Monday, 23 September 2013

Turn your passion into a book - Lynne Garner

My latest non-fiction title
published 24th October 2013 

I'm continually surprised by the number of students who tell me they would love to write a non-fiction book but don't know anything. They don't believe they know anything worth sharing in a book. When I hear this I tell them a story, which I am now going to share with you.

Once upon a time there was a man called Gavin Pretor-Pinney and he loved clouds. He decided he'd write a book about them and get it published. He approached publisher after publisher after publisher, 28 in total. But he didn't give up. He knew that if he loved clouds there must be others who also enjoyed clouds. Finally one day he found a publisher who saw the merit of his book. In 2007 his book 'The Cloud Spotter's Guide' was finally published. It became a surprise international best seller. It was so successful that it is now available in twenty different languages. It has also spawned The Cloud Appreciation Society and other books such as 'Clouds That Look Like Things' and 'The Cloud Collectors Handbook.' If you don't believe me then visit

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I wanted to demonstrate how an author took a simple idea, a passion he had and turned it into a successful book. So a non-fiction book does not have to be about your hobby (although it could be), it doesn't have to be a cookbook (although it could be) and it doesn't have to be a self-help book (although it could be). It could be any subject you know something about and feel you could write about in a manner others will enjoy.

So why not give it a go? Turn your passion into a book and share it with the world.

Lynne Garner

I also write for The Picture Book Den and Authors Electric 

Blatant plug for my distance learning writing courses starting 2nd November:


Nicola Morgan said...

Good stuff, Lynne. I love the idea of your book of dens - I LOVED dens as a child and had them in all sorts of places, indoors and out.

Sue Purkiss said...

Thanks, Lynne - this chimes beautifully with one or two other ideas I've had, and so I now have a theme for my next class - always good!

Sue Purkiss said...

Thanks, Lynne - this chimes beautifully with one or two other ideas I've had, and so I now have a theme for my next class - always good!

Penny Dolan said...

Make a list of passions? That sounds like a good way to start the week.

Well done with your "Dens."

Sue Bursztynski said...

Alas, when you write for children, non fiction is not such a good idea unless, maybe, your name is Terry Deary! The kids love it but bookshops don't know what to do with it or where to put it. My last non fiction book sold every single copy, but only a few in bookshops, the rest through Scholastic Book Club where the kids can see what is on offer, but Book Club sales only pay a percentage of the net, so with a sold-out book I have never received a cent in royalties! The publisher has made it POD, but how many will that sell?

You are talking of adult non fic, of course, which is a different matter. You never know what sells. People have long self published specific things for niche markets. That works. If you want a bestseller as in the story you tell above, you can only hope. There's no guarantee, though plenty of stories to keep everyone hoping. Some years ago, an old man called Bert Facey decided to write down his memoirs for his family. The result was a book called A Fortunate Life which was like a history of early twentieth century Australia, through the eyes of a young man who travelled around the outback for work, went to war, came home, married, lived through Australian history. It sold amazingly, became a play and a TV miniseries and is still available in ebook. And it was just meant to be for the family when he wrote it.