From Idea to Finished Book in 12 Steps!
Studies say 70% of Americans want to write a book but they never will. Why? It’s intimidating sometimes when you have a dream but don’t know the steps to achieve your goal. Here are 12 basic steps to take you from idea to finished manuscript.
1. Clarify Your Big Idea
Many think they know what their big idea is, but find it difficult to explain to others. Take a moment, in the beginning, to get clear on the subject before jumping in headfirst. I realize your topic may not be appropriate for children, but IF you wanted to explain it to a ten-year-old, would they understand the concept? If so, then your big idea is clear. If not, then maybe you should go back and work on it.
2. Identify & Research your genre
So many aspiring writers claim their books cannot be labeled and won’t fit into the genre mold. Every book that is published (Even self-published) must have a category. Whether it is in a bookstore or on Amazon, a book is placed in a genre so it can be shown to interested readers and sold. If you cannot label your book when you already know how wonderful it is, how will a reader?
After determining the best genre for your book, I suggest you find the top five authors in the category and start researching them. What is their subject? Take note of their book cover designs. Do they have similar titles? Look for patterns that you can emulate in your work. Notice I said EMULATE, not copy.
3. Create an outline
I suggest everyone have a rough outline for their fiction and nonfiction books. Now I am not talking about all those nice bullet-pointed documents we all made in high school. I suggest writers have a basic overview of where they want their story to go and how their characters will grow. For nonfiction, create a list of 10-25 topics you want to cover in the book. Having some sort of outline will give you direction and keep you from writing yourself into a corner.
4. Hook the Reader
Hook your reader’s attention in the first line of your book. Follow it up with a riveting page or two before breaking off into the content of your book.
5. Focus on VALUE
Focus on providing value in your narrative. Remember, you don’t get paid for time or products. You get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. How is the reader going to find this valuable? Is it entertaining? Is it Inspirational or educational? Focus on providing what the reader wants, and you will find more success than just peddling books on the street corner.
6. Set goals
Setting a deadline to finish your book seems like an obvious goal, but so many people don’t do it.
They say they want to finish a book at some point in their lifetime, but they never set a date. Decide when you want to finish the first draft, when you want to have it ready for an editor, and when you want to send it to a publisher. The more goals you set, the better off you are. That is if you follow through and meet each goal.
7. Establish a writing routine
Many people say they don’t have time to write, but they might carve out several hours to watch TV every day. Why not take one of those hours and write on your book? Even if you only have thirty minutes, take the time to work on your dream. The more you do this, the easier it will be to establish a writing routine.
8. Set up a productive space
Having a specific place to write helps some people get into the writing mood. If you have a lot of distractions, then it might be a good idea to find a separate place away from the noise to work on your book.
9. Keep yourself motivated
It’s easy to start your writing journey when you’re excited, but after that initial emotion expires, some writers find it hard to continue. Staying motivated during this lull is vital to your success. If you cannot do it alone, then I suggest you find an accountability partner.
10. Don’t rush the ending
During the long days of writing, it can become tempting to hurry the ending. Most of the time, the writer already knows the ending and finds it exciting. To avoid this problem, I suggest you go ahead and write the ending. Then you can set it aside and get back to writing the middle of the story. The last thing you want to do is rush the ending and leave your readers hanging with questions.
11. Get feedback
Many aspiring writers go to local writer’s groups and have them critique their work. I do not suggest this. I know it sounds harsh, but in many cases, these groups are a bunch of local aspiring writers who know little more than you do. Instead, find someone who knows the business of writing in your genre and have them read your manuscript. Get feedback from friends and family, but keep in mind that their opinions are just opinions. Don’t let them discourage you if they are negative.
12. Publish your book
Now that you have finished your book, it’s time to get it published. You can choose to publish traditionally by submitting a submission package to a publishing house, or you can upload it to Amazon yourself.
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