Write a book faster

How to Write a Book Faster

“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler

I’ll share a secret with you. I’m not a natural typist. In fact, I can’t type very well at all. I use two fingers to pound out my stories and create content in the form of blogs and books. My writing speed is slow, about 30 wpm. But writing is important to me, as I’m sure it is for you—so, there are a few things I do to boost my writing speed so I can get more done in the same amount of time. Here are five tips on how to write a book faster:

Write Every Day

I know, I know, this is the obvious choice. But seriously, not only will you become a master writer if you pound out words every day, your writing speed will also naturally improve. The more you practice now, the less you have to practice later. And as you get better at your craft, you’ll be creating better quality content in less time. You could blog every day or work on a chapter for your next novel.

Action Plan:

  1. Make writing a daily habit.
  2. Set your word count goal for each day.
  3. Track how many words you are writing per hour/day.

Schedule Brief Typing Practice Sessions

For ten minutes a day I practice typing. This is a separate activity from actually writing content. I’ll use a free typing software program that tests writing speed and provides feedback on how efficient I am as a typist. This is a great way to master the skill of getting your word count up. Check out FASTFINGERS or Keyhero.com.

Use Proper Sitting Posture

The position of your body has a lot to do with typing speed and efficiency. If you slouch in your chair you’ll cramp up and find it hard to concentrate. Here is how you should position yourself:

  • Make sure that you are sitting up straight—don’t lean or hunch over towards the desk.
  • Position your elbows at right angles to the keyboard—avoid bending your arms upwards or downwards.
  • Properly position your fingers on the keyboard.

Buy a Standing Desk

It’s scientifically proven that the standing desk has major benefits for our health. But that’s not all! It also boosts productivity and, you guessed it, makes us more efficient at typing. Primarily, we feel great if we are standing—higher energy levels and better blood flow.

Create a Book Outline

The secret is out: outlines really do work! Being able to crank out three thousand words an hour won’t matter much if your content lacks direction. And a solid outline gives you that direction.

We all know that writing a book is a lot of work. But we can cut out a ton of obstacles with a well-written outline that builds passion and purpose into your writing routine. Here’s how an outline can double or even triple your writing speed:

1. Outlines Eliminate Writer’s Block

Writers experience writer’s block for several reasons—one of which is either not having an outline or having a poorly written outline. If your outline is well-organized and fleshed out with all the ideas, chapters and sections flowing in logical sequence, chances are writer’s block won’t be an issue.

When you have to stop to think about what comes next, you’re no longer in writing mode. Instead we fall into confusion, frustration and then default to research mode. “I know I can get through this if I just look up…” You start doing everything else but writing. The next time you hit a wall, check the flow of your outline. Revise what you need to and keep moving forward. Be sure to do as much research as you can before the initial writing begins.

2. Outlines Provide an Organized Framework for Your Book’s Structure

Your outline is the roadmap for your book. Without it, your writing time is slow and grueling, like running up a mountain with a ball and chain. Sounds tough, right? A well-organized outline boosts productivity throughout the writing phase. You’ll write much faster when the chapters flow from one to the next and ideas are combined and clustered. When your outline flows with a well-organized structure you don’t have to stop to think about what to write next. Your fingers can keep moving in flow with the plan you created.

3. Outlines Give You A Bird’s Eye View

When you can see your book in its entirety on the page, you feel compelled to write as much as possible. Think of it as a race. You’ll perform much better knowing the exact distance you have to run—especially as you near the finish line and you have the end in sight. Your outline needs to not only flow but, similar to a race, you should know where you’re starting and where you’ll end up.

Now that you know how important it is to have an awesome outline, spend some time today to go back and revise yours. Look at the areas that could be better researched. Review the chapters with ideas that require deeper development. Make your outline the best it can be and revise it as you go, ensuring those words keep hitting the paper.

Challenge yourself

We encourage you to challenge your writing speed and try to get a little faster each time. Follow the five tips above and see how many words/pages you can crank out in an hour. Time yourself using the Pomodoro Technique. You’ll be amazed at the difference. You never know, you might start pounding out full-length novels on just the weekends!

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How to Market a Book

How to Market a Book Step by Step

The big day has finally come. You’ve worked hard on your book for months, and maybe even years. Now it’s finally ready for the world to see. You hit publish and follow through with everything you know about how to market a book step by step. With any luck, hard work and a lot of support gets your book to bestseller status.

Then a few weeks goes by. Rankings drop considerably. Despite your best efforts, your book plummets down the lists like a stone.

How to Market a Book to Sell Copies

We’ve all been there—that point as a writer when we realize we have to do the other stuff—stuff that keeps us away from writing and creating. In fact, writing and crafting a book is only about half of the process. If you don’t spend 40-50% of your ongoing efforts on marketing, you reach a limited number of people. Your message will get lost in the massive swirl of information available out there.

You want to sell more books right? Marketing a book isn’t always a “natural” step for most authors. We are writers and creatives, not marketers and salespeople. But if you can combine writing and marketing, you’ll not only be able to write, but also to sell books. And marketing yourself is where it’s at.

8 Ways to Market Your Book Like a Pro

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a marketing guru or have a degree in digital marketing and social media mastery to get the word out about your brand. By following some basic steps, you’ll be marketing your books in no time.

1. Identify Your Audience

This is critical when it comes to marketing your book. If you don’t know who your audience is, you’ll end up marketing to anyone. In other words, you’ll be shouting out about your book in a noisy room and nobody will hear you. Write for a specific audience. To market your book effectively you have to know:

Who they are: Who is your ideal customer? What kind of information are they looking for? How do these people spend their time? Create a basic profile of what your reader looks like.

Where they are: Your audience is hanging out somewhere. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, they are communicating about the topic and niche your book is about. Find those people and you will be able to market your book.

What problems are they facing: It is really important to nail this one. Come up with 20-30 problems your target market is trying to solve. By providing a solution to these problems, you’ll zero in on the readers who are waiting for your bestseller to change their lives. Remember: somebody out there wants what you are offering; they just don’t know it yet!

Action Step: Create a reader’s avatar. This is a profile of what your average reader is like. Include things like gender, occupation, and problems and they are facing. Figure out what solutions you could deliver to help them. Then market specifically to those people.

2. Build Your Author Website

Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing? Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content. You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books. Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.

Sorry, not exactly.

There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space. It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time.

Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate. You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published. When it comes to marketing your book, the sky’s the limit. You can:

  • Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
  • Post blogs about your upcoming book
  • Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
  • Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales
  • Include sample chapters from your book
  • Link to video clips about the book on your website
  • Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post

To set up your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy. For a domain name, check out name.com

3. Build Your Email List

There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell. These people are essentially your customers.

Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.

If you are serious about promoting and marketing your current and all future books, building your list should be top priority. Nothing else comes close. Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market. These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.

You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch. As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.

Action Step: If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.

4. Reach Out to Influencers

When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers. What is an influencer? Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.

An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example. Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book.

Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.

Guest post blogging on an influencer’s is another way to market your book. For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche. They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.

Action Step: Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.

5. Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

Social media is a powerful way to promote your book. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons. But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything. If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.

When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once. That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with, and post your content regularly to these two sites.

For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos. After a few months you could build up a library of content, engage with new subscribers and even create a course out of your videos.

With Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads. You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book.

With Twitter you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 140 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.

Action Step: Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.

6. Plan Your Marketing Ahead

The best time to start marketing your book was six months ago. If you haven’t done that, the next best time for marketing your book is right now.

Many authors make the mistake of getting their book out there, doing a promo with their launch team and then start to work on a plan for marketing. The best thing you can do is have your marketing tools defined and ready to roll into action when they are needed.

Your marketing plan can include such things as:

  • Having a series of blog posts scheduled to publish at regular intervals
  • Interviews set up with influencers to talk about your book, either on the day of launch or just after
  • A course based on the book set to launch at the same time as the book or soon after
  • Giveaways through Goodreads that attract buyers to download your book by the thousands
  • Daily blurbs posted on Facebook or Twitter. Remember: Engage where your fans are hanging out.
  • Schedule a Bookbub promo (see next step)

Marketing takes planning, and you have to be strategic about it. This means building buzz early and keeping that buzz going for months up to and even after the launch. Continued marketing requires deeper tactics such as course building and consistently promoting through social media or Facebook ads, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

7. Get on Bookbub

Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.

Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers. It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book promotion. The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.

But is it worth it?

Yes. Definitely.

For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list. From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.

But on a side note, most authors get rejected the first time from Bookbub. If you do, just keep trying. Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

8. Write Another Book

Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece. Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.

With every new book you put out there you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.

Launching your book is only the beginning. The real work begins after the initial “bang” is over and you have to dig in deep to promote, engage, and provide solutions to readers’ problems. Remember: Marketing is about delivering a product [your book] to the right people [your audience] who need desperately what you have to offer [your solution].

Create this product for your readers, ship it to them and communicate in a way they understand—and you’ll become a great marketing guru as well as an amazing author.

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How to Copyright a Book

How to Copyright a Book

Let’s take a look at a topic that scares the jeepers out of most authors: how to copyright a book. A lot of us get caught up in a confusing haze of copyright laws, infringement, and wondering how to stay out of hot water with the law and angry lawyers [okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic]. But it is best to know what you can and cannot do when self-publishing your own book.

It’s Not Only About How to Copyright a Book…

With the explosion of self-publishing, indie authors must be aware of what they can and can’t do when it comes to quoting, borrowing and publishing works from other authors. This post isn’t to “scare” you but give some insight into how you can protect yourself and your own work from being misused or stolen.

In this post we will also look at the 9 most common questions authors ask when it comes to copyright concerns, for both their own works and when borrowing from other sources.

But first, it all begins with creating the copyright page in your book.

Your Copyright Page

The copyright page will appear in your book right after the title page and just before the table of contents. The copyright page needs to include some essential information in order to copyright your book. The main components of your copyright page are:

  • The copyright notice. This has the little © symbol or you can use the word “copyright.” So it would look like this: ©2016 Jane Doe
  • The year of publication of the book
  • The name of the owner of the works, which is usually the author or publishing house name.
  • Ordering information
  • Reservation of rights
  • Copyright notice
  • Book editions
  • ISBN Number
  • Your website [you want them to find you, right?]
  • Credits to the book [cover designer, editor]
  • Disclaimer

A Note on Disclaimers

If you are writing a book on health and fitness, success as an entrepreneur, providing financial advice—anything that readers could fail at—an extended disclaimer is something you should consider.

If you give advice on earning a million dollars this year, and the reader ends up losing money, you could be blamed for their misfortune because of a promise you made. Consider putting an extended disclaimer in your book that comes after the copyright jargon to protect your opinions, advice and information. In other words, tell readers that they are reading your book and applying your advice at their own risk.

Here are some examples of disclaimers.

Fiction Disclaimer:

The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Nonfiction Disclaimer:

The advice and strategies found within may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher are held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book.

For further examples of a book copyright page and disclaimers you can check out the Book Designer and Kindlepreneur.

The 9 Most Common Questions

Nowadays, with the massive expansion of self-publishing, it is more important than ever for authors, artists and creatives putting their work out there to ensure that it is fully protected.

When we borrow work from other authors, living or dead, we have to consider: 1. What can I actually use; and 2. When is permission needed? Here is the golden rule when it comes to copyright laws: Never assume that anything is free! Everything out there, including on the internet, has been created by someone.

Here are common questions authors have about protecting themselves, their works, and others they may have quoted in their books:

1. Do I have to register my book before it is copyrighted?

Your book is legally copyrighted as soon as it is written. But, to scale up your legal rights and protect your material to the fullest extent, register your book with the Federal Copyright Office. On the chance someone does attempt to pirate your book or portions of it, registering with the US Copyright Office will give you greater leverage if it comes to action being taken.

2. How many words can I quote from another book or source?

Generally speaking there are no set rules on how much you can actually “borrow” from existing works. But, it’s best to exercise common sense here and keep it short, as a general rule under 300 words.

Paul Rapp, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, says that “if the quote drives your narrative, if you are using an author’s quote in your argument, or if you are giving an opinion on an author’s quote, then it is considered fair use.”

What is fair use?

A legal concept that allows the reproduction of copyrighted material for certain purposes without obtaining permission and without paying a fee or royalty. Purposes permitting the application of fair use generally include review, news reporting, teaching, or scholarly research.

If you use something published by someone else with the sole purpose of monetary gain, this doesn’t constitute fair use.

3. Can I write about real people?

Especially in works of nonfiction, real people are often mentioned to express an opinion or as an example to clarify the writer’s fact or opinion. Generally you can use the names of real people as long as the material isn’t damaging to their reputation or libelous. Stick to the facts and write about what is true based on your research.

4. Can I borrow lyrics from songs?

Stephen King often used song lyrics for his books including Christine and The Stand. He obtained permission for these works. King says, “Lyrics quotes in this book [Christine] are assigned to the singer most commonly associated with them. This may offend the purist who feels that a song lyric belongs more to the writer than the singer.”

Basically, song lyrics fall under strict copyright even if it is just a single line used. Try to get permission if you use a song. You can contact the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Once you find the rights owner, you have to ask for permission through writing.

5. Do I need permission to borrow material from a book that is over 100 years old?

Once the copyright on a book or material has expired, or the author has been dead for seventy years, the work enters into the public domain and you can use it without permission or licensing. BUT this does vary country to country. You can check the copyright office in the US here.

6. Are authors liable for content used in a book?

Yup. Even with traditional publishing houses, the author is still responsible for the content written and used in the book. In fact, traditionally published authors usually have to sign a waiver that removes the publisher from any liability pertaining to the material the author used if the writer included that material without proper permission. And you already know, as a self-published author, you’re on your own.

7. If I use an inspirational quote from another writer or famous person, do I need permission?

You don’t need permission to use quotes in a book provided that you credit the person who created it and/or spoke the quote.

For example:

“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream”Edgar Allan Poe

8. What is the best way to protect my work from being stolen?

Your work is copyrighted as soon as it is written. But you can register your work with the US copyright office. If you have a blog where you also post content, you need to have a Terms & Privacy disclaimer on your page. This would preferably be at the top where it is easy to see, although many writers and bloggers include this at the bottom of every page. You should also include your Copyright on your blog that protects your content from being “copied and pasted” into another site without permission or recognition.

9. A royalty free stock photo means that I can use it for free and don’t have to get permission, right?

Wrong. Most stock photos are copyrighted, even if they appear in search engines and we can easily download or copy them. If you grab a photo off the net and think you can slap it on a book cover or use it for free in your book, think again. It’s recommended you purchase photos through sites such as Shutterstock or Depositphotos.

Boring Cool Legal Terms You Should Know

I know, I know…we would rather write books, rake in the cash, and sign autographs than worry about technical legal jargon. But the more you know, the more time you can spend writing without wondering, “Is this legal?” Here are some legal terms to keep you informed on your rights as a self-publisher and protect your works:

Before you publish your next book, take a few minutes to read over this “brief” report from the United States Copyright Office. You can also check out this handy guideline for authors on what needs permission vs. what you can use without asking.

When in doubt, consult with legal counsel or take the time to research the material you are either protecting or planning to borrow from another source. The time invested could save you an embarrassing or costly situation down the road.

Knowing what you can and shouldn’t do is a critical part of the publishing business. When you write and publish your own works, you are now in business for yourself, and business owners protect their property.

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Book Writing Software

Book Writing Software: Which Is Best?

When it comes to choosing the best book writing software, authors have several choices. You may be asking yourself: Do I stick with Microsoft Word? Is Scrivener the best investment with its robust features and user-friendly tools? How about Google Docs for so I can easily share and co-edit my book with an editor?

We could try and tell you which one to pick, but everyone has different tastes and needs. Let’s take a look and compare the three writing “giants” to make the choice of book writing software clearer.

The Best Book Writing Software for YOU

The purpose of this post isn’t to sell you on any particular book writing software. We’ll share with you the Good, the Bad and the Average so you can weigh the options. Who knows—you might switch to a different writing tool that works better than anything you’ve tried before.

There are nine things to consider when deciding which program to use to write your book (some of these might be more or less important to you):

  1. Ease and style preference of formatting
  2. Template choices
  3. Pricing
  4. Simplicity (if that’s important to you)
  5. Bells & whistles and tons of features (if that’s important to you)
  6. A distraction-free feature for writing [we are writers, after all]
  7. A user friendly Platform with the right powerful tools for you
  8. Easy access to the files no matter where you are
  9. Collaboration with team members

Why Microsoft Word Works

Before Scrivener came along, and other various platforms, we had Microsoft Word—and today it’s still the most widely used software enjoyed by millions of users in homes and offices worldwide. Personally I started out writing with Word years ago as did many people, so it has been my personal choice when there were not that many choices available.

If you have a Mac computer, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting. However, PC users tend to enjoy Word a lot more.

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further. Word is trusty and reliable. You’re relatively distraction-free while you’re working in it. (Compare that to working on Google Docs in your browser, where you only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet!)

You can create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.

Word is great for waking up in the morning and meeting your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page. No fuss, no muss. It’s as simple as it gets.

But for many authors, those times have changed with the emergence of programs such as Scrivener and Google Docs that have shaped the way we create online and offline content and how we organize our ideas.

There are many types of authors out there and each of them has a preference as to what software works best for them. If you have been using Word for years, you’re probably attached to it. Transitioning from MS Word to Scrivener has proven challenging for some writers, in part because of the learning curve to master a new program. The Scrivener Manual itself is around 550 pages. There are also plenty of Scrivener YouTube tutorials you can learn from as well.

When’s the last time you had to call Microsoft for technical help with Word? (I never have.) If you need to know how to do something in Word, you can Google it. Scrivener, on the other hand, actually has support emails and bug reporting and a customer forum…because it’s really that complicated!

Why Some Authors Love Scrivener

That said…Scrivener was created with writers as the primary customer. And a lot of writers swear by it (once they get over that very steep learning curve.)

For those authors who have put in the work to understand how the program works, it’s the favored choice for ease of writing, formatting, and organizing your content for publishing. If you invest the time up front to learn Scrivener, then you will get that time back—and then some—once you see what the program can do.

Blogger and author Jeff Goins swears by Scrivener after giving up Word. He says: “I wasted years of my life doing all my writing on Microsoft Word. But that’s all over now. I have finally seen the light.”

Entrepreneur Michael Hyatt says about Scrivener: “I now begin every piece of content—no matter what it is—with this tool. It has simplified my life and enabled me to focus on the most important aspect of my job—creating new content. I am more productive than ever.”

Scrivener has a ton of benefits for authors that we could fill up dozens of pages discussing. I’ll keep it simple and give you the top benefits here:

  • For fiction authors, Scrivener helps with plotting
  • Easily export your data to other digital platforms such as Kobo, ibooks, etc… [this is one of the best features]
  • Provides outlining functionality that keeps your content organized
  • Powerful composition mode with distraction free writing environment
  • Easily move sections around with drag and drop
  • A collection of robust templates
  • Supports MultiMarkdown for bullets and numbers

Scrivener was designed for writers because you can lay out scenes, move content around and outline stories or manuscripts. In Scrivener, you don’t have to become distracted by formatting; you can stay focused on the writing as it separates the content from the presentation.

Scrivener works best as a tool for plotting out storylines. It’s also a handy book formatter. Scrivener has hundreds of features beneficial for writers and enables them to focus on the writing process without getting sidetracked.

The one huge downside is that the steep learning curve in getting to know this program isn’t going to happen overnight. But the investment in learning this tool could save you time in the long run if you plan on putting out lots of books.

Google Docs for Writing Books

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the power of Scrivener, but another writing software loved by many is Google Docs. These are all great writing tools; what it comes down to in most cases is the process you use for writing.

Google Docs and Google Drive are best used for team-sharing your content, files, and docs. It doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser (or an app on your phone). One of the best features is: everything is saved on the server frequently, so you never have to fret about losing a version or draft of your work. (Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Alternative Writing Software + Pricing

If you are not sold on Word, Scrivener or Google Docs, there are other software programs and apps that authors and bloggers are using to get their work done.

One of these is Evernote, which functions much better as a productivity tool than a word processor, with only limited functionality when it comes to writing a book. Some of its functions are: uploading pics, docs and voice recorder. I have written many blogs and sections of books using the Evernote platform.

Pages is a great alternative to Word if you use a Mac computer. It has a variety of beautiful templates to choose from, has a simple design and syncs with all devices from within iCloud. I personally love the ease of Pages and it works great for creating ebooks or manuscripts with a variety of tools you can get creative with.

FastPencil is a nice little platform with lots of tools. You can also use it for distributing your ebook. It is free to start writing with, but they offer paid services.

Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?

Pricing: How Much Does Book Writing Software Cost?

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stray focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time and frustration.

Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process!

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How to Be a Writer

How to Be a Writer: 10 Traits of Professional Authors

If you’re here, you might be wondering how to be a writer for a living. When I see bestselling authors who have turned writing books into a full-time career, I have to stop and ask myself: “How did they do it?”

Stephen King has written over seventy bestsellers since the publication of Carrie in 1974. To this day he continues to write consistently.

James Patterson has sold more than 300 million books worldwide. He has been quoted as saying: “It’s pretty much seven days a week for me. You’re lucky if you find something you like to do and then it’s a miracle somebody will pay you to do it. That’s my situation. It’s not work for me. These are all stories that I’m really dying to tell.”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, once jobless and with a dependent child, has sold over 430 million copies of her books.

What magic formula do these authors have? What super-talent have they been blessed with? What am I NOT doing now that I could be doing to turn my passion for writing into a real career?

How to Be a Writer

Now you might be thinking, “Well, good for them. But I just want to make enough money on my writing to earn a living, not 100 million bucks!”

But it’s not about how much money you can make at your writing. That might come later, but what really matters is this: practicing the habits and actions professional authors implement as part of their work life that leads to this kind of success. You don’t have to earn a fortune to be a professional writer; you just need to model what the pros do and the outcome will take care of itself.

There are a set of definitive traits pro authors have that make them masters of the trade. Good writing that sells is the result of these essential traits. For both indie and traditionally published authors, these 10 traits of professional authors are universal and a must-have for launching your author career.

Here are the top 10 traits of pro authors, and how you can adopt these traits to become a professional writer that gets books published, earns you an income, and creates a sustainable business you can grow and love.

Pro Author Trait #1: Develop a Daily Writing Habit

Pro writers have developed the writing habit. They write almost every day and have a word count goal for the day. Pro writers stick to a consistent writing schedule and put in the time to put pen to paper [or words into a Word doc]. This is one of the most critical traits. Without putting in your writing time, your book becomes a “someday” thing instead of an “it’s-happening-right-now” thing.

By nurturing the writing habit, you are creating content people will love to read and pay money for. You will exercise that writing muscle and churn out a great story, a memoir, or a book that offers solutions.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my daily word count goal?
  • How many words would I have to write every day to finish my next book by a chosen deadline?
  • How many books could I finish in a year if I stick to a writing habit of 1500 words per day? [You might be surprised!]

Pro Author Trait #2: Approach Writing as a Business

A hobby is something you do when you have time; the business of writing and becoming a pro author is what you make time for every work day. Authors who approach writing as a business are far more likely to succeed than hobby authors who show up occasionally with little direction and lofty ideas. A professional author is, essentially, a creative business person.

As with any business, your author business needs a schedule, deadlines, goals, and a plan. Authors spend time planning the material they are creating, how they will deliver it and, most important, they deliver when that deadline approaches.

As with any job, you have to show up every day at the time designated or else you don’t get paid. Writers who make a living at their craft go to work every day with the mindset that this IS their business and not just a dreamy project that they are going to pick away at. One of the fatal flaws many “hobby authors” make is in thinking that the writing success will just happen if they keep plugging away haphazardly. Maybe it will, but most likely, it’s your approach to the writing craft as a business that will determine your level of success.

Of course there is nothing wrong with writing as a hobby! However, if you want to turn this into a real thing, start to think and plan as a business leader. Pro authors make a living at writing because they are intentional with their business goals.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I a writing hobbyist or is this my future business?
  • Do I have a business plan for my author business?

Pro Author Trait #3: Write Valuable Content People Want to Read

A pro author does one of two things: either tells a good story [fiction] or provides solutions to a problem [nonfiction]. A great author can even combine both for a more compelling read!

It isn’t enough just to be a good writer, but you have to write with intentional purpose and provide valuable content people want to read. If you write fiction, you craft page-turners with crisp plots leading to a compelling climax.

For nonfiction authors, your readers have a problem and they need you to solve it. Knowing your audience and writing for them is the best way to make your content valuable and in demand. You can master your craft by giving people what they desire most: entertainment, information, inspiration, or a book that promises to change their lives forever.

Ask Yourself:

  • Who am I writing for?
  • Does my content provide a specific solution?
  • Am I engaging my readers?

Pro Author Trait #4: Delegate Business Work to Other Professionals

There are so many tasks that a writer can do that have nothing to do with writing: editing, cover design, formatting, book promotions, and social media engagement. The list is endless. For pro authors, the crux of your daily activities should focused around product creation. This could be writing a book, blogging, or creating a course.

But the fact is, time is limited. If you try to do it all, you’ll get burned out and start watching television to escape.

As with any business, you need a tribe of people assigned to different parts of the business so that you have more time to do the work that only you can do: writing books. This means creating content readers love should be at the forefront of your business. Delegating everything else to freelancers will save you precious time and eliminate the stress of feeling like “I have to do it all.”

Ask yourself:

  • Is there anything I’m doing that falls outside of content creation?
  • If so, could the extra work be done by someone else?
  • Could I find someone on Upwork or Fiverr to take care of it, or do I need to look elsewhere?

Identify where you can save yourself both time and stress by delegating the little stuff so you can spend more time doing what pro authors do best…write books!

Pro Author Trait #5: Become a Habitual Note Taker

Both fiction and nonfiction writers craft their books around the ideas they have day and night. And we never know when or where these ideas are going to strike.

Ideas are like rainbows; one minute they’re here and the next minute…poof, they’re gone! You need to be ready at all times to catch ideas as they come. If not, you’ll struggle to remember hours later what that “golden idea” was that passed through your mind.

Get into the habit of carrying a small notebook with you. When you go to sleep, keep your notebook within reach for ideas that come in the night, or as you doze in the morning. You can install idea-capturing apps on your devices such as Evernote, Simplenote, and Apple Notes. Make your idea capturing system easily accessible at all times.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I prepared at all times for capturing ideas?
  • How can I set up my system for note taking when I’m on the run? When I’m sleeping? When I’m at a party conversing with important people and suddenly get that idea I’ve been waiting for all year?
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Pro Author Trait #6: Read with Purposeful Intent

Writers read! Yes, we love reading. It stimulates your imagination and paves the way for more ideas. You can read books in your genre or read something totally unrelated. When you’re not writing, set aside time to read your favorite book. If you are writing a series of books on sales, you could read books on that topic. It could give you more insight into your area of expertise.

Reading just fifteen minutes before bed enhances sleep patterns, reduces cortisol levels, and improves cognitive functions. So don’t find the time to read; make a conscious choice to create that reading habit, even if it is only for a few minutes.

Ask Yourself:

  • How much time can I read a day?
  • What book can I start reading now that would improve my business or contribute to personal development?

Pro Author Trait #7: Retain Readers and Build a Loyal Fan Base

If you notice, almost all professional authors got that way because they focused on a particular brand or niche. Then they built a strong following of raving fans in that niche. Readers become fans and fans become regular customers who buy your other books.

The best way to create a loyal following is to write for your fans. Keep giving them more of what they crave by constantly creating content that offers value. When you write, know who you are writing for and create content they need.

By using an email marketing service such as MailChimp or AWeber, you can gather email addresses of your loyal fans and communicate with them regularly. Pro authors understand the absolute must of having an email list, and they build their author business entirely around it.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I writing for a specific niche, or do I change topics often?
  • What do my readers like about my work? If you aren’t sure yet, find out why people are reading your stuff.
  • What email marketing service am I using to collect email addresses?

Pro Author Trait #8: Recognize the Importance of Rewriting

Every great author knows that the real writing isn’t in the first draft—the real work towards greatness begins during the self-editing phase. The first draft offers a framework for the book and the rewrite is the guts of the machine; it’s here that all the sweating and crying pays off.

Writing is 10% talent and 90% hard work. The pros spend about 20% of their efforts on the first draft and the rest goes towards rewriting, revising, pulling their hair out, and refining the manuscript until they get it to the point that it’s good enough to ship to the editor.

Many authors, even the pros, can get bogged down in editing. This is especially true when the perfectionist monster is on your back. But real pros know that an unfinished book is an unpublished book, and nobody reads a book that isn’t published.

In a very tiny nutshell, here’s how to be a writer:

Be a pro.

Revise your work.

Let a professional editor polish it.

Ship your product.

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I spend enough time on rewriting?
  • Do I get bogged down in the editing phase and need to ship it to the editor?

Pro Author Trait #9: Ship Product Consistently Despite Their Fears

As Seth Godin says:

“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly. Skip meetings. Often. Skip them with impunity. Ship…The paradox of our time is that the instincts that kept us safe in the day of the saber tooth tiger and General Motors are precisely the instincts that will turn us into road kill in a faster than fast internet-fueled era. The resistance is waiting. Fight it. Ship.”

James Patterson published 15 titles last year. Indie author Patrick King publishes a book every 4-5 weeks.

Pro authors are always putting out content and creating. But shipping raises fear in many people. Let’s face it, it’s scary to put stuff out there for everyone to judge and criticize. But if you want to become the professional you know you can be, you have to ship your product as often as you can.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I stuck because I’m afraid of shipping my book?
  • How can I get over the fear of putting my content out there?

Pro Author Trait #10: Become a Master of Rejection

If there is any one trait that a professional writer has it is this: the ability to keep pushing forward despite the critics, naysayers, and abundant forms of rejection. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of power authors like Rowling and Grisham, King and Margaret Mitchell. Getting rejected or having your draft torn apart by critics and reviewers can crush your confidence, but only if you let it.

The one trait that turns an average person into extraordinary is the ability of taking rejection and crushing through the barrier of being told “No.” The authors who make it develop grit. In psychology, grit is based on your passion for a particular long-term goal, alongside motivation to achieve your objective. In other words, you get what you want when you want it badly enough.

Ask Yourself:

  • How badly do I want to write this book?
  • Am I passionate about the story or content I am crafting?

How Bad Do You Want It?

Success as an author rarely happens by accident. It’s a combination of strategic planning, your mental attitude, and perseverance. Whether you are struggling to write your first book, or you already have a thriving business based on writing, by sticking to the 10 traits of successful authors, you can take your writing career to an all new level.

Now you know how to be a writer. But are you going to do it? Imagine where you could be in six months from now once you implement these traits and make it happen.

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