Writing a book is A LOT easier than you think. I know because I’ve written and published 20 books in the last 12 months with several more in progress. That’s more than one book every 21 days! I’ve published ebooks anywhere from 40 to 400 pages, and often the shorter ones sell better. So if you think you have to write a massive 400 page book, you don’t! Your book should be as long as it needs to be to fully tell the story (fiction) or help the reader solve their problem (nonfiction).
Here’s what I recommend to get started with writing a book for the first time:
1) Brainstorm 15 minutes
Lock yourself in a room. No phone, no email, no interruptions for 15 minutes. Only a pen and notebook. Come up with as many book ideas / topics / niches as you can think of. You should have at least 20. If you think of other ideas afterwards in the shower just add them to your list ASAP.
Write down these questions to spur ideas:
What topics would I love to write about?
What knowledge do I have that could help people?
What do I know now that I wish I knew when I got started with X (a business, relationship, problem, whatever)?
What ideas do I have that could sell well?
Why: It’s important to get all your book ideas out ahead of time. Otherwise, halfway through a book you’ll get an idea for 10 other books and might get distracted. Get distracted with a great idea upfront, not halfway through.
2) Get Feedback
Ask your marketing and business savvy friends which of your ideas sound most marketable. If you don’t have any marketing or business savvy friends, just email me your list of ideas and I’ll give my opinion about which topics/ideas will sell best.
Why: Feedback is crucial. It confirms that your good ideas are good and helps you choose the best book for you to start with. The key is getting started. Once you get the first one done and selling well, I guarantee you won’t want to stop writing books.
Based on feedback (10%) and your passion/interest/inspiration (90%) decide what book to write first.
Why: You better be inspired to write your book/share your story. Otherwise, you’re going to need someone else to motivate you to finish it and market it. Feedback should only be used to clarify your own thoughts and ideas and make them better.
4) Plan It Out
Lock yourself in a room again. No phone, no email, no interruptions for 15 minutes. Come up with as many ideas that you want to share in the book as you can think of. If you think of other ideas afterwards in the shower just add them to your list ASAP.
Write down these questions to spur ideas:
What are the most important things someone should know about this topic?
What challenges did I have that I solved and how can those become lessons?
What do I know now that I wish I knew when I got started with this topic?
What are the biggest mistakes I see people making in this area?
Afterwards, you should be so excited that you can’t wait to start writing and/or speaking into a voice recorder (also a good option in lieu of an interview or as a supplemental way of recording info for the book). I use QuickVoice app for my iPhone when on the go.
5) Write It
If you’re going to write it yourself, just schedule an hour a day to write early morning or late at night when there’s no distractions. In one hour a day, you can write several Kindle books a year depending on your typing speed. Don’t have an hour? Do 30 minutes. No excuses.
If you don’t want to write it but want a ghostwriter and want to be interviewed, the first step means getting interviewed or voice recording. If you have a good interviewer already (friend, family, colleague), use them.
If not, find a ghostwriter on Guru/Elance/Craigslist to interview you.
I have some referrals for medium-tier ghostwriters if you need them (around 5 to 10 cents a word or $2,500 to $5,000 for a 200 page book). Many books can and should be a lot shorter than 200 pages, that’s just a reference point. A medium-tier ghostwriter may seem a bit pricey, but the quality is what you’re paying for – a finished book that’s ready to publish so you can focus on other parts of your business and life.
Or you can go for a cheaper writer (2 cents a word or so) and edit the book yourself, crowdsource editing to your friends or customers, or hire a good editor. With a good medium-tier ghostwriter, you probably won’t need a professional editor because they have their own peers edit their work and they’re often willing to do a final edit. With a cheap ghostwriter, you will most definitely need a professional editor.
I’ve also developed a Kindle book template for Microsoft Word if you want you can download it here: http://www.ebookpublishingschool.com
Want more tips on how to write a bestselling book? Grab your copy of The Kindle Writing Bible today on Amazon.