Want to be a published author?
This may sound like an unattainable goal, especially if you’re new to writing. But in today’s publishing world, more and more writers are self-publishing their own work, becoming legitimate authors.
Until recently, self-publishing was rare and not always credible. But with the e-book craze and more authors than ever practicing proper publishing techniques, this is no longer the case.
If you can believe it, publishing your book is the easy part. The hard part? Writing it!
Fear not, there are several simple steps to writing a book that we’ve outlined below.
1. What Do You Want out of Publishing a Book?
One of the first steps to writing a book is to ask yourself why exactly you’d like to write it and what your long and short-term goals are, once it’s completed.
Are you trying to attain more clients for your business? Perhaps you’re already a blogger or maybe an expert in a given field. Maybe you’ve been writing privately for years and are finally ready to share your story with the world.
There is no wrong answer to this question, rather important information to understand for your self in order to know what’s motivating this choice to become a published author.
What you want out of your writing will help you figure out how quickly you’d like it to be completed and what kind of information you’d like to include in the book.
2. What Are You Writing and Who Is It For?
Before you can go much further, you have to know what the book will be about.
It’s helpful to hone in on a specific topic, as opposed to writing about several different topics in a general way. This is the time to capitalize on the knowledge you have about a specific field.
It’s important to have a clear point of view and understand precisely what you’d like your readers to take with them after reading your book.
If you’re writing a non-fiction book, this is a good opportunity to be considered an expert in your field, so select a topic that you are familiar with and educated on.
If you’re writing a fiction book, it’s best to keep the world and the characters within the realm of your own familiarity. For example, don’t set a fictional story at the time of the French Revolution unless you know a lot about that topic and can write easily about it.
Doing this will save you tons of time on research and get your book completed faster!
3. Outline, Outline, Outline!
This is one of the often overlooked but completely essential steps to writing a book. That is if you want to get it done anytime soon.
Decide how many chapters you’d like to have in your book and what you’d like those chapters to be about. Once you’ve carved out the introduction and various chapter titles, you can go back and reverse engineer a story or insert the necessary information.
This is a common technique in the writing world and while it might sound a bit backward, it will be a huge time saver.
It’s much easier to know what you’re writing about before you write it than to delve into the page with no direction or structure to guide you.
You always have the chance to change chapter titles, move them around or combine them. But this is typically easier to do once the words are already on the page.
4. Find Your Happy Place
Okay, it doesn’t have to be the best place on earth, but you’ll have to be able to easily sit down and write there on a regular basis.
An environment can play a huge role in how much you can get done on a given day and the quality of the work. Find a place that is quiet, calm and comfortable. It could be a home office or your favorite coffee shop.
Regardless of where it is, you need to be able to stay there for long periods of time and get work done.
Try to keep it consistent. If you find a place that works, stick with it as opposed to wasting time trying out new writing locations only to find they’re not right and the day was spent trying to get comfortable instead of working.
Try bringing headphones to listen to music so you’re not privy to distractions. Be sure to put your phone away, or at least on silent to avoid the urge to refresh social media as soon as you hit a block.
5. Set a Schedule
Creating a writing schedule is essential to stay on track.
The day gets away from us, life happens and before we know it, it’s time for dinner but we haven’t put one word on the page.
Since you’ve already made your outline, you have an idea of how long your book will be. From there, determine either how many pages or how many words you’d like to accomplish each week.
Once more, make a larger timeline for chapter and overall book completion.
Keep your schedule somewhere you’ll see it every day or plug it into your phone and set reminders.
Be sure to set timelines that are achievable within your lifestyle and other commitments. It can be very discouraging to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Falling short can often make us stop altogether because we think we’ve already failed.
6. Don’t Look Back
This one of those steps to writing a book that you will likely have to remind yourself of every day.
When you get blocked or stuck on a chapter, the natural instinct is to go back and reread what you have already written. Don’t!
You know what you wrote and you don’t need the reminder, as it will just waste time going over something that’s already done.
Keep moving forward. You will have to go back anyway but try your hardest not to until you can reread at least an entire chapter or more of the book and make real edits.
Don’t start editing your book before the first draft is complete!
7. Writing Is Rewriting
Completing the first draft is the hardest part.
From there, it’s time to edit and rewrite. As tedious as it may seem, it’s often much easier to go back and fix something that already exists as opposed to coming up with something completely new.
Consider hiring a professional editor or asking for notes from someone in the literary world you know and trust.
It’s important to get an outside opinion as it’s nearly impossible to be objective with your own work. An editor can help you trim the fat and ensure the story you are telling makes sense to your reader.
8. And Finally, the Last Step to Writing a Book: Publish!
Congratulations! You’ve just finished writing your first book. Now what?
Get it out into the world.
If you have a publisher, send it their way.
If you are self-publishing, fear not. There are plenty of ways to reach your first 10k readers and have a successful e-book. You can simply post it on Amazon CreateSpace, immediately making it available on Kindle.
You’re an Author Now
Writing a book can seem like an overwhelming endeavor but with this step by step guide, you’ll be a published author in no time.
Check out our writing and publishing courses to learn more.