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If you’d like to write a travel book – just do it

These days, loads of people go on exciting adventures. Perhaps you are one of them. If you’d done your trip 100 years ago it would have been the talk of the town – and most definitely worthy of being told in a book.

Today though the travel and adventure book market is saturated. There’s some fabulous stuff out there – both brave adventures and well written books.

There’s mountains of dross too and boring tales published by celebrities and novelty travel writing tales and titles with puns in them and Amazon’s Top 2 Travel Writing books today are both cooking books… *sigh*

But book writing today is more democratic and fair than it has ever been. True, you might not get the publicity of Jamie Oliver nor sell as many books. Yet his page on Amazon is no bigger or more special than anyone else’s – mine for example. And the world of self-publishing has now made it very easy for anyone to self-publish their book and sell it to the whole world via Amazon.

That’s what I chose to do with my last book, There Are Other Rivers. I wrote it, edited it, proof read it and published it all myself (read my thoughts on self publishing here). I did it all in the space of a couple of months.

It doesn’t sell very many copies. If I cared about earning piles of money I would be a banker or a lawyer. But I don’t. I care about doing something as well as I can. I love telling stories to the best of my ability. And, I confess a little awkwardly, I enjoy the praise of people who like what I have written. (Getting more than 50 5-star reviews on Amazon for my little self-published book makes me very happy. And bad reviews bother me less than they did.)

So here’s the point of this post:

  • If you’ve been on a great adventure and want to write a book, write it.
  • The only obstacle today to becoming an author is yourself. Stop making excuses.
  • If you feel that you have a good tale and if you enjoy the prospect of moulding and crafting and trimming and polishing that story, then do it! Do not be daunted by how ‘small’ you or your story is. Your Amazon page will be the same as everyone else’s.
  • Write the book because you want to. Don’t do it for money or for earning shallow praise from online strangers. Do it because you want to. It’s the best reason, and the best way to ensure your book becomes a good book.

If you do get off your arse and make your book happen, then this site taught me all I know about self-publishing. BUT you do not even need to open that site until you’ve got 80,000 words down on paper. That’s the hardest part of all: bum on seat and write, write, write…

Good luck!

Much more inspirational travel stuff on Alastair Humphrey’s very own Blog.

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