Want to write a book about voice but don’t know how to get started? Here’s a four-step guide to penning your own publication.
Writing a book is an excellent way for singing teachers to share their knowledge, increase their professional profile and earn passive income. But the journey from first putting pen to paper to seeing your name in print can be challenging, and many budding authors get discouraged along the way.
Two people who know all about publishing a book are Stephen King and Lydia Hart from the Voice Care Centre. They are the authors of Help! I’ve Got a Voice Problem!, an easy-to-read, informative guide for anyone experiencing voice problems.
Stephen and Lydia discussed their writing journey on the Singing Teachers Talk podcast and revealed four important things to consider before you start writing.
1 Identify your mission
Ask yourself why you want to write a book. Do you have a voice specialism that is under-researched or misunderstood? Or do you have personal experience with a specific voice problem that could enlighten or inform others?
Writing a book takes time and commitment, so it’s best to have a clear mission from the outset to remind you, when your motivation wavers, why you’re doing it.
Stephen and Lydia were driven by a desire to fill what they saw as a gap in the market. “We had been looking for a resource to give our patients at the Voice Care Centre and kept coming up against stuff that was too wordy and complicated or not evidence-based,” Lydia says.
“So that was the seed of it all. We thought, ‘maybe we need to do this because what we’re looking for just isn’t out there’.”
2 Consider collaborating
Help! I’ve Got a Voice Problem! resulted from a collaboration between Lydia, Stephen and illustrator Stewart Harris. “The book is nothing without our collaboration and the combination of our minds, hearts and ideas,” Lydia says.
Collaboration can be a great way to bring a project to life. Why not consider joining forces with someone who has a complementary skillset to your own and with whom you share a similar outlook?
3 Think about your audience
Who you’re writing for will influence your book’s content, tone and style. Always keep your audience – be they singing teachers, academics or novice singers – in mind when you’re writing.
Lydia and Stephen identified their target audience as general voice users experiencing vocal problems, so they didn’t want to write a weighty, academic tome. Instead, they kept it short and endeavoured to write text that was “brief but very considered”. To help readers visualise the concepts they were explaining, they enlisted the help of Stewart. His works are a key component of the book which features 40 illustrated pages.
4 Draft and redraft
Don’t be discouraged if you finish your first draft and feel the urge to throw it in the bin. Most successful books go through several drafts before publication.
Once Lydia and Stephen had put their initial ideas down on paper, they spent months refining the language, illustrations and structure. “The first illustrated draft looked nothing like what the book is actually now,” says Stephen. “The longest part of the process for us was the back and forth and refining.”