Steps and Tips for Authors
Nine Super Important Steps To Writing Your Book Fast
Writing a book can take as little or as long as you decide it should take. I’ve know people that can write a book in less than a week, and they still have time to eat, sleep, breathe, and even brush their teeth! Of course I also know people that, ten years later, are still working on their book.
The decision is yours. How long will it take you to write your book?
Here are nine simple steps on how to write a book fast:
STEP ONE: Write What You Know and Love
You can write on a subject that you find interesting or you can write on a subject that you have an expertise in. Whatever you do, keep to writing something you really love, are passionate about or know a great deal about.
STEP TWO: Determine Your Why
Who is going to read your book? Who will be affected by your book? Why are you writing your book? Are you writing it because you want to inspire people? Will your story help people to overcome a particular situation or circumstance? Will your book show people how to have a better business, a better life or show them how to build something? What is your why? Why are you writing this book? Once you discover your why…if it’s a big enough why, you should have no problem writing your book. If you have a day where you don’t feel like writing, just revisit your why and that should get you back on track. If you do this and it does not motivate you enough to write, it’s time to take a good look at your why and find a new one – one that will be juicy enough to pull you out of any funk or lapse in excitement for your book.
STEP THREE: Choose Your Book’s Working Title
The more compelling and focused your title is, the easier it is to write the book, but don’t get hung up on it. Chances are your title and subtitle will change as you write your book. You will get feedback from others (hopefully for those who have had success writing and selling books), but pick a title that you like to work with while you write.
STEP FOUR: Write Your Chapter Titles
Get out a blank piece of paper and a pencil. Think of all the stories and elements you want to put in your book. Come up with a very short description of these stories or elements and start to write them down on the blank sheet of paper in no particular order. Just get them out onto the paper. Write them all down until you have all of your stories on the paper. Put them in order. Now you’re ready to start writing.
STEP FIVE: Write the Back Cover Copy
Your back cover copy is your sales page (also known as an elevator pitch). You can use this copy for many different reasons as your book project moves along. You have about 150 words to tell readers why they should buy your book. Offer a brief description, promise, and a list of benefits. Your back cover copy may be used as a motivational tool (post it on your wall in your office or pull it out when you are re-visiting your why).
STEP SIX: Decide How Much Time You Will Write
If you want to get your book done fast, you’ll need to make a commitment to yourself to write as much as you can. Set book writing time appointments and keep those appointments. If you make your book writing time equally as important as any other appointments you have, you will get your book done fast. If you feel so inclined, count your chapters and average ten pages per chapter. Write ten pages and see how long it takes you. Then multiply the time it took to write the chapter by the number of chapters in your book, and now you have an estimated time of hours it will take to complete the majority of your book! Now, schedule those hours into your calendar, keep the appointments and before you know it you’ll be writing the introduction, the conclusion, the copyright page and the contents page…and then you’re done.
STEP SEVEN: Write, Write, Write
Do whatever you have to do to write as much as possible. If you can schedule in some (what we like to call) book marathons. A book marathon is when you schedule a whole day or two just to write. When doing a book marathon, it’s important to make sure you get up, walk around, and take some type of break for ten to fifteen minutes per hour. Even if you’re just cranking on the book, remember to do this. It will actually help you to be able to write longer if you honor this.
I would strongly suggest free-flow writing. Free-flow writing is when you just write down what comes without judging it or editing it in the moment. Editing as you go will slow you down considerably and it is more effective to come back and edit after you’ve finished with your books first draft.
STEP EIGHT: Editing
You will only want to do one edit yourself. Then get someone who does it professionally (or your favorite straight A English student) to do the last draft.
STEP NINE: Calling Your Book Done
The less you change, tweek or massage the book the better it will be. Sometimes people spend so much time trying to perfect their book, that it never gets finished. There is no such thing as a perfect book. Every author I know can point out things they missed or wish they could change about their book, but the whole time they are thinking that the people who need to be reading the book are reading it, because it’s published and on the bookshelves! You can always make changes when you sell out of your first book run and get to your second printing. Happy writing!
Book Cover Tip
You know how they say, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” As much as I wish this were true…it is NOT. As a matter of fact, most people do judge a book by its cover. When you’ve done the work/play that it took to start –write and finish your book the last thing you want to do is cheap out on the cover and lose your audience. A professional book cover artist will not only create what you envision, but they know how to present the cover to the printing company in a way that is standard (print ready). A good professional book cover artist will include the bar codes that go on the back of the book and that saves you another step in the process of completing your project.
Keep your bio up to date. As you get active in your book promotion process you’ll be speaking at events, doing radio shows – teleseminar and other events. You may also have pieces of your press release published in assorted media sources (newspapers, blogs or ezines to name a few). Make sure you add these as they happen to your bio. People chose to work with you based on what you’ve done. Make sure you have all of these written down until your bio becomes full and therefore impressive. Once you look at it and say, “Wow, I’ve done all of that?” then transfer only the really big and exciting things to your bio from that point on.
Seven Critical Steps For Dealing With Overwhelm
What to do if you feel overwhelmed?
Spot it immediately by making a clear and conscious choice to do so right now. In this moment – notice and think about how you feel when you are experiencing overwhelm. What does your body do? Do you get sweaty, feel sleepy or overtired? Does your heart beat really fast – do you get out of breath? How does your body react when you let overwhelm take you over.
O.K., now that you have noticed what your body does – decide right now that as soon as you notice your body acting this way in the future – it will be your red flag reminder to do the following steps. Close your eyes quickly and lock this into your subconscious mind before moving on.
Accept it, feeling busy, bombarded, overworked and stressed are just a symptom of life. Whether you work for someone else, own your own business, are working on owning your own business or writing a book to make a difference in the world…you are going to be busy. The sooner you accept what my dear friend and mentor Jack Canfield says, “Busy just is!” the quicker you’ll feel better. Because, if busy just is…then it’s how we deal with being busy that means everything to our survival (mental and physical).
In each moment we can either resist or accept what is happening. Bing accepting feels much better to the body and to the mind. Resistance causes stress, pain, grief and frustration.
Right now, close your eyes and say, “I don’t like feeling busy and overwhelmed.”
How does that feel inside of you right now? It almost created the feeling of busy and overwhelm just thinking about it..didn’t it?
Now, close your eyes and say, “I accept myself having created the feeling of overwhelm.” Or “ I accept myself just the way I am…even when I feel overwhelmed.”
Which feels better energetically, resistance or acceptance?
Let’s move onto the next step shall we?
Identify what it is that is creating the feeling of overwhelm. Is it scheduling? Personal challenges? Comparing yourself to someone else? Not honoring your deadlines?
Whatever it may be for you, the next step is to…
Chunk it down into manageable steps. For some people – having any large goals can feel overwhelming. The way to lessen the stress or to feel better about each step is to break them down into small but managable steps. Keep breaking each step down until it gets to the point where you feel like each step is doable with out bringing stress you’re your life. This could even include extending your deadlines to allow for more time.
Prioritize those steps so that you can focus on the ones that are most important first.
Take action by putting them in your calendar or schedule. (this is KEY in your success)
Honor your word or commitment to complete those next steps.
When you do these last two steps habitually – not only will it become easier and easier to keep your word and commitments, but you will stand out in the crowd! Very few people take action on anything in their lives. Think about how true that statement is. The truth is that most people sit around and talk about what they used to do or what they will someday do – all along, never taking any action on their words. When you follow up your words with actions and keep your commitments to yourself and others – people will notice! And, the end result will be that you finish your project and gain the respect of your piers, clients, co-workers, family and most importantly yourself.
Editing (or rewriting) can be the least fun part of publishing a book, but at the same time, it's probably the most important phase of the process. It's so important that you cannot and should not do it alone. You’ll need an editor or a reader you really trust to go through your manuscript and ask you the tough questions about your writing style and your story. Give them the freedom to edit or change your manuscript how they see fit without getting defensive. You'll have a better book for it. If you say that you trust them…show them you mean it by letting go of control long enough for them to make a much needed difference in your book manuscript. Once you get the manuscript back from them…unless something they changed really upsets you or goes against everything you believe and stand for (this is rarely the case by the way) let it fly! Sometimes we are to close to our work to see its few shortcomings. Accepting help from competent help can be a powerful process and make your book even better than it was.
- Write your bio carefully – find successful people and use their bio as a template for yours
- Have a professional quality photo
- Invite friends – start to look at old friends of yours and see who they are friends with – or find people that you admire and invite their friends (make sure you type them a message letting them know how you found them).
- Choose who leaves message (privacy settings) and hide game requests (on the right side of messages)
- You can put groups of friends together under certain categories (up to 19 people…over 20 they won’t let you message them all at once)
- Place a message on someone else’s page… but be careful about this… people consider it spam. Just ask first if it’s an ad for you. If it’s a happy birthday, a quote
- Consider what privacy you’d like (go to privacy settings). Go to your profile section and choose how much you want them to see. It’s up to you.
- Add buttons to send people to other places (twitter, website or anything you want them to be able to see and visit you other places).
- Add an email sign up button to your page!
- Mix your messages between personal, social, informational, useful, business and charitable
- Don’t spend too much time … one to two hours a day is a good rule of thumb. Once up and running you may want to cut back to 15 minutes a day. Use your time wisely.
- Add value! Give more than you take. Share valuable information, knowledge, your network and compassion.
- Promote other people and connect other people.
- Care about people. If you see someone in need, you can use your social network and influence to help others.
- Use facebook to have events (physical or non-physical) online events, live events, webinars, teleseminars.
- Sync your other accounts… so every time you put a message on facebook, it goes out to your other pages too.
- Join groups and fan pages in your field
- Ask engaging questions
- Use facebook applications
- Stay away from politics, religion or swearing. Why alienate people?
Our thanks to social media & search engine optimization expert Andrew Zirkin for providing these tips. Learn more at: www.BrandSEO.com
How To Get Free Publicity
FACT: Media is constantly worried about what they are going to put it on the air.
TIP: Come up with something that you’re an expert at. ALL you need is to be able to carry an intelligent conversation for 2 minutes. Example: Best Selling author Keith Leon can show them how (if you can site a research study…even better) Pitch suggestion for producer: I can help your viewers discover their LIFE PURPOSE in under 3 minutes.
SUGGESTION: Start with local media and work your way up to Oprah, Good Morning America – L.A. (or wherever you are) Local radio stations, newspapers and local people all need what your business has to provide.
Steps to get in front of the media
(Let’s create your back story - The more detailed the better)
- Write your positioning statement – Describe to yourself what you want to accomplish, why are you doing it? Put it in a few sentences.
- Put down some very quantifiable measurements – how will you know if you pull it off or hit your target…what will happen? Perhaps you want be seen as an expert in your field?
- Identify your real target market – who is your end user, who are you targeting with your information, who do you want to know what you are up to? Male Female – Young or old – who are they?
- Identify the methods you will use to address your target market
- Develop story angles – develop interesting stories that would cause your target audience to be interested in you and how would you present it to them? Be a little more interesting than the other people. If you can relate it current news going on…even better. You are the expert and you’ll talk about? Peak their interest. Tie yourself into current stories or current needs. “How to deal with stress in life from being unemployed.”or “Hey Mr. producer…our family has a way to get by on less than we used to.”
- Look like the authority – write a book, write and article, and informational guide, write something and submit it somewhere (such as free content sites).
- You must have a press kit – One page with story angle and paragraph with credentials – provide a copy of any interviews you have done – short biography (short…one paragraph fine)
- Write your own introduction (how would they introduce you), 10 interview questions and the answers.
- Make your pitch – who ever answers the phone…Hi I’m Keith Leon and boom you are into your lead sentence…they will know who to direct you to.
- Make sure you follow up without being a pest – regular intervals (always find out when their deadlines are and don’t call them then)
What do you do to get used again? Be a great guest the first time, send a thank you note or handwritten letter and follow up! Follow up is key and is what will set you apart from everyone else.
Do you think it is best to have a PR firm represent you or just you? If you can afford a PR firm use them…if not do it yourself.
Our thanks to Bill Bartmann for providing these tips. Learn more at: www.BillBartmann.com