think id be here? shuts most people up if done with a smile and giving a gets laffs.

Then there is the free stuff all over the web this sight and others add to them personal blogs. Some of them are better written and have more insight than any book I have read still trying to read the Long Way Round dull and long winded how they got paid let alone alone the best seller list I dont know.

Fighting all this gust dose not seem to worth my time.
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  #13  
Old 20 Apr 2008
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very true noel

Quote:
Originally Posted by noel di pietro View Post
Lorraine is right, books pay crap. My partner on our double Trans Africa wrote a book about her Trans America trip too, from Ushuaia to Anchorage.... on a push bike!!! They printed 2500 copies and she gets a Euro per copy! I wrote so far 3 articles for a 4WD magazine (basically copied my blog text) with two more on the editors table and made almost Euro 1000,- per article. A book is good for the ego, not for the pennies! Unless you write a best seller and sell thousands of copies but that requires more talent than most people have!

Cheers,
Noel
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
Which links back nicely to the thread about should you give away or get paid for an article in a magazine! You’ve done very well, nice one

Shaun
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Old 20 Apr 2008
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DL biten

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with a lot of your posting. It’s such a niche market we’re in and, I DON’T ride a BMW – I ride a Yamaha, so no bike dramas to write about just trusty reliability, I’ve put my book down already.

I think I am going to download the book that onlyMark did, why not, it’s only about 2 and a half quid. Be nice to think somebody would do the same for me, maybe one day.

Shaun
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Old 21 Apr 2008
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However

All this talk of book writing has given me an idea for (yet) another niche section on the HUBB. What about book reviewing?

I'd love to hear more about the travel books people read, a punchy little review would be great, I wouldn't even care if the travel was by bike, donkey, llama, roller skate or pogostick; they can all provide inspiration on a wet night stuck indoors.

And of course, if Grant used the Amazon trackback service he'd even get a few pennies in his coffers if someone bought following a review, which would go to support the site we all know and love.

Maybe I should make a new post?
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