In my blog post, Why is it so hard to write a book?, I said,
"A book takes time and effort. Many people feel overwhelmed in their work, whether they are entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, employees, or executives. The idea of writing a book seems like putting a great big rock on their shoulders. A great, big, heavy rock."
Today I'm going to take that big, heavy rock off your shoulders. Today I'm going to share the Book Writer's Road Map to Publishing Success. In six steps. Doesn't that sound easy? (for a copy of the road map itself, email me about your book)
STEP ONE: Your Big Idea
Your talent. Your passion. Your desire. Your Experience. Your knowledge. Your training.
These are the things you will tap into to write your book. Bring all of them to the table as you write. (If you're stuck on #1, talent, don't be. Writing is mostly hard work, with a little talent thrown in. You can LEARN to bring your talent out, as you write.)
STEP TWO: Your Throughline
Who is your book for?
Why are you writing it?
What will happen to the people who read it?
Who is your competition?
What will you do once it's published?
Can you describe all of that in 15 words or less? In Tom's book, Finding Your Throughline: Electrifying Your Idea, he says,
"You might think of the throughline in our house building analogy (from our How to WRITE A BOOK Book) as the wiring systems that connect and energize every part of the structure... For your book, every topic, example, or story must connect with and support your throughline."
Get a copy of Tom's book and work out your own throughline. But also answer the questions here. It's important to have a goal for after the book is released. You want your readers to do something, what is it? You need to do something, what is that?
STEP THREE: The Process
This is where the work happens. You create your TOC - table of contents. You write your introduction. You write and write. And, if you need that extra help, you get a book coach to keep you moving forward, not only with your writing, but in keeping true to both your throughline and all the things you want to happen after the book is launched.
This is also where you begin to explore cover design. Front, back, and spine. You can use Fivrr or get a professional cover designer, which I recommend, or you can work with us. We do all of the stuff you see in this blog post today.
Part of the work of a non-fiction book is doing the research. Gathering the stories. I recommend keeping a 'story library'. This is a document where you jot down any story that comes to mind that you even think you might use in your book. Chances are, even if it's not a good fit for this book, it could be a good fit for the next book.
"If you’re writing nonfiction, research can involve doing historical, cultural, scientific, or other academic research. This research can entail reading other work, doing fieldwork, interviewing experts, or can take many other forms."
You can do this while you write, but I recommend you try and get some of it done before you start. Especially the 'interviewing experts' part.
STEP FOUR: Work Work Work
In this step you're doing more than writing. Writing is a big part of it, but you must also prepare yourself for the book launch. This involves marketing. I hear you whining already. Stop it. Just stop it.
You must either hire a book marketer, or take on this task yourself. Yes, it involves a webpage dedicated to the book. It involves emails to your list. It involves beta readers who will help you stay on track with your story and throughline. It involves finding a foreword writer. It involves interior page layout and design, cover design - front, spine, and custom back cover.
It involves a boatload of work. I'm here to tell you I know you're not going to do it on your own. Not successfully. Plan to invest in a good book marketer. Yes, I know a few. Connect and I'll refer you.
STEP FIVE: Pulling It All Together
The book is one. Well, as done as it's going to be. It's time to ship, as Seth Godin says. Yes, you want to change chapter six or a line in the introduction or a comma a beta reader found, but stop. Just stop. The book needs to launch and this is where you prepare for that.
Final writing and edits are done. Acknowledgements are in the front or back. You have thanked your readers and prepared them for launch, where they will promote the book for you. You have a timeline for the launch, generated in Step Four, and it's time to adhere to that schedule.
One hopes, though she hasn't written it here, that you have been teasing parts of the book as you write. One hopes, though she hasn't written it here, that you have been talking your book up on social media, with friends, family, and colleagues. One hopes, though she hasn't written it here, that you even have a pre-sale page set up on your website.
A pre-sale page is a perfect way to generate interest while the book is in production. Oh, the things you can do with a pre-sale page! Your marketer knows. Or, if she doesn't, I do!
STEP SIX: Publication and Launch!
Well, by golly, this is a great day! This is an amazing day! You've received your gallery proof and checked it one last time for those minor typos or comma placements, and fixed all of them, and now...now...your book is ready to be born! Oh, the excitement! I can't stand it!
You can do a Zoom party to launch, for all your beta readers and anyone on your mailing list who wants to attend. This allows people from all over the world to participate. Bring in some music, a bit of entertainment, time to read from your book, and thank everyone with a big discount if they buy on a certain date.
You will now have your Amazon author page up and ready. You are, at last, the "author of" and you should be proud of yourself.
Go out and show off this amazing accomplishment.
Six steps. To write a book. Wasn't that easy?
Join the Smart News mailing list to get content like this, and promotions we offer, and advice on life, business, and books. PLUS, you get our free ebook: 25 Necessary Steps to Your Big Idea Launch.