If you’ve ever dreamt of writing a book and have your name written on the cover, then you’re in luck, because here we have Radwa Moussa-Youssef the mother of the cancer survivor who shook the nation with his strength and resilience. Radwa wrote her book “زين” to share what she went through as her son bravely battled cancer.
It’s an inspirational story that can be a life raft for whatever struggle in plaguing you right now helping you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We have Radwa herself answering your most asked questions about writing and publishing a book.
Is it possible to be a published author without being a literature major? If not, what courses or classes do I have to take?
The answer is, of course, yes completely possible. I’m a business administration major. You have to work on finding your talent and niche first. This means you have to find which field of writing speaks the most to you. I personally connect so much to raw reflections, that’s why I wrote a memoir. However, my style of writing is what I like to call “The Soul Connection” which is something you can relate to immediately.
Then after you’ve identified what you personally enjoy writing more, you take it to the next level through courses, classes, etc. In my case, I decided to pick a few authors to listen to their TED talks, listen to their experiences, and learn from their failures. In terms of courses, I took a couple of online courses. One of them was extremely beneficial for finding my goal, even though the author “James Patterson” is a novelist, I still benefited significantly from that MASTER CLASS.
So, just make sure you’re helping yourself excel on your weakest points like for instance if you’re not so strong at editing, then work on that. Try to master the language you’re writing your book in so you can do this with confidence and excellence.
How do I start putting my story/novel/ book idea into organized thoughts so I can begin my book?
Basically, it’s like a map. Decide on an outline for your book, your mission statement, and the message you want to deliver (keep this right in front of you during the whole process). You are the author, so you know what you want to say, so outline the book in terms of bullet points. Try to organize it in a nice flow at first, and be flexible enough to change it later on because it probably will.
Of course, you have to know what exactly the whole idea of your book is, but understand that it can change along the way as you will never be the same person who started this book, by the time you finish it. By the time, you finish your first manuscript you won’t be the same person, so be open to developing yourself as well.
After you have your book outline ready in bullet points and a map, you can break it down into chapters. Then in each chapter break those down into ideas. In my case, I decided to have a quote that everyone can relate to that goes with every idea of each chapter, you don’t have to do exactly that but a general outline of what you want the feel of your book to have is vital.
What do you believe are the best tools or resources that helped get this book on bookstore shelves?
I believe that the best tools that could definitely help you get your book on store shelves are to stay raw, real and get a stronghold of what your نية or intention. Making sure that the reason you want the masses to read your book is for something real, not fake. Don’t ever try to fake anything just for publicity or quick success, because you’ll find it to be a fake very short-lived success.
The thing with my book is that cancer was such a taboo topic to talk about especially in the Middle East. That meant it was a topic that people hardly talked about, and if they did, it would lead to an awkward conversation. That also meant that so many people out there were suffering in silence. So, I focused my intention to truly reach the masses, especially the ones that were suffering. I wanted my words to touch people’s hearts with my words
Now, we covered the soul part of what you need, now to the more tangible needs. You need to work with a really good publisher that knows their way around bookstores. That doesn’t mean you can’t self publish of course. If you want to self publish go for it, however, I do believe working with a good publisher gives you an edge and it helps you make sure your words can reach everybody.
What should I look for in terms of an Editor?
An editor is extremely important, that’s why you want to look for someone with experience, strong language and how they proof read is in-synch to how you proofread. You don’t want someone who will take your manuscript and butcher it. You need them to brush it off and clean it up for you but not change the way you built it.
What advice would you give an author who’s still unpublished?
Be patient. Stay to the course and always keep yourself in check. It’s a very long process, so make sure you stick to it and not give up on it. Especially, if you’re story has an important message, or idea you feel would connect to a lot of people. Do your homework, research a lot. There will be hiccups along the way so you need to learn how to pick yourself up you feel like you’re giving up.
Get creative with dealing with writer’s block and face the challenges you’re likely to face. Motivate yourself with the fact that you have to finish what you started, because deep down you know it’s worth it.