There is a lot to consider before you get started writing your book. It’s easy to jump ahead and envision it on the shelf or picture its cover in your mind or daydream about yourself signing books in bookstores or speaking to audiences.
Unfortunately, those things are WAY over on the other side of the book’s lifecycle. It’s not that they aren't fun to think about. Or that you shouldn’t have those visions. But as you get started writing your book, you may want to zero-in on some of the more foundational pieces.
Such as: why you’re writing it, what it’s about, and how you’re going about executing (or, what’s your plan). Otherwise, you’re putting the cover jacket (the cart) before the manuscript (the horse).
Your Why - Why Are You Writing a Book?
This depends on where you’re coming from.
I mean, if you’re Writer People, then you’ve likely been thinking about a book for a long time. So you write a book to fulfill that internal itch you’ve always wanted to scratch.
If you’re Business People, you might write a book to share your expertise over a particular field/industry or to teach a framework that you’ve developed.
If you’re Celebrity/Notable People, you might want to write a book because you’ve already got visibility and credibility through some other medium you play in (speaking, acting, singing).
If you’re Regular-Jane-with-Extraordinary-Tales People, then writing a book may be more about sharing your life experiences in a compelling and artful way because you want to inspire hope, empower change, and help people feel less alone. You may even just want to write it for yourself or family𑁋just to record what’s happened.
There are so many reasons people write books.
- Fulfill a dream
- Inspire hope
- Empower change
- Capture personal story for family
- Please fans/following
- Teach a framework
So where do you think you fall? What kind of people are you and what reasons do you have for writing your book? Understand these motivations before you get started writing your book.
Your What - What is Your Book About?
Understanding your ‘why’ will help to inform what your book is about or what type of book you’re going to write. In the examples I identified above, almost all of them would be some form of nonfiction. The exception is if you’re writing a book to say you wrote one because it’s been on your bucket list the whole time, then you may decide to write a work of fiction. But let’s assume you fall more under the category of business person or the Jane with tales extraordinaire.
If you’re a business person, your book is likely going to be about some strategy, framework, process, theory or perspective that is unique to you and can be positioned as such. It could slant towards teaching other people how to use it or it could be a piece of thought-leadership or self-help, all depending on what that thing is exactly. It may even incorporate pieces of your own personal story or business case studies and anecdotes to illustrate your point.
If you're Jane, your book is probably about your life which means it could be an autobiography, memoir, book of essays, or a personal record not meant to be published but only shared with family. This offers a variety of options for how to share your life story but assuming it’s not just a personal record, then how you craft the story will require digging deep to understand the underlying thread (which I call the heartbeat).
Whether you’re writing a business book or memoir, you have to pick and choose what you share with your audience. You can’t throw everything but the kitchen sink into your work. You’ve got to be focused and specific so your audience hears what you want them to hear.
Your How - How Are You Going to Write Your Book?
There are three ways you can execute writing your book. These are ordered in the least to most expensive investment, at least as far as your money is concerned. If we are talking about the investment in your own time, then they are ordered from most to least.
- Flying solo - doing it totally yourself and tapping professional editors as you need them
- Working with a writing coach – so you’re doing the writing but you’ve got a guide the entire time holding you accountable, helping you overcome barriers (in confidence or the manuscript), and looking at writing as you go
- Hiring a ghostwriter – to hand over the book idea and have them write it for you
Regardless if you’re flying solo or working with someone, a general process looks like:
- Defining concept and main ideas
- Outlining and creating a book proposal or brief (depending on the publishing route) which would include market research and a table of contents
- More drafting
- More revising
*Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary
- Developmental edit (once you’ve got a solid draft)
- Copy/line edit
And this is just to get you through completing a polished manuscript. There’s a whole other list of things that goes on to get that manuscript ready for publication based on which publishing route you go. If you choose to go traditional you’ll need an agent and that’s a whole other process. If you choose to go independent (or self) publishing, it has its own process. Even if you write the whole book yourself you may find that having a writing coach or consultant is useful for navigating the publishing and promotion terrain since that is its own monster to slay.
No matter what, this is what I want to make abundantly clear about writing a book. IT IS A PROCESS.
No matter how many people you see promoting their programs that they can get you to write a book in 30 days or 3 months, or whatever, writing is still a process even if you happen to be moving through it quickly. If, instead, you’re skipping steps and going from first draft to the print button, I urge you to slow down and think about the quality of the work you’re putting out there for your name to go on permanently.
So, Now What?
That depends. If you’ve read this post and you feel more clear on your why, what, and how but still have several questions about each of those like:
→ “Well, I think I know my why but I’m not sure if my why is good enough or clear enough…”
→ “I know my why but I still can’t figure out what my book is about…”
→ “Oh man, I know my why and what, but I never thought about how much goes into a book. I don’t know where to begin or what to do next…”
Then I want you to consider working with me. There are two perfect options to get started writing your book with me as your guide.
There is my Story Starter which are 90-minute consultations that you can buy in 1, 3, 5, or 7 session-packs. These sessions are designed specifically to get you clear on your book goals, talk about your barriers and challenges to getting it onto the page, and understand the process and publishing options.
Then, there is my Sips a Latte package which is for collaborators. This is if you want to work with me to start to really find the heartbeat of your book, outline it, and develop a plan of attack𑁋not just for the book itself, but also for your overall marketing world and content creation that will help you build your platform and promote your book.
Need support? Consider my Story Starter session. This is a 1:1 consultation in 90-min increments that you can book as a single session or as a 3, 5, or 7-session pack. Interested? Use this link to set up your free Coffee & Craft call so we can talk about it.
The Write Place Right Time’s blog is filled with information on how you can start your journey towards providing the perfect content for your audience. The blog is loaded with advice for people wanting to learn more about the importance of writing for their business. If you’d prefer to speak with a professional writer instead about your content you can do that here.