Sally Handlon dogs webHave you ever wanted to write a book? Maybe you’d like to preserve memories of your childhood for your grandchildren. Perhaps you have a vast knowledge of your family’s genealogy that you could provide for other family members. You could share inspirational writing based on your faith. No doubt you’re skilled at something – gardening, fishing, wood-working, birdwatching, poetry, creating business strategies – the topic doesn’t really matter. Maybe, as a professional you have stories about your career that almost anyone would enjoy. 

 

You might have a talent for writing plays or children’s stories. How about an original list of wise sayings? Everyone has a unique story to tell, and every subject has a niche, if not a broader audience. You don’t have to be a journalist or a poet to put it in print (or e-book). 

Sally Handlon, a local business consultant and  health coach (see her website at bodyconstruction.me) has done just that. After 30 years of studying wellness, herbal healing and nutrition as a hobby, Sally decided to make healthy living a higher priority in her life. She wanted to share her knowledge and experience in natural healing and nutrition to assist others with taking control of their health. In May of this year, she released her first book, Your Journey to Aging Well: Drink, Move, Eat, Sleep. 

Handlon’s interest in wellness began when she subscribed to Prevention magazine. She went on to study herbology with David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies (herbalstudies.net). Eventually, she came to realize that the missing link in her training was in nutrition, and she enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (integrativenutrition.com). Armed with an extensive background and certificates in herbology and eating for health, she set out to share all she had learned. Sally had never written a book before, but she assembled her information, found a publisher and learned by doing. As the first step in writing her book, Sally spent a summer organizing her notes from her coursework. Once she had put her work in writing, the next step was to find a publisher. After much research and consideration, Sally contracted with a publisher in Bethlehem, Momosa Publishing. 

Choosing a publisher can seem like a daunting process, but if you can identify the type of publisher you need, it is much easier to narrow down the selection. The two main categories are traditional publishers and self-publishing services. Traditional publishers create mass market books that you would see at a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Normally, you need an agent to help you find a traditional publisher, and these publishers do most of the work for you. This includes including editing your book, posting it on Amazon.com, designing a professional sbook cover, and publicizing the book. Traditional publishers pay some of the advance costs but turn-aroundtime on your manuscript can take months to years, and ultimately the publisher has complete control of your book. However, if you self-publish, you own the book in the end, but you provide all the up-front money and do all the legwork on your own as well. This process can take even longer than traditional publishing. 

Momosa Publishing is a custom publisher, a cross  between a traditional publisher and self-publishing service.Momosa does most of the legwork and helps with advance costs. Momosa supplies editorial services and secures the ISBN number, bar code, and Library of Congress listing and copyright privileges, along with other tasks necessary to make the book a success. Jennifer Bright, CEO and Co-Founder of Momosa, guided Handlon step-by-step through the entire publishing process, which was an invaluable service to Sally while she continued to run her consulting business. Based on her experience, Handlon does not advise self-publishing, asserting that the services and  support of a good publisher are well worth the cost. 

If you want to write a book, the very first step is to do the writing, which is probably easier than you think. The hardest part is getting started. All you need is an  idea. Then, sit down at your computer, tablet, or legal pad, and let the words flow. It doesn’t have to be perfect. On the contrary, the most important thing is to record your thoughts in a document. You can edit later. One of my favorite books on the subject of writing is Writing Without Teachers, by Peter Elbow. He encourages “free writing” — “Instead of editing and outlining material in the initial steps of the writing process, [do] non-stop or free uncensored writing, without editorial checkpoints first, followed much later by the editorial process.” Elbow guides the reader through his metaphor of writing as "‘cooking,’ his term for heating up the creative process where the subconscious bubbles up to the surface and the writing gets good” (from goodreads.com/book/ show/653658.Writing_Without_Teachers). The book is not new, but the advice is timeless.

You should look to local authors like Sally Handlon for inspiration and encouragement. Even if no one else ever sees your manuscript, writing can be extremely therapeutic — and good for the soul. So, write your book for yourself — and then decide the best way to share it. 

For advice on writing, see: 
• thejohnfox.com/2016/06/how-to-startwriting- a-book 
• creativecircle.com/blog/writing-tips-nonwriters 
•  hatever.scalzi.com/2006/02/12/writingtips- for-non-writers-who-dont-want-towork- at-writing 
• writersdigest.com 
For advice on finding a publisher, see: 
• momosapublishing.com/custompublishing/ momosa-vs-traditional-vsself-publishing 
• writersdigestshop.com/pages/how-topublish-a-book-an-overview-of-traditional-selfpublishing
• thebalancecareers.com/types-of-bookpublishers-2799865
For the names of more local authors, see greaterlehighvalleywritersgroup.wildapricot.org/page-1718616.

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