Advice on writing a book ?

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Andy,
As a member of the Pepsi generation, I have a few suggestions from a younger reader. I wrote a book proposal as a final exam project for a technical writing class. It was just a letter to (any) publisher, an introduction and one chapter, the subject being saltwater aquaria highlighting the "For Dummies" aspect. The prof gave me an A (sound of my tendons creaking as I slap myself on the back).
To echo JOAT's comments, a conversational tone, rather than instructional makes for a much easier and faster read. It was easy for me to get caught up in a preachy milieu, and in keeping with the intent of the project, my editor (the prof) called me out on it a couple of times.
A la Gandalf, at least design, if not create line drawings, rather than photos wherever possible to cut production costs. This can also help illustrate particular aspects of, say, joinery than photos sometimes.
I never shopped the proposal to a publisher (I was way too concerned with drinking beer and having fun at the time), but my prof thought it had real promise.
Good luck, and keep us updated.
This advice is worth what you paid for it :) -Phil Crow
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Phil Crow writes:

Line drawings are great for...plans, etc. For other illustrations, today publishers seem to prefer color photography. Almost all books that come out from trade publishers are now done on a good grade of paper with full color photography. If done properly, that is clearer than a drawing, though no easier to do. It sure ain't cheaper, even digitally. But printing is less of an expense these days, something of a shock to my system. Most books are printed in China, though some are done in Italy and other parts of Yurp. I've still not figured out how cheap it must really be to print a book in China: ship the CD to China; get the blues back to check; return the blues; get the book back, and have it landed, with duty, at a much lower cost than any U.S. firm can give.

Still a popular subject. You might want to resurrect your stuff.
Charlie Self "When you appeal to force, there's one thing you must never do - lose." Dwight D. Eisenhower
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On 17 Jul 2004 06:42:54 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Phil Crow) wrote:

I'm not so sure about this.
For modern printing methods, the cost of printing either is barely distinguishable. Neither is expensive. If you use either in a book, the increment of going to using them on every page isn't big. The old days of plates being bound together have gone. Colour plates maybe, but not B&W.
Secondly, the cost of producing drawings can be a lot more than photographs. I can do photographs myself - decent lighting and anyone can. Drawings however will need a graphic artist involved. It's not a huge cost, but in this particular case it's in favour of the photograph. Of course, I also need to produce the piece before I can photograph it.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Ah, this can be a big detriment to some books. I know an author that had invested about $20,000 into ingredients to do a food book. His publisher was not going to give him a big advance so he had to finance it himself. He eventually recouped his cost but it took some time. He also has a bunch of books stored at his house. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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