1. Write your book's working title. It helps you focus and answer the readers' questions about the topic. Most non- fiction has subtitles as well. It's better to be clear than clever, but clever and clear are fine.
2. Write your book's thesis. A thesis is a sentence or so stating the audience's main problem and how your book will solve it. Knowing the thesis before you write the book keeps you on track. All chapters should support it. The thesis could be "Each of you has passion and you can unleash it through these twelve steps."
3. Test your book's significance. While most writers fear their book won't sell, it takes only two significances to write a book, and three for a great seller. Ask yourself, Is it relevant? Then write it! Does it present useful information? Does it have the potential to positively affect people's lives? Is it lively, humorous? Does it help answer important questions? Does it create a deeper understanding of human nature?
4. Pinpoint your target audience, all-important to your book's success. No, not everyone will want to read your book. How old are your prospective readers? Male? Female? Are they interested in personal growth, science fiction, mystery, how-to books? What challenges do they face? Are they business people? What magazines and Web sites do they like? Are they Internet savvy? What causes do they support?
Once you know them, write a letter and tell them why you are writing your book and what benefits it will bring them. Dear over-50 reader, "I'm writing Passion At Any Age to help you live life full throttle--with more abundance, joy, and meaning."
5. Write your reasons for writing this book. Your reader, the media, the television and radio talk show hosts all want to know why you wrote this book. Be prepared up front, so you will shine when opportunities come your way.
6. Write down your publishing goals for this book. Do you want to give it away to members of your family or a particular group? Do you want to sell it? How many copies do you want to sell your first year? How much money do you want to make each month? What publishing format will you choose--self- publishing, traditional publishing, Print Quality Needed or Print on Demand, or eBook?
7. Organize the parts of your book. In one file, keep your introduction; in another, your index or resource section. Include your bibliography and keep a file of all people you will quote in your book who may give you a testimonial later. Keep each chapter in its own file labeled correctly so you can find it within minutes. Twenty percent of your papers are important. Be sure to file them vertically and in order to save you time and frustration as your book projects grows. Keep computer files also.
8. Write down your chapter's format. Readers expect a clear map to guide them. They like consistency. In non-fiction, each chapter should be approximately the same length and have the same sections. To make your chapters sparkle, use stories, anecdotes, headings, photos, maps, graphs, exercises, tips. Readers like easy-to-read side bars in boxes.
9. Write the back cover material before you write your book. This "outline" helps give your book direction and helps you focus only on what's important to your thesis or theme. Your back cover has around 8 seconds to impress your prospective buyer.
Include what sells: reader and famous people's testimonials, a benefit-driven headline to hook the reader to open the book and read the table of contents, and bulleted benefits. Your bio and picture can go on the inside of the back cover to leave more room for your sales message on the back cover.
Use your back cover as a sales letter that can go on your web site or emails you send out to your prospective buyers.
10. Mock up a front cover in your book's early stages. Keep it by your workstation to inspire you. To sell your books, your cover and title have around four seconds to hook your buyer. Covers are more important than what is inside. Browse the bookstore and copy a few ideas to get you started. Do you have color preferences? Is you title powerful and short enough to be read across the room?
Writing a book is so much easier when you approach it in small bites. As soon as you get these ten parts written you will be able to start asking more specific questions that become your chapter headings.
1. Summarize Your Idea
Although this is the shortest step, it is also the most crucial. You take the idea which inspires you, and summarize it in 1-2 sentences. If you can’t encapsulate your book’s main concept in two sentences or less, that’s a good indication that your story lacks focus.
Example: Bernadette is well aware that getting romantically involved with her married employer is a disaster waiting to happen. But the benefits he promised her are tempting - to say the least.
Having a specific, defined focus for your book is vital to its success. If you try to do too much in your story, you may create a rambling mess which will alienate readers. Knowing what your novel is about, and being able to express it succinctly, is also crucial when seeking publication.
2. Write a Synopsis
Now that you’ve clarified what your book is about, it’s time to expand your story and its characters.
A good synopsis will cover the main elements of your plot, beat by beat, and will offer insights into your characters and their motivations.
The synopsis should not be long, as at this early stage you are only painting your story in broad strokes. Usually a 3-5 page synopsis will suffice, depending on the complexity of your novel.
3. Outlining Your Story - An Age Old Debate
Some believe that outlining is essential. They believe it empowers you to write your manuscript quickly, without the looming specter of writer’s block. If you have worked out the structure of your story in advance, your creative imagination is freed up to focus on other aspects of your book.
However other writers believe it stifles creativity. We recommend that initially you try both, then you decide.
4. Write With Abandon
Now that your story has been charted out, it’s time to write. This is by far the longest step in the process. But if you come to it prepared, you should have a finished manuscript within a few months.
Using your outline as a road map, write out your novel scene by scene. Set a weekly goal for yourself, and keep it realistic. For working people and parents, producing fifteen to twenty double-spaced pages a week is a reasonable expectation.
The secret to completing this step is as follows:
Do not edit as you go. Simply write, and write fast.
If you produce a lackluster scene or chapter, that’s fine. Just let it be, and keep pressing forward. You should expect your first draft to suck.
If you try to edit as you write, you will drive yourself mad. You must silence your inner critic and keep pressing forward to the end.
When your manuscript is finished, put it somewhere out of reach and don’t think about it. Just let it sit, out of thought and mind, for two weeks to a month.
5. Revise Your Manuscript
Once enough time has elapsed, you can return to your manuscript with a fresh perspective. You’ll likely find it to be better than you remember.
An author once told me that great books are not written, but revised. It’s in this step that your true artistic talent will come to the forefront.
Take the raw material of your first draft, and reshape it into something exceptional. Don’t be afraid to let yourself experiment. If you allow your creative energies to take control, you can transform your awkward first draft into an engaging, well-paced novel.
For many, this step is the most rewarding. Some writers believe there is more satisfying than taking an imperfect, rough manuscript, and polishing it into a thing of beauty.
Proverbs 27:17 says that iron sharpeneth iron, which in this context means that connecting with other is an essential way to gauge whether your on the right track. Connecting with a local writer's group is a great way to learn, gain encouragement and constructive feedback.
Attending large conferences is an additional way to get up close and personal with accomplished authors, agents, and other industry professionals.
Writing a book can appear to be a mammoth, tedious undertaking. But when the process is broken into manageable pieces, it can become a fun adventure.
The Bible states that iron sharpens iron so it's beneficial for emerging authors to learn from other writers. Locate a regular writing group that meets in your area on a regular basis.
You should also plan to attend at least one writer's conference annually. There you can get more of a picture of professional authorship. Conferences vary in size, types of venues and often even genres. Consult the calendar on this website for conferences that may be in your area and of course, we encourage you to attend the Anointed Pen conference in Detroit.