amazon marketing services

Amazon Marketing Services: 20 Creative & Unique Ways to Use AMS Ads

AMS Ads are dead,” said the not-so-savvy self-published author.

Don’t believe this lie. AMS Ads, or Amazon Marketing Services ads, are stronger than ever, and – whether we like it or not – they are here to stay.

As a matter of fact, Amazon just rolled out a brand-new, improved UI for AMS; they have added new features, and are constantly creating training material to help authors better understand the platform.

Would they do that if AMS were on the way out? Not likely.

Sure, not every book is a good fit for Amazon ads: that’s why many Amazon published authors grow bitter and blame the platform for not being able to sell a book that would not be marketable anyways.

ams ads for authors

Don’t be discouraged. Now is the time to jump onto the AMS wagon if you want to actually get paid to write.

Those who don’t read the Self-Publishing School Blog and believe that Amazon advertising is dying will gradually move away from it, making the space less crowded and much more profitable for all of us.

Here are our tips for using Amazon marketing services effectively:

  1. Target famous authors with Amazon marketing services
  2. Target Amazon published books
  3. Target books featured on BookBub
  4. Target books that are recent movies
  5. Target paperback books
  6. Target audiobooks with Amazon Marketing Services
  7. Think about Amazon ads for your book series
  8. Grow your email list
  9. Advertise your backlist
  10. Use The Greatest Hits method
  11. The Amazon Ad puzzle
  12. The Ad stacker
  13. Pre-populate with pre-orders
  14. Use AMS for reviews
  15. Use Amazon’s Bid+ system
  16. Use negative keywords
  17. Target your own book

Stay put, don’t give up. When others zig, just zag 🙂

What is Amazon Marketing Services?

Amazon marketing services (AMS), now called Advertising Console is a collection of effective tools to help vendors drive traffic to their products and sell more.

For authors, this means AMS is a hub for increasing low book sales and maintaining a steady income with their books.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about how to build a platform and maintain consistent book sales in our Sell More Books Program. Learn more about it here

Amazon Marketing Services for Authors Made Easy

I get it, click bids have gotten more expensive, finding profitable keywords is more difficult and winning is harder than ever. But this is only a byproduct of the space getting more crowded.

However, let me assure you: those CPC prices are nowhere near what our friends in the physical product markets are paying.

Strange as it may seem, AMS is still a happy place for authors.

The key is to get more creative, thinking out of the box. Find new ways of using AMS, test and tweak, and you’ll be way ahead of the (still relatively small) competition.

How?

Here are 20 ways in which you can use Amazon Marketing Services Ads for your book marketing ventures. Each tactic is coupled with a brief explanation of how to implement it in a practical way.

Enjoy the list and remember: now is the time for Amazon advertising!

#1 – Target a famous author in your genre

You’ll do this in order to try to get into his or her also-boughts. You know, the little section in this screenshot that shows you what other people who bought an item have also bought 

amazon marketing services

It’s no secret that ‘also-boughts’ are the main source Amazon uses when they recommend new books to readers. And if your book is in one of your competitor’s ‘also-boughts’, then there’s a good chance it will get shown, recommended and ‘pushed’ to the exact audience you’re after.

Happy days.

Try bidding heavily on one of your competitors as a target so that your book shows up everywhere on their book’s page and ‘steals the show’ in your reader’s eyes.

#2 – Target books published by Amazon

Amazon has various imprints through which it publishes books, the most famous being Thomas & Mercer.

Targeting authors and books by these subsidiary companies is a great idea. Amazon (and their algorithm) love when people buy their stuff, which they continuously promote left and right.

Try to get your book next to one of Amazon’s own babies, and you’ll be a happy writer indeed.   

#3 – Target books that are featured on BookBub

Once a book is featured in BookBub’s daily email (aka their ‘Featured Deals’), it’s likely to get thousands of downloads and a load of traffic on all the retailers.

Which of course means more eyeballs on the said book.

By keeping an eye on the books that appear daily on BookBub’s email blast and targeting them with your Amazon ads, you’ll be the first to place your book next to the day’s hottest title, thus piggybacking on its visibility and – hopefully – sales.

amazon marketing services ads

#4 – Target books that have recently been turned into movies

A hot new release (just as explained in point 3) is always going to garner bigger attention, at least for a few days.

Keep an eye on new movie releases in your genre, especially big blockbuster films that have been inspired by bestselling books. Again, the trick here is to target those hot new titles so that your book shows next to them, thus collecting some love from all those hungry readers.

#5 – Use Product Display Ads to target paperbacks

Amazon’s Product Display ads give you a unique chance to specifically target paperback versions of your competitor’s titles (unlike Sponsored Product ads). The first benefit of doing this is that you’ll undoubtedly broaden the reach of your ads.

AMS for authors

But most important perk is that you’ll also likely increase the sales of your own paperback copies.

As it were, ‘physical book lovers’ have a preference for physical books, which are more expensive and thus will likely result in higher royalties for you to pocket!

#6 – Use Product Display Amazon Ads to target audiobooks

See point 5 above, but this time use PD ads to target audiobooks!

Don’t have an audiobook version of your title? You’re definitely missing out on one of the hottest and fastest-growing trends in the indie publishing industry.

You can find a step-by-step guide on creating an audiobook right here.

#7 – Lose money on the first book in your series

Your first in series is likely to be free on Amazon (or at least it should be). But don’t fret, pure ROI seekers!

Sure, by going a bit ‘heavier’ on Amazon ads pointing to that book, you’ll likely lose money. But you’ll make it back when readers go on to purchase book 2, 3, 4, etc. in your series. Make sure you have a good idea of how to calculate your audience’s ‘read-through rates’, and adjust your CPC bid and daily budget accordingly.

#8 – Lose money (again) to grow your email list

Be sure to display an opt-in form in the free book you’re running ads on (pro tip: also place it in the first pages of the book, so that readers don’t have to ‘wait’ until they’ve read the whole thing before parting with their email address).

This will inevitably result in more signups to your email list. Again, this isn’t stellar for pure ROI, and you might be losing money now, but in the long term, this will be super-beneficial.

#9 – Advertise Your Backlist

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (aka, don’t point all your ads and spend all your budget on one book).

Running Amazon ads for other titles in your backlist is always beneficial in keeping the books ‘sticky’ in the rankings, often also providing a load of read-throughs to the other titles in the same series (see point 7).  

#10 – The Greatest Hits method

Start your ads by bidding low-ish on keywords and competing authors/book-titles.

Once you have a good idea of what is actually performing well, take those successful phrases and compile them in a ‘Greatest Hits’ ad, with higher CPC bids and daily budget.

#11 – The Amazon Ad Puzzle

Try using your own book as a target keyword, but this time to advertise your higher-priced titles or box sets.

The ‘Sponsored’ results on the latter’s book page will likely populate with all your other titles, just like the pieces of a puzzle.

If a reader lands on your one book and sees your other stuff in the Amazon ads, they might buy a higher-priced title in your collection (and go on to become an aficionado fan of yours)!

#12 – The Ad Stacker

Don’t limit yourself to Amazon Marketing Services ads. Ad ‘stacking’ is often the best way to get a gazillion eyeballs on a new release (especially if you’re aiming at hitting bestsellers’ lists when running a hard launch).

Try your hands at BookBub ads, Facebook Ads, and others. You don’t need to spend thousands on them: a small budget will be more than enough to Discover where your readers are hanging out, so that you can place your books right under their eyes.

#13 – Pre-populate with pre-orders!

Start running AMS ads well in advance, even when your book is still in the pre-order phase. If you get your targeting right, this will help add your book to the ‘also-boughts’ of other books in your genre, thus igniting the sacred ‘recommendation loop’ from Amazon.

You can do this one week to a few months in advance. The bigger your author platform is, the longer you can get away with putting your book up for pre-order before the actual publication date.

amazon marketing services for authors

Plus, people will be exposed to your book, will pre-order it, and when the book is live, the instant truckload of downloads will shoot it into the stratosphere!  

#14 – Use AMS for reviews

Spend a bit more on AMS during a free promo you have scheduled.

This might sound counterintuitive when it comes to pure ROI, but you’ll be amazed at the number of downloads you’ll get. Be sure to add a ‘call for reviews’ to the end of your book.

Some readers won’t, but many will actually leave an honest (and verified) review.

#15 – Bid+

With their recent ‘upgrade’ of the Amazon Marketing Services platform, Amazon has given authors the chance to use their ‘Bid+’ system (an old acquaintance of those using Vendor’s Accounts).

This new feature basically lets Amazon know you’re willing to spend up to 50% more on CPC for the terms that are performing well. It’s really simple to use, as you can see in the example below so don’t be afraid to use this!

ams ads

Think about it: if Amazon has given us this new tool, why not take advantage of it?

You definitely won’t go broke (the daily budget still being the highest cap on spend): rather, you’ll likely outbid all of your competitors on your most prized keywords and phrases!  

#16 – Use negative keywords

As you surely know by now, hyper-relevant laser-focused targeting is the name of the game with AMS, but sometimes, this is much easier said than done.

Have an epic fantasy novel that appeals to teens, but that YA readers would absolutely hate? Don’t risk getting one-star reviews by unsatisfied vampire-hungry audiences.

Another new feature that Amazon has just implemented into their new AMS platform is the ‘negative keywords’ field.

Use it wisely to list all of the keywords you absolutely DO NOT want to associate your ads to through Amazon Marketing Services.

The sniper approach has never been easier.

#17 – Target your own book

Why on earth would you want to spend money targeting your own book? After all, it already shows up ‘organically’ in the search results for your key terms, no?

Well, not exactly.

Amazon is putting a lot of emphasis on advertising (another reason why you should use AMS ads), so it sometimes favors paid results over organic – something other platforms (e.g. Facebook) have been doing for a while now.

Crazy, right? Try punching one of your keywords in the search box and see if your book appears. It doesn’t?

Then you might want to give it a nice little push with a couple super-targeted ads.

Bonus: 3 more advanced Amazon Marketing Services tactics

If you’re really ready to make some money, you can try to tackle some of these more advanced Amazon Marketing Services methods to increase your book sales.

These might be tricky for you at first, but with enough practice, they’ll prove to be more than effective.

#18 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 1)

An Amazon Vendor’s Express account will let you advertise your ebooks, but also audiobooks or paperbacks.

Use this incredibly powerful tool to advertise your physical or audio copies on relevant pages by your target authors.

As seen above (point 5), this will often result in sales of your own audios and paperbacks, yielding a lot more royalties!

#19 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 2)

A Vendor’s Express account through Amazon Marketing Services will also let you advertise titles that you didn’t publish yourself.

Why would you want to do that, you say? For multi-author box sets you’re a part of, for example! This will bring more eyeballs to your stuff and… don’t forget to include an email-optin in your portion of the text!

#20 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 3)

As seen above, why not use a Vendor’s Account to also promote a traditionally-published book you wrote before going indie? Your publisher will likely not be using AMS, so show them who the savvy author is and get some sales rolling!

Hope you enjoyed some of these tactics for Amazon Marketing Services ads. As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, don’t listen to those who want to attract you to the ‘next best thing’.

Think out of the box, test, test, and test again. And you will succeed!

Ready to Sell More Books?

Your book’s sales can mean the difference between helping a few and helping the many.

We have exactly what you need to sell more books—and change more lives.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot


This is a guest post by Brian Berni, a Self-Publishing School alumnus, now bestselling author under multiple pen-names. He blogs for writers and self-publishers at AuthorsTech and is the co-founder of BookAds, an agency that helps authors advertise their books through AMS and BookBub Ads.

Follow Him Here:  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest


How to Make a Book with 7 Solid Steps for Real Success

Making a book isn’t as complex as it seems. While it does take skill, it mostly takes the right method to get it right.

What if you could have that method at your disposal right now?

That’s exactly what have for you. Our steps for how to make a book are easy to follow, straight to the point, and effective at producing a bestselling book.

So let’s make a book!

If you’ve authored an eBook, you may be interested in printing paperback books—either to keep for yourself or to sell.

how to make a book

How to Make a Book

Luckily, we’ve got great news: the process of how to make a book isn’t as challenging as you might think. And, we’re here to walk you through the process.

Here are our steps for how to make a book:

  1. Define the reason for making a book
  2. Write an amazing book
  3. Decide your book’s distribution channel
  4. Determine the cost of making a book
  5. Decide your book’s contents
  6. Design a book cover
  7. Format your book properly
  8. Upload your book to a distribution channel
  9. Self-publish after making a book

NOTE: We cover exactly how to make a book (a bestseller at that) and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

#1 – Define Your Why

The first step to making a book is to ask yourself why? There are several valid reasons for writing a book.

First and foremost, because you want to! You put the blood, sweat, and tears into authoring a book. Now you want tangible proof that you can see, carry around, and display on your bookshelf.

That’s a good enough reason!

Some authors, especially those who identify as non-fiction experts, find that paperbacks serve as glorified business cards.

These copies are especially useful for speaking engagements or professional development events, such as conferences or continuing education courses.

Passing out free books to interested readers is a terrific way to build a solid fan base as well as spread the word that you’re an author.

If you elect to sell your books at events, you can recoup some of your costs and potentially even turn a profit.

Using your printed book to generate leads and make network connections is never a bad idea. If your book genre lends itself to this type of network development, then definitely go for it.

#2 – Write an amazing book

Writing a book is about a lot more than just throwing your ideas on paper and hoping they stick.

It takes skill, knowledge, and a strategy to make sure it’s done and done well.

Here are some steps to writing a great book the first time:

Writing a novel is no easy feat! Make sure to take your time but commit to a deadline that will keep you moving toward progress every day.

This writing schedule should be realistic but difficult enough to require regular progress to achieve.

#3 – Decide your book’s distribution channel

Not every distribution channel is the same. When you’re making a book, you have to think about who is going to print this book.

Who to choose for book prints?

You may have heard that Createspace was bought out by Amazon, meaning KDP now prints your books.

Since there is really only one other major book printer for self-published authors, the big question everyone has on their mind is:

Amazon or Ingramspark?

Since you’ll already be familiar with Amazon from uploading the Kindle version of your book, it may seem like KDP paperback publishing is the easy choice.

But that’s not necessarily true, at least not yet.

At Self-Publishing School, we recommend you choose a means of making your book that best fits what you want.

There are pros and cons to using Ingramspark versus Amazon that you have to consider.

Here’s a list of what Ingramspark has to offer with their different packages for making a book:

Both Amazon and Ingramspark print your books and distribute them on Amazon. Meaning, they sell those books on Amazon without you as the middleman. They’re direct sale-to-print and they ship out from their warehouses.

That being said, they don’t offer the same perks.

For example, Ingramspark actually prints hardback copies of your book, where Amazon only prints paperback copies.

#4 – Factor in the cost of making a book

When you decide to learn how to make a book, you’re also diving into the world of business.

That’s right, making a book has a lot to do with business and we all know businesses have certain factors that can be a little confusing, including the cost of publishing a book.

So how much does it cost to publish a book?

The truth is that there are several factors that add to the cost of making a book.

Here are some expenses for making a book:

  • hiring a book editor
  • hiring a cover designer
  • any ads or marketing services you want to include
  • time spent in the writing, marketing, and publishing phase

If you’re basing your decision strictly on revenue, then you’ll want to think about it before heading down the printing path.

Paperback can be costly to produce if you’re not sure what you’re doing, which is why we created a program to help you avoid those expensive mistakes.

Luckily with Amazon and Ingramspark, they take care of the cost upfront, but they will take a higher percentage of your revenue to make up for the printing cost.

This means you won’t make as much money off the sales of a paperback as you would with an e-book.

We’ve often seen that the most lucrative path for e-authors is the combination of a Kindle eBook and an audiobook.  

If your goal is to make as much money as you can, and you have to choose between the two, then consider pursuing an audiobook over a paperback. (Although funding an audiobook can be pricey, and you are responsible for that upfront cost, so do the math!)

#5 – Determine your book’s contents

You’ve given it some thought and considered the factors above, and you’ve decided that you do want to print paperback copies of your book. Before you take the next step, it’s important to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” by figuring out your book’s contents.

Run through our pro-developed, pre-printing checklist to make sure you’ve checked all the appropriate boxes of making a book.

  • Choose the size of your book
  • Decide on black & white or color (Note: The prices may vary)
  • Price your book properly (which we cover in our book launch post)
  • Create a rough concept for your covers
  • Decide whether to outsource your cover graphics and design
  • Write your author bio for the back or inside cover
  • Pick your author headshot for the back or inside cover
  • Pick your spine design and layout
  • Decide whether to outsource the interior formatting
  • Work out an interior layout—from fonts to chapters to margins

Once you have the above checklist of making a book complete, you can move on to the next and one of the most exciting parts…

#5 – Your Cover Design

The next step on the road to printing your masterpiece is to design a good book cover.

Ok, that’s a lot of pressure, but you should aim for at least a Barnes & Noble-worthy design.

Meeting with a designer can help you verbalize and align on your creative aesthetic and vision, resulting in actionable suggestions.

Here at Self-Publishing School, we provide our students with a Rolodex of SPS-Approved cover designers we know and trust to produce a star-worthy cover.

how to make a book

If you decide that you’d rather design your book’s exterior on your own, there are online programs that can help, although again, we highly recommend you not design your own book cover.

Here are some cheap resources you can get a book cover design:

Once you know who you want to design your book cover, you also have to think about other small details for the actual printing of your book.

Some design elements you’ll need to consider are:

  • whether or not you’ll want a matte or glossy cover
  • which fonts you’d like for the title of your book, subtitles, and body
  • the design of your book’s spine

Typically, books with less than 101 pages should have a completely blank spine, due to space restrictions. Books with more than 101 pages have room for a title on the spine.

You know that, of course, your book will need a front cover, but you shouldn’t neglect your book’s rear. In addition to the cover art and fonts, you’ll need to create a back cover design.

Most back covers provide a brief description of the book, an author headshot alongside a quick bio, and an optional barcode and ISBN placement.

#6 – Format your book

Formatting your book pages is a finicky, technical process.

For this reason, many authors say that outsourcing this chore to a professional book formatter is well worth the cost. Page margins, titles and subheading, and fonts are all tough to layout properly.

Handing this over to a pro can save you a big headache.

Moreover, at the end of the book making process, a good formatter will give you an archival quality product.

There are major difference in book formatting between fiction and nonfiction you have to take into account as well (though if you hire someone, they will know this).

Here’s an example of a fiction book formatting from Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Champion:

how to make a book

This is the difference with many (not all) nonfiction book formats from Chandler’s Bolt’s Published.:

making a book format

If you do decide to tackle the interior formatting yourself, then there are programs that can make the process simpler. Word has downloadable templates to make the work easier.

These formats vary, depending on how many pages your book has. Make sure to experiment with multiple formats to help you decide which works best for your specific layout needs.

#7 – Upload to Amazon

Once you’ve created your printed book, the next step is to find your fulfillment house.

There are many options available. Fulfillment houses pack and ship, and provide customer service for your books. We tend to overwhelmingly recommend publishing on Amazon.

Their services are user-friendly and simple to follow.

This works the best, as you can curb the costs of printing more than the number of copies you need because of Amazon’s print-on-demand.


There are multitudes of resources out there for learning how to. make a book. Whether you want to sell your printed books, use them as pro book marketing tools, or simply admire how lovely they look gracing your bookcase, realize that with a few easy steps, you can create your own beautiful paperback version of your eBook.

How to Start Making a Book TODAY

One of the biggest costs of making a book is TIME.

We hear from our students just how much time they’ve wasted writing their books before learning our methods for doing it.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Are you ready to learn how to make a book? Drop a comment with what your book will be about!

writing habits

Writing Routine: How to Develop a Foolproof Writing Habit to Write Faster

Writing routines aren’t easy to come by…in fact, it’s one of the hardest parts of writing a book.

That’s right. It’s not coming up with a great book idea, it’s not forming the right words to bring that idea to life…

It’s finishing the damn book.

And that means forming a writing habit that will help you get it done despite your busy life and schedule. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help from Julie-Anne England, an author and busy mom of 4.

writing routine

For many years I dreamed of being an author. I love to write and there was something about the sound of “author” that made me desperately want to call myself that.

I pictured my brand new life; holding my very own book in my hand, getting emails from people about how my book changed their life and my world opening up as a professional once I saw my name in print.

Well, all this came true and more after I published my first book.

This is how a writing habit through developing a writing routine helps you finish your book:

  1. Learn from those who’ve done it before
  2. Create a time log
  3. Prioritize your time for a writing habit
  4. Decide your daily writing time
  5. Put your writing routine time in your planner
  6. Find accountability
  7. Start your writing habit!

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

Creating a Writing Habit is Simple

I’m here to tell you that it all comes down to creating a habit to make the time to actually write. You can daydream about your name in lights, write pages of goals and tasks and even design your perfect book cover but until you actually write…. you have nothing.

If I can form a writing routine while also managing all of this..

  • being the wife of a very busy (and very gorgeous) American man who works long hours, including weekends and evenings,
  • mom of three children under the age of 8 who are with me. All.The.Time. (Yes I say that fondly – mostly)
  • homeschooling my children
  • running 2, soon to be 3 blogs
  • training for a marathon
  • bringing my kids to swimming lessons
  • running bible study once a month
  • all the fun stuff that comes with running a home—cooking, cleaning, shopping

so can you.

Trust me, I understand busy!

I say all this to say, it isn’t an excuse for never becoming an author. It all depends on how badly you want it.

And I bet you want it, right? How much? The truth is, it isn’t as hard as you think.

How to Build a Writing Routine and Stick to it

Here are my best tips for creating the habit of writing. These tips will have your very first book in your hands in a few months time (if you stick to them).

Before moving on, though, it’s important to understand WHY you’re building a writing routine.

You want to finish your draft as quickly as possible. After all, this is the single most difficult part for the large majority of writers.

Once your draft is done, it’s smooth sailing (and self-editing) from there.

But in order to build a writing habit that falls in line with getting your book done and accomplishing your writing goals, you need to know the word count you’re shooting for.

Once you have that, you can reverse engineer your writing habit to ensure you’re instilling a routine that gets your book done.

Here’s a calculator to help you figure this out:

Choose your book type, genre, and audience for a word count and page number total.

Your book will have

words

pages

*These results are based on industry standards. The total word and page count will vary from book to book and is dependent on your writing and overall book formatting*

Average Time to Write This Book: 60 days

#1 – Learn from those who’ve done it before

One thing that revolutionized my thoughts around time management was a book I read called 168 Hours: You have more time than you think by Laura Vanderkam.

This book went into depth about how much time we actually spend doing daily tasks such as working, sleeping and watching TV by analyzing people’s day using a time log.

One key takeaway is that people often underestimated how much they slept by a few hours and overestimated how much time they spent working.

When it came to writing my very first book, I realized that I needed to be very intentional with my time and how I was using it.

#2 – Create a time log

After reading 168 Hours, I took a hard look at how I could utilize what I’d learned from Laura Vanderkam.

I followed suit and created a time log of what I was doing for a couple of weeks and I realized something crucial.

I really did need a better handle on what I was doing with my time. Maybe you do too.

Start by jotting down what you are doing every day for a week in 15 minutes segments. Be honest. No one has to see this except you.

Then start looking for areas where you could create more time for creating the life you want, ie. as a writer!

We often spend a lot more time than we think on mundane tasks like this:

  • Scrolling through our phone in the morning
  • Getting ready for the day (shower, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Making/eating meals
  • Working through meaningless/non-priority tasks
  • Talking to others in person, on the phone, or online
  • Watching TV
  • (or worse) Looking for a show to watch

These are everyday occurrences that you’re probably spending far too much time on than you think. Keeping a log will help you pinpoint where you can speed up or cut out unnecessary tasks to make more time for writing.

#3 Prioritize your time

Take a look at your life and work out any free time that you could dedicate to writing.

Yeah sure, you are really busy, but I bet that you wouldn’t miss much if you cut out that second TV show you watch every night. Or maybe spent a little less time on social media.

Your time log will probably make it very clear which areas you could adjust.

I honestly struggled to find time in my day to write. Even if there was a point that my kids were playing happily in the playroom, it was never a good writing time because with kids you get interrupted. Constantly.

Even with removing time spent on social media and watching less TV, it still didn’t allow for uninterrupted writing time. So I had to be more creative.

One great way to cut down on time spend on your phone, at least, is to use an app or software like Freedom.

writing routine freedom

As seen in the example above, this app can help you solidify a writing routine by actually blocking your access to certain apps or websites in order to prevent you from going to them out of a bad habit.

#4 – Decide on your perfect daily writing time

This may be as little as half an hour, but it needs to be every day (or at least 6 days a week).

This is because creating a writing habit is so important in becoming a writer.

Habits are things that almost happen on autopilot and that is exactly what you want. Cultivating a lifestyle and a habit of writing will make the writing go so much smoother than if you write here and there when you can fit it in.

Here are a few things to think about when choosing your writing time:

  1. Will you be interrupted?
  2. Are there too many distractions happening during that time?
  3. Can you be in a quiet, secluded space?
  4. Will you be in the right mindset to write during that time?

I usually had a couple of hours at night once the kids were in bed but I found that I was too tired by this time and my writing wasn’t very good.

I had to get super disciplined, so I chose to get up earlier to have uninterrupted time to write before the kids got up.

You aren’t a morning person? Yeah, me either but sometimes you have to do the hard things to see the best things come into your life. Right now, it’s just after 5am and the house is peaceful and quiet.

This is now my sacred productivity time.

#5 – Put your writing time into your daily planner

No excuses! Use an alarm if you have to and make sure you will not get interrupted. Turn your phone on airplane mode and switch off your email pop-ups.

Or use the Freedom app like I mentioned earlier.

Then show up. Every time.

If you don’t make this a priority, I can guarantee something else will take the spot. And you will find yourself a year down the track still without your book…

If you’re someone who works by an online calendar, even better! You can schedule your writing time daily and it will pop up on your computer or phone to help remind you to get some writing done like in this example:

writing routine schedule

#6 – Find accountability

The novel writing journey can be hard and lonely and there are many times where you may feel like giving up. This is when it is so important to have an accountability person ready to support you.

Your accountability buddy will be aware of your goals and will keep you on track to accomplishing your daily and weekly tasks.

This is what you can expect from an accountability buddy:

  • They know and understand your goals
  • They want to see you succeed
  • They aren’t afraid to be real with you and tell you when you need to get it together
  • They will encourage you in ways that work for you
  • They will meet with you regularly to check-in and help solve problems

Choose someone who you know will be supportive in your journey and who will push you when necessary. Even better if you can have someone who has written and even published a book themselves.

When I was writing my first book, my accountability buddy was amazing.

She checked up on me regularly to find out if I had accomplished what I said I would and encouraged me to keep going. She pushed me when I didn’t feel like sticking to my plan.

Don’t skip this step, it is so important! Add it to your to-do-list for today “Get accountability buddy”!

writing habit

And if you’re not sure where to find an accountability partner, Self-Publishing School has a Mastermind Community filled with writers in the very same stage as you in addition to experts to help you along the way, as you can see from the example above.

#7 – Start writing!

When I first started getting up at 5am, I dreaded it. Like I said, I’m not (or actually wasn’t) a morning person.

writing habit routine

Now I actually get excited about having a couple of hours of time all to myself. This is when I work on my goals and become the person I want to be.

Now it’s a habit and in less than 6 months I have written a book, gone through editing and formatting, launched, watched my book take #1 spot on Amazon in the self-help category AND am busy with book number two!

Your dream life really isn’t as far away as your think. When you make the decision to take control and you turn up day in and day out, that’s when the miracles will occur.

Don’t waste your life with excuses no matter how valid they might be.

Being an author is one of the best things I ever did (and I’ve been to Disneyland!). It showed me that I could do something I set my mind to. It taught me that I could overcome obstacles.


It ingrained the importance of creating a new habit and sticking to it. And now I have a legacy to leave my children.

You can do it too! You have something powerful and exciting inside you that needs to get on paper. Share your story with the world. And when you take this first step, you will never look back!


Are you ready to start your writing routine TODAY?

Don’t wait another day! The key to starting a writing habit is starting now and committing to not only yourself but to those who your book will help and guide.

Check out this free training for how to write a book and outline your book TODAY!

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

writers block

Writer’s Block: 13 Hacks to Overcome Writer’s Block For Good [QUIZ]

Writer’s block can stump even the best authors in the world. Finding a solution isn’t nearly as difficult as they make it out to be.

But first, let’s uncover what it really is and how writer’s block can affect you.

Writing is hard enough on its own without writer’s block crawling into your brain and snatching up the words you really need to get that chapter done.

But the thing is, we’ve all been there before.

writers block

Every writer has experienced the struggle of forcing words onto a document one by one, dragging them kicking and screaming from the corners of your mind only to be left with a single sentence…one hour later.

And you don’t even really like that sentence.

This is how to overcome writer’s block:

  1. Outline your book to beat writer’s block
  2. Research before you write
  3. Write more often to get over writer’s block
  4. Write despite writer’s block
  5. Read often
  6. Get moving
  7. Take a walk to get over writer’s block
  8. Talk about your writer’s block
  9. Gain inspiration elsewhere
  10. Put your phone away!
  11. Reread your writing
  12. Stop comparing your writing
  13. Think “big picture” to get over writer’s block

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

Being Informed is the Key to Beating Writer’s Block

If you want to cut right to the chase – and save some time – we can sum up what writer’s block is all about: not being prepared.

The more you know and understand about the publishing process, the less you’ll become blocked because you’ll have clear direction – one of the biggest reasons writer’s block encompasses your mind.

And to do that, we put together the free training you need.

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is what happens when writers and authors can’t think of what to write next and their minds are “blocked” from creating anything new or what they see as good.

It’s a nasty hindrance where you just can’t think of what to write no matter how hard you try and how much you challenge your mind – and a blank document quickly becomes your worst enemy.

Even the best authors out there still deal with this from time to time.

It can slow down your progress and end up taking much longer for you to write your book.

And with so many reasons for writer’s block to take hold – like insecurity, a lack of direction, or maybe even just a bad writing day – it can put you down and complicate the whole writing process.

Getting rid of it is not only the best thing for your book’s progress, but for writing faster and with more quality overall.

If you, much like the rest of us, have ever dealt with writer’s block, here’s how you can sever its annoying restraints for good!

What causes writer’s block?

Underlying issues like insecurity, a lack of direction with your plot, or even too many potential options for your book can cause writer’s block along with your creative “tank” being empty.

While this might sound bad, the best part about all of these is this: they’re preventable.

Take this quiz to find out WHY you have writer’s block!

Take the Quiz Now

How to Overcome Writer’s Block by Prevention

Why do we wash our hands frequently during flu season?

That’s right. To prevent succumbing to debilitating illnesses.

And why do we get our oil changed regularly even when our vehicles are (seemingly) running well?

Right again! To prevent breaking down on the interstate and destroying our vehicles from the inside out.

That’s exactly why writer’s block is best beat by preventing the darn thing in the first place!

But how do you do that? It’s not like you can wash your brain or change its oil.

Well, not in a literal sense, you can’t. But you can try a few of these methods to keep your creative juices flowing like Niagara Falls in the springtime.

#1 – Outline Your Book

If there’s one technique that’ll prevent writer’s block the best, it’s having an outline.

These handy tools you didn’t pay attention to creating in school are essentially roadmaps for your book. They cover what happens next and what specific information you need to include.

There are a number of ways you can create your outline; using sticky notes, writing it in bullet points, or even using one that’s attached to a writing software.

How can you not know what to write next if you already have an outline telling you exactly that?

Many of us are stuck and blocked simply because we’re not sure what we should be writing next. Your imagination is at a standstill. You may just be divided between which path your book could potentially take.

Creating a thorough outline squashes those issues so you can write fluidly, quickly, and with quality.

When you’re not focused on what to write next, you can turn your attention to the quality of your writing while pumping out those words much faster, rendering writer’s block inactive.

Use a simple method like the one this student of ours used:

get rid of writer's block

The post-it note wall is one of our favorite methods of outlining here at Self-Publishing School.

It allows you to consistently have eyes on what’s happening next when you’r writing – which can prevent writer’s block.

#2 – Research Beforehand

There’s nothing worse than getting into your writing groove only to freeze because you’re not 100% certain of the facts you’re putting down. Your mind goes blank and the words stop coming.

But since you’ve outlined your book, you know what you’re going to write before you even type that first word. Which means you know the research you need to do beforehand.

Having all the facts makes writing a breeze, and it can also kick-start some fresh ideas and a more imaginative way of thinking.

Here are some of our tips for researching to get rid of writer’s block:

  1. Compile a list of what you don’t know
  2. Highlight or make note of the most important parts
  3. Jot down why it’s causing you to have writer’s block
  4. Make a separate document for what you find
  5. Start researching by using .edu or .gov website (if your topics call for it)
  6. Write down everything you needed to know
  7. Look it over one last time to determine that it’s all you needed to research
  8. Start writing again to beat writer’s block!

Knowing more about a subject enables you to better explain it and writer’s block will run screaming for the hills.

#3 – Form a Writing Habit to Beat Writer’s Block

How often do you write right now? One day a week? A few days a week?

The more you write, the more effortless writing becomes. It’s like running, or exercising in general—the more often you do it, the easier it gets.

Not creating a writing routine those creative muscles. It makes it harder to think in an innovative way, and so you spend hours on a single page simply trying to find a better way to phrase something that’s not even critical to your story.

Keep those writer muscles strong by writing as often as you can – every day, even! If you’ve got the time to flex your creativity, do it.

writer's block

Using a tracking sheet like the one above is a great way to schedule out your goals and then execute in a way that makes you WANT to write every day.

You can also schedule your writing time into your calendar to get alerts and notifications for you to stop and write. This also ensure people don’t schedule meetings with you during this time—so there’s no excused to get writer’s block in this case!

get rid of writer's block

This particular sheet is from a NaNoWriMo blog post, but it serves as a writer’s block cure as well.

How do you get over writer’s block?

So you didn’t survive the preventative measures. That’s okay! We’ve all been there at one time or another and thankfully, we also managed to get through it.

Writer’s block may be fickle and frustrating, but it’s not without weaknesses.

All you have to do is find a way to break through to your true creativity and these are some of the best ways to destroy writer’s block and find the words again.

#1 – Write Anyway to Get Over Writer’s Block

I know what you’re thinking:

“But I can’t! I’m blocked!”

Most of the time, you may just be out of practice and need to find your rhythm again. Even if you’re struggling to get the words out, write them down anyway.

You may not like it and you may go back to change what you wrote later, but it’s the single best way to force writer’s block into submission.

It can’t win if you still write despite its grip on you.

So get those words down and after a little while, writer’s block will scurry back into the darkest corner of your mind and stay there. Finding your flow is sometimes all you really need.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

If you’re feeling blocked with your current story, perform a writing exercise where you just describe your day in prose – like you would writing. Make yourself the main character and craft your day like you would a story in order to gain that momentum again.

#2 – Read

Nothing can get your mind in a creative state more than reading. Picking up a book – any kind of book – and spending 30 minutes reading can spark your imagination and light a fire under you to get back to writing.

It’ll also motivate and inspire you to work harder to reach your goal of publishing a book.

When you’re holding someone else’s hard work in your hands, it’s proof your dream can come true. It’s justifying everything you’ve worked so hard for.

You can also research books about writing in order to learn more about the craft. This can often help with insecurity so you feel ready to write again.

writer's block stephen king

Here are our top recommendations for book about writing to beat writer’s block:

That may just be the push you need to shove writer’s block from your mind and get back to your work.

Never underestimate the power of a good book.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Grab your favorite book and spend 30 minutes reading it – or until you feel inspired and ready to write again. Trust us, it works!

#3 – Get Moving

Exercise isn’t just great for your body, it’s also powerful for your mind.

Scientifically speaking, exercising more not only increases your mood, but your creativity gets a boost as well!

It’s not always easy to coerce yourself into going for a run or even doing a few sit-ups at home when you just settled into your comfy couch to write, but if writer’s block is preventing you from actually getting any productive wordsmithing done, it could make a huge difference.

You can simply do some jumping jacks or take a quick walk around the block. Stimulating your creativity physically might just beat writer’s block for you!

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Get off your butt and do a few jumping jacks! Spend at least 3 minutes doing some sort of exercise, or even go for a full 30-60 minute workout before coming back to writing.

#4 – Take a Walk or a Drive

Mindless tasks help your brain get out of a funk because it frees it from focusing on your daily tasks, the insecurity you may feel about writer’s block, and even the pressure of finishing your book.

The more you can let your mind go, the more creative it becomes. Plus, a change of scenery never hurts the creative process.

Always looking at the same place or even sitting in the same spot to write can be an issue. It’s hard to come up with new ideas and think creatively when you never have anything new fueling your imagination.

Taking a walk or going for a short drive can help you recharge so you can kick that writer’s block to the curb and get back to writing again.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Put on those shoes and hit the pavement. Take 10 minutes and observe your surroundings. Pick one thing you see outside and throughout the duration of your walk, craft a story in your mind focusing on that object.

#5 – Talk it Out

Are you struggling with something specific? Sometimes the confines of your own mind isn’t the best place to work through your writer’s block.

You may be the type of person who needs to verbalize your concerns in order to work through them. And that means you need to get up and actually speak to someone (or even yourself!) about what you’re struggling with.

Writer’s block feeds on uncertainty. The more you question what you’re doing, the worse it’ll get.

By talking through it out loud, you’ll have a new perspective. This will often offer fresh solutions that’ll make you eager to get back to that keyboard.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Try to get your critique partner on the phone or active via messenger. Tell them what’s going on and even ask if they want to take a look at where you left off to bounce ideas off each other.

#6 – Find Inspiration

There are a lot of ways you can go about getting inspired again. While inspiration isn’t necessarily required to write, it certainly helps your drive and imagination.

These are a few ways to get rid of writer’s block if you feel lost:

  • Research related images on Pinterest
  • Read through your outline
  • Read a related book
  • Create a vision board for your book
  • Create a list of goals for after your book is complete
  • Listen to an influential Podcast
  • Watch or read successful author interviews

Inspiration is specific to each person. Meaning, it may take a few attempts before finding the method that works best for you.

As an example, whenever I feel stuck or blocked when writing, I open my Pinterest board dedicated to my book and often find this helps.

Here’s an example of what a board for your book may look like in order for you to beat writer’s block.

writer's block pinterest

A Pinterest board like this really just serves to bring your book to reality. When you see what it could look like in the minds of others, it helps you get back on the writing train.

Anything that rouses your excitement to write again tramples that pesky writer’s block.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Get on Pinterest or just Google and look up images that are reminiscent of your book, theme, or story. Compile a folder or board of these and notice the details that make them related to your book.

#7 – Put Your Phone Away!

Are you really experiencing writer’s block or is that “block” in the shape of your phone?

A lot of us love to use the excuse of “writer’s block” in order to justify spending far too much time perusing our social feeds.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to catch up with friends and stay in the know, sometimes it can drag you away from achieving the goal of writing your book.

What you need may not be a cure for writer’s block at all, but something completely different: self-control.

There are even apps for this now! Going to your phone every now and then can be a bad habit, but apps like Freedom help you stay on track.

Freedom works by blocking your ability to access different websites or apps on your phone. This is what it looks like when you attempt to go online or open an app that you have disabled through Freedom:

writer' block app

If you struggle to focus on the task of writing and you somehow always find your phone open to a mind-sucking app, it’s a good idea to switch your phone to silent and shove it aside for the remainder of your writing time.

This alone might be enough to get rid of what’s really blocking your stream of words.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Put your phone in a completely different room and on silent. This will stop you from opening your phone just to scroll and will block any other messages from distracting you until you’re done writing.

#8 – Reread Your Writing

As mentioned above, getting into a rhythm is essential for keeping writer’s block at bay. When you suddenly can’t come up with the right words to describe what’s going on in your mind, it could be because you’ve lost momentum.

Taking some time to reread your previous writing can help by putting you in the same frame of mind you were in the last time you had to stop writing.

This will catapult your brain back into the right place so you can make progress and write easily again.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Head back to the beginning of your current chapter (or the beginning of the previous one if you’re just starting a new one) and just read. Allow your mind to get lost in your own words. You can go further back to read if needed.

#9 – Stop Comparing Your Writing

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Theodore Roosevelt knew as much and we’d wager to bet it also steals any progress you could be making.

The more you worry about how your writing compares to someone else’s (who usually has much more experience than you), the harder it will be to write anything.

That’s where writer’s block comes from in this instance.

You’ll find fault with every word and every sentence even though your work is fantastic the way it is.

Remember that nobody can write the story you are. Your voice and perspective are what makes your book unique in the first place. Changing this will only pull you further away from your identity as a writer.

And most importantly, comparing your writing to someone else’s isn’t productive or helpful for anyone.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Write down 10 things you love about your writing. Get specific and mention why you love your dialogue or why your theme is so unique and special. Recognize your own strengths and then say them out loud to yourself.

#10 – Think of the Big Picture

Writing and publishing a book can be a long, hard process. Sure, the first week is exciting and you want to write all the words but that motivation probably won’t last through the entire process because it is work, after all.

You’ll have rough days – including moments when writer’s block takes hold. What’ll get you through them the easiest is taking a step back and thinking about the big picture.

Ask yourself some of these questions to get rid of writer’s block:

  • Why did you want to write this story?
  • How will it benefit you?
  • How will it benefit others?
  • What message do you hope others receive?
  • What value does this hold in your life?

Pushing yourself to view your writing in terms of the end goal will not only motivate you to get started and put some words down, but it’ll also help remind you of your true purpose for telling this story.

Writer’s Block Action Step:

Write down the answers to the questions above in detail. Then read them out loud to yourself, really hear your own purpose for this book and that can often unclog your writer brain.

How Long Does Writer’s Block Last?

Writer’s block lasts as long as you allow it to, which can often be days or even weeks if you don’t act on it and try these preventative and curing methods.

Ultimately, the longer you put off dealing with the underlying causes of writer’s block, the longer it will last.

Face your writer’s block head-on in order to get rid of it for good and get back to creating something that will resonate with people from all over.

Overcome Writer’s Block by Staying Informed

The more you know, the less you have to worry about and since that is such a major cause of writer’s block, we’re offering you this FREE training where Chandler Bolt walks you through exactly what you need to know to write, market, and self-publish your book within 90 days!

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Ultimately, preventing and beating writer’s block should be at the top of your to-do list if you want to write and publish a book in a reasonable timeframe. With this annoyance behind you, your mind will be free and it may even stir up more creative ideas for other writing projects.

Do you have any effective methods for getting rid of writer’s block? What works best for you and how do you cope with this nuisance?

hemingway app editor

Hemingway App: Hemingway Editor for Writing Improvement [Review]

Writing without editing is like building a house without walls.

If you don’t think so, then you’re probably not someone who’s serious about writing – and writing well.

Not only does editing your own writing help you improve as a writer, but it’s also necessary to turn your very first thoughts of the story or book into something that actually represents how it looks inside your mind.

You know how it is.

Sometimes your writing just doesn’t do the story or book in your head justice.

Using the Hemingway App editor is a perfect way to get as close as possible to bringing your true vision to life.

hemingway app editor

In this Hemingway Editor review, we’ll cover:

  1. What is the Hemingway app editor?
  2. Is the Hemingway editor right for you?
  3. How the Hemingway app works
  4. Hemingway app benefits
  5. Hemingway App editor review
  6. Why are adverbs bad in the Hemingway editor?
  7. Next steps for using the Hemingway app editor

What is the Hemingway App Editor?

The Hemingway App is an editor that highlights and corrects grammar, fluency, and sentence structure in order to help your writing read and look better.

If you’re new to the world of writing software, you may not be aware of what’s available for you.

The Hemingway App is just one of many resources out there designed to not only improve your writing as you have it but also teach you how to write better and produce tighter, neater prose in your books.

NOTE: If you want to know how to improve your writing with or without the use of a software like the Hemingway App Editor, we cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

When it comes to choosing a writing software that’s best for you, there’s a lot to consider.

We make it easier for you. This quiz will tell you which writing software is best for your needs. Who knows, maybe the Hemingway App is your perfect match!

Want to find the best writing software for you in just MINUTES? Take this quiz and we’ll tell you exactly which one will help your writing process the most.

Click Here to Take the Quiz

How Does the Hemingway App Editor Work?

Before we get into the Hemingway editor benefits, let’s first touch on how the editor works and what you can expect.

How to Use the Hemingway Editor:

STEP #1 – When you visit the Hemingway Editor website, you have the option to paste your writing directly onto the website, or you can download the desktop version to use anytime.

NOTE: If you want to be able to download and save what the Hemingway editor is correcting (or what you correct within the editor) download the Hemingway App for your desktop in order to do so.

STEP #2 – Paste your writing into the app editor directly from the writing software you’re using to complete your manuscript, like in the example from my own work below.

hemingway editor review

STEP #3 – Determine whether or not to take the advice highlighted in the various colors.

This can be the hardest part of using the Hemingway editor. You can’t take every suggestion because then you may lose your own writing voice.

Knowing what each color means in the editor will help you decide what advice to take, and what to leave for stylistic purposes.

Here’s what each color represents in the Hemingway app editor:

Light Blue –

Light blue highlights in the Hemingway editor represent weak words (typically adverbs) that this app believes could be made stronger.

Green –

Green highlights in the Hemingway Editor indicate passive voice—which is not as strong as active voice.

Purple –

When the Hemingway Editor highlights something in purple, it’s telling you that what’s written is a little too complex and it would be easier to read if you altered it or shortened the word.

Yellow –

Yellow highlights are indicative of complex sentences or common writing errors. This means you are better off shortening or splitting up this sentence in order to make it easier to read.

Red –

If your text gets highlighted in red, it means this text is very difficult to read. Think of red as the more severe version of a yellow highlight—it’s usually best not to ignore this suggestion entirely.

The key with using the Hemingway editor is to understand that these are only suggestions. It’s up to you to determine what advice you want to take in order to make your writing stronger.

Remember, this is just an automated app—it cannot replicate your voice or style.

Hemingway App Benefits

Before we get into the real review, let’s touch on the benefits of the Hemingway App in order to help you understand exactly what this writing program has to offer.

#1 – It’s very simple to use

The Hemingway editor is not a difficult editing tool to use. In fact, it’s as easy as copying and pasting – because that’s literally all you have to do.

Just copy the writing you have and drop it into the editor. Then, BOOM, your work has been edited.

Technically, your work has been commented on, and it’s up to you to make the necessary edits suggested by the editor.

As far as ease of use, the Hemingway app is perfect.

#2 – It creates better-sounding writing

A lot of what makes the Hemingway app unique is that its purpose is to help your writing read more fluidly.

One of the main issues with many people’s writing is that it often sounds choppy.

The smoothness of writing is a coveted skill not many possess naturally and therefore, the Hemingway app editor makes it easy to see where your flow is falling short.

Once you know what to watch out for and what habits you tend to fall into, you can correct them going forward and have smoother, easier-to-read prose.

#3 – Anyone can use it

If you have the ability to write, copy, and paste, you can use the Hemingway app editor.

Because this editor works by giving you suggestions within your writing, you’ll have to be able to read and decipher what each piece of advice means as well.

But as long as you can copy and paste your work as well as understand the tips the app is giving you, you can use this.

#4 – It’s cheap or free

Although you can purchase a desktop version of the Hemingway app editor, it’s also completely free to use on their website.

You can just go to Hemingwayapp.com and paste your writing in the space where their writing is.

The results and editing tips immediately populate – all for free.

hemingway app editor review

#5 – You get better the more you use it

As I’ve mentioned above, this is a great app to use whenever you want to check your writing for major grammatical and spelling errors, but you can also use this as a learning tool.

Whenever you input copy for the app to edit, make note of results that pop up time and time again. This will show you where your weakest points are and it also allows you to gauge how much you’re improving whenever you use it.

Hemingway App Editor Review

Let’s get into the real stuff – whether or not the Hemingway App is really worth all the hype.

Take a look at the video below to understand how it works and your different options when it comes to using the Hemingway editor.

Ease of use: 5/5

This editing app is the easiest I’ve seen to use. It’s literally as simple as copy and pasting, as I mentioned above.

The best part about this editor, though, is that its simplicity allows you to use it often and quickly.

Even if you want to just check over an urgent email before sending it, you can do so within a minute.

Functionality: 4/5

The Hemingway app functions just as you’d expect. As far as whether or not the editor does as advertised, it does – but only to a certain extent, which I’ll touch on in the next point.

The app does actually highlight and pinpoint the different areas you can improve on, as well as telling you what reading level your writing is at and how many words it is, as seen below.

Reliability: 3/5

hemingway app review

It’s easy to want to listen to every little thing an editor like this says. After all, it’s factual and that means my writing will be better because of it, right?

That’s not always the case.

One of the downsides of this editing software is that it doesn’t take style and writer voice into account when editing.

This app basically works to correct the most basic common writing problems. However, if you have a very distinct style or a writing voice that strays from “normal” writing guidelines, this editor won’t be able to detect that and edit accordingly.

Therefore, it’s not as reliable for fiction writers because the voices used in writing tend to differ.

Overall: 4/5

Overall, the Hemingway App editor is a great way to make your writing stronger very quickly. However, keep in mind that this should not be used as an editor for every piece of writing you do.

If you’re someone who wants to use it in order to see which areas you need help with, that’s great.

But you will still need to hire an editor even after using this if you want the best quality writing.

Why are adverbs bad in the Hemingway App?

Adverbs are considered bad in writing because they’re weak and can often be replaced with a stronger, more accurate word to reflect the same idea.

I’m sure you’ve heard the famous quote by Stephen King about adverbs.

“The path to hell is paved with adverbs.”

If you want your writing to be impactful, you have to use strong verbs instead of adverbs in order to get the point across.

She ran quickly to grab her backpack before leaving for school.

She sprinted to grab her backpack before leaving for school.

These two sentences say the same thing, but the second is stronger due using a better, more fitting verb instead of an adverb.

How does this involve the Hemingway App editor?

The editor is designed to find little mistakes like this in order to help you write with more clarity and intrigue. You won’t have to worry about missing these mistakes when self-editing because the app will point them out for you.

Your Next Steps – If You’re Ready

At this point, you have to make a decision.

Either take action to write your book, or allow yourself to wait, take your time, and probably not get your book done at all.

It might sound hard, but facts don’t lie. The longer you wait, the bigger the chance that you’ll never do your book idea justice.

And even if you think you’re prepared and ready by using the Hemingway App editor, you’re far from it.

In fact, it hardly ever does.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Have you used the Hemingway App editor? Do you know of anything better? Drop those comments below!

Strong Verbs: An Easy Guide for Using & Understanding Strong Verbs

Strong verbs are essential for great writing.

Not only do you need to know HOW to use powerful verbs, but having a strong verbs list at your disposal is invaluable. We’ll cover both for you.

I used to think writing a book was easy.

strong verbs

And in all honesty, writing has never been the most difficult thing in the world for me but when it comes to writing stories and crafting my writing in a way that compels others and pulls them in deeply, it’s been an uphill battle – before I discovered using strong verbs along with interesting and cool words to use, that is.

Here’s how to use strong verbs:

  1. What is a strong verb?
  2. FREE downloadable 200+ strong verbs list
  3. Strong verbs versus weak verbs
  4. Weak verbs to replace in writing
  5. What are to be verbs
  6. To be verbs list
  7. How to use strong verbs the right way
  8. Why you should use strong verbs
  9. Strong action verbs for better writing

I never struggled with putting my thoughts on paper or even coming up with the story ideas in the first place. In fact, outlining a book is one of my favorite things to do!

Nope.

My biggest hurdle was bringing the emotion I was trying to convey to life.

And as I delved deeper into the literary world, I quickly realized that using strong verbs is a must if you want to create something that leaves a lasting impact.

DOWNLOAD 200+ STRONG VERBS HERE


What is a strong verb?

Thanks to every English class growing up, you know a verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence.

But what’s the deal with strong verbs? It’s not like they can hit the gym and bulk up, right?

A strong verb is a better and more descriptive version of a basic verb that creates a stronger visual and can help create a mood (or vibe) for the scene.

Weak VerbStrong Verb Variations
RunBolt, sprint, jog
WalkSlink, trot, mope
MakeCreate, forge, foster, brew
SaySpeak, voice, purr, mutter

So although you can use the basic verb and still tell the same story, you will create a deeper impact within the reader if you use a strong verb in its place.

Strong verbs only help your writing

I’ll be real with you here. Using strong verbs will definitely make your writing more intriguing and will increase the chances of someone buying (and loving!) your book.

BUT, they won’t help you know how to publish a book that sells.

And what’s the point of having incredible writing if you can’t publish it in a way that allows for the world to see it?

Well, that’s where we come in. No matter how great your book is, you still need to know how to put it all together, market it, and then self-publish in a way that generates sales.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Strong verbs VS weak verbs

What’s the real difference here? How can you tell the difference between a strong verb and a weak one?

Since you can’t exactly ask words to flex, you need another system to determine if your verbs are weak or not.

Here’s how we define strong verbs vs weak verbs:

Weak verbs are the “basic” forms of a specific action, like “walked” or “ran.”

Strong verbs are a specified form of a broader action, like “stomped” or “bolted.”

So the main thing you need to remember when it comes to strong verbs vs weak verbs is how specific it is.

Weak Verbs to Replace in Writing

The weakest verbs you can replace in your writing are to be verbs. These pull your writing quality down and peg you as an amateur.

Other weak verbs include basic forms of any verb, like run, walk, say, sit.

Now, keep in mind that weak verbs are absolutely okay to use on occasion.

The issues arise when you’re using these verbs over and over again when there are better, stronger verbs you can use to make your writing more powerful.

Sometimes the best verb to use in a situation is the weak verb. Just keep a look out for how often you’re using that basic form so you can beef up your writing by replacing them in other places.

What are to be verbs & how to replace them in your writing?

To be verbs are any verbs used to describe a state of being, including these terms: is, am, are, was were, be, being, been.

In order to make your writer stronger, it’s important when to use them and when they’re making your writing clunky and weak.

Here are a few examples of how to replace to be verbs with something stronger:

"To Be" Verbs SentenceReplacing "To Be" VerbsReplacing Weak Verb with Strong Verb
She was walking through the corridor.She walked through the corridor.She slinked through the corridor.
Conrad is afraid of the dark.Conrad fears the dark.Conrad cowers from the darkness.
I was being chased by someone I didn't know.I was chased by someone I didn't know.Someone I didn't know chased after me.
I was wanting to visit this forest for as long as I can remember.I wanted to visit this forest for as long as I can remember.I longed to visit this forest for as long as I can remember.

To Be Verbs List

One of the best ways you can strengthen your writing is to use strong to be verbs. These will instantly make your writing more compelling and less amateurish.

These are state-of-being verbs like to be verbs to look out for in your writing:

  • Am
  • Are
  • Be
  • Been
  • Being
  • Can
  • Could
  • Did
  • Do
  • Does
  • Had
  • Has
  • Have
  • Is
  • May
  • Might
  • Must
  • Shall
  • Should
  • Was
  • Were
  • Will
  • Would

How to use strong verbs in writing

Littering your writing with strong verbs won’t necessarily make it any better. In fact, if you overdo it, those verbs will have the opposite effect.

Instead of making your writing stronger, it can bring it down to an amateur level.

That being said, I created the video below in order to help you understand how to use strong verbs in your writing the right way.

Why & How to Use Strong Verbs in Writing

Because your writing will be better overall. One of the best ways you can immediately make our writing stronger is by going through and crossing out each weak verb and replacing it with a better one.

Here’s how your writing will improve when you choose to use strong verbs.

#1 – Stronger visuals

One of the most important parts of any book is that your readers can get a precise visual. If they’re going through the chapters not fully picturing what’s happening, they won’t be fully invested.

And readers who aren’t invested don’t become fans. And they don’t leave reviews. And they don’t buy any other books you publish.

Strong verbs take a basic sentence and form a very specific image in the reader’s mind. Doing this throughout the entirety of your book will leave your readers feeling as if they just stepped out of an entirely different world.

And that’s exactly what you want.

Take these strong verb descriptions for example:

  • She walked into the room, her cape trailing after her.
  • She charged into the room, her cape billowing after her.
  • She strutted into the room, her cape flowing after her.

Each of these sentences is extremely similar in what they tell you; a girl with a cape entered a room.

But changing the verbs from “walked” to “charged” to “strutted” alters the way in which she entered.

It tells you the how.

And knowing how an action takes place sets up far more than just the image for the reader. It tells them the mood the character’s in, increases suspense in some cases, and even creates anticipation for what’s to follow.

strong verbs definition

#2 – More impactful emotions

The goal of your book (and any book, really) is to make your reader feel something. You want to stir emotions in them.

That’s why they read books. That, and they want to be transported to a different world, which strong verbs are also used for.

But one of the main reasons to use strong verbs in writing is to create a more emotional impact.

When you want to create a strong reaction in your reader, no matter what type of reaction that is, you need to use strong verbs.

Here’s an example of creating more anxiety or anticipation in your readers:

  • My heart was beating so fast I could hear it.
  • My heart crashed against my ribs, echoing in my head.

Which sentence gives you a clearer picture of the anxiety that must be felt?

The second, right.

Because replacing “was beating fast” with “crashed against my ribs,” shows you just how hard my heart felt. And that’s the difference between a weak verb and a strong one.

#3 – Helps you show, not tell

By now you know just how important showing versus telling is in writing. And one powerful way to show more and tell less is to use strong verbs.

It forces you to think more about the visual you’re trying to show the reader instead of just telling them what happened.

Because showing creates a stronger emotional connection between the reader and your book, replacing weak verbs with more powerful ones will hook your readers.

For those of you who struggle with showing and not telling, focusing on using better verbs will help tremendously.

#4 – They reduce weak adverbs

When you’re writing, you may have a tendency to write sentences like, “I gripped the steering wheel firmly.” While this doesn’t look like a terrible sentence, it also doesn’t convey a very strong visual.

Whenever you have an adverb, you should replace it with a stronger verb. That’s all an adverb is. It gives your weak verb a boost but it doesn’t actually make your sentence any stronger.

Instead, replace “gripped firmly” with a powerful verb like “clenched” or “squeezed.”

“I clenched the steering wheel” is a much stronger sentence that gives a clearer visual.

Go through your writing and pick out some adverbs to replace. Your writing will be better because of it.

#5 – They make for more concise writing

strong verbs list

Have you ever picked up a book that looked decent enough and even had an awesome title only to start reading and be turned off by how wordy and jumbled it is?

Strong verbs prevent this.

When you replace weak verbs and adverbs with a single stronger verb, you get rid of the excess writing that can make reading harder.

It also saves you a ton of time cutting words during the editing phase.

Because you’re using one word to create a strong visual, you won’t have to write more trying to describe how it looks to you. That strong verb does the job for you.

This also allows for easier, more fluid writing and reading.

Strong action verbs for better writing

I won’t lie. One of the most frustrating things to read is a book that lacks strong verbs in scenes that are meant to be full of action.

You’ll find this most often in fiction, but nonfiction books can be just as (if not more!) guilty of this. When you have a story that should leave the reader’s heart pounding but it doesn’t even raise their eyebrows, you have to do some digging to improve.

Here’s a list of strong action verbs to improve your writing:

  • Slam
  • Strike
  • Crash
  • Slice
  • Smash
  • Ram
  • Smack
  • Bang
  • Dash
  • Bolt
  • Charge
  • Shoot
  • Bound
  • Plunge
  • Hurl
  • Fling
  • Lob
  • Carve
  • Forge
  • Force

What to do Next

It’s not enough to just know what strong verbs are and how to use them. You actually have to put these tips to use in your own book and implement what you’ve learned.

Here’s what you can do right now to improve your writing and your book!

#1 – Attend your FREE training

All of this advice is relatively useless without a plan for finishing, marketing, and self-publishing your 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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

#2 – Watch our instructional editing video

Sometimes it’s hard to take what you’ve learned and actually implement it in your own writing. How do you know which words to replace and which are already good?

I put together a video teaching you how to edit your own writing when replacing basic verbs with stronger, better ones.

Make sure to check it out and even comment which part of the video was most helpful to you!

#3 – Create your own strong verbs list!

Editing is made so much easier and faster when you don’t have to constantly look up words to replace your weak verbs.

And you know what? It’s something you can easily do in a short amount of time.

That’s right. We suggest putting together a list of strong verbs and which weak verbs they’re great for replacing. All you need to do is find the weak verb you want to replace and choose a more powerful word from your list that fits the mood you’re trying to convey.

Do you use strong verbs? What’s your #1 question regarding strong verbs and using them in your writing?

write introduction

How to Write an Introduction to Sell Your Book Fast

To learn more about how to craft the perfect book introduction, join Chandler on this FREE webinar where he explains how to write a winning intro for your book.

“There’s no second chance to make a first impression.” Not only does this apply to meeting your future in-laws, it applies to readers first impressions of your book.

Alright…maybe not their first impression of your book, that comes from your book cover and title. However, their second-first impression is going to be formed while reading your book’s introduction.

how to write an introduction

It’s easy to think an introduction isn’t important because so many people skip them, but did you know your book’s introduction is actually a vital sales tool if you’re a non-fiction author?

That’s why we’re here to teach you how to write a book introduction that will actually boost book sales.

But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important.

How to Write a Book Introduction

You’re about to learn about the most wonderful page in your book to boost sales. It’s going to be your secret weapon to stand out from the competition.

Amazon offers customers a chance to give your book a sneak peek before purchase. It’s called the Look Inside feature, and when shoppers click on it, they’re treated to a free preview of your book introduction.

This means you’ve been given the opportunity to grab their attention and make them reach for their wallets.

This is why your book introduction is crucial to your book’s ultimate success. Readers will pick up your story and make a decision about you as an author and your book based on those first few paragraphs.

And we’re about to show you how to do just that.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

What’s the Difference Between a Book Introduction and a Preface or Foreword?

Before you write an introduction and dive in on writing the rest of your book, you first have to check if what you’re writing is actually an introduction.

If you aren’t careful it might be a preface or a foreword instead, and these are different than an introduction.

While this difference might not seem like much to you, mislabeling this section will signal your book as an amateur piece of work to your reader, harming your brand and sales in the long run.

Who would want to read a book (or many) from someone who can’t get even the introduction right?

So, what are the differences between an introduction, preface, and a foreword? Where do you use them? Can you use several of them? We’ll go through these questions in detail.

What is a preface?

A preface discusses how the book came about, the scope of the book, why the book was written, its limitations, and any acknowledgments the author or editor has.

Though they may initially seem the same, and serve the same purpose, a preface is different from an introduction. The author and/or editor of a book can write a preface, but no-one else can.

What it doesn’t do is talk about the meat of the book. It doesn’t go into the subject matter, the point of view, or arguments that the book presents.

The purpose of a preface is to let the reader know how you came to write the book.

Without delving into the book matter, it gives the author a chance to talk to the reader and let them know your story, why you decided to write this book, why the world needs this book right now (helpful if you’re writing about something that’s been written about several times before, such as the hundredth biography of a famous figure,) where you got your information from, and why you are the best author to write this book.

If you have several editions of your book, your preface is also where you discuss why there is a new edition, and what’s different from the old edition.

An author’s preface requires tact; you can’t be too self-promotional.

You have to address your selling points indirectly. This is why it’s best to have an editor’s preface or to have someone else write a foreword.

What is a foreword?

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, a foreword is written by someone other than the author or editor and is usually someone with authority to lend credibility to your book, with their name appearing at the end.

Think of a foreword as a letter of recommendation that someone with credibility writes for your book.

It’s usually by someone the reader will respect, and the foreword will contain reasons for why the reader should read the book. There are fewer rules for a foreword than a preface.

For instance, it can talk about the subject matter if desired. However, forewords tend to be short – usually one or two pages.

Many non-fiction book deals wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the foreword. Publishers are less likely to offer a major advance to first-time authors as they are untested. However, this becomes a different story if they can secure a foreword from someone of influence, (known as foreword deals in the industry.) 

John Romaniello (with his co-author Adam Bornstein) was able to get an advance of more than $1,000,000 for his first book, Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha, a practically unheard of amount for a first-time author.

How did this happen? John credits securing Arnold Schwarzenegger to pen the foreword as a factor that helped.

What is a book introduction?

An introduction differs from a preface and a foreword because it’s written by the author and does talk about the subject matter.

A book introduction can include everything that would be in a preface: how the book came about, the scope of the book, why the book was written etc.

However, an introduction also supplements the subject matter of the book.

Whether by presenting a point of view the reader should take, outlining to the reader what is to come, or by teasing the writer’s conclusions.

What’s the purpose of a preface, foreword, and introduction?

Each one of these exists to sell your book in the opening pages. They exist to hook a reader who flips to the beginning of the book and gives clear reasons as to why they should read on to the end.

A potential reader or buyer will judge whether your main argument, point of view, or tone of voice is worth reading on your introduction, preface, or foreword.

If someone they admire recommends your book in the foreword, they’ll sit up and listen.

If your preface reveals some main sources that have never told their story before, they’ll be curious to read more. If your introduction shows that you’re a great writer and you know what you’re talking about, they’ll give you a chance by reading more.

Since we’re dealing with non-fiction, we haven’t discussed prologues or epilogues, though they have the same purpose; to hook the reader and sell them on why to read on.

Where do they go?

So, do you only have to choose one for your book? No.

Your book can have all three if you want, though you don’t want to go too overboard, as your reader might end up skipping it anyway, or might feel like you’re trying too hard.

Getting a foreword can be a lot of hard work if you don’t have the network or credibility to get an influencer to write one for you. And if your reader ends up skipping it, it’ll be a waste of your time.

But if you want to have all three, this is the correct formatting of where they appear in your book, (relevant sections are highlighted in bold. We provided a comprehensive overview of a book’s matter for reference:)

Front Matter

(Each point gets at least its own page.)

  • Half title page (Sometimes called the bastard title, it’s a page that has nothing but the title. No subtitle or author name.)
  • Blank page (Or “Also by the author…”)
  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Dedication (Optional.)
  • Epigraph (Quote, or poem that highlights the theme of the book. Can be before main text. Optional.)
  • Table of contents
  • Book quote (optional: A quote chosen by the author based on the subject matter of the book.)
  • List of illustrations, tables or maps (Optional.)
  • Foreword (Optional.)
  • Preface (Optional. Editor’s preface comes before author’s preface if you have both. If you have a separate preface for a new edition of the book it comes before the old preface.)
  • Abbreviations (Optional. Or in back matter.)
  • Chronology (Optional. Or in back matter.)

Main Body

  • Introduction (Optional.)
  • Prologue (Optional. Not applicable to non-fiction.)
  • Epigraph (or after the dedication and before the table of contents. Optional.)
  • Another half-title (Optional.)
  • Main text
  • Epilogue (Optional. Not applicable to non-fiction.)
  • Afterword (Optional.)
  • Conclusion

Back Matter

(These are all optional.)

  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix
  • Chronology (Or in the front matter.)
  • Abbreviations (Or in the front matter.)
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • List of contributors
  • Illustration credits
  • Index
  • Errata
  • Colophon (Optional brief statement by the publishers on the book’s production, where it was printed etc.)
  • Authors or Editor’s bio
  • Invitation to review the book [Usually found in eBook formats asking readers to consider a review if they liked the book]

Don’t panic if your book doesn’t have up to half of these sections. Many of them are not necessary unless you are writing for a higher education audience.

What matters is knowing where your foreword, preface, and/or your introduction needs to go in your book.

How Your Book Introduction Will Help You Sell Books

Your book introduction serves two goals. Think of your first 1,000 words as the foundation for the rest of your book’s chapters.

Writing your introduction is going to be a useful exercise to help you distill down your ideas and to succinctly encapsulate the message of your great work into a few, short paragraphs.

The second goal of your introduction is to act as a sales pitch to intrigue readers so they’ll buy your book.

It’s intimidating, yes, and a lot of pressure is riding on just a few paragraphs. This is why writing your book introduction can be one of your first major stumbling blocks as an author.

That’s why we’re here to help you overcome this significant hurdle so you can continue merrily on the path toward your finished manuscript, and ultimately higher sales of your book once it is published.

How to Write a Book Introduction in 8 Steps

Self-Publishing School created a roadmap, much like we did for mind mapping and outlining, to nail down that book introduction—and also to jumpstart your writing process for the rest of your chapters.

As we go through these 8 steps to writing your book introduction, we’re going to use the example of a book called How to Get College Scholarships.

As you read, take notes, and insert your own book’s topic into your thinking and note-taking process.

#1 – Identify the Problem

Don’t dance around the problem. What’s the problem your book promises to solve? State the problem clearly for your readers from the outset. Be straight-forward, unambiguous, and concise when you identify the issue that readers hope you can solve for them.

Don’t try to be all things to all people—you want readers to know the specific problem your book will solve for them.

Using our example of How to Get College Scholarships, the problem is simple: college is expensive, and scholarships seem out of reach for most high school students.

#2 – Present the Solution

Now that you’ve identified the problem readers are struggling with, you’re going to make their day by telling them you’re going to share the solution in your book. You’ve helped them with a problem AND you’ve revealed that your book holds the solution on the first page. Your book’s going to be a winner!

Directional phrases such as, “In this book, I am going to show you …” or “This book is going to solve your problem by …”

Thinking back to our example, some solutions we’d present in our book would be teaching readers how to write a good essay so you can stand out from the competition, and how to find and apply for the top scholarships.

#3 – Assert Your Credibility

Now that you’ve presented a problem and posted a solution, your next step is to convince your readers that you, the author, are qualified to help solve their problem. You need to build your credibility and provide readers with a reason to trust you and follow your advice.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Why should people trust you?
  • How do you know about this topic?
  • Why are you passionate about writing this book?

Sharing your own struggles and how you overcame them is the first step to building rapport with your readers

#4 – Show Them the Benefits

How will your book improve your readers’ current circumstances? Now’s the time to really sell them on how reading your book is going to change their life for the better.

Sold! Who doesn’t want a better life? (It’s rhetorical: We all do!)

You’ve briefly touched on the solution—in our case, how to write a great essay and how to apply for scholarships. In this part of your introduction, you’re going to go a little deeper and explain what good things will happen if your readers take advantage of the information you present in your book.

In short, tell your readers what they’ll get—what knowledge or skill they will gain from reading your book and how that’s going to impact their future for the better.

In our example, the benefit of our book is that readers will go to school for free and live a life without the financial burden of student loans. Readers can achieve their dream of getting an education, without breaking the bank.

#5 – Give Them Proof

Show your readers the proof of why your book is the answer to their prayers. Give the most tangible and relatable proof you can provide.

In our example, we might share how we put ourselves or our children through school on scholarship. We might also include testimonials from other people we know who followed our advice and got a free education.

#6 – Make a Promise (The Bigger the Better)

Don’t make a promise you can’t keep, but make the biggest promise that you CAN keep. Aim high.

To come up with your promise, circle back to your books’ purpose—what is the problem your book is solving? Now promise that this book will solve their problem! It’s that easy.

You need to be able to deliver on your promises, but don’t be shy in stating what they will get in return for reading your book.

While we can’t promise someone they’ll be awarded a scholarship (after all, their grades will have a big impact there,) we can promise that we will increase their chances of getting a scholarship by showing them where to find them and the steps to take to apply.

#7 – Warn Them Against Waiting

You need to create a sense of urgency to buy so your readers know that if they pass on your book, they will regret it because readers will miss out on something really good.

A sense of urgency is created by two magic words, “RIGHT NOW!”

In our example, we would urge people to start well ahead of the scholarship application deadlines so they can submit the best applications they can. Don’t delay, or others who are in the know will snatch up those scholarships! So, let’s get started on getting you a free education RIGHT NOW!

#8 – Prompt Them to Read (Call to Action)

You want readers to continue reading your book the second they finish the introduction. To do that, you have to hint at the juicy secrets your book will reveal to them that will change their lives.

You want to intrigue them and hint at the exciting revelations you’re going to make inside the book. They will have to buy it in order to find out.

Here’s how to craft a compelling Call to Action to prompt them to read your book right away:

The scholarship tips and tricks you’re about to read have proven results. Each chapter provides new secrets that will help you stay in control of your financial future AND get a leg up on the competition for scholarships. If you follow the formula we reveal in this book, it’s highly possible you can enjoy the rest of your life unburdened by debt.

Time to Get Started

There you go—not too hard, is it? By applying a few principles of psychology as you draft your introduction, you can demonstrate to your readers how and why they need to read your book, right now.

Take advantage of this one chance you get, to explain in a few short paragraphs how readers will benefit from reading your book. They will thank you later after they buy your book and they’re reaping all the benefits of taking your advice.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Resources:

how to outline a book

Book Outline: How to Outline a Novel with 11 Steps for Success

Outlining a book is hard.

That word alone, “outlining”, may conjure images of 7th Grade English, scribbling at your desk in frustration while a stern teacher looks over your shoulder as you try to learn how to outline.

A book outline can be almost as intimidating as that teacher’s blatant glare…

But thankfully, is much less intimidating than the process of writing and self-publishing a book successfully.

Many of us learned how to outline in middle school, and it’s a skill we haven’t revisited since our braces came off and the acne faded away, but now you need it again.

And while it can be confusing, we break it down into easy to understand tips for success.

book outline

But have no fear! You’re a grown-up now, and this project isn’t being graded, which means learning how to outline a book can (and will!) be pain-free, especially with the right help.

Here are the steps for how to outline a book:

  1. Use a mind map book outline
  2. Simple book outline
  3. Chapter-by-chapter outline
  4. Sketched book outline
  5. Outline with Scrivener
  6. Basic outline
  7. Post-it note outline method
  8. The snowflake method
  9. The skeletal outline
  10. Novel outline template
  11. The reverse outline

You have free reign to structure your story outline to benefit your writing process—whether that’s a spaghetti-on-the-wall approach or a color-coded Excel spreadsheet.

Us at Self-Publishing School? We love this tried-and-true Mindmap to Outline procedure

Book Outlining & The Whole Process All in One

We understand you.

Your life is busy and sometimes you want all the (book-related) goods in one place. We heard you – and we listened!

Chandler Bolt created this all-in-one exclusive training for serious soon-to-be-authors. If you want to learn how to outline and everything else about the book writing process, make sure to sign up to save your spot!

Because if you want to learn how to outline, you may as well get as much information as you can right away. Trust us, it’ll make your writing process that much easier.

What if you could outline your book in just 24 hours?

Join hundreds of other like-minded writers in a challenge that will give you all the tools, information and motivation you need to finish your outline!

Click the button below to learn more about how We’ll basically “hold your hand” while you outline your book! (if we can do it, you can too!).

Join the 24 Hour Book Outline Challenge

What is a Book Outline?

A book outline is a roadmap or blueprint for your story. It tells you where you need to go and when in chronilogical order.

It’s easy to see this term and wonder exactly what that means. Is it a bullet list of topics for your book? Is it a chapter by chapter overview written in paragraphs?

No matter how you write an outline, the purpose is the same.

Think of it as a GPS of sorts but instead of giving you driving directions, your outline will give you writing directions.

Why Should I Write a Book Outline?

No matter which type of book outline you choose, planning before you write has many benefits. It’s not just about getting your thoughts on the paper, either. It’s about so much more than the actual writing.

Outlines can do a number of things for you:

You don’t need to spend huge amounts of time learning how to outline a book, but some (mostly painless!) prep before writing will be time well-spent since you won’t be spinning your wheels by staring at the blank screen of death.

When you start with a plan, you’ll unconsciously make connections and think about your draft, even when you’re not actively writing.

what is an outline

Mentally writing in the shower is one of the perks of outlining, because it will get your thoughts percolating. Be sure to keep paper and pens scattered about so you can capture your brilliance the minute it bubbles up, rather than letting all those ideas fade away.

Once you have a plan to write your book in outline form, you’ll be better able to put these thoughts to paper and compose your chapters when you do sit down to write.

This means a finished book in less time!

And I have some good news: there’s no “right” way to outline. Each writer will have their own process that’s personal to them.

Keep reading for tips on how to outline different ways. If one of these exact methods doesn’t strike a chord with you, you can combine methods to create your own way that works best for your unique book.

Are you writing a fiction or non-fiction book? Depending on which you’re working on, the outlining process may look be different.

Thankfully, there are plenty of relevant tips you can apply in the section about outlining a non-fiction book. Likewise, even if you’re writing non-fiction, the section on how to write a fiction outline can help spark some ideas for your process, so we recommend authors of all types of books read the full list.

NOTE: We go in-depth with everything covered in this blog post along with the writing, marketing, and self-publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program.

Click here to learn more

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Outline

Most non-fiction authors find outlines useful due to the nature of their books. Generally, works of non-fiction require research and citation of sources (although many novels require their own research!).

An outline can help organize your research so it doesn’t overwhelm you, plus your outline will help you create the best structure for your finished book.

These are some of the beneficial methods we recommend for you.

#1 – Mindmap + Book Outline

This is the main method of outlining that we teach in Self-Publishing School. The mindmap method requires you to create a brain dump based on your book’s topic. Write your topic in the center of a piece of paper, then use lines and words to draw as many connections as you can.

It doesn’t need to make perfect sense from the get-go—the goal is free-form thinking to get all of your ideas out of your head and onto the page.

You’ll start to notice connections between different categories of information. This makes it easier to spot the relevant “book-worthy” ideas. Then you can pluck those ideas out of your mindmap and put them into a cohesive book outline.

We also recommend doing a mindmap for each chapter you select from your original mindmap. It will help you structure your entire book chapter by chapter.

Fun, and so easy—we told you this would be (mostly) painless!

book outline example

At Self-Publishing School, we encourage students to make a mess with their mindmap. Regardless of what your mind map looks like in the end, it is an essential element to your book writing process.

This mind map will be the jumping off point for you to begin your outline. In this brief video, Chandler explains how to turn your mindmap into an outline:

#2 – Simple Book Outline

A simple book outline is just as it sounds; keep it basic and brief. Start with the title. Don’t get too hung up on the perfect title at this stage of the process; you just want to come up with a good-for-now placeholder.

You can always change the title later—in fact, you probably will—but starting with some kind of title gives you a better idea of where you want your book to go.

Plus, outlining your book this way jump-starts the creative process.

Next, you’ll list all of the key points that cover your book’s overall theme and message. You’ll use these key points to generate your notes. Later, you’ll flesh out these notes to draft your book chapters.

#3 – Chapter-by-Chapter Book Outline

Your chapter-by-chapter book outline is a pumped-up version of the simple book outline.

To get started, first create a complete chapter list. With each chapter listed as a heading, you’ll later add material or shift chapters around as the draft evolves.

Create a working title for each chapter, and list them in a logical order. After that, you’ll fill in the key points of each chapter.

Finally, you’ll link your resources as they would appear in each chapter, including books, interviews, and Web links.

Here’s a great example of a chapter-by-chapter nonfiction book outline completed with bullet lists:

how to outline a book example

#4 – Sketch Your Book Outline

Perhaps you find the idea of a written outline confining. That’s OK — there’s another option which might appeal to your artistic side.

Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, wrote about how sketching your ideas can simplify complex thoughts.

To create this type of book outline, hand-draw your book concept in sequential order.

This may be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Feel free to use a Bic pen and a spiral notebook, or take it to the next level with a color medium on canvas-sized paper.

The great thing about drawing your book is that you can later use the images as promotional and marketing material!

#5 – Book Outline With Scrivener

If you like being uber-organized, then the writing software Scrivener might appeal to you. Their book outline program allows you to upload your research, organize it by moving it around, and filing it into folders.

Like many writing software programs, it does have a fairly extensive learning curve, which can be a major downside—especially if you tend to procrastinate and really want to get your book published quickly.

However, some writers say it revolutionized their organizational process for longer works.

You can learn more about the program and its uses here or check out this tutorial for an overview.

How to Outline a Novel in 6 Ways

While you can incorporate the book outlining tips we shared in the non-fiction section above, creating an outline for your novel will be inherently different from creating a non-fiction outline.

Your novel outline will require a few different elements like:

  • character development
  • character arcs
  • the evolution of plot points
  • the first slap
  • the second slap
  • the breaking point
  • the climax
  • resolution of conflict

While the methods may be different, the goal is the same—organization and pre-planning so that you can write a great, cohesive book much faster.

#1 – Basic Document

Your goal with the Basic Document format is to use a Word or Excel table to give structure to your theme. Create a table and organize and summarize your key points and plot.

You’ll then create a separate section for characters and themes, and an additional section with relevant research. 

#2 – Post-It Wall

This is for the creative mind, and another method we teach in Self-Publishing School. All you need is a blank wall and a box of Post-It notes. Carry a pad of Post-Its with you wherever you go, and doodle your book on the fly.

Write your ideas and inspiration on your Post-Its when the mood strikes you.

Next, affix the Post-Its containing words, snippets, doodles, and phrases to the wall. After a week of this exercise, organize these words into novel outline form. Voila—simple, effective, creative!

book outline example

#3 – The Snowflake Method

The Snowflake Method was created by fiction writing coach Randy Ingermanson based on the notion, “Good fiction doesn’t just happen. It’s designed.”

The process of the snowflake method focuses on starting small, then expanding. For example, you’d start with one line from your book, then add a paragraph, then add a chapter.

Since the snowflake method is fairly detailed and based on scientific theory, Randy’s article is worth a read so you can review the detailed steps involved in this outlining method.

book outline snowflake method

#4 – The Skeletal Outline

If you’ve ever written a term paper or thesis, then you’re probably familiar with the skeletal outline. You’ll lay out your narrative points in the order they’ll appear in your story, which involves a broad 7-step story arch.

This gives you a big picture idea of the flow of your story, so you can adjust your story and add subplots for maximum impact.

#5 – Novel Outline Template

Why reinvent the wheel? If you’re impatient to jump right into the fun part—writing!—or you aren’t sure exactly how to format your novel outline, then a pre-formatted template outline might be your saving grace.

A fill-in-the-blank novel outline can help you develop your plot, characters, and ideas without getting bogged down with the notion of striving for “proper” outline form.

#6 – The Reverse Outline

how to outline a book

Sometimes looking at the problem from a different angle can give you the answer to the question. The same applies to outlining.

Reverse outlining is exactly what it sounds like: Write down how your novel ends. Then once you know the ending, outline backward to get to that happy (Or sad? You’re the author!) ending.

This method often helps if you want to plant seeds and have a lot of shocking foreshadowing moments.

Authors like George R.R. Martin have to use these methods in order to make sure the plot lines up.

For more ideas and creatives ways to jump-start your novel outline, check out How to Write a Novel Outline.

Here’s the takeaway: No matter which option you choose, ultimately, you’ll write faster and better with a book outline. If one way doesn’t work well for you, then experiment and try another. Remember, your goal is a finished manuscript, not the gold medal for “Most Perfect Book Outline.”


Discover what works best for you and you’ll be one step closer to a finished book.

Ready to become a published author?

Make sure to take advantage of this free training. It will take you through everything you need to go from blank page to published author in as little as 90 days! You’ll have your outline started before your training is even finished.

Join the 24 Hour Book Outline Challenge Today!

The life you dream of having, the business you dream of building,
the legacy you dream of leaving… Will all be created by the book that you write.”

Click the button below to join the challenge!

Join the 24 Hour Book Outline Challenge

Are you serious about getting your book published? Interested in how Self-Publishing School can work with you to get your book written and launched to bestseller status?

If so, click here to book a free consultation with one of our Publishing Success Strategists, and put together a step-by-step roadmap to completing your book.

character development

Character Development: How to Write Great Characters [Worksheet]

The character development in your story is vital for its selling.

After all, people love and rave about books not always because of the story itself…

But because of the characters they fell in love with.

However…this is actually much harder to accomplish as a writer than it seems, even if writing and self-publishing a successful book hinges on it.

In fact, it’s specifically because someone fell in love with the characters and care so much about them and their journey that they’re willing to follow them through the entirety of it.

That is why you need to put an emphasis on the character development in the book you’re writing—or preparing to write.

character development

Here is your 12 step guide for good character development:

  1. Create a background for your character
  2. Give your character strengths and weaknesses
  3. Create nervous ticks for your character
  4. Avoid making a “perfect” character
  5. Give your character realistic motives
  6. Give them a unique feature
  7. Develop a wide variety of character personalities
  8. Create an impact of your character’s past
  9. Make secondary characters foil types
  10. Give each character a unique voice
  11. Create a diverse character cast
  12. Avoid character stereotypes

Stick with us through this post and you’ll learn exactly how to accomplish character development in a way that will make readers think about your characters as if they were real people.

Once you nail all of these, you’ll be writing strong characters in no time.

how to write a novel training

Get Your Character Development Sheet

Sometimes it’s worth it to have a character development sheet to keep track of your characters. Not only will you be able to keep track, but you can zoom out and better see if you’re creating two character archetypes who are too much alike.

Are you ready to get started right now? Download your free character development sheet to keep track of each character you write.


Download your FREE character development worksheet!

Talk to an Expert to Discuss Your Character Development

Did you know we have our experts on hand to help you with your books— for free!

It’s true.

Just book a call for a FREE 20-minute coaching call and our experts can help you gain clarity on what you’re struggling with and how you can work through it to finish your book!

BOOK A FREE COACHING CALL!

Talk with one of our experts by clicking the button below and scheduling your free coaching call.

Click Here to Book a Call

What is Character Development?

Character development is the process and execution of creating a fully rounded, complex, and lifelike character within your fictional writing with the purpose of making readers invested in them and their life or journey.

Think of character development like the paper of your book. Without it, you simply don’t have a book at all—you just have a mess of ink smeared between two cover.

But before we get into the extensive details, I’m going to cover what constitutes a well-developed character as well as the different types of character development you may consider.

What is a Well Developed Character?

A well-developed character needs a full backstory, personality traits reflective of it, realistic actions and emotions, along with being highly relatable to the average reader and as complex as a real person.

If you can’t imagine your characters as a real-life person, they’re not quite complex enough to be well developed. The key with character development is crafting your characters to feel as if they’re people you know who just live far away.

Get comfortable with thinking of them as real and you almost always will have a well-developed character.

Types of Character Development

When it comes to learning how to write characters – and write them well – you have to understand which type of character you’re dealing with.

These are the different types of characters to write:

  • Protagonist
  • Antagonist
  • Secondary
  • Static
  • Foil
  • Stock
  • Dynamic/Round

Don’t be alarmed if you think this is a lot of different types of characters. After all, we all have people in our real lives who would fill these character “types” and that’s why it’s important for your book to include them.

Without them, you can’t go through with character development and expect a captivating cast.

But let’s help you understand what each type of character brings to the story.

With this information, you can better understand which character development to focus on with each of the fictional people you create.

12 Actionable Character Development Tips

Now that you know which type of character you’re focusing on here when writing your book, let’s dive deeper into the character development methods you can use and exercises to help you get it right.

#1 – Create a background for each character

Our realities are shaped by where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go.

That being said, the one with the most influence on our lives is where we’ve been – our past.

The same is likely true for your character. Based on what their life was like prior to the start of your novel, they’ll have different interests, quirks, fears, and more.

Your job is to fill out what their life has looked like up until the beginning of your book.

Character Development Exercise

Fill out a character development sheet so you can understand your characters as full-fleshed people instead of just two-dimensional beings you created. Cover these main ideas when crafting your character’s background:

– Their childhood (good, bad, poverty-stricken, spoiled, etc.)
– Their parents (divorced, never married, one missing, both missing)
– Their friendships
– Their hobbies and interests as a kid versus now
– Their motivations for feeling the way they do about any given situation
– Their personality type and how it affects their actions
– These are some basic elements you should understand about your character in order to shape their personality, opinions, and actions that appropriately fit their background.

#2 – Know your characters’ strengths and weaknesses

One of the biggest means of influence over your characters will be their strengths or weaknesses.

We, as humans, constantly face our strengths and weaknesses on a daily basis, even in the smallest of forms.

What your characters are good at and what they’re not great at will affect how they perceive different events, what actions they choose to take, and can affect their overall character arc (which we’ll touch on later).

If your character’s strength is talking to strangers and gaining their trust, this might be an asset for them throughout their journey. However, if that is your character’s weakness and they’re forced to do so, it can cause conflict for them.

These strengths and weaknesses will shape your character arc and the plot as a whole, so know them well before writing.

Character Development Exercise

Create a list of 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses for your characters. Make sure these play into the plot in order to cause conflict and gain sympathy from readers who can relate.

#3 – Create nervous ticks or habits

If you’ve paid attention to humans for long enough, you’re aware that we all have certain habits we don’t even realize we’re doing when we’re nervous.

Me? I pick at the skin around my nails. It’s a pain (literally) and I never notice I’m doing it until later.

This can be a key characteristic that will make your characters feel more real and help make them more relatable to your readers, which will make them want to give you those 5-star reviews.

Character Development Exercise

Make a small list for each of your characters. Write down 2 odd habits for each of them and decide which is their go-to (the one they do without even thinking about it) and which is made worse through nerves or anxiety.

#4 – No character can be perfect

It can be really hard to write your favorite fictional person as having flaws. After all, we want people to love them, right?

But a “perfect” character is not lovable – they’re hateable because it’s not realistic.

The more you try to make your character “flawless,” the less readers can relate and therefore, they’ll like them less. You have to build flaws into your character just like we all have drawbacks in real like.

Character Development Exercise

List 3 major flaws your character has that can actually become problems within your plot. Think about any bad habits they have, situations they dislike, or even personality traits that aren’t seen as “good” in order to craft these flaws in a realistic fashion.

#5 – All characters need realistic motives

No matter which character they or what they want in your story, they need to have a real and valid reason for feeling this way.

Take He Who Shall Not Be Named from Harry Potter for example.

Voldemort (woops!) wants to kill Harry. That much we should all know – even if you’ve never read or seen the movies. But if he was just trying to kill Harry Potter for the sake of murdering a child, it wouldn’t’ make sense.

Yes, he’s evil, but he also has a valid reason for wanting him dead, right?

He has to kill Harry Potter because he’s the only person who was able to defeat him before – and because the prophecy says so.

If your characters – no matter how minor they are – don’t have a motive that makes sense, readers will be pulled out of the story and end up questioning what’s happening, and not in a good way.

This is largely how plot holes arise so in order to avoid them, stick to this character development method.

Character Development Exercise

When coming up with your antagonist’s motives, list at least 2 ways in which they’re valid. For Voldemort, it would be the fact that Harry can kill him and that he wants to rule the wizarding world. Your bad character has to have at least 2 strong reasons for opposing your protagonist and they should make sense given their history.

#6 – Give each character a unique feature

This is particularly for those of you writing Game of Thrones-esque novels with a large number of characters, but it’s important for others as well.

When writing a book, you want your readers to easily visualize and differentiate the cast. You want each character to stand out as individuals.

character development tips

A perfect way to do this is to give each person an identifiable feature.

For example, let’s use Harry Potter again because you probably know what the main characters look like.

Harry has glasses. Hermione has buck teeth (up until she has them shortened a bit too much – and this is only in the books for those of you about to argue), and Ron has flaming red hair.

These are very distinct features that can help you picture them as wildly different characters.

Now, you don’t have to give each and every character some crazy hair color or style, but try not to have your entire cast look the same.

If you have a main character with brown wavy hair, have the next with blonde curly hair, etc.

Keep in mind that siblings can certainly look similar!

Character Development Exercise

Create a spreadsheet or other document that lists all your characters and document their features. If you have two characters who spend a lot of time together in your book and you see they look similar, alter their appearance until they’re differentiable.

Take my own spreadsheet for my work in progress below as an example.

character development chart

#7 – Develop a wide variety of personality types

Meaning, don’t create all of your characters to be the “dark and sarcastic” type or the “tough guy” type.

You have to have a wide variety of personalities – just like in the real world.

You can even back up their personality with real-life psychology. As an example, I have two characters who both have a tragic background.

However, they don’t process that trauma in the same way. One character takes on a very withdrawn approach while the other hides his pain with humor. This gives them very different personalities despite having similar histories.

Character Development Exercise

Reference your character’s backstories and do a little research into possible coping mechanisms and how that can affect their personality. Develop it from there in order to have realistic personalities that differ.

#8 – Match your character’s history with the effects of it

This is when some research will come into play, which should be required anyway. Looking into some psychological effects of trauma can help you accurately and realistically dive into character development.

Now, not all characters go through trauma, but there are other big life events that can shape how they behave.

If you have a character whose parents were very strict growing up, they may be a bit of a rebel and lack the decision making abilities others have – mostly because they never learned how since their parents made those choices for them.

Character Development Exercise

Since you know your character’s backstory, do a little research into how those specific struggles or realities can shape a person’s psyche in order to accurately and realistically craft their behavior.

#9 – Make secondary characters foil types

This is largely to help with personality contract within your novel. Most of the time, this will happen naturally if you’re giving each character a unique personality but it’s great to keep in mind anyway.

If you have secondary characters (characters who get a decent amount of page time but are not main characters), craft their personality types to show the opposite of the main characters’.

Why? Because you want to firstly create more diversity and secondly, create some non-plot-specific conflict.

Character Development Exercise

Pinpoint your secondary characters and development them in a way that makes them clash or oppose your main characters in certain ways. Think about what could annoy your main character the most and give your secondary characters some of those habits or personality traits.

#10 – Give each character a distinct voice

We all speak differently and that means your characters should too. Depending on where they’re from, they could have different accents, slang, and even phrases they tend to use regularly.

Think of a friend of yours for a minute. What are some specific phrases they use a lot?

It’s likely you were able to think of something in just a few seconds because it’s so unique to them and something they say a lot.

Your characters should be developed in the same way.

If you write two characters from very different areas of the world and they have the same style of speaking, your audience will be pulled out of the story because it’s not realistic. Their voices have to be consistent and not the same.

Character Development Exercise

These tips can ensure your characters speak differently:
– Choose a slang word each character likes to use
– Use different wording for the same meaning like “apologies” versus “I’m sorry” or “my bad”
– Use unique sentence structures to give each character a unique speaking rhythm
– Make sure your more educated characters speak like it and your less educated use simpler words and phrases
– Create phrases similar to “knee-high to a grasshopper” with unique meanings for your characters’ specific regions
– Read their dialogue out loud in the voice you image they have and make changes if necessary
– The point of giving your characters unique voices is to ensure your readers imagine them as real people instead of two-dimensional beings living in paper.

#11 – Create a diverse cast in every way

I’ll be honest, there is a very real problem in literature when it comes to diversity.

You can debate this all you want, but coming from someone who reads many books, it’s a very real issue that only you and other writers going forward can correct.

Your book should be just as diverse as the real world.

If you don’t have characters with varying skin, hair, or eye colors along with varying body types, disabilities, and even mental illnesses, your characters are not diverse enough.

You do not have to write a book about these things in order for you to include them in your novel.

For example, one of my main characters has high levels of anxiety. His storyline does not revolve around this mental illness, but it is there, seen, and can affect his plot.

Character Development Exercise

Look through your characters and their appearances as well as their personalities. If there isn’t clear diversity amongst them, create it. You want to make sure you are allowing diverse readers to feel included, heard, and represented.

#12 – Avoid stereotypes

This is really a “do not do” tip versus a “must do” tip. The reason for this is because so many writers feel as though they need a “side character” (or even a main character) but is too lazy to do the real work.

Which means they create a stereotype of a specific type of person that can oftentimes be harmful without the author even knowing.

A great way to ensure you never have offensive stereotyped characters is to use a sensitivity reader or make sure you have a diverse group of beta readers who can speak on behalf of the characters you’ve developed.

What is a Character Arc?

A character arc is used to describe the inner and even outer journey, which can be physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise that a character experiences throughout the duration of the story or plot.

You thought you were done learning about character development, didn’t you?

You’re not! In addition to crafting well-rounded characters, you also have to think about including arcs for them.

How to Create a Character Arc

At the very least, your protagonist, or main character, requires an arc for their storyline and journey to be captivating and satisfying for readers.

As an example, I’m going to use Harry Potter from that series simply because it’s widely known and his character arc even within the first novel is distinct.

Harry Potter starts the novel as an 11-year-old kid suffering from emotionally abusive relatives who care for him due to his parents passing away.

But by the end of the movie, Harry has discovered he’s a wizard, learned of his prominence in the wizarding world, and even taken on Voldemort himself (well, sort of).

This character arc is distinct in that his mental and emotional journey from start to finish is wildly different. Harry Potter is not the same at the end as he was in the beginning – and this remains true throughout each book in the series.

character development arc

When your character comes out at the end of the book as a transformed person in certain senses, it’s a character arc.

Above is an example of what a character arc looks like on paper and how you can utilize plot elements in order to further your character’s development.

Character development questions

If you’re looking for a way to further develop your characters in order to create lifelike and realistic personalities, we have a way to help.

Here are 50 character development questions to ask:

  1. What is their full name?
  2. Why did their parents choose that name?
  3. What are their parents like?
  4. Do they have siblings?
  5. What are their siblings like?
  6. Were they bullied by their siblings?
  7. What order are they in their family (first born, middle, etc.)?
  8. What do they look like (full appearance)?
  9. Do they have any quirks or nervous habits?
  10. What do they do when they get mad?
  11. What do they do when they’re happy?
  12. Do they have close friends?
  13. What are their friends like?
  14. What’s their worst habit?
  15. What’s their best habit?
  16. What’s their biggest weakness?
  17. What’s their biggest strength?
  18. What is something they want to improve upon?
  19. What’s something they excel in?
  20. Did they go to school or an equivalent?
  21. What were they like in school?
  22. Do they like to learn?
  23. Are they a rebel?
  24. Are they an obliger (people-pleaser)?
  25. Are they internally motivated?
  26. Do they look to others for help in times of stress?
  27. What is their stress response?
  28. Do they think logically or emotionally to make decisions?
  29. Are they able to make decisions clearly when emotional?
  30. What are their beliefs on religion?
  31. Do they have a strong moral compass?
  32. What do they value most in life (money, happiness, etc.?)
  33. What is something that would trigger irrational behavior?
  34. Are they introverted or extroverted?
  35. Are they a troublemaker or do they play by the rules?
  36. What’s something that fulfills them?
  37. Do they know their life’s purpose?
  38. Who’s someone causing emotional struggles in their life?
  39. Who do they go to when they’re upset?
  40. What type of weather do they enjoy most?
  41. What are their sleeping habits like?
  42. What are their eating habits like?
  43. What’s something they could change about their world if they could?
  44. Are they someone who speaks up for themselves?
  45. Are they a passive person?
  46. What are they like at their very worst?
  47. What are they like at their very best?
  48. What do they envision their life to be 10 years from now?
  49. What do they want for their life when they’re old and gray?
  50. What does the “perfect” life look like in their eyes?

Your Next Steps – But Only if You’re a Serious Writer

It’s time to get serious about your book. If you’re here, it means you want to learn how to write your book to the best of your ability.

That’s exactly what we can help with.

We put together this FREE training for you to understand what it takes to write and publish a book.

Make sure to watch this because you can create incredible characters all you want, but they’ll never see the light of day without publishing.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Are you serious about getting your book published? Interested in how Self-Publishing School can work with you to get your book written and launched to bestseller status?

If so, click here to book a free consultation with one of our Publishing Success Strategists, and put together a step-by-step roadmap to completing your book.

grammarly review

Grammarly Review 2019: Pros, Cons, and Best Features for Writing

You need help.

That’s why you’re looking into Grammarly, right?

With the world turning to the online and computer space, having a reliable way of ensuring your grammar is nearly perfect each time is essential.

Nobody wants a troll using their grammar as a weapon online.

No matter if you’re a blogger, aspiring to be a successful author, or just want an app to take care of the technical aspects of writing across many platforms (including email – thank goodness!), Grammarly might be the answer for you.

grammarly review

But before we get into the Grammarly review, let’s take a look at what this software actually is.

how to write a book training

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is an app or extension for your browser that checks your grammar, spelling, plagiarism, and more in real-time on a number of different platforms, including Microsoft Word, WordPress, Facebook, and more.

This grammar app is actually coined as being your “Free Grammar Assistant.”

Sounds nice, right?

But there are certainly limitations – as with any writing software like this. Let’s take a look at a full Grammarly review of its features, the pros and cons, and the price point for premium and business upgrades.

Grammarly Review: The Features with Each Version

As someone who has used Grammarly’s free program for a few years while building a freelance writing business, I can confidently say that if you’re not using it, that’s a mistake.

But there may be features you need that aren’t available with the free or even premium versions.

Here’s a table covering each Grammarly feature and which plans cover it.

FeaturesFreePremium
Grammar and spelling checks
Checks punctuations grammar, context, and sentence structureX
Vocabularly enhacementX
Genre-specific writing style checksX
Plagiarism detector (checks over 16 billions web pages)X

How Much Does Grammarly Cost?

As you know by now, Grammarly isn’t just free – and for a good reason.

With as many helpful features as it offers in addition to what you get for free, paying a pretty penny is totally worth it if you’re someone who needs more of those advanced capabilities.

Here’s how much Grammarly costs for each version:

VersionMonthlyQuarterlyAnnual
Premium$29.95 / month$59.95 (breaks down to $19.98 / month)$139.95 (breaks down to $11.66 / month)
Free

Grammarly Review with Pros and Cons

As with anything, there are some pros and cons that come along with Grammarly.

Let’s dive into this Grammarly review and discuss each in detail and what you can expect if you choose to use it for all your writerly needs.

Grammarly Pros

There are many reasons Grammarly has exploded its growth in recent years. These are a few of many pros this writing software has to offer.

#1 – Real-time grammar correcting


grammarly editor review

This is fantastic and has changed the game when it comes to checking your work and editing faster.

Instead of writing everything out and then clicking the “check spelling and grammar” button, you’ll know right when you make a mistake that you have, in fact, made an error.

You might be wondering why this is so great when you can just check it after you’re done.

Have you ever forgotten to hit that button when you spent a ton of time drafting something very important? Because I have.

And let me tell you, if I could see the errors as they happen, I can change them right away, resulting in a cleaner final result.

Plus, it’s all automatic. You don’t have to click a button for Grammarly to do its job.

#2 – Highly accurate

This grammar software doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. Occasionally, it can misunderstand what you’re trying to say or put a comma where you don’t necessarily need or want one, but overall, it has a high rate of accuracy.

And when you’re checking grammar, accuracy is always best. Just be aware of why it’s asking you to change something and only accept if it’s correct.

#3 – Easy to understand explanations

Grammarly doesn’t just tell you when something is wrong. While that would totally be okay, this program goes a step further with explanations so you can understand in order to learn and improve.

So not only are you getting the benefit of your writing being polished in real-time, but you’re also learning how to become a better writer.

Grammarly has 2 options when it comes to explanations. You can do a quick-view to make the change with little help like below:

grammarly example

Or you can click “See More in Grammarly” and view a full explanation like the image below:

grammarly review example

The more you use Grammarly, the more you’ll understand where commas go, how to phrase certain sentences properly, and how you can strengthen your writing altogether.

By a simple explanation like the one featured above, you won’t even need Grammarly as much in the future.

#4 – Customization

Even if you’re using the free version of Grammarly, it’s pretty customizable given its limitation in features.

You’re able to select your preferred language, turn it off on certain websites, as well as add new words you use often to the dictionary.

This is perfect if you have any words you use regularly that aren’t necessarily “real” words, like brand names, slang, or abbreviations. There’s no need to fix each of these errors if you just click “add to dictionary” when Grammarly marks it as incorrect the first time.

Just hover over the word and click “Add to Dictionary” in the pop-up box, as you can see below:

grammarly feature example

#5 – Very simple to use

You don’t have to be a computer whiz in order to figure out this piece of software.

Essentially, all you have to do is install the plugin or browser extension and you’re good to go!

Much like Microsoft Word and Google Doc’s spellcheck, Grammarly will underline incorrect words or grammar and show you what to replace it with and why if you simply hover over it.

This is perfect for those of you who need a bit of help in the grammar department but aren’t thrilled with the idea of a more complex piece of writing software.

Grammarly Cons

It can’t all be perfect, right? While there are some amazing features within Grammarly, there are certain aspects that could be improved.

#1 – It doesn’t work on everything


grammarly new feature

Most popularly, Grammarly doesn’t function on Google Docs, which can be a real bummer for those of you who use this writing software all the time.

But, they are currently beta testing Grammarly with Google Docs so you might not have to wait long before this feature is available for good!

Just take a look at the notification I received on my Grammarly Chrome extension when I was crafting this very blog post in Google Docs:

It seems as though Grammarly is certainly breaking out and extending their services to more and more platforms – which is great if you use many for work, hobbies, or a combination of the two.

#2 – Its free version is very limited

As you can see from the table above, the free version of Grammarly is very limited. It really only has one function, and that’s to correct your spelling and grammar.

While this might seem like a major con to some, it’s perfectly acceptable to others.

Personally, I don’t need much more than just the free features.

Going for Grammarly Premium is certainly more useful for those looking to transform their writing for the better or those who need a bit more than just grammar help.

There’s a huge gap between the free version and the premium option that could be closed a little by offering more free features.

If you’re curious which writing software is best for you and if Grammarly is even a good fit, take this short, 2-minute quiz below to find out!

Want to find the best writing software for you?

Take this quick, 2-minute quiz to find out which will help you the most!

Click Here to Take the Quiz!

#3 – Aggressive advertising

This company wants you to upgrade – they really want you to upgrade.

While they’re completely justified to get you to spend more money to go premium, their spam-like ads and emails can be a bit much for people.

Thankfully, you can easily opt-out of their email list by unsubscribing and that virtually solves the problem on that end.

However, they still advertise to you through the Grammarly extension from time to time by notifying you to upgrade.

While it’s irritating, it’s still tolerable and not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Grammarly Alternatives

If you’re not quite sold on Grammarly, there are other programs out there that are very similar you might want to check out.

Writing SoftwareCost
Microsoft Word$79.99
Scrivener$45
Pages$28
Freedom$2.42/month
Google DocsFree
EvernoteFree
FocusWriterFree
FastPencilFree
Hemingway AppFree
DropboxFree
Open OfficeFree
yWriterFree

Your Next Steps

I hate to be the bearer of bad news…but Grammarly won’t actually get the writing done for you, nor does it teach you how to write a book.

And if that’s what you’re after, here’s what you can do next if you want true success:

#Join your FREE training!

No matter if you have a grammar editor sitting right next to you or a software that corrects it, they won’t show you the way to not only write a book, but become a bestseller.

That’s where we come in.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

speaking engagements

Speaking Engagements: Your First Gig as an Author

Once you’ve done the hard work of writing and publishing your book, it’s time to consider getting some speaking engagements so you can spread the word about your book’s message…

…and make even more cash from it.

As an author, it’s highly possible you’ve convinced yourself that speaking in front of an audience simply isn’t for you—after all, you’re a writer, not a speaker…right?

That’s not exactly true.

Speaking engagements

While the walls of publishing are coming down, and there’s never been a better time to become a published author.

…but this means there’s an awful lot of competition out there.

We’re here to cover this information all about speaking engagements:

  1. What are speaking engagements?
  2. How do you get paid for speaking engagements?
  3. How to book yourself as a speaker
  4. 10 ways to land your first speaking engagements

The authors who are willing to put themselves out there—whether in the form of speaking gigs, media, or other in-person appearances—have the best chance of standing out from the crowd and grabbing the attention of book buyers.

NOTE: One of the best ways to land speaking gigs is to place yourself as an authority through writing a book. We teach just that and so much more in our VIP Self-Publishing Program.

Learn more about it here

What area speaking engagements?

Speaking engagements are when you speak in front of a group of people on a specific topic you’re knowledgable about.

Most people think of Ted Talks when they hear the term “speaking engagement.”

However, not all speaking gigs have to be at the Ted Talk level in order to be considered a speaking engagement. Any scheduled speech you give (even unpaid) in front of a group of people is considered a speaking gig.

Not everyone can get paid to be a speaker upfront. If you want to be a paid speaker, you have to first hone the craft of speaking and then gain experience in the field.

Some may get lucky enough to be booked as a paid speaker upfront but usually, it can take time, experience, and a resume of speaking engagements in order to take home money for it.

An easy way to expedite the process of becoming a paid speaker is to increase your authority by writing a book.

Becoming a bestseller by self-publishing a book(something we here at Self-Publishing School teach) is even better. It’s a surefire sign that you know what you’re talking about and have credibility behind you.

How do you book yourself as a speaker?

Before you can reach the days of paying someone else to book your speaking gigs, you have to put in the work for yourself first.

This means doing research and performing a lot of outreach in order to connect with those responsible for booking speakers at different events.

Keep in mind that you may have to start small (and we’ll touch on this below) before you can expect to book yourself at larger, paid speaking engagements.

How to Land Your First Speaking Engagements as an Author

We’re not saying it can’t be nerve-wracking to stand up in front of a crowd. That’s why we recommend starting small, saying “yes” to multiple opportunities, and getting lots of practice.

This isn’t a one-and-done proposition if you truly want speaking to become an effective piece of your “professional author” repertoire.

So, how exactly should you land that first speaking engagement?

Read on for our ten tips, and you’ll soon be writing your notecards for your debut talk.

#1 – Start Local

Conferences are a natural place for speakers of all levels to take the stage. However, don’t feel as though you have to limit yourself to formal settings to find speaking engagements.

Any group where your desired audience gathers can provide a chance for you to speak.

You could speak to students, to religious organizations, women’s groups, at your library, local business associations…the list is endless! Look around your own community and make a mental list of all the places where you might ask to speak. 

#2 – Speak to Your Niche

If your book is geared toward a specific niche, explore related groups. For example, if your book is a memoir about overcoming an obstacle—such as domestic violence or cancer or another illness—you could speak to a support group.

If your book is about productivity, then seek out entrepreneur groups or the chamber of commerce.

If you’re a nurse, and you’ve written a book about health care, then hospitals are a natural place for you to speak. If your story relates to a specific sport, then hit up the closest sport teams.

No audience or venue is too small or informal for your first “official” speech.

#3 – Find a Natural Connection

While we do recommend starting small and local, look even closer: make sure the group you choose will actually be well-served by hearing your message.

Look, there’s nothing worse than standing in front of a crowd that’s bored, or worse—hostile—because you’re wasting their time.

There’s an easy way to warm up any crowd, and that’s to have something in common with them. You want your first speaking engagement to be closely related to your book and your book’s message.

If your book is all about the stressful life of a lawyer, then you’re not going to want to speak to a group of airline pilots.

For your first speaking gig, your goal is to find an audience that will benefit from your book’s message. Ideally, you want to find an audience you naturally connect with, because that connection will make you more relaxed and authentic, which will result in a better speech.

#4 – Build Excitement

If you’re not quite ready to beat the bushes in order to grab your first speaking engagement immediately, then consider building up some excitement first.

We authors share a common goal: to get our target readers excited about our book’s message!

How do you do that? The good news is the Internet makes building a virtual audience fairly easy these days with consistent effort. You can establish a following of readers through your website, through online forums, via social media, and by writing blog posts, both your own and by writing guest posts for others.

Use all of these types of content to build your audience with the goals of increasing book sales and finding your first speaking gig.

#5 – Hone Your Skills

Think of informal ways to practice your speaking abilities with the goal of scoring a “real” gig.

You can produce videos on your book’s subject, join podcasts, and seek out online interviews to share your voice with the world, gain exposure, and get comfortable with your talking points.

By showcasing your speaking talents, you open the door to an invitation to speak in a more structured setting—that even pays more.

Plus, you get great practice speaking about your book’s message before you have to stand on a stage in person.

#6 – Attend a Writer’s Workshop

A great way to get the inside scoop is to meet other authors and pick their brains about their speaking process.

How did they find speaking engagements? What are their best speaking tips? What fees do they charge?

Meeting other writers gives you a broader network to use as resources on all topics that impact authors—not just the nitty-gritty of drafting books.

#7 – Speak at an Industry Event

These fact-based speaking engagements are perfect for non-fiction authors. Whether your industry is blogging, healthcare, law, plumbing, or real estate, it’s likely you can find a conference about it.

The exact nature of the industry doesn’t have to mirror the topic of your book.

Instead, you can focus your talk on skills that can help people in that industry.

For example, if your book is about productivity, you can create a talk that’s focused on how your audience can adapt the productivity lessons found in your book to suit their particular industry.

#8 – Aim Low (at First)

The first of your speaking engagements probably won’t be a Ted Talk, and that’s okay!

The first time, in fact, you may have to volunteer your time to speak at a pretty tiny event.

But as the saying goes, you have to walk before you can run. Just keep taking steps toward bigger and better events. With each new speaking gig, your resume will grow—along with your confidence! 

#9 – Practice Makes Perfect

Write a speech today, and read it to yourself daily—before you even have speaking engagements lined up. You want to be able to handle a speaking engagement that’s the very next day if someone called you out of the blue.

Once you’ve taken the time to put together your speech about your book, you’ll notice ways to refine it and improve on it day after day when you practice like you’re speaking in public.

What way when the times comes, you’ll be ready to shine.

#10 – Say YES!

When you’re offered your first speaking engagements—take it!

Even if it gives you butterflies or if it’s not the “perfect” fit for your brand, you need to be open to invitations when you’re just starting out. You’ll gain valuable experience, polish your skills, and get your book’s message out there to the public.

All good things!

Get started now on finding your first speaking gig. No matter the size of your audience, you’ll gain exposure for your message, while achieving the unparalleled life experience of speaking about your passion.

Get Started TODAY

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

[DOWNLOAD] The BookMap: Simplify Your Brainstorming & Outline a Book Using This Template

Trying to get into the writing groove, but find yourself getting tripped up when you try to start an outline?

It happens to all of us! Because of that, I have the perfect solution for you right here in this article.

I want to introduce you to a book-outlining system you can use to dramatically speed up the time it takes to write a book—while making the whole process simpler, easier, and less intimidating.

mindmap book outline

Better still, I’m sharing a free template (below, no opt-in required!) you can use to go through this process for your next book (and your next book, and your next, and your next).

It’s called the BookMap, and it’s about to become your secret weapon for outlining books faster and more easily than you ever thought possible.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

You CAN Write a Book (And This Will Make It Easier)

You might think that most authors grew up getting straight A’s in English class, and that their teachers loved them for being such amazing wordsmiths.

Well, you would be wrong!

Believe it or not, I got terrible grades in my writing classes. Teachers hated my papers—truth be told, I wasn’t that strong of a writer—and as a result, I hated writing.

That might sound surprising for someone who turned out to become a 6-time bestselling author. But it’s true.

Lucky for me, I didn’t give up on writing a book just because I didn’t know how to do it. Instead I sought out a mentor who knew what they were doing—and his advice helped me to write my first book and make it a huge success.

I’ve continued to use that system for all my subsequent books, which has helped me to write my books in just a fraction of the time it takes many other writers.

Now I’m paying it forward and sharing that advice with you.

The BookMap: Your Key to a Solid Book Outline

So many people want to write a book…but they get overwhelmed at the thought of all that work. They don’t know what to do or how to get started. As a result, the entire process seems impossible.

Well, that’s not going to be the case any longer. Not for you.

Click below to download your FREE mindmap for outlining:

Download your Non-Fiction Mindmap Here

Download your Fiction Mindmap Here

The BookMap is the key to getting your book project off the ground in just a few hours. It’s a template you can follow to quickly pull together all the subjects you want to write about and organize them into topics that will become the chapters of your book.

(RELATED: 7 Strategies to Start Writing Your Book Today)

Here’s how the BookMap works:

  • Step 1: Print out the BookMap and have a few clean sheets of paper ready.
  • Step 2: Use the BookMap template to draw your own map with everything you know about that topic.
  • Step 3: Organize those sections to form your book outline.

(Note: don’t let your ideas hold you back! It may be a little difficult to fit all your ideas onto one page and that’s totally normal. Don’t think smaller just because you have less space :).

Now let’s dive into each step in a little more detail.

Outline a Book Using The BookMap Step 1: Choose Your Book Topic

First things first: you have to download the BookMap. There are 2 versions of this (free) download—one for fiction books and one for nonfiction books.

As you can see, the BookMap is a kind of mind map that’s been pre-filled with the most relevant questions you’ll need to answer to write your book. And no matter which version of the BookMap you’re using, you’ll notice that the center question is the same:

What’s your book topic?

So first, go ahead and choose a topic. What do you want your book to be about?

For a nonfiction book, this could anything that…

  • Is a hobby of yours
  • Is related to your occupation
  • You are passionate about
  • You consider yourself an expert on
  • You’re curious to learn more about

And for a fiction book, think about what you’re inspired to write! Do you love mysteries, or coming-of-age stories? Are you fascinated with a particular event in history, a specific person, or a concept that can be dramatized in a novel?

Another tip is to think about the kind of books you love to read. That’s usually a good indication that you will enjoy writing that kind of book. If you love reading romances novels or science fiction books, then try writing one yourself! Because you’re familiar with the genre, you’ll be able to shortcut the learning curve and will probably be surprised by how great a story you can write in your very first try.

Once you have a topic, move on to step 2:

Outline a Book Using The BookMap Step 2: Fill Out the BookMap

Now that you have a topic for your book, the next step is to brainstorm everything you know about that topic by filling out the BookMap. This will help you get all the most important and relevant ideas down on paper, making them much easier to work with.

Here are some of the most important prompts to answer when you’re writing a book:

BookMap Prompts for a Nonfiction Book

What problems are you helping people to solve? A lot of people make the mistake of writing about themselves—the things they love, the things they find interesting—without stopping to consider what the reader wants.

What are your reader’s problems and frustrations? How can you help them to solve those problems with this book?

Example: I know from experience that new moms have a hard time losing that baby weight—especially since you’ve got a little infant taking up all your time now. So I’m going to help new moms overcome this frustrating situation with a book that will help them make smarter choices in the kitchen and ultimately, feel better about themselves.

Lessons you’ve learned: Think about how you have personally grown over the years, as it relates to this topic. What are the biggest things that you’ve learned?

How have your views changed and evolved over time? This can be an insightful thing to brainstorm, since it can help you get a better idea of where your readers are probably at right now and some of the challenges they’re facing.

Example: One thing I learned in the process of losing my baby weight is that you can’t beat yourself up every time you make a mistake. Doing that will only lead to more emotional eating!

Stories & examples: People learn best from hearing stories about real people overcoming real problems. What stories can you remember that will help you to illustrate your points more effectively?

Example: My friend Mindy tried to lose her weight through exercise alone, without changing her diet. And she continued to gain weight—until she finally realized that she needed to change the foods she was putting in her body.

Ideas to explore: What concepts or themes can you bring up in your book? Does your topic relate to any deep ideas or universal truths that might resonate with your readers?

Example: One idea I want to explore is the importance of self-esteem. Yes, it’s important to be at a healthy weight…but what really matters is the way you feel about yourself—no matter what the scale says!

Other books you’ve read: Have you read any other books on the topic? If so, did those books have any helpful messages you can include in your book?

Example: In Dr. Berg’s book The New Body Type Guide, he talks about how your hormones can impact your body shape. This could be a helpful thing for women to learn about, so they can realize not everything is under their control.

Topics to research: Are there any other topics you would like to include in your book, but you might need more time to learn more about? If so, make a note of them so you can remember to do a little research.

Example: I’d like to do more research on insulin and learn more about how carbohydrates affect fat storage.

Frequently asked questions: Are there common questions, myths, or misconceptions about your topic that people have? If so, your book gives you a great way to bust those myths and enlighten people with the truth. Try to think up at least a few common misconceptions.

Example: “Should I avoid eating fat?” This is a common question for many women. Some people think that eating fat will make you fat…but the truth is, eating healthy fats can actually help keep you feeling fuller, longer so you can stick to your diet.

Ready to get started outlining your non-fiction book?

BookMap Questions for a Fiction Book

Main characters: Who are the main characters in your story? Flesh them out and start to learn more about who they are and what their purpose is in your story. Make sure to include your protagonist, antagonist, and any important supporting characters.

Example: Sarah is a stubborn teenage girl who becomes convinced that her neighbor is a serial killer.

Background: Explore your important characters’ backgrounds. Where were they born? What was their childhood like? What’s the educational level? What are their beliefs? Where do they work? Flesh out your characters until they start to feel like real people.

Example: Sarah was betrayed by her best friend in 5th grade, and as a result she has a hard time trusting people.

Character development: How does each character change and grow (or regress) during the course of the story? What causes this change to occur, and what effect does it have on the other characters?

Example: Sarah learns to trust other people which helps her to escape from the killer and bring him to justice.

Theme: What larger ideas do you want to explore in this book? Betrayal, love, friendship? How do the events of your story shed a new light on these concepts?

Example: I want to explore the concept of trust, and why you can’t always do it alone in life.

Scene & setting: Where do your story take place? Is it a real location, a historical one, an invented one? Be sure to think about different factors like the climate, geography, culture, and government. How do these things affect the characters in your story?

Example: Sarah lives in a wealthy suburb where crime like this is very uncommon, which makes it that much more terrifying to Sarah’s parents.

Major events: What are the big turning points that take place in your story? Your best bet is to brainstorm a long list of dramatic events so you can choose the options that fit best in your story.

Example: At one point, Sarah sneaks into the neighbor’s house looking for clues—and she discovers a bloody knife in the basement! Before she can get out, however, she hears the front door open upstairs…

Climax: The climax is where your story reaches a crisis point. Tension and drama are at their highest, and the protagonist faces his or her worst fears—and they either succeed, or fail, for good. Don’t lock yourself into one climax here. Instead, brainstorm a few possible climax ideas so you can choose the best one.

Example: At the story’s climax, Sarah is forced to trust her new friend Alex to help her escape from the killer’s basement.

Conclusion: Your conclusion takes place after the climax, at the very end of your book. What happens to your characters when it’s all said and done? Do they live happily ever after, or face a tragic end? Once again, feel free to brainstorm several possibilities. You don’t have to lock yourself into one ending just yet.

Example: It’s a happy ending for Sarah, who survives the killer and grows as a person. But the ending is bittersweet because of all the tragedy the killer has left in his wake.

Ready to get started writing your fiction book?

Outline a Book Using The BookMap Step 3: Organize Common Topics into Sections

The final step in this process is to look at your BookMap and combine all the related topics into sections. Those sections will become the chapters of your book.

There are a couple of ways to do this.

You could write them out on a separate piece of paper, keeping them organized by section. Or you could use different colored highlighters to connect the ideas in your BookMap visually.

No matter how you choose to do it, the idea is the same: combine all the related ideas together.

Nonfiction example: Maybe you have an anecdote that would serve as a great example for one of the lessons you want to share. In that case, group those 2 things together—they deserve to be in the same chapter.

Fiction example: Maybe one of your character traits really seems to resonate with one of the themes you want to explore in your book. If so, group those 2 things together—this way you’ll know to use that character trait as a way of exploring that theme in your novel.

Once you’re done with Step 3, step back and take a look at what you’ve completed.

Phew! Step 2 is a long one, I know. But trust me—by answering those questions, you just took a MAJOR step forward in completing your book.

You now have all the topics you need to write your outline.

(RELATED: How to Boost Your Writing Productivity and Write Your Book)

That, my friends, is the outline for your book!

Yep, believe it or not, you just outlined an entire book. Now you have a detailed roadmap of exactly what to write about in each and every chapter of your book.

And that’s huge, guys!

See, the rest of the process—actually writing the book—is so(ooo) much easier when you know exactly what to say in each and every chapter.

So give yourself a pat on the back. Because in a lot of ways, you just finished the hardest part of writing a book.

Start Your BookMap!

If you’re having trouble getting your book project started, I REALLY urge you to give the BookMap a try. It’s been invaluable to me, and I know it will help you, too.

And if you’d like to learn more about the 3-step system I use to write my books, then register for my book writing workshop, “Want to Launch a Bestseller in 90 Days?”

In this free hour-long webinar, you’ll get the step-by-step launch roadmap that can take you from blank to page to a $10,000 book launch! You’ll learn the exact same system I use to write my books in as little as a week.

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

parts of a book

Parts of a Book & How to Know if You Got Them Right

Putting together a book willy nilly won’t get you the book sales you’re looking for.

You know what you want to write about…

What you don’t know is which parts of a book are actually necessary in your book.

And let me tell you, getting this wrong can make you look like a real amateur instead of a credible professional—which is what you actually want.

Right?

parts of a book

Knowing which parts of a book to include in yours and which don’t make any sense starts with knowing what they are to begin with.

These are the parts of a book we’ll cover for you:

  1. Title page
  2. Copyright
  3. Table of contents
  4. Dedication
  5. Foreword
  6. Prologue
  7. Epilogue
  8. Epigraph
  9. Introduction
  10. Inciting incident
  11. Sections of a book
  12. Act structure
  13. First slap
  14. Second slap
  15. Climax
  16. Acknowledgements
  17. Author biography
  18. Coming soon / Read More
  19. Back cover or synopsis of a book

What are the parts of a book?

Parts of a book make up the entirety of the book, including the title, introduction, body, conclusion, and back cover.

In order to write a book book in full, you need to have all the moving parts to make it not only good but also effective.

Without essential pieces, your book will appear unprofessional and worse: you’ll lose the credibility and authority writing a book is so useful for.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing, marketing, and publishing process in our VIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more about it here

Parts of a Book You Need for Success

It’s not enough to just write and self-publish a book by throwing it up on Amazon or any other publishing site.

You have to get the parts of your book right if you want it to sell more, get those 5-star reviews, and place you as an authority figure in your field.

Here’s how to do that.

#1 – Title Page

For obvious reasons, your title is important…

But that’s not all that’s important to your book. The title page is also necessary and without it, your book will be missing something crucial.

Your title page serves as a means of not only declaring your title clearly, but also ensuring your name, subtitle, endorsement, and any other crucial information is present for your readers to view clearly.

Here’s an example of a great title page and what you can use to replicate your own:

parts of a book title

As you can see, the title page is really just the main title, any subtitle you may have, and the author’s name as the bottom.

Other than this being an industry standard for books, it helps to keep everything clear without the obstruction of any title images.

Your book needs to be copyrighted. Unless you’re okay with others stealing its content and reaping the rewards for themselves, that is.

We have a great guide on what it takes to copyright a book right here for you to view, but here are some of the basics.

  • Technically a book is copyrighted as you write it. But if you want it to be fully legal, you do have to pay to have it copyrighted.
  • Your copyright content will change depending on the type of book you’re writing.
  • There are certain copyrights you cannot have exclusive rights to depending on what you cover in your book, which is usually impacted the most by what you write in a memoir and its legality

Here’s an example of what a copyright section of a book may look like:

parts of a book copyright page example

#3 – Table of Contents

There are a lot of reasons to have a table of contents in your book. For one, it helps readers know where to find the information they’re really looking for.

Secondly, this is highly useful in kindle or ebook versions of your book in order to help readers click and navigate without having to actually arrow over through the pages in order to get there.

The happier the reader, the better the reviews they leave.

What is a table of contents?

A table of contents is a list of a book’s chapters or sections with the heading name and often the page number if there are no links inside.

Here’s an example of this part of a book:

part of a book table of contents example

#4 – Dedication

This is the part of a book that most of us write long before the actual book is finished…we just tend to jot it down in our minds instead of on paper.

Your book dedication is like your acceptance speech when given an award. Except your book is the award and therefore, you get to write this “speech” and place it where everyone can read it before even starting the book.

This dedicated often comes after the title page and before the table of contents.

It’s a short few sentences thanking whomever helped you get to the point of writing the book or just people you want to acknowledge as thanks.

This is an example what a dedication of your book may look like from our own Student Success Strategist Pedro Mattos’s debut novel I Wish Everyone Was an Immigrant:

parts of a book dedication

#5 – Foreword

If you’re looking to increase your credibility, get a book endorsement by someone who knows you and your story well, then a foreword is what you want.

What is a foreword?

A foreword is an introduction to a book written by someone other than the author that lends credibility to the author’s status to write the book.

Think of a foreword as a sort of endorsement of the book. The person who writes it is usually an author themselves, though they can also just be a person of authority in the same or similar field.

parts of a book foreword example

Above is an example of a foreword from The Go-Giver by Bob Burg.

Forewords typically come after the table of contents and before the introduction or first chapter of the book.

#6 – Prologue

Fiction is where prologues live. Oftentimes, stories may need additional context before the actual story begins in order for the reader to make sense of it and elements within the book itself.

What is a prologue?

A prologue is a short chapter that usually takes place before the main story begins as a means of granting understanding to the reader. It’s also used to increase intrigue and captivate readers.

Not all books require prologues and in fact, if you can write your novel without it, that’s actually preferred as many readers skip the prologue altogether.

Below is an example of a prologue from the very popular Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

parts of a book prologue

#7 – Epilogue

parts of a book

Not all book series get happily-ever-after endings. When your book series ends but you want a way to let the readers know what’s in store for the characters’ futures, an epilogue is a strong way to do that.

What is an epilogue?

An epilogue is a short chapter that comes after the last chapter of a book as a way to tie the story together in a conclusion.

Essentially, the epilogue is the answer to the question, “what happens to them next?” This serves as a more satisfying way to let readers know that characters live “happily ever after.”

Sometimes the ending of the story isn’t satisfying enough for readers.

That part of their story may end, but if your readers want a more in-depth look at their life “after” the story, that’s when an epilogue would come into play to tie everything together.

#8 – Epigraph

Epigraphs aren’t necessarily important, nor are they required. Oftentimes, these short snippets serve as a way to let readers know what lesson or subject will be covered in the chapter.

What is an epigraph?

An epigraph is a short question, quote, or even a poem at the beginning of a chapter meant to indicate the chapter’s theme or focus. This often ties the current work to predecessors with similar ideas and learnings.

For example, below is an epigraph from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

parts of a book epigraph example

#9 – Book introduction

Most nonfiction books include an introduction to the book—a chapter before your first chapter as a means to introduce yourself and your credibility or author on the subject matter to your readers.

Your book introduction is extremely important for showing your readers why they should read the book and how you’re the person to help them with whatever problem your book solves.

One of the best ways to do this is to first establish the pain points your book helps to solve, and then make it clear how you, someone they don’t know, can help with this issue.

This usually involves some of your own backstory, but keep it specific to the problem at hand. Your readers don’t need an entire rundown of your personal history.

#10 – Inciting incident

If you’re writing fiction, you may have come across the term “inciting incident” before.

What is an inciting incident?

This is an early part of a book that’s the point of no return for your characters. The inciting incident is what kicks your plot into full drive.

Here are a couple examples of inciting incidents:

  • Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Tobias enters the Tournament and gets accepted in The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci
  • Bella moves to Forks, where she meets Edward in biology class in Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • Bran gets pushed off the wall in Winterfell when he catches Jaime and Cersei Lannister together in Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

These are all points in the novel that the characters cannot come back from. In this instance, their lives are changed forever, which drive the plot forward.

#11 – Sections of a book

This will mostly pertain to nonfiction authors, we we’ll cover the fiction equivalent in the next section.

Some nonfiction books are written with different parts. These are usually separated into 3 parts that make up a greater whole in the book.

For example, in the book I’m currently writing, I break it up into 3 separate sections. Each part has its own focus and theme but they all work with one another to achieve a greater purpose.

Here’s an example of how the sections of my book work:

  • Part 1 – This part focuses on how your childhood impacts your adult behaviors
  • Part 2 – This part aims to show readers how to move past their childhood and get control of their “now”
  • Part 3 – This section moves beyond getting control and focuses on how readers can work toward building the future they both want and deserve despite their childhood traumas

Each part of this book has a main focus and theme but when utilized together, they form a solution to a larger problem.

#12 – Act structure

In fiction, instead of creating separate sections like in the example above, you may split your work into different acts.

Most commonly used is the three act structure.

Although this isn’t required of novels, it’s still quite popular to write a book with this structure, as it forms a cohesive order of events that’s proven to be intriguing to readers.

A popular example of this 3 act structure is in Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, featured below.

parts of a book 3 act structure example

#13 – First slap

If you’re familiar with our lingo around how to write a novel, or you’re a student already, you may have heard of the first and second slap.

These are pivotal points in your character’s journey that further the plot and often make their efforts more difficult.

The first slap is often the biggest setback for your character following the inciting incident.

Here are some examples of what a “first slap” is in popular stories:

  • Katniss entering the hunger games after trials and tests
  • Bella finding out Edward is a vampire in Twilight
  • Tobias’s first challenge in the tournament in The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

All of these have one thing in common: they make the lives harder for the characters.

#14 – Second slap

Like the first slap, the second slap is a pivotal point in the novel where your character faces a downfall, most often after having a win or two under their belt since the first slap.

The second slap needs to be placed shortly after your readers have gained hope in your character’s ability to succeed in whatever their goal is.

The idea behind this is to hook your readers again and let them know that it is not all smooth sailing for your characters throughout the rest of the book.

Oftentimes, the second slap is worse than the first, where 90% of your character’s hope in succeeding is lost and therefore, your readers will lose hope too. This makes them root for your character even more, increasing the amount they care for your character.

#15 – Climax

We all know the climax of the book is the most important part. It’s where your character faces the biggest obstacle in achieving their goal in the book.

Here are a few examples of climaxes in popular books:

  • Whenever Harry Potter comes face-to-face with Voldemort in the books
  • Katniss and Peeta are up against one more foe before “winning” the games in the first book
  • Bella gets taken by James and Edward has to fight to save her

The climax is the last challenge before the ending, or resolution, of your book. It is the point of the highest tension and it’s where your character faces the worst odds—worse than the first and second slaps.

#16 – Acknowledgements

We all have people in our lives to acknowledge for our success in writing a book.

Much like the dedication, the acknowledgements are meant to recognize impactful people in our lives. These, unlike the dedication, typically come at the end of the book and can be written in longer, paragraph form as a pose to a short sentence for each.

#17 – Author bio

Not all books contain an author bio in it, specifically fiction (unless it’s a hardback copy).

Nonfiction, however, is a type where the author bio can be at the bottom of the back page of your book, beneath the back cover synopsis.

Here’s an example of an author bio for Omer Dylan Redden’s Life Doc.

parts of a book author bio

Your author bio doesn’t have to be very long. Keep it short and simple while still showing your readers your credibility in what your book covers.

#18 – Coming soon / Read more

This part of a book might not matter to you unless you have a book series or multiple books to your name.

The coming soon and read more pages are used to help your readers purchase and read more of your books.

This section of a book often comes at the very end, after your epilogue and acknowledgments. It’s a single page with the cover images of your other book/s, their titles, and links for your ebook copy.

This not only makes it easier for your readers to buy the next book, but it’s also a great way to sell more books overall.

#19 – Back cover or synopsis of a book

I saved the best (and most important) for last. The back cover, also known as the synopsis of your book, is by far the most critical for getting people to buy.

Without a good synopsis to hook readers and buy them into your book, you won’t sell.

These are crucial for both fiction and nonfiction.

With your fiction synopsis, you want to create intrigue and show your readers that they’ll get a good story. The trick is doing this with a few short paragraphs.

Here’s an example of a fiction synopsis that works, from Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Champion:

parts of a book synopsis example

Here’s a nonfiction example of the back cover from Lisa Zelenak’s Find Your Thing:

parts of a book back cover example

As you can see, these look very different, though they serve the same purpose. The back of your book is the first thing someone reads in order to decide if they want to buy your book.

Make it concise, convincing, and show them the value they’ll get from reading it—be that an entertaining read or a solution to their problem.

Start Your Book TODAY

If you want to start your book and make it stand out against the millions already out there, we have what you need…

A free training to help you get started…

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!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

Which parts of a book is yours missing? Are you clear on what your book needs to make it fit these guidelines?