Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Writing a Book

Posted May 12, 2011

How many of you have ever dreamed of writing or putting a book together? What would you like to write about? Please share your stories. 

WRAL production crew member Jeff Reeves wowed all of us this week with his book on Australia. Jeff recently returned from a two week trip to the land down under. He snapped hundreds of photographs and captured an incredible array of scenery. What was he going to do with all those images? Well, Jeff decided he wanted a permanent keepsake for the trip to Sydney, Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef and Melbourne. Using IPhoto software on his home computer Jeff self-published a book. The 100 page hardbound compilation including text and 240 photos was ready in less than a week and looks like something you would pay top dollar for at a major book store. Jeff ordered two copies – one for his family and the other for his own coffee table. Each volume cost about $100. That’s not cheap but it’s a small price to pay for something so meaningful. 

It helps to be a great photographer. Jeff worked on my Blue Ridge Reunion book project three years ago as the chief photographer. He has great gear including a Canon 5D Mark II camera and an assortment of professional lenses. He also used a Polaroid Land Camera which I thought was quite interesting. In addition Jeff has an excellent eye for composition and he’s meticulous when it comes to lighting. I do find it most impressive that he was able to put together such a fine product without taking a tripod for the trip. 

Congratulations Jeff on a wonderful keepsake. I can’t wait to see your book on next year’s trip to Rome!


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  • blytle May 16, 2011

    Bill, I have used the iPhoto program to produce three books -- two on trips we've made to London and one on last October's Mediterranean Cruise. It's a great way to memorialize an event and so nice to keep on the coffee table for people to enjoy. I am also toying with a mystery novel, but don't know whether it will see the light of day. Can't seem to keep my motivation!!

  • thefensk May 13, 2011

    Oh, cookbooks. Forgot about that. My wife and I compiled and and published a fundraiser cookbook last year for a local dance group. We didn't have time to use one of the popular companies used by churches and such, so we did it ourselves.

    I have a parallel project compiling a cookbook from the hundreds of recipes my late father collected from newspapers and other sources between the mid-1950s through the early 1980s. I am close to the end of that, with almost 900 recipes. Will borrow from the fund-raiser experience to format this into something to give the family.

  • moppie May 13, 2011

    I've been working on two books for awhile now. One is all of the family recipes with all the pictures of us cooks in the kitchen. We are Ukranian and southern, which makes for some interesting combinations:) The other one is about life growing up on a barrier island in the 70's and 80's.

  • sfreeman44 May 12, 2011

    I'm writing a book that is almost complete. It is a memoir. I talk about surviving a flood, an earthquake, a hurricane, and a blizzard. I have publishers interested, and now, I need an agent. Once the book is there, another hard part is navigating the rest of the business (even if you self publish). S. Freeman

  • thefensk May 12, 2011

    And the advice about writing is the key. An editor/mentor of mine who I got a bit of advice about my editing phase made this comment: you can't edit a blank page.
    Even if you just journal your memories as a start, write whenever you can. The idea/plot for this novel came directly out of such a journal entry.

  • thefensk May 12, 2011

    In January I wrote a 30 day 50,000 word rough draft novel. I used the same method used by thousands of people every November in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo - I just found out about it too late).
    That was the easy part. Now I am slogging away at edit/rewrite.
    The 30 day method is a good way to start. You only have to average less than 2000 words a day and it is surprising how the work develops a life of its own as you move along. I highly recommend Chris Baty's book "NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM" which covers the 30 day novel program. You can also check out the web page.

  • cherokee43v6 May 12, 2011

    I've dabbled in writing fantasy... One thing I have done is write fan fiction and get feedback from other writers to help improve my skills. There are a number of good resources online to help novice writers. In particular I like:

  • dharper22 May 12, 2011

    My book is in progress. 14,000 words on the harddrive of the memories of a farm boy growing up in the 1922 to 1940 period. With 7 younger brothers and sisters and parents who led us on some wonderful adventures I see possibilities to help my grand children and great grandchildren understand a historic time. Tentative title -- and it has changed -- "Paper pigs to presidents." I could use some guidance from Jeff Reeves on the self-publishing business.

  • UNCfuturealumi May 12, 2011

    I too want to write a book. I want to write about my life on the Haw River, the cotton mill and how my Mom worked so hard to raise a large family after our Dad died sudden..but there are so many stories of this nature, but not any of them are MINE

  • westoflyra May 12, 2011

    Great topic. I think I would write a horror novel based on the ever growing fascination and addiction and dependence to computers, cell phones, texting, and a variety of other similar items that have people no longer interacting socially the "normal" way. I think these are realities that can be taken further into a horror story. The fact we have become so dependent on online social networks these days is kinda scary. Singer/songwriter Kate Bush wrote a song called "Deeper Understanding" that is being re-released that deals with this subject matter.

    Think Ira Levin who wrote similar stories such as "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Stepford Wives". The Stepford Wives was written in response mens' fears of the liberated woman in the 1970s and just how far these men would go to stop and suppress women and return them to the ideal housewife of the old days.

    If I wrote a horror novel, I would take cues from Ira Levin.




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Bill Leslie