How to Write a Book in 60 Days: 8 Steps to Get Your Non-Fiction Book Out of Your Head and on to Paper by Stephanie Chandler
Note from Meggin: I know this is the Top Ten Productivity Tips, but I didn’t think you’d want me to leave out these great ideas from Stephanie just because she worded them as Eight Productivity Tips for Writers <smile>. Read on (and then get moving using her ideas!)
Studies show that up to 80% of people have considered writing a book. If you want to learn how to write a book and need some help getting started, here are eight key strategies to help you achieve your author dreams. It might just be easier than you think.
Decide on a Topic. Start by identifying your target audience. Who do you want your book to reach? Are you writing for your clients, single mothers, consultants, teenagers, retired baby boomers? Knowing your audience will help you make important decisions when building your content. You should always keep your audience in mind as you develop your book.
Know Your Book’s Unique Value. There were over 480,000 books published in 2008 alone, so if you’re worried that there is not enough room in the world for a book like yours, don’t be so sure. The key is to establish how your book will be different or better than the competition. Determine what unique value you will bring to your readers.
Choose Your Process. You don’t have to be professionally-trained writer to develop a book. Here are several options:
-Hire a ghost writer
-Enlist a co-author
-Dictate your book on audio and use software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking to convert it to text
-Get your thoughts on paper and hire a good editor to turn it into a manuscript
-Assemble an anthology of contributions from others
Leverage Content You Already Have. Your book may already be further along than you realize. If you have created content for your business, you may be able to use it for your book. Here are some places to look:
-Articles and blog posts you have written-Hand-outs you have developed
-Surveys you have conducted
-Case studies and client success stories
-Seminars, videos, and recordings you have made that can be transcribed
-Contributions from others (articles, interviews, case studies, etc., with their permission, of course)
Get Started with an Outline. Everyone has their own unique process for writing, though most writers will tell you that they start with some sort of outline. I recommend using a storyboard process.Start with a blank wall and a stack of Post-it notes. Write each and every topic idea you want to cover in your book on a Post-it and stick it to the wall. Once you have all of your ideas out, move the notes around until they form some kind of logical order. This is a great way to identify your chapters, how much content you have for each, and where you need to add more content. You can transfer everything to an outline or simply work off of your wall of ideas.
Begin the Writing Process. Once you know what topics to cover, you are ready to begin writing (or dictating, assembling content you already have, or inviting others to contribute). The idea of writing a book can seem overwhelming, but if you tackle it in small pieces, it can begin to come together quickly. We are in a technology-driven age and most of us have short attention spans.
Approach each topic as if you were writing a short article. To make it easier for you and your reader, break up the text. Use plenty of sub-headings and bullets for easier reading. Include quotes from people you have interviewed, provide resources for additional information, and compile brief sidebar tips to enhance the reader’s experience.
Make Time to Write. One of the biggest excuses that aspiring authors have is a lack of time to get a book written. Like anything else in life, if you want it badly enough, you have to find a way to make it happen. You may want to plan your writing time around when you are most creative. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Perhaps you need to get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later. It is important to discover your own unique process.
Some writers are disciplined and write during a set time each day. Some schedule one or two days each week for writing. With my busy schedule, I actually check in to a hotel for a weekend and write, write, write! It’s all about what works best for you.
Cross the Finish Line. The average book manuscript is between 60,000 to 80,000 words. Two typed pages are the equivalent of around 1000 words. So if you wrote just two pages per day, your book would be done in 60 days! Once your manuscript is complete, you will begin the editing process. If you are new to writing, it would be wise to hire an experienced editor to help.
Of course you have many options for getting your book into print. Whether you want to pursue a traditional publisher or self-publishing, the options are abundant. A good book coach can also help you make some of these decisions.
No matter what publishing options you pursue, writing a book is a big achievement and can have a tremendous impact on your life. Set a goal to finally write that book this year and you will embark on a fantastic journey.
Stephanie Chandler is an author of several business and marketing books including “The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform” and “From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur.” She is also founder and CEO of AuthorityPublishing.com, which provides custom book publishing and author marketing services for business, self-help and other non-fiction books. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc.com and many other media outlets. For hundreds of resources for entrepreneurs, authors and speakers visit http://BusinessInfoGuide.com. For author and speaker details, visit http://StephanieChandler.com.
And for strategies to help put pockets of time into your writing, check out Putting Pockets in Your Professional Life: 52 Tips to Implement Immediately. This booklet is for professionals who are frequently rushing from meeting to meeting, promising and then not delivering, or wondering if they will ever “catch up.” In this booklet, readers will find tools to support them in our often-crazy world so that they can live their professional lives more peacefully and productively.