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Writing a book - ambition or a pipedream?

Gill GittingsGill Gittings Well-KnownRegistered Posts: 121
One of my ambitions when (and if!) I pass ACCA is to write a book. It's something I've always wanted to do but trawling through the web it seems an impossibility. I just wondered if anyone had done this and how they did it. Is it only going to be a pipedream?


  • Steve CollingsSteve Collings Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 997
    If you think that it might be a pipedream, then it will become a pipedream! I have written 3 and a half books so far (a half because I have co-authored my latest one) with 2 more in the pipeline for next year. One word of advice I would give you is to be prepared for knockbacks. If you don't like rejection then I am afraid writing a book is not for you, particularly if you are not an established writer. When I wrote my first book I was knocked back by every publisher I approached (I am a technical author - I think fiction writers get even harsher treatment). I found a very small publisher who published my first book and that went on to bigger things as I am now an author for Wileys (who were one of the ones that rejected me first time!!) and am due to sign another contract with another very large publisher - so it can happen! Writing and getting published is like failing an exam - you will get rejections (it's a fact of life when you're an author) and you must get up, dust yourself down and get back on the horse (i.e. when you fail an exam and resit it).

    The hardest part is getting recognised. If you want to write technical books (e.g. auditing or accounting/tax related books) you're going to struggle unless the publisher can see potential and invariably YOU have to convince the publisher why your book is different than the others out there. If you are going to write a fiction book you don't stand a chance of being published unless you get a literary agent (who will take a cut of the royalties also).

    If I were you, I would concentrate on ACCA first, then take a break and if you really want to write a book following qualification (which you have to be in order to write a technical manual in order for the publisher to be comfortable that it's credible) then write a couple of chapters, and submit them to a small publisher. Don't go for the big boys like Wileys or Bloomsbury because they won't look twice at it. Start small and grow big, that's what I did and it does work.

    I wish you luck in your quest.

    Best wishes
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071
    Writing a book isn't impossible. As Steve says, publishing is another matter entirely!

    They say we all have one book in us. If you are passionate about it and can make the time to do it, then of course it is possible. If you don't believe it will happen, then it won't ;)

    If it was me (and I have started writing books on and off since was a teenager, done plenty of short stories but never a book) then I would want to finish it as an achievement for me, and see publishing as an added bonus. Good advice from Steve about finishing your studies first!
  • Gill GittingsGill Gittings Well-Known Registered Posts: 121
    Awww thanks guys I just really want to do one.

    Steve how long did it take you to get published by the "big wigs" and how did you get to do it. Sorry if I am asking intrusive questions but feel free to tell me to keep my nose out. I just find it interesting how others managed it.

    Monsoon you should get those stories published. You never know :) x
  • Steve CollingsSteve Collings Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 997

    Steve how long did it take you to get published by the "big wigs" and how did you get to do it. Sorry if I am asking intrusive questions but feel free to tell me to keep my nose out. I just find it interesting how others managed it.

    No problem in answering your questions - I always answer questions about my books.

    I have been writing for years about financial reporting and auditing and started by writing articles for AccountancyStudents and various other student publications. At the time I was also lecturing students on a freelance basis for AAT but there came a time when I needed to move away from student writing/lecturing because I became involved in lecturing qualified accountants on the CPD circuit (as it is known). I have been writing for AccountingWEB and various other publications for a few years and was approached by Wileys to write an auditing title, which I did which took me about 12 months to write. I have also co-authored a titled called "Frequently Asked Questions on IFRS" with a lady called Rachel Yoxen which will be published next year. I am also writing a book at the minute which I am very excited about (it's a "For Dummies" book) which will be published next year but I don't want to give too much away on that one at the minute, except that it will be published in April next year!!

    The key to getting published, Gill, is not to give up. Write articles, present seminars, set up your own website (I haven't done this by the way) but the major thing is not to give up. There's no "route" to getting a publishing contract, it's all about being in the right place at the right time and becoming known in the field you specialise in. If you want to specialise in, say, tax, then really take an interest. I get my kicks from auditing and accounting standards. It's also an amazing feeling when you are lecturing in front of an audience of 160+ accountants and a couple of them come up to you during the break or at the end of the lecture and tell you they've bought your book and they like it!! Makes all the rejections pale into insignificance.

    Like I said, though, ACCA studies must take precedence!!

    Best wishes
  • uknittyuknitty Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 591
    Just a thought from reading Steve's last post, do you keep a blog or similar ? Would it be worth keeping a record of issues that matter to you as a student - articles that you wish were available, or accounts of your journey through your AAT and ACCA studies.

    Your personal stories and insights are what distinguish you from other writers, a blog with an established following could be a useful resource later down the line.

    Good luck :)
  • jkcjkc Well-Known Registered Posts: 166
    I havent been on here for a while. I was trying to sell my old books when I came across your post. I just wanted to recomend the writers magazine and website.


    They have writing competitions on there as well. It may never happen for me, it is a pipe dream, but I still love the magazine. Hope this helps.
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