How to Write a Book: 5 Highly Detailed Steps for Success Within 90 Days

Anyone who says learning how to write a book is easy has never actually tried. If they did, they’d know writing a book takes a lot of work and help from someone who’s done it before.

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you know how it goes:

You stare at a blank page for 5 minutes, but it feels like hours. To combat the boredom, you stand, stretch, and brew yet another pot of coffee.

While you wait, you do some more stretches (that you don’t really need to do), look outside, and daydream about mowing the lawn.

But then, you stop. You told yourself today is the day you’ll finally start writing your book.

You take your cup of coffee back to your desk, feeling refreshed, and you’re certain the words will flow and you’ll write that perfect book your audience will love.

But first, you quickly check Facebook. You say you’ll only take five minutes…

A week later someone asks how your book is coming, and you think, “Book? What book?”

How to Write a Book Despite Procrastination

There are plenty of reasons why writing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, puts most writers directly into procrastination mode. Maybe you’re just not sure how to get started. Perhaps spilling your guts onto the page for the world to see makes you want to run far away from the nearest computer (we feel you!).

Or maybe you’re insecure about the quality of your writing, and you’re afraid of getting slammed by negative review after negative review.

Or even worse: you might be worried that even if you do write your book, nobody will buy it and all your hard work will have been a waste.

Take a deep breath (but no more coffee, you’ve had enough). Remember that all authors have been exactly where you are right now. Every successful writer—from William Shakespeare to Walt Whitman to Stephen King—began by staring at a blank page.

You’re in illustrious company!

And I’m here to help. You CAN write a book—you just need to know the steps to do it. And that’s exactly what you’re about to learn.

I’m going to share the same system I’ve used to write my bestselling books in 90 days or less. And that system involves 5 main steps:

 #1 – Adopt the Mentality of a Writer

→ #2 – Set Yourself Up for Success

→ #3 – Actually Write Your Book

→ #4 – Avoid Potholes Along the Way

→ #5 – Launch Your Book Successfully

 

Ready to learn how to write your first book and go from blank page to published author in just 90 days? Then let’s get started!

how to write a book method chandler bolt

How to Write a Book Step 1: Think Like a Writer

Before you sit down and type a single word, it will pay off if you take some time to address a few attitude questions and adopt the right mindset. This is one of the most frequently overlooked steps in becoming a published author, which is a big reason why so many people fail to finish their book.

Take it from me—it’s worth your time to complete these steps. They will make the rest of your book-writing experience much, much easier and more satisfying.

Write with a Purpose — Find Your “Why”

Before you open your laptop and start daydreaming about which photographer should take your best-selling author headshot, or about getting interviewed on Oprah, you need to answer one question:

Why do you want to write a book?

It’s not enough to have an inspiring book idea. Before you put pen to paper, you need to know your purpose.

I won’t lie. Writing a book is rewarding, but it requires hard work. It requires emotional labor, long nights (or early mornings), extended weekends, and facing a constant self-critical process that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

Solidifying the purpose fueling your book will carry you through this difficult process.

Ok, you’re thinking—“Don’t worry, I know why I want to write a book. I want to write to feel important!” That’s an interesting thought, and feeling important may be a byproduct of becoming a self-published author.

However, feeling important isn’t the same as your purpose—your WHY. Feelings are fleeting, whereas a purpose is a deeper, intrinsic motivator which will keep you burning the midnight oil to power through Chapter 23 when the rush of feelings have long dissipated.

While thinking of your own purpose, you may consider why other published authors have taken the leap to write their own books:

  • Authority: To build credibility.
  • Money: For financial gain or business success.
  • Grow a network: To meet and connect with others in the industry.
  • Passion project: To share an empowering story for the greater good.

Authority, money, networking, and passion may resonate with you; one of those might be your purpose. Or, your purpose may be something completely independent from this list. There are no wrong or right purposes for writing a book.

Your WHY will be unique to you.

Once you’ve honed in on your WHY, let that purpose help focus your writing. By keeping your purpose at the forefront of your creative process, you’ll make the writing process quicker and smoother than you thought possible.

how to write a book steps

Get Rid of Your Excuses

You’ve figured out your WHY and articulated your unique purpose for your book. And right on cue, something is going to try to derail your progress already: your excuses.

When there’s nothing standing in your way, it’s sadly typical to start letting excuses become the obstacle to your success. It’s perfectly natural, and it’s part of being human.

But you can overcome it.

It’s worthwhile to spend a little time addressing some common excuses many of us make to prevent us from writing. Once you’ve cleared out the cobwebs and smashed those mental roadblocks, you’ll be better prepared for the writing process ahead. Getting your mind ready is one of the first steps to producing valuable work.

Excuse #1 – You don’t know what to write.

You may not realize it, but you have a story worth telling.

In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised to find as you write that you have more than one story and you’re having a tough time narrowing down the content.

The easiest way to start writing your first book is to choose a topic you’re comfortable with. You can literally write a book about anything, so go with what you know. Start by brainstorming and let your thoughts run free.

Excuse #2 –  You don’t have enough time.

Today, we’re all busy. I get it.

But I have some good news: Writing a book takes less time than you think. Find an hour a day you devote to something mindless—social media, video games, internet, or TV—and start writing instead.

And if you don’t have an hour, try 30 minutes. Even 5 minutes 3 times a day can be a source of massive productivity. Think about it.

The average person can type 60 words a minute. 60 words x 5 minutes = 300 words. Do that 3 times a day and you’ll produce close to 1,000 words a day.

You’ll amaze yourself at how an hour per day adds up to something productive!

Excuse #3 – Good writers spend all their free time reading. 

Think you need to read all day long to be a writer? Think again.

In fact, many prolific writers cut down on their reading—at least temporarily—in order to give themselves enough time to write.

Besides, you don’t need to be a literary connoisseur to write a great book. Your writing style and voice is your own. And the best way to discover your own natural voice is by sitting down and writing (not reading what others have written).

Excuse #4 – You’re “not an expert.”

A lot of people get tripped up on this. They think, “Oh, I’m not really an expert on ___. I can’t write about that.”

The truth is that the whole concept of “expert” is very subjective. An amateur astronomer wouldn’t seem like an expert to Stephen Hawking…but to 99% of the rest of the world, they would be an expert,

You don’t need to know everything about your topic. As long as there’s a knowledge gap between you and the reader—and as long as you’re helping to fill that gap by teaching them the things they don’t know—then you’re expert enough to write a book.

So stop worrying about “not being an expert!” If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about a topic, then you are 100% qualified to write a book about it.

Excuse #5 – Your first draft must be flawless.

A draft is a work-in-progress, and the goal is simply to get it on paper. A draft will have mistakes and that’s okay—that’s what the editing process is for.

Even experienced professional writers produce first drafts that end up covered in the red pen of an editor

how to write a book edited text on a page

Source: https://uberscribbler.com/hireme/editing-services/

As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.”

If it works for a multi-billion-dollar company, it should work for your first self-published book.

Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve already said, writing is hard work. But shedding these excuses should help get you into a positive frame of mind for the writing process.

Realize You Don’t Need to Be Perfect

The thought of writing a book causes many people to think, “I’m not a good enough writer. I need to do _____ before I start writing.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that:

  • You don’t need a creative writing class.
  • You don’t need a writing mentor or coach (though it does help).
  • You don’t need to read thousands of good books.

You only need one thing: a system for finishing your book.

There’s no such thing as a perfect book or a perfect writer. When you get down to it, the most important distinction is between authors who finish their books and authors who don’t.

Don’t worry about being perfect. Just focus on your book, and your writing will get better and better over time.

As with anything we learn, writing is a skill. It requires practice to hone over time. So let go of the idea that you’re not good enough.

This will help you make the mindset switch from “I can’t” to “Let’s get this done!”

How to Write a Book Step 2: Set Yourself Up for Success

Now it’s time to start your prep work. Before you start putting any words onto the page, you need to focus on a few important preparations. Take the time to complete these steps and you’ll be setting yourself—and your new book—up for success.

Plan When You’ll Write

Without a plan, it’s too easy to let your book writing goals get pushed to the background, eventually fading into the soft mist of “someday.” Don’t let your book end up in the graveyard of dreams. In order to realize your end goal, you need actionable steps to follow.

Here are 3 things you can do to create your own customized book writing plan.

#1 – Plan writing sessions using your calendar.

Assess what’s going on in your life in the next 30 days, then block out when you can write, and when you can’t. It’s common for new writers to set unrealistic time goals, which in turn generates stress when it’s impossible to meet those arbitrary deadlines.

Avoid this and stay realistic. Thirty minutes (or even 5 minutes) spent writing is better than nothing, so resolve to make it happen and find the time.

how to write a book calendar example

Look at Laura Bennett, a Self-Publishing School student. She was working full-time, running a business, and working on her Master’s degree—busier than most people—yet she found the time to write her book Live Your Dream: How to Cut the Crap and Prioritize Your Purpose in 2 months!

If Laura could make it happen, then writing your book is certainly an attainable dream.

#2 – Choose the time of day you plan to write.

You might decide to get up early and write before the obligations of your day crowd out your writing time. But if you’d win the gold medal in the Olympic sport of snooze-button slapping, then choose a different time or make sure you get to bed earlier so you’re fresh in the morning.

If your evenings are free, but your brain is mush and you’re only good for sinking deep into the couch cushions, then choose a different time or rearrange your schedule so you aren’t so burnt out in the evenings.

Alternatively, you can grab some time on your lunch break, or sneak small blocks of time into your workday, such as when you’re transitioning between activities, or waiting for a meeting to start.

Whatever time of day is convenient for you, stick with it so that it becomes a predictable part of your day. This will establish a writing habit.

#3 – Set a deadline for your book-writing project.

Setting an end date forces you to stay on schedule and keeps the forward momentum going. So consider giving yourself a deadline for your book.

You may be wondering: How do you choose a deadline when you have no idea how long the book-writing process will take?

One month is a good benchmark to start with. Self-Publishing School recommends writing until you hit a daily word count of 500-1,000 words. If you can commit to an hour a day, you should be able to reach that goal. After 30 days of daily writing sessions, you will have completed a 30,000-word draft.

Consistency is key. Small, consistent actions toward writing your book is how it comes to life.

If that schedule doesn’t work, then commit to a time period and a daily word count that does. It’s okay if that’s 15 minutes per day.

The ultimate goal is your rear end in the writing seat for that allocated period of time each day.

Share the end date of your first completed draft with others so you have extrinsic motivation to keep moving toward that finish line. It’s a good idea to choose an editor for your book (before you finish your first draft) and schedule when you’ll have the completed first draft of the manuscript in that person’s hands.

That way, if you’re tempted to flake out and put off a writing session, that looming deadline can help keep you going.

how to write a book and finish quote

Create Your Writing Environment

The physical space where you do your writing is important. If you try to write in an environment that’s too loud, too busy, or too cluttered, and you’ll find yourself getting frequently distracted.

True, some authors can write in a disheveled environment…

how to write a book in an author's office

…but I suspect that most of these authors would become even more focused and productive if they cleaned up their writing space to make it easier to focus on their writing.

perfect writing desk how to write a book

However, that’s just my opinion. The truth is that the “best” writing environment is going to be personal to you. We all work well in different settings, so with that in mind, consider these general guidelines to boost your productivity:

how to write a book in a good environment(To get the sound of a cafe from the comfort of home, check out Coffitivity.)

You might need to experiment to find the writing environment that allows you to focus and write freely. Bottom line: Find the writing environment that makes you comfortable and go with it. Once you find the best creative process for you, you’ll even look forward to writing!

Equip Yourself with the Right Tools

Would you try to construct a piece of furniture without a hammer, nails, or wood?

Of course not! You need the right tools for the job.

Well, the same principle applies when writing a book. And when it comes to writing, your most important tool is your choice of writing software.

Unfortunately, most people don’t really put much thought into which program they use to write their book. They just use whatever word processor they’re most familiar with.

But doing this can cause you to really miss out—especially if there’s another program out there that would work much better for you.

There are countless options out there, but most people end up using one of the “big 3” word processors:

Microsoft Word

If you just want a time-tested program that works, Word might be the program for you. It’s the most widely used word processor in the world, which means it’s highly reliable and consistent. It also provides a lot of formatting options and even has a navigation pane you can use to easily find the chapter you’re looking for.

how to write a book track changes in word

One of the biggest downsides to Word is that it’s fairly expensive as far as word processors go.

Scrivener

If you like advanced features, definitely check out Scrivener. It was created specifically for authors, and it contains all sorts of tools that are really helpful for both fiction and nonfiction authors.

For example, you can use the corkboard view to organize your book using virtual notecards:

how to write a book scrivener

The biggest downside to Scrivener? Because of all the advanced features, it has a steeper learning curve than other word processors.

Google Docs

You can think of Google Docs as sort of a “Word Lite” program that you can access online, for free. While it doesn’t boast as many features as Word or Scrivener, it’s the hands-down most convenient program out there for sharing and collaboration.

Because everything is stored online, you can access your work from anywhere. And it’s easy to share your work with others and collaborate by leaving comments in the margins:

using google docs to write a book example

The big downside to Google Docs? It lacks the more sophisticated features of Word and Scrivener.

Of course, these are only 3 options—there are many more great writing tools out there.

How to Write a Book Step 3: Actually Write Your Book

OK, we’ve got the preliminary stuff out of the way—time to sit down and actually write this thing!

This is an exciting part of the process…unfortunately, it’s also the part where many people get overwhelmed and give up.

But there’s good news: actually writing your book can be a lot easier than you think—if you have the right system. A system that guides you from your idea through your outline and all the way up to your final, polished, publication-ready draft.

Here are the most important things you need to do when writing your book.

how to write a book encouragement

Come Up With Your Book Idea

Before you can start typing, you need to have a topic. That might seem obvious, but it can still be a stumbling block if you don’t know what to write about.

Fortunately, there are countless book ideas that could turn into bestselling books.

I recommend brainstorming a long list of book ideas. This way you’ll have a lot of options—giving you the freedom to choose the best possible book topic.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when brainstorming book ideas:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What’s your favorite hobby?
  • What do you get paid for? What’s your expertise?
  • What are people coming to you for advice on?
  • What’s a topic you know a lot about or can’t stop talking about?

These are all great ways to come up with bestselling book ideas. In a nutshell, you’re trying to find topics that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about. Because these are the topics that you’re going to do a great job writing about!

Notice that I highlighted the question, “What do you get paid for? What’s your expertise?”

That’s because this is a particularly useful question for coming up with book ideas. A lot of people seem to forget that there is usually at least one topic on which they are a bona fide expert—and that’s their job!

It might not seem that exciting or special to you, because you’re so used to it, but to someone else who’s trying to learn what you already know…your job-related knowledge can seem very valuable indeed.

how to write a book through writers block

Don’t Censor Yourself

When you’re brainstorming ideas, don’t censor yourself. Just let the ideas flow. Realize that there is no such thing as a crazy idea. Anything can make a great book topic.

So don’t ever let yourself feel silly or start to judge yourself—doing so is a surefire way to stop your creativity in its tracks.

On the other hand, don’t feel bad if your topic sounds too commonplace either. Even if you’re writing about an age-old topic—like a weight loss book or a romance novel—that’s OK! The truth is that there are no “new” ideas. Everything has been written about before.

But it hasn’t been written from your unique perspective. And that’s what really matters.

Realize that a writer’s job isn’t to come up with never-before-seen ideas. Doing that is pretty much impossible in this day and age.

Instead, a writer’s job is to explore topics from their own point of view. To lend their unique spin on them.

Take a Reader-Centric Perspective

While thinking of your book topic, here’s a piece of advice that I strongly recommend you follow:

Think from your reader’s perspective (not your own).

Many people are too self-centered when they write. When I say “self-centered,” I mean that they’re thinking only of themselves: their interests, their hobbies, their passions.

Yes, it’s true that those are great topics to explore when coming up with your book topic. But during this process, you’ll need to switch from a self-centered perspective to a reader-centered perspective.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What would my reader be most interested in?
  • What would my reader most like to learn?
  • What are my reader’s biggest problems?

When you start to think this way, it becomes much easier to write your book in a way that provides immense value for the people who matter most—your readers.

Figure Out Which Book You Should Write First

By now you should have a long list of book topics. And you might be wondering, which topic should I write about first?

Here are a few tips to help you choose the best starting project:

  • Which one can you finish the fastest? Usually, this is the topic where you have the most experience. This is a good thing to keep in mind because the faster you can finish your book, the faster you can get it out in the world where it can earn you money and help people. (And the faster you can get started on your second book!)
  • Which one are you most likely to finish? Usually, these are the topics you are more passionate about. For your first book, I highly recommend choosing a topic that you’re really passionate about to help make sure that you’ll remain interested throughout the entire process.
  • Which one is going to make you happy? This is a little harder to define, but it might be something that strikes a chord with you. Maybe there’s a certain book topic that stands out for one reason or another. If that’s the case, then go for it! Remember, writing should make you

Now with these tips in mind, choose the topic for your very first book before proceeding to the next step.

Come Up With a Title

The most important words of your book are the ones that appear on the outside cover:

Your book title.

You don’t have to decide on your final title at this point, but your title is so important that it’s worth thinking about up-front. I recommend brainstorming ideas and letting them simmer in the back of your mind.

Here are a few tips on creating standout, marketable titles.

For a nonfiction book, your title should…

  • Include the solution to the reader’s problem
  • Use a subtitle for clarity
  • Be unforgettable

And for a fiction book, your title should…

  • Be appropriate to your genre
  • Pique the reader’s interest
  • Take its inspiration from your characters

It always helps to do a little research on Amazon. To do that, just head here and select your genre on the left-hand side of the page:

how to write a book example amazon

Then you can take a look at some of the best-selling titles in your genre. You can even sub-niche down several times, like “History > Ancient Civilizations > Mesopotamia.” Now pay attention to the titles and look for common themes or trends to use for your own book.

how to write a book amazon best sellers

Remember that you’re just starting, so you can always change the title later. But for the time being it can help to have a “working title” (a temporary title that you may change before publication).

Fill Out The BookMap

The BookMap is a free downloadable book outlining template you can use to quickly gather all the important information you’ll need for your book — fiction or nonfiction.

how to write a book outline template

Essentially, the way it works is you’ll create a mind map—sort of a brain dump with a line connecting related ideas together—on your book’s topic.

Start your BookMap by writing your intended topic in the center. From there, answer the questions and add as many related ideas as you can think of. (Again, connect related ideas with a line.) The BookMap gives you the benefits of writing in free-form and creating structure from all the connections you make.

Click here to learn more about the BookMap and download a free PDF template.

Turn Your BookMap Into an Outline

Once you’ve completely filled out your BookMap, the next step is to group all the related ideas into categories. There’s no hard and fast rule for how to do this; just combine your ideas in the way that makes the most sense to you.

One way to do this is to rewrite each idea on a fresh piece of paper, this time grouped together in related topics. Or, you could simply use different-colored highlighters to categorize your ideas with different colors.

Either way, the result is the same: when you’re done grouping your ideas, those categories will form the outline for your book—each category is a new chapter. So now you know exactly which topics to write about, and you know which points to cover in every chapter of your book.

Capture More Notes with The Sticky Note Method

You can use this method instead of the BookMap, or as a supplement to it.

For about a week, carry around sticky notes and write down anything and everything that crosses your mind regarding your possible book topics.

When the week is up, organize all your sticky notes into sections and themes. Then, organize these themes into the patterns that would make sense in the context of chapters of your book. You can then elaborate in areas where you notice missing pieces to the puzzle, and use all of the material you’ve gathered and organized to create an outline.

This method may be helpful if you’re struggling with the notion of committing to writing a whole book since it lets you break down the process into manageable pieces. The ultimate outcome of using this method is deeper thinking, clarity, and concise organization of thoughts and patterns.

how to write your book sticky note example

Now Write Your Book…One Chapter at a Time

You now have a chapter-by-chapter outline for your book. The only thing left to do…is to actually sit down and write it!

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to write your book. But there are some ways that are easier, faster, and more successful than others.

And in my experience, there’s one writing method that works better than any other. Here’s how it works:

  • Complete a mini-BookMap for that chapter, brainstorming everything you know about this topic. (10 minutes.)
  • Organize your ideas and turn that BookMap into an outline. (10 minutes.)
  • Write or speak the chapter by following the outline you just created. (45-60 minutes.)
  • Repeat this process, chapter by chapter, until your book is completed.

Steps 1 & 2 should be familiar by now—they’re the same steps you followed to create your overall book outline. You just repeat those steps on a smaller scale for each chapter.

Then in step 3, you have a choice: you can type out your chapter on a computer, or you can use a recording device & transcription service to dictate your chapter.

If you like the idea of dictating your book, rather than typing it out, here’s how to do it.

How to Speak Your Book

This method works well if you’re a strong speaker and you prefer speaking to writing. The ultimate outcome is that you can create your book draft as quickly as possible, with no actual “writing” on your part. Cool, huh?how to launch a book chandler bolt

Once your chapter outline is complete, the next steps are:

  • Speak your first draft aloud into a recording app or device such as Voice Memos or Audacity.
  • Get that audio file transcribed using a transcription service like Rev.
  • Read through the transcription and revise/polish it up.

As I mentioned, one of the benefits of this method is its speed. Just how fast can you write a first draft using speech dictation?

Well, if the average book is 15,000-25,000 words long, and if the average person speaks at about 150 words/minute, then you can easily speak your entire book in approximately 2-3 hours.

Of course, your spoken & transcribed book will need some polishing and revision to get it publication-ready. But it’s still the fastest way of writing a book I’ve ever come across.

Speed Up Your Writing

Writing faster means getting to publication—and to profits—that much sooner. Try these pro tips to maximize your daily word count:

  • Flex your writing muscles each day. The more you work, the more efficient you’ll get. Create your writing routine and stick to it.
  • If you get stuck on a particular section and stop making progress, find a different part of the book that appeals to you today and write that section instead.
  • Planning and research can be necessary—or a method of procrastination. Limit your prep work to a reasonable timeframe so it won’t stop you from writing. Use a timer if it helps you stay on track.
  • A accountability partner can keep you on track. Set up weekly meetings to review work and cheer each other on.

Looking for even more productivity tips? Here are some more strategies you can use to speed up your writing.

(By the way, I’m hosting a workshop that will take a deep dive on this method and more called, “How to Launch a Book in 90 Days!” Spots tend to fill up quickly, so learn more and join us here!)

how write a book webinar

How to Write a Book Step 4: Avoid Potholes Along the Way

If you’ve been following along with steps 1-3, then you’re in the process of writing your book. You’re working from a solid outline, which means you know exactly what to write in every single chapter.

So nothing could possibly go wrong…right?

Unfortunately, no. Even when you have a solid plan, a proven system, and a detailed outline, you can still get tripped up by some of these sneaky book writing roadblocks. Luckily, I’ve got some tips to help you overcome the most common book writing problems.

How to Beat Writer’s Block

Writer’s block can rear its ugly head in many ways. For some, being blocked means no words at all, while for others, it means trying to nail down a functional draft in the midst of a tornado of swirling ideas. Most of the time, writer’s block is a symptom of a paralyzing fear of others’ opinions.

The harsh reality is, if you write, at some point you’ll be on a first-name basis with a bout of the block. The only way to deal with it is to beat it. Here are 8 methods I’ve found personally useful when fighting writer’s block:

  1. Circle back to your BookMap or outline and see if there’s useful info that sparks fresh inspiration. Sometimes it just takes looking back at the bigger picture to remind you where you’re going with your draft.
  2. Change up the physical way you’re writing; sometimes a simple shift can boost creativity. If you use a laptop, put pen to pad. Try some new music, a new location, or new beverage to sip at your desk.
  3. If you find you start writing slowly and warm up as time goes on, allow adequate time during your writing sessions to get the creative juices flowing.
  4. Review what you wrote yesterday to refresh your memory.
  5. Talk it out. Sometimes a quick conversation with yourself is enough to work through writer’s block. Or call a friend and bounce some ideas off them if you’re truly stuck.
  6. Remember that what you’re writing doesn’t need to be perfect—you’re writing a first draft. If you have a case of perfectionist syndrome, tell yourself it’s okay to write something you’ll think is terrible. Making something good is what second drafts and the editing process is for. Always remember: Done is better than perfect.
  7. Go for a walk. You might be surprised at how a walk outside, or a brief bit of exercise, helps refresh and recharge your creative juices.
  8. Read another author who has a style you like. Read their book for 10 minutes and then start typing, holding their voice in your head.

Don’t Edit While You Write

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You sit down to write and you bang out a page or two. Then you stop and reread what you just wrote. And instead of continuing on ahead, you go back and start editing those first few pages of writing. 

In your mind, you’re just fixing up your work. You want everything to be just right before you continue on ahead.

But in reality, you’ve just stopped all your forward progress. You spend the next hour trying to make those pages PERFECT…and when perfect doesn’t happen, you get frustrated and stop writing.

Usually when this sort of thing happens, it becomes very difficult to do any more writing. Why? Because writing and editing use different parts of your brains—and when you allow yourself to slip into a more critical/judgmental frame of mind, it becomes almost impossible to start creating again.

That’s why, even though editing is an important skill, you need to resist the urge to edit your work while you’re still writing.

Editing is an important skill, obviously. It can turn an OK book into a good book, and a good book into a great book.

But don’t start editing your book until AFTER you’ve already created the entire first draft.

Format Your Book Properly

Few things are more irritating than having to go back through your entire book to fix the formatting.

The take-home lesson? Think about how you want to format your book before you write it, and then be consistent. It’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.

And take the time to figure out how to format your book for publication. For example, did you realize that fiction and nonfiction books typically use different indentation styles?

Nonfiction books tend to use block paragraphs, like this:

book formatting example how to write a book

Whereas fiction books use indentation instead:

fiction formatting how to write a book

Here are a few more book formatting tips:

  • Avoid using hard indents. (Don’t hit “tab” at the beginning of a new paragraph; instead, change the paragraph settings to automatically give each paragraph the indentation you want.)
  • Only use one space after a period. (Using 2 spaces was necessary with typewriters, but not with computers.)
  • If you want to create a page break, do not hit “Enter” repeatedly until you reach the next page. Instead, use the “Page break” function. This is the only way to ensure that your page break will work even after people resize your book on their Kindle.

Keep Going, & Don’t Stop—You’re Almost There!

Now you know not only how to get started writing your book, but how to complete your book project in a mere 90 days!

Remember to keep your WHY at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll be able to crush any and all obstacles that get in your way. If any of the common challenges or obstacles we’ve mentioned rear their ugly head, you’ll know how to deal with them.

With just a little bit of time and a lot of determination, you are on your way to officially calling yourself an author.

How to Write a Book Step 5: Launch Your Book Successfully

By this point your book is completed—congratulations! You’ve done something that most people will never do.

You’ve written a book.

But you’re not done yet. Not quite. Because you still need to launch your book in a way that sets it up for success. In a way that maximizes your readers, your income, and your influence.

how to launch a book chandler boltUnfortunately, most people who succeed in writing a book never get this whole “launch” thing figured out. They throw their book up on Amazon without really having a plan, and as a result, they get very few sales, make almost no money, and are frustrated at the lack of response to their work.

It’s true that self-publishing your book on Amazon is a great way to go. But you can’t simply publish your book and expect people to find it. Instead, you need to dedicate some time to mastering the publishing and marketing processes. This is the only way to make sure that your book makes its way into the hands of the people who will benefit from reading your words.

If you follow this simple launch plan, you can rest assured that your book will come out with a bang and will generate steady sales right out of the gate and for years to come.

Get a Good Cover

We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But in reality, people do exactly that—all the time. And that’s why, if you want your book to sell, your book cover is important.

Really, really important.

And a good book cover does 2 things:

  • It grabs people’s attention.
  • It instantly tells people what the book is about.

Here are a few examples from some of my own books:

book launch cover how to write a book chandler bolt

Notice a couple things. First of all, it’s orange—which helps it to stand out and grab attention. Second, it’s super-clear what the book is about. The title is in the upper-third of the book in large print, so you can read it even in a thumbnail.

Here’s another:

published book cover how to write a book chandler

Both covers were designed using the same basic principles. They’re simple, bold covers that stand out. They also have subtitles that clarify exactly what the book is about.

Now this style of cover works great for my niche, but it won’t necessarily work for every type of book. For example, it would make a terrible cover for a romance novel!

Why? Well, in short, it doesn’t look like a romance novel. Remember that part of a cover’s job is to tell people what the book is about. And in many genres of fiction and nonfiction, readers have come to expect a certain type of book cover.

In order to clearly communicate what your book is about to your ideal readers, you need it to fit in with their expectations—while also standing out enough to grab their attention. This is another reason why it pays to head over to the Amazon bestselling books list and study some of the most successful books in your genre.

What do those covers look like? Do they share a similar layout? Color scheme? Font style?

For example, if you were writing a romance novel, you would want to study these covers:

how to write a book amazon example

Find out what the most successful books in your genre look like, then imitate that look—but change it up just enough so that it stands out and grabs your readers’ attention.

Build a Launch Team

The real key to a successful book launch is building and leveraging a launch team.

So what is a launch team?

In a nutshell, your launch team is a small team of people who are supporting your book. They could be friends, family, associates, online affiliates—anyone.

At first, your launch team might be limited to your immediate friends & family. That’s OK! Launch your book with their help, and work on continually building your launch team every chance you get.

When you add a person to your launch team, you need to make 2 things clear for them:

  • What are they agreeing to do for you?
  • What are they getting in return?

Step 1 is pretty simple: you want them to read your book, leave a review, and share it with their own friends and family.

This is how you spread the word about a brand-new book when you don’t have an email list or a social media following.

Step 2 can vary from person to person. What do your friends & family get in return for helping you? In many cases, they get things like:

  • A free copy of your book
  • Their name mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” part of your book
  • The chance to be part or something inspiring
  • The personal satisfaction of helping to create something meaningful

As your launch team grows bigger, you might need to offer more than that. For example, maybe another person in your niche agrees to promote your new book to their email list—but in exchange, they want a percentage of your profit.

(This is called affiliate marketing, and it’s a great way to grow your audience and your revenue while letting somebody else do the marketing for you.)

But don’t worry about that for now. Just reach out to anyone you know who would be willing to support your first book launch and ask for their help.

Get Ongoing Reviews

If there’s one thing we know about the Amazon algorithm, it’s this:

It loves reviews.

If you want your book to show up in search results and as a “Recommended” book when people are looking at similar products, you need to continue generating ongoing reviews to keep the algorithm happy.

When you do, your book will start to show up at the top of Amazon results:

how to write a book amazon example

Reviews are a fantastic form of social proof. They’re a credibility sign that lots of people have read your book and loved it—and that makes other people more likely to want to read it, too.

But you have to be careful about how you go about trying to get Amazon reviews. For example, you can get in big trouble if you try to pay for reviews, swap reviews with other authors, or offer free gifts in exchange for reviews.

You can solicit reviews, but they cannot be “incentivized” reviews.

So how can you generate more reviews without offering people something in return? Well, I’ve discovered a few tips that work incredibly well. Click here to learn my 8-step process for generating more Amazon reviews.

Get Help From a Mentor Who’s Done It Before

I’d like to leave you with one final message:

The best way to learn how to write a bestselling book is to get help from somebody who’s been there before.

People often ask me how I was able to make so much money and sell so many copies of my very first book. And I always tell them the same thing:

Because I sought out a mentor. Someone to teach me a proven book-writing process that had been tried and tested. A book-writing system that was almost guaranteed to work, as long as I followed it properly.how to write a book

Well, that’s the real secret to my success as an author. I sought out the help I needed to give my very first book a major head-start.

And now I’m sharing with you the opportunity to do the same thing. To learn from a mentor who can help you achieve your dream of writing and publishing your very first book.

To get started, click here to register for a free workshop called: Want to Launch a Bestseller in 90 Days?

In this free course, you’ll discover my blueprint to go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days

If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
  • The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
  • Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book
  • And much more!

Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now »

Show Don’t Tell in Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Finally Getting it Right

When you start writing a book, it’s as if everyone around you becomes the expert. You’ll hear that you should show don’t tell, start with action, or even embellish your stories to sound “better.”

People start spitting advice in your face like they’ve been through it all before even though most of them have hardly even thought about writing a book, let alone put forth an ounce of work to get started with tips like show don’t tell.

So how do you know which advice is garbage and which you should actually take?

It’s safe to say that the idea of showing not telling is one all writers should pay close attention to.

Show don’t tell in writing is a piece of advice that’s been around for longer than you might realize. Even if it didn’t have a phrase attached to it yet, the best authors out there have been using it for the duration of their careers (and even before, most likely).

In fact, it’s why they’re known as the best writers of all time.

But although these writers knew how to bring their writing to life instinctually, not all of us are so lucky. We have to learn the process of show don’t tell, which can be tricky if you don’t know where to start.

show don't tell

What does show don’t tell mean?

At a first glance, this writing rule could be confused for the best day in Kindergarten when you bring your pet lizard in to show the class.

But in actuality, show don’t tell refers to the way in which you describe the experience you (or your character) went through.

It’s about showing the actions and relationships and feelings instead of just telling the reader what happened. This creates a much deeper connection and brings readers closer to you (or the main character).

And that makes them feel deeper and stronger about the story. It creates empathy and invests the reader – which is exactly what you need

Writing your book introduction with an abundance of showing not telling is a powerful way to draw readers in for the duration of your entire book.

But this technique is much easier shown than told (hehe – see what I did there?).

show don't tell in writing

Show Don’t Tell Examples:

These examples are pretty basic but that’s the best way to gain an understanding of what this looks like. Keep in mind that your sentences may be more complex than these examples, but still full of “tell” words or phrases.

Be on the lookout for the details.

Example #1:

Tell – “I heard footsteps creeping behind me and it made the whole situation scarier.”

Show – “Crunching hit my ears from behind, accelerating the already rampant pounding of my heart against my ribs.”

Why it’s better – In an instance such as this, you want the reader to feel what you did: the surprise and the sense of urgency, the fear. Describing the crunching that hit your ears even through the pounding of your heart not only creates a powerful visual, but it also tells the reader the state your body was in during that intense moment. The first example is weak and does little to explain how you actually felt in that moment.

Example #2:

Tell – “She was my best friend. I could tell her almost anything.”

Show – “I met her at the town square, running in for our usual hug that carried on for far too long as we gushed about our lives with smiles lighting our faces.”

Why it’s better – The first example of telling is shorter, but it doesn’t do a great job of really showing the impact you have on each other. Anyone can think of “best friend” and form an overall thought about what that looks like. But this isn’t just “anyone.” This is your best friend. Showing your relationship with one another is vital to forging that deeper connection.

Why should you show don’t tell in writing?

The entire point of showing versus telling in writing is to make a stronger emotional connection with your readers and hook them.

They already picked up your book for the killer title and eye-grabbing cover, but they need a reason to stay.

The idea behind this writing technique is to put the reader in your shoes. Make them feel, hear, and sense the situation as you did.

It’s about creating an experience for the reader instead of just a recount of events.

Doing this makes the reader want to root for you. They want to hear your whole story and in turn, they’ll read your whole book.

Why is showing not telling important for non-fiction specifically?

If you write fiction, you hear this advice all the time. However, all of you non-fiction writers out there, this piece of writing advice might be new to you.

Show don’t tell isn’t always the first thing a non-fiction writer thinks of when it comes to adding more intrigue to your story.

But it is the most vital for pulling your reader in and not only hooking them, but keeping them with you throughout the duration of your book.

Many fiction writers hear this writing advice often because it’s one of the best ways to make real people feel deeply for fictional characters.

When it comes to writing a story about your life and something you went through, the idea is the same. By showing and not telling, you’ll be able to guide them through your real-life situation as an experience and not just some book they’re reading while the kids are yelling at their video games and the oven alarm is blaring in the distance.

If you can show don’t tell the right way, the reader won’t even notice those distractions.

show don't tell

How to Show Don’t Tell in Writing

So now you know what it is and why it’s important, but how the heck do you actually do it? The process of taking a single story and crafting it to create more emotion can be difficult.

Thankfully, we have some of the best tips for showing not telling in writing.

#1 – Get rid of all basic sensory words

Phrases like, “I heard,” “I felt,” and “I smelled,” are all very weak. These are “telling” words and phrases that force the reader further away from you and your experience.

That’s exactly what you want to avoid.

Instead, you need to pull them into your world and into your psyche the very moment you were encountering the situation.

Writing Exercise #1:

Read through your writing and circle every telling word you can find. Anything that explains one of the 5 senses.

show don't tell writing exercise

Then write down specifics for each. If you heard someone creeping up behind you, how did you hear it? Was it crunching on gravel? Was it the shuffling of shoes against carpet?

show don't tell writing exercise

Once you have these, rewrite those sections by explaining how the senses manifested to you and not just what you sensed (detailed below in the next writing exercise).

#2 – Don’t use “emotion explaining” words

This might be a bit tricky and you certainly don’t have to follow this one 100% of the time, but if you can get this right, it’ll make showing versus telling so much easier to grasp.

Think of any word to describe an emotion. I’ll help you out a little:

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Excited
  • Giddy
  • Love
  • Anxious
  • Joy
  • Disgust

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

These are all great words to describe how someone felt. However, they’re also very weak, unexciting ways to do so.

If you need your readers to understand how excited you were at any given time, show them. Don’t just tell them, “I was so excited!”

Show them the sweat beading your forehead as you raced to your destination. Show them the lifting of your cheeks as your lips parted way for an uncontrollable smile.

Writing Exercise #2:

Skim through your writing and circle every word that’s an emotion.

show don't tell writing exercise

Then, for every emotion-explaining word you find, write down physical reactions of feeling that way.

show don't tell writing exercise

Once you have a small list for each circled word, use it to craft a couple sentences to describe (and show!) just what that looked like.

show don't tell writing exercise

You can see the difference alone between these two paragraphs. By replacing all of the “telling” words and phrases, it develops into an experience for the reader and not just a retelling of what happened.

show don't tell writing exercise

#3 – Describe body language

One of the best ways you can show not tell in writing is to use strong descriptive language when it comes to body language.

A person’s actions are really a gateway to their mind and how they feel.

You can tell if another person has a crush on someone just by paying attention to the way their body adjusts when in that person’s presence, right?

Showing versus telling in writing is exactly that. You want to show the reader what is happening and allow them to form a conclusion about how you or others in your story felt based on what they look like.

In all honesty, a lot of this one is about having faith that your audience can put two and two together.

Oftentimes, we tend to over explain in an effort to make something obvious when really, the emotion is in the guesswork; it’s in allowing someone to draw their own conclusions. That over-explaining is what comes across as “telly” and not as emotionally compelling.

And honestly? It’s also pretty boring and flat.

If you do a great job of showing what you want readers to see, they’ll understand how someone feels – and they’ll even feel that way themselves.

That’s the power of showing not telling.

#4 – Use strong language

Showing itself can be extremely impactful, but using strong language and verbs in specific situations is even more powerful for adding depth to your story.

The way you make someone else actually feel how you did as you were going through the experience is to make sure the words you’re using directly reflect the emotions.

This can be a difficult task for those who aren’t sure what “strong language” looks likes, but I’ll make it easier for you.

Writing Exercise #3:

Think of a situation you want to explain in your book (or maybe something you already have written out).

show don't tell writing exercise 2

Now imagine what feeling you want to convey through that scene. What do you want your readers to take away from that specific moment in your story? List those emotions so you can see all of them.

show don't tell writing exercise 2

Take that list and start writing ways in which you can bring those emotions to life. What do those things mean for you? How would these emotions manifest during that specific time?

show don't tell writing exercise 2

Now take those stronger verbs and words that depict a deeper emotion and craft your sentence or paragraph with those to reflect how you truly felt.

show don't tell writing exercise 2

show don't tell writing exercise 2

How does this sentence make you feel? Do you feel comfort, relaxation, and a sense that I love being there?

That was the purpose.

It’s about taking one specific idea or vibe or feeling and using what you know to transform it into something that’s showing not telling.

This specific example for show don’t tell can be a little time-consuming at first, but you will get the hang of it and these methods will soon become second nature to you.

What to do Next?

Show don’t tell can be difficult to master unless you’re constantly thinking about it. But because this specific writing skill is vital for building strong emotional connections, you have to implement this information.

Here’s what you can do going forward.

#1 – Practice

There are 3 writing exercises listed above. As you write going forward, keep showing not telling in the forefront of your mind to foster a more compelling emotional connection.

You can use these exercises every single time you sit down to write or you can take a day of editing to go through each section you think needs more showing.

If your manuscript is finished and you’re ready for a full self-edit, these exercises are also extremely helpful editing guidelines.

Either way, practicing will help this technique become easy and even natural – which will allow you to write more, faster.

#2 – Watch for it in books you read

You’ll quickly learn that any good books you’ve read that make you feel something will have an abundance of show don’t tell examples.

If you’re okay with scribbling in your books, you can even highlight examples to learn from when you feel stuck.

Not only will doing this help you to recognize these instances more, you’ll also get better at writing it yourself. The easier showing not telling is for you, the stronger your writing will be.

#3 – Learn more!

You can’t have too much knowledge when it comes to writing and publishing.

If you’re looking to start writing a book or need help getting started, tune into Chandler Bolt’s FREE Webinar Training where he takes you through everything you need to know to get started.

show don't tell webinar training

Being informed and increasing your writing knowledge is essential because the more you know, the better your writing, and in turn, the better your book will be.

Let’s get your story heard!

Are you a master of show don’t tell or are you just getting started? Let us know what works best for you when it comes to forging a deeper connection with your readers through your writing!

the book writing software for authors

Book Writing Software: The 11 Best Writing Tools For Authors in 2018

The right book writing software can make all the difference in the world.

With the best writing tools, you can write faster and more effectively. You’ll be more focused, with fewer distractions. And just as importantly, you’ll have an easier time keeping your outline and notes organized. But you can’t do either without the right book writing software.

You’ll have to make some choices.

Nowadays, authors have so many options when looking for the best book writing software.

Should you stick with tried-and-true Microsoft Word? Move to Scrivener, the up-and-coming writing software of choice for experienced authors? Or maybe it’s worth giving Google Docs a try, so you can easily share and co-edit your book with an editor?

We’ve compiled a list of the 11 best book writing software programs – both free and those that’ll justifiably cost you – so you can up your author game:

  • Microsoft Word – Word Processor, $79.99
  • Scrivener – Word Processor, $45
  • Pages – Word Processor, $28
  • Freedom – Productivity Software, $2.42/month
  • Google Docs – Online Word Processor, Free
  • Evernote – Note-Taking Software, Free
  • FocusWriter – Word Processor, Free
  • FastPencil – Word Processor, Free
  • yWriter – Word Processor, Free
  • Hemingway App – Style & Grammar Checker, Free

Let’s get started by comparing the 3 book writing software “giants,” and then I’ll share some less well-known tools that might help improve your writing process even more.

book writing software

Which book writing software features are right for you?

I’m not trying to sell you on any particular book writing software in this article. Instead, my goal is to give you an idea of what’s out there so you can weigh the options for yourself. Who knows—you may even discover a brand-new writing tool you absolutely love.

There are 9 things to consider when deciding which program to use for your book. Depending on your needs, some of these questions may be more or less important to you:

  1. How easy is it to format text the way you want?
  2. Does it have templates available? How many?
  3. How much does it cost?
  4. Is the program simple & easy to use?
  5. Does it offer any extra features or other bells & whistles?
  6. How about a distraction-free writing experience?
  7. Is the program user-friendly?
  8. Can you access your files no matter where you are?
  9. How easy is it to collaborate with editors & team members?

In the end, the truth is that there are many great writing tools out there. It isn’t really a question of which tool is BEST. What it comes down to is: which tool works best with YOUR unique writing process?

book writing software questions

The Top 3 Book Writing Software Programs

#1 – Microsoft Word

Before any other writing tools came along, Microsoft Word was the only option available. Everyone used it.

Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs.

And it’s easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!

best book writing software: microsoft word

It’s been around a long time. It’s trusted, reliable, and gets the job done well.

It also provides a relatively distraction-free writing experience; much better than working on Google Docs in your browser, for example, where you’re only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet.

If you just need to wake up in the morning and meet your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page, then Word is an obvious choice of book writing software. No fuss, no muss. It’s about as simple as it gets.

Word also offers some simple organization.

Using headers, you can organize your book into chapters—and then you can navigate through them quickly using the Navigation pane:

best book writing software: microsoft word

You can also 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.

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.

But as a writing tool, Word does have some downsides.

For starters, it doesn’t always play well with Macs. If you use a Mac, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting. Thankfully, Apple offers a comparable program called Pages, that we reviewed below for you.

Word is also pretty vanilla. That’s part of its appeal, sure, but it also means Word lacks some of the more advanced features you get with other programs like Scrivener and Google Docs.

For example, Scrivener offers more advanced outlining functionality. And Google Docs makes it easier to share and collaborate on your files.

All in all, Word is a solid contender for best book writing software. But there are many other choices out there.

Cost: $79.99 if purchased separately.

#2 – Scrivener 

You just learned that Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor in the world. But does that mean it’s the best book writing software?

best book writing software: scrivener

Think about it this way. The fact that Word is so prevalent means that it has to cater to all sorts of users—students, businesspeople, writers, teachers, marketers, lawyers, the list goes on and on and on.

But Scrivener was created for one type of person only:

Writers.

And if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of Scrivener. A lot of writers absolutely love this program, with its advanced features and distraction-free writing experience.

In short, Scrivener gives you an insane amount of flexibility for writing, formatting, and organizing your book.

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 also praises 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.”

how to choose the best book writing software

Scrivener has a ton of benefits for authors, but let’s keep things concise for you. Here are some of the top takeaways of this book writing software:

  • Helps with plotting for fiction authors
  • 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 drag and drop to move sections around
  • Provides a collection of robust templates
  • Supports MultiMarkdown for bullets and numbers

Because Scrivener was designed for writers, it’s super easy to lay out scenes, move content around, and outline your story, article, or manuscript. Instead of keeping all your content in one big file, Scrivener allows you to create multiple sub-files to make it easier to organize and outline your project:

best book writing software: scrivener

Scrivener is a fabulous tool for plotting out storylines. Using the corkboard view, for instance, you can recreate the popular “notecard method” for outlining your project:

best book writing software: scrivener

But as awesome as Scrivener is, it’s not perfect.

And the biggest downside to using Scrivener is the steep learning curve involved. You aren’t going to master this program overnight.

But if you’re serious about your writing career, then investing the time to learn this specific writing tool will be worth it. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.

And if you want to learn how to use Scrivener as quickly & easily as possible, we can help!

Check out our free training, Learn Scrivener Fast, where we teach you how to use all the most powerful features in Scrivener to supercharge your writing process…all in just an hour.

To learn how to use Scrivener, click below for our free training:

best book writing software: scrivener tutorial

If you want to dig even deeper, you can also download the Scrivener Manual, or watch the Scrivener YouTube tutorials they’ve put together at Literature & Latte.

Long story short: Scrivener is an investment, but one that’s worth it. It will take some time to master. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back—it’s the single most powerful book writing software out there.

If you like what you see from Scrivener, you can buy it here:

Buy Scrivener 3 for macOS (Regular License)

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular License)

Cost: $45

#3 – Google Docs 

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another writing software that more and more people are starting to use for varying reasons:

Google Docs.

best book writing software: Google Docs

Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.

The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example:

best book writing software: Google Docs

This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.” That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.

Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.

And here’s one of the best features: everything is saved on the server frequently and automatically, 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.

Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.

Cost: Free

best book writing software benefits

Lesser-Known Book Writing Software

Just because you may not be familiar with a specific writing software doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial or even better than what you’re using now.

Let’s get to know some powerful, helpful book writing tools you can use to up your author game and make some progress.

#1 – Pages 

Think of Pages as the Mac alternative to Microsoft Word.

It has a variety of beautiful templates to choose from, has a simple design, and syncs with all devices from within iCloud so you can access it in a number of different places.

best book writing software: Pages

Personally, I love the ease of Pages. It works great for creating ebooks or manuscripts with a variety of writing tools you can get creative with.

Cost: $28

#2 – Freedom

Freedom isn’t technically a writing tool, but it sure can help improve your writing. It’s a productivity app designed to help eliminate distractions by blocking certain websites – something more than beneficial for those of us who get sidetracked easily.

For example: let’s say you have a tendency to get distracted by social media sites. All you have to do us start a Freedom session that blocks all your social media sites—and then you won’t be able to visit them even if you wanted to.

Here’s what it looks like when you schedule a session:

best book writing software: Freedom

Notice that you have a lot of options. You can schedule one-time sessions (starting now or later), or you can set up recurring sessions (for example, to block distracting sites every day when it’s time to write).

When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:

best book writing software: Freedom

This is a really liberating tool. Once you know you don’t have the option of visiting those distracting sites, you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your writing and you’ll be able to get a lot more done.

Cost: $2.42/month and up, or $129 for lifetime access.

Free Book Writing Software

There’s not much we love more than getting stuff for free – especially when it comes to our aspirations. You don’t have to doll out a ton of cash just to use highly beneficial book writing software.

In fact, there are many free book writing software programs. These are among the best free writing tools.

#1 – FastPencil 

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 as well.

Everything happens online in your browser, which means you can access your files from any computer (as long as you’re connected to the Internet). Here’s what the word processor looks like:

best book writing software: Fast Pencil

Cost: Free (paid upgrades are optional)

#2 – FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a word processor for writers that’s intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It’s a basic, lightweight writing tool that was designed to be completely free of progress inhibiting distractions.

In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.

best book writing software: Focus Writer

You can customize the image in the background to suit your project to help inspire your writing.

It’s simple and effective. If you need a lot of features, it probably won’t work for you. But if simplicity is your thing, then you may have found your perfect free writing tool.

Cost: Free

#3 – yWriter 

yWriter is a really popular word processor (intended mainly for novelists) with some impressive features (especially for a program that’s completely free).

It helps keep your project organized by giving you space to include notes on all sorts of things, like character notes, scene notes, scene goals, etc. You can specify whose point of view each scene will be written in, and you can see the word count of your entire novel broken out by chapter—all at a quick glance:

best book writing software: Focus Writer

One thing that yWriter does differently than a lot of other writing programs is focus on scenes rather than on chapters. A lot of writers prefer this since scenes are usually fun chunks of story to work on. And using yWriter, you can rearrange all those scenes to compose a compelling novel.

I’d call it a Scrivener alternative that’s free to use. But one downside is that it only works for Windows (at least, for now)).

Cost: Free

#4 – Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.

The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7.

Here’s what Evernote looks like on a phone:best book writing software: Evernote

While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.

But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.

Cost: Free, but there is a cool upgrade for $5 a month that gets you Evernote Premium

#5 – Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway Editor is a unique kind of writing tool. It’s a style checker that’s designed to help tighten up your prose and make your writing clear and bold.

Simply paste your writing into the editor and scroll through. You’ll notice that the program highlights certain words & passages—like long, hard-to-read sentences, passive verbs, and phrases with simpler alternatives.

It’s basically your own personal editor rolled into a writing software.

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

best book writing software: hemingway app

(Yikes. Too bad Dickens didn’t have this app.)

What I love about this tool is how easy it is to use. Everything is color-coded and super easy to understand, so you can see at a glance where your writing could use a little elbow grease.

Cost: Free, or you can purchase the desktop version for $19.99.

best book writing software for authors

#6 – Dropbox

Reading this, you may be wondering:

Dropbox? How is that a writing tool?

Trust me—it is!

While it’s true that Dropbox isn’t a word processor like Scrivener or yWriter, it is a very helpful writing tool. Especially for writers who write on more than one computer, who need to collaborate with other writers or editors, or who want an easy way to back up their work.

Here’s how it works:

When you set up Dropbox and install it on your computer, it will create a new “Dropbox” folder on your machine.

Any files that you save in this folder will be automatically backed up to Dropbox’s servers in the cloud, and will be automatically downloaded to any other computers that are synced to that same Dropbox account.

A lot of writers choose to save their book on Dropbox, so that it will be automatically backed up. And as you can see, it looks the same as any other folder on your computer:

best book writing software Dropbox

Using this strategy, you can make it easier to share and collaborate on your files—even if you aren’t using Google Docs.

Cost: Free for a basic plan, or $9.99/month for extra storage.

How Much Does Book Writing Software Programs Cost?

I would recommend not worrying too much about the cost of these programs. After all, dropping $100 or less on a program is not that big a deal if it is going to help improve your writing for years to come.

That said, I know you work hard for your money—and you want to get the best deal you can! Here are the most recent prices for all of the tools in this article:

  • Scrivener costs about $45.
  • Word costs $79.99 US.
  • Google Docs is free, but you have the option to pay for more storage in Google Drive.
  • Evernote is free, but there is a cool upgrade for $5 a month that gets you Evernote Premium.
  • Pages costs about $28 for Mac.
  • FocusWriter is free to download.
  • FastPencil is free, or you can pay for more extensive features.
  • yWriter is also free to download.
  • Freedom costs $2.42/month and up, or $129 for lifetime access. (Sometimes they offer discounts, so look around for a coupon code.)
  • Hemingway App is free to use online, or you can purchase the desktop version for $19.99.
  • Dropbox is free for a basic plan, or you can pay $9.99/month for extra storage.

What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay 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!

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?

the best book writing software

What to do Next

Writing a book takes a lot more than discovering some helpful book writing software. Here’s what you can do right now to head in the right direction with your book.

#1 Try a few different options

Don’t just pick one of these writing software options and be done with it. Sometimes you really need to try them out before you can determine which will fit your needs with your current project.

Make some notes as you work through a few and be sure to put together a pros and cons list to ensure you’re choosing the best option to propel you forward on your writing journey.

#2 Nail down your book information

I know it might seem fun to get started once you have a super helpful writing platform to use, but you need to nail down your book idea first.

Have you created your mindmap? How does your outline look?

Without these two necessities, you won’t get very far – even with some beneficial writing software.

writing software

#3 Learn more!

The process of learning never stops when it comes to writing and publishing a book. Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

Click here to save your spot now!

Do you use one of these writing software programs? Let us know how they are below!

book launch

Book Launch: How to Run Yours Like a Pro & Sell More Books

“Build it and they will come” is advice that rarely works when trying to sell books. Amazon is full of self-published books that have barely made any sales, leaving many writers dejected.

If you want your books to succeed, to get into the hands of your readers, to potentially achieve bestseller status…. you need a book launch plan.

After all, you’ve already spent months (or even years) crafting your manuscript. You’ve also spent a small fortune on a book cover, hiring an editor, proofreading, formatting, and other related expenses.

The last thing you need after all you’ve invested is for your book to fail, to make exactly zero sales.

(Okay you might make a few, to friends and family. But that’s not why you wrote your book, right?)

If you have a book, or are looking to write a book, and are already thinking about promotion, then this is for you. Contrary to what you might expect, launching a book isn’t hard, and it doesn’t need to break the bank (although you do need to invest some money).

By focusing on the minimal book launch strategy I’ll outline here, you’ll avoid being overwhelmed and launch your book on Amazon like a pro.

We’ll guide you through how to:

  • Price your book during launch
  • Set up your complete launch strategy during soft launch
  • Collect reviews from your launch team
  • Set your book up with the best promo sites for both paid and free
  • Stick to a minimalist launch plan

book launch

Pre Book Launch Checklist

Before you go any further, there are a few things you need to do in between finishing your manuscript and launching your book. I put together a 13-point checklist of these action items.

You don’t need to carry them out with perfection since they can be tweaked later. But don’t launch your book without doing them.

  • Book Description — Create your book description using the Book Description Generator at Kindlepreneur.com.
  • Keywords — Select 7 keywords for your book. I use KDP Rocket and Kindlespy. There is also Merchant Words and Google AdWords.
  • Categories — Choose 2 main categories for your book in the KDP dashboard. Once your book is live you can email Amazon and request to have your book put into eight additional categories.
  • Landing Page — Create a landing page for your book. This can be used to collect email addresses and give away a chapter of your book before its release (optional).
  • Upload Manuscript — Upload your manuscript to KDP. Proofread your book using the KDP online previewer.
  • Upload Cover — Upload your Kindle cover to KDP.
  • Launch Price — Set your launch price at 0.99.
  • Lead Magnet — Insert a lead magnet into your book, both at the front and back. Connect this to your email list provider such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
  • Audiobook (Optional) — Get your audiobook created. Plan to release your book through Audible or ACX.
  • Paperback — Get your paperback version created. You can set up your paperback at CreateSpace. Optional: Your paperback can be launched after the Kindle release.
  • Emails — Pre-write emails that you’ll send to your launch team.
  • GoodreadsGoodreads account created and author profile setup. Your book will end up there either way, so it’s worth setting up an account to associate the book with.
  • Launch Plan Model — Map out the specific action steps you are taking for each day of your launch. I have provided a model for this further down the post.

Just like there are a variety of business models to choose from when planning your venture, there are a variety of book launch strategies to choose from.

For example, you could follow Steve Scott’s 5-Day Launch Plan That Works which he used to effectively launch the bestselling book 10-Minute Digital Declutter that he co-authored with Barrie Davenport. Or you could emulate Nick Loper, of Side Hustle Nation fame, and his successful launch strategy which sold 2600+ copies of his book Buy Buttons. There’s even the detailed launch plan of Rob Cubbon, the author of The New Freedom.

book launch checklist

These are all plans that work because of one thing:

They are strategic in their planning and strategic in their execution.

However, while there seems to be a lot of steps, an effective book launch plan isn’t complicated. Your launch plan will depend largely on:

  1. Your objectives and purpose.
  2. Your platform. The bigger your platform and access to influencers, the bigger (and more diverse) your launch.

In the strategy I’ll show you, I keep things simple. It’s a 12-day launch, including a 3-day free promo through Amazon.

If you’ve ticked everything on that checklist, then it’s time to hit publish on your book and to start your launch strategy.

But, before we dive into that, there are a few things you need to know about Amazon’s algorithm as it informs your book launch strategy.

The Amazon Algorithm: A Few Basics for Your Book Launch

Amazon uses an algorithm to measure and track book sales, and everything else on their platform. It’s worth remembering that Amazon wants you to succeed: if you make money, Amazon makes money. Knowing a few basics of it can help you to have a greater launch and to sustain the life of your book for months (and years) after the launch buzz wears off.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

Your book starts ranking as soon as someone buys a copy. Every purchase of your book pushes the ranking up the ladder. As a book moves up, it jumps ahead of the other books in your selected category. The rankings are based on recent sales and Amazon favors a book that is getting consistent, ongoing sales.

A book that runs a promo and gets 200 sales in one day, but then nothing else for the week, will not perform as well as a book that gets the same number of downloads over the course of a ten-day period.

Slow, steady traffic and a long-term plan is the way to succeed with your book.

Steady, organic growth will always outperform a sudden burst of downloads.

It’s worth noting also that while reviews and the price of your book do not affect your sales rank, they’re still worth having. The more quality reviews you have, the more credible your book will be to shoppers. This affects their decision-making power to buy, which translates into more downloads and an increase in sales rank. Focus on getting as many quality reviews as you can during this launch phase. Then, continue to work on getting reviews from organic traffic.

With that out of the way, let’s look at two necessary steps you need to do before you promote your book.

book launch

Setting Up Your Amazon Bestseller

There’s a very specific formula to follow during your book launch that will have you hitting those Amazon bestseller lists. And you definitely want to become a bestseller so you can increase your sales and maintain your position at the top.

The $0.99 Launch Strategy

I know what you’re thinking, “$0.99? Why would I essentially give my book away for free? I didn’t get into this business to fulfill the starving artist stereotype.”

I know how you feel, but trust me, there’s a good reason for launching it at this price. You may be selling it at a super-low point now, but the rewards are coming later. Remember: think long term. It’s better to have a book that has steady sales in the long term than to just have a burst of downloads now, then zero in the future.

Action Item: Go to the KDP dashboard and set your book at $0.99. With the exception of the free promo period (which we’ll get to shortly), your book will be at $0.99 for the duration of the launch.

The Free Book Launch Strategy

I mentioned that our strategy will have a 3-day free launch. Setting this up is easy. If you plan to run a free promo for your book, you can set this up as soon as your book is live on Amazon. To run a free promotion, your book has to be enrolled in the KDP Select program for 90 days.

A book that is listed for free will be ranked in the free store and books set at a price are ranked in the paid store.

If you don’t have a following (email list) or you are just getting started, I suggest you do the free promo. The free promo gets your book into more hands (that will hopefully read it) and increases its visibility across more platforms.

Action Item: Go to the KDP dashboard, and under “Kindle eBook Actions,” enroll into the KDP Select program. While enrolled in the KDP select program your book has to be exclusive to the Kindle Store.

Book Promotion Sites: Free and Paid

When launching your book, especially during your free promo, you want to put it into the hands of as many readers as possible. Amazon ranks your book in the free store based on how many downloads it gets.

The higher you rank, the more downloads you’ll get from Amazon browsers. Which means to maximize your launch, you need an initial surge of readers that don’t come from Amazon.

This is where book promotion sites come in. You can use them for both your paid and free launch. In the launch scenario later on in the post, I’ll show you how to batch these sites together to give your book the boost it needs.

An aside if you have a healthy email list: you won’t need to rely on these sites as much. This is especially beneficial for authors who are just starting out and don’t yet have a strong platform.

Keep in mind that results vary for each site and your performance will largely depend on your book’s quality. You still need the essentials: a great cover, a compelling book description, and an eye-catching book title.

Below is a list of my favorites that I have personally used, in combination with an email list to launch multiple bestsellers. You can also check out Dave Chesson’s blog on this as he covers the best sites to use for both free and paid.

The price for each promo site varies depending on the niche and category.

The Best Book Launch Promo Sites

  1. Buckbooks. If you can get onto any of these promo sites, Buckbooks is the one you want to try to get into. You need 10 reviews before they’ll schedule you. Note: You can promote the 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote once every 6 months for each book. If you use their Archangel Ink book production services you’ll get a guaranteed placement.
  2. Robin Reads — (need 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating) Takes a couple days to get approved ($55). Great results. I usually get anywhere from 60-100 downloads with this one. https://robinreads.com/author-signup/ Note: They have a calendar that is usually booked out weeks in advance. In this case, consider using Robin Reads for future promos of existing books already launched.
  3. BookSends — $40. If you can match this up with Robin Reads or Bucks on the same day it’s a great little boost. https://booksends.com/
  4. BKnights (Fiverr) You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. Downloads average 12-30 depending on the book.
  5. eReader News — Great gig but hard to get approved at times. takes several days for a response. Various prices. https://ereadernewstoday.com/
  6. Booksbutterfly. You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few (if only) sites that do that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle ($90) that gets you 50+ downloads + KU borrows. (https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/)
  7. The Fussy Librarian (https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/). Great promo but very hard to book in advance. They are usually booked out 2-3 weeks ahead. Need 10 reviews to get accepted. Various price ranges. Strong results.
  8. Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction. Lots of categories and good results. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/
  9. eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10. https://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/
  10. Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10. They have a free option but go with the paid. https://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
  11. Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29. You can also sign up to become a featured author. https://manybooks.net/promote
  12. Digital Book Today ($40). Good gig, average returns and works better with fiction than non-fiction. https://digitalbooktoday.com/
  13. eBook Stage. Another great little promo site, reasonably priced. $10. https://ebookstage.com/
  14. Book Runes (https://bookrunes.com/). Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25. Average to very good results.
  15. BookBub. This is by far the biggest and the best promo site. Very tough to get accepted and it is expensive, but worth every dime. At the very least you should set up an Author profile on BookBub and start to get people to follow you. They have a great blog too that gives powerful tips on how to get a BookBub feature. https://insights.bookbub.com
  16. Email your list (if you have one). if you don’t, BUILD one. This is by far better than all of the promo sites combined. If you don’t have a list yet, start building one with Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit.

The Book Launch Sequence and Set-Up

To keep things simple, I’m giving you an example of a book launch that covers 12 days. This is similar to the launch that I did for my book Relaunch Your Life, except that I didn’t run a free promo. However, for this post, I will look at how to include a free promo as well.

Your launch will look and perform differently than this, but you can use this as a model and tweak as required. This launch assumes you are launching your book at $0.99 with a free promo set up through KDP for 2-3 days.

What is the difference between a soft launch and the actual launch?

I use the term soft launch below, which is different from your actual book launch. Your soft launch begins from the moment you hit publish.

As Amazon takes about 24 hours to set up your book, I recommend hitting the publish button at least 24 hours before you begin your actual launch. For example, if your launch plan beings on a Sunday, then publish your book on a Saturday.

book launch model

The 12-Day Book Launch Model

Ready for your book launch? In this book launch model we use 3 days for our soft launch window, and then begin the actual launch on day 4.

Day 1: First Day of Soft Book Launch

The first day of your soft launch is critical. This is the day when you are going to set up your book to successfully launch over the next 11 days. The price point is set at $0.99.

Here is a brief checklist of what to do on day 1 of the soft launch:

  1. Create your Amazon Author Page. Set up your bio and upload an author pic.
  2. Claim your book by hitting the ‘add more books’ tab. This will appear on your author page within 24 hours.
  3. Email your launch team. Let them know the book is ready for verified reviews.
  4. Email Amazon customer support. Request that your book is placed in additional categories.
  5. Set up a few promo sites for days 2 or 3 while your book is at 0.99. This starts to build momentum. Recommended Awesome Gang, Bknights, and Booksbutterfly.
  6. As soon as you have ten reviews, set up the rest of your promo sites for the week. Not all of these promo sites require a set number of reviews. Check the list for links to the sites and submission requirements.
  7. Set up your Free promo in the KDP dashboard. Your free promo will be 2-3 days. This will start on day 4 (or however long you decide to run your soft launch). If you do a 5-day soft launch your free promo will start on day 6. Set up several paid promo sites to advertise your book for free. Although your book is free, the promos will cost you.

For your free promo on days 4-5 contact:

If you combine these promo sites with the organic traffic you’ll get from Amazon, you should do very well for free downloads.

Day 2-3: Soft Book Launch (Optional: You can extend this up to 5 days)

Social media burst to your FB page, mastermind groups, and other sources to spread the word. Don’t forget about other social platforms with large reader audiences like Twitter and Tumblr.

Day 4-6: FREE Promo

The promotional sites you got in touch with on day 1 will be advertising your book. Send an email to your team to notify them that your book is now free. Promote to social media!

Day 7-10: Paid Promo Sites

Run paid promo sites recommended from the list above. You can cluster these a day apart or combine 2-3 promos a day.

Day 11-12: Winding Down the Book Launch

If you followed the plan you should have had a considerable number of downloads for both your free promo and your $0.99 promo. Remember that your numbers will vary depending on your platform, book quality, niche, and sometimes, luck.

Email your list and remind them the book will be 0.99 for only one more day. Contact your launch team and thank them for reviews and their support.

This is the last call for reviews and downloads.

Day 13: Increase the Price to $2.99

Leave it there for one week and raise it to $3.99. You can test the pricing by going up to $4.99 and watching what happens. Monitor the sales and adjust accordingly.

I usually spend around $300-$400 per launch minimum on promo sites but how much you spend is up to you. Stagger them out over the course of 10-12 days.

Beyond the Book Launch

One of the biggest challenges authors have is where to go after the initial book launch is over.

How do you promote, market, and keep bringing in traffic so that your book doesn’t drop off into oblivion? Here are two things you can focus on:

#1 – Write another book

Multiple books create momentum. Look at the army of fans that Game of Thrones had before the TV Show launched. How did George R.R Martin build that? By setting up and writing the books as a series. Do you have a series of books you could write? A series is a great way to build your brand, a list, and to keep traffic growing with increased interest in your books.

#2 – Build your business on the back end

Create a business around your book with coaching, a course, or an automated email course that gets readers engaged after they are finished your book. They want to know more about you and so, if you have a business set up to kick in for subscribers, this is the start of what could be a great author business.

Wrap Up

Launching a book is a combination of strategy, imagination, and hard work. If you have a great book to promote and a team of people (a small team will do) backing you up, you can have a great launch that gets your book into the hands of your market.

With every book launch, there is more to learn. If you keep launching, you’ll get better. And as you get better, you’ll get more fans. Eventually, you can turn your launch into a massive movement with thousands of fans standing behind you pushing your book towards New York Times Bestseller status or get featured in The Wall Street Journal.

Imagine that.

book launch

What to do Next!

It’s not enough to just launch your book and leave it be. In truth, you should always be looking for new, better ways to maintain your book sales. Here’s what you can do right now to make a difference during your book launch.

#1 – Build a valuable launch team

Your book launch will only be as successful as the work you put into it. That includes the team you have assisting.

Building a launch team is essential but it’s also important to make sure that team is not only willing to help, but willing to go above and beyond for you because they believe in your book and your work.

Make sure you choose top-notch individuals who really want to push for your book. This will help you book launch reach heights you never imagined.

#2 – Learn more!

The learning never stops – not when it comes to this ever-changing (yet growing) field of self-publishing. And in order to stay ahead of the curve, you have to continue to invest in your knowledge.

Join Chandler Bolt on his FREE Webinar Training as he takes you through just what it takes to write, market, and publish your book. This webinar is full of valuable information that will only help you find success in your journey as an author.

Don’t miss out! Save your spot today!

What are some of your biggest concerns when it comes to your book launch? Comment below so we can help you out!

how to copyright a book

How to Copyright a Book – Understanding Copyright Law as an Author

Knowing how to copyright a book — the right way — is something that scares the crap out of most authors!

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) while also protecting our book babies. Learning how to copyright a book can help alleviate all of that worry.

With the explosion of self-publishing, authors must be aware of what they can and can’t do when it comes to quoting, borrowing, and publishing works from other authors.

We’ll give you all the information and resources you need to protect yourself and your own work from being misused or stolen while keeping you from committing the same crimes against your fellow authors.

We’ll also look at the most frequently asked questions authors ask when it comes to copyright concerns, for both their own works and when borrowing from other sources.

It all begins with creating the copyright page in your book.

How to Copyright a 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: ©2018 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 need a site where they can learn more about you, your other books, and other opportunities.)
  • Credits to the book (cover designer, editor)
  • Disclaimer

how to copyright a book

Disclaimers When Copyrighting Your Book

You may not think you really need a disclaimer but it’s essential for protecting yourself and potentially others.

So how does a simple sentence or two do this?

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. The thing to be aware of that most authors don’t realize is that these don’t have to be boring.

On the contrary, the more personality these have, the more likely they’ll be read.

A disclaimer is meant to protect you, but it can’t hurt if your audience actually reads it.

Helen Sedwick did a great job collecting examples of authors who got creative with their disclaimers and made their work all the better for it.

Let’s take a look at some specific examples of different types of disclaimers for different types of books.

#1 – Fiction Disclaimer

The typical disclaimer you’ll find in works of fiction?

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

How could this be “livened” up? See how Thomas Wolf in A Man in Full, acknowledges that parts of his story are from real life:

This novel’s story and characters are fictitious. Certain long-standing institutions, agencies, and public offices are mentioned, but the characters involved are wholly imaginary.

Or Margaret Atwood in Cat’s Eye tries to dispel readers’ assumption that the book is the alter-ego of the writer:

This is a work of fiction. Although its form is that of an autobiography, it is not one. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.

If you’ve written about a prominent figure that people might be familiar with and don’t want confusion over whether you’re now writing history or still sticking with fiction, you can approach it similar to D. M. Thomas dealt with using Freud as a character in The White Hotel:

The role played by Freud in this narrative is entirely fictional. My imagined Freud does, however, abide by the generally known facts of the real Freud’s life, and I have sometimes quoted from his works and letters, passim. The letters . . . and all the passages relating to psychoanalysis . . . have no factual basis.

how to copyright a book legal terms#2 – Nonfiction Disclaimer

The typical disclaimer you’ll find in works of nonfiction?

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.

However, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks found a way to get her disclaimer to speak to the honesty of the text:

This is a work of nonfiction. No names have been changed, no characters invented, no events fabricated.

#3 – Memoir Disclaimer

The typical disclaimer you’ll find in memoirs?

This book is memoir. It reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. Some names and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated.

But in The Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolf, he buries his disclaimer in his acknowledgments. As he thanks those who read drafts of the book, he says:

I have been corrected on some points, mostly of chronology. Also my mother claims that a dog I describe as ugly was actually quite handsome. I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, because this is a book of memory, and memory has its own story to tell. But I have done my best to make it tell a truthful story.

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

How to Copyright a Book: Familiarize Yourself With Legal Terms

I know, I know…we would rather write books, rake in the cash, and sign autographs than worry about technical legal jargon.

I get it. It can seem boring but the better you understand how copyright law works, 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:

  • Copyright infringement: is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
  • Intellectual property (or “IP”): is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademarks. It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition. Artistic works like music and literature, as well as some discoveries, inventions, words, phrases, symbols, and designs can all be protected as intellectual property.
  • Public Domain Work: refers to works whose exclusive intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, have been expressly waived, or are inapplicable. For example, the works of Shakespeare and Beethoven, and most early silent films are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, and are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, and all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are actively dedicated by their authors to the public domain; some examples include reference implementations of cryptographic algorithms, the image-processing software ImageJ, created by the National Institutes of Health, and the CIA’s World Factbook. The term public domain is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as “under license” or “with permission”.
  • Plagiarism: is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
  • First Amendment (Amendment I): to the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
  • Fair use: in its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.
  • Libelous writing: can be personal libel or trade libel, which is also known as “product disparagement.” Product disparagement can include a product, service or entire company. Libelous statements, whether against persons or products, are published statements that are false and damaging. Slander is the same as libel in most states, but in spoken rather than written form. The terms “libel” and “slander” are often subsumed under the broader term “defamation.” It is a tort (a wrongful act) to harm another’s reputation by defaming them.

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 from Wiley 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 by learning how to copyright a book the right way.  Don’t make things harder for yourself!

Like this post? Sign up below for a FREE video course and learn how to go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days!

how to copyright a book

How to Copyright a Book: 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?
  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 from country to country. You can check the copyright office in the US here.

how to copyright a book

#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.

how to copyright a bookWhat to do Next?

So now you’ve got all the information you really need when it comes to knowing how to copyright a book. But where do you go from here?

#1 – Finish your book

If it’s not already done, get on it! Writing a book can be difficult but we have a number of different resources available to make the process much easier –and faster.

Before you can really worry about knowing how to copyright a book, you have to actually have a book first. Get to work and put a schedule together so you can stay productive when writing your book.

#2 – Double check that you don’t violate any copyright laws

Depending on where you are in the book writing process, you have to check your work over to make sure you’re not using song lyrics without permission or violating any other copyright laws.

Do a once-over and, as always, make sure you work with an editor to ensure nothing is missed.

#3 – Keep learning!

There’s really no limit to the amount of knowledge you can have when it comes to getting a book written, marketed, and published.

Thankfully, Chandler Bolt has a wealth of information that he’s giving away FOR FREE!

If you’re ready to write now that you have all your safety precautions in check, join Chandler Bolt in his newest workshop! He’s sharing his process for going from blank page to published author in 90 days, as well as the strategies you need to know to leverage your book to grow your authority, income, and business. Save your spot and sign up here!

Do you have another question about copyrighting a book we didn’t answer above or any additional advice you’ve found helpful for you? Post it in the comments below!