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Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?: How Ordinary People Are Raking in $100,000.00... or More Writing Nonfiction Books & How You Can Too! Paperback – July 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1884956553 ISBN-10: 1884956556 Edition: 2nd Updated ed.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Quill Driver Books; 2nd Updated ed. edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884956556
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884956553
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Forget everything you've heard about the travails of the freelance writer. In Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?, Marc McCutcheon contends that "you can learn the trade and begin making a respectable income much faster than most people think possible." To illustrate, McCutcheon lists 17 pages of bestselling titles, including Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (150,000 copies sold) and Golfing, a humor book (525,000 copies sold). McCutcheon himself wrote a few well-chosen titles and claims to be "easily support[ing] a family of four, working part-time." How? Think niche, says McCutcheon. Think backlist. Think about perennially hot topics like dieting/weight loss, relationships, parenting, health, low-fat cooking, sex, spirituality, money/finances, cats, career and leadership, and computer and Internet. McCutcheon is quite helpful about things like contract negotiation, agents, proposals, and promotion. He also confers a real can-do attitude on his readers. "In the corporate world," he says, "tall, beautiful people rule. In the writing world, even Yoda can climb to the top of the success ladder." --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The title says it all. This combination pep-talk/how-to guide by best-selling author McCutcheon (Roget's Super Thesaurus) offers encouragement to amateur writers who want to support themselves (and their families) by writing. Demonstrating how lucrative the publishing industry can be for the right idea at the right time, McCutcheon describes the process from idea, research, query letters, and proposals to agents, contract negotiations, and promotion. At each step, he offers insights from personal experience and shares the experiences of several well-known best-selling authors. Chapters provide suggestions to develop habits that will lead to successful full-time writing, with tips like reading trade journals on a regular basis and clipping articles from magazines and newspapers to jumpstart research. The summary of provided is a list of helpful magazines, web sites, and organizations and a descriptive sample of standard formats for manuscript submission. Not much is new here, but the commonsense approach is both upbeat and practical. A worthwhile addition for libraries supporting writing programs. Denise S. Sticha, Murrysville Community Lib., PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I read this book for the first time over two years ago.
James R. Peters
Marc McCutcheon makes his book stand out with specifics for getting your writing noticed, published, and sold.
A. White
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in writing a non-fiction book.
Robert Bogetti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 143 people found the following review helpful By A. White on October 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Many 'how-to-get-published' books are vague in the concept of writing, but strong on the proposal and submittal of manuscripts. Marc McCutcheon makes his book stand out with specifics for getting your writing noticed, published, and sold. His writing style is casual and humorous, yet professional. I found it to be easy to read, inspiring, and factual. He puts in print what I've been thinking for years as I browsed through the latest Thousands-of-Reasons-to-Make-Maccaroni-type titles: I could've written that...I'm not even a PhD and I could've done that, and so-on.
McCutcheon's tips on writing are very concise and motivating, with a fresh delivery of facts, not rehashing. The book also contains a thorough section of resources; from finding an expert on your nonfiction topic of choice, to a glossary of publishing terms for newbies. You'll find examples of query letters McCutcheon used himself to sell his books, as well as sample contracts with translations from legalese into normal language.
He lists several success stories of everyday people who sold blockbusters. Common obstacles are addressed such as not having a degree (he is a high-school dropout himself), whether your idea is promotable, contract negotiation, and how to research. You are shown that with the right tools and hard work, anyone can do it.
Once believing I might be able to write a non-fiction book and get it published, I now KNOW it. This is a must-read.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
The common conception about writing as a career is that it is difficult to get into and produces many "starving" artists. While this may be true in many situations, Marc McCutcheon argues convincingly that it is not necessarily the case when it comes to nonfiction writing. According to the author over 50,000 new books are published each year, but only about 3,500 of them are fiction. As a result, most of the competition is in the fiction area. The nonfiction area is by far the easiest one in which to become published.
The author relates how even a beginning writer can learn to write nonfiction and start making a living as a writer much faster than commonly believed. The book is filled with the necessary details of not only writing a great nonfiction work but also how to handle contract negotiations, why you need (or don't need) an agent, writing proposals, marketing and just about any other subject that the writer may need to know.
Throughout the book, McCutcheon encourages the new writer and points out that many top selling titles were written by ordinary people without any special writing skills or training. A book that should be on the bookshelf of all writers, I can't recommend it highly enough.
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I had an idea buzzing around for a non-fiction book, I wound up buying "Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?" as the title grabbed my interest and I needed more information on writing proposals.

I stayed up all night reading this engaging book. The next day I began hashing my proposal out, following the wisdom and guidance found in the book. Six months later and I've just been offered a contract from McGraw Hill! I think that speaks volumes!

This book will inspire you! Marc McCutcheon offers all the tools, motivation, and information needed to get started. It's no mystery that you have to add the "ideas",the writing talent, and the perserverance, but the rest of what you need, will be found in the pages of "Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?"

Thank you Marc McCutcheon for producing such a quality book!

Regards,

B.A.Webb

[...]
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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful By P. Mullaney on December 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
In recent weeks I have searched Amazon.com for books on how to prepare a query letter and a book proposal. I have found numerous titles and purchased a couple. One of these was "Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?"

In reviewing Amazon.com and in reading the volumes I have purchased, I have noticed:
1) that for most of the titles I've seen on Amazon, the same group of (let's say) ten people are writing a majority of the reviews;
2) that all of these "majority reviewers" have books of their own about how to write a "non-fiction book" and get it published. (They use the vague term "non-fiction book" but what they really mean is "'how-to' book");
3) that none of these "majority author/reviewers" has ever written anything that might be deemed "popular" in the conventional sense;
4) that few of these "majority author/reviewers" have written anything other than "how-to" books.

It seems to me that there's a cadre of "how to get published" writers on Amazon who hype each others' works for the sole and specific purpose of encouraging sales of "how to get published" books. Like lawyers referring clients to each other, these guys know that "what goes around, comes around." They know that "how-to" book buyers usually buy more than one title, so that the author who hypes his colleague's book is indirectly selling his own.

Depending on your point of view, this scenario is called either a "network" or a "racket."

Marc McCutcheon's message in "Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?" boils down to "find a niche and milk it." Clearly, McCutcheon's niche is aspiring writers. I can testify to the effectiveness of McCutcheon's ideas not because I sold a book, but because I bought one - this one. So far, "Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?
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