A Quick Guide to Writing a Book: 5 Steps to Get Published

Writing a book is like assembling a puzzle. When you dump the puzzle pieces out, you grab for the ones that go together. You collect edge pieces and snap a few together here and there.

You have a plan - a process. Without one, you risk ending up with random clusters of puzzle pieces and gaps in the puzzle’s outline.

We know creatives sometimes balk at processes. We applaud independence, but we also know sometimes you need more than a bunch of puzzle pieces or in this case, words.


Book Writing Mini-Guide


We’ve put together a mini-guide to writing a book for new authors. While it’s not an exhaustive how-to guide, it’s a great start with essentials for getting published you need to know.


Phase 1: What’s Your Plan?


First, treat writing your book like it’s a business. Every successful business began with a plan.

If all you do is talk about writing a book but never create a plan, you’ll never move past the talking stage.

A writing plan starts by defining the central idea of the book. Once you’ve decided on the main idea, you’ll brainstorm for ideas that tie into your central theme. These ideas evolve into your book’s chapters.

When you sit down to write, you’ll already have the bones of your book.


Phase 2: People Really Do Judge a Book by the Cover


While some writers may wait until they complete their manuscript, why not design your cover after you decide on the central idea of your book?

Using a book cover maker, you can design the cover long before you complete the book. A finished cover is an excellent motivator.

Hang up copies of your cover design and use them for inspiration to continue writing.

Besides using the cover design for your own inspiration, you can also use the images as pre-launch marketing tools.


Phase 3: Be a Writer


Doesn’t being a writer sound like a romantic idea? Images of Ernest Hemingway or Stephen King sweating out stories in a writing closet surrounded by cats may come to mind.

Unfortunately, that’s where the writing process stops for some would-be authors. They never get past the idea of being a writer and on to the work of writing a book.

Start by setting a daily goal. Since you’re a writer, your goal must focus on words. If you can stick with it for 300 words, you’ll have about one page.


Phase 4: Read Your Book but Don’t Edit


You, the writer, should be your book’s first reader. That doesn’t mean you should also play the role of editor.

We can’t stress it enough! Hire an editor who will make suggestions, proofread, and help you polish the book before it goes to the publisher.

An editor brings fresh eyes to your book. Yours are tired from so much writing.


Phase 5: Edit, Polish, Publish


Together with your editor and or a writing partner, you can revisit your edited work and polish it further for flow and structure before delivering the manuscript to the publisher for publishing.

The cost of publishing a book varies greatly, but self-published authors can spend anywhere from $100-$1500 to publish a book, depending on production costs like cover design, editing, and formatting.

Self-publishing is perhaps the best option for new authors to showcase their work, get their name out there and build a fan base.

You can spend as much or as little as you want self-publishing your own book on platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, where you typically maintain full rights to the book.

If you choose to go the traditional publishing route, find a literary agent who knows the market well. Some publishers will only accept book submissions via a literary agent.

You can find an agent from one of the directories of agents and publishers. The main ones being "Writer’s Market" (USA) and "Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook" (UK). An agent will handle contract negotiations on your behalf and help you get the best publishing contract.

Agents typically take a fee of around 10-15% of your earnings. This is a good thing because their fee is based on your earnings, which means they’re incentivized to get you the best deals.


Conclusion: Enjoy This Guide to Writing a Book?


While there are probably more steps, we designed this guide to ignite the fire. We hope our guide to writing and publishing a book encourages you to sit down and start writing.

For more help with things like launching and publishing, visit our Books archive where you’ll find information on every aspect of digital writing for creatives.

George Mathews is a staff writer for WebWriterSpotlight.com. He is passionate about personal growth and development.