write a book

How to Write a Book – The Real Guide

For all you lovely writers that are tip-toeing into the world of book writing, this post will clarify exactly what steps are required from just starting out right through to the end. Because if there’s one thing I dis-like most, it’s other posts promising you the goods and instead tip-toeing around what you thirst for most. Detail is what you need in how to write a book, and here, detail is what you’ll get.

write a book

Pages of References – these may be of use to you

. Can you do this?

. 10 ways to connect with your writing voice

. Writing tips to make your words fly

. How to overcome writer’s block

I’m a published author, an Amazon best-seller, and I own the Best International Author Coaching organisation. When I started out, I did everything on a shoe string. That’s why I understand the importance of detail and budget (or lack of) when you set out to write a book or find out how to write a book. If you have the commitment to yourself to research what you need, and the time to invest to process that research, and apply it to your writing practice, then I’m happy to lend you the detail right now, so you can be on on your way to writing that book within you and seeing it in its published glory.

write a book

Here’s 20 steps on how to write a book. Write them down now and pin to your writing space wall:

1) Make the commitment
I know it seems like a simple one but you’d be surprised just how important this step is. Making the commitment to yourself, and others, to write this book is the very first step any writer should take. It’s simple. It’s easy. And if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already made it. High fives to completing your first step.

2) Decide where and when you’re going to write
If you have a dedicated space to write, you can put these steps up on the wall of a bedroom, an office, a study; or if you’re writing outside your space could be in car (yes, this has been done), on a bus, in a cafe or in a park, you can keep these steps of how to write a book in your bag to keep referring to every now and again. The beauty of creating a space for writing is that this place will become a channel for creativity to flow through you. Writing spaces don’t have to be conventional. They can be anywhere. At any time. When you choose to write very much depends on your schedule. I met an author once who wrote everyday on her lunch in her car. She became a best selling author with agents falling over themselves to sign her. Consistency is key. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it as best you can.

3) Journal ideas
Writing a book is a big project, no less than starting a business. There are many components to consider. When ideas pour into you, get into the habit of writing them down in a journal. Keeping a record of everything that comes to you may pay dividends later in the project. No idea is a waste of time. Get them out of your head, into the journal. This way, it frees your head space for the next step.

write a book

4) Find your why
Ask yourself what this book means to you. Then ask yourself what you writing this book will mean to others. Find a connection. Find the reason others will want to read it and hold on to this. Keep it in sight through to the very end. This is extremely important. Writer and reader are one. A key step in how to write a book.

write a book

5) Focus on the story
It’s easy to ramble and go off on a tangent. Consider what you want to write. Focus in on the story and the development of the story. Where does it begin and how does it end? Now, consider the middle. Hmmmm…. this gets a lot of people – yet, this is the most lovely part. Here you get to observe as you write the growth of your characters. You get to watch them and be with them as they learn, struggle, achieve and evolve into the characters they need to become to reach their goal. Life isn’t easy, and neither should theirs be. We grow through being challenged, altering our perspectives and experiencing pain – and love. And so will they.

6) Consider the rise and fall of conflict
Every story has conflict. In fact, every story needs conflict for it to be of interest to a reader. Otherwise you may as well print a photograph of a happy day out. The end. Whilst it’s lovely to experience the happy in life, we wouldn’t know happy, without knowing sad. The happy wouldn’t feel so precious. And the sad wouldn’t feel so poignant. If there’s no conflict, there’s no story. It’s just a picture in a photograph. When you write a book every moment of conflict will indeed invite a moment of resolution. Make you story pull in the right direction of tension, and let it fall into peace when it needs to. Both need to exist.

7) Plot your story
This is when you put steps 4, 5 and 6 together. Map it out. Write as much as you like. Or if you prefer, you can bullet point the events that need to happen. Ask yourself, what came first… the chicken or the egg? In this case, the plot or the characters? Both need to work together. They are connected in the same way that humans need oxygen to survive. They each need each depend on the other.

write a book

8) Decide who is going to tell the story
You can pick a character and tell it in first person, or you can choose to tell it in third person. Have a play with what comes naturally, and make sure you’re not limiting yourself or the story with a particular voice.

9) Find the beginning
If you choose the right voice, the beginning will flow naturally. Start where it feels right. Sometimes the beginning is the end of something. Consider options carefully and have the foresight to see the path ahead with each.

10) Start writing
You’ve found your voice, you’ve found your beginning, you have your plot, your characters are all set. All that’s left to do is listen to them. Hear what your characters are saying and simply write. Don’t worry if you think it’s rubbish. We all think that of our first drafts. Just right and know that when you come to the end, you’ll have made a huge achievement.

11) Finish the first draft
Getting to the end might mean sacrifice in other parts of your life for a very short while. Your commitment to finishing this first draft will mean that you complete it faster than you or anyone else thought possible. Go ahead. Surprise yourself. You can do it.

12) Walk away
Firstly, congratulate yourself on completing your first draft of your book. What an achievement! This step is for you to rest, breathe and let it be. Walk away from your first draft. Do not read it again just yet. The more distance you create between you and it will be beneficial for the next step in how to write a book.

13) Edit and redraft
Hopefully, after several weeks or months apart from your manuscript, you can return with a fresh perspective of the story you’ve written. Putting time in between the two of you will mean you read it with fresh eyes and don’t still have the story verbatim in your mind. The fresher your mind when you sit down to read it through, the better. You can edit and redraft as much as you see fit to shape the story into what your mind now sees.

14) Finish your second draft
When you get to the end of your second draft you should feel much more confident in how your story is shaping up. With every draft you write, you give it an extra layer of life.

15) Take a deep breath and choose someone to read your second draft
Be brave. Be courageous. You’ll still feel vulnerable, and that’s okay. Discuss your story with your person of choice and tell them that you want them to look for holes in the plot, slips in narrative, cumbersome wording etc. Ask them to be honest, yet constructive and gentle. Writers, of any length of time, continue to be sensitive.

16) Edit and redraft again
Take time to process the feedback you’ve received. It may sting a little at first. But when you’re ready, come back to it with a critical eye and keep your reader in mind. Make the changes you think are necessary. Complete your third draft. You can choose to repeat this process again and again until you feel the story is just right. It might be worth selecting a number of people to read your later drafts so the story is fresh to them. Once this cycle is complete – you’ll have a finished book at your fingertips. Well done.

17) Design your book cover
Look at other book covers in your genre. Find a designer or download a design software package such as adobe creative suite. There are also plenty of other options available. Do some research. Your book cover should engage but not be too busy. A clear message to set it’s intentions to the reader, along with the title and author name is all it needs.

18) Write your book blurb
Depending on where you’re selling it, or whether it’s in hardback or softback or ebook – your book will need a teaser. This teaser will be no more than a paragraph to entice your reader to buy it.

19) Get a marketing strategy
Books don’t sell themselves. If you’re self publishing you’ll wear the hat of marketer also. Or, if budget allows, you can hire a marketer to do this for you. You will need to promote your book’s launch date to build up promotional hype and let the world know it’s available. Without doing any of this, no one will know that your book exists. And that would be a tragic waste.

how to write a book

20) Release your book
Your book is ready for release and you’ve set a publication date. What an amazing feeling! Hopefully, you’ve secured lots of pre-order sales with step 19 which will help boost your launch sales and rank you high on the amazon best seller list (if you choose this platform). This is the final step. You’ve written your book, you’ve created your cover, you’ve marketing your book and it’s launch date. The release date arrives and you can finally call yourself a published author. And that is something to be extremely proud of.

Writing a book takes dedication. These 20 steps are just that, steps. There is no leaping up the stairs two by two. You take one step at a time, as slowly as you need. Keep the steps manageable. You know what you’re capable of. Allow each step to guide you to the next, and watch your project turn into to a published book.

Your Sincere Guide,