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 for solving the puzzle. Without one, you risk ending up with random clusters of puzzle pieces and gaps in the puzzle’s outline.
However, we know that creatives sometimes balk at processes. We applaud independence, but we also know sometimes you'll need more than a bunch of puzzle pieces (or in this case, words) to write a successful book and get published.
Book Writing Mini-Guide
When it comes to useful guides for writing a book, we’ve put together a mini-guide for new writers to become published authors. It’s not an exhaustive how-to guide, but it is a great starting point for book writing with essentials for getting published that every newbie writer needs to know.
Let's dive right in with five fundamental steps for writing a book, along with tips for getting published and becoming a published author:
Step 1: What’s Your Plan?
First, treat writing your book like it’s a business. Every successful business began with a business plan. If all you do is talk about writing a book but never create a plan for writing your book, 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 ideas for writing that tie into your central theme. These ideas can evolve into your book’s chapters. When you sit down to write, you’ll at least already have the bones of your book.
Step 2: People Really Do Judge a Book by the Cover
While some writers may wait until they complete their manuscript to think about their book cover, it's a good idea to design your book cover after you've decided on the central idea of your book.
You can use a book cover maker online to easily design the cover of your books long before you complete writing the book. Seeing a visual of your finished book cover can spark inspiration and is an excellent motivator to complete the book.
Hang up copies of your cover design and use them for inspiration to continue writing till the book is finished. Besides using the cover design for your own writing inspiration, you can also use the images of your book cover as pre-launch marketing tools.
Step 3: Get Writing to Become a Writer
Doesn’t the idea of being a writer sound wonderful? When you think about becoming a writer, images of Ernest Hemingway or Stephen King churning out stories in a writing closet that go on to become fan favorites for millions of people around the world may come to mind.
Unfortunately, that’s where the writing process ends for some would-be authors. They never get past the idea of being a writer and never get on to the work of writing a book.
To move past the idea of being a writer and actually become one, get writing. Start by setting a daily writing practice to hone your writing skills, with specific short-term and long-term writing goals for your book.
Since you’re a writer who aims to become a published author, your goal must focus on producing the words for your book. If you can stick with a daily habit of writing at least 300 words every day, for example, you’ll produce about one page daily for your book.
Step 4: Read Your Book but Don’t Edit
While 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! It's highly advisable to hire an editor who will go through your manuscript, proofread it, and make professional suggestions to help you polish and improve the book before it goes to the publisher.
An editor brings fresh eyes to your book; yours are tired from so much writing.
Step 5: Edit, Polish, Publish
Together with your editor and or a writing partner, you can revisit your professionally edited work, rewrite, and polish your writings further for flow and structure before delivering the manuscript to the publisher for publishing.
Self-publishing is perhaps the best option for new authors to showcase their work, get their name out there and build a fan base. 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 book cover design, proofreading and editing, and formatting.
You can spend as much or as little as you want if you self-publishing your 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 good because their fee is based on your earnings, which means they’re incentivized to get you the best deals.
While there are probably many more steps you can use for writing a book and getting a book published, this mini-guide highlights the most essential and fundamental steps to ignite the fire in you to write your book and become a published author.
We hope this guide inspires and sets you on the right path to write your book and get published.