1 You have a story to tell.

Perhaps it happened to you or to someone you know—sickness, death, victory, defeat, or something as simple as everyday life, but with a twist. If you think it’s interesting, others may feel the same way. Ask a half-dozen friends, whose judgment you trust, if your idea is any good. If they agree, start writing.

2 You know something that most people don’t.

If you have a specialized knowledge about a given topic, consider a how-to missive on the subject. Even a short electronic version of your book could be in great demand if the subject of your discourse is useful and is likely to save the reader both time and money.

3 You have an ancestor with an exciting or checkered past.

Genealogy has become a national pasttime. If you have an ancestor that fought in any war, lived in historic times, or lived a remarkable life, consider a book. It could be history or historic fiction or pure fiction. There are no limits except those you impose upon yourself. When my wife announced to me that my great-great grandfather fought in the Civil War, my first novel was born. (“War Calls, Love Cries”)

4 You have an idea for a children’s book.

Everybody seems to think that writing and illustrating a children’s book is easy. It is actually the most difficult and least profitable book you can undertake. But every now and then a parent or grandparent who knows what children like strikes gold. Your idea may be the one that kids everywhere truly love. Trust your instincts, test your idea, and then get to work.

5 You are a hopeless romantic, a creative genius, or an amateur sleuth.

A love story, an exciting fantasy, or a murder mystery are still the most popular genres in today’s publishing world. It will be difficult to get published and then succeed in any of these genres because the competition is that stiff. But the market for good writing that is original and interesting is huge. Do not be intimidated by the competition. Focus instead on your reader. If he or she can’t wait to turn the next page, you have a winner.

Sebring writer Mark Barie has published his first novel “War Calls, Love Cries.“ The book is available on amazon.com and he can be reached at markbarie.com.

Publishers Weekly, bestseller lists

(courtesy DeSoto County Public Library)

January 2019

Fiction

1. “Liar Liar” by James Patterson and Candice Fox

2. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

3. “Turning Point” by Danielle Steel

4. “The Reckoning” by John Grisham

5. “Every Breath” by Nicholas Sparks

6. “Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before a Game of Thrones” by George R R Martin,

7. “Long Road to Mercy” by David Baldacci

8. “An Anonymous Girl” by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

9. “Target: Alex Cross” by James Patterson

10. “The New Iberia Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel” by James Lee Burke

Nonfiction

1. “Becomin” by Michelle Obama

2. “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be” by Rachel Hollis

3. “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered” by Lysa TerKeurst

4. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

5. “Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave” by Joanna Gaines

6. “The Clean Plate: Eat, Reset, Heal” by Gwyneth Paltrow

7. “Best Self: Be You, Only Better” by Mike Bayer

8. “My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir” by Tia Torres

9. “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington” by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

10. “The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors” by Charles Krauthammer

Bookmark dates

DeSoto County Library will offer an opportunity for individuals to digitize family history and share it with the community through its “Preserving Memories: Community Digitization Project.” Bring your old photos, journals and a jump drive to the library on Feb. 28 or March 1, between 2-5 p.m., and staff will digitally record your materials. The library will temporarily have scanners, cameras and other equipment allowing staff to preserve a variety of materials in digital format. There’s also software that will create a searchable file of things such as journals or other family print history. You are requested to allow the library to keep a digital copy of your material and make it accessible. No materials other than the digital files will be kept at the library. Eventually it is the library’s aim to make these files available to the public through a statewide digital network. Depending on the response, future dates or individual appointments for recording your items may be set up. 125 N Hillsborough Ave., Arcadia. 863-993-4851

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