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May 22, 2013

AK Taylor: Writing Polar Opposites - YA Fantasy to Nonfiction


If you were able to join me for Meet the Author Monday last month, you would know I have been writing YA fantasy for a long time. So long it almost seems like second nature. Of course, I was introduced to nonfiction writing in school in the form of book reports, literary analysis papers (bleck!), and last but not least, lab reports. I also did this sort of thing and some other forms of nonfiction writing in college.

If anyone knows anything about writing a nonfiction book, it’s not really the same thing as writing an academic report of any kind, but yet it depends on what the subject is and how it is presented.

About the whole first year or two of being a published author, I was totally on my own. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about marketing who gave me any real advice. No one I knew had the first clue about publishing let alone marketing. I knew nothing of platforms or that I should have had one already. Nada. I felt like I had been dumped in a proverbial wilderness with nothing but the clothes on my back. No survival kit. No survival guide. No advice. I didn’t even have a lighter or a pocketknife. So I set off in search of people and information.

Where am I going with this? These are real thoughts that went through my head. I have spent so much of my life in the woods and reading and learning about living off the land and about survival skills that these thoughts seemed natural and almost imminent. That is really how I viewed my situation. If I didn’t find help soon, my author career and my books are gonna die. Basically the same thing if you don’t get out of the wilderness and find help, food, shelter, or water, you will die.

So then I begin the quest for connection and knowledge. After “bushwhacking” on the internet and finding groups and people here and there, I began to learn a lot in a short amount of time and kept learning. I began to make friends and connections. I got involved in the community. I had to actually find the community before I could become involved in it. 

One of my very first friends was also a publishing professional. I would tell him about how I learned this thing or that thing, or I came up with this or that. I was a sponge for knowledge my whole life, and I tried to find free or cheap ways to market my book (I just had one at the time). I had almost become like Macgyver out of necessity, not by choice. This same friend told me I need to write a book about this stuff.

A nonfiction book? Me? Ummm… I was totally clueless how to it per se, but I just did it. I tried to find a creative and fun way to integrate this knowledge of book marketing (one of the most boring subjects on the planet) and make it effective. I can’t do it around business; that’s already been done and a bit bor-ring. Though, I do discuss some business concepts but that’s not the cornerstone metaphor I used.

With the list draft I had made months ago and trying to think of a metaphor to engage the reader that seemed one-of-a-kind, the thought hit me. I recalled back when I was “lost in the wilderness” of book marketing. That’s something you don’t see every day. So, then I wrote the book in this manner: like a wilderness survival guide you would take with you on expedition and the content was based on that aspect. The sites and tools listed acted like a “survival kit” of sorts just like a pocket knife, iodine tabs, fire starter kit, twine, and a lighter. The look and feel of the book just screams wilderness survival skills for authors.

I sent it to my friend for feedback. I trust this friend for something like this since he also puts it to me straight and doesn’t beat around the bush or candy coat anything. He loved it. He also helped me come up with the title and subtitle. The title and subtitle I had for the book kind of sucked in my own opinion, but I needed a hand with it and someone else’s feedback. It’s great to have friends like that. Hence, The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide was born. First stop the editor. He made sure all the text had the right headers and that sort of thing—stuff I had no iota about. That’s why we need editors! Then it was off for cover design and publishing. My designer hit it out of the park with the design. My favorite part about the cover is the “book marketing survival” symbol. If there was ever such a symbol, that’s what it would look like.

So, I successfully was able to write a nonfiction book—something without characters, a fantasy world (well, I guess a book marketing wilderness is kind of a fantasy world), and a plot on top of being something written for grownups (something else to get used to). 

It was a fun adventure for me, the writer, and I didn’t write an action adventure or a thriller. To let everyone in on a little secret I am going to be writing another nonfiction book. Imagine that. This book won’t be as fun (probably not fun at all) as the Survival Guide, but I hope it to be enlightening, and by talking with folks, it seems it could fill a void.

Buy the book at Amazon.

About the Author:


A.K. Taylor grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.
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4 comments:

  1. Wow, I wish I could write! Thanks for sharing your story!

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Writing is one of those things you have to enjoy to do it a lot and it's just one of the things I enjoy among a list ;)

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  2. Great job! I know as writer's it's really hard for us to step outside our niche, but going from YA to nonfiction is a big deal! :)

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    1. Thanks so much Nicole! It really has been a fun and awesome experience. I will probably try out some others before it's over with ;)

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