An author and two-time cancer survivor offers fellow writers some advice on what they’ll need to know if they’re considering writing a book about surviving cancer.
My friend Dustin is surprised I kept the note he slipped me while in church over a decade ago. I can’t recall what prompted it, but I vividly remember looking down the row and seeing a torn corner of bulletin with a scribbled note making its way toward me.
“You should write a book. Seriously.”
I had just been diagnosed with my second colon cancer at age 25 (my first diagnosis came at age 17). To cope, I started a blog. He had been enjoying my posts and encouraged me to not only keep writing them, but to go for a bigger project: a book. He was one of many who encouraged me to become an author.
It took more than ten years, but I followed through on the insistence of putting my life stories into a long-form book. I’m now a proud memoir author. I know I’m not the only person who has survived cancer and felt the urge to write about it. This is a common reaction amongst those who’ve faced a life-threatening situation and it’s a great way to find purpose in light of the pain.
Both survivors and caregivers have powerful stories to tell and I believe the world needs more hopeful and inspirational stories. I encourage all aspiring authors to do it: write a book! Our stories help make the disease real for people . They’re powerful.
Because I’m fresh out the gate on the publishing process, I wanted to offer fellow writers some advice. If you’re considering writing a book about surviving cancer, here are seven things you’ll need.
Encouragement to write
I kept Dustin’s note, as well as emails, cards and voicemails I had received containing similar encouragement. If you’re planning to write a book, gather this at the start. It will help you get going, and it will sustain you as you face the inevitable writer’s block. Encouragement from readers is fuel for writers. And yes, the world does need another inspiring cancer book, it needs yours.
A great line editor
To publish a book, you typically have three options: self-publish, hybrid publish or traditionally publish. Unless you’re well-known and/or famous in your field, have a massive social media following, or happened to pen a viral post, it’s unlikely that, as a new author, you’ll get a traditional publishing contract. (You might but keep your options open!) Thankfully, there are several options and ways to publish. For your book to appear professional and easy to read, you’ll want to get a line editor involved. Hybrid publishers will insist on them and even if you self-publish, budgeting for line editing services is well worth the investment.
A line editor is the first editor you want reading your rough draft. His or her job isn’t fixing your grammatical errors and typos, that’s for copy editors and proofreaders. A line editor makes […]