I get asked all the time what kind of books I write and how to publish a book. Lately, I haven’t been writing and I actually feel bad because I am a damn good writer and I’m wasting my talent by not using it. People love my stories and what I have to say. I feel like I am letting people down. However, all of that will be changing soon, but I’ll save that info for another date.
You decided you want to write a book. You’re probably thinking about the title, the cover, the length of the book, if people will like it, how to market it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. None of this is important if you don’t have a book. Believe it or not, all of that stuff comes after the book is written. What you should be thinking about right now is actually writing the book.
I used to do outlines for my novels and it became hard because I would try my best to stick to the outline, never deviating. I found that if I had an idea and just began to write, it came easy. Planning out my writing has stopped working for me because I letting my fingers do all the magic on the keyboard has proven successful. That is not to say that planning won’t work for you. I am just saying it doesn’t work for me.
The first thing you need to have is a topic (nonfiction) or a plot (fiction). I dabble in both and find that neither is easier to write than the other. I can say that fiction is more enjoyable to write than nonfiction. So let’s talk about the process for each one, starting with fiction.
- Fiction books require a plot, settings, characters, beginning, middle, end, rising action, climax, falling action, a genre and most importantly, an imagination, which is so much more than a nonfiction book. Usually an outline helps with this or some kind of graphic organizer/plot diagram. I do outline from time-to-time just to get the basics. An outline can be as in depth or surface level as you need it to be.
- Next, once you have all of your story elements, find a comfortable place to write that you know you won’t be interrupted. Make sure you have snacks and something to drink. Silence cell phones and maybe turn on some music if that helps.
- Decide if you want a prologue or to just jump write in with chapter one. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure, and this is important, make sure that your first sentence, the topic sentence, is fire. If you don’t have a soul-snatching first sentence, your readers will stop reading. You want that first sentence to make your reader continue on.
- Write the rest of the book. I honestly cannot tell you how to write a book. Many people go to college for creative writing to learn how to write a book, but in all honesty, you can’t teach someone to write a book. You can help someone to better their craft, but writing is something you’re either born with, or you’re not. I will do another post on how to develop storylines for fiction books, so stay tuned for that.
- After writing your book comes the most tedious part: editing. I swear this is not the part that I look forward to but it is just as important as writing the book. Editing is for fine tuning, making sure the story flows, there’s no grammar mistakes, spelling is on point, dialogue makes sense, and even though it’s fiction, it needs to have a real element to it. You can always pay someone to do it (yes, I offer book editing services) or you can do it yourself. I do all of my own editing.
- Then comes the task of deciding on a title and book cover. There are a number of websites that have premade book covers and I have used several. You can also create your own on Canva.
- Once it has been edited, get some beta readers, people who will read your book and give you honest feedback. This will also help when your book launches to have reviews that people can see so they know whether it’s worth a read or not. Don’t fret about negative reviews. Your book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay.
- When you are ready to publish, decide if you want to go the traditional route (going through a publisher) or the indie route (publishing yourself). I will do a post on this later about the difference between the two.
- Last is promotion and there are different ways to promote your book: book promoting service, self promotion and word of mouth.
Nonfictions books don’t require as much as a fiction book does but they can be harder to think of a topic for. There are so many nonfiction books out there that it’s hard to keep up and know whether or not your topic has been written about and how many times. this process requires research and reading other nonfiction books similar to whatever topic you are wanting to write about.
- Choose your topic and research that market. See what others have written, if it has been written, and if how yours will be different. Many people write about the same topics but each book is completely different.
- Once you have researched the topic, research if readers are interested and if so, what number (just a ballpark estimate). If it is not the number you were hoping to reach, choose another topic.
- For these types of books I do make an outline because each chapter is different. I have to plan out each chapter and what all I want to talk about. Length does not matter, but making sure I get all the information in does.
- If your book requires sources or for you to gather information from other places, make sure you have a works cited page, footnotes and you cite your sources within the sentences or paragraphs.
- Once you have finished your book, again, the editing process, title, book cover, publishing, etc.
- Marketing will be different than a fiction book because you will have to find the audience you are targeting. Most fiction books can be targeted towards anyone but when it comes to nonfiction, let’s just say there are more fiction readers than nonfiction readers.
I really hope these tips helped in some way. If you want me to elaborate on something, feel free to let me know. Also, click the services tab to check out my book editing/writing services.