Previously I wrote about the steps of outlining and planning, but here I want to discuss my favourite book outlining methods, among other tips. If new to book writing, you may be unaware that structuring an outline can help you step through the writing process without so much stress and strain. I admit to being ‘seat of my pants’ style writer, as I had lots of time to let ideas bubble to the surface. But for most business-oriented writers, a timeline and deadline is needed—and so an outline can help you keep on track... and unscramble your brain. Writing an outline is super-important for ambitious projects with many moving parts. The simple making of a table of contents is a good start, but we are talking more about WRITING TO A MAP. Mind Mapping (bubble chart or the original one-word-per-strand map) is the start of a writing outline process. We may also use AnswerthePublic.com to find reader questions (the faster…
Even though I’ve been writing books for 12 years, a distinct lack of planning has held me back. What about you? Can you discipline yourself to research, plan and write a nonfiction book series?
I’m a non-expert who writes—and self-publishes—how-to books on money, freelancing, and marketing. So, if I can have a minor success in these varying topics, you experts out there can definitely write on your key topics and achieve a lifelong ambition.
When planning, don’t stop at just one book. Plan say a trio on varied angles FOR THE SAME AUDIENCE. The titles don’t have to be set in stone, but it’s good if they follow the same vein… like:
How to Start… or Create your… or XXX Marketing for XXXX Business or Savvy Secrets for…..
Always research thoroughly (using Amazon and Goodreads) on the preferred book title. You don’t want to compete with a bestseller of the same title (but don’t worry about a nondescript one).
Sometimes you learn from the first book that, say, the practical approach doesn’t work and you need to get to the emotional side and write a self-help book. No problem, you can still change tack, as long as you are uncovering your readers’ needs and desires and writing for that.
The first thing a new book writer does within my world is lean heavily on my editing skills. But unless I have explanatory comments, this is not helpful to their progress because learning key writing techniques must come from other places too. Some learning may come from reading great writing. Some books hit you like a brick with the emotion, while others leave you cold. What are the differences? Read on and find out. Sometimes you'll learn techniques from doing a writer’s centre workshop or course. But there are other ways to learn that cost very little, including audiobooks. (Learn with nil extra time!) The fact is, an audiobook like “Writing Tools” by Roy Peter Clarke will help you consider many different techniques to enhance your writing power. It helped me, and I write non-fiction. Then it’s up to you to try some of these writing tips out on the page. Discover different techniques used in storytelling and speech-making, even if you’re…
There’s only so much time in your life. The other day, I worked out I may have 492 more months to live — if I live till 90. (That’s a big if). This wake-up call means for me: in 2020 I will be focussing on helping 100 authors to write, publish, and lift up their book.
It’s no good just having a daily to-do list. Will that inspire you and others? No! If you want to kick big goals, then you need to set your course for adventure…
If, like me, it comes easily to write, hurrah! You can outline and set about writing your book. But it doesn’t end there.
If writing for career/business expansion, you may need some help with the pitching and marketing steps. (There’s tools and resources for this in the club).
You need to be able to talk about your main messages clearly and to do this, it helps to input a system or methodology into your book. Otherwise it might end up a jumble of ideas — and people don’t need more ideas! Rather, they need simple systems to help their lives.(more…)
Jack Kerouac I know it’s common to think of book writing as some kind of artisan thing, a Jack Kerouac at his writing desk, typing away his creative best. But that just ain’t reality, kid. In the real world, we must find a rising trend and a unique angle for our book. Not only for it to be looked at in the first place, but because if you don’t, you’re really only writing books for you. That’s nice, but it doesn’t pay any bills, even the ones for your book. As a past copywriter, I’m familiar with having to get my commercial brain into gear and research like mad. But I understand that’s not all that common. I sent a K-lytics report on hot niches to a writer friend and he was both awed and confused. Although there is nothing wrong with that. It is extremely difficult to deduce which hot cell or hot niche would match up with your…
There is a chasm between how novice and expert authors outline and write their book. Now, a lot of people writing a non-fiction book approach their writing like this:
Have an idea, start brainstorming, attack it with gusto, have too much content, rearrange it, hire an editor, editor does a huge review and two rounds of changes, mould a final book, find an angle, write blurb, hope it sells.
I used to be one of those people, so hey, I get it. But then I thought, what if I put some planning and research into those steps… would that help?
Steps in Planning and Writing a Book
Step 1: Book Research. Find an angle that is a small gap or difference to other books on topic. Ask yourself questions. Determine reader type and purpose of book.
Step 2: Brainstorm and mind map your topics.
Step 3: Outline. In a Google Docs draft, write the outline and summarise each chapter. Decide here on length of book and then length of each chapter. You could also use Scrivener, if rearranging sections and using references.
If research will be part of your book, start collecting cool ideas and research results. Look at comparative and competitive books and find the gaps.
Step 4: Start writing with the research, quotes, and creative ideas, on the topics in each chapter. Be mindful of structure. See if you can add useful reader resources in some of the chapters.
Step 5: Self-editing. Check chapter lengths. See if the creative content is on par with original reader wants and needs.
Step 6: Feedback. Get beta reader feedback and integrate what seems right to you.
Step 7: Take a fresh look, make it as logical a flow as possible, also check voice is consistent.
Step 8: Send to editor for their copy editing work
Step 9: Integrate the editor’s comments and finalise. Fact check/Copyright check.
Step 10: Typesetting. Send for formatting or do it yourself, if you know about book layout.
Here I want to uncover some of the fallacies around book publishing and how it is possible to turn something you love into a nice income stream. Many of the authors I hear from have said, ‘It’s okay, I’m happy to publish my book and see, it doesn’t have to make a steady income’. Okay… but isn’t that fear talking? Wouldn’t you rather make a regular income? Well, I have found a book launch strategy that actually helps to make you money ongoing. This strategy makes money not only from the book, but from the attached online course and community. Some who have done this well seem to have set off a ‘movement’. Many of us don’t realise the machinations behind the scenes of a big launch. It would be fair to say that people like Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation or Rob Cubbon with The New Freedom, have worked the Kindle Launch and list building to some success.…
I know all too well the feeling that everyone should be interested in my latest book’s content. I mean, who doesn’t want to manage their money better… or as with the Simple Drive to a Healthier Life book, who wouldn’t be interested in better health? Well, the fact is, some of us are cuckoo for money advice (and some are spenders)… and others are nuts on health (while some like to eat anything tasty). So, with that in mind, let’s get into how to create a Target Reader Profile. Since the word ‘avatar’ reminds me of that movie with blue people, let’s go with Profile. Far from being an airy-fairy notion, your book’s reader profile is very specific. It may even warrant two to four reader profiles that neatly fit your topic, so carefully do the research on numbers of each. Don’t forget reachability and tendency to read. Case Study: Defining a Reader Profile For instance, take the prenatal yoga…
Today I'm exploring whether it's possible to write a non-fiction book in one month and what other steps you will do in following months. So, can you write a book in a month? The answer is: well, I think that depends on what you classify as writing. Yes, you can outline, arrange your sticky notes (manual chapter structuring), and type like the clappers to get a draft of about 30,000 words for example. You will also need to write a full target audience description, check the blurbs of successful competing titles, and draft a book summary. Getting tired yet? Actually, you might want a writing coach before you complete the first draft if your background is academic or corporate and you can't quite get the voice right. An Editorial Process Then, to finish your book and reference it, you will need an editorial process. The first stage is having someone with a trained eye (an editor) look at the draft…
Have the desire to create and share your ideas but not the know-how of writing a book? Then take a peek at the process of choosing a type (or model) of book to write. Starting out, mulling over ideas There are already millions of books published and available on Amazon, so here's a question: what is the one thing that none of them already have? Choosing the Best Book Model Breaking down complex and dry topics, a good writer draws out the ideas for their reader to digest. This is best done with a particular model. If you don't choose a good model to begin with, your book will wander. It can possibly annoy a reader who likes one type of books, and half-way through the type has changed. Tips Book Tips books can be good if prefaced with a note on why you need these tips and how to use the content. Power Marketing was in this style, with…
Before I get into how to write a book proposal, first a little story. When I started writing a very small book back in 2005, I had zero idea of how to mould a book, let alone how to get a publisher to take it on. I got a rejection letter, tout suite. This ignorance led me to self-publishing on Lulu, mainly in eBook form, which proved too easy. Enjoying research, I soon wrote another how-to book, Sack Your Financial Planner. Self-funding, I sold these through a sales page online plus a few sales to interested people. My longwinded point is, there's a possibility your first nonfiction book proposal will get a book deal. That chance is about 1 in 1,000... and sliding. That young man got a deal for Eragon first go, but that was fiction and what a talent! Self-help is such a hunting ground, with fewer sales made traditionally, so most likely as a novice author you have…
So, how long should a nonfiction book be? The average nonfiction book in self-help, how-to, or travel runs from 40,000 to 50,000 words.
The memoir genre tends to be from 60,000 to 90,000 words
Historical texts or biographies range from 60,000 to 200,000 words#
As these vary widely – and writing long texts is a LOT of work – make sure you check with either your desired publisher or desired genre on Amazon to find out the appropriate length for your book. According to Mark Coker of Smashwords, the top 100 bestselling ebooks at Smashwords (sales could be from other sites) averaged 115,000 words. Largely, this means fiction.