Thursday, April 29, 2010

Authoring Textbooks for Your Heart

Occasionally a potential author, someone thinking seriously about authoring a textbook, will ask, "What kind of book do you need right now?"

I don't answer that. Instead I turn it around and ask, "What's your passion? What classes do you teach that you really enjoy?"

[caption id="attachment_416" align="alignright" width="286" caption="Now, THIS is passion!"][/caption]

Even for professional authors, writing a book is hard work. Authors must be dedicated to the cause, so to speak, and the cause must be close to the person's heart in some way. Every single time I've worked with an author who was writing for me instead of herself (or, you know, himself—whatever) has been an abject failure. It just doesn't work.

It doesn't work because the person never becomes fully vested in the topic, never fully binds emotionally with her own need to write.

That doesn't bode well for those long hours at the computer, books and papers splayed hither and yon around the room.

No, you need to write about topics you feel something for. Do you love to teach about arrhythmias? ICD-10 codes? Professionalism?

Those will be the topics you can focus on. Those will be the topics you can really dig into and enjoy it.

For me, that's the key, finding authors who really care about what they're writing about and who are passionate about it.

If you ain't got the passion, you ain't got the motivation, and if you ain't got the passion or the motivation…I gotta tell ya, we ain't gonna have a book.