Writing a book? You need three copies at all times


You need to have your book in three places: in your computer (seeable on the monitor), on a USB flash drive (or some equivalent) just in case, and in a three-ring binder.

The first is obvious. The second gives you peace of mind and lets you work on others’ computers and keep your results safe and transferable. You simply save that day’s work on both the hard drive and the flash drive at the end of each session. (I even pay Mozy to download it overnight and save it elsewhere. Overkill? Have you ever lost the only copy of a manuscript?)

The third may seem redundant yet it allows you to work on your book whenever you are unlinked, like in the doctor’s waiting room or in a park enjoying the summer sun without having to drag along a laptop. It’s where that flash of brilliance or that dancing dialog can be captured, to work in later. (All of my best thinking comes at the wrong times. I don’t want all of it to escape. Write it down! Sometimes, later, you wonder what possessed you to save that, but often that string of words will be exactly what your book needs.)

Most of your “extra” work so far is being saved in your computer. Now it’s time to divide that into its most comfortable parts and give it a protective three-ring cover. Buy some dividers for the chapters, print your copy on three-ring paper as it is created, insert the folder segments where they belong, and also tape in all of the remaining loose notes and clippings where they best fit, so you can keep all the primary and supporting data at hand in one place.

If you insert a few blank pages in each chapter in the binder as well, it’s surprising how often you will use them to leave additional critical notes and thoughts, which you can use when it comes time to finally get the text together and edited. The trick is to keep this folder with you pretty much all the time. At the minimum, it reminds you that you are in the middle of something important: writing a book!

(I can imagine almost every reader under about 30 or 35 scoffing at the thought of a three-ring binder. Why not keep it on their iPad or magic phone? Fine. But when I was 35 if I had had to keep my incidentals on a phone the cord would have had to reach Brazil or Argentina!)

Incidentally, much of this blog is found in the book writing half of my How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days!

Best luck with your book!

Gordon Burgett

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5 Comments to “Writing a book? You need three copies at all times”

  1. By BOTTEGA VENETA ??, July 21, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

    Great information. Lucky me I recently found your
    blog by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!

    • By Admin, July 27, 2013 @ 7:44 am

      Many thanks.

      Gordon Burgett

  2. By Angela Cockburn, May 3, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

    Yes, and there’s one job that’s still easier on paper, and that’s paragraph and chapter shuffling, simply because you can see more at a time than you can on a screen. This insight should be in a sidebar; these three pages should be in Chapter 11; this bit belongs in a different book, let’s move out to the back for now.

    It’s also quicker than SELECT – not that bit – SELECT again – CUT – SCROLL DOWN – oops, passed it – SCROLL UP – there – PASTE – drat, it’s in the middle of a word – CONTROL Z – PASTE again – oh, it’s picked up on the headline format – SELECT again – OFF BOLD.

    That’s Ok, just, when you already know how you want to reorganise, but not when you’re thinking out how to reorganise.

    Good advice, as always, Gordon. Thank you.

    • By Admin, May 18, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

      Thanks, Angela. As usual here I’m months behind.

      Gordon Burgett

    • By Admin, May 18, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

      Thanks, Angela. Good hearing from you. Gordon Burgett