Tuesday 6 October 2020

Complete your Book in a Year

Complete Your Book in a Year
by Hazel Edwards (Book Pod) PB RRP $28.00 ISBN 9781 9222270337

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Author Hazel Edwards has offered a year-long non-fiction masterclass with the aim of participants completing their books in 12 months. Her latest book follows the same idea: start the year by writing a letter to yourself listing why you are doing the project and what you want to achieve from it, the letter to be opened at the end of the year. Thus, Edwards has you, the potential author, proactive from the start. She does not mess around but gives strict, easy-to-follow instructions scheduling your time, month by month so you will complete your book in a year. In the first month, for example, she instructs you to set yourself a goal, decide on a working title, slot writing time in your diary and so forth. Each month you ought to write 200 words a day, or 1,000 words a week. Everything Edwards says is clear and precise. There is no way, if you follow the program, that you cannot but succeed.

Each chapter assists with some aspect of writing a book, from structure and beginnings to characterisation and endings, setting and place and so on. When you have written your book, there’s a chapter on types of publishing (including vanity, traditional and hybrid publishing, as well as self-publishing). If you decide on the latter, there’s a list of questions to ask your publisher (such as itemised costs, means of distribution, print run and more). To finish, Edwards even explains to the reader about launching the book (with a list of things to do if you are launching it, and if it’s your book being launched). There’s even a section on autographing etiquette (have a pen that works, not smudges, don’t autograph with the same signature you use on your credit card, and much more).

There’s no wasting time with Edwards – everything she says is all set out so concisely, consecutively and sensibly it’s no wonder she has guided many writers into authorship – writers who are known as Hazelnuts and who have written debut books including novels, non-fiction, family histories, even picture books.

The only thing which seems to be missing is a bibliography, though Edwards mentions Sophie Masson’s The Adaptable Author (Keesing Press, ASA) which includes information from long-term published authors who have explored hybrid options of self-publishing. Perhaps you don’t need another reference book when Complete your Book in a Year is so instructive and so conclusive.

If you know of someone (including yourself) who is always saying, ‘One day I’ll write a book,’ this is a best book you can possibly offer them to make sure that the dream comes true. Highly recommended


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