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by Patricia Fry

Write a Book Before Retiring

Are you currently working at a regular job? Are you counting the days until you can retire and start writing the book of your dreams? Think of it, you’ll have the time and space in which to pen the great American novel or write your fascinating memoirs. For some of you, your writing goal is what keeps you going.

Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to wait to write your book. In fact, I would encourage some of you to write your first book now—while you still have access to the things you need in order to succeed in the publishing field.

What do you need? Think about it—what do you have now that you will, most likely, lose once you retire?

• Professional and personal contacts through your company or in your field.
• The support of one or more companies.
• Access to publicity channels.
• Association with appropriate experts (computer wizards, marketing people, etc.)

“But,” you say, “I don’t have the time to write now.”

Hog wash. Thousands of very busy working people pen books everyday. They simply re-prioritize and make a few sacrifices. (Fewer hours watching TV, for example, less socializing, a cut in overtime work, temporary absence from club duties, getting up earlier in the morning, etc.).

Anyway, I am not suggesting that you write a novel, your memoirs or a book of poetry—not just yet. Now is a good time to write a nonfiction book or a series of booklets or pamphlets related to your line of work or expertise. In fact, you might be able to arrange for company support if it is a project that would benefit their production or sales.

Do some serious research to discover what sort of information or material is lacking within your organization. Convince the CEO of the public relations firm you work for (or real estate company, software design business, factory, healthcare organization, etc) that they need a booklet or series of booklets addressing potential clients’ initial questions and concerns. Outline the booklets and get cost estimates. Be sure to crunch some figures to show the powers-that-be how this project would benefit the company. And then demonstrate why you should be the one to write the booklets or even a full book. Of course, factor in the time you will need in order to develop the project and come up with your fee.

Your name will be on the book or booklets as the author. You get a foot in the publishing door and just look at the experience you’ll gain—experience that you can use on your personal writing projects once you do retire.

Perhaps you want to write a business-related book on your own. You see a lack of material on certain aspects of your field or specialty. Consider writing a book that fills the gap. Better yet, write a book for the consumer related to your area of expertise. Maybe you design shoes and handbags. Come out with a book on how to coordinate your travel wardrobe so you only need one pair of shoes and one handbag. Or write about shoes for different types, shapes of feet—be sure to include problem feet (those with bunions, crooked toes, etc.)

Maybe you are an executive in a large finance company or bank. Write a book on how to teach children money-awareness or family budgeting in difficult economic times.

What are the benefits of writing these books while you’re still connected with a company or institution?

• You know your topic and it won’t take you nearly as long to write a nonfiction book on your expertise as it will a novel. So you don’t need to set aside so much uninterrupted time.
• You have many more connections when you are still involved with a large company—all the better to establish yourself as an author. You’ll lose all of this fairly quickly once you retire.
• This is a way of establishing yourself as an author and building a readership.
• The experience you get will greatly assist you in eventually producing the book of your dreams.

If your retirement goals include authorship, consider giving your career a jumpstart. Write a book now in order to better prepare yourself for your future as a novelist or a memoirist, for example. Besides, nonfiction books are easier to sell than fiction or memoirs, so it’s a good way to break in and even to build a bank account to use in producing or promoting your novel.


Patricia Fry is the Executive Director of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and the author of 35 books. See her most recent books in the left column of this page.

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