How To Write And Self-Publish Your Book
Do you want to write a book? Are you a budding writer or aspiring author with a desire to publish your own work?
Maybe writing a book seems like too much work, but you can’t seem to get it out of your mind. Or perhaps you started writing a book, but you gave up and never completed it because, well, your life is busy, and it’s difficult to find the time.
You have a message, something to say but you’re not sure how to write a book or where to start.
I hope the information in this post will help you sort through the clutter on how to write a book and finally start, complete and publish your work.
The Writing Process
Statistics show that 90% of people who say they want to write a book or have the desire to write a book never get around to doing it. Some start but never finish. Some finish but never publish. Many more never even get to start writing at all.
Why is this? I’ll wager a guess that many of us never actually have a concrete plan for writing a book. We have good intentions, but we find it hard to follow through.
The secret to starting and completing your manuscript is to create a plan before you even write the first word! Learning how to do that will make a huge difference in your writing timelines.
So, about that book you want to write, do you have a plan? Here’s a 5-step plan that should help you figure out the writing process and increase your chances of success.
Step 1: Schedule Writing Time
One of the most important things you will have to do on your writing journey is finding time to write. This is true because the number one complaint people have for not finishing up a book project is “I just don’t have the time!”
Here are three tips to help you master your schedule and make the time to write.
1. Block out as much time as you can to spend on your writing.
2. Keep a calendar
3. Keep your appointments with yourself.
4. Be accountable to a writing buddy
For a deeper dive into how to manage your writing time, download my 5-step checklist here.
Step 2: Define your vision for your book
It is essential that you write down your vision for your book. This is much like creating a vision for a company, brand or project. To write a book without a clear vision is synonymous with planning to fail. You may end up creating something that will hardly resonate with the reader. Think of your vision as the big picture idea and how you want that idea to touch your reader and audience.
Here are three tips to help you define your vision for your book project.
1. To write a book, get clear on the core message you want to deliver
2. Write down title ideas
3. Determine the audience for your book
For more on how to define your vision for your book, download my 5-step checklist here.
Step 3: Create an outline
To write a book, you need an outline. An outline is a powerful tool for staying on track on your vision and message until your book is completed. It gives you a structure and a plan to work with. Now if you’re a free spirit, you probably don’t like the idea of structure because it sounds restrictive. But trust me here, an outline actually gives you the freedom to do great work that is on point and target and that your readers will enjoy.
Here are three reasons you want to create an outline BEFORE you start writing.
1. An outline helps you have a bird’s eye view of your message.
2. It helps you stay organized on your writing ideas.
3. It also enables you to stay on track.
To learn more on how to create an outline, download my 5-step checklist here.
Step 4: Research
I always recommend that my students research any writing project before they start writing. Why? Because you gain a lot of information on what is currently available on the market and with that information, you can decide on how to position your message and your book.
Personally, I love to have defined my vision, know who my audience is and created an initial outline before I do this part. This is because research involves reading other people’s material and perspectives and that could actually color your own initial thoughts and ideas on the topic. However, it is a crucial step that will improve your work and make it stand out.
Want to learn more on how to do research for your book? Download my 5-step checklist here.
Step 5: Start Writing
Now that you have a writing schedule, know your vision for your book, have an actual outline of the chapters and have done some research, it’s time to start writing. This is where a lot of people get stuck. Every time I coach someone to write a book, at this stage I have just one tip: start writing.
Trust your plan. Trust your outline. Start from the first chapter/topic you have outlined or start from the last. It doesn’t matter as long as you start.
Your goal is to finish the first draft. You gain confidence and refine your work as you go along.
Here are three tips to make the writing process easier.
1. Stick to your schedule as much possible
2. Have daily or weekly word count goals so you can track your progress.
3. It is also vital that you do not edit as you write. There’ll be time to do that. Just focus on completing your first draft.
The Publishing Process
This is where it gets really exciting! You have your first draft. You’re halfway there. Now you need an editor to work with you to get your manuscript a 100% ready for publishing. Before you send your manuscript off to an editor, however, you should proofread your own work and fix any errors that are evident to you. I recommend Grammarly.com. It’s a great tool that’s helpful for improving your everyday writing. You can use the online app or download their Microsoft Office plugin.
For the complete developmental/critique/line-editing phase, however, I recommend you find a competent and professional editor to do this for you. Never self-edit your own book even if you have the skills to do so. A different perspective will help you catch errors, technical details and ensure your work is polished and fit for your audience.
There are different ways to go about finding an editor.
1. Search for professional editors in your local area through writers’ associations etc.
2. Search online for professional editors in your local area if you want face to face time to discuss your project.
3. Use online platforms like Fivver.com, Upwork.com Elance.com, etc. to hire an editor. Make sure to check their reviews, so you’re getting your money’s worth.
A book cover is one of the most critical parts of the publishing process as it could make or break your project. Unfortunately, many people skimp on this process because they don’t know how crucial it is.
If you have the skills or are trying to save money, it’s okay to do your own book cover. I have a series of videos on the subject. Click below to watch that if you’re interested.
Otherwise, I’ll encourage you to find a good designer to do this for you.
Refer to my tips on finding an editor to help you find a competent designer for your book cover.
Additionally, if you’re self-publishing through CreateSpace, they have a cover design service that should be affordable for you. I don’t recommend this option, however, because I doubt that enough personal attention will be paid to your project.
Interior pages design
Paperback publishing on Amazon:
eBook publishing on Kindle
eBook publishing and selling on your own website