If you have been writing for some time, chances are you want to write a book.
You get, I think there is a book in me, moments now and then, but you ignore them thinking writing a book is too big a project and you are not ready for it yet.
This is what I used to think too.
For years I believed the books are written by people who are from some other planet.
But then, last month, I worked up enough courage to write a book. That too in one week. That single act has been a game-changer for me.
It was as if some magic spell was broken, and I could see that writing books are a process like cooking a recipe or building a house or growing veggies.
Most people are not able to write their books because it’s very confusing out there. There are too many things to learn and not enough time to learn them.
But if you are committed and willing to learn, you can break that barrier and build yourself a lucrative and fulfilling career as an author.
I have found, writing a book is a 12 steps process. Once you know what they are, it is easy to concentrate on them one by one, learn the basics and then start implementing them.
Without much ado, here they are:
1. Find a topic
Your first job is to find a topic. That topic needs to be exciting enough so that you can work on it. And it needs to be something that people want to pay money for.
There is a big market out there on books about Cryptocurrency, but the topic hardly excites me, so you will not find any book from me on Cryptocurrency.
On the other hand, I am very much interested in productivity. It is a subject that intrigues me and baffles me. I would love to explore it from a different angle and see if I could write something different from what is out there.
Make a list of topics you are interested in writing about. It could be the memoir of your growing up in the countryside or a trip you took recently, or your grandmother’s recipes. Or it could be something you have already written about on your blog that could be developed into a book.
2. Outline your book
Once you have settled on a topic, the next step is to outline it. There are several ways to outline your book, depending upon how you want to tackle it.
It could be a chronological occurrence of events. Or it could be like a document with headings and sub-heading. It doesn’t matter as long as you have an outline.
You might be writing your articles or blog posts with an outline, but it is tough to write a book without an outline. An outline will scope your book and make sure you do not stray too much out of the scope.
It is not there to restrict you. You can add to it or change it if it is not working. But you must have one before you start writing the book.
3. Write the first draft
This is the exciting part. Do not expect to write a polished product at this point. Let it be as messy as it comes out to be. The point is to get everything that is on your mind onto the paper.
Do it as quickly as possible. I wrote mine in four days. It will be tough to get back to the book and pick up the pieces of thread if you leave too much gap while writing your first draft. So many writers are not able to finish their books because they leave their first draft halfway. Then they find it too hard to get back to it.
4. Get it structurally edited
Once you have written the first draft and think the book is hanging together, it is a good idea to hire a structural editor to look at it. The structural editor will be able to pick up the holes in your argument and will be able to tell you whether the book works as it is or you need to use a different structure for it.
Fix the book based on the comments.
5. Get the beta readers to provide comments
It is time now to give the book to a few of your trusted fans who are familiar with your work and are willing to help out with your book. Asking their feedback early in the process will help you write a much better book than toiling away for months to figure out how to make it work.
Now is the time to polish your work. Revise it. Rewrite it if you have to.
Once you have done the final draft, self-edit it for 4 Cs of writing — clear, clean, concise, and compelling.
7. Professional editing
It is time for someone else to work on your manuscript and turn it into the book you want it to be. There are many kinds of editors — line editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. I recommend engaging at least two of the copy editors and proofreaders. They are essential for your book to look professional.
8. Cover design
If the book is for your family and friends, you can take the chance and design the book cover yourself. But if your book will compete with thousands of other books published each day, you will need a professionally designed book cover. It will cost you a bit of money but keep in mind that “books are judged by their cover.”
9. Pre-publishing tasks — book blurb, book price, formatting
Since you will be self-publishing your book, you will have to learn to do several pre-publishing tasks such as writing the book blurb (description), setting the price of the book, formatting for eBook and print version, selecting the categories under which to publish your book, and adding good keywords, so that your book appears in the reader searches.
There is a fair deal of learning in self-publishing. Much of it will happen while you are publishing the book. Although there are independent companies available who can help you with the process with a handsome fee, I would say do it yourself. You can learn while doing it, and once you have learned it, the knowledge will come in handy with other books.
There is a lot to learn in this area, but luckily there is a lot of information.
You don’t have to worry about it until you have written your book and are ready to publish it.
I would go to the length of saying, don’t worry about marketing your first book. Let it be a trial to learn the process of writing and publishing. Once you have done that and have all that knowledge, developing a proper marketing plan for your next book will be much easier.
12. Start Again
There you are. Your book is complete. Now start another.
Writing a book will change you forever. Even if nobody buys your book, the confidence you will gain from writing your first book will be worth all the trouble you went through.
Do you know what is the biggest secret of authorpreneurship?
The only thing standing between you and your authorpreneur career is your first book.