How To Write A Book

Or... How I Wrote My Latest Book (And You Can Too)

Hey there, my beautiful friends! In case you missed it, I recently shared some exciting news – my latest book hit the shelves in February, a whole 20 years after my first publishing adventure. And, there's more! I'm on the cusp of releasing the second installment in my Women In Business book series.

Stay tuned for more on that!🌟

ENGAGE: Content Marketing Magic For Women In Business

Wow... So Many Readers Want To Write A Book!

Several of you have reached out, asking if I could help you write and publish your own books. While I'm truly honoured by your requests, my plate is super full at the moment. However, I'm here to share my process, hoping it'll ignite your writing journey!

Now, let be begin by saying that this is just MY process. It's what I find works for me. I'm not saying this is the right way or the only way, but it's the process and techniques I like to follow, so maybe it will help you, too.

Step 1: Zero In On Your Topic and Angle

Picking your topic isn't just about what you know – it's about what you love. Ask yourself, what am I passionate about? What unique perspective can I bring to the table? For instance, my love for empowering women in business is driving my current series of books. Your topic should be something that excites you every time you think about it.

Tips for Finding Your Angle:

  • Look for Gaps: What hasn't been said about your topic? Can you address it?
  • Personal Experience: How have your experiences shaped your understanding of the topic?

Step 2: Create An Outline For Your Book And Draft Those Chapter Titles

I put these two together in one step because, well, that's just how I do this. I plan the journey that I want my readers to go on... one step at a time.

So think of this as creating a roadmap for your readers. Is there a process that you want your readers to follow, in a particular order? Will they need background info before they can read on? Or does your content need to follow a specific timeline?

Your chapter titles should tell a story on their own. They should be intriguing, almost like little hooks that keep your readers wanting more.

Crafting Engaging Titles:

  • Use Action Words: Titles with verbs are more dynamic and engaging.
  • Keep It Clear: While creativity is key, clarity is important. Make sure your titles reflect the content of the chapters.

When outlining your book, consider how many chapters you need and roughly how many pages you'll write for each chapter. Remembering that you might draft your book in an A4 or Letter size Word document, but that's not how it's going to be printed. So the page numbers will be totally different.

To give you a general idea, have a look at some physical books that you'd like to model. For example, find some books that are around the same size as you'd like your book to be. What size are they? How many pages do they contain?

You may also like to search online for a rough idea of how many words to include in your book as this might give you a good idea of what to aim for.

Step 3: Outline Each Chapter

This is where you start building the foundation. For each chapter, jot down the key points you want to cover. Think about the flow – how does one point lead to the next? This outline will be your guide and will keep you on track.

Outline Essentials:

  • Main Idea: Start with the central theme of each chapter.
  • Sub-points: Break down each main idea into detailed sub-points.

Step 4: Start Writing – Yes, Now!

The best advice I can give you here is to just start. Don't worry about perfection; focus on getting your thoughts down. Set aside a time each day for writing, even if it's just 30 minutes.

I'll let you in on a little secret here...

When I'm writing and I'm not sure how to start, I just start typing... anything. Sometimes it might be along the lines of, "Ho hum... so here I am... sitting at my computer attempting to write. But I don't know what to write about. So, I'll just say anything. Good morning Computer! How are you... Ooh, that just gave me an idea... [INSERT BRILLIANT IDEA AND LET THE FLOW OF WORDS BEGIN!]"

It sounds crazy, right? I know. But I've been using that technique intentionally for nearly 30 years and it works every time. The act of taking action - no matter how useless it may seem - tends to get my creative juices flowing and I'm in my 'zone' before I know it.

Keeping the Momentum:

  • Daily Goals: Set word count, page count or time goals for each day.
  • Stay Inspired: Keep a list of quotes, stories or ideas that inspire you and refer to it whenever you feel stuck.

Secret #2:

Okay, I'm spilling the beans on my personal strategy again here. When I had drafted my first book in my Women In Business series - ENGAGE: Content Marketing Magic For Women In Business - I had the cover design created before I went on to edit my book. And I loved the finished design so much that I decided to go ahead and create the covers for all of the books I've planned for this series. 

Part of me was thinking, "Just focus on one at a time", which is wise advice. But another little voice was telling me to get all the covers designed now, to help keep them consistent. After all, what if something changed and I couldn't get similar artwork created for the rest of the books? I really wanted the images to be consistent.

So, I went ahead and created them all.

And I'm sooo glad I did. I absolutely friggin' love the cover designs of all of my books. (Although I think WRITE and THINK are my favourites. And NURTURE. And, actually, enough of that... let's get back on track!) The thing is, I couldn't help but look at those designs. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Multiple times. I can't express how much they inspired me to write.

In your case, I want you to focus on one book - get it done and published, if that's your goal. But if something like this helps to inspire and motivate you, find your own way of doing this. Perhaps you can focus on your one book, but get it's cover designed before you've written it. Why not? If it motivates you, great!

Step 5: Revise, Edit, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Your first draft is just that – a first draft. Now, it's time to refine. Look for areas where you can clarify your thoughts, tighten your prose, or add more engaging elements.

Have you used jargon or complicated words that could be said in a simpler way?

Are you writing in the style and tone that your audience will relate to?

Are there words you've used too often? 

Effective Revision Techniques:

  • Take Breaks: Step away from your manuscript before revising to see it with fresh eyes.
  • Read Aloud: This can help catch awkward phrasing and grammatical errors.

Step 6: Proofreading, Professional Editing And Formatting

Even the best writers can miss errors in their own work. A fresh set of eyes can do wonders. If possible, invest in a professional editor. They not only help with grammar and syntax but can also provide feedback on the flow and structure. It's also worth investing in a Virtual Assistant who's experienced with book formatting to look after that side of things for you. 

There are specific ways that print books should be formatted. Kindle books have a different formatting style again. Amazon give you some great templates to help with this but still, if you're not sure how to do this, it's easier to pay someone who knows exactly what to do.

Finding the Right Editor:

  • Look for Experience: Find someone who has experience in your genre.
  • Get Samples: Most editors will offer a sample edit of a few pages, so you can see their style.

Make sure you communicate with those you're paying for these services before, during and after the process. Clear communication will help prevent misunderstandings as to what's required, what the cost will be, deadlines and so on.

Step 7: Publishing on Amazon's KDP

Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a great platform for getting your book out into the world. It's accessible, user-friendly and puts your book in one of the largest marketplaces. 

Amazon KDP wasn't around when I published my first book. Although I had a publisher keen to work with me, they didn't want to include the CD that I included with the book. The CD contained a lot of templates that I felt were important and helped to make the book unique.

So I decided to self-publish. Better still, I successfully sought sponsors to help cover the cost of the first print run. This was a more time-consuming and expensive process and, although I'm glad I went down that path at the time, I'm now so grateful for Amazon KDP. It makes it so much easier!

Why KDP?

  • Flexibility: You can update your book anytime.
  • Global Reach: Access to a vast audience worldwide.
  • Support: Amazon provides detailed guides and resources.

Getting Started with KDP:

  • Formatting Your Book: Follow Amazon's guidelines and templates for formatting your manuscript and cover.
  • Setting Up Your Account: Create your KDP account, where you'll manage your book's details, pricing, and royalties.

Writing a book is an incredible journey, one that can be both challenging and rewarding. By breaking down this process into manageable steps, I hope to inspire and guide you on your path to becoming a published author. Remember, the world needs your unique voice and story – so start writing and let's make it happen! 🌟

engage: content marketing magic for women in business

About the author, Donna-Marie

Donna-Marie is an award-winning Entrepreneur, Author, Online Mentor and Content Marketing Specialist who's been lifting up small business owners since 1998. She's got an incredible talent for showing business owners how to build their dream business and life, teaching them systems to boost profits and enjoy more freedom, all at the same time. Don't just go with the flow... create your business - and life - by design. 💕