When I think about how I write a book, like anything in life it’s a process. When I decided to write a book in a day. I created a process for it. And it’s a simple process that I can share with you.
I understand how I like to do things and what is needed to maintain my motivation. When I get a book idea I need to get it planned and outlined immediately, followed by a period of reflection and then a big jump into writing, if it is the right book for right now.
Sometimes it’s not the right book for now, but I know that it will become a book at some point.
Normally, what I will do is to test the water and write blogs. If there is a 30-day blogging challenge going on with one of the many people, including myself that are running one. I’ll break the back of it and get 30,000 ish words written pronto.
I like to challenge myself to write 30 blogs in quick succession so that I can get the content out there and tested and get a better than first draft done. What I also like to do is to take each chapter and make it into learning content, which helps me to see it in another way. I need lots of different ways to look at my content and lots of ‘projects’ running through it. This is because I like fresh, new and exciting and I need to see things from many angles.
Over the last week, I needed to take a break from a book that I am writing called Blog Your Book in 30-Days. I’d got to the content strategy and planning chapters and felt that I needed to go back through some of my processes and simplify them. That’s often what happens when you come to write a book — you get massive clarity on how you do things and so it gives you a chance to step back and ask — how can I do this better?
In my corporate days, one of my favourite jobs was being on the lean team and looking at how people did things and why their processes were the way that they were. I loved finding why things didn’t work and making them work better.
The book that was my book in a day project didn’t just waft in, I’d been working on a multiple sources of income project and thinking about all of my content. What I wondered, could I turn into a series of books that I would love to buy and use?
As an avid journaling and a mandala colourer in. I wanted to combine colouring in with journaling and knew that I had a lot of content that I could repurpose and where the gaps were I knew that I could fill them in quite easily.
Knowing that I had the content and that this would be a simpler project than let’s say writing one’s memoir I set about pulling it all together. What I also focused on was how I could make this a template for a series of books.
The book that I have created will be winging its way to me in the week and I want to ratify it as a proof of concept rather than the final idea. That’s the beauty of self-publishing, you can create a prototype and test it until it’s right quite simply.
Let’s look at the process and hopefully it will inspire you to do the same.
Step 1 — Brainstorm ideas
As I said I love to journal and I adore mandalas. There’s something incredibly relaxing about colouring a mandala in while letting a prompt run through your head. I’ve found in my journaling workshops that this is one of the most powerful ways for people to gain clarity. The idea or should I say ideas were no brainers.
Have a think about what content you have either on a blog or in a course that you could easily repurpose into a simple book. It can be connected to your main business, a business you want to move into or a side hustle. The key is simplicity.
Let’s say that you are a money mindset coach, you could produce a journaling book that takes your reader through your process, without all of the explanation that you might reserve for you brand busting book — that can come later.
What if you are a marketing consultant and your blog is full of tips. Need I say more?
Perhaps you are a therapist who specialises in relationships, you could also create a journal that enables the reader to move through a 21-day process of seeing their relationships in another light.
Brainstorm book titles
As part of your idea generation process, make a list of book titles. Let them sit with you. Before you finalise your book, you will have to choose. I know one will leap out.
What about being brave and asking a few trusted friends what they think?
If time allows, head over to Amazon and look there.
Action: Make a list of simple ideas where you know you have the content or can create it easily. Do the same for book titles
Step 2: Do a knowledge audit
This is where you go an find your content. You’ll be surprised at what you find. After I’d created this book, I put the keyword planners into my file explorer and was shocked at how many planners and templates I’d created.
Action: Find the content, put it into a place that makes sense for this book project.
Step 3: Who is your ideal reader?
Don’t spend long agonising over this. Get an idea of who this is for. Do the demographics, that’s always pretty easy. Then ask:-
- What are their goals?
- What are their values?
- What challenges do they have?
- What are the immediate pain points?
- Where do they normally hangout to get information (books, blogs, magazines, films, gurus’s etc.)?
Action: Draw a quick matchstick person and answer the questions.
Step 4: What questions are they asking?
This is fairly straightforward, grab some post-it notes and brainstorm 20–30 questions they may be asking you. Put them in some kind order and leave them while you grab a cuppa.
Action: Brainstorm questions and put them in what you consider to be a logical order.
Step 5: Map the customer journey
Do a quick map of which content in which order. You have the questions, so start there. And perhaps it doesn’t matter. Just make sure that it makes sense in some way.
Action: Create a customer journey map based on your questions, if relevant.
Step 6: Assess the gaps
Basically, what do you need to write that you don’t already have? For my book I had everything except a small piece of content that I had to write on mandalas.
Action: Access the gaps, making sure that this is not a huge task. Decide how you will fill the gaps.
Step 7: Compile the content
Now you are at the compiling stage. When you write a book, you normally create each chapter and leave the introduction to the end.
Action: Compile your book.
Step 8: Write the missing content
This will include an intro and any chapters or content that needs to go in that you don’t already have. These will also make great blogs.
Action: Do the writing bits.
Step 9: Spell, grammar check & proof
Make sure it flows and there are no mistakes. I use Grammarly and WORD’s built-in tools, as well as printing it out and proofing it. I will read it both silently and aloud to check.
Normally, I would suggest that you send this to a proofreader and you can, it’s up to you. I’d wait until you get the proof copy back and give your proofreader a well-read copy of your book.
In my case, this is content that has already gone through editing and proofing so it’s unnecessary at this stage.
Action: Spell and grammar check with more than one tool. Make sure you also print your book out and read through it. Book the proofreader for later.
Step 10: Check the formatting
This means that it’s laid out in a pleasant and easy to read way. You have chapter headings and subheadings. Your text is consistent and spaced properly. What you will find is that when you upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing you will see if this has been achieved and can change it during the upload stage.
Action: Format and remember as above to print out to make sure you have formatted it correctly.
Step 11: Upload to Kindle Direct Publishing
Go to your bookshelf create a new print book, follow the prompts on the screen, they are self-explanatory and upload your manuscript. You can assign an Amazon ISBN number for ease.
Normally I would get a cover designed by a professional, but as this book is a prototype and I am looking at proof of concept, the cover is not important. I chose an image and used the KDP cover designer. My eye is not pleased by this cover, but I know it is only temporary.
You will need to launch the previewer and this is where you can see if your layout works. I find I have to keep going back and forth until everything is in the right place and believe me it’s weird how WORD does things.
Action: Create a KDP account if you haven’t already done so. Make sure that you go through the tax information first. Then create a new book on your bookshelf. Follow the prompts and do not publish…
Step 12: Order a proof book
You will see an option to order a proof book. Choose that and wait for the email that tells you how to order and pay. Sit back and wait for your book to arrive.
Action: Do not publish. Make sure you order a proof. Look out for your email inviting you to purchase. When you get it back, be very critical and audit it thoroughly.
That’s my write a book in a day process
This whole process took me a day. To be honest, I didn’t sit all day and do this, I did each part with a break and finalised the KDP part the following day. But all in all, it took approx. 10 hours and it only took this long as I wanted my mandalas in heart shapes and I could have given this task to my VA.
The bottom line is I was able to write a book in a day because I made it easy for myself, I had the majority of the content, I am technically capable, I had the desire and motivation. Yes I know what I am doing, I should, I have been doing this stuff for years. But here’s the thing, you can do most of this yourself and outsource the bits you can’t.
If you have never written a book and want one, make it easy for yourself. Once you have published this, the next one which is potentially your big brand and business book will be easier. Better still, blog your book. This is another way to get it done, test your writing skills and content on your readers, build your brand and turn visitors into leads.
My book facts
- 281 pages
- 5 full chapters
- 21 prompts and mandalas
- 13564 words
Let me know what you think and you know where I am if you need support with this.
What can you do next?
Originally published at https://www.bookbrandbusiness.com on June 25, 2019.