Articles for Aspiring Authors
Picture this: your imagination is a match…and you need to light it.
There are a number of different methods of setting a match ablaze. You can swipe it on the ground, against a rough surface, use your own nail, or even light it with another match that’s already burning.
But the best (and easiest) way? Striking it against the matchbox it came in. That’s what it’s for, after all.
Creative Writing Prompts are Your Matchbox
All you need is one writing prompt to light your imaginative fire and you can burn through a book idea, formulating the plot and all with just a single prompt.
And that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with.
You know what you want to write about: magic, advanced science, realistic contemporary stories, but you just can’t figure out how to go from the genre and an inkling of a character idea to a full-blown novel plot.
200+ Creative Writing Prompts for the Best Fiction Book
If you’re ready to take the plunge and finally start writing a book like you’ve always talked about, we can help you get started.
These are 100% original, never-before-seen writing prompts you won’t find anywhere else.
But the ones listed in this article are just a small taste of what we really have to offer.
If you want to really let your imagination run wild, download our master list of over 200 original fiction ideas and writing prompts for a number of different genres!
But if you’re ready to start right now, here are a few to set the creative wheel of your imagination in motion.
Fantasy Writing Prompts
Fantasy is all about magic, creatures, and abilities. The possibilities with a fantasy world are nearly endless.
You can literally make up anything you want. This is why fantasy is my preferred genre to write in.
Here are some unique creative writing prompts for you fantasy-lovers out there.
#1 – A character finds an odd-looking egg in the forest. When they take it home, they never could have predicted what was inside it.
#2 – This character has always had the ability to change how they looked, and so they hid their true appearance behind attractive façades. Now, their abilities aren’t working, exposing what they truly look like.
#3 – The once peaceful water dwellers have suddenly declared war on a settlement that was its only true ally. Your character has no idea why and is thrust into the war against their will.
#4 – Magic is the norm. Some excel at it, some are only okay, and others are against it completely, despite being able to use it. Your main character is the latter.
#5 – Time has always been a constant in a world where reality can be warped and stretched. Then your character, through research and hard work, discovers you can even alter time.
#6 – Your character researches untouched societies as a living. While deep in the jungle on an assignment, they accidentally allow themselves to be seen by someone from the society, a big no-no. What that person is capable of is beyond the world your character knew existed.
#7 – Your character’s world is dying. The actual earth is sick and killing all the plants and probably life as they know it.
#8 – One of your characters has magic. The other wants nothing more than to have magic. How far is that one person willing to go to make that magic theirs?
What to Remember for Fantasy Book Ideas:
Fantasy is a wildly popular genre. There are countless fantasy worlds out there and that means you really have to focus on being unique within your world.
Here are a few ideas to do just that:
- Create 100% unique cultures
- Avoid these worldbuilding mistakes
- Develop slang for your world based on what’s popular/trending/makes sense with the time it takes place
- Do NOT use common phrases like “train of thought” if trains don’t exist in your world
- Use unique names
- Don’t forget about diversity!
- Opt for an unexpected and different journey and outcome (many fantasy novels follow a similar formula)
- Write what you want to read!
- Schedule your writing time and follow those deadlines if you really want to finish
Sci-Fi Writing Prompts
Are you one who loves advanced technology, diseases, and even space travel? If so, science fiction writing is right up your alley.
When it comes to creating new technologies and advanced societies, you really have to think outside the box.
Here are some sci-fi writing prompts to help you do that.
#1 – Your main character wakes up in a space pod alone…next to a ship so massive it’s actually carrying a planet beneath it. Your character has no memory from before they wake.
#2 – Your character lives in a world where every single person’s DNA is carefully genetically designed for something to help the community. Your main character despises what they were created for. This has never happened before.
#3 – Your character lives on a planet other than Earth. In fact, they don’t even know Earth exists. Well, they didn’t until some sort of advanced, technical probe crash-landed in their settlement, exposing the fact that they’re not alone. Now they have to decide what’s best for their settlement.
#4 – The world used to be plagued with war and famine and inhumanity. But after years and years of developing a technical system that is the center of and controls everything, it’s almost completely peaceful. Your character is the engineer keeping the system running and when they uncover how it works, they contemplate abandoning everything they know.
#5 – The newest advancement in virtual reality adds physical sense. Now your characters can even hook up with people through your phone, all while staying at home. But when a glitch alters the mechanisms, what was once pleasure becomes pain and the user gets trapped in a VR state.
#6 – They’ve been keeping your character alive for over 300 years because of a secret they know. When someone new finally learns the truth, reality becomes…confusing. Now, with only a short adulthood left to live, your character must ensure nobody else learns of this secret. But…well, news spreads fast.
#7 – They didn’t mean to, but in an attempt to build a time traveling machine, your character actually discovered alternate universes – and then accidentally trapped themselves there. Oh, and this alternate universe hasn’t discovered electricity yet.
#8 – Your character lives in an ancient society. When a shiny, unnatural looking contraption touches down and creatures emerge, everything they once knew changes.
What to Remember for Sci-Fi Book Ideas:
This genre is another very popular one, and for good reason. You can imagine a realistic, yet very different future than what we currently have.
But you also want to make sure to remember a few of these guidelines when creating your science fiction world:
- Decide if the story will take place in this world or a completely unique one
- Create realistic advanced technology that your characters would actually use
- Avoid modern-day slang unless the story takes place here
- Create your own slang. A great example of this is in Jenna Moreci’s sci-fi novel, EVE: The Awakening pictured below)
“Dynamic” is the slang the author created in this instance. It fits with the sci-fi world and further creates a sense of realism and it pulls the reader deeper into the world.
Dystopian Writing Prompts
As this genre gains more and more popularity, you may find yourself wondering what a certain post-apocalyptic world might look like.
Why not write about it?
Here are some creative writing prompts to help you form a dystopian society anyone will want to read about.
#1 – A character finds an odd-looking egg in the forest. When they take it home, they never could have predicted what was inside it.
#2 – Natural farming doesn’t exist anymore. Due to climate change, all food has to be manufactured in bulk and distributed. There is no flavor and is the same every day. Your character, who has spent their entire life in this world, takes a trip to the mountains far away from their home. There, they discover real plants, and on them, berries.
#3 – Nature extremists take over the government, stopping at nothing to ensure all man-made harm on the planet is eradicated. Your character ends up in their clutches, forced to do their bidding.
#4 – Due to climate change, wildfires have engulfed the large majority of living land. Your character is one of many attempting to board a ship set for a new in-ocean settlement. The problem? That settlement doesn’t actually exist.
#5 – After a devastating illness that rocked only the wildlife population over 200 years ago, a scientist created a virus that strengthens animal’s immune systems with the purpose of creating balance and stabilizing the wildlife population once again. The problem is that it worked too well and the wildlife has exceeded (and reduced) the world’s population
#6 – After a devastating storm that encompassed the entire world, the population has thinned significantly and your character, who lost all of their family but their youngest sibling, has to go up against the new “government” with a group of allies as they attempt to gain control over the living population of the world – in the worst way.
#7 – Over the course of a few hundred years, cases of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses caused the death and destruction of generations. Then an airborne substance was created to balance all levels of each person so they’re created 100% equal in every way. Turns out, your character is immune to the substance.
#8 – The third World War is done and over with for many years now. It was the downfall of the world’s economic system. Now your main character must navigate a world where governments no longer exist, money is useless, and survival is the only objective. Oh, and they have a debilitating medical condition to look after, too.
What to Remember for Dystopian Book Ideas:
Dystopian novels are one of the biggest trends sweeping the literary world. With books like The Handmaid’s Tale stirring more post-apocalyptic stories, it’s easy to get stuck in the same mindset as many other dystopian novelists.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to write dystopian:
- Think way outside of the box
- Use elements from your story’s past to form their present
- Paint a very clear picture of everyday life for your character from the very first page
- Get creative with the laws, culture, and customs
- Don’t just “go with the flow”: The Handmaid’s Tale is so popular largely due to the fact that it’s unique. Not many people would have thought of a world that was overrun by a religion – and that’s what makes it so tantalizing; it’s unexpected.
Contemporary Writing Prompts
Some people don’t necessarily want to escape from this world. In fact, they just want to escape from their own life for a little bit but prefer to read something realistic, something they can relate to.
Contemporary writing is all about forming connections with readers.
Here’s who you can do just that with these creative writing prompts for your contemporary world.
#1 – Your character has done everything they’re told. They just graduated high school and are off to a very good college to get their degree in something reliable. But when they get there, they realize there’s a whole world of opportunity they never knew existed. Now they have to maintain the façade of going to college even though they decided to pursue a different endeavor.
#2 – Your character answers the door to nothing but an intricate envelope on the ground; an invitation. After attending the secret underground event, they become a part of the biggest activist group out there…and nobody even knows who they are.
#3 – While on a hike with friends, your main character discovers a small tower buried beneath the ground. After some digging, they realize it’s filled with scrolls they can hardly make out. What they contain will change your character’s view of life forever.
#4 – Your main character has been living a very sheltered, very dangerous life. After the death of their overbearing father, they’re thrust into the real world – only to realize just how different their life really is from those around them.
#5 – Your main character gets called out of school/work by someone they don’t know for something they are clueless about. But for some reason, the person addressing them thinks they already know everything about it.
#6 – As an artist, your main character has it well. But when everything they’ve worked for is burned in a tragic fire, they have to start all over with nothing to their name and a roommate determined to hold them back.
#7 – Life for your main character has never been easy. After venturing in and out of foster homes, they’re finally an adult and on their own. When their birth mother reaches out to reconnect, they never could’ve predicted what’s kept her away for so long. Now your character has to decide between getting involved with their real mother or cutting ties forever.
#8 – Death is a natural part of life. Your main character has been feared it or been affected by it. But when their best friend goes missing and their body shows up in front of their house, your character makes it their mission to find out who’s responsible – even if it means breaking the law…a lot of laws.
What to Remember for Contemporary Book Ideas:
I personally believe contemporary can be one of the hardest genres to write because you have the least wiggle room when it comes to creativity.
Everything has to be realistic in today’s society.
- “Realistic dialogue is important. All the characters should sound different from one another, their vernacular should make sense for their background, and the writer should read it out loud.”
- “Tiny details are hella dope in descriptions. It should be so specific and vivid that when the reader finishes the story, they feel like they’ve lost a bit of reality.”
- “Imagining characters complexly is also important. Work on understanding real people. If you understand people and why they do what they do, you can understand characters and what they do”
- Create a conflict many can relate to or sympathize with
- Spend a lot of time on the character arc as many contemporary novels are primarily character-driven
Contemporary Writing Exercise From Hannah Lee Kidder: Sit in public and pick a random person, then write a completely made up story on them.
Romance Writing Prompts
Romance is the most popular book genre out there right now. People love reading about love!
But that doesn’t mean you can think of any love story and get to work.
We’ve got some strong writing prompts that can kickstart a love story worth spending hours reading.
#1 –Your character has gone through life believing that love is a choice. Their decision? To never get involved because love can only lead to pain and hardship. But after an argument with a stranger, their view of love, and life itself, is changed.
#2 – Marriage is just what happens when you’ve been with someone forever. For your main character, that seems obvious. But when they’re months away from their wedding and an old friend barges into their life unannounced, a wedding seems like the furthest thing from their desires.
#3 – Your main character is up for a big promotion within their company. They’ve put everything on hold for it – including their love life. But when an outsider is hired instead, they lose it, focusing all their energy on bringing this newcomer down. They just didn’t think about the fact that they might end up liking them.
#4 – Your main character and their significant other have been together since childhood. After a war between their people rips them away from each other, they’ll have to fight, manipulate, and fool in order to get each other back.
#5 – A package is mailed to your main character. It’s filled with what seems like hundreds of letters all to a single person. Memories and confessions of love are penned within those letters. Your main character feels drawn to the person on the other end and sets out to find them – and the letter’s true destination.
#6 – Arranged marriages are the standard. In fact, nobody marries for love. Love doesn’t even exist in your character’s world. But when they’re drawn to someone who’s already spoken for, they start to question everything they know about love.
#7 – Your main character lives in a society of slavery. If you’re not born in a certain family, you’re shipped off and sold. When your character is sold for the 8th time in their short 20 years, then end up at one of the top houses – and become a personal servant to the next leader of their settlement. Soon, they’re enthralled in a romance that could get them both killed…because he’s already promised to another…a very dangerous other.
#8 – Cheating is wrong. Your character’s society puts emphasis on loyalty above anything else. In fact, cheating and betrayal of any kind in any relationship are punishable by life in prison (and even death in extreme cases). So why does something that’s been illegal for as long as they can remember feel so right when your character meets someone new? Avoiding jail just became the most difficult part of your character’s life.
What to Remember for Romance Book Ideas:
Even though romance is an extremely popular genre doesn’t mean you can be lazy when it comes to the actual romance and creative writing prompts isn’t always enough to help you develop a full-blown romance.
People read romance to be invested, to feel something real.
That’s why you have to remember these tips when writing romance in your novels:
- NEVER romanticize abuse as “love” (AKA, a jealous boyfriend should never be praised for “loving your character more” because this is harmful to readers)
- Create real chemistry by giving your characters qualities that would actually foster a connection
- Avoid “insta-love” by giving your characters time to bond and get to know each other
- Look out for serious romance cliches and overused plot lines like love triangles, forbidden romances (these can be great if done uniquely!), and crazy exes
- Continuously up the stakes whenever the reader gets comfortable with the relationship
Horror/Thriller Writing Prompts
Because being terrified is entertaining to some people, horror and thriller books exist and are quite popular!
The great thing about this genre is that you can get really creative and really dark.
If you gravitate toward writing terrifying, anxiety-inducing stories, here are some creative writing prompts to get the twisted part of your mind moving:
#1 – Your main character is home alone, just like most nights. This time, however, a new neighbor pays them a visit. And it wasn’t for the last time.
#2 – Eight murders have taken place in your character’s town in the past 8 weeks. Once a week, on the same day, at the same time. When your character gets abducted after being out past the town’s new curfew, they have only 48 hours to discover why this is happening and how to get free…all while being tortured by the murderer.
#3 – It’s a day of celebration in your character’s hometown! A 100-year-old time capsule is about to be opened, so of course they go, just like most of the town. When a deceased human hand with a sinister note attached to it is the only thing in the capsule, questions start to buzz. The first being, who is the person who wrote the note? Oddly enough, the note is written in your main character’s handwriting…with their signature…dated 82 years before they were even born.
#4 – Your main character suffers from a condition that gives them periodic blackouts for seemingly no reason. The only thing they can seem to remember from before each blackout is a bike. A red bike with a white basket and muddy tires. One day, they see that very bike leaning up against their house but this time, they don’t blackout.
#5 – Odd and unexplainable events are said to happen in a certain seaside town. Your main character takes it upon themselves to visit in an effort to see just how accurate the sightings are. What they find is beyond anything they imagined. But now they can’t seem to escape the town.
#6 – Your main character and a couple friends take a boat trip to a tiny, vacant, off-limits island for a night of celebration. When the sun goes down, they realize just how occupied the island actually is…and there’s a reason it’s off-limits.
#7 – Your main character is in therapy because whenever they close their eyes at night, they see (very vividly) someone’s tragic death. Some say it’s just their twisted imagination, their new therapist thinks it is something much, much different…and dangerous.
#8 – Your main character gets into an accident. While they make a seemingly full recovery, something has just been off inside their head since the crash. When they wake up next to a mutilated body in an unrecognizable place, they start to worry.
What to Remember for Horror and Thriller Book Ideas:
Scaring people so much so that they sweat while simply reading is a difficult task. You really have to focus on the structure of your writing in order to create that reaction.
Here are a few things to remember if you write horror and thriller:
- Building anticipation will be your #1 focus
- Readers need to feel surprised and scared so dig deep and get twisted
- Plot twists are a must; never let your characters or readers see what’s coming
- Continuously up the stakes
- Focus on building deep sympathy for your character from the very beginning. This will make the stakes seem even higher and increase tension, just as Stephen King does in his infamous novel, IT, pictured below.
Mystery Writing Prompts
Human curiosity is what makes this genre so incredibly popular. We always want to figure out what happened. Mystery books are natural page-turners because we just aren’t satisfied until we find out what happened.
But that can be difficult to create from nothing.
Here are some great mystery creative writing prompts to get your mind spinning in unknown directions.
#1 – Your character is 16 and just learned they were the last person to see their crush the night they were murdered. But when they come forward with these details, they become the new main suspect. They’re determined to solve their crushes murder or risk going to jail for something they didn’t do.
#2 – Recently, there’s been a number of abandoned cars scattered throughout the city. Nobody knows where they’re coming from and there’s not a single personal item in them. That is, until one is discovered with a freshly removed human scalp on the dashboard.
#3 – For the past month, your character has received a number of disturbing and detailed drawings in their mailbox. After chalking it up to immature kid stunts, they try to forget about it. But when the drawings come to life in brutal, horrific ways, they’re the only person who knows of the drawings and therefore, knows what one will come next.
#4 – Your character gets a DNA test for fun – just to see where they really come from. After becoming obsessed with one little detail, they soon discover a number of their ancestors from all over the world were once located in a single, unpopulated place; a gathering of sorts.
#5 – Your character’s spouse nearly falls through the door, beaten nearly to requiring hospitalization. When an unknown but distinct brand marking is discovered between their shoulder blades, your character has to find out who they are and why they did it.
#6 – A single member of each noble family has been murdered every week for the past two months. Your character is of a very noble household and can barely sleep each night. So they decide to find out who is responsible.
#7 – Your character’s religion has a talisman as old as the religion itself. After it goes missing, all fingers point to the chief’s oldest child of 19 years, engaged to the healer’s oldest child. But they never could’ve done it. They were (romantically involved) with your main character when the theft occurred.
#8 – Your main character wakes up every morning feeling as though they didn’t get more than a couple hours of sleep. After sleep studies, medications, and trying everything available, nothing seems to work. They decide to videotape a night of sleep to determine if maybe they’re sleepwalking. Turns out, they are. Except they seem completely conscious. In fact, in the video, they approach the camera, smirk, and walk away with a wave before disappearing for nearly the entire night.
What to Remember for Mystery Book Ideas:
Mystery is a very difficult genre to write. You have to ensure that you don’t give away too much information so the readers don’t figure it out.
These are some of our tips for writing mystery books:
- Make readers think they know what will happen by planting false foreshadowing along with real hints
- Make the antagonist very likable
- Juxtapose tense scenes with mellow ones to increase tension
- Keep the story moving forward always
Your Next Steps
Having the book idea isn’t all it takes to write a great book. You need the ins and outs of the process, how to start your outline, and even what to do in order to take this idea to a finished, published product.
Here’s what you can do right now to get started!
#1 – Download your FREE master list of writing prompts
This is a list of over 200 unique, never-before-seen writing prompts. You’ll recognize a few on the list from this blog post but many more you have not seen.
No matter which genre you want to write in, these creative writing prompts can help you develop a book idea that can turn into a captivating, intriguing story.
#2 – Sign up for your FREE training
Now that you have the book ideas, you just need some training to take you a step further.
This free video training was made with you in mind. Chandler Bolt teaches you how to go from blank page to published author in as little as 90 days if you’re really on top of it.
Make sure to take advantage of this offer by signing up to save your spot!
You don’t want to miss out on all he has to offer because once you watch this, you’ll be able to put these creative writing prompts to use.
#3 – Get started on your mindmap!
This will help you get started with the brainstorming process and before you know it, you’ll have a fully completed outline that’s ready for you to start writing!
Writing prompts can be very powerful ways to start a novel! How did you come up with your book idea and how much has it changed or grown from its conception?
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.
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, that is.
I never struggled with putting my thoughts on paper or even coming up with the ideas.
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.
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.
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.
If you want to get started on this, check out Chandler Bolt’s Free Webinar Training where he breaks down exactly what you need to go from blank page to published author in 90 days…or even less!
Save your spot and sign up because you don’t want to miss out on the start of your publishing dream!
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.
Why use strong verbs for 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 sentences 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.
#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
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 just a taste of how you can take your writing from “meh” to “wow!”
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 – 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!
#2 – Create your own verb 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.
|Weak Verb Example||Strong Verb Replacements|
#3 – Attend your FREE training
All of this advice is relatively useless without a plan for finishing, marketing, and self-publishing your book.
Make sure to sign up for your Free Webinar Training because publishing a book without help from someone who’s done it before (and became a 6-time bestseller) isn’t easy.
Chandler walks you through everything you need to get started and go from blank page to published author in 90 days…or even less if you already have a headstart with your writing.
Do you use strong verbs? What’s your #1 question regarding strong verbs and using them in your writing?
“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 authors grow bitter and blame the platform for not being able to sell a book that would not be marketable anyways.
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.
Stay put, don’t give up. When others zig, just zag 🙂
Amazon Marketing Services 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.
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 ↓
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.
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.
#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.
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.
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!
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)
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!
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.
The best book writing software can make all the difference in the world.
With the best writing tools, you can write faster and more effectively. You’ll be more focused, with fewer distractions. And just as importantly, you’ll have an easier time keeping your outline and notes organized.
But even if you have all the best writing prompts and an imagination that won’t quit, you can’t do either without the right book writing software.
You’ll have to make some choices.
Nowadays, authors have so many options when looking for the best book writing software.
Should you stick with tried-and-true Microsoft Word? Move to Scrivener, the up-and-coming writing software of choice for experienced authors? Or maybe it’s worth giving Google Docs a try, so you can easily share and co-edit your book with an editor?
And what about if you want to write and publish an ebook?
These are 12 of the best book writing software programs – both free and those that’ll justifiably cost you – so you can up your author game:
- Microsoft Word – Word Processor, $79.99
- Scrivener – Word Processor, $45
- Pages – Word Processor, $28
- Freedom – Productivity Software, $2.42/month
- Google Docs – Online Word Processor, Free
- Evernote – Note-Taking Software, Free
- FocusWriter – Word Processor, Free
- FastPencil – Word Processor, Free
- yWriter – Word Processor, Free
- Hemingway App – Style & Grammar Checker, Free
- Dropbox – Document sharing platform, Free (more for additional storage)
- Open Office – Word Processor, Free
Let’s get started by comparing the 3 book writing software “giants,” and then I’ll share some less well-known tools that might help improve your writing process even more.
Which book writing software features are right for you?
I’m not trying to sell you on any particular book writing software in this article. Instead, my goal is to give you an idea of what’s out there so you can weigh the options for yourself.
Who knows—you may even discover a brand-new writing and publishing tool you absolutely love.
There are 9 things to consider when deciding which program to use for your book. Depending on your needs, some of these questions may be more or less important to you:
- How easy is it to format text the way you want?
- Does it have templates available? How many?
- How much does it cost?
- Is the program simple & easy to use?
- Does it offer any extra features or other bells & whistles?
- How about a distraction-free writing experience?
- Is the program user-friendly?
- Can you access your files no matter where you are?
- How easy is it to collaborate with editors & team members?
In the end, the truth is that there are many great writing tools out there. It isn’t really a question of which tool is BEST. What it comes down to is: which tool works best with YOUR unique writing process?
The Top 3 Book Writing Software Programs
Writers everywhere flock to these specific tools and claim them to be the best book writing software for them. We’ll break down each so you can decide for yourself if their features are the best fit.
#1 – Microsoft Word
Before any other writing tools came along, Microsoft Word was the only option available. Everyone used it.
Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs.
And it’s easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!
It’s been around a long time. It’s trusted, reliable, and gets the job done well.
It also provides a relatively distraction-free writing experience; much better than working on Google Docs in your browser, for example, where you’re only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet.
If you just need to wake up in the morning and meet your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page, then Word is an obvious choice of book writing software. No fuss, no muss. It’s about as simple as it gets.
Word also offers some simple organization.
Using headers, you can organize your book into chapters—and then you can navigate through them quickly using the Navigation pane:
You can also create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.
If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further.
But as a writing tool, Word does have some downsides.
For starters, it doesn’t always play well with Macs. If you use a Mac, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting.
Thankfully, Apple offers a comparable program called Pages, that we reviewed below for you.
Word is also pretty vanilla. That’s part of its appeal, sure, but it also means Word lacks some of the more advanced features you get with other programs like Scrivener and Google Docs.
For example, Scrivener offers more advanced outlining functionality. And Google Docs makes it easier to share and collaborate on your files.
All in all, Word is a solid contender for best book writing software. But there are many other choices out there.
Book Writing Software Cost: $79.99 if purchased separately.
#2 – Scrivener
You just learned that Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor in the world. But does that mean it’s the best book writing software?
Think about it this way. The fact that Word is so prevalent means that it has to cater to all sorts of users—students, businesspeople, writers, teachers, marketers, lawyers, the list goes on and on and on.
But Scrivener was created for one type of person only:
And if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of Scrivener. A lot of writers absolutely love this program, with its advanced features and distraction-free writing experience.
In short, Scrivener gives you an insane amount of flexibility for writing, formatting, and organizing your book.
Blogger and author, Jeff Goins, swears by Scrivener after giving up Word. He says: “I wasted years of my life doing all my writing on Microsoft Word. But that’s all over now. I have finally seen the light.”
Entrepreneur Michael Hyatt also praises Scrivener: “I now begin every piece of content—no matter what it is—with this tool. It has simplified my life and enabled me to focus on the most important aspect of my job—creating new content. I am more productive than ever.”
Scrivener has a ton of benefits for authors, but let’s keep things concise for you.
Here are some of the top takeaways of this book writing software:
- Helps with plotting for fiction authors
- Easily export your data to other digital platforms such as Kobo, ibooks, etc. (this is one of the best features)
- Provides outlining functionality that keeps your content organized
- Powerful composition mode with distraction-free writing environment
- Easily drag and drop to move sections around
- Provides a collection of robust templates
- Supports MultiMarkdown for bullets and numbers
Because Scrivener was designed for writers, it’s super easy to lay out scenes, move content around, and outline your story, article, or manuscript.
Instead of keeping all your content in one big file, Scrivener allows you to create multiple sub-files to make it easier to organize and outline your project:
Scrivener is a fabulous tool for plotting out storylines. Using the corkboard view, for instance, you can recreate the popular “notecard method” for outlining your project:
But as awesome as Scrivener is, it’s not perfect.
And the biggest downside to using Scrivener is the steep learning curve involved. You aren’t going to master this program overnight.
But if you’re serious about your writing career, then investing the time to learn this specific writing tool will be worth it. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.
And if you want to learn how to use Scrivener as quickly & easily as possible, we can help! Here’s a full Scrivener tutorial so you can easily maneuver this program.
Long story short: Scrivener is an investment, but one that’s worth it. It will take some time to master. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back—it’s the single most powerful book writing software out there.
If you like what you see from Scrivener, you can buy it here:
Book Writing Software Cost: $45
#3 – Google Docs
We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another book writing software that more and more people are starting to use for various reasons:
Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.
The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example:
This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.”
That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.
Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.
And here’s one of the best features: everything is saved on the server frequently and automatically, so you never have to fret about losing a version or draft of your work.
(Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)
Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.
Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
Lesser-Known Book Writing Software
Just because you may not be familiar with a specific writing software doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial or even better than what you’re using now.
Let’s get to know some of the best book writing tools you can use to up your author game and make some progress.
#1 – Pages
Think of Pages as the Mac alternative to Microsoft Word.
It has a variety of beautiful templates to choose from, has a simple design, and syncs with all devices from within iCloud so you can access it in a number of different places.
Personally, I love the ease of Pages. It works great for creating ebooks or manuscripts with a variety of writing tools you can get creative with.
Book Writing Software Cost: $28
#2 – Freedom
Freedom isn’t technically a writing tool, but it sure can help improve your writing. It’s a productivity app designed to help eliminate distractions by blocking certain websites – something more than beneficial for those of us who get sidetracked easily.
For example: let’s say you have a tendency to get distracted by social media sites. All you have to do us start a Freedom session that blocks all your social media sites—and then you won’t be able to visit them even if you wanted to.
Here’s what it looks like when you schedule a session:
Notice that you have a lot of options. You can schedule one-time sessions (starting now or later), or you can set up recurring sessions (for example, to block distracting sites every day when it’s time to write).
When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:
This is a really liberating tool. Once you know you don’t have the option of visiting those distracting sites, you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your writing and you’ll be able to get a lot more done.
Book Writing Software Cost: $2.42/month and up, or $129 for lifetime access.
Free Book Writing Software
There’s not much we love more than getting stuff for free – especially when it comes to our aspirations. You don’t have to doll out a ton of cash just to use highly beneficial book writing software.
In fact, there are many best free book writing software programs.
#1 – FastPencil
FastPencil is a nice little platform with lots of tools. You can also use it for distributing your ebook. It is free to start writing with, but they offer paid services as well.
Everything happens online in your browser, which means you can access your files from any computer (as long as you’re connected to the Internet).
Here’s what the word processor looks like:
Book Writing Software Cost: Free (paid upgrades are optional)
#2 – FocusWriter
FocusWriter is a word processor for writers that’s intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It’s a basic, lightweight writing tool that was designed to be completely free of progress inhibiting distractions.
In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.
You can customize the image in the background to suit your project to help inspire your writing.
It’s simple and effective. If you need a lot of features, it probably won’t work for you. But if simplicity is your thing, then you may have found your perfect free writing tool.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
#3 – yWriter
yWriter is a really popular word processor (intended mainly for novelists) with some impressive features (especially for a program that’s completely free).
It helps keep your project organized by giving you space to include notes on all sorts of things, like character notes, scene notes, scene goals, etc.
You can specify whose point of view each scene will be written in, and you can see the word count of your entire novel broken out by chapter—all at a quick glance:
One thing that yWriter does differently than a lot of other writing programs is focus on scenes rather than on chapters. A lot of writers prefer this since scenes are usually fun chunks of story to work on.
And using yWriter, you can rearrange all those scenes to compose a compelling novel.
I’d call it a Scrivener alternative that’s free to use. But one downside is that it only works for Windows (at least, for now).
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
#4 – Evernote
Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.
The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7.
Here’s what Evernote looks like on a phone:
While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.
But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free, but there is a cool upgrade for $5 a month that gets you Evernote Premium
#5 – Hemingway Editor
The Hemingway Editor is a unique kind of writing tool. It’s a style checker that’s designed to help tighten up your prose and make your writing clear and bold.
Simply paste your writing into the editor and scroll through. You’ll notice that the program highlights certain words & passages—like long, hard-to-read sentences, passive verbs, and phrases with simpler alternatives.
It’s basically your own personal editor rolled into a writing software.
Here’s an example of what it looks like:
(Yikes. Too bad Dickens didn’t have this app.)
What I love about this tool is how easy it is to use. Everything is color-coded and super easy to understand, so you can see at a glance where your writing could use a little elbow grease.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free, or you can purchase the desktop version for $19.99.
#6 – Dropbox
Reading this, you may be wondering: Dropbox? How is that a writing tool?
Trust me—it is!
While it’s true that Dropbox isn’t a word processor like Scrivener or yWriter, it is a very helpful writing tool. Especially for writers who write on more than one computer, who need to collaborate with other writers or editors, or who want an easy way to back up their work.
Here’s how it works:
When you set up Dropbox and install it on your computer, it will create a new “Dropbox” folder on your machine.
Any files that you save in this folder will be automatically backed up to Dropbox’s servers in the cloud, which will be automatically downloaded to any other computers that are synced to that same Dropbox account.
A lot of writers choose to save their book on Dropbox, so that it will be automatically backed up. And as you can see, it looks the same as any other folder on your computer:
Using this strategy, you can make it easier to share and collaborate on your files—even if you aren’t using Google Docs.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free for a basic plan, or $9.99/month for extra storage.
#7 – Open Office
You may know of this software, you may not. Essentially, it’s a free version of a word processor much like Word or Pages. If you don’t have Word on your computer and can’t afford to buy it, this is a great alternative that’ll get the job done.
Here’s what this book writing software looks like:
The capabilities are pretty limited with Open Office but if you really only need the basics and don’t want to spend any money, this is the perfect writing software for you.
Book Writing Software Cost: Free
How Much Does Book Writing Software Programs Cost?
I would recommend not worrying too much about the cost of these programs. After all, dropping $100 or less on a program is not that big a deal if it is going to help improve your writing for years to come.
That said, I know you work hard for your money—and you want to get the best deal you can!
Here is a breakdown of the most recent prices for all of the tools in this article along with their comparative features:
|Software||Key Features||Software Cost|
|Microsoft Word||- ease of use|
- fewer distractions
|Free if already installed or $129.99|
- progress tracking
|Pages||- ease of use|
- Mac compatible
- Accessibility through iCloud syncing
|$2.42/month or $129 for lifetime access|
|Google Docs||- auto-saving|
- voice to text
- accessibility across multiple devices
|Evernote||- easy note taking|
- easy to organize
|Free or $5/month for additional premium upgrades|
- ease of use
|Fast Pencil||- publishing|
|Free or additional expenses for upgrades and extended features|
- scene-specific structuring
|Hemingway Editor||- writing improvement|
- you learn a lot
- ease of use
|Free or $19.99 for the desktop version|
|Dropbox||- accessibility across devices|
- ease of use
|Free or $9.99/month for additional storage|
|Open Office||- ease of use|
- basic capabilities
What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?
Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time, and frustration.
Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process!
Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?
What to do Next
Writing a book takes a lot more than discovering some helpful book writing software. Here’s what you can do right now to head in the right direction with your book.
#1 Try a few different options
Don’t just pick one of these writing software options and be done with it. Sometimes you really need to try them out before you can determine which will fit your needs with your current project.
Make some notes as you work through a few and be sure to put together a pros and cons list to ensure you’re choosing the best option to propel you forward on your writing journey.
#2 Nail down your book information
I know it might seem fun to get started once you have a super helpful writing platform to use, but you need to nail down your book idea first.
Without these two necessities, you won’t get very far – even with some beneficial writing software.
#3 Join your free training!
The process of learning never stops when it comes to writing and publishing a book. Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!
Do you use one of these writing software programs? Let us know how they are below!
Just because you wrote a new book doesn’t mean that your book is guaranteed to sell.
Harsh? Maybe. But it’s true. And here at Self-Publishing School, you first have to learn the truth before taking action.
Even if your book is the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective conscious of the public.
This is why you need good book marketing tactics to back it up.
Marketing takes planning, organization, and consistent action; it’s hard work. But the good news is that marketing is also about fostering connections and relationships, which can be rewarding to you and your fan base.
And since you’re the one who knows your book from cover to cover, your backstory, your reasons for writing it, and who your ideal reader is, it’s your duty to put a plan in place to best connect with your intended audience and share your story.
We know, we know…you’ve put a ton of effort into writing, editing, and getting your book ready for publication that the thought of adding another layer of “work” is not the most appealing idea.
But realize that if you launch your book without a marketing plan, FAR fewer people will read it.
It will hamper the success of the book you’re working on now, as well as others you plan on publishing in the future. So if you dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author, or if you want your book to help you reach other lifestyle goals, a book marketing strategy is your essential key to success.
We Know What it Takes for Good Book Marketing
Having seen and been involved in so many book launches ourselves, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to book marketing. We’ll walk you through a play-by-play of exactly what you need to do so that your readers can find your book and buy it.
We’ve broken this guide down into three main sections for learning book marketing:
- Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
- Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
- Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books
Let’s get to it.
Pre-Launch: Build Your Book Marketing Launch Team
The first step of preparing for your book launch, and the marketing behind it, is to build your launch team or street team, as it’s also commonly referred to. The ideal launch team is a dedicated, hand-selected group eager to make your launch successful. If you use your team’s talent and communicate well, there’s nothing your launch team can’t accomplish!
#1 – Size
The first step is to determine the projected size of your book marketing launch team based on the size of your audience.
Your audience is anyone interested in you, your book, and your product. They could be five of your lifelong friends, members of your community, big organizations you’re connected to, social media followers, email subscribers, anyone who might be interested in what you’re sharing.
If you have a smaller following, we suggest you aim for a launch team of 10-50. Those with hundreds in their network can aim for 100-250 team members.
How to Find Followers
If you don’t have much of a following right now, start by looking at your personal inner circle— your family, your close friends—then branch out to their connections, families, and colleagues.
You can reach out to peers from college, your volunteer work, or even your first job. You may even consider parents at your child’s school, fellow dog owners, or members of your yoga class.
Even though you may not know these people well, they are a part of your network, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re inspired by your book and would be eager to share it.
Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have an initial list of potential launch team members!
#2 – Recruit
Now that you’ve determined your potential recruitment pool, the second step is to initiate contact and gauge their interest level. The most important lesson to consider about your book marketing launch team is that QUALITY trumps QUANTITY.
One top-quality, dedicated team member trumps a handful of mediocre ones.
To begin recruitment, create a simple questionnaire process that describes your book, your expectations of the team, and questions asking:
- Why are you interested in supporting my book?
- What part of my book speaks to you?
- What specialized skills can you contribute?
- What’s your available time commitment?
- Who are influential people you can reach out to?
- Why would these influential people be interested?
To sweeten the recruitment deal, feel free to offer a free signed copy of your book or an inclusion in the “acknowledgments” section.
You can easily do this through email, or through online forms like Typeform.
#3 – Record a Welcome Video
Take the time to record a warm welcome video for your new supporters! In your video, first, congratulate your team for being selected and express gratitude for their help.
Then, detail your expectations, your unique mission for writing your book, and why you want to share it with as many people as you can!
This welcome video will help you create a more personal connection with your book launch team, and show them a bit more about why you’re creating it and what message you’re trying to convey.
Be sure to send it to everyone who completes your questionnaire
#4 – Establish a Communication Style
Here’s the secret to a successful book marketing launch team: Effective communication.
Communicate with your team regularly to keep them focused on weekly tasks, progress, and innovative ideas by doing the following:
- Strive to send one email per week preceding launch then increase it to three or more during launch week.
- Use a Facebook group to engage, share ideas, and post feedback. Set the tone by posting “Dos and Don’ts” to keep conversations focused and positive.
- Boost morale and build rapport by sharing inspiring quotes, gifts, and goofy photos to keep energy high and build vital connections.
No matter which mode of communication you’re using, remember people like to be treated well. Always make sure your team knows how grateful you are to them and their dedication!
#5 – Book Marketing Launch Team Assignments
You can’t just build up a catalog of supporters and not use them, though. You have to give them small assignments to help you with launching and the book marketing process in general.
It might feel weird telling people to help you, but don’t worry about it! They’re here because they want to support your project, and as long as you’re gracious and ask nicely, they’ll be happy to support your work.
Facebook Groups will be the most effective way to dole out weekly team assignments. Here are some book marketing initiatives you can assign your team to do:
- Share snippets of content from your book across social media
- Submit reviews on Amazon
- Add their reviews to Goodreads
- Share a book review on their YouTube channel
- Record a testimonial for your book
- Buy extra copies to give to their friends
- Give you more marketing ideas!
#6 – Utilize Talents
Your team members will have a different variety of skills and talents, and it’s your job to effectively manage your team by assigning work based on their strengths.
To identify your team’s talents, write a post during the introductory week and say the following:
“If you have any special talents or connections you’d like to lend towards my book launch, please comment on this post and let me know. I’m looking for ways to help spread my book’s message to a wider audience.”
#7 – Have Fun and Say “Thank You!”
Your launch team will commit weeks of their time, energy, and talent, so make sure you thank each and every person for their contribution! Ensure that each person on your team feels valued and appreciated for their efforts.
And most importantly, let them know how to get your book for free (or at least at a deep discount)! Which brings us to…
Pricing Your Book
One of the most important factors in how successful your book launch is will be how you price it.
To find out how to price your book for success, we recommend reading Book Launch.
But for the sake of this article, here are some of Self-Publishing School’s biggest secrets that will get your book to soar up the Amazon’s charts:
- If you have a sizable audience, we recommend launching your book for $0.99, and then increasing the price to $2.99 or higher after about a week.
- For first-time authors, we recommend Amazon’s Free Book Promotions for your book launch.
Although you won’t get paid by putting your book out for free, realize that it will be featured on another author’s page which instantaneously increases your exposure and recognition.
Once the free promotion has ended, switch your book’s price to $0.99 for the following week, then slowly increase the price by $1 per week until sales stagnate.
Post-Launch: 8 Book Marketing Strategies for Selling More Books
All marketing—no matter which market or industry—is fundamentally about people and making connections. Part of pitching your book will be figuring out how your book relates to your readers and how they will benefit from it.
Now that your book is out in the wild, you want to get as many people to it as possible. Here are the eight best strategies for doing just that.
#1 – Build Your Book Website
Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing? Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content. You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books.
Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.
Sorry, not exactly.
There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space. It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time.
Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate. You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published.
When it comes to book marketing, the sky’s the limit. You can:
- Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
- Post blogs about your upcoming book
- Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
- Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales
- Include sample chapters from your book
- Link to video clips about the book on your website
- Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post
And you can also set up a Google Alert so you can be notified about where your name and your book show up online. If someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.
Action Step: If your book doesn’t already have a website, get one started! To setup your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy and use WordPress for building your site.
#2 – Build Your Email List
There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell.
These people are essentially your customers.
Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.
If you are serious about your book marketing your current project and all future ones as well, building your list should be a top priority. Nothing else comes close. Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market.
These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.
You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch. As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.
Action Step: If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.
#3 – Reach Out to Influencers
When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers. What is an influencer?
Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.
An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example.
Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book. A lot of the time, they’ll want a free copy to read and review. You can also offer to support their future endeavors as a way of giving back.
Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.
Guest post blogging on an influencer’s blog or website is another way to market your book.
For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche. They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.
Action Step: Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.
#4 – Leverage Two Social Media Platforms
Social media is a powerful way to promote your book to potential readers. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons. But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything.
If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.
When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once. That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with and post your content regularly on these two sites.
For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos covering a wide range of topics centering around your book. After a few months, you could build up a library of content that will bring in the right audience, engage with new subscribers, and even create a course out of your videos.
Here’s an example of Youtube content from a writer currently working on her first fiction novel. She created a Youtube channel to engage fellow writers, who are also readers:
By creating a Youtube channel and giving advice about writing, she’s appealing to writers while also advertising that she is also a writer and has a book in progress.
Switching gears to Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads that drive new readers to your Facebook page or your book’s website. You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book.
With Twitter, you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 280 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.
And if your book is more business-focused, you may find that LinkedIn works best for you, since it allows you to connect with new readers on a more professional platform.
We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.
Using Specific Hashtags to Grow on Social Media
In the writing community, there are a number of very popular hashtags authors and writers use to connect with each other. Why make connections with other authors? Because almost every other is also a reader!
Here are some of the top hashtags you can use on each platform:
- #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
- #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
- #writerprobs, #writerproblems
- #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
- #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
- #writerprobs, #writerproblems
- #writersofig, #writersofinstagram, #writersofinsta
- #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
- #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
- #writerprobs, #writerproblems
Action Step: Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it, and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.
#5 – Get on Bookbub
Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.
Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers.
It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book marketing. The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.
But is it worth it?
For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list. From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.
Action Step: Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.
#6 – Interviews and Podcasts
A local radio or podcast interview can introduce you to new readers. While this may sound intimidating, you can pull this off like a pro with a little preparation.
Look to local colleges, podcast hosts, or local radio stations for interview opportunities (Pro Tip: Hosts love to interview up-and-coming authors, so you may be surprised at the many offers that come your way when you reach out).
Reach out, let them know a little bit about your book and why it might be interesting to their audience, and include a free sample of it so they can see if you’d be a good fit.
If you have a press release describing what your book is about, feel free to include that as well to give them more context.
Then be sure that when you go on, you present a great story about your book and get their listeners excited to read it!
Action Step: What are three podcasts or radio shows you could go on to talk about your book? Find their contact info and reach out with a pitch about having you on.
#7 – Book Clubs
Local book clubs are another goldmine of new readers; you already know they like books! Find and connect with these groups. You can offer to attend a meet-and-greet and hand out copies of your free signed book.
You can also get your book listed in Facebook Groups and other groups dedicated to readers. There are also paid lists, such as Buck Books, that can reach tens to hundreds of thousands of readers. Book Launch also teaches what lists are out there, and which ones are the best to use.
Action Step: Are there any book clubs you could join? Look on Facebook for groups that would be a good fit for your book.
#8 – Write Another Book
Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece.
Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.
With every new book you put out there, you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.
Become a Book Marketing Guru
Launching your book is only the beginning. The real work begins after the initial “bang” is over and you have to dig in deep to promote, engage, and provide solutions to readers’ problems.
Remember: Marketing is about delivering a product [your book] to the right people [your audience] who need desperately what you have to offer [your solution].
Create this product for your readers, ship it to them and communicate in a way they understand—and you’ll become a great book marketing guru as well as an amazing author.No matter which marketing tactics sound best for you, remember that choosing a few key strategies and executing on them regularly is crucial to increasing book sales.
Let these strategies be your secret weapon to a successful book launch, and you’ll be on your way to being a bestseller in no time!
What is your best book marketing strategy and how has it worked for you so far?
I get how frustrating it can be.
Writing the book might seem like the most difficult part…and then you have to actually title the darn thing!
When it comes to writing a book, coming up with reasonable book title ideas is surprisingly one of the hardest parts to complete. It’s difficult because titles are essentially short hooks that advertise your book using the fewest words possible.
It’s also what readers look for first when they discover new books, and can take less than 5 seconds to make a decision.
This is why it’s so crucial to craft a perfect name.
To help spur your creative process, we’ve created a few essential guidelines for you to follow as you craft the perfect book title ideas for your masterpiece.
Since there are different title considerations for fiction and non-fiction, we broke these two topics down separately into:
Let’s create your selling title!
How to Choose a Book Title for Non-Fiction
As you begin crafting your book title ideas for your non-fiction book, the key is knowing that non-fiction readers are looking for solutions. Whether it’s losing weight, becoming a master in sales, or becoming better at fostering relationships, they’re simply looking for a book that will solve their problem.
To leverage this idea, here are a set of rules to consider:
#1 – Your Title Must Include a Solution to a Problem
Your title should be crystal clear on what your readers will achieve by reading your book. Experts say that a title with a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your title:
- Are you teaching a desirable skill?
- Can your personal discoveries impact someone’s life?
- Can your book solve a very difficult problem?
Here are our favorite book titles that offer a clear solution to a problem with promising results:
- Asperger’s Rules! How to Make Sense of School and Friendship by Blythe Grossman
- How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Book Title Ideas Action Plan: Write down the best solutions or teachings your book offers and form these into potential book title ideas.
#2 – Use a Subtitle for Clarity
A great non-fiction title employs a subtitle to clarify what the desired outcome will be from reading your book.
In this video clip, Chandler explains in 5 simple steps how to create a compelling subtitle:
Here are some questions to consider when creating your subtitle:
- How can your subtitle further expand on achieving a desirable outcome?
- What are the biggest pain points that your subtitle can provide a solution for?
- How can you further address your innovative solution in the subtitle?
Here are our favorite book subtitles that spell out what their readers can expect from reading their books:
- The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna
- Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
- Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock
Book Title Ideas Action Plan: Make a list of 10 attention-grabbing subtitles that promise big outcomes and other positive benefits.
#3 – Make Your Title Unforgettable
Catchy titles are memorable, boring titles are not. So make an effort to be more creative and fun with your book title! Use alliterations to make your title easier to read and remember. A memorable and light-hearted title adds additional character to your book and is also a great way to attract readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:
- Will a fun title turn a normally boring subject into something more interesting?
- Will adding humor to your title further entice readers?
- Will a cleverly written title stand out from other books in this genre?
Here are our favorite books that engaged us with clever titles and subtitles:
- Me Talk Pretty One Day and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
- Trust me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
Book Title Ideas Action Plan: Experiment with different types of styles and poll your audience to determine whether a comedic, shocking, or even bizarre title will be the most appealing to your target audience.
No matter which method works best on creating a compelling title for nonfiction books, a good thing to remember is to always test multiple titles with different audiences to determine which book title generates the biggest response.
Getting good feedback is the only way to know for certain which title is perfect for your book.
How to Generate Book Title Ideas for Fiction
Generally, fiction titles are allowed more creative wiggle room than their non-fiction counterparts. That being said, an effective fiction title must still pique your readers’ attention. And while it’s true that you can title your fictional book with random names, it still must catch the reader’s attention.
Here are some key guidelines to keep in mind:
#1 – Your Title Should be Appropriate to Your Genre
Your novel title should use language that resonates with both your genre and target audience. For example, a romantic book can call for dreamy language whereas an action book can warrant strong and powerful words.
This means that you must know your book’s genre and words that best fit the style of title.
Here are some questions to consider for appropriate genre titles:
- What genre best fits this story?
- Which are the perfect choice words for your genre?
Here are our favorite fictional titles based on genre:
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Book Title Ideas Action Plan: Based on the genre of your book, pick out a few keywords that best suit its category and evoke strong emotions in your readers.
#2 – Your Book Title Should Pique Your Reader’s Interest
A great fiction title teases and leaves your audience wanting more. You want your audience to read your title and think, “I must read what’s behind that cover!”
Create fictional titles intriguing enough to capture the imaginations of your readers, and get to them to read your story.
Here are some questions to consider on how to pique interest with your title:
- Which key components of your story best captivates your readers?
- What emotions do you want your readers to have once they read your title?
Here are our favorite fictional titles that drew our attention:
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Book Title Ideas Action Plan: Choose a theme that will best draw your reader’s attention. Come up with 5 titles that will catch your reader’s attention and pique their curiosity.
#3 – Look to Your Characters for Book Title Inspiration
A great book title captures the spirit of the protagonist. Some authors simply use the hero’s name for their title. Others have combined the names of their hero along with their special qualities to inform the audience about their protagonist’s accomplishments like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
On the flip-side, a formidable antagonist can also be an amazing book title.
A sinister name can convey a sense of dread and expectation for what’s to come like Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Both choices are great title ideas and should be seriously considered for your fictional book.
Here are some questions to consider when including a character as a title:
- Between the hero and villain, who impacts the story more?
- Are there any stunning qualities from your characters that will draw a reader’s emotion?
- Can the plot of the story be summed up as a title?
Here are our favorite fictional books that use characters for its title:
- Harry Potter (Literary Series) by J. K. Rowling
- Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Book Title Ideas Action Plan: Determine which character best conveys what the story will tell in your title. You may also include creative words or themes to further showcase the character’s unique qualities or the journey itself.
Your Next Steps
Ultimately, the title of your book depends on you, the author. By following these constructive guidelines, you will be able to generate a number of book title ideas you can use to find the perfect one that grasps the attention of readers and soon become an Amazon bestseller in no time!
#1 – Join your FREE training!
This training was created just for you. Make sure to save your spot and sign up right now so you can learn exactly what it takes to write and publish your book within 90 days…or even less!
You won’t find this guide anywhere else. Take advantage of this offer so you can spark multiple book title ideas in as little as an hour!
#2 – Create a list of book title ideas
Now is the time to fire up that imagination and start brainstorming! We gave you a number of different actionable steps to help you generate book title ideas that work well.
Now is the time to make a list of every potential book title you can think of! The more, the merrier.
When this is done, you’ll want to go through and jot down any that really make you feel something in a separate list. These are the ones you’ll use for the next step.
#3 – Get feedback about the top title
It’s hard to pick a title by yourself because you’re too close to the book. What will help you find the best title is putting the options out there for your target audience to choose.
A fantastic way to do this is to join writing and publishing groups online where you can post polls.
For example, our Facebook Mastermind Community has a very large number of experienced authors who respond to polls just like these on a near-daily basis.
Locate a group you like, join, and start polling about your title!
Have you thought of the perfect name for your book? What did your process look like to get there?
I know it seems easy.
You’re probably thinking that self-publishing is nothing more than uploading a document to the web and hitting an all-powerful “PUBLISH” button.
You’re far from the truth.
In all honesty, self-publishing is certainly a process. There’s a reason big-name publishing houses have been around for so long; they take care of a lot of the work. You do all the creative thinking while they do the other heavy lifting.
But that also means they get a (very) big cut of your earning. Your hard-earned income. But all of that’s already been discussed.
Instead, we’ll talk about what you can actually expect when you decide to put yourself first and commit to self-publishing.
And believe me, I know it’s a hard choice to make.
Taking that leap can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. Let us do some decluttering of your mind by cluing you in on some of the unexpected realities of self-publishing your book!
#1 – You’ll become a tech-savvy self-publishing whiz
A lot of technical coordination needs to happen in order to self-publish your book.
You’ll have to:
- Write the book
- Get it formatted
- Get a cover designed
- Combine into one product
- Create online self-publishing accounts
- Upload materials to the accounts
- Coordinate your launch team in a single place
There is more but I think you get the idea.
Self-publishing involves a number of different technical capabilities you probably don’t know of before starting the process.
And because you’ll be responsible for the entirety of your publishing journey, you’ll learn a lot about all of the different platforms you’ll need to make it happen – which is made a lot easier with a program that shows you exactly what you need to do, when to do it, and how to get it done.
#2 – A lot more income
You probably think of self-published authors as the “starving artist” type, forever playing catch-up with bills and life in general.
In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
That fact is, self-publishing gets a really bad reputation for bankrupting those who pursue its path. And sure, some people may have spent a lot of time and money on their book only for it to tank.
But those people often decide to go it completely alone instead of using a program or guideline of sorts to ensure they succeed.
If you do work hard and pursue self-publishing by learning from those who have done it before, you can actually expect some cushy additional income.
Why is that, you ask?
Because you don’t have to fork over a chunk of your earnings to a publisher. Because you are the publisher.
#3 – You’ll learn a lot about yourself
This is especially true if you’re writing non-fiction but it’s just as meaningful for fiction authors as well.
Writing a book takes a lot of your own experiences, values, and meaningful content to you. That means you get to do some digging into your psyche to uncover the very core of who you are. And if you’re writing a memoir, be prepared for a lot of this.
That’s a bit deep, but I really want you to understand just how much you can learn about yourself from self-publishing a book.
And it’s not even all about the writing itself, either.
Self-publishing takes a lot of drive, ambition, and a very determined individual.
It’s a challenge and whenever we enter into challenging times in our lives, we learn more about ourselves than ever before.
Self-publishing a book is the same.
Through your writing, editing, rewriting, marketing, and self-publishing journey, you can figure out more of who you are and what you want out of life.
And that alone is worth it.
#4 – You’ll make amazing connections
Networking isn’t really something many people think of when they consider self-publishing.
In fact, most people assume self-published authors are shut-ins who spend all their time shrouded in thick blankets with a steaming mug of spiked coffee between their hands.
But when you have to market and ask others for advice or even if you become a member of a powerful self-publishing group, you meet all kinds of people.
And knowing talented, hardworking individuals will only help you reach your goals faster.
The point is, self-publishing helps you build those connections you might not otherwise get. After all, self-published authors stick together.
#5 – You build almost-instant credibility
The crazy thing about self-publishing is how much other’s view of you changes.
Before, you may have just been a blogger with a business that just wouldn’t take off. After you have a book available, others will see you as an authority figure in your field.
They will feel more comfortable paying for your products or services simply because you wrote a book.
It might seem a little silly because your knowledge base is the same, but when a potential customer can purchase your book, they instantly see you as someone with expert knowledge and this increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you.
Even if you’re not a business owner, self-publishing a book will still give you a boost in the eyes of strangers and even people you know well.
#6 – Opportunities will come knocking
We like to refer to self-publishing a book as opening the door to Narnia. Once you go through with the process, you will throw yourself into an entirely new world where opportunities basically fall into your lap.
By this I mean that you might be contacted for speaking gigs, bring in more high-value clients, get requests for interviews, and more.
Because publishing a book places you as an authority figure and heightens your credibility, more people will want to hear what you have to say on the subject.
This could lead you down new roads, offer new business ventures (like this entire company!), and change your entire life – just because you decided to take action and self-publish a book.
#7 – Your business will flourish
This is the amazing thing about self-publishing a book. When your credibility sky-rockets, so will your business.
In fact, most aspects of your life will flourish but a book will directly aid your business (and even your side-hustle!).
Take our alumnus Ashley Emma, for example. After the launch of her book, her business generated $24,000 specifically from her book Fearless Author.
So if your business is struggling and you need a new way to bring in sales, writing and self-publishing a book is a fantastic method to do so.
#8 – You’ll want to write another book ASAP
The process of self-publishing can be a long and arduous one – and you’ll still want to publish another book as soon as you can.
Why? Because of everything you gain from it.
Many of our students love what having a self-published book offers so much that they dive into the program again in order to write another one.
One of the (arguably) best opportunities granted was becoming part of the Self-Publishing School team behind the scenes by teaching and helping other students find the same success she did.
Bottom line: you might become addicted to writing books.
#9 – You’ll generate tons of new ideas
Writing a book forces you into a quicksand-like imaginative headspace. The more you write, the more you understand what else you can be writing and you end up in a pit of creativity that releases your mind and allows you to think outside the box.
You practically get sucked into creative thinking.
Meaning, you’ll come up with so many new ideas for other books, blog posts, or even business ventures.
Think of your creativity like a muscle and self-publishing as the gym. Each time you sit down to further your self-publishing progress, the more creative you will become.
#10 – You’ll become a routine-writer
Before you learn the real process of self-publishing a book, you probably only ever wrote when you were inspired.
You’ve always had this book idea and would spend bursts of time typing out so much content…only to lose that inspiration the next day…and the next…and the next, until you basically forget all about it.
When you actually self-publish a book, you learn that becoming an author isn’t just about writing when you want to but writing anyway.
The best part about this?
You write faster, become better, and can publish much sooner than if you waited around for inspiration to find you.
Your Next Steps Toward Self-Publishing Success
Now you know just how much you can expect to gain from self-publishing a book. But how do you get started? What steps do you need to take right now?
I’ve got those answers right here for you:
#1 – Join your free training
Are you ready to take the first step toward your self-publishing journey? Then make sure to save your spot and sign up for our free video training!
Chandler Bolt, 6-time bestselling author and our super knowledgeable CEO, will take you through exactly what you need to go from blank page to published author in 90 days…or even less if you’re really ambitious!
Take advantage of this opportunity and sign up right now! Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
#2 – Start thinking about your mind map!
A mind map is the best tool you can use to get started with your book. Even if all you have is a very small idea of what you kind of, sort of want to write, a mind map will help turn that into a solid book idea with chapter content and more.
Don’t forget to also check out this post all about using what you discover in your mind map to turn it into a comprehensive outline.
#3 – Get started
It’s as simple as that.
Once you have your mind map, an idea you’re passionate about, and have watched your free training, get started by filling out your mind map! In a single afternoon, you could have the entire outline to your book.
Are you ready to embark on your self-publishing journey?
Did you self-publish your book? Let us know some of your unexpected realities in the comments below!
We are so proud of all our students who launched a book in the month of August.
Technically speaking, a student from Self-Publishing School launches a book almost every single day of the year. And as a way of showing them how much we’re rooting for their success, we highlight each author and book published every month in a roundup post just like this.
You can check out last month’s self-published books right here.
Now check out these fantastic books from our students. Congratulations published authors!
Timothy M. Horn – Skies Wide Open: How to teach your child to dream big and love learning
Launch Date: 8/1/2018
My only regret is that I wasn’t aware of this program when I was in school. I would have achieved my goals much sooner.
-Dwayne Epstein, NY Times bestselling author of Lee Marvin Point Blank
This book provides foundational strategies and ways of thinking to support and encourage inquisitive minds valued in the knowledge age.
-Tara Bejai, M.Ed.
Skies Wide Open is a guide for leading your child to have a life-long love of learning. This guide to simple practices and patterns that reinforce a child’s innate abilities can create for your child a map to a happier, more fulfilling future. When these exercises are practiced with some consistency, the habits of learning become ingrained and will carry through long after your child leaves school. You will become your child’s greatest teacher, before, during and after their school career.
Receive more strategies and tips from the author by signing up at www.SkiesWide.com.
Jennifer Hayes Yates – Inside Out and Upside Down: How Intimacy with Jesus Changes Everything
Do you feel there should be more to the Christian life? Are you hungry for more of God? Have you ever struggled to live a counter-cultural faith?
Inside Out and Upside Down: How Intimacy with Jesus Changes Everything is a 7-week Bible study that explores the Gospels and the Song of Solomon to help you discover God’s plan for personal relationship and kingdom living. In these lessons you will understand the difference between religion and relationship
- learn how to find satisfaction in Christ alone
- discover God’s purpose for community through the local church
- explore the counter-cultural kingdom of God
- assess the costs and benefits of kingdom living
Each week of study ends with a Weekend Devo that summarizes the lessons and gives opportunity for thoughtful reflection and application. Dive into this study and discover a life of intimacy and adventure with the King that supersedes religion and inspires devotion.
Kathy Heshelow – Essential Oils Have Super Powers: From Solving Everyday Wellness Problems to Taking on “Superbugs”
This is a fascinating book that covers the spectrum of essential oils – a “must have”!
Alternative, natural wellness methods are growing today, and essential oils are at the top of the list! A most important super power that essential oils hold is anti-bacterial strength – including overcoming MRSA and “superbugs”.
Essential oils also have an important role to solve common wellness issues (headaches, indigestion, insomnia) and enhance day-to-day life (reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, uplift, help with focus or bliss.)
Learn in easy-to-read language:
- how and why essential oils and aromatherapy work
- some fascinating history
- info on modern scientific research
- why essential oils have been lesser known in U.S. medical circles (and big “pharm”)
- mind-body connection
- recipes for daily use
- what is happening in the field today.
Kirkus Review says: “…Heshelow (Phytoceramides: Anti-Aging at Its Best, 2014, etc.) makes the case for aromatherapy and essential oils in this examination of a misunderstood branch of alternative medicine…The author is clearly a true believer in the power of essential oils, and by the book’s end, even skeptical readers may be tempted to give them a try.”
Jaclyn Foster – I Touch Myself: Lessons to Wake Up Desire & Fire Up Your Sex Drive
Are you always giving to others in and out of the bedroom? Do you find that your sex drive is suffering along with your energy levels? Are you craving more pleasure in your life?
This vulnerable and explorative book will share how I woke up my desire and dive into how you can wake up your desire too.
This book is for those who find themselves stuck between pleasure-hungry and pleasure-resistant. Those who have struggled to find pleasure in their own bodies. Those that have a hard time asking for what they want and maybe even find themselves feeling guilt and shame for their sexual desires.
I have been there – and I’m so excited to share how I woke up my desire. As my own hunger grew for more pleasure in my life, I was driven to dive into exploring desire, pleasure, sex, orgasm, and intimacy.
I Touch Myself shares what I have learned to improve my sex life with myself and others, have orgasms, and most importantly, to feel more alive in every aspect of my life.
This book includes:
- How I started to question the rules I learned around sex and pleasure
- The golden rule I use to decide whether or not I want to pursue a desire
- Eleven lessons I’ve learned on my path to waking up desire
- Five stages of desire that provide me with structure and momentum to follow-through
Along the way, there will also be opportunities for you to practice what I have learned through exercises ( “sparks”) to provide inspiration and experimentation with the topic being explored. With each spark you read and respond to, you will have the opportunity to strengthen your own internal flame of desire.
I am super confident these lessons and stages can help you too. Even if you only choose to take one or two of these lessons and practice them regularly, you will notice shifts in the way you see yourself and your relationship with desire and sex.
Scroll to the top and click the “buy now” button. Your future self will thank you.
Shelease Roberts – Help! I’m Stuck: How To Manage Your Mind, Defeat Distractions and Create Confidence
Does your environment make it difficult for you to make responsible decisions? How often have you been lured away from productive work by endless distractions? Does facing spontaneous challenges make you uncomfortable?
It happens to everyone. You become a product of average surroundings and your mindset goes into ‘default thought.’ As a result, you think on the most basic level, just to get by.
If you can control your mind, you can control your life.
Everyday, there is a battle going on in your mind. At any given time, the right decisions have to be made, opportunities must be taken and challenges need to be met. Book 2 of the Help! I’m Stuck series shows you how to discipline your thoughts, through mindfulness and self-awareness.
This book will help you:
- build a strong work ethic by eliminating distractions
- become more self-aware and make daily improvements
- exercise your power of choice to reach peak performance while working on your goals
- organize your thoughts to proactively handle challenges
- shift those self limiting beliefs into dynamic action
When you’re not thinking for yourself, someone else is thinking for you.
If we allow others to control our mindset, it becomes impossible to build a future. How can you take action towards a positive environment, when someone else has the advantage over your thoughts?
Help! I’m Stuck: How To Manage Your Mind, Defeat Distractions and Create Confidence gives insight on how easy it is for someone to manipulate your thoughts.
The information contained in this book will shatter the most ordinary mindset, while building a more progressive way of thinking. It will silence the negative internal chatter and enhance your self-motivation.
Toni Crowe – NEVER A $7 Whore.: My Journey from a Lady of the Night to the Lady of the Boardroom
She should have been a $7 whore, but she became a Fortune 50 Vice President.
A true crime memoir of survival and resilience, Never a $7 Whore, is the story of a teenaged single mothers escape from her unscrupulous lover. Part one of the $7 series, NEVER A $7 Whore details Toni’s transition from a girl into a woman while trapped in horrific circumstances. Developing the perspective to see a different outcome, she develops the will to change her fate. Matching her wits and will against her pimp and his companions, Toni struggles not to fall into the tar pits of prostitution.
Using those same skills that helped her escape. Toni became a tough as nails executive. Today, Toni Crowe is a successful award-winning executive specializing in Operations, Manufacturing, and Productivity.
NEVER A $7 Whore is unforgettable—a well written, heartbreaking memoir reminding us that no matter where you start in life, the American dream is within your reach if you have the desire and determination to change your destiny.
Matt Moore – Investing in Brokenness: Lessons from Living with an Addict
Are you struggling to rescue your friend or family member from addiction? Discover a powerful method to help your loved one navigate the road to recovery.
Is an addict ruling your life? Does your friend or family member’s regressive behavior leave you feeling frustrated? Are you running low on options and hope for a full recovery? Matt Moore has spent over 25 years developing professional treatment programs. But his firsthand experience in helping his own brother overcome decades of substance abuse is what makes his methodology so profound. Now Moore is here to show you how to help your loved one to create life-altering change.
Investing in Brokenness: Lessons from Living with an Addict is a step-by-step support system for empowering drug-dependent friends or family members along their recovery journey. Vividly illuminated with personal accounts, you’ll learn how to offer meaningful aid and encouragement at every stage of their return to sobriety. Through Moore’s methods, you’ll help your loved one finally break the cycle of resistance and regression and embrace a new drug-free future.
In Investing in Brokenness, you’ll discover:
- Fundamentals of the Change Process and how to help loved ones stay focused on recovery
- Techniques to ensure you aren’t enabling destructive behavior, but are part of the solution
- How to offer the right kind of support and structure to maximize positive outcomes
- The Three Essentials you’ll need to help an addict in their journey towards sobriety
- The innovative “Good Life” model for empowering progress, and much, much more!
Investing in Brokenness is a life-changing how-to manual designed for anyone supporting an addict’s recovery. If you like real-world examples, practical techniques, and straightforward advice from an experienced professional, then you’ll love Matt Moore’s powerful program.
Buy Investing in Brokenness to pave the way for your loved one’s recovery today!
Melissa Feick – A Radical Approach to the Akashic Records: Master Your Life and Raise Your Vibration
Are you ready to accelerate your spiritual awakening?
Do you want to learn the most valuable ascension tools that will help you become your higher consciousness?
You have a special purpose! There is a radical spiritual awakening happening, and the Akashic Records say that the intention of the shift is to transform the lower vibrations and raise your vibration.
In this book, you will have the best ascension tools, and you will learn a simple, easy process of accessing the Akashic Records on the Quantum Field so that you may transcend the lower vibrations and create a life filled with Joy!
Are you ready to learn the real secret to transformation?
A Radical Approach to the Akashic Records: Master Your Life and Raise Your Vibrationdoesn’t just explain the Akashic Records, we give you the most important information about reaching the Records at the Highest Vibration.
It’s time for you to take back your power and…
- Be in the frequency of Oneness and Love
- Drastically change your life and the lives of others
- Do readings and healings in the limitless energy of the highest vibration of the Akashic Records
- Experience a step by step guide to the what, where and how of working in the Akashic Records on the Quantum Field
- Practical meditations and exercises to help you read and heal in the Akashic Records for yourself and others
- How to rewrite your Akashic Records and transform your lower vibrational patterns that keep you feeling stuck
- Transcend your Kamric patterns that keep you experiencing the same issues over and over again
- Live your life more on purpose and more consciously
- Discover your gifts and truth of your soul purpose
A Radical Approach to the Akashic Records gives you the tools to live a happier life!
A Radical Approach to the Akashic Records helps you create a meaningful life of manifestation and creation. Transform all your negative patterns quickly and easily by healing in the Quantum Field of the Akashic Records.
Read this book and unlock the benefits of the Akashic Records on the Quantum Field today!
Franklin Neal – Six Years Black
Take a breath. Now close your eyes. Imagine you are engulf in darkness. Your front door opens but you never know who walked in. You hide under your bed, then a voice on the phone says four frightening words. “Do you have her?”
Syble Green first home was her sanctuary. Her mom new career advancement made them move to the city. To heal the family woes the mother surprises her husband who is equally as hurt by the move with a trip to an art exhibit. After the lovely evening, they drive home. A car collision occurs. That day Syble lost more than one girl should.
Many years later now living a new life, one without sight. Her mother eventually puts a malicious man behind bars. Before the trial, she received threatening messages stating what will happen if she continued.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you life is manageable or I’m accustom to being blind. There is no fabric of lies woven in that statement.
Barbara Miller – The Dying Days of Segregation in Australia: Case Study Yarrabah
Did the deep north of Australia experience racism, discrimination and segregation? Yes. A system similar to South African apartheid existed on Aboriginal reserves like Yarrabah in Queensland till as recently as 1984. This book is unique in that Australian Aborigines themselves tell their story of living under legal discrimination on reserves and discusses their aspirations for self-determination, local government and land rights.
Adebanke Adesuyi – BECOMING A PASSIONATE CHRISTIAN: YOUR PATH TO PEACE, LOVE, AND AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
Do you ever wonder if you could preach the gospel with such passion and power as Billy Graham, teach the word of God like Joyce Myers and TD Jakes, and get excited about saving souls into the kingdom like Paul and Jan Crouch, including hosts of great men and women past and present who followed Jesus with great passion? They all understood one thing, that God loves us passionately and gave us His best and all. Likewise, wants us to love Him passionately and give our best. It also makes perfect sense that we give God our best and our all.
And you don’t have to wonder any longer. The power, passion, zeal and driving force behind those passionate Christian is available to all believers in Christ when we embrace the Holy Spirit. It is not for selected few as some people think. Becoming a passionate Christian is about letting Jesus shine through you as you live every day having Him in the center of your life. It is about doing great, as well as small things for God.
Becoming A Passionate Christian will:
•Open your eyes to see the love of God for all humanity in a new way.
•Show you how to experience – the peace, love, joy, freedom, fulfillment, power, fellowship and hope that is in Jesus regardless of circumstances you find yourself in.
•It will help you to recognize the things that actually hinder or kill Christian passion.
•Give you the keys to becoming passionate and show you the steps to take to get there.
•Enable you to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and be energized to pursue God with passion.
•Introduce you to examples of people from the past and present, whose lives show us how they became passionate for God.
God is waiting to meet you in this book and you will be forever changed and blessed.
Jed Jurchenko – Becoming Brave: How Little Buffalo Finds Courage
Help your kids be brave and do hard things. This kid’s personal growth book will show you how!
Kid’s Personal Development
This children’s book tells the story of how Little Buffalo finds his courage and learns to be brave by facing a storm. On the other side of the storm are green pastures and a beautiful rainbow. For kids, personal growth can be scary and a lot like charging into a storm. Whether they are moving to a new house, switching schools, making new friends, or dealing with life changes after their parents’ divorce, change can be difficult.
This kid’s self-help book begins with the story of Little Buffalo. After the story, parents can help their kids prepare to be brave and tackle hard things by practicing three courageous skills. These include:
- Easing anxiety by taking big, deep, buffalo-breaths.
- Using self-talk statements to move forward when things get tough.
- Identify and draw strength from their support system.
Kid’s Personal Growth
Help your child get a head start by learning and practicing key, personal growth strategies early on. This book will guide you on the journey!
Kary Hays – The Mystic RUNES A Portal to Secret Wisdom and Heightened Awareness
Experience heightened awareness and tap into your soul’s innate wisdom! Are you looking for insightful thought-provoking guidance? Are you ready to be uplifted, stimulated and intrigued in your search for direction?
This is not your ordinary book on RUNES! The Mystic RUNES is here for you to find purpose, spiritual guidance and enlightenment through accessing the hidden meanings of the RUNES and their wisdom!
Did you know that the RUNES are considered secret? The truth is that their secrets lie within the Soul of the Self!
The Mystic RUNES is written to help you tap into the very core of your spirit through their messages. In this book you will learn how to use the RUNES to create talismans, intentions and affirmations. You will be guided through exercises in activating the energy of your RUNES and learn to integrate their essence into your very being! You will also be shown how to understand the meaning of your name with the RUNES and experiment with friends’ and family’s names as well! Along with all this, most of all, each RUNE offers insight that opens doors meant to assist you in looking at situations in your life with power and compassion toward finding your way in accessing heightened awareness. What an amazing journey The Mystic RUNES offers the seeker! You will want to use this book as reference every day to guide, to uplift and to enlighten! Scroll to the top and BUY NOW! And enjoy the process!
Marc McLean – The Healing Power Of Ayahuasca: 16 Incredible Life Transformations That Will Inspire Your Self Discovery
When Western medicine had failed them, these 16 people turned to the magical, mysterious plant medicine ayahuasca…
And their lives changed forever. Could it do the same for you?
When life gets painful we go searching. Searching for ways to overcome the depression, break the addiction, fix the relationship, heal the chronic health problem, or simply to figure out why you’ve always felt that something’s ‘just not right’.
Always looking for solutions that are out there when, in reality, the answers are inside ourselves. But who can hand you the key to your subconscious mind so you can finally break your destructive patterns?
Which genius can help you properly understand why life seems to be one long, repetitive mess at times? What can give you hope to turn your life around when everything else has failed – Ayahuasca – the hallucinogenic plant medicine that’s been used for thousands of years in the Amazonian jungle – can help you achieve all of the above.
In The Healing Power of Ayahuasca, author Marc McLean tells how the medicine saved him at the lowest point of his life. Ayahuasca gifted a level of emotional and psychological healing he’d never have achieved in a lifetime of therapy.
Those profound experiences inspired Marc to interview people from all over the world whose lives have been completely transformed after drinking ayahuasca. In this collection of incredible true stories, you’ll read about an American woman who overcame bulimia and the depression that had haunted her from the age of 11.
A South African woman addicted to heroin for four years cured overnight. An elderly Dutchman aged 85 releasing childhood trauma from the Second World War.
In this book:
- You’ll learn about the amazing healing power of ayahuasca for emotional, psychological and even physical issues
- Questions or doubts you may have had about ayahuasca will be answered in these remarkable first-hand accounts
- You’ll be inspired that you too can overcome your darkest days with the help of ayahuasca, just like the people in this book who are now living healthier, happier lives
- You’ll be given hope that you can become well again, even if doctors, therapists, or all other avenues of treatment have let you down in the past
- You’ll be given hope that you can become well again, even if doctors, therapists, or all other avenues of treatment have let you down in the past
This is not one person’s life story that you probably won’t relate to, or a dramatised version of events at ayahuasca retreats filled with colour and lacking substance.
Instead, 16 people share how they healed a multitude of illnesses and issues through ayahuasca, including PTSD, depression, sexual abuse trauma, eating disorders, crippling fear, chronic health problems, and more.
These people openly share how they overcame the toughest times in their lives, their deep inward journeys with ayahuasca, and how they finally discovered who they really are.
Want to learn all about their incredible stories, and find the inspiration for your own healing and self discovery? Order your copy of the book today.
Toni Crowe – The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night, My Journey from a Lady of the Night to the Lady of the Boardroom, A $7 Short Story
A true story of survival and resilience, The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night, details the daylight hours of three women surviving while working for a notorious pimp and their trainee, Tee.
The Daytime Lives of the Ladies of the Night is both a standalone story and a great add-on to the debut memoir, Never a $7 Whore, by Toni Crowe.
Irish, Essence, and Baby live together under Prince’s rules. Each woman leads an isolated separate and painful existence as they work to survive day to day living while meeting the demands of their night jobs. Tee, the newest addition to the crew, is being trained to be a paid escort.
This well-written, heartbreaking short story reminds us all of the fact that no matter where you start in life, we all want the same things: the American dream. Success is within your reach if you have the desire and determination to change your destiny.
Chris Stewart – Prayers, Punk Rock and Pastry
This is the inspirational story of a man that has been to hell and back. This heart warming and inspiring tale of a missionary kid turned punk rocker,gang member, drug dealer and finally a drug addict. Becoming a husband and home owner wasnt enough either to stop my drug abuse and then I became ahomeless crack head and heroin addict on the streets of Hollywood CA.
Becoming a firefighter should have been enough but it wasnt enough as a drink and a drug were all I cared about untill finally drugs and alcohol rendered him bed ridden and incapable of getting through the day without them losing everything I cared about and my self worth in the process.
Found out how I got back up and now I help thousands of people get their dreams back. Find out how I started the only leadership interact club for continuation high schools in the country of the U.S. Find out how I started a company that became one of the top and most inspirational company’s in the world with just a cookie and a prayer to a homeless man for Christmas and much much more. For any human being this book will rock you to the core with its honesty vulnerability and redemption. We are all addicted to something break free today and get your dreams back!
Vivienne Wei – Labor Force: Winning Strategies During Pregnancy, Maternity Leave and Return to Work
Are you excited about your pregnancy, but anxious about how to make it all work?
Are you looking for take-charge strategies that will help you embrace your new identity as a working mom and set yourself up for success?
In this resourceful and action-oriented book, Labor Force reveals the unspoken truths about your transition to motherhood and provides a blueprint to have a satisfying career and a thriving family at the same time.
You should never again worry about motherhood derailing your career.
Drawing on the personal stories of working moms at the highest levels of success and on her experiences balancing motherhood, a demanding job and cross-Atlantic travel, Vivienne Wei offers guidance and support for dealing with the fear, stress and guilt that come with having a career and building a family.
The book features strategies and insights from C-level executives, including CEO of OpenTable Christa Quarles, COO of Salesforce Technology Andrea Leszek, CTO of Redfin Bridget Frey and Co-Founder of CoffeeMeetsBagel Arum Kang.
Labor Force tackles every personal and professional detail with defensible strategies that can lead you to succeed during your pregnancy, maternity leave and the return to work, including:
- The boss-approved way to share the pregnancy news
- A roadmap for building your mommy tribe at work
- How to develop a transition and re-entry plan for your maternity leave
- How to evaluate the real value of your career using a data-driven approach
- Negotiation tactics for transitioning back into your new work life with ease
- How to instantly dissolve fear and guilt as a new working mom
Labor Force helps you ascend the steep learning curve of working motherhood through hard data, compelling research and personal stories.
Labor Force equips readers with actionable advice and practical tips for success from high-achieving working moms.
Read this book and take charge of your life today!
Claire E. Hallinan – I Notice: A Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Student Potential Through Building Intentional Relationships
Teachers and coaches get frustrated when their students don’t perform at their best. “How many times have I told you?” “You are lazy!” These phrases don’t help students improve their performance; they don’t ease the teacher’s frustration either. Instead, they create a distance between the teacher and their students.
Rather than blame others when we cannot control a situation, we should focus on learning how to manage it by noticing ourselves. To be aware of our inner experiences (emotions and thoughts) helps us to connect to ourselves and to control our impulses. That is when we can intentionally establish relationships with our learners.
In I Notice, you will find:
o Claire Hallinan’s 6-Step Method that shifts your thinking patterns by using “I notice” statements,
o How non-judgmental observations will consequently increase the students’ desire to connect with their teacher,
o How to monitor your progress using the provided worksheets, and
o Small and simple daily routines that transform your relationships with youth.
I Notice equips readers with the key to uncovering the relationship with young learners that has been stuck at a certain level.
With intentional relationships, students will perform beyond their perceived abilities.
I Notice teaches you how to be aware of present moments.
I Notice enhances your communication pathways with students in addition to your already existing good intentions. When the communication pathway is mindfully established between the teacher and students, young learners will soar to success.
Read this book and unlock the benefit of intentional relationships!
CONGRATULATIONS to Our Self-Published Authors
Once again, we’re so incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication that went into each and every one of these books. Seeing our students succeed in bringing their dreams to life never ceases to be amazing to us here at Self-Publishing School.
Do you want to write and self-publish a book? What’s stopping you?
Learning how to publish an ebook isn’t as painful as it sounds. With kindle direct publishing, Amazon publishing, and other forms of self-publishing at your disposal, it can even be easy – with our help.
We get how much information is out there about learning how to publish an ebook.
With all the different types of advice, how do you know what to follow and what will just elongate your already lengthy process?
Since we specialize in self-publishing, we can easily teach you how to publish an ebook without all the fuss and fluff that can bog you down along the way.
Why write an ebook?
- In 2018, ebook sales are projected to account for about one quarter of global book sales.
- Ebooks sell easier online
- Ebooks can be used to grow your business more so than physical books
- You make a bigger profit from ebooks
- You can grow your blog and its income
- Passive income
- You help save trees!
- You can embed links directly to your site and products you sell
- They’re cheaper to produce
Many authors choose to sell both physical copies and ebooks when they write a book but you can easily sell only ebooks and reap all of the rewards above.
Now that you know the why, let’s talk about how to publish an ebook.
How to publish an Ebook on Amazon
Amazon is the biggest retailer online and with the world of book-buying migrating and settling on the internet, Amazon is the place to publish.
Here’s how you can publish an ebook on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing.
#1 – Write a book worth buying
There’s no point in publishing a book that’s not your best work. But if you’re not much of a writer or have no idea how to write a book in the first place, that can make this entire process much more daunting.
In order to write an amazing book, you first have to pick a book idea that you’re passionate about. Remember, you’ll be writing up to and even more than 25,000 words so you want to make sure you have a topic you know a lot about and love.
Here are the overall steps for writing a book and getting it ready for publication:
- Choose an idea
- Come up with an amazing title and subtitle
- Create your mind map
- Write a thorough outline from your mind map
- Schedule your writing time and get your book done!
- Thoroughly self-edit
- Hire an editor to ensure perfection
- Hire a cover artist to bring your book to life
This might seem overwhelming but I promise, it’s not. We even have free training for you to understand exactly what it takes to write and publish your book.
#2 – Create your Amazon KDP account
Learning how to publish an ebook means navigating the online space in a way you may not be familiar with, like using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing to get your ebook out into the world.
Setting up your KDP account is actually really easy.
Here’s all you have to do:
- Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account. You can either use your existing Amazon account or a different email address.
- Set up all your tax information. You can’t submit your published ebook unless you have all of these steps completed.
- Once your tax information is all filled in, hit “Finished” and you’re all done.
See? It’s pretty easy and simple to use from there. If you’re having trouble, we detailed more in-depth instructions over here.
#3 – Format the ebook properly
Book formatting is really, really important. If you just upload your manuscript as is, you’ll run into a number of different problems.
And this is awful because with the “Look Inside” feature Amazon offers, anyone can see the formatting of your book right away.
If it’s bad and difficult to read, they’ll avoid buying your ebook and your sales will tank.
Most people hire a professional to format their book to ensure everything looks great but we also have a guide to help you format your book properly.
#4 – Upload it to your KDP account and fill in the required information
This is a very simple step for publishing an ebook. All you really have to do is “plug and chug,” as they say.
You have all of the information you need and now it’s just about uploading your formatted manuscript to your KDP account and filling in the information you need to.
That means you’ll need to fill out the title, subtitle, and the description.
Now, you really don’t want to write a boring “filler” description. After the cover, this is the single most important part of publishing an ebook.
If people aren’t sucked in by your description, they won’t buy your book.
Here’s an example of a killer description that has helped sell thousands of copies of this book:
#5 – Choose a launch date
Believe it or not, there are actually good and bad days to launch your book. Typically speaking, the winter holiday season is the worst time to publish a book simply because the advertising market will be super saturated.
Everyone is putting their best ads forward so they can reap the rewards of those holiday spending dollars.
And although this might seem like the perfect time to launch, it’s actually one of the worst.
Your book can easily become lost in the hype of literally every other book and product marketed during that time.
If you want to launch a book during the best possible time for its sales, use this guide below:
#6 – Put together your launch team
This is such an important step when it comes to self-publishing an ebook. What you really need is a great group of people who can help launch your book to heights you wouldn’t reach otherwise.
Your launch team should be composed of people who:
- Love your book
- Want to help you
- Are very enthusiastic about your book
- Have some sort of following or online presence
- Are fans of you and your work
Since you’re trusting these people to help get the word out, make sure they’re all committed. A great way to do that is to have an online application form that each person has to fill out.
This will help narrow down those who are serious about helping you and will put in the time and effort to do so.
Make sure to also check out this guide to building and managing your book launch team.
#7 – Create interest on your website or blog
Many who publish ebooks usually have a website or blog they can use to drive traffic to it. Not only that, but some actually use the ebook as a lead magnet and even the main source of income on their site.
And publishing a book – even just an ebook – can do wonders for growing your online business as well.
What you have to do before your launch is to build interest about the ebook.
This can be done in a number of different ways, but these seem to be the best:
- Link to your book within blog posts
- Create blog posts related to the topic of your book
- Create graphics for your book and place in your sidebar and within blog posts
- Create a graphic to use on the front page of your website
- Create an email sequence to sell your book (this is for those more advanced with a larger email list)
- Continuously look for ways to integrate your book into blog post ideas and on social media
The idea with optimizing your website with your book is to convert your blog followers into customers and to give those coming to your website from your book the content they’re actually looking for.
All of this builds fans and most importantly, a loyal and engaged following!
For example, we use Chandler Bolt’s book Published. as a main point of interest on our website. This gives those who are already interested in the publishing industry something of high value right off the bat.
#8 – Launch!
It’s time to kick off your ebook and launch! If you’ve followed the steps above, then you’re ready to get your book published and start reaping the rewards.
The best part about publishing an ebook is that you don’t have to worry about ordering prints and going through the proofs and the entire process of adjusting how they look.
Once the ebook format is complete, that’s all you need to concern yourself with in terms of delivery!
Your launch day is very important and exciting.
Make sure your launch team is ready for a day of sharing and even some activities.
It’s best to host activities that your audience can actually engage in. Some fun launch day activities include things like hosting a live webinar, doing a Q&A on Twitter or Facebook or your preferred platform, sending out an email to your entire email list, and any other fun pursuit your readers will benefit from.
Get together with your launch team beforehand and have everyone brainstorm some launch day events.
You can even give prizes to those whose ideas get used!
#9 – Make it the focus of your blog or website and incorporate reviews
Now is the time to leverage that book!
Writing the ebook itself isn’t the hardest part of this process; making continuous sales is. And the best way to ensure you keep pushing buyers to your book is to make it the focus of your blog and website.
Plus, if you have those great reviews from your launch team, you can actually leverage those to make more sales.
Place reviews on your website on the same page your book is linked to. They’re kind of like testimonials for a service. Except, in this case, your service is a book.
You can feature them on your website wherever you want.
Obviously, if you’re someone who only wants to sell your ebook, a blog or website might not even be something on your ebook publishing to-do list.
You should, however, think about creating a website to at least host your book and information on in case others want to find you and even connect with you about speaking engagements and other amazing opportunities a book can grant you.
Your Next Steps Toward Success
Learning how to publish an ebook isn’t easy and it’s even more difficult without knowing exactly what to do next.
So if you’re looking to write and publish your ebook anytime soon, follow these steps to get ahead of the curve and set yourself up for real success!
#1 – Sign up for your free training!
That’s right! We’re offering you FREE training that’ll help you learn exactly what you need to do to go from blank page to published author in as little as 90 days – and yes, it’s perfect even if you’re just going to publish an ebook.
Make sure to take advantage of this opportunity by saving your spot right here so you can learn more and be prepared to dive head first into writing and publishing your ebook.
#2 – Create your Kindle Direct Publishing account
Right now! Head on over and sign up for Kindle Direct Publishing. Create your account and follow the steps necessary above to set it all up according to what you need.
This is a very quick process that will bring you one step closer to success.
#3 – Start writing your book
It’s a little scary, we get it. But if you utilize your free training, you should be more than ready to get started!
If you do need a little help, we have this really helpful guide for learning how to start writing a book that will help fill in any missing parts you might not know about.
Now that you know how to publish an ebook, it’s time to write it! What will yours be about and what else do you need to get started?
You already know.
There is a cost to self-publish a book. Much like with any worthwhile endeavor, you may have to sacrifice some cash in order to make more down the road.
“Remember to think of the cost of self-publishing as an investment, not a cost. [A book is] an asset that earns you money long-term.” – Joanna Penn
However, you may be wondering, “How much does it cost to publish a book?” Self-publishing has broken down a lot of barriers for writers and dramatically lowered the costs of publishing a book, but there are still some involved.
Since the explosion of digital books on Amazon and various other platforms like Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords, first-time authors and professional authors alike can write, publish and promote their books for less than $1,000. On the other hand, you can spend as much as $20,000 on self-publishing and book marketing costs if you have that kind of budget.
Let’s break down the costs of the self-publishing process. We’ll share some secrets to bring those costs down if you’re budget-conscious.
The Rise of Self-Publishing
If you’re an author dreaming of making your books available to millions of readers, you can make it happen. You only have to invest your time, some money, and a little bit of sanity.
The sky’s really the limit. Self-publishing on Amazon has made it possible for us to all fly with our books. Are you ready to make yours fly?
There are many factors that can affect the cost of publishing your book. What it really boils down to is this: How much are you willing to spend, and how well do you want your book to sell?
The reason I ask these questions is because if you go cheap on everything, you could end up putting out a low-quality book that gets panned by bad reviews, and then it won’t sell.
On Amazon, quality sells. And yes, quality costs money. But there are ways you can creatively cut costs and still put out a quality book. Let’s take a look.
Crunching the Numbers: How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?
To start, let’s look at a sample budget. Now, these aren’t the high-end numbers for self-publishing. You can spend as much money as you want — this is a list of budget-conscious pricing for getting your book done within a reasonable budget.
I’ll go into each of these in more detail, with links you can check out for yourself and find what works within your budget. Take some time to shop around see where to get the best value for the best price.
How Much Does a Book Cover Designer Cost?
Even though we’ve been told “you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover,” the reality is, we do it anyway. The design of your book can often determine whether or not people will actually pay for it and read it. Your cover will make or break your book right off the bat.
If there’s any one cost you don’t want to go cheap on, this would be it. While it’s true you can outsource to someone on Fiverr and get a decent cover for less than $20, it pays to do your research and find a better designer who is going to deliver a cover that sells your book.
Cover designers aren’t just talented creators. Many who do it as a living have inside market knowledge and tailor your book cover for your specific genre.
If you do decide to go through Fiverr, check out this video Chandler Bolt recorded on how to use Fiverr.com to outsource your book cover design.
I would recommend setting aside a budget of at least $100. This isn’t to say that spending tons of money will get you an awesome cover, but going cheap may hurt your sales in the long run.
How Much Does a Book Editor Cost?
A high-quality book should always be edited by a real editor. Whether you hire a line editor or copy editor, you should get a professional to look over your work. Don’t try to cut corners here. Even if you’re a professional editor yourself with 30 years of experience, you need to outsource it to a professional editor.
Trust me: A book that contains typos will get bad reviews and sales will drop flat.
Love your book by spending the cash on editing. You can find quality editors at Upwork, or you can find the editors we recommend in our Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex if you’re a member of the Self-Publishing School community.
You can get a very short book, around 15,000 words, line edited for about $150-$250. Ghostwriting, developmental or structural editing will run you much more than that depending on the length of your book and the depth of edits you require — prices run around $2,000 for 100,000 words.
How Much Does Book Formatting Cost?
When it’s time to format your book, if you’re publishing on Amazon, you might want to get it formatted both for print and for Kindle. You can outsource the formatting of both your e-book and print book for around $60-$200. Fiverr has some good formatters at reasonable prices.
I’d also recommend asking fellow authors if they have any great recommendations for book formatters. Once you find a book formatter you really like, hang on to their contact information for future reference.
How Much Does it Cost to Promote Your Book?
When it comes to spending cash on promotional sites, you could empty your bank easily. Set a budget for yourself and go with the best of the best within that budget.
Again, this is a major money suck if you’re not careful; you can throw thousands into it and get mediocre results.
For the best results on several paid launches, I have used:
- Bookzio ($19-29)
- Robin Reads ($35)
- Buck Books ($32)
- BKnights ($5-40)
- Awesome Gang ($10)
- Bargain Booksy [$25 for nonfiction]
- BookSends [$40]
When it comes to paid promotions, do your research on the top sites that can generate a good return. Check out this detailed list of promo sites — some are free!
How Much Does it Cost to Record an Audio Book?
Creating an audiobook can run you anywhere from $300 to $3,000 depending on the length of your book and who you hire to do it.
If you have a novel with multiple characters and want different people to read different roles, it can run towards the high end of the budget, especially if you’re using high-end talent.
If you have a good voice or acting experience and you want to give it a shot, you can purchase the basic equipment and record the audiobook version yourself. Check out this blog post for setting up your recording studio and doing it yourself.
Additional Author Tools and Expenses
Here are some of the basic tools for professional authors. This will add a price tag to your book, but many of these are just a one-time payment. Other tools will bill you monthly.
#1 – Book Publishing Courses
You could also look into taking multiple courses on Udemy. But again, you can spend a fortune on various courses. I would recommend sticking with one course until you complete it and branching out to learn other skills after you get your first big win.
#2 – An Author Website
Building an author platform is a great consideration if you’re looking to expand your business, write blogs and promote your work. You can build an entire website or just a landing page with a call-to-action to get users to opt in. It’s also important to capture leads to build your mailing list. A lead capture form on your website helps you find quality leads and determine your primary audience.
Here are some things you’ll need to look into in order to get started with building a website:
You can sign up for hosting with servers such as Bluehost or Hostgator. The cost would be around $150 per year, which is very reasonable for website hosting. You will get a discount when you sign up for the first year, but pay full price when you renew.
– Domain Name
You can purchase a domain name to secure your brand and start driving traffic to your site. Check out Name.com. A domain name will cost around $10-$15 a year.
– Email Subscription Services
If you want to collect email addresses, you’ll need to sign up for an email subscription service to manage your emails. There are several choices:
- MailChimp: This is free up to the first 2000 subscribers. If you opt in to use their autoresponder service or other upgrades, you’ll have to pay around $10 a month depending on the number of subscribers.
- AWeber: This platform costs $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
- ConvertKit.com: ConvertKit has tons of value. Price is based on subscribers but starts at $29 a month for your first 1,000 subscribers. This is now one of the most robust sites for building an email list.
#3 – Publish Under Your Own Company
The ISBN (the 13-digit number above the barcode at the back of your book) lets bookstores and libraries know everything about your book, including the publisher.
If you use a free, generic ISBN assigned to you by CreateSpace or IngramSpark, you’ll limit your chances of a bookstore carrying your own book. Free ISBNs eliminate your ebook from being stocked on Overdrive, for example, which circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014 to public libraries all over the world.
Getting your own ISBN and setting yourself up as your own publisher will cost $295 for 10 ISBN codes, but it will help you access all distribution channels.
This isn’t necessary if you’re just starting out — it’s more important to publish your book and get it out there. However, if you are serious about building a self-publishing empire and making a full-time living from your writing, you’ll want to eventually invest in getting your own ISBN codes and setting up your own publishing company.
How to Increase Book Sales
We all want to make cash with our writing. It may not be the only reason we write, but self-publishing your own book is still an investment. And like any investment, it’s nice to get a return rather than taking a loss.
Here is a list of strategies you can implement to increase your book sales and get more eyeballs on your work.
- Run a contest through Goodreads.
- Reach out to podcasters and influencers in your niche and set up an interview. This has proven to be a big game-changer for authors like Hal Elrod and Tim Ferriss.
- Run promos every 3 months. After your book has been at regular price for a while, wait three months and then drop it to 99 cents again. Set up some paid ads every other day for one week. Try using the KDP countdown strategy.
- Blog about the topics in your book. Set up a blog and get more traffic and interest in your work by writing about what you love. Traffic that lands on your page can be directed to your Amazon Author Page and that means more book sales!
- Write another book. Building a catalog of books is a great formula for generating higher monthly income.
- Apply for a spot on Bookbub. Bookbub is the big gorilla when it comes to book promoting. It’s expensive ($300 and up), but it’s a solid investment and you will make your money back on the promo costs. You can check out Bookbub here and sign up for an author account to get started.
4 Ways to Save Money on Your Book Costs
Self-publishing can be expensive if you let it. Here are a few tips to help you save on your book costs, both now and in the future.
#1 – Save Money on Book Formatting (if you dare!)
Write your ebook with Scrivener. Not only is Scrivener the number one author tool for writing and organizing your manuscript but, if used effectively, it can save you money on formatting costs. If you’d like to learn more about how it works, check out this Scrivener webinar hosted by Joseph Michael with Chandler Bolt.
Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer also offers a bundle of Book Design Templates for both fiction and nonfiction. These templates cost money but will save you money in the long run from outsourcing. I have personally been using these to do the formatting for my books. It can be time-consuming at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll save money on formatting costs.
#2 – Build a List of Email Subscribers
Although this topic deserves its own blog (or book), I’ll mention it here because if you build up an email list now, it can save you thousands of dollars in promotional costs down the road.
When you launch your next book, you’ll have hundreds or thousands of fans waiting for your next release. Not only that, but these are the fans who will leave reviews if they join your launch team and purchase your book the first week it comes out.
This drives your rankings up, and this drives sales even further. Sound good?
You can start to build your email list by including a link to a lead magnet in your ebook. A lead magnet is an offer of a free, valuable piece of content that readers will get if they go to your website and subscribe to your email list.
#3 – Barter When You Can
If you’re just starting out with self-publishing and you’re on a tight budget, look to barter services when you can. By coming to a deal where you exchange your services or something you have that is of value to people, you can save yourself lots of money.
As a writer, maybe you have some copywriting skills. See if you can share some of that in exchange for design work from a cover designer. But it doesn’t have to be just raw skills that you barter — Dana Sitar got a cartoonist friend of hers to do the illustrations for her book in exchange for $50 and 10 percent of direct sales of the book. It’s a decision she doesn’t regret, as the illustrations get her raving reviews.
If you’re on a budget, you don’t need to fully cut back on the quality of your book. See if there are possibilities to cut a deal and get the service you require to set your book apart.
#4 – Write a Great Book!
This might seem like an obvious tip, but paying attention to the quality of your book throughout the writing process is going to save you money. The better your book, the less you’ll have to spend on editing.
You will also gain a solid reputation as someone who writes really well. This means loyal fans will spread the word about your book and your blog, your email list grows, and any future books you release will practically promote themselves.
Your Next Step
We are in a great era of self-publishing. Anyone can turn their dream into a reality with just a few months of hard work, a bit of cash, and a great book idea.
We’ve broken down the cost to publish your book so that you have a rough idea of what to budget. Writers have gone on to publish bestsellers with as little an investment as $1,000, while others have required up to $20,000.
It all depends what you prioritize and if you can save costs in a manner that doesn’t decrease the quality of your book.
While money matters, remember the reasons you want to self-publish your book: to get your message out there, build authority, and add something new to the world. Spend what you can to make your book as high quality as possible. If your audience likes it, you’ll be sure to hit your goals.
The best way to learn just what it takes to get your book published is to join your free training. Chandler Bolt will walk you through exactly what you need to start working toward your dream of publishing a book!
How much are you willing to pay to get your book written, published, and selling well? Let us know in the comments below!
Historically, if you wanted to know how to publish a book, you needed an agent to get a traditional publisher to look at your manuscript.
In fact, many publishing companies won’t even open a manuscript if it doesn’t come through an agent. Which makes learning how to publish a book way more difficult.
What’s worse is even if they do open it, it’s still unlikely that your book will be published and sold in bookstores!
*Cue the groans and grumbles of irritation*
So is there a better method?
Yes! In fact, there is another way for your book to not only be published, but to even become a bestseller! This method has led to the success of many authors and is changing the book and traditional publishing industry.
It’s called self-publishing
Personally speaking, I’ve self-published 6 bestselling non-fiction books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the strong performance of my business, which has grown to over 7 figures in less than 2 years.
Five years ago, in order to achieve this level of publishing success, you would have needed to be extremely lucky to even land an agent who would attempt to find you a deal at one of the “Big 5” publishing houses.
This is no longer the case. Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book, now self-published authors are actively turning down offers from publishing companies!
So If you are trying to publish your book and are having no luck landing a publisher, self-publishing could be the best option for you.
Better yet, making the decision to learn how to navigate the self-publishing world the right away can save you countless wasted hours.
Because many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, what it’ll cost, how to do it right, and more, I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through the beginning steps of how to write your book all the way to how to self-publish it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.
My comprehensive guide will cover:
- Deciding Why You Want to Write a Book
- Writing Your Book
- Getting Feedback on Your Book
- Choosing a Book Title
- Hiring a Great Book Editor
- Designing a Book Cover that Converts
- Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
- Formatting and Uploading your Book
- Self-Publishing Your Book
- Pricing Your Book
- Forming a Launch Team
- Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
Let’s get started so you can get started!
#1 – Deciding Why You Want to Learn How to Self-Publish a Book
What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book. I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and you’re doing it for the right reasons).
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
- Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
- Do you have a well-established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
- Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?
- Do you have a larger number of book ideas or prompts you need to start writing?
Action Plan: Come up with at least 10 valid reasons why you want to write a book. Use the questions above as a starting guide to brainstorm.
#2 – Writing Your Book
If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it. Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done! This is normal, writing a book is hard work.
In order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.
Here’s are some effective ways to develop the writing process:
- Buy a calendar. The best way to have your book complete is to have a calendar that schedules your goals per day/week.
- Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organized.
- Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.
To learn more tips on how to write, here’s a tutorial video of the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour:
Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out the negative noise to get you into the writing process.
#3 – Getting Feedback on Your Book
When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.
Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear.
Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor and self-publishing can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.
Action Plan: Reach out to a few friends who could provide good (preferably unbiased) feedback, and ask them if they’ll be willing to read a chapter or two (or the whole book!) as you finish writing.
#4 – Choosing a Book Title
Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.
Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.
The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple. Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book. This is because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:
- Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
- Can your title impact someone’s life?
- Can your book solve a very difficult problem?
Action Plan: Once you’ve narrowed down your book titles, send out an email to your friends and family or put a poll up to your audience asking what title they’d prefer. You could also ask a community of other authors what they think.
#5 – Hiring a Great Book Editor
Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary during this stage of the process.
To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any qualified editors? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?
If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork.
As a Self-Publishing School student, we will also provide you with a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.
No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you.
If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go and find an editor who’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.
Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.
Action Plan: Find a friend or professional editor who can make sure your book is error-free, and start working with them sooner rather than later!
#6 – Designing a Book Cover that Converts
When it comes to self-publishing, a high-quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales! The reason is because your cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” simply doesn’t apply to actual book covers, as much as we wish it did. The hard truth is that everyone judges a book by its cover whether they realize it or not.
So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.
You can find amazing book cover designers on freelancing sites such as:
Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.
Action Plan: Find a book designer with any of these sites and your book will stand apart from the rest of its competition!
#7 – Creating Your Kindle Direct Self-Publishing Account
Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books. You can even link it with CreateSpace to offer print books to your audience.
It’s the best way to learn how to publish a book and start selling quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books. I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!
Setting up your KDP account is very simple! Start by following these steps:
- Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
- Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
- Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!
Action Plan: Follow these steps to create your KDP account! With this platform, you can figure out how to publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!
#8 – Formatting Your Self-Published Book
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting.
You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.
Also keep in mind that formatting will look different for fiction versus nonfiction books.
Typically, nonfiction books don’t have an indent between paragraphs but instead, they have spaces whereas fiction books are indented with each new paragraph, as pictured below.
If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle. Just be sure you hire someone who knows how to format your specific book genre.
Action Plan: Make sure your book is formatted properly by using the free online resource above or hiring someone who can handle the formatting process for you.
#9 – Self-Publishing Your Book
When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.
- On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
- Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
- Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
- Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.
Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience.
To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.
Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.
Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.
Afterward, you should be ready to publish your book! Just click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!
Action Plan: Follow these steps to upload your book. You are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want with each upload overriding the previous.
#10 – Pricing Your Book
One of the most important decisions when it comes to self-publishing a book is how to price it. The most common question I get from new writers is, “How much should my book cost?”
To answer this, my general rule of thumb is to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $5.99.
To be more specific, when beginning a launch, I would begin by pricing the book at $0.99 for the launch period. Then I would set the price to 2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.
Action Plan: Find the perfect price by using this strategy that will attract your readers and best drive long-term success.
#11 – Forming a Launch Team
Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful. They should be a passionate group of individuals who are eager to make your book launch successful.
Remember, one highly skilled team member is better than a group of mediocre ones!
To find quality candidates, here’s a questionnaire you can use to assess applicants and see if they’re qualified to market your book:
- Why do you want to support my book?
- What goals are you trying to reach with this project?
- How would you market this book?
- Which influencers would you reach out to and why?
Action Plan: Create an application with questions that align with your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they may be the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller.
#12 – Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
It’s not enough to learn how to publish a book and be done with it. You still have to take action even after your official launch.
As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, be sure to leverage your launch team and your audience to help you market your book! It may be odd to ask your fans for help, but your fans are there to support your project and want to see you succeed. You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to help you if you just ask!
Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team and audience to do:
- Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
- Submit reviews on Amazon
- Help build your book’s website
- Reach out to influencers for a future guest post or podcast feature
- Share a book review on their YouTube channel
- Buy extra copies to gift their friends
The additional exposure generated from your launch team and audience will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, which will drive more sales!
Action Step: Create your book marketing launch plan using these methods. Measure each of these methods to see which will best get your book in the hands of new readers and convert into sales.
#13 – Celebrate Learning How to Self-Publish a Book!
Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self-publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise.
Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.
Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.
What to do Next
Now that you’ve learned how to publish a book, it’s time to take action and bring yourself one step closer to your goals and dreams. Here are a few actionable steps you can take right now!
#1 – Find your WHY and your topic
Ask yourself right now why you want to write a book. Having your purpose at the forefront of your mind for the duration of writing your book will help keep you focused and motivated.
Make a list of all the reasons you want to write a book and circle the one that’s the strongest; the reason you want to write a book that makes you excited about the possibilities.
Now what do you actually want to write about? Are you going for a fiction book or do you want to write a memoir that showcases your life’s most influential moments?
Jot down your goal or topic and get started on the next step.
#2 – Start your mind map
Yes, you’re already ready to start working that mind map!
We’ll actually help you out a little bit and give you a couple free templates you can use to get started. Organizing your thoughts on a specific topic can be really hard unless you have a guide to help jog some ideas.
You can download either our fiction mind map or our non-fiction depending on which topic you’re writing about. Just click on either below and start mapping your book!
#3 – Learn more!
If self-publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training series where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped 1,000’s of students do the same).
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!
Are you ready to learn how to publish a book? What’s holding you back from writing, publishing, and selling a life-changing book?
Knowing how to get an ISBN as a self-published author is crucial. Since you can’t publish without an ISBN, we’re helping you learn how.
Do you know why having an ISBN is so important nowadays?
In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth. The Allies needed to crack their intricate numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables. But how did they crack this complex system? MI6 recruited a young mathematician named Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he scanned millions of numbers looking for patterns in the code.
Decades later, when the book industry needed a standardized tracking program in order to coordinate the increasing number of titles being published each year, Gordon Foster was approached by WH Smith, a British retailer, to write a report on how to create such a system.
This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967 and eventually led to the ISBN system used worldwide.
Several years later, this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when a policy was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format and is now the standard used everywhere.
What is an ISBN?
ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number” and, before it was implemented in 1967, the method and system for cataloging, ordering, organizing, and locating a specific book was a chaotic mess.
Today, to get your book into a bookstore, a library, or almost any book distribution channel on the planet, you need an ISBN.
But the process can be really confusing for new authors. There are a number of questions you might be asking yourself:
- How does this long string of numbers on the back of books work?
- How do you get it?
- If you’re a self-publisher, do you need an ISBN?
- Why would you need one?
These are all questions answered in this article. It’s a mammoth of a post and will get quite technical at certain points.
With that disclaimer, let’s unweave the intricate web of how to get an ISBN and how they work in the publishing industry.
How To Read an ISBN: What do the Numbers Stand For?
As of 2007, the ISBN is a 13-digit number. This came about in part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year. Knowing how to break down and interpret these 13 digits aren’t of much use and interest to most book readers, but for publishers and distributors, it’s a necessity.
If you want to publish lots of books under your own publishing name then it’s something you may want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book and its author by reading the ISBN number.
The 13 digit ISBN number helps:
- Identify the specific title
- Identify the author
- Identify the type of book they are buying
- Identify the physical properties of that particular book
- Identify the geographical location of the publisher
Let’s break it down and look at what all these numbers mean.
Here is the ISBN for a particular book:
You’ll notice this sequence is divided into 5 number combinations. But the first three digits “978” indicates that this string of numbers is for an ISBN. If we remove these digits we have:
First is the initial digit, in this case: 3
The 3 is the language group identifier which here indicates German. For English speaking countries a 0 or 1 is used. Numbers for language identification generally range from 1-5.
Here is a list of the most common Group identifiers:
0 or 1 for English
2 for French
3 for German
4 for Japan
5 for Russian
7 for People’s Republic of China
It’s worth mentioning that the rarer the language, the longer the number identifier will be. For example, Indonesia is 602 whereas Turkey is 9944. You can reference the complete list at the International ISBN Agency.
Next is “16”. This is the “publisher code,” and it identifies the publisher on any book that has this number. This number can be as long as 9 digits.
“148410” — This six-digit series represents the title of the book. The publisher assigns this to a specific book or edition of the book, such as a hardcover version or paperback. This could be a single digit or stretch to multiple digits.
“0” is the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always a single digit. This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and is calculated based on the other digits in the code.
The ISBN and Barcode
The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re the same thing, right?
Except, they’re not. The barcode isn’t the same as the ISBN.
This is an important distinction because:
- When you purchase an ISBN you don’t automatically get a barcode
- The barcode of your book can change, while your ISBN can remain the same.
We’ve already discussed what data the ISBN carries, however, the barcode includes extra information such as the book’s fixed price and the currency it’s being sold in.
Barcodes are a necessary element of your book as they allow for most retailers and distributors to scan your ISBN for retail and inventory reasons.
The standard barcode is known as the EAN (European Article Number) barcode, and your barcode must be in this format to sell your book in bookstores.
(Breakdown of the typical EAN barcode on the back of a book by Publisher Services)
How to Read a Barcode
If you look at the picture of a standard barcode, you’ll notice two barcodes side by side. The barcode that appears on the left is the EAN generated from the ISBN number.
The other number appearing on the right is a 5-digit add-on, called an EAN-5, that contains the price of the book. The first digit is a 5 and is a must for scanners to read. The 4-digits after the five indicates the price of the book.
For example, if the number reads 52995, this means the price of the book is set at $29.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, though the ISBN wouldn’t change.
This would only be replaced by a new ISBN if the book is published as a new edition or as a new version.
To buy a barcode you must first purchase an ISBN. You can buy your barcodes at Bowker and they even offer a barcode-ISBN combo:
- 1 barcode + 1 ISBN is $150.
- 1 barcode + 10 ISBNs is $320.
The Difference Between ASIN and ISBN
If you’ve used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program you’ve probably come across an ASIN. ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that’s assigned by Amazon.com and its partners.
You can find this on your book page. In your browser, the Amazon ASIN will be after the product’s name and “dp”. The next place to find this is in your book or product details area of your book page.
However, an ASIN is not the same as an ISBN. You can only use it with Amazon. If you want to sell through other platforms or in brick and mortar stores, you’re going to need an ISBN.
Reasons Self-Publishers Need an ISBN
And now we come to the most pressing question on your mind: do you need an ISBN?
If you want to publish and sell your eBook on Amazon, then the quick answer is no, it isn’t necessary. Amazon will assign your eBook an ASIN number which will be used to identify and track your title.
However, that’s only with Amazon, and only with eBooks.
If you want your readers to get a hold of a print version of your book, then you’re going to need an ISBN. This might be important if you have a brick and mortar marketing strategy, or if you want your book to be accessible through libraries (more on this later), or if you’re looking to deal with wholesalers or other online retailers.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you want to sell your book by means other than as an ebook on Amazon, then you’ll need an ISBN.
Should You Get a Free or a Paid ISBN?
You might have noticed that self-published authors can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company owned by Amazon. You can also get an ISBN when dealing with a whole host of On-Demand or self-publishing companies, like Draft2Digital, Smashwords or IngramSpark.
If you can get a free or cheap ISBN with them, then what’s the use in paying for your own one?
Here’s the problem: most of the time, you can only use those free ISBNs with the channels those companies distribute through.
Let’s say you get a free ISBN with Draft2Digital, but then you notice that there are some retail channels you can access through Smashwords that you can’t with Draft2Digital. You can’t use the Draft2Digital ISBN with Smashwords. Smashwords will only let you use your own ISBN or an ISBN they assign to you. So what do you do?
You get a free ISBN with Smashwords.
And now you have two ISBNs for the same book. Same book title, same book format, but two ISBNs.
You then hear of some exclusive channels you can get through eBookPartnership. The only wrinkle? You need an ISBN and they won’t take your Smashwords’ or Draft2Digital’s ISBN. So you sign up for their free ISBN instead.
Now you have three ISBNs for the same book.
The Problem with Multiple ISBNs
This problem can repeat itself again and again as you discover more ways to distribute your book. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for the ISBN, sometimes you won’t. But it leads to you having several ISBNs, all from different publishers, for the same book.
Can you picture how unprofessional that looks to a bookstore?
Wouldn’t it have been easier to start off by buying your own ISBN? Wouldn’t that make you look more professional?
On top of this, each of those free ISBNs identifies the self-publishing company as a publisher. It’s the equivalent of using your business email address as [email protected] or [email protected] instead of [email protected] (assuming you’re named Matt).
Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but there are some stores that will refuse to stock your book on this basis. If you have a CreateSpace ISBN, there are a number of bookstores that will refuse to carry your book.
All of these issues can be sidestepped by simply purchasing your own ISBN through Bowker.
Don’t Ignore Libraries
We briefly mentioned that if you want to stock your book in libraries, you’ll need an ISBN. However, that might be the furthest thing from your mind. You might have decided to focus purely on eBook publishing and what part do libraries play in eBooks?
A big one.
Libraries are becoming more important to the distribution of eBooks. Overdrive is the largest supplier to schools and libraries in the world (serving more than 30,000), and they circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014, a 33% increase from their previous year. They also supply to retail stores globally, making $100 million in sales in 2013.
And guess what you need to be able to partner with Overdrive? Yup. An ISBN.
How do I get an ISBN?
Hopefully, you’re convinced that if you want to look professional in the industry and be able to access all distribution channels, you need your own ISBN.
But how do you get one?
ISBNs are free in many countries, provided either by the government or a publicly administered branch. However, in the US and the UK, ISBNs are administered by Bowker and Nielsen respectively and require you to pay.
If you’re located outside the USA you can find out your local ISBN Agency here. While ISBNs are assigned locally, you can use them internationally.
If you live in the USA, you have to get an ISBN through myidentifiers.com, run by Bowker, the only company that is authorized to administer the ISBN program in the United States. You can purchase ISBNs as a single unit or in bulk of 10, 100 or 1000.
How to Register Your Book and ISBN
As soon as you purchase your ISBN through Bowker or the International equivalent in your local area, and you publish your book, you should register here at Bowkerlink. This is an automated tool that will add your book to Bowker’s Books In Print and Global Books In Print.
I recommend you download the free PDF “ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration” with step-by-step instructions on setting up your title.
How Many ISBNs To Get
So how many ISBNs should you get?
First off let’s clarify a few common mistakes:
- You can only use an ISBN once. The ISBN is a unique number for that particular book, and can be assigned once, and only once, to that title. It can’t be used with any other book in the future, even second versions of the same book.
- You don’t need an ISBN to sell in each individual country. ISBNs are international, they are just assigned locally. A US-based publisher can purchase their ISBN through Bowker, but can stock their book worldwide using that ISBN.
- You need an ISBN for every specific format of the book and any new versions. Want to sell your book in print, as an eBook, and also as an audiobook? That’s great, however, you need a different ISBN for each one. If you want to publish a revised and updated version you’ll also need a new ISBN. (This doesn’t cover fixing some typos and errors).
- If you create a series of books you can’t use the same ISBN for them. You can use the same ISSN, however. Many fiction and nonfiction authors have an ISSN number assigned to their book series. ISSN stands for International Standard Series Number and can be purchased from the Library of Congress. However, each book in the series will need its own ISBN.
We mentioned that in the USA you can buy ISBNs as a single unit, a bulk of 10, 100 or 1000. Here are the prices:
|Number of ISBNs You Get||Price|
First off, it rarely makes sense to purchase a single ISBN. A single ISBN would cost you $125, but a bulk of 10 only costs $295. Meaning if you purchased 10, each ISBN would cost you $29.50, a 76% discount.
Buying a single ISBN might seem feasible if you only want to publish one title, but remember that you need an ISBN for each format. So if you want to publish your book as an audiobook, you’d need a brand new ISBN for that. As well as needing different ISBNs for your eBook and print versions.
Not to mention that you’ll need an ISBN for any future books you publish, perhaps as sequels to your book.
We recommend that if you’re serious in making book sales, you should purchase at least a bulk of 10 ISBNs. That gives you 3 ISBNs to use for publishing as an eBook, in print, and as an audiobook. You can keep the remainder for any future books you might publish.
Wrapping Up How to Get an ISBN
Now that you have a very good idea how to buy and use ISBNs for your own books, all the best on setting this up. If you want to be recognized as a publisher and have your books available to a larger global audience by registering through Bowker, consider investing in your own ISBNs.
Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.
Here’s a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.
To buy an ISBN for your next book, here is what you should do:
- Go to the website https://www.myidentifiers.com
- Under the ISBN drop down tab, click on ISBNs—Buy Here. You can select 1, 10 or 100. For a bulk purchase, go to “Buying ISBNs in Bulk” and you can contact Bowker directly to discuss your options.
- Once you have your ISBN assigned, you can then use it everywhere that requires your ISBN number.
- At Createspace, under the “Setup” channel, you can choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN. When you buy your own ISBN at Bowker, just put in the 13-digit number and Createspace will use this in your paperback.
- If you publish your paperback through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can fill in your number in the “Paperback Content” section of your book when you log into your bookshelf. If you choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN, KDP will ask for your 13-digit number if you are transferring your physical version over to KDP.
- Register your ISBN here at Bowker as soon as your book is ready for sale. Download the free ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration step-by-step guide.
ISBN Links & Resources
These links appeared throughout the post but here they are for easy access.
International ISBN Agency
ISBN.org by Bowker
Bowkerlink Publisher Access System
Bowker Identifier Services
U.S. Copyright Office
Are you clear on how to get an ISBN and why exactly you need one? Comment below if you bulked up and got your ISBNs for future books, too!
Self-publishing has changed everything. Before, you were at the mercy of your publisher on how your book format looked, but today, you have control over this entire process.
In fact, you have the final say over everything in your finished manuscript is displayed. Therefore, knowing the proper book format you need is crucial.
And with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re not careful, you may end up with a sloppy and messy manuscript that an editor will refuse to work on until you tidy it up.
Or worse, your audience will slam your book with negative reviews because you published it riddled with errors. An unprofessional looking book will not only distract readers, it will harm your brand and label you as an amateur, affecting the sales of future books as well as your current one.
Your completed self-published book should convey professionalism in all aspects – including with its book format.
7 Money-Sucking Book Format Mistakes
There are over a hundred things that can go wrong with your book formatting, and if we wrote about all of them you’d be reading from sun-up till sun-down. But fear not!
From our experience, most authors make the same mistakes when with their book format.
In this article, you’re going to learn what the most common book formatting errors and how to avoid them. By avoiding these mistakes, not only will you have a professional looking manuscript, but you’ll make the process of designing your book to publish on Amazon’s Kindle or in print via CreateSpace a lot easier.
If you have a completed manuscript with botched book formatting on your hands, this article will teach you how to fix it using Microsoft Word.
(A quick note: it’s possible to do many of the fixes in Google Docs, however, Word has a more comprehensive set of features, so it’s better to use that when formatting your complete manuscript.)
#1 – Avoid Hard Indents in Your Book Format
A hard indent is when paragraph indentations are created by manual use of the keyboard’s Tab key. Many of us learned how to type using the Tab key to create an indent at the start of each paragraph, so this can be a tough habit to break.
When it comes to book formatting, use of the Tab key is a no-no, because it results in an indent that’s far larger than you need.
With fiction book formatting, you want to have just a small indent at the start of each paragraph. If your book is non-fiction, generally speaking, you want to use block paragraphs rather than indents, unless your book is a memoir or historical fiction. (More on that in tip #2.)
If your book is fiction, you may be wondering how to create paragraphs without the Tab key. The fix is simple: In MS Word, set the Paragraph settings to automatically create indentations for the first line in each paragraph. This simple auto fix will make creating your book format way easier.
In Word 2016, on both Mac & Windows, to get to Paragraph settings, click the Paragraph dialog box launcher on the Home or Layout tab.
Then on the Indents and Spacing tab, go to the box under Special and click on First line. You can change the size of the indent using the box to the right.
If you’re wondering how big to make your indents, my advice is to pull your favorite book off the shelf, open it up, and take a peek. How big are the paragraph indents?
Experiment with making yours larger or smaller, printing out the page, and comparing them to the book in your hand.
But what if your 535-page tome has already been drafted, using the dreaded Tab key for each and every paragraph? No need to set fire to your laptop!
Here’s what to do to clean it up:
- Use Find and Replace (Ctrl+H or Control+H or here’s how to find it in Word 2016 on Mac and on Windows.)
- Enter ^t in the Find (This will help you find every “Tab” in the document.)
- Leave the Replace field blank.
- Hit Replace All.
Going forward, set your Paragraph settings so that you don’t have to remove hard indents again. Presto! You now have a much prettier, easier-to-convert document through the magic of technology that will make your book format much more professional-looking.
#2 – Indentation vs. Block Paragraphs
Works of non-fiction today typically don’t use indentation, except for some notable exceptions we will discuss momentarily. Rather, a popular book format for modern non-fiction is the block paragraph.
What’s a block paragraph?
A block paragraph doesn’t have indentation on the opening line, but instead uses a horizontal line of white space beneath each paragraph. This helps to delineate the separation between paragraphs.
For instance, I used block paragraphs in my latest book Published., which looks like this:
The reasoning behind whether you should use indentation vs. block paragraphs is this: in works where one thought should flow smoothly into the next, such as in a novel, paragraph indentations are used with no line spacing between paragraphs.
But in books where complicated information is being consumed, having a single line space between paragraphs aids the brain in processing one piece of information before moving on to the next.
Here is an example from a fiction novel of what it looks like to use indents instead of block paragraphs:
An exception to the block paragraph for non-fiction/indents for fiction guideline: non-fiction narratives, such as a memoir or historical fiction, should use the same indent style described above in tip #1.
In non-fiction works where some information should flow, and other sections require more brain power to comprehend, some authors decide to mix formatting types and use indentation where appropriate and block paragraphs where useful. But in general, to avoid confusing the reader and to make your book look uniform, clean, and as if you didn’t make a book formatting error, it’s best to choose one style or the other and stick with it throughout your book.
However, if you insist on getting crazy and mixing it up, knowing how and when to use block paragraphs versus when to indent results in a more professional manuscript.
#3 – Avoid Double Spaces After Periods
Here’s the truth: Two spaces after a period is wrong. Period. (Ha!)
Just as with the good old-fashioned Tab key indent, two spaces after a period may have been the norm back when you were learning to type. This is because, with typewriters, characters were all the same width, so the two-space rule allowed for greater readability. With modern computer fonts, the characters all fit closer together in a proportional fashion, thereby eradicating the need for that one additional space.
Most major style guides—including the Chicago Manual of Style, which is used by traditional publishers—now formally recognize the more modern single-space rule. From an aesthetics angle, one space looks neater, which your readers’ eyes will appreciate.
Before you convert your manuscript, change all double spaces to single spaces. The result will be a better formatted, stylistically correct book.
You’re going to use that super handy “Find and Replace” function again:
- Enter two spaces in the Find (This will help you find every double space in the document.)
- Enter a single space into the Replace field.
- Hit Replace All.
Voila! Like magic.
#4 – Be Cautious with Hyphens
Improper hyphenation is a common error that may be harder to stay on top of because the rules of hyphenation differ depending on the grammatical situation. So when it comes to your book format, you’ll have to do some research.
Generally, keep these three rules in mind while you write so you’ll have to do less work when it’s time for book formatting:
- Two or more words that, together, function as an adjective are joined with a hyphen. For example, dark-pink skirt or two-way street.
- Two words or more that form a number are joined with a hyphen. For example, twenty-one.
- Compound words, which are two words that are joined together to make a single word, do not require a hyphen. For example, toothbrush or starfish.
- Two or more separate words that are used as a single word or idea. For example, action-grabbing, top-notch, or larger-than-life.
When in doubt, look it up! For a more detailed treatment of the hyphen, here is an important source to consider: Elements of Style.
#5 – Know When to Use Quotes vs. an Apostrophe
When to use quotes in your book format:
- When you’re quoting someone, use quotes! This means either a person is speaking—like in fiction—or you are borrowing material verbatim from another source, like in non-fiction.
- Use of quotes is rarely needed for common expressions.
- Ironic terms can be set off in quotes.
- Overuse of quotes can get annoying, so be judicious in their application.
When to use apostrophes:
- Use an apostrophe for possessive form (except the word its.) For example: The cat’s toys are blue.
- Use an apostrophe for contractions, such as it is. For example: The cat’s playing with its toys. It’s a happy cat.
- Avoid using an apostrophe for plural forms. For example: Five cats ran past her.
Again, the rules can be complicated, such as when to use an apostrophe when dealing with an acronym, so when in doubt, look it up.
#6 – Be Careful When Using the Enter Key
There are many times in your book you’ll want to go to a new page or to create a blank page. This is simple right? Hit enter a few times, and presto, you’ve got a new page.
Using paragraph breaks, or hitting enter to create a new page can create many problems when it comes to getting your manuscript ready to publish. For instance, you or your book designer will need to change your page size or page setup according to the book size and style you’ve chosen.
Using paragraph breaks will create extra space where none is needed and will change the page layouts of your book, making your book look ugly. If you’re wondering why after you change your paper size, your chapter headings are no longer at the top of the page, but halfway down, it was because of your liberal use of paragraph breaks.
Instead, use the page break function.
This instantly creates a new page, and it remains a new page even when you’ve changed the page size, page layout, or added more content above. On Microsoft Word, this can be done by pressing Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Cmd+Enter (Mac).
You can also find it in the ribbon in Word. Google Docs also has this feature.
In Word 2016 go to Insert > Page Break
In Google Docs go to Insert > Break > Page Break
#7 – Use the Styles Feature Instead of Formatting Yourself
Stop formatting your chapter titles yourself. Many writers indicate a title or subtitle by simply changing the font size and changing the font from the default font (ah, Times New Roman, how we miss you) and thinking their job is done.
This makes navigating and formatting your book a pain.
What you want to do is use MS Word’s “Styles” feature. Google Docs also has this feature.
In Word 2016, you can find the Styles section under the Home tab on both Mac & Windows.
In Google Docs the styles section can be found by clicking the box between the zoom level and the font type.
When creating a new chapter, highlight the chapter heading, and then make it a header by applying the relevant style. If it’s the main heading make it “Heading 1”, if it’s a subtitle make it “Heading 2”, etc.
This has the added benefit of allowing you to easily automatically create a table of contents page, or to navigate through your 30,000-word manuscript with Word’s navigation pane, while also making your book format look professional.
You Need a Proper Book Format
Without question you want your book to stand out because of its invaluable content, stunning tone of voice, and laser targeted towards your audience. However, don’t let your book formatting or grammatical errors get in the way of your book’s success.
If you’ve written your book, and are ready to get it published, follow the guide you just read to make sure your manuscript isn’t full of errors.
For tips on how to format your book for Kindle, it’s best to follow Amazon’s comprehensive guide on the matter. It will help you design your title page on a different first page, your copyright page, trimming to the correct paper size, and the million other things you need to do to get your book ready for print.
Your Next Steps
Thirty years ago, it would have been impossible to publish a book yourself. Today you have all the tools you need to produce a flawless manuscript. Take the time to review your book—and hire an editor and a book designer—to make sure your book formatting is perfectly professional.
If you’re ready to polish your book format and move on in the publishing process, here’s what you can do next.
#1 – Join your free training!
It’s not enough to put together a pretty book. You also have to know what to do once you’re done and how to go about making it sell! That’s where we come in.
I put together this FREE training just for you to get a jump on the book writing to publishing process. Join my webinar so I can help you learn how to go from blank page to published author in as little as 90 days!
#2 – Put together your launch team
Once your book is all polished to perfection and formatted correctly, you’ll want to start getting your launch team together. These are the people who will help take your book to the next level.
They’ll be the ones to leave Amazon reviews for you as well as help market your book so you can have the biggest, most successful launch possible. Just remember to choose enthusiastic individuals who truly love your book!
#3 – Start your marketing plan
Marketing your book can be really hard without a solid plan of attack. Knowing how to build your author platform and get the word out about your book takes time and deep thinking – along with some helpful tips.
Sit down and create a calendar with all the social posts, ads you want to create, and even emails you want to send to your list. Once you have your plan together, incorporate your launch team to help you execute it.
Have you struggled with book formatting in the past? How did you figure it out?
Knowing what type of author you are will do wonders to help you sharpen your writing skills. When we become aware of our strengths and weaknesses, we begin to flourish.
Nobody is perfect at writing. Not even Stephen King or George R.R. Martin. But the one thing these authors know about themselves is how they write and what they need to work on in order to improve themselves.
But those pros have been at it for years. They had to put in hours, weeks, and years before they were able to determine what type of writer they were.
And with the self-publishing world on the rise, who has time for that?
It’s so important now, more than ever, that you realize your strengths and weaknesses as an author from the start. When you know what you need to buckle down on and what you should spend time highlighting in your work, you can save time while writing and become a better writer overall.
Find out what type of author you are!
We decided to do the work for you. Instead of wasting weeks, months, and even years figuring out the type of author you are, you can find out in just a few minutes!
This quiz is composed of 10 highly intuitive questions to help match you with a famous author just like you! Along with learning who your author twin is, you’ll gain a stronger understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and even gather tips for improving.
What are you waiting for? Find out what your author DNA is right now!
Anyone who says learning how to write a book is easy has never actually tried. If they did, they’d know writing a book takes a lot of work and help from someone who’s done it before.
If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you know how it goes:
You stare at a blank page for 5 minutes, but it feels like hours. To combat the boredom, you stand, stretch, and brew yet another pot of coffee.
While you wait, you do some more stretches (that you don’t really need to do), look outside, and daydream about mowing the lawn.
But then, you stop. You told yourself today is the day you’ll finally start writing your book.
You take your cup of coffee back to your desk, feeling refreshed, and you’re certain the words will flow and you’ll write that perfect book your audience will love.
But first, you quickly check Facebook. You say you’ll only take five minutes…
A week later someone asks how your book is coming, and you think, “Book? What book?”
How to Write a Book Despite Procrastination
There are plenty of reasons why writing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, puts most writers directly into procrastination mode. Maybe you’re just not sure how to get started. Perhaps spilling your guts onto the page for the world to see makes you want to run far away from the nearest computer (I feel you!).
Or maybe you’re insecure about the quality of your writing, and you’re afraid of getting slammed by negative review after negative review.
Or even worse: you might be worried that even if you do write your book, nobody will buy it and all your hard work will have been a waste.
Take a deep breath (but no more coffee, you’ve had enough). Remember that all authors have been exactly where you are right now. Every successful writer—from William Shakespeare to Walt Whitman to Stephen King—began by staring at a blank page.
You’re in illustrious company!
And I’m here to help. You CAN write a book—you just need to know the steps to do it. And that’s exactly what you’re about to learn.
I’m going to share the same system I’ve used to write my bestselling books in 90 days or less.
Learning how to write a book involves a system of 5 main steps:
- → #1 – Adopt the Mentality of a Writer
- → #2 – Set Yourself Up for Success
- → #3 – Actually Write Your Book
- → #4 – Avoid Potholes Along the Way
- → #5 – Launch Your Book Successfully
Ready to learn how to write your first book and go from blank page to published author in just 90 days? Then let’s get started!
How to Write a Book Step 1: Think Like a Writer
Before you sit down and type a single word, it will pay off if you take some time to address a few attitude questions and adopt the right mindset. This is one of the most frequently overlooked steps in becoming a published author, which is a big reason why so many people fail to finish their book.
Take it from me—it’s worth your time to complete these steps. They will make the rest of your book-writing experience much, much easier and more satisfying.
Write with a Purpose — Find Your “Why”
Before you open your laptop and start daydreaming about which photographer should take your best-selling author headshot, or about getting interviewed on Oprah, you need to answer one question:
It’s not enough to have an inspiring book idea. Before you put pen to paper, you need to know your purpose.
I won’t lie. Writing a book is rewarding, but it requires hard work. It requires emotional labor, long nights (or early mornings), extended weekends, and facing a constant self-critical process that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Solidifying the purpose fueling your book will carry you through this difficult process.
Ok, you’re thinking—“Don’t worry, I know why I want to write a book. I want to write to feel important!” That’s an interesting thought, and feeling important may be a byproduct of becoming a self-published author.
However, feeling important isn’t the same as your purpose—your WHY. Feelings are fleeting, whereas a purpose is a deeper, intrinsic motivator which will keep you burning the midnight oil to power through Chapter 23 when the rush of feelings have long dissipated.
While thinking of your own purpose, you may consider why other published authors have taken the leap to write their own books:
- Authority: To build credibility.
- Money: For financial gain or business success.
- Grow a network: To meet and connect with others in the industry.
- Passion project: To share an empowering story for the greater good.
Authority, money, networking, and passion may resonate with you; one of those might be your purpose. Or, your purpose may be something completely independent from this list. There are no wrong or right purposes for writing a book.
Your WHY will be unique to you.
Once you’ve honed in on your WHY, let that purpose help focus your writing. By keeping your purpose at the forefront of your creative process, you’ll make the writing process quicker and smoother than you thought possible.
Get Rid of Your Excuses
You’ve figured out your WHY and articulated your unique purpose for your book. And right on cue, something is going to try to derail your progress already: your excuses.
When there’s nothing standing in your way, it’s sadly typical to start letting excuses become the obstacle to your success. It’s perfectly natural, and it’s part of being human.
But you can overcome it.
It’s worthwhile to spend a little time addressing some common excuses many of us make to prevent us from writing. Once you’ve cleared out the cobwebs and smashed those mental roadblocks, you’ll be better prepared for the writing process ahead. Getting your mind ready is one of the first steps to producing valuable work.
Excuse #1 – You don’t know what to write.
You may not realize it, but you have a story worth telling.
In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised to find as you write that you have more than one story and you’re having a tough time narrowing down the content.
The easiest way to start writing your first book is to choose a topic you’re comfortable with. You can literally write a book about anything, so go with what you know. Start by brainstorming and let your thoughts run free.
Excuse #2 – You don’t have enough time.
Today, we’re all busy. I get it.
But I have some good news: Writing a book takes less time than you think. Find an hour a day you devote to something mindless—social media, video games, internet, or TV—and start writing instead.
And if you don’t have an hour, try 30 minutes. Even 5 minutes 3 times a day can be a source of massive productivity. Think about it.
The average person can type 60 words a minute. 60 words x 5 minutes = 300 words. Do that 3 times a day and you’ll produce close to 1,000 words a day.
You’ll amaze yourself at how an hour per day adds up to something productive!
Excuse #3 – Good writers spend all their free time reading.
Think you need to read all day long to be a writer? Think again.
In fact, many prolific writers cut down on their reading—at least temporarily—in order to give themselves enough time to write.
Besides, you don’t need to be a literary connoisseur to write a great book. Your writing style and voice is your own. And the best way to discover your own natural voice is by sitting down and writing (not reading what others have written).
Excuse #4 – You’re “not an expert.”
A lot of people get tripped up on this. They think, “Oh, I’m not really an expert on ___. I can’t write about that.”
The truth is that the whole concept of “expert” is very subjective. An amateur astronomer wouldn’t seem like an expert to Stephen Hawking…but to 99% of the rest of the world, they would be an expert,
You don’t need to know everything about your topic. As long as there’s a knowledge gap between you and the reader—and as long as you’re helping to fill that gap by teaching them the things they don’t know—then you’re expert enough to write a book.
So stop worrying about “not being an expert!” If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about a topic, then you are 100% qualified to write a book about it.
Excuse #5 – Your first draft must be flawless.
A draft is a work-in-progress, and the goal is simply to get it on paper. A draft will have mistakes and that’s okay—that’s what the editing process is for.
Even experienced professional writers produce first drafts that end up covered in the red pen of an editor
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.”
If it works for a multi-billion-dollar company, it should work for your first self-published book.
Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve already said, writing is hard work. But shedding these excuses should help get you into a positive frame of mind for the writing process.
Realize You Don’t Need to Be Perfect
The thought of writing a book causes many people to think, “I’m not a good enough writer. I need to do _____ before I start writing.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that:
- You don’t need a creative writing class.
- You don’t need a writing mentor or coach (though it does help).
- You don’t need to read thousands of good books.
You only need one thing: a system for finishing your book.
There’s no such thing as a perfect book or a perfect writer. When you get down to it, the most important distinction is between authors who finish their books and authors who don’t.
Don’t worry about being perfect. Just focus on your book, and your writing will get better and better over time.
As with anything we learn, writing is a skill. It requires practice to hone over time. So let go of the idea that you’re not good enough.
This will help you make the mindset switch from “I can’t” to “Let’s get this done!”
How to Write a Book Step 2: Set Yourself Up for Success
Now it’s time to start your prep work. Before you start putting any words onto the page, you need to focus on a few important preparations. Take the time to complete these steps and you’ll be setting yourself—and your new book—up for success.
Plan When You’ll Write
Without a plan, it’s too easy to let your book writing goals get pushed to the background, eventually fading into the soft mist of “someday.” Don’t let your book end up in the graveyard of dreams. In order to realize your end goal, you need actionable steps to follow.
Here are 3 things you can do to create your own customized book writing plan.
#1 – Plan writing sessions using your calendar.
Assess what’s going on in your life in the next 30 days, then block out when you can write, and when you can’t. It’s common for new writers to set unrealistic time goals, which in turn generates stress when it’s impossible to meet those arbitrary deadlines.
Avoid this and stay realistic. Thirty minutes (or even 5 minutes) spent writing is better than nothing, so resolve to make it happen and find the time.
Look at Laura Bennett, a Self-Publishing School student. She was working full-time, running a business, and working on her Master’s degree—busier than most people—yet she found the time to write her book Live Your Dream: How to Cut the Crap and Prioritize Your Purpose in 2 months!
If Laura could make it happen, then writing your book is certainly an attainable dream.
#2 – Choose the time of day you plan to write.
You might decide to get up early and write before the obligations of your day crowd out your writing time. But if you’d win the gold medal in the Olympic sport of snooze-button slapping, then choose a different time or make sure you get to bed earlier so you’re fresh in the morning.
If your evenings are free, but your brain is mush and you’re only good for sinking deep into the couch cushions, then choose a different time or rearrange your schedule so you aren’t so burnt out in the evenings.
Alternatively, you can grab some time on your lunch break, or sneak small blocks of time into your workday, such as when you’re transitioning between activities, or waiting for a meeting to start.
Whatever time of day is convenient for you, stick with it so that it becomes a predictable part of your day. This will establish a writing habit.
#3 – Set a deadline for your book-writing project.
Setting an end date forces you to stay on schedule and keeps the forward momentum going. So consider giving yourself a deadline for your book.
You may be wondering: How do you choose a deadline when you have no idea how long the book-writing process will take?
One month is a good benchmark to start with. Self-Publishing School recommends writing until you hit a daily word count of 500-1,000 words. If you can commit to an hour a day, you should be able to reach that goal. After 30 days of daily writing sessions, you will have completed a 30,000-word draft.
Consistency is key. Small, consistent actions toward writing your book is how it comes to life.
If that schedule doesn’t work, then commit to a time period and a daily word count that does. It’s okay if that’s 15 minutes per day.
The ultimate goal is your rear end in the writing seat for that allocated period of time each day.
Share the end date of your first completed draft with others so you have extrinsic motivation to keep moving toward that finish line. It’s a good idea to choose an editor for your book (before you finish your first draft) and schedule when you’ll have the completed first draft of the manuscript in that person’s hands.
That way, if you’re tempted to flake out and put off a writing session, that looming deadline can help keep you going.
Create Your Writing Environment
The physical space where you do your writing is important. If you try to write in an environment that’s too loud, too busy, or too cluttered, and you’ll find yourself getting frequently distracted.
True, some authors can write in a disheveled environment…
…but I suspect that most of these authors would become even more focused and productive if they cleaned up their writing space to make it easier to focus on their writing.
However, that’s just my opinion. The truth is that the “best” writing environment is going to be personal to you. We all work well in different settings, so with that in mind, consider these general guidelines to boost your productivity:
(To get the sound of a cafe from the comfort of home, check out Coffitivity.)
You might need to experiment to find the writing environment that allows you to focus and write freely. Bottom line: Find the writing environment that makes you comfortable and go with it. Once you find the best creative process for you, you’ll even look forward to writing!
Equip Yourself with the Right Tools
Would you try to construct a piece of furniture without a hammer, nails, or wood?
Of course not! You need the right tools for the job.
Well, the same principle applies when writing a book. And when it comes to writing, your most important tool is your choice of writing software.
Unfortunately, most people don’t really put much thought into which program they use to write their book. They just use whatever word processor they’re most familiar with.
But doing this can cause you to really miss out—especially if there’s another program out there that would work much better for you.
There are countless options out there, but most people end up using one of the “big 3” word processors:
If you just want a time-tested program that works, Word might be the program for you. It’s the most widely used word processor in the world, which means it’s highly reliable and consistent. It also provides a lot of formatting options and even has a navigation pane you can use to easily find the chapter you’re looking for.
One of the biggest downsides to Word is that it’s fairly expensive as far as word processors go.
If you like advanced features, definitely check out Scrivener. It was created specifically for authors, and it contains all sorts of tools that are really helpful for both fiction and nonfiction authors.
For example, you can use the corkboard view to organize your book using virtual notecards:
The biggest downside to Scrivener? Because of all the advanced features, it has a steeper learning curve than other word processors.
You can think of Google Docs as sort of a “Word Lite” program that you can access online, for free. While it doesn’t boast as many features as Word or Scrivener, it’s the hands-down most convenient program out there for sharing and collaboration.
Because everything is stored online, you can access your work from anywhere. And it’s easy to share your work with others and collaborate by leaving comments in the margins:
The big downside to Google Docs? It lacks the more sophisticated features of Word and Scrivener.
Of course, these are only 3 options—there are many more great writing tools out there.
How to Write a Book Step 3: Actually Write Your Book
OK, we’ve got the preliminary stuff out of the way—time to sit down and actually write this thing!
This is an exciting part of the process…unfortunately, it’s also the part where many people get overwhelmed and give up.
But there’s good news: actually writing your book can be a lot easier than you think—if you have the right system. A system that guides you from your idea through your outline and all the way up to your final, polished, publication-ready draft.
Here are the most important things you need to do when writing your book.
Come Up With Your Book Idea
Before you can start typing, you need to have a topic. That might seem obvious, but it can still be a stumbling block if you don’t know what to write about.
Fortunately, there are countless book ideas that could turn into bestselling books.
I recommend brainstorming a long list of book ideas. This way you’ll have a lot of options—giving you the freedom to choose the best possible book topic.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when brainstorming book ideas:
- What are you passionate about?
- What’s your favorite hobby?
- What do you get paid for? What’s your expertise?
- What are people coming to you for advice on?
- What’s a topic you know a lot about or can’t stop talking about?
These are all great ways to come up with bestselling book ideas. In a nutshell, you’re trying to find topics that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about. Because these are the topics that you’re going to do a great job writing about!
Notice that I highlighted the question, “What do you get paid for? What’s your expertise?”
That’s because this is a particularly useful question for coming up with book ideas. A lot of people seem to forget that there is usually at least one topic on which they are a bona fide expert—and that’s their job!
It might not seem that exciting or special to you, because you’re so used to it, but to someone else who’s trying to learn what you already know…your job-related knowledge can seem very valuable indeed.
Don’t Censor Yourself
When you’re brainstorming ideas, don’t censor yourself. Just let the ideas flow. Realize that there is no such thing as a crazy idea. Anything can make a great book topic.
So don’t ever let yourself feel silly or start to judge yourself—doing so is a surefire way to stop your creativity in its tracks.
On the other hand, don’t feel bad if your topic sounds too commonplace either. Even if you’re writing about an age-old topic—like a weight loss book or a romance novel—that’s OK! The truth is that there are no “new” ideas. Everything has been written about before.
But it hasn’t been written from your unique perspective. And that’s what really matters.
Realize that a writer’s job isn’t to come up with never-before-seen ideas. Doing that is pretty much impossible in this day and age.
Instead, a writer’s job is to explore topics from their own point of view. To lend their unique spin on them.
Take a Reader-Centric Perspective
While thinking of your book topic, here’s a piece of advice that I strongly recommend you follow:
Think from your reader’s perspective (not your own).
Many people are too self-centered when they write. When I say “self-centered,” I mean that they’re thinking only of themselves: their interests, their hobbies, their passions.
Yes, it’s true that those are great topics to explore when coming up with your book topic. But during this process, you’ll need to switch from a self-centered perspective to a reader-centered perspective.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What would my reader be most interested in?
- What would my reader most like to learn?
- What are my reader’s biggest problems?
When you start to think this way, it becomes much easier to write your book in a way that provides immense value for the people who matter most—your readers.
Figure Out Which Book You Should Write First
By now you should have a long list of book topics. And you might be wondering, which topic should I write about first?
Here are a few tips to help you choose the best starting project:
- Which one can you finish the fastest? Usually, this is the topic where you have the most experience. This is a good thing to keep in mind because the faster you can finish your book, the faster you can get it out in the world where it can earn you money and help people. (And the faster you can get started on your second book!)
- Which one are you most likely to finish? Usually, these are the topics you are more passionate about. For your first book, I highly recommend choosing a topic that you’re really passionate about to help make sure that you’ll remain interested throughout the entire process.
- Which one is going to make you happy? This is a little harder to define, but it might be something that strikes a chord with you. Maybe there’s a certain book topic that stands out for one reason or another. If that’s the case, then go for it! Remember, writing should make you
Now with these tips in mind, choose the topic for your very first book before proceeding to the next step.
Come Up With a Title
The most important words of your book are the ones that appear on the outside cover:
Your book title.
You don’t have to decide on your final title at this point, but your title is so important that it’s worth thinking about up-front. I recommend brainstorming ideas and letting them simmer in the back of your mind.
Here are a few tips on creating standout, marketable titles.
For a nonfiction book, your title should…
- Include the solution to the reader’s problem
- Use a subtitle for clarity
- Be unforgettable
And for a fiction book, your title should…
- Be appropriate to your genre
- Pique the reader’s interest
- Take its inspiration from your characters
It always helps to do a little research on Amazon. To do that, just head here and select your genre on the left-hand side of the page:
Then you can take a look at some of the best-selling titles in your genre. You can even sub-niche down several times, like “History > Ancient Civilizations > Mesopotamia.” Now pay attention to the titles and look for common themes or trends to use for your own book.
Remember that you’re just starting, so you can always change the title later. But for the time being it can help to have a “working title” (a temporary title that you may change before publication).
Fill Out The BookMap
The BookMap is a free downloadable book outlining template you can use to quickly gather all the important information you’ll need for your book — fiction or nonfiction.
Essentially, the way it works is you’ll create a mind map—sort of a brain dump with a line connecting related ideas together—on your book’s topic.
Start your BookMap by writing your intended topic in the center. From there, answer the questions and add as many related ideas as you can think of. (Again, connect related ideas with a line.) The BookMap gives you the benefits of writing in free-form and creating structure from all the connections you make.
Turn Your BookMap Into an Outline
Once you’ve completely filled out your BookMap, the next step is to group all the related ideas into categories. There’s no hard and fast rule for how to do this; just combine your ideas in the way that makes the most sense to you.
One way to do this is to rewrite each idea on a fresh piece of paper, this time grouped together in related topics. Or, you could simply use different-colored highlighters to categorize your ideas with different colors.
Either way, the result is the same: when you’re done grouping your ideas, those categories will form the outline for your book—each category is a new chapter. So now you know exactly which topics to write about, and you know which points to cover in every chapter of your book.
Capture More Notes with The Sticky Note Method
You can use this method instead of the BookMap, or as a supplement to it.
For about a week, carry around sticky notes and write down anything and everything that crosses your mind regarding your possible book topics.
When the week is up, organize all your sticky notes into sections and themes. Then, organize these themes into the patterns that would make sense in the context of chapters of your book. You can then elaborate in areas where you notice missing pieces to the puzzle, and use all of the material you’ve gathered and organized to create an outline.
This method may be helpful if you’re struggling with the notion of committing to writing a whole book since it lets you break down the process into manageable pieces. The ultimate outcome of using this method is deeper thinking, clarity, and concise organization of thoughts and patterns.
Now Write Your Book…One Chapter at a Time
You now have a chapter-by-chapter outline for your book. The only thing left to do…is to actually sit down and write it!
There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to write your book. But there are some ways that are easier, faster, and more successful than others.
And in my experience, there’s one writing method that works better than any other. Here’s how it works:
- Complete a mini-BookMap for that chapter, brainstorming everything you know about this topic. (10 minutes.)
- Organize your ideas and turn that BookMap into an outline. (10 minutes.)
- Write or speak the chapter by following the outline you just created. (45-60 minutes.)
- Repeat this process, chapter by chapter, until your book is completed.
Steps 1 & 2 should be familiar by now—they’re the same steps you followed to create your overall book outline. You just repeat those steps on a smaller scale for each chapter.
Then in step 3, you have a choice: you can type out your chapter on a computer, or you can use a recording device & transcription service to dictate your chapter.
If you like the idea of dictating your book, rather than typing it out, here’s how to do it.
How to Speak Your Book
This method works well if you’re a strong speaker and you prefer speaking to writing. The ultimate outcome is that you can create your book draft as quickly as possible, with no actual “writing” on your part. Cool, huh?
Once your chapter outline is complete, the next steps are:
- Speak your first draft aloud into a recording app or device such as Voice Memos or Audacity.
- Get that audio file transcribed using a transcription service like Rev.
- Read through the transcription and revise/polish it up.
As I mentioned, one of the benefits of this method is its speed. Just how fast can you write a first draft using speech dictation?
Well, if the average book is 15,000-25,000 words long, and if the average person speaks at about 150 words/minute, then you can easily speak your entire book in approximately 2-3 hours.
Of course, your spoken & transcribed book will need some polishing and revision to get it publication-ready. But it’s still the fastest way of writing a book I’ve ever come across.
Speed Up Your Writing
Writing faster means getting to publication—and to profits—that much sooner.
Try these pro tips to maximize your daily word count:
- Flex your writing muscles each day. The more you work, the more efficient you’ll get. Create your writing routine and stick to it.
- If you get stuck on a particular section and stop making progress, find a different part of the book that appeals to you today and write that section instead.
- Planning and research can be necessary—or a method of procrastination. Limit your prep work to a reasonable timeframe so it won’t stop you from writing. Use a timer if it helps you stay on track.
- An accountability partner can keep you on track. Set up weekly meetings to review work and cheer each other on.
How to Write a Book Step 4: Avoid Potholes Along the Way
If you’ve been following along with steps 1-3, then you’re in the process of writing your book. You’re working from a solid outline, which means you know exactly what to write in every single chapter.
So nothing could possibly go wrong…right?
Unfortunately, no. Even when you have a solid plan, a proven system, and a detailed outline, you can still get tripped up by some of these sneaky book writing roadblocks. Luckily, I’ve got some tips to help you overcome the most common book writing problems.
How to Beat Writer’s Block
Writer’s block can rear its ugly head in many ways. For some, being blocked means no words at all, while for others, it means trying to nail down a functional draft in the midst of a tornado of swirling ideas.
Most of the time, writer’s block is a symptom of a paralyzing fear of others’ opinions.
The harsh reality is, if you write, at some point you’ll be on a first-name basis with a bout of the block. The only way to deal with it is to beat it.
Here are 8 methods I’ve found personally useful when fighting writer’s block:
- Circle back to your BookMap or outline and see if there’s useful info that sparks fresh inspiration. Sometimes it just takes looking back at the bigger picture to remind you where you’re going with your draft.
- Change up the physical way you’re writing; sometimes a simple shift can boost creativity. If you use a laptop, put pen to pad. Try some new music, a new location, or new beverage to sip at your desk.
- If you find you start writing slowly and warm up as time goes on, allow adequate time during your writing sessions to get the creative juices flowing.
- Review what you wrote yesterday to refresh your memory.
- Talk it out. Sometimes a quick conversation with yourself is enough to work through writer’s block. Or call a friend and bounce some ideas off them if you’re truly stuck.
- Remember that what you’re writing doesn’t need to be perfect—you’re writing a first draft. If you have a case of perfectionist syndrome, tell yourself it’s okay to write something you’ll think is terrible. Making something good is what second drafts and the editing process is for. Always remember: Done is better than perfect.
- Go for a walk. You might be surprised at how a walk outside, or a brief bit of exercise, helps refresh and recharge your creative juices.
- Read another author who has a style you like. Read their book for 10 minutes and then start typing, holding their voice in your head.
Don’t Edit While You Write
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You sit down to write and you bang out a page or two. Then you stop and reread what you just wrote. And instead of continuing, you go back and start editing those first few pages of writing.
In your mind, you’re just fixing up your work. You want everything to be just right before you continue on ahead.
But in reality, you’ve just stopped all your forward progress. You spend the next hour trying to make those pages PERFECT…and when perfect doesn’t happen, you get frustrated and stop writing.
Usually, when this sort of thing happens, it becomes very difficult to do any more writing. Why? Because writing and editing use different parts of your brains—and when you allow yourself to slip into a more critical/judgmental frame of mind, it becomes almost impossible to start creating again.
That’s why, even though editing is an important skill, you need to resist the urge to edit your work while you’re still writing.
Don’t start editing your book until AFTER you’ve already created the entire first draft.
Format Your Book Properly
Few things are more irritating than having to go back through your entire book to fix the formatting.
The take-home lesson? Think about how you want to format your book before you write it, and then be consistent. It’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.
And take the time to figure out how to format your book for publication. For example, did you realize that fiction and nonfiction books typically use different indentation styles?
Nonfiction books tend to use block paragraphs, like this:
Whereas fiction books use indentation instead:
Here are a few more book formatting tips:
- Avoid using hard indents. (Don’t hit “tab” at the beginning of a new paragraph; instead, change the paragraph settings to automatically give each paragraph the indentation you want.)
- Only use one space after a period. (Using 2 spaces was necessary with typewriters, but not with computers.)
- If you want to create a page break, do not hit “Enter” repeatedly until you reach the next page. Instead, use the “Page break” function. This is the only way to ensure that your page break will work even after people resize your book on their Kindle.
Keep Going, & Don’t Stop—You’re Almost There!
Now you know not only how to get started writing your book, but how to complete your book project in a mere 90 days!
Remember to keep your WHY at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll be able to crush any and all obstacles that get in your way. If any of the common challenges or obstacles we’ve mentioned rear their ugly head, you’ll know how to deal with them.
With just a little bit of time and a lot of determination, you are on your way to officially calling yourself an author.
How to Write a Book Step 5: Launch Your Book Successfully
By this point, your book is completed—congratulations! You’ve done something that most people will never do.
You’ve written a book.
But you’re not done yet. Not quite. Because you still need to launch your book in a way that sets it up for success; in a way that maximizes your readers, your income, and your influence.
Unfortunately, most people who succeed in writing a book never get this whole “launch” thing figured out. They throw their book up on Amazon without really having a plan, and as a result, they get very few sales, make almost no money, and are frustrated at the lack of response to their work.
It’s true that self-publishing your book on Amazon is a great way to go. But you can’t simply publish your book and expect people to find it. Instead, you need to dedicate some time to mastering the publishing and marketing processes on Amazon to sell more books. This is the only way to make sure that your book makes its way into the hands of the people who will benefit from reading your words.
If you follow this simple launch plan, you can rest assured that your book will come out with a bang and will generate steady sales right out of the gate and for years to come.
Get a Good Cover
We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But in reality, people do exactly that—all the time. And that’s why, if you want your book to sell, your book cover is important.
Really, really important.
And a good book cover does 2 things:
- It grabs people’s attention.
- It instantly tells people what the book is about.
Here are a few examples from some of my own books:
Notice a couple things. First of all, it’s orange—which helps it to stand out and grab attention. Second, it’s super-clear what the book is about. The title is in the upper third of the book in large print, so you can read it even in a thumbnail.
Both covers were designed using the same basic principles. They’re simple, bold covers that stand out. They also have subtitles that clarify exactly what the book is about.
Now this style of cover works great for my niche, but it won’t necessarily work for every type of book. For example, it would make a terrible cover for a romance novel!
Why? Well, in short, it doesn’t look like a romance novel. Remember that part of a cover’s job is to tell people what the book is about. And in many genres of fiction and nonfiction, readers have come to expect a certain type of book cover.
In order to clearly communicate what your book is about to your ideal readers, you need it to fit in with their expectations—while also standing out enough to grab their attention. This is another reason why it pays to head over to the Amazon bestselling books list and study some of the most successful books in your genre.
What do those covers look like? Do they share a similar layout? Color scheme? Font style?
For example, if you were writing a romance novel, you would want to study these covers:
Find out what the most successful books in your genre look like, then imitate that look—but change it up just enough so that it stands out and grabs your readers’ attention.
Build a Launch Team
The real key to a successful book launch is building and leveraging a launch team.
So what is a launch team?
In a nutshell, your launch team is a small team of people who are supporting your book. They could be friends, family, associates, online affiliates—anyone.
At first, your launch team might be limited to your immediate friends & family. That’s OK! Launch your book with their help, and work on continually building your launch team every chance you get.
When you build a launch team, you need to make 2 things clear for everyone:
- What are they agreeing to do for you?
- What are they getting in return?
Step 1 is pretty simple: you want them to read your book, leave a review, and share it with their own friends and family.
This is how you spread the word about a brand-new book when you don’t have an email list or a social media following.
Step 2 can vary from person to person. What do your friends & family get in return for helping you? In many cases, they get things like:
- A free copy of your book
- Their name mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” part of your book
- The chance to be part of something inspiring
- The personal satisfaction of helping to create something meaningful
As your launch team grows bigger, you might need to offer more than that. For example, maybe another person in your niche agrees to promote your new book to their email list—but in exchange, they want a percentage of your profit.
(This is called affiliate marketing, and it’s a great way to grow your audience and your revenue while letting somebody else do the marketing for you.)
But don’t worry about that for now. Just reach out to anyone you know who would be willing to support your first book launch and ask for their help.
Get Ongoing Reviews
If there’s one thing we know about the Amazon algorithm, it’s this:
It loves reviews.
If you want your book to show up in search results and as a “Recommended” book when people are looking at similar products, you need to continue generating ongoing reviews to keep the algorithm happy.
When you do, your book will start to show up at the top of Amazon results:
Reviews are a fantastic form of social proof. They’re a credibility sign that lots of people have read your book and loved it—and that makes other people more likely to want to read it, too.
But you have to be careful about how you go about trying to get Amazon reviews. For example, you can get in big trouble if you try to pay for reviews, swap reviews with other authors, or offer free gifts in exchange for reviews.
You can solicit reviews, but they cannot be “incentivized” reviews.
So how can you generate more reviews without offering people something in return? Well, I’ve discovered a few tips that work incredibly well. Click here to learn my 8-step process for generating more Amazon reviews.
Get Help From a Mentor Who’s Done It Before
I’d like to leave you with one final message:
The best way to learn how to write a bestselling book is to get help from somebody who’s been there before.
People often ask me how I was able to make so much money and sell so many copies of my very first book. And I always tell them the same thing:
Because I sought out a mentor. Someone to teach me a proven book-writing process that had been tried and tested. A book-writing system that was almost guaranteed to work, as long as I followed it properly.
Well, that’s the real secret to my success as an author. I sought out the help I needed to give my very first book a major head-start.
My Final Tip
And now I’m sharing the opportunity to learn from someone who’s mastered writing and self-publishing books with you.To learn from a mentor who can help you achieve your dream of writing and publishing your very first book.
In this free course, you’ll discover my blueprint to go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days
If you want to finish your book, you need a roadmap. That’s why I’m sharing some of the best strategies and tricks other bestselling authors paid thousands of dollars to get — yours FREE.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- The EXACT blueprint to FINALLY cross “write a book” off your bucket list — in just 90 days
- The Bestselling Book Launch Blueprint behind dozens of bestsellers
- Case studies of bestselling authors who made $1,287, $5,500, even $12,424.03 from their first book
- And much more!
Are you ready to write your book? What are some things that you’re still struggling with?
Writing a book is intimidating when you’re not sure where to start. But we have the best top steps to start writing a book today so you can become an author!
Beginning the process of writing a book and presenting it to a worldwide audience is very exciting – but also a little scary. You have amazing ideas that you want to share with the world, and you’re more motivated than ever to educate your readers about them!
But once you begin, you may realize that writing a book is hard work. There are many obstacles that can prevent you from writing and can create stress leading to anxiety.
For example, you may find yourself in front of a blank page unable to type and thinking of stressful questions like: “How do I even start writing a book?”, “Do I need to blog first?”, or “Should I start without an outline”?
Writing a book shouldn’t be this hard! But many get overwhelmed because they lack a writing process.
How to Start Writing a Book Today
If you’re feeling demotivated when it comes to starting your book, you’re not alone. Writing can still be one of the hardest parts for most authors even if they have been writing for a long time!
Fortunately, there are some extremely effective techniques for how to start writing a book and overcoming these hurdles.
These are the seven effective strategies we’ll cover that you can put into action to assure you show up with a game plan to get your thoughts out of your head, down on paper, and into the minds of your readers:
- Set up a creative environment
- Develop a writing habit
- Create an outline
- Focus on only one project
- Maintain your focus
- Stay accountable with the “calendar” method
- Deal with resistance
Ready to start your journey to becoming an author? Let’s go!
#1 – Set Up Your Creative Environment
One of the most important parts of writing a book is designing an environment that allows your creativity to flourish unhindered.
Create an environment that is designed to help you stay focused. Whether you prefer noisy environments or absolute solitude, it’s up to you to determine which will get you into the writer’s flow.
Here are a few ideas to create your ideal space for writing:
- Have collections of inspiration. Decorate your work area with inspiring quotes or pictures that house references to deep work.
- Unclutter your space. Create an uncluttered open space to help organize not only what you need, but also your thoughts.
- Be Flexible. Your creative space doesn’t need to be one spot, it can be anywhere. Even your favorite authors have discovered their best ideas in the most unexpected places.
- Buy a calendar: Your book will get written faster if you have set goals for the week/day. The best way to manage this is by scheduling your time on a calendar. Schedule every hour that you commit to your author business. What gets scheduled, gets done.
- Create a music playlist for inspiration: Many authors can write to the sound of their favorite tunes. Is there anything that gets you working faster? Do you write better with deeper focus when listening to rock music or classical? Set up several playlists that you can use to get into the flow of writing.
- Try Multiple Locations. You won’t know how creative you can be if you don’t try different spots to write. Maybe writing from your bed is your ideal creative space. What about working in a noisy cafe? Change up your location frequently particularly if you feel creatively spent.
Action Step: Spend 30 minutes to create your ideal space for writing. You will feel more inspired to show up and write.
#2 – Develop a Writing Habit
The number one reason authors fail to publish a book is because they never finish the book they intend to write. Why?
Because they didn’t form a good writing habit.
Feeling overwhelmed when writing a book is natural, but you must remember that this journey always begins with the first page. And in order to write your first page, you must take action. This is why having a writing habit will develop your writer’s flow.
Your writing habit can start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking that you must write your every thought on the page. You can start with a few paragraphs, a sentence, or even just a word. The purpose of this exercise is to commit to your writing session every day until it has become second nature.
Action Step: If you don’t have a writing routine already, get one started! Momentum begins by taking that first action.
#3 – Create an Outline
A clear outline provides clarity and direction to your story. It is also the roadmap for your book that keeps you on track and ensures you have all your ideas organized in a natural flow. And that’s not even to mention that it helps you write a lot faster, too.
When you get stuck, you can always go back to your outline to find what comes next regardless of whether the book is 100 pages or 300 pages long. It will help you see the overall picture.
Before you write, spend some time creating your outline with these steps:
- Brainstorm: List every thought and story idea you want in your book by creating a mind map.
- Organize: Combine all related ideas together.
- Order: Arrange ideas into subsections from general to specific.
- Label: Create main and subheadings that will eventually be your chapters.
Action Step: Spend a good portion of your time constructing an outline. If you want more on creating it, be sure to check out our guide.
#4 – Work Only on One Project
One challenge many authors experience is taking on multiple new projects when they should be focused on one because their minds are full of amazing book ideas. Although enticing, the division of attention can spread your energy thin producing bad writing or worse, failure to complete your book.
But don’t worry. We’ve all experienced shiny new idea syndrome before!
There’s only one clear solution to this problem: Cut the clutter and focus on one project until it’s finished.
Be fully committed to your project by doing the following:
- Create an action plan that breaks down the entire project into realistic portions to complete.
- Set hard deadlines for each and every phase of your book.
- Learn to say “NO” to any additional projects no matter how intriguing they appear.
Action Step: Create an action plan and commit to it. Learn to be selfish and practice saying “NO” often. It’s better to complete one book and get it right than to write two books with poor results.
#5 – Maintain Your Focus
Once you get into the flow of writing, you want to remain focused through the duration of your writing session. Any break to your concentration can set you back 20-30 minutes and disrupt your flow. We become less efficient when we are distracted, and it can end up taking twice as long to complete our writing.
Thankfully, there are very effective techniques that can help you remain centered and in the moment.
Leave the distractions behind by doing the following:
- Create a writing schedule. Schedule your writing for the same time each day. This conditioning will develop your writing habit until it becomes as natural as knowing when to brush your teeth.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique. This is a time management strategy that breaks down work into intervals separated by short breaks. With a clock ticking, you will less likely be distracted by email or social media.
- Turn off your phone. Your phone is the most addicting device that steals your precious attention. Don’t let it take that from you, turn it off.
- Have a Task Management app. Task Manager apps, like Todoist, helps you organize your tasks by their time and priority, so you know exactly what to do in what order the next day.
- Disconnect from the Internet. Want to ensure you don’t get distracted by email notifications, Facebook notifications etc? Disconnect your computer from the Internet and enjoy distraction-free writing time.
Action Plan: Experiment with each of these productivity techniques and optimize your writer’s flow. By becoming a productivity expert, you will easily double your output and complete your book in no time.
#6 – Stay Accountable with the “Calendar” Strategy
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most popular comedians of all time, and he attributes his success to his unbelievably strong writing habits. In the early days of his career, Seinfeld was asked how he managed to have such great content.
He said, “The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.”
Seinfeld used the “Calendar Method”, otherwise known as the “Don’t Break the Chain” method, and it worked like this:
- Get yourself a calendar, and hang it on the wall.
- For each day you write, draw an X on the calendar for that day. By the end of the week, you should have a row of Xs at the end.
- If you miss a day, start over and see how long you can go before breaking the chain.
If you can keep this chain going, you will have your book written faster than you can imagine.
Action Plan: Buy yourself a calendar and get started on the “Calendar Method!” Being held accountable will keep you motivated and not “Break the Chain.”
#7 – Deal With Resistance
Resistance is a common obstacle that holds us back from creating. It is a form of fear that intimidates you from writing and can throw you off your writer’s flow. Everyone has encountered this awful feeling, but it doesn’t have to defeat you.
Here are a few ways to deal with resistance:
- Read morning affirmations. Affirmations are powerful snippets of positive words that set the tone and atmosphere for writing. An affirmation could be a quote from a writer, a motivational speech from a public figure, or an inspirational video.
- Free Flow for 10 Minutes. Julia Cameron, the bestselling author of The Artist’s Way, called these morning pages, and its purpose is to clear your mind of all the anxiety and junk rolling around in your head onto a piece of paper. Write anything. You don’t have to edit, publish, or have a word count, it’s simply a 10-minute exercise to clear out heavy thoughts and prepare you for a more productive day. This is best done with pen and paper instead of typing into a document with your digital device.
- Exercise. Exercising is not only good for your health but will help keep you mentally sharp. Working out will increase the blood flow to the brain which will sharpen your awareness and give you the energy you need to tackle your book.
Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out the negative noise and get you to prepared to write.
Your Next Steps
If you want to become a published author, you must take ownership of your writing habits. By following these seven strategies, you can have a completed book within months and be on your way to becoming a successful writer.
But what can you do right now to ensure the success of the book you’re going to start writing? We’ve got them for you.
#1 – Join your free training!
That’s right! We have free training that’s just for you! Chandler Bolt will walk you through everything you need to go from blank page to published author in as little as 90 days.
And that’s extremely useful if you have no idea where to start. He’ll practically put together a game plan for you to utilize and start writing a book!
Make sure to sign up and save your spot right here because being prepared to write a book is half the battle.
#2 – Schedule your writing days
Once you’re registered for your video training, you’ll want to go ahead and schedule your writing days from the get-go. This will not only help you know when to carve out time in your schedule going forward but having a visual representation of when you get to start writing will do wonder to motivate and inspire you!
We typically advise our students to start with 30 minutes per day. Whether that’s before or after work is totally up to you. You can even write during your lunch! So long as you commit to your scheduled times, writing a book will be a breeze!
#3 – Put together some motivational aids
Writing a book is fun but it can also be a lot of work. That means having some motivational and inspirational materials to help you envision your future as a self-published author will help you overcome and slumps you may find yourself in.
Remember to keep those aids handy so they’re always there to keep pushing you forward!
Are you ready to start writing a book? Let us know what it’s about and when you want to publish below!
Amazon self-publishing is the best option to self-publish and we’ve made it even easier for you with this guide for doing it with Kindle Direct Publishing.
Publishing a book is so much easier now than it ever used to be, especially with Amazon self-publishing.
You no longer need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal which locks you into unrealistic deadlines and cuts you out of most of the earnings.
You can now have complete control of your book – and its revenues – by Amazon self-publishing.
But many writers get overwhelmed by the abundance of information about self-publishing. It can be intimidating for first-time publishers. We get it – we were just like you!
So to ease some anxiety and uncertainty, we created this step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide for you to follow in order to get your book published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Network.
This guide will cover:
- Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing Account
- Crafting Your Book Title & Subtitle
- Writing Your Book Description
- Choosing the Right Keywords
- Selecting the Right Categories
- Uploading Your Manuscript
- Creating a Book Cover
- Pricing Your Book
Let’s get started!
Amazon Self-Publishing & Why it’s the Best Option
Traditional publishing is on the way out. This has been the reality for some time now and for good reason. While traditional publishing had its time and was once the only option for publishing a book, the system in place right now is one made for the next Stephen Kings – not for those who have value to share with the world.
Though traditional publishing is still a viable option for some, Amazon self-publishing is the best option and here’s why:
- Over 70% of books are sold on Amazon
- 310 million book buyers through Amazon last year
- Those buyers accounted for over $178 billion in sales
- It’s easier and faster with Amazon self-publishing
There are major differences between traditional vs self-publishing with the majority of authors opting to take their talents to Amazon instead of through one of the Big 5 publishing houses.
And you should too.
What is Kindle Direct Publishing?
Throughout this guide, you’ll read the term Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. It might sound self-explanatory but we’ll cover some basics.
This is an Amazon self-publishing platform that allows you to create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and even audiobooks in a single place. It’s widely used to build books from the ground up.
And fortunately, setting up your KDP account is easy, and should be the first step you complete.
Amazon Self-Publishing Done Right
Sure, anyone can upload a book and self-publish it through Amazon, but that doesn’t mean it will do well and actually sell. You have to know the specifics, from setting up your KDP account to the pricing of your book.
If done correctly, you can expect a successful launch and a substantial amount of passive income. Here are out steps for Amazon self-publishing.
#1 – Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account
First, let’s get you set up with your Kindle Direct Publishing account.
- Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and register with either your Amazon account or with your email address.
- Next, click “Update” in your account information and fill in your tax information. It’s important to note that you need to complete your tax information BEFORE you can publish your first book. So don’t skip this step!
- Once your tax information is complete, click “Finished” and return to the main page.
- Your profile is complete!
With your KDP account setup, proceed to setting up the details of your book.
#2 – Crafting a Book Title and Subtitle
In your Kindle Direct Publishing profile, you need to fill in the title and subtitle of your book. While a subtitle is optional, having a good subtitle is something you should definitely consider to bring in more views and create stronger intrigue.
Here are a couple tips to crafting a great book title:
- Use a Book Hook: Your book hook should speak to the reader in a unique voice that grabs their attention and feeds into what they are looking for.
- List the Benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they will get from reading your book. One technique is to deliver the benefits in the subtitle, providing enough tantalizing information to further attract readers.
Think about what you would be attracted to in a book title. Keep it simple, clear, and unique. Research the title you want to use and make sure it hasn’t been scooped up by a high-performing book already.
You don’t want to make competition for yourself.
#3 – Writing Your Book Description
You need a powerful book description in order for potential buyers to read what it’s about. Even though the cover and subtitle should do a great job of this, we all want more information when it comes to putting money toward something.
Here’s what people notice first when seeing a new book:
- Book Description
A book description is essentially a short written narrative that illustrates what your book is about. It should be written like a sales page to capture the interest of your reader.
This is crucial because the description, in many cases, is the final factor that determines whether the reader will read your book or not.
When done correctly, a well-written book description can practically sell a book on its own.
Here are some strategies to help craft your perfect description:
- Make your first sentence as enticing as possible
- Write your description like a sales page or advertisement, not a dry summary of your book
- Have the description feel personal and empathetic
- Detail the benefits your reader will gain by reading your book
Here’s a great example of a full book description on Amazon:
You can find more amazing description examples with these books:
- Champion Mindset: Tactics to Maximize Potential, Execute Effectively, & Perform at Your Peak – Knockout Mediocrity! By Patrick King
- Novice to Expert: 6 Steps to Learn Anything, Increase Your Knowledge, and Master New Skills by S.J. Scott
Spend some time crafting your eye-catching book description. It will make your book stand out to your readers and motivate them to purchase your book. For the best results, we recommend using the Free Amazon Book Description generator at kindlepreneur.com
#4 – Choosing the Right Keywords
If you want your book to show up in Amazon and Google search engines, you’ll need the right mix of keywords. Since Amazon allows only seven keywords per book, keyword selection requires strategy.
But what are keywords exactly?
For those of you new to this term or just aren’t sure what it means, keywords are specific words or phrases used to describe your book. If someone was looking for a book on your topic, they might type one of those keywords into Amazon or Google in order to find it.
For example, if your book is about perseverance, you might find keywords like this useful:
- how to have perseverance
- what is perseverance
- perseverance examples
- persevering when it’s hard
These are all phrases or words people looking to better themselves with perseverance would type into search engines in order to find what they’re looking for.
You can research the right keyword phrases by using search tools such as:
- KDP Rocket: This is a great tool for comparing Google search results to Amazon. It gives you a competitive score from 1-99, keyword results from both Google and Amazon, and how much money other books are making.
- KW Finder: This tool gives an analytical view of the keyword popularity using a competitive ranking. You can search for five keywords for free per day.
- Amazon’s Autofill Function: Take advantage of Amazon’s search box to find good keywords. Amazon’s suggestions are based on search history so you want to search for words that are high in demand with little competition.
Make a list of possible keywords for your book, then leverage the tools above to test your keywords. Putting in the time to get keywords right will have your book rank higher and appear more frequently to readers.
#5 – Selecting the Right Categories
Amazon provides a collection of categories and subcategories to choose from. Like keyword selecting, your goal is to look for trending areas that don’t have tons of competition.
These categories are what you will rank as a bestseller in, which is why you want to make sure you pick fitting categories that are specific, but also no super competitive. You want to stand out.
You can also check the rankings of the top three books on the first page of each category.
Amazon sales ranking measures how well a product is selling compared to its competitors. All books that are ranked 2,000 or less are considered to be highly purchased products in that particular category.
Unless you have an established audience with significant downloads and reviews, try to aim for categories with books that rank between 10,000-30,000.
Do you want to know how to rank for ten categories? Check out our blog post that details how to get approved for more categories on Amazon.
#6 – Uploading Your Manuscript
- In your Kindle Direct Publishing account, go to “Your Bookshelf”.
- Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions” next to the title of your book.
- Locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
- Click on “Upload eBook manuscript”.
- Upload your manuscript file on your computer.
- Upload complete!
Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.
You can upload the manuscript as many times as you want and the new version will override the existing.
It’s important to check how your book looks using the “Look Inside” feature once the book is live on Amazon. This feature is often the first thing your prospective readers will click on when checking out your book.
If the formatting is off here, it can deter readers from picking up your book. Take this extra step to make sure your formatting looks good here too.
#7 – Creating Your Book Cover
When it comes to publishing a successful book on Amazon, having a perfect book cover is one of the most important aspects to get right. Contrary to what we were told growing up, people do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. It’s actually one of the biggest deterrents.
Your cover is exactly how your book will be judged at first glance.
So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.
You can find cover creators on freelancing sites such as:
Prices will depend on the level of service, but these sites will give you plenty of amazing graphic designers to choose from! It’s a great investment that will make your book stand out perfectly.
Make sure to do your research regarding what type of book cover does best in your genre. Fantasy books, for example, will be a lot different than a memoir or even a historical fiction.
#8 – Pricing Your Book
A question often asked is: “How much should I be pricing my book at after the initial launch is over?”
This is up to the author, but generally, the best range to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $9.99.
The royalty payments vary depending on the country, but you can learn more on KDP Select pricing page.
One popular strategy for beginners is to price your book at $2.99 and gradually increase it by $1 per week. At some point, your sales will begin to dip. And while that’s normally a negative statistic, for this case, it confidently tells you the perfect price of your book that guarantees a profit.
Here are the 4 main pricing strategies to consider in order to be competitive and sell books:
- Know the price of your competitors. Compare the list price of your book to the books around you and determine if you would be able to sell your book for a higher price.
- Know the size of your followers. Famous authors can charge a lot for their books because they have a big following. If you’re not in this category, your book should be priced lower to encourage new readers to buy your work.
- Determine price based on the size of your book. Size does matter when it comes to books. Don’t charge $20 for a 75 page book. Customers will immediately be turned off with the lack of content at that price point.
- Measure price based on reviews. Reviews carry a big weight on influence, and is social proof that your book has been read and well received. Therefore, a book with higher reviews (1000+ reviews) can be priced higher compared to a book with fewer reviews (30+ reviews).
You can get legitimate and honest reviews from:
- Your personal launch team
- Amazon’s top reviewers
- Fans of your social media page
- Personal email list
Experiment with these strategies to pinpoint the price for your book, it will drive long-term success.
Your Next Steps for Amazon Self-Publishing
If you want to become a self-published author, you must be fluent with platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and more. For that reason, you must take action now because you can never have too much knowledge when it comes to self-publishing your book.
#1 – Create your Kindle Direct Publishing Account!
Go ahead right now and get started. You can never start too early. Having your account set up and ready to go will make all the difference when you’re ready to publish!
Make sure to follow the above steps closely so your account is set up the way it’s supposed to be.
#2 – Get that book written
If you already have your book written, edited, and ready to go, that’s amazing! You’re already almost a published author. But if you’re still working on it, put the pedal to the metal and start writing!
We know writing can be really time-consuming but if you put your mind to it, you can utilize your weekends to write faster and get more done. The sooner you finish, the sooner you can publish!
#3 – Utilize your FREE training!
That’s right. We have some free training all ready to go for you. Chandler Bolt put together this video training guide that will help you learn what it takes to go from blank page to self-published author in as little as 90 days!
Take advantage of this offer and join your FREE webinar training to get started toward your dream of becoming a self-published author. After all, you can’t get there unless you start.
What about self-publishing is still confusing to you? Let us know so we can help you more!
Self-published books by our students make us proud. With more self-published authors finding success, it’s great to see our students do the same.
Our Self-Publishing School students have been crushing this past month. With so many books launched in July, it’s incredible to see the success and outcome of our students’ hard work and dedication.
Congratulations to our Self-Publishing School July graduates on their book launches! Check them out and enjoy some great reads.
Do you want to get in on the fun with our students and go from blank page to published author in 90 days…or even less? We can teach you how! Each of our students started out exactly where you are: with nothing more than a desire to publish a book and maybe an idea.
Check out our free training right here to get a jump start on writing and publishing your book!
OUR JULY SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS:
Tracy Hagerman – Apex of Doubt
Apex of Doubt is the second book in The Wilson Series penned by the author, Tracy Hagerman.
A young family reunited. A three-year-old with a new lease on life. A surgeon on the cusp of international fame. Fighting an ominous attack, the Wilson family finds that their faith is once again put to the test in this romantic suspense novel.
Apex of Doubt is the second book in the Christian Fiction Wilson Series. If you like gripping suspense, touching dialogue and enduring romance, you’ll love the second installment of Tracey Hagerman’s moving series.
Kathy Heshelow – Use This for That
Are you interested in essential oils, but don’t know where to start? Are you confused about which essential oils to use for what? Be confused no more! This book is for you!
This is an easy-to-use guide to get the most out of your essential oils.
Essential oils hold great wellness benefits. Kathy Heshelow makes it easy for beginners or dabblers in aromatherapy to walk away with a good understanding of how to USE THIS FOR THAT.
You’ll get great info, recipes, applications and tips to keep you and your family well.
Brett Dillon – Millennials: Your Secret Weapon to Kick Ass in the Marketplace
Do you struggle to lead Millennials? Do you look at your Millennial workforce and wonder how on earth you can win in your marketplace? Do you feel stuck with a generation of workers who just can’t get it together?
This insightful and entertaining book will teach you how to win in your marketplace with a secret weapon: your Millennials!
I teach you how to turn your Millennials into a kick ass team through 3 workplace interventions.
If you are like many business leaders and managers, you struggle with how to recruit employees who are engaged with their work, retain talented employees, increase productivity, help your people gain rare and valuable skills, establish a culture of accountability, and most of all— how to turn your Millennial workforce into your secret weapon to win!
Let’s face the brutal truth: your people are your only unique, sustainable, competitive advantage and differentiator in your operating space—learn how to develop them for maximum effect!
Roger D. Haber – A Great Cloud of Witnesses
A Great Cloud of Witnesses: Listening to Faith Heroes, is an inspirational Christian book that invites the reader to listen to the stories of faith heroes like Noah, Moses, Rahab, and David. They and countless others, of whom the world was not worthy, are cheering us on as we run the race of faith, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
Jean Max St. Louis – You Only Have One Life
In a unique way, this book will help to tackle your stressful situations from the inside out. Namely, this book will help you to deal with your troubles at the very root of them. The lessons taught in this book do not promise to remove all your stresses. However, they will teach you how to have full control over your stress and how to prevail over it.
Tammie Pittsley – Rising Above the Fog
Does your life hurt? Are you hopeless? Do you feel helpless to change anything? Do you think the bad times will never end?
If so, Rising Above the Fog is the book for you. In its pages, you’ll find a kindred spirit who has walked the road you’re on and come out the other side, victorious over the depression that at one point threatened everything she held dear.
Part self-reflection, part self-help, the author takes the reader gently towards the truth that no-one is responsible for your life but you – even when living with depression, or maybe especially when living with depression. With Biblical guidelines and illustrations, as well as personal anecdotes, this book will illuminate your understanding of how much is in your power, and where to start in changing your life.
Elle Muliarchyk – What Underwear Does a Zebra Wear?
What Underwear Does a Zebra Wear? is the first-ever book of jokes totally written by a kid for other kids.
Is there any sound in this world more exhilarating than the sound of your child’s laughter? Laughter comes so easily to them. A silly sound… dad stubbing his toe…boogers!
But one day will suddenly develop a more “sophisticated sense of humor – their very own brand of jokes!
That s what happened to the parents of 2.5-year-old Henley, when she began creating her very own jokes…complete with clever puns, wordplay and an innocent irreverence.
In the utterly delightful and hilarious What Underwear Does a Zebra Wear? Henley s jokes are brought to life with elaborate and gorgeous illustrations.
Chris McKay Pierce – Customer Service Can be Deadly
This is a tongue in cheek, cozy mystery with a slight edge for any audience, young adult to old adult. The quiet life of a Customer Service Specialist just got interesting, and scary. Chris is a quirky but feisty lady who is faced with a stalker who wants her help, extreme cold, and a crazy private investigator who loves the chase. Flowers and vague notes are not the boss of her, but she wants to help a woman in trouble, if only that woman can figure out what she wants. She is a typical Minnesotan faced with the unexpected. That has to be funny. At least she has wine, her neighbor has chocolate and her Saturn works.
Qat Wanders – Dancing with Venus
A Theological Tale of Travel, Romance, and Spirituality
Ruth’s unusual journey continues when she leaves her childhood home once and for all and embarks on an adventure of wanderlust, gypsy culture, and spiritual disruption.
Her life lessons about love, loss, and inner peace have only just begun. Ruth is searching for depth in a shallow world. But she fully intends to travel every inch of the earth until she finds what she is looking for.
In her quest, she meets Bianca—who embodies everything Ruth has been striving to achieve.
Their deep soul-connection blossoms as the two women dance their way around the world together.
Ruth and Bianca experience different cultures and lifestyles in some extreme circumstances, such as burlesque dancing in Europe, belly dancing in India, train-hopping across the United States, and even joining a circus! Ruth eventually opts to step away from her prestigious modeling career to embrace a simpler and more challenging way of nomadic living with her free-spirited partner.
In her travels, Ruth discovers she is actually comfortable with discomfort, and she is addicted to simplicity.
Join these two vagabond beauties in Phase Two of the Searching for Venus trilogy, as they face mainstream society, urban sub-culture, and their own egos head on.
Wendy Van de Poll – Off to School
The fourth book in the Bestselling Series ~ The Adventures of Ms Addie Pants
Off to School is perfect for every child who is learning they are perfect just the way they!
Learning to trust and love oneself when faced with bullies is not always easy. Ms Addie Pants seems to have the most difficult time with this task but she finds that she can do it!
Ndeye Labadens – How to Crush Social Media in Only 2 Minutes a Day
Discover How You Can Become A Social Media Titan By Spending Only A Couple Of Minutes A Day!
How does travel-vlogging and making money at the same time sound?
What do you think about skyrocketing your social media pages by simply spending just 2 minutes every single day?
Impossible and unreasonable?
That’s because you do not currently possess all the information and tools to make it happen!
Not to mention, you will also get a free trial to the Online Course as well!
Social Media Marketing Is The Name Of Today’s Game -And This Is How To Crush It! Whether you’re trying to promote a business, a book, a product of any kind, or simply yourself, social media are the way to go. Correctly using social media for promotion, however, is easier said than done. That’s why we’re here! A Hands-On Approach To Tons Of Social Media Insiders’ Secrets! This social media marketing and promotion guidebook is your go-to resource for all your social media promotion needs.
So, What Are You Still Waiting For?
Laura Domino – 5 Powerful Ways to Show Love
Wouldn’t life be better if we all focused on loving God and people? (Matthew 22:37-40) Looking around at the way humans are treating each other, it seems that we need a refresher course on how to do that.
Author Laura Domino, having experienced the thrill of volunteering locally and internationally, helps women build love and kindness in their community.
5 Powerful Ways to Show Love is the pathway to more powerful love. It walks you through easy-to-follow examples as you learn to set in place the building blocks of a kinder, more loving community.
Yvonne Jones – My Robot Bot
This sweet book is all about Robots. You will find a flying Robots, a water-spraying Robots, a really, really strong Robot, and a Robot that just GOES, GOES, GOES.
With rhyme and rhythm, Robot and his little friend play, tumble, and have lots of fun all day long. Together, they discover that we all are unique and perfect just the way we are.
With sweetness and humor, this fun story of an adorable duo will win the hearts of all little Robot lovers out there.
Kim Baker – Girlfriend 101
Are you in a committed relationship and some issue keeps coming up again and again? Or are you single and every time you start dating, something blocks you from moving forward into a long-term relationship? Or maybe you aren’t dating but would like to and aren’t sure how to move forward. In this relatable, action-oriented book, Kim Baker presents 7 ways to get rid of past baggage to make room for the relationship you’ve always wanted. Girlfriend 101 offers • A way through old grief and patterns that keep us stuck • Strategies for getting more in touch with how our thoughts impact our lives • Practices to become more self-responsible rather than telling ourselves a victim story • Tools to identify if you’re in a toxic relationship with another person or yourself • Strategies for building consistent self-care habits to stop abandoning our own needs • A focus on building empowered, authentic relationships Girlfriend 101 helps readers drop the baggage to heal most important relationship of all – the relationships with ourselves.
Ariston C.M. – Poetry’s Love Song
This book contains a mix of emotions that connects to love; some good, some bad, and some that will give us hope. Hope that we will truly find the love that satisfy our thirsty souls. This book contains some of the poetry from my book The Courage to Dance Again: Finding Purpose in Your Pain. It is my hope that you will enjoy the full range of emotions that you will feel as a result of reading this book. May you find love and satisfaction in all areas of your life. Embrace the beauty of love, it has been waiting for you!
Catherine Beck – Clawdia’s Capers: Making New Friends
It’s tough being the new kid sometimes, isn’t it? Clawdia, a spunky little kitten, feels lonely in her new home. Clawdia wants to make friends with her new brothers, ChiChi and Clyde. But ChiChi and Clyde are not sure they want to share with this bouncy little cat. Can Clawdia change their minds? Will Clawdia find her own special place in the house, or will she give in to her bossy brothers? Dive in and find out if Clawdia’s shining purr-sonality wins them over!
Rajendran Selvaraj – Stocks to Buy
As a trader, investor or beginner, you always have the question, “How can I find the best uptrending momentum stocks every month?” Most of the time it is a complex process. Other times it is quite easy. Even when finding the right stocks is easy, we still want to be sure to make a profit.
Stocks to Buy is a simple strategic guide that anybody can use to find the best-performing stocks in the market.
Stocks to Buy will show you that.
Jennifer Kittredge – Arranged
Sam Andrews, Tampa Bay’s most notorious millionaire bachelor, is infamous for getting exactly what he wants. A shrewd real estate investor, known as bulldog when it comes to business transactions, he does whatever it takes to win, no matter the cost. When he discovers his inheritance comes with a marriage clause, he finds himself working the deal of his life. Hire someone to marry him or lose everything he’s worked so hard to attain.
Sydney Andrews is in way over her head. Not only did her fiancée leave her for someone else, he also left her buried under a mountain of debt. A chance meeting with the infamous Sam Andrews, finds her with a proposition that would change her life. Desperate to eradicate her financial strain she quickly realizes, this arrangement would indeed eliminate her debt, but it could also break her heart.
Ariston C.M. – The Courage to Dance Again
The Courage to Dance follows the story of one woman’s search for meaning and quest for a better life. In her journey toward success, Ariston C.M. struggles through the trials and tribulations of child poverty, abuse, domestic violence, and her own self-doubt. As an adult, she is left at the mercy of two unhappy marriages, riddled with mental abuse and infidelity. In her greatest moment of despair, she has thoughts of suicide and even wanting her own children to die to avoid pain. Her escape from these marriages comes as a relief, but in her journey toward healing she is also met with a realization: Survival is not the aim anymore. She must think bigger and realize her own potential. Through her renewed faith in God she begins on a path of self-actualization, no longer deferring her own dreams or happiness. As she pursues her education, she begins to understand that it does not matter where she comes from or where she has been. She must see herself as her God does, born anew and ready to build a better future.
Inside this book, Ariston C.M. discusses her life and her arduous journey toward salvation. She shines light on what it is to emerge from ultimate darkness and offers strategies to empower women from all challenging walks of life. Through her own lived experiences, she shows that believing in God and oneself are not mutually exclusive but both necessary parts of a life built on redemption. This book contains poetic expressions throughout it and begins a meaningful dialogue on what it is to overcome just about anything and find life’s purpose as a woman of faith. Her story is a testament to the power and resilience of the human condition.
Teresa E. Garvin – To Reach the Stars
A true-life story, “To Reach The Stars”, Teresa is rising above her past, while she struggles to embrace the reality that she will not be able to return to her native homeland.
With nowhere to go, she soon realizes that the unfamiliar and challenging country where she had thought she was only visiting for a short time was going to be her new home.
Her soon thought plans of returning to her home in her native Poland crushed by circumstances beyond her control.
Beautifully written, with heartbreaking honesty; “To Reach The Stars” is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of one’s social status, or place of origin, the American Dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and determination to succeed.
In this short story, you will find many business inspirations that come from the authors 37 years of challenges and achievements that she experienced as a successful business owner, entrepreneur and mentor.
Her practical and useful business lessons are mixed with the true life struggles and set-backs combined with the achievements and goals that resulted in rich rewards and success.
This short story will inspire you “To Reach The Stars” and help you to build the confidence in yourself to achieve.
Teresa E. Garvin – Clean Up: Wipe Your Debt Away
This book will take you through every step of building a business. From assessing what form of business is good for you, through gaining your new client base, to growing your business and leading you towards a life of financial independence.
Soon, you will become a business owner, not a business operator.
To find the right answers, we must first ask the right questions.
What questions are the right ones, when you don’t know the subject?
This book asks the right questions, and provides answers to get you started in creating your business.
And when you grow your knowledge and curiosity, you will have more questions.
This book provides you with a website to post all your questions and receive excellent answers to help you become the best in your industry.
The only move that matters is your next one.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our students who published a book in the month of July! Your hard work has not gone unnoticed.
And remember, if you want to self-publish your book and end up on a page just like this, get started today with your free training because you can never start working toward your publishing dreams too early.
Learning how to write a memoir might seem simple. You may think it easy to jot down details about your life in a cohesive, entertaining fashion…but there’s quite a bit more to it.
Memoirs can be very complex pieces of work. It takes a lot of skill and craft to be able to write down intimate details about your life for others to read and learn from. Which means learning how to write a memoir can be really hard.
But the great part?
Writing a memoir is both empowering and rewarding, and when broken down into these feasible steps, it’s something you can learn to master in no time.
How many people can say they wrote a book detailing the most impactful moments of their lives?
And by taking this leap and diving head first into your memories and entire life, you’re reaching new heights for yourself and you may even enlighten others by the end of your journey.
What is a memoir?
We all typically think of a memoir and cringe a little at the idea of a book about someone else’s life. But that’s not all a memoir is!
The memoir definition is: “a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources.”
Essentially, this is a book written by you about key moments in your life. You bring your memories to life in order to touch on an overarching message others can learn and grow from.
It’s like the highlight reel from your diary (if you ever had one) about the experiences that shaped your life.
Memoir VS Autobiography
I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t they the same thing?”
With so many genres and writing terminology out there, knowing the differences between a memoir vs autobiography, (aka works of writing that are basically the same) can be confusing.
They’re both about someone’s life written by themselves, right? Right.
But they do differ in a single way that really makes a memoir vs an autobiography completely different in terms of their end results.
A memoir typically covers one aspect of a writer’s life (or a continuous theme through memories), while an autobiography is a chronological account of the writer’s life.
So if you want to write a play-by-play of your entire life from the moment you popped into this world to the very second you started writing, you’d write an autobiography.
But if you’re looking to share a profound message with the world through your own real-life experiences, you’ll write a memoir.
Memoir Meaning and Influence
Writing a memoir can not only be a valuable experience for you, but the impact it may have on other people is astounding too.
You have a life worth something. You have experiences that led you to a very specific place in life, and you know what?
Others have undoubtedly been in your shoes before and will benefit from your journey.
Essentially, you can teach others how to get through what you did or even how to learn from their own journeys just as you have yours.
That’s the meaning of a memoir and its influence knows no bounds.
How to Write a Memoir
Writing a memoir can be difficult simply because it’s about your life. Somehow, we find it too hard to put our own lives into words through a meaningful message.
How do you really sum up an accumulation of years and years of experience in only a couple hundred pages?
We’ll help you learn how to write a memoir worth reading.
#1 – Choose your focus or theme
A memoir isn’t just a list of all the experiences in your life. If it were, you’d call it an autobiography.
What sets memoirs apart from a simple retelling of your life is an overarching theme or message that others can take away from it – and that you personally learned from the stories you share.
Think about what you want others to take away from reading your memoir.
What will they learn or realize or gain from reading about your life? You can ask yourself those very same questions about your life to find the answer.
What have you learned throughout your life? What’s the number 1 message that your experiences have taught you?
Once you have that big, broad idea, the real work begins.
#2 – List all associating memories
It’s time to do a little mind mapping.
Now that you know the overall theme and message of your memoir and what will set it apart, you have to connect the dots of your life to that core focus.
Here are a few areas to think about specifically to help jog some of those memories:
- Childhood influences
- Grade school
- Teenage years
- First job/s
- First love/s
- College/post high school
- Hopes and dreams
There are so many areas that have a direct influence over how you perceive life as a whole. You just have to do a little digging to spark some specific memories that can circle back to the overarching theme of your memoir.
#3 – Add others’ related stories
I know this is a book about your life but it never hurts to back up your own experiences with someone else’s – or many other people’s.
Knowing how to write a memoir involves knowing when your message will be loudest. And that’s often with additional stories from others.
One of the most powerful connections you can make to benefit from the message of your memoir is to show your readers that it’s not just you.
Others have gone through the same situations you have and came out with the same perspective.
This one requires some extensive research (and maybe even an interview or two), but possessing the ability to be credible in your readers’ eyes is crucial. And obviously, you’ll want to make sure you’re using their experiences legally in your memoir.
You can even interview family or friends who might see an experience you share differently than you.
Adding those details will strengthen your core message.
#4 – Write truthfully
One of the hardest parts about writing a memoir is the fact that we tend to be a wee bit biased with ourselves.
*Gasp* You don’t say!
It’s true. Nobody really likes to admit their faults.
It’s one thing to recognize when you were wrong in life, it’s another to actually write it down for the world to see.
It’s hard. We want everyone to see the best version of ourselves and therefore, we leave out details or flat out lie to seem “better” in their eyes.
But that’s not what makes a good memoir.
In order to learn how to write a memoir that really touches people in deep, emotional ways, you have to learn to be honest.
#5 – Show, don’t tell
No, this doesn’t mean you have to write a picture book. That’s not what “show” means in this case.
When it comes to creating intrigue with your writing – and trust me, you want to do this, especially for a memoir – you have to write by showing, not telling.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll just give you an overview of this writing technique, but if you’re interested in mastering the ability to pull readers in, you can check out this detailed explanation.
Essentially, showing versus telling is the way in which you describe your experiences with an emphasis on emotion.
But that doesn’t mean you should write down every feeling you had during a specific time. In fact, that’s what you want to avoid.
We’ll cover this in more detail below, but here’s a great video outlining this method ↓
#6 – Get vulnerable
Memoirs are not a time to distance yourself from your inner feelings.
Quite the opposite, actually.
It’s time to dig deep and show the world what kind of author you are through your life experiences by getting vulnerable.
Open yourself up to the truth behind who you are today. If you shield yourself in any way, it’s going to be obvious on the pages of your memoir and therefore, not as effective.
At first, you may want to cringe while writing certain memories but after a few days, you’ll find it easier to share your truth.
And best of all? You’ll be happy you did.
#7 – Make connections with each story
You have your focus, right? Having that overarching message is going to help you tie all of your memories together in a cohesive manner.
Each story you tell – whether it’s yours or someone else’s – has to connect to your focus in order for that theme to come across to your readers.
But they don’t all have to directly relate to your focus.
Some experiences may have led you to moments of realization that then led you to other events that tie into the main message you want others to gain from reading your memoir.
Think of it this way: you want to connect the dots so by the time the reader is finished, the message comes full circle.
#8 – Talk about how everything affects your life today
Usually, writing a memoir is about looking back on your life and determining how you made it to who you are today. What events lead to the very core of who you are right now?
That means your memoir will include inside peeks into your life as you live it now.
Each chapter should bring your readers back to your present-day life and how each memory affected where you are today.
#9 – Put your personality into it
Nobody wants to read a stiff retelling of your life.
I’m sorry, but I’m not really. I’m here to help. And that means I have to be real with you and tell you that people want to hear your personality!
They’re reading about your life and that means they want more of you in the writing. Learning how to write a memoir includes figuring out how to put more of you into the pages.
Don’t be afraid to write how you speak. Talk to them as if you were talking to a friend.
Here are a few ways you can add more personality into your memoir:
- Tell jokes
- Use cuss words (if that’s how you really speak!)
- Add your personal lingo (we all have phrases we use regularly)
- Italicize words you emphasize when speaking
- If you have the urge to write something you think is funny or witty, do it!
You want your readers to gain a sense of who you are not only through your stories but through the voice in your writing as well.
#10 Write a memoir you’d want to read
How do you ensure others will like our memoir? Write it in a way that makes it an entertaining read for yourself!
This has a lot to do with putting your own personality into it but it’s also about crafting the structure of your novel in an entertaining manner, too.
Even though this is a memoir, there should still be a climax to keep readers intrigued. This would be when your life came to a head; where you struggled but was able to pull yourself out of the trenches and forge your own path.
How to Start a Memoir
We all know the very beginning of every book is important. Writing a strong introduction is everything.
Without the ability to hook readers, convincing someone to buy and read your book will be a bit harder than anticipated.
That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help you learn how to start a memoir that’s captivating and intriguing.
Let’s draw those readers in!
#1 – Be relatable
Nobody wants to read a book that’s preachy or condescending.
One major mistake many make when writing a memoir is not starting it off in a way that makes the readers connect with them.
This is one of the most important aspects of your memoir.
Do you really think people will want to read about a person’s life if they can’t relate to them?
Think about when you were most invested in a book (or even a TV show or movie). What did you like most? Could you relate to the author or the characters?
Did you understand their pain and triumph and hardships?
This is typically the best way to not only create invested readers but to gain fans. When others relate to you and see themselves in your journey, they’ll want to stick around to see how it plays out.
And that means they’ll read your whole book and any others you write.
#2 – Use emotion by showing, not telling
If you want to give a play-by-play of your life with nothing more than a list of experiences you’ve gone through, that’s fine.
Just know that doing it that way won’t hook your readers and it certainly won’t keep them.
A memoir can be a powerful tool for educating others through your life journeys, but if they’re not intrigued enough to keep reading, it’ll render your memoir pointless.
And we don’t want that.
By showing and not telling, you’ll put more emotion into your writing. This technique might sound confusing but it’s actually quite easy once you learn how to do it.
Here are the basics for showing versus telling:
- Use fewer tell words like “I heard,” “I felt,” “I smelled,” “I saw,” to bring readers closer
- Stop explaining emotions and instead explain physical reactions of those emotions (If you want to say “I was scared,” describe your heart hammering against your chest or the sweat beading your forehead instead)
- Describe body language in more detail
- Use “strong” language that coincides with the emotions you’re trying to convey (writing “crashed to the floor” instead of “fell to the floor” creates more impact)
This writing method can be tricky to master but thankfully, there are countless resources to help you figure it out.
#3 – Make the message clear right away
What is it you’re trying to say through your memoir? Why did you want to start writing one in the first place?
Everybody has an interesting life if you look deep enough. What you have to determine is how your life experiences can aid and shape the lives of others.
Think about how that will manifest from what you’ve lived through before and make sure your readers know what it is from the start (which can also be done through a powerful book title).
How to Write a Memoir Tips from the Experienced
The best advice you can receive is from someone who’s done it before. These Self-Publishing School students (and graduates!) have first-hand knowledge when it comes to the difficulties of writing your life down on paper.
Here’s what these memoir writers want you to know.
#1 – Write from the heart
Christopher Moss, author of Hope Over Anxiety, says the best way to write your memoir is to be open about your experiences.
“Write from the heart. Show people your experience. Be as vulnerable and honest as you can. If it scares you a little, what you are writing that’s good. The reader has to feel what you are going through.”
#2 – Don’t be afraid to go with the flow
Lou A. Vendetti, who’s in the thick of writing and working toward publication of his memoir, has a few pieces of advice for you.
“Do not be afraid to deviate. If your book doesn’t follow your outline one hundred percent, then that’s okay! Don’t feel like you have to only talk about what’s in your outline. You are the author; you are the publisher, so you are the one making all of the decisions (sounds scary, huh?). In the beginning, I thought it was.”
“Don’t think that the memoir is supposed to be ‘formal.’ As an example, I use contractions in mine, which would not necessarily be used in a nonfiction book. Yes, I wanted my book to be professional, but I didn’t want to make it sound like I’m not ‘on my audience’s level.’ I wanted to keep my voice and make it as if I’m talking to my audience; as if I’m having a conversation with them.”
#3 – Review old photos and videos
Toni Crowe, author of Never a $7 Whore, says it’s best to relive your memories the best you can through photos and videos.
“My advice to new memoir writers is to take the time to review any old documents or photos that exist and to pull those memories out to examine. Doing this during the map mapping process helped me immensely.”
Telling Your Story, Your Way
The biggest takeaway here is that this is your story, it’s your life, and therefore, it should be told just as you want it to be.
There’s nothing more freeing than having the ability to articulate your life experiences in a way that will truly speak to others and potentially change their lives.
Do you want to change lives and help others through the same turmoil you’ve experienced?
By self-publishing your memoir, you’ll be rewarded for all of your honest hard work with more than just additional income.
You will be responsible for changing and shaping the lives of others.
What to do Next
The work doesn’t just stop when you learn how to write a memoir.
In fact, it’s just beginning! Here are a few steps you can use to start your memoir and make some progress.
#1 – Determine your overarching message
You already know how important this is and how to discover it. Now it’s time to actually start right now!
Grab a piece of paper (or open a Word Doc, whichever you prefer) and quickly jot down some single words or phrases of the first ideas that pop into your mind when you think about the way you live your life.
They could be as simple as these:
- Against society
- Helping others
- Love wholly
I think you get the idea. These are very basic concepts of how people choose to live that may have taken some learning to get to.
What are yours?
#2 – Start your mind map [FREE DOWNLOAD!]
This is where it all starts!
You have the very core of what your memoir will encompass. Let’s start that mind map!
I’ve attached a free downloadable mind map template specifically for a memoir you can use to brainstorm the memories and stories you’ll include.
You can fill this out on your computer or print it out if you’re the type who benefits from writing details down.
Once this is done, you can start outlining your memoir!
#3 – Learn more!
Memoirs can be tricky. How do you actually ensure people will buy your book?
Doing some extended research into what it really takes to write, market, and publish a book will put you ahead of the curve.
Don’t miss out! Make sure to save your spot because the more you know, the better your chances of having success with your memoir!
Are you ready to start your memoir? If not, what’s stopping you from turning your life experiences into an everlasting footprint in the literary world?
Outlining. That word 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.
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 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 (wane will!) be pain-free.
You have free reign to structure your book 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.
What is a Book Outline?
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.
A book outline is a roadmap for your story.
It tells you where you need to go and when. 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:
- help you define your goals
- finish your manuscript quicker
- stay focused
- avoid plot holes
- create a cohesive plan
- see your story from start to finish
- help you stay motivated
- ensure you can focus on the quality of your writing instead of what to write
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. 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:
5 Ways to Write a Non-Fiction 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!
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, it 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.
#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.
Others find satisfaction in sketching ideas with dry erase markers on a whiteboard or the old-fashioned feel of chalk on a blackboard.
#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.
The program 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 character development, the evolution of plot points, and 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!
#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.
#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
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.
For more ideas and creatives ways to jump-start your novel outline, check out How to Write a Novel Outline.
Here’s the take-away: 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.
Get Started on Your Outline By Signing Up for Your FREE Training!
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.
Click right here to sign up to save your spot!
Are you an outliner? What’s the best method you’ve used and how did it help you the most?
When you start writing a book, it’s as if everyone around you becomes the expert. You’ll hear that you should show don’t tell, start with action, or even embellish your stories to sound “better.”
People start spitting advice in your face like they’ve been through it all before even though most of them have hardly even thought about writing a book, let alone put forth an ounce of work to get started with tips like show don’t tell.
So how do you know which advice is garbage and which you should actually take?
It’s safe to say that the idea of showing not telling is one all writers should pay close attention to.
Show don’t tell in writing is a piece of advice that’s been around for longer than you might realize. Even if it didn’t have a phrase attached to it yet, the best authors out there have been using it for the duration of their careers (and even before, most likely).
In fact, it’s why they’re known as the best writers of all time.
But although these writers knew how to bring their writing to life instinctually, not all of us are so lucky. We have to learn the process of show don’t tell, which can be tricky if you don’t know where to start.
What does show don’t tell mean?
At a first glance, this writing rule could be confused for the best day in Kindergarten when you bring your pet lizard in to show the class.
But in actuality, show don’t tell refers to the way in which you describe the experience you (or your character) went through.
It’s about showing the actions and relationships and feelings instead of just telling the reader what happened. This creates a much deeper connection and brings readers closer to you (or the main character).
And that makes them feel deeper and stronger about the story. It creates empathy and invests the reader – which is exactly what you need.
Writing your book introduction with an abundance of showing not telling is a powerful way to draw readers in for the duration of your entire book.
But this technique is much easier shown than told (hehe – see what I did there?).
Show Don’t Tell Examples:
These examples are pretty basic but that’s the best way to gain an understanding of what this looks like. Keep in mind that your sentences may be more complex than these examples, but still full of “tell” words or phrases.
Be on the lookout for the details.
Tell – “I heard footsteps creeping behind me and it made the whole situation scarier.”
Show – “Crunching hit my ears from behind, accelerating the already rampant pounding of my heart against my ribs.”
Why it’s better – In an instance such as this, you want the reader to feel what you did: the surprise and the sense of urgency, the fear. Describing the crunching that hit your ears even through the pounding of your heart not only creates a powerful visual, but it also tells the reader the state your body was in during that intense moment. The first example is weak and does little to explain how you actually felt in that moment.
Tell – “She was my best friend. I could tell her almost anything.”
Show – “I met her at the town square, running in for our usual hug that carried on for far too long as we gushed about our lives with smiles lighting our faces.”
Why it’s better – The first example of telling is shorter, but it doesn’t do a great job of really showing the impact you have on each other. Anyone can think of “best friend” and form an overall thought about what that looks like. But this isn’t just “anyone.” This is your best friend. Showing your relationship with one another is vital to forging that deeper connection.
Why should you show don’t tell in writing?
The entire point of showing versus telling in writing is to make a stronger emotional connection with your readers and hook them.
The idea behind this writing technique is to put the reader in your shoes. Make them feel, hear, and sense the situation as you did.
It’s about creating an experience for the reader instead of just a recount of events.
Doing this makes the reader want to root for you. They want to hear your whole story and in turn, they’ll read your whole book.
Why is showing not telling important for non-fiction specifically?
If you write fiction, you hear this advice all the time. However, all of you non-fiction writers out there, this piece of writing advice might be new to you.
Show don’t tell isn’t always the first thing a non-fiction writer thinks of when it comes to adding more intrigue to your story.
But it is the most vital for pulling your reader in and not only hooking them, but keeping them with you throughout the duration of your book.
Many fiction writers hear this writing advice often because it’s one of the best ways to make real people feel deeply for fictional characters.
When it comes to writing a story about your life and something you went through, the idea is the same. By showing and not telling, you’ll be able to guide them through your real-life situation as an experience and not just some book they’re reading while the kids are yelling at their video games and the oven alarm is blaring in the distance.
If you can show don’t tell the right way, the reader won’t even notice those distractions.
How to Show Don’t Tell in Writing
So now you know what it is and why it’s important, but how the heck do you actually do it? The process of taking a single story and crafting it to create more emotion can be difficult.
Thankfully, we have some of the best tips for showing not telling in writing.
#1 – Get rid of all basic sensory words
Phrases like, “I heard,” “I felt,” and “I smelled,” are all very weak. These are “telling” words and phrases that force the reader further away from you and your experience.
That’s exactly what you want to avoid.
Instead, you need to pull them into your world and into your psyche the very moment you were encountering the situation.
Writing Exercise #1:
Read through your writing and circle every telling word you can find. Anything that explains one of the 5 senses.
Then write down specifics for each. If you heard someone creeping up behind you, how did you hear it? Was it crunching on gravel? Was it the shuffling of shoes against carpet?
Once you have these, rewrite those sections by explaining how the senses manifested to you and not just what you sensed (detailed below in the next writing exercise).
#2 – Don’t use “emotion explaining” words
This might be a bit tricky and you certainly don’t have to follow this one 100% of the time, but if you can get this right, it’ll make showing versus telling so much easier to grasp.
Think of any word to describe an emotion. I’ll help you out a little:
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
These are all great words to describe how someone felt. However, they’re also very weak, unexciting ways to do so.
If you need your readers to understand how excited you were at any given time, show them. Don’t just tell them, “I was so excited!”
Show them the sweat beading your forehead as you raced to your destination. Show them the lifting of your cheeks as your lips parted way for an uncontrollable smile.
Writing Exercise #2:
Skim through your writing and circle every word that’s an emotion.
Then, for every emotion-explaining word you find, write down physical reactions of feeling that way.
Once you have a small list for each circled word, use it to craft a couple sentences to describe (and show!) just what that looked like.
You can see the difference alone between these two paragraphs. By replacing all of the “telling” words and phrases, it develops into an experience for the reader and not just a retelling of what happened.
#3 – Describe body language
One of the best ways you can show not tell in writing is to use strong descriptive language when it comes to body language.
A person’s actions are really a gateway to their mind and how they feel.
You can tell if another person has a crush on someone just by paying attention to the way their body adjusts when in that person’s presence, right?
Showing versus telling in writing is exactly that. You want to show the reader what is happening and allow them to form a conclusion about how you or others in your story felt based on what they look like.
In all honesty, a lot of this one is about having faith that your audience can put two and two together.
Oftentimes, we tend to over explain in an effort to make something obvious when really, the emotion is in the guesswork; it’s in allowing someone to draw their own conclusions. That over-explaining is what comes across as “telly” and not as emotionally compelling.
And honestly? It’s also pretty boring and flat.
If you do a great job of showing what you want readers to see, they’ll understand how someone feels – and they’ll even feel that way themselves.
That’s the power of showing not telling.
#4 – Use strong language
Showing itself can be extremely impactful, but using strong language and verbs in specific situations is even more powerful for adding depth to your story.
The way you make someone else actually feel how you did as you were going through the experience is to make sure the words you’re using directly reflect the emotions.
This can be a difficult task for those who aren’t sure what “strong language” looks likes, but I’ll make it easier for you.
Writing Exercise #3:
Think of a situation you want to explain in your book (or maybe something you already have written out).
Now imagine what feeling you want to convey through that scene. What do you want your readers to take away from that specific moment in your story? List those emotions so you can see all of them.
Take that list and start writing ways in which you can bring those emotions to life. What do those things mean for you? How would these emotions manifest during that specific time?
Now take those stronger verbs and words that depict a deeper emotion and craft your sentence or paragraph with those to reflect how you truly felt.
How does this sentence make you feel? Do you feel comfort, relaxation, and a sense that I love being there?
That was the purpose.
It’s about taking one specific idea or vibe or feeling and using what you know to transform it into something that’s showing not telling.
This specific example for show don’t tell can be a little time-consuming at first, but you will get the hang of it and these methods will soon become second nature to you.
What to do Next?
Show don’t tell can be difficult to master unless you’re constantly thinking about it. But because this specific writing skill is vital for building strong emotional connections, you have to implement this information.
Here’s what you can do going forward.
#1 – Practice
There are 3 writing exercises listed above. As you write going forward, keep showing not telling in the forefront of your mind to foster a more compelling emotional connection.
You can use these exercises every single time you sit down to write or you can take a day of editing to go through each section you think needs more showing.
If your manuscript is finished and you’re ready for a full self-edit, these exercises are also extremely helpful editing guidelines.
Either way, practicing will help this technique become easy and even natural – which will allow you to write more, faster.
#2 – Watch for it in books you read
You’ll quickly learn that any good books you’ve read that make you feel something will have an abundance of show don’t tell examples.
If you’re okay with scribbling in your books, you can even highlight examples to learn from when you feel stuck.
Not only will doing this help you to recognize these instances more, you’ll also get better at writing it yourself. The easier showing not telling is for you, the stronger your writing will be.
#3 – Learn more!
You can’t have too much knowledge when it comes to writing and publishing.
If you’re looking to start writing a book or need help getting started, tune into Chandler Bolt’s FREE Webinar Training where he takes you through everything you need to know to get started.
Being informed and increasing your writing knowledge is essential because the more you know, the better your writing, and in turn, the better your book will be.
Let’s get your story heard!
Are you a master of show don’t tell or are you just getting started? Let us know what works best for you when it comes to forging a deeper connection with your readers through your writing!
“Build it and they will come” is advice that rarely works when trying to sell books. Amazon is full of self-published books that have barely made any sales, leaving many writers dejected.
If you want your books to succeed, to get into the hands of your readers, to potentially achieve bestseller status…. you need a book launch plan.
After all, you’ve already spent months (or even years) crafting your manuscript. You’ve also spent a small fortune on a book cover, hiring an editor, proofreading, formatting, and other related expenses.
The last thing you need after all you’ve invested is for your book to fail, to make exactly zero sales.
(Okay you might make a few, to friends and family. But that’s not why you wrote your book, right?)
If you have a book, or are looking to write a book, and are already thinking about promotion, then this is for you. Contrary to what you might expect, launching a book isn’t hard, and it doesn’t need to break the bank (although you do need to invest some money).
By focusing on the minimal book launch strategy I’ll outline here, you’ll avoid being overwhelmed and launch your book on Amazon like a pro.
We’ll guide you through how to:
- Price your book during launch
- Set up your complete launch strategy during soft launch
- Collect reviews from your launch team
- Set your book up with the best promo sites for both paid and free
- Stick to a minimalist launch plan
Pre Book Launch Checklist
Before you go any further, there are a few things you need to do in between finishing your manuscript and launching your book. I put together a 13-point checklist of these action items.
You don’t need to carry them out with perfection since they can be tweaked later. But don’t launch your book without doing them.
- Book Description — Create your book description using the Book Description Generator at Kindlepreneur.com.
- Keywords — Select 7 keywords for your book. I use KDP Rocket and Kindlespy. There is also Merchant Words and Google AdWords.
- Categories — Choose 2 main categories for your book in the KDP dashboard. Once your book is live you can email Amazon and request to have your book put into eight additional categories.
- Landing Page — Create a landing page for your book. This can be used to collect email addresses and give away a chapter of your book before its release (optional).
- Upload Manuscript — Upload your manuscript to KDP. Proofread your book using the KDP online previewer.
- Upload Cover — Upload your Kindle cover to KDP.
- Launch Price — Set your launch price at 0.99.
- Lead Magnet — Insert a lead magnet into your book, both at the front and back. Connect this to your email list provider such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit.
- Audiobook (Optional) — Get your audiobook created. Plan to release your book through Audible or ACX.
- Paperback — Get your paperback version created. You can set up your paperback at CreateSpace. Optional: Your paperback can be launched after the Kindle release.
- Emails — Pre-write emails that you’ll send to your launch team.
- Goodreads — Goodreads account created and author profile setup. Your book will end up there either way, so it’s worth setting up an account to associate the book with.
- Launch Plan Model — Map out the specific action steps you are taking for each day of your launch. I have provided a model for this further down the post.
Just like there are a variety of business models to choose from when planning your venture, there are a variety of book launch strategies to choose from.
For example, you could follow Steve Scott’s 5-Day Launch Plan That Works which he used to effectively launch the bestselling book 10-Minute Digital Declutter that he co-authored with Barrie Davenport. Or you could emulate Nick Loper, of Side Hustle Nation fame, and his successful launch strategy which sold 2600+ copies of his book Buy Buttons. There’s even the detailed launch plan of Rob Cubbon, the author of The New Freedom.
These are all plans that work because of one thing:
They are strategic in their planning and strategic in their execution.
However, while there seems to be a lot of steps, an effective book launch plan isn’t complicated. Your launch plan will depend largely on:
- Your objectives and purpose.
- Your platform. The bigger your platform and access to influencers, the bigger (and more diverse) your launch.
In the strategy I’ll show you, I keep things simple. It’s a 12-day launch, including a 3-day free promo through Amazon.
If you’ve ticked everything on that checklist, then it’s time to hit publish on your book and to start your launch strategy.
But, before we dive into that, there are a few things you need to know about Amazon’s algorithm as it informs your book launch strategy.
The Amazon Algorithm: A Few Basics for Your Book Launch
Amazon uses an algorithm to measure and track book sales, and everything else on their platform. It’s worth remembering that Amazon wants you to succeed: if you make money, Amazon makes money. Knowing a few basics of it can help you to have a greater launch and to sustain the life of your book for months (and years) after the launch buzz wears off.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
Your book starts ranking as soon as someone buys a copy. Every purchase of your book pushes the ranking up the ladder. As a book moves up, it jumps ahead of the other books in your selected category. The rankings are based on recent sales and Amazon favors a book that is getting consistent, ongoing sales.
A book that runs a promo and gets 200 sales in one day, but then nothing else for the week, will not perform as well as a book that gets the same number of downloads over the course of a ten-day period.
Slow, steady traffic and a long-term plan is the way to succeed with your book.
Steady, organic growth will always outperform a sudden burst of downloads.
It’s worth noting also that while reviews and the price of your book do not affect your sales rank, they’re still worth having. The more quality reviews you have, the more credible your book will be to shoppers. This affects their decision-making power to buy, which translates into more downloads and an increase in sales rank. Focus on getting as many quality reviews as you can during this launch phase. Then, continue to work on getting reviews from organic traffic.
With that out of the way, let’s look at two necessary steps you need to do before you promote your book.
Setting Up Your Amazon Bestseller
There’s a very specific formula to follow during your book launch that will have you hitting those Amazon bestseller lists. And you definitely want to become a bestseller so you can increase your sales and maintain your position at the top.
The $0.99 Launch Strategy
I know what you’re thinking, “$0.99? Why would I essentially give my book away for free? I didn’t get into this business to fulfill the starving artist stereotype.”
I know how you feel, but trust me, there’s a good reason for launching it at this price. You may be selling it at a super-low point now, but the rewards are coming later. Remember: think long term. It’s better to have a book that has steady sales in the long term than to just have a burst of downloads now, then zero in the future.
Action Item: Go to the KDP dashboard and set your book at $0.99. With the exception of the free promo period (which we’ll get to shortly), your book will be at $0.99 for the duration of the launch.
The Free Book Launch Strategy
I mentioned that our strategy will have a 3-day free launch. Setting this up is easy. If you plan to run a free promo for your book, you can set this up as soon as your book is live on Amazon. To run a free promotion, your book has to be enrolled in the KDP Select program for 90 days.
A book that is listed for free will be ranked in the free store and books set at a price are ranked in the paid store.
If you don’t have a following (email list) or you are just getting started, I suggest you do the free promo. The free promo gets your book into more hands (that will hopefully read it) and increases its visibility across more platforms.
Action Item: Go to the KDP dashboard, and under “Kindle eBook Actions,” enroll into the KDP Select program. While enrolled in the KDP select program your book has to be exclusive to the Kindle Store.
Book Promotion Sites: Free and Paid
When launching your book, especially during your free promo, you want to put it into the hands of as many readers as possible. Amazon ranks your book in the free store based on how many downloads it gets.
The higher you rank, the more downloads you’ll get from Amazon browsers. Which means to maximize your launch, you need an initial surge of readers that don’t come from Amazon.
This is where book promotion sites come in. You can use them for both your paid and free launch. In the launch scenario later on in the post, I’ll show you how to batch these sites together to give your book the boost it needs.
An aside if you have a healthy email list: you won’t need to rely on these sites as much. This is especially beneficial for authors who are just starting out and don’t yet have a strong platform.
Keep in mind that results vary for each site and your performance will largely depend on your book’s quality. You still need the essentials: a great cover, a compelling book description, and an eye-catching book title.
Below is a list of my favorites that I have personally used, in combination with an email list to launch multiple bestsellers. You can also check out Dave Chesson’s blog on this as he covers the best sites to use for both free and paid.
The price for each promo site varies depending on the niche and category.
The Best Book Launch Promo Sites
- Buckbooks. If you can get onto any of these promo sites, Buckbooks is the one you want to try to get into. You need 10 reviews before they’ll schedule you. Note: You can promote the 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote once every 6 months for each book. If you use their Archangel Ink book production services you’ll get a guaranteed placement.
- Robin Reads — (need 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating) Takes a couple days to get approved ($55). Great results. I usually get anywhere from 60-100 downloads with this one. https://robinreads.com/author-signup/ Note: They have a calendar that is usually booked out weeks in advance. In this case, consider using Robin Reads for future promos of existing books already launched.
- BookSends — $40. If you can match this up with Robin Reads or Bucks on the same day it’s a great little boost. https://booksends.com/
- BKnights (Fiverr) You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. Downloads average 12-30 depending on the book.
- eReader News — Great gig but hard to get approved at times. takes several days for a response. Various prices. https://ereadernewstoday.com/
- Booksbutterfly. You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few (if only) sites that do that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle ($90) that gets you 50+ downloads + KU borrows. (https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/)
- The Fussy Librarian (https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/). Great promo but very hard to book in advance. They are usually booked out 2-3 weeks ahead. Need 10 reviews to get accepted. Various price ranges. Strong results.
- Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction. Lots of categories and good results. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/
- eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10. https://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/
- Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10. They have a free option but go with the paid. https://awesomegang.com/submit-your-book/
- Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29. You can also sign up to become a featured author. https://manybooks.net/promote
- Digital Book Today ($40). Good gig, average returns and works better with fiction than non-fiction. https://digitalbooktoday.com/
- eBook Stage. Another great little promo site, reasonably priced. $10. https://ebookstage.com/
- Book Runes (https://bookrunes.com/). Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25. Average to very good results.
- BookBub. This is by far the biggest and the best promo site. Very tough to get accepted and it is expensive, but worth every dime. At the very least you should set up an Author profile on BookBub and start to get people to follow you. They have a great blog too that gives powerful tips on how to get a BookBub feature. https://insights.bookbub.com
- Email your list (if you have one). if you don’t, BUILD one. This is by far better than all of the promo sites combined. If you don’t have a list yet, start building one with Mailchimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit.
The Book Launch Sequence and Set-Up
To keep things simple, I’m giving you an example of a book launch that covers 12 days. This is similar to the launch that I did for my book Relaunch Your Life, except that I didn’t run a free promo. However, for this post, I will look at how to include a free promo as well.
Your launch will look and perform differently than this, but you can use this as a model and tweak as required. This launch assumes you are launching your book at $0.99 with a free promo set up through KDP for 2-3 days.
What is the difference between a soft launch and the actual launch?
I use the term soft launch below, which is different from your actual book launch. Your soft launch begins from the moment you hit publish.
As Amazon takes about 24 hours to set up your book, I recommend hitting the publish button at least 24 hours before you begin your actual launch. For example, if your launch plan beings on a Sunday, then publish your book on a Saturday.
The 12-Day Book Launch Model
Ready for your book launch? In this book launch model we use 3 days for our soft launch window, and then begin the actual launch on day 4.
Day 1: First Day of Soft Book Launch
The first day of your soft launch is critical. This is the day when you are going to set up your book to successfully launch over the next 11 days. The price point is set at $0.99.
Here is a brief checklist of what to do on day 1 of the soft launch:
- Create your Amazon Author Page. Set up your bio and upload an author pic.
- Claim your book by hitting the ‘add more books’ tab. This will appear on your author page within 24 hours.
- Email your launch team. Let them know the book is ready for verified reviews.
- Email Amazon customer support. Request that your book is placed in additional categories.
- Set up a few promo sites for days 2 or 3 while your book is at 0.99. This starts to build momentum. Recommended Awesome Gang, Bknights, and Booksbutterfly.
- As soon as you have ten reviews, set up the rest of your promo sites for the week. Not all of these promo sites require a set number of reviews. Check the list for links to the sites and submission requirements.
- Set up your Free promo in the KDP dashboard. Your free promo will be 2-3 days. This will start on day 4 (or however long you decide to run your soft launch). If you do a 5-day soft launch your free promo will start on day 6. Set up several paid promo sites to advertise your book for free. Although your book is free, the promos will cost you.
For your free promo on days 4-5 contact:
- James H Mayfield (Note: his calendar is very busy. You might not get on for the days you want with short notice. Consider using your remaining free days at a later date and arrange to have James promo your book.)
- Bknights (free promo)
- Awesome Gang
If you combine these promo sites with the organic traffic you’ll get from Amazon, you should do very well for free downloads.
Day 2-3: Soft Book Launch (Optional: You can extend this up to 5 days)
Social media burst to your FB page, mastermind groups, and other sources to spread the word. Don’t forget about other social platforms with large reader audiences like Twitter and Tumblr.
Day 4-6: FREE Promo
The promotional sites you got in touch with on day 1 will be advertising your book. Send an email to your team to notify them that your book is now free. Promote to social media!
Day 7-10: Paid Promo Sites
Run paid promo sites recommended from the list above. You can cluster these a day apart or combine 2-3 promos a day.
Day 11-12: Winding Down the Book Launch
If you followed the plan you should have had a considerable number of downloads for both your free promo and your $0.99 promo. Remember that your numbers will vary depending on your platform, book quality, niche, and sometimes, luck.
Email your list and remind them the book will be 0.99 for only one more day. Contact your launch team and thank them for reviews and their support.
This is the last call for reviews and downloads.
Day 13: Increase the Price to $2.99
Leave it there for one week and raise it to $3.99. You can test the pricing by going up to $4.99 and watching what happens. Monitor the sales and adjust accordingly.
I usually spend around $300-$400 per launch minimum on promo sites but how much you spend is up to you. Stagger them out over the course of 10-12 days.
Beyond the Book Launch
One of the biggest challenges authors have is where to go after the initial book launch is over.
How do you promote, market, and keep bringing in traffic so that your book doesn’t drop off into oblivion? Here are two things you can focus on:
#1 – Write another book
Multiple books create momentum. Look at the army of fans that Game of Thrones had before the TV Show launched. How did George R.R Martin build that? By setting up and writing the books as a series. Do you have a series of books you could write? A series is a great way to build your brand, a list, and to keep traffic growing with increased interest in your books.
#2 – Build your business on the back end
Create a business around your book with coaching, a course, or an automated email course that gets readers engaged after they are finished your book. They want to know more about you and so, if you have a business set up to kick in for subscribers, this is the start of what could be a great author business.
Launching a book is a combination of strategy, imagination, and hard work. If you have a great book to promote and a team of people (a small team will do) backing you up, you can have a great launch that gets your book into the hands of your market.
With every book launch, there is more to learn. If you keep launching, you’ll get better. And as you get better, you’ll get more fans. Eventually, you can turn your launch into a massive movement with thousands of fans standing behind you pushing your book towards New York Times Bestseller status or get featured in The Wall Street Journal.
What to do Next!
It’s not enough to just launch your book and leave it be. In truth, you should always be looking for new, better ways to maintain your book sales. Here’s what you can do right now to make a difference during your book launch.
#1 – Build a valuable launch team
Your book launch will only be as successful as the work you put into it. That includes the team you have assisting.
Building a launch team is essential but it’s also important to make sure that team is not only willing to help, but willing to go above and beyond for you because they believe in your book and your work.
Make sure you choose top-notch individuals who really want to push for your book. This will help you book launch reach heights you never imagined.
#2 – Learn more!
The learning never stops – not when it comes to this ever-changing (yet growing) field of self-publishing. And in order to stay ahead of the curve, you have to continue to invest in your knowledge.
Join Chandler Bolt on his FREE Webinar Training as he takes you through just what it takes to write, market, and publish your book. This webinar is full of valuable information that will only help you find success in your journey as an author.
What are some of your biggest concerns when it comes to your book launch? Comment below so we can help you out!
Knowing how to copyright a book — the right way — is something that scares the crap out of most authors!
A lot of us get caught up in a confusing haze of copyright laws, infringement, and wondering how to stay out of hot water with the law and angry lawyers (okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic) while also protecting our book babies. Learning how to copyright a book can help alleviate all of that worry.
With the explosion of self-publishing, authors must be aware of what they can and can’t do when it comes to quoting, borrowing, and publishing works from other authors.
We’ll give you all the information and resources you need to protect yourself and your own work from being misused or stolen while keeping you from committing the same crimes against your fellow authors.
We’ll also look at the most frequently asked questions authors ask when it comes to copyright concerns, for both their own works and when borrowing from other sources.
It all begins with creating the copyright page in your book.
How to Copyright a Book: Your Copyright Page
The copyright page will appear in your book right after the title page and just before the table of contents. The copyright page needs to include some essential information in order to copyright your book.
The main components of your copyright page are:
- The copyright notice. This has the little © symbol or you can use the word “copyright.” So it would look like this: ©2018 Jane Doe
- The year of publication of the book
- The name of the owner of the works, which is usually the author or publishing house name
- Ordering information
- Reservation of rights
- Copyright notice
- Book editions
- ISBN Number
- Your website (You need a site where they can learn more about you, your other books, and other opportunities.)
- Credits to the book (cover designer, editor)
Disclaimers When Copyrighting Your Book
You may not think you really need a disclaimer but it’s essential for protecting yourself and potentially others.
So how does a simple sentence or two do this?
If you are writing a book on health and fitness, success as an entrepreneur, providing financial advice—anything that readers could fail at—an extended disclaimer is something you should consider.
If you give advice on earning a million dollars this year, and the reader ends up losing money, you could be blamed for their misfortune because of a promise you made. Consider putting an extended disclaimer in your book that comes after the copyright jargon to protect your opinions, advice, and information.
In other words, tell readers that they are reading your book and applying your advice at their own risk. The thing to be aware of that most authors don’t realize is that these don’t have to be boring.
On the contrary, the more personality these have, the more likely they’ll be read.
A disclaimer is meant to protect you, but it can’t hurt if your audience actually reads it.
Let’s take a look at some specific examples of different types of disclaimers for different types of books.
#1 – Fiction Disclaimer
The typical disclaimer you’ll find in works of fiction?
The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
How could this be “livened” up? See how Thomas Wolf in A Man in Full, acknowledges that parts of his story are from real life:
This novel’s story and characters are fictitious. Certain long-standing institutions, agencies, and public offices are mentioned, but the characters involved are wholly imaginary.
Or Margaret Atwood in Cat’s Eye tries to dispel readers’ assumption that the book is the alter-ego of the writer:
This is a work of fiction. Although its form is that of an autobiography, it is not one. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
If you’ve written about a prominent figure that people might be familiar with and don’t want confusion over whether you’re now writing history or still sticking with fiction, you can approach it similar to D. M. Thomas dealt with using Freud as a character in The White Hotel:
The role played by Freud in this narrative is entirely fictional. My imagined Freud does, however, abide by the generally known facts of the real Freud’s life, and I have sometimes quoted from his works and letters, passim. The letters . . . and all the passages relating to psychoanalysis . . . have no factual basis.
#2 – Nonfiction Disclaimer
The typical disclaimer you’ll find in works of nonfiction?
The advice and strategies found within may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher are held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book.
However, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks found a way to get her disclaimer to speak to the honesty of the text:
This is a work of nonfiction. No names have been changed, no characters invented, no events fabricated.
#3 – Memoir Disclaimer
The typical disclaimer you’ll find in memoirs?
This book is memoir. It reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. Some names and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated.
But in The Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolf, he buries his disclaimer in his acknowledgments. As he thanks those who read drafts of the book, he says:
I have been corrected on some points, mostly of chronology. Also my mother claims that a dog I describe as ugly was actually quite handsome. I’ve allowed some of these points to stand, because this is a book of memory, and memory has its own story to tell. But I have done my best to make it tell a truthful story.
How to Copyright a Book: Familiarize Yourself With Legal Terms
I know, I know…we would rather write books, rake in the cash, and sign autographs than worry about technical legal jargon.
I get it. It can seem boring but the better you understand how copyright law works, but the more you know, the more time you can spend writing without wondering, “Is this legal?”
Here are some legal terms to keep you informed on your rights as a self-publisher and protect your works:
- Copyright infringement: is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
- Intellectual property (or “IP”): is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademarks. It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition. Artistic works like music and literature, as well as some discoveries, inventions, words, phrases, symbols, and designs can all be protected as intellectual property.
- Public Domain Work: refers to works whose exclusive intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, have been expressly waived, or are inapplicable. For example, the works of Shakespeare and Beethoven, and most early silent films are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, and are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, and all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are actively dedicated by their authors to the public domain; some examples include reference implementations of cryptographic algorithms, the image-processing software ImageJ, created by the National Institutes of Health, and the CIA’s World Factbook. The term public domain is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as “under license” or “with permission”.
- Plagiarism: is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
- First Amendment (Amendment I): to the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
- Fair use: in its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.
- Libelous writing: can be personal libel or trade libel, which is also known as “product disparagement.” Product disparagement can include a product, service or entire company. Libelous statements, whether against persons or products, are published statements that are false and damaging. Slander is the same as libel in most states, but in spoken rather than written form. The terms “libel” and “slander” are often subsumed under the broader term “defamation.” It is a tort (a wrongful act) to harm another’s reputation by defaming them.
Before you publish your next book, take a few minutes to read over this “brief” report from the United States Copyright Office.
You can also check out this handy guideline for authors from Wiley on what needs permission vs. what you can use without asking.
When in doubt, consult with legal counsel or take the time to research the material you are either protecting or planning to borrow from another source. The time invested could save you an embarrassing or costly situation down the road.
Knowing what you can and shouldn’t do is a critical part of the publishing business.
When you write and publish your own works, you are now in business for yourself, and business owners protect their property by learning how to copyright a book the right way. Don’t make things harder for yourself!
Like this post? Sign up below for a FREE video course and learn how to go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days!
How to Copyright a Book: The 9 Most Common Questions
Nowadays, with the massive expansion of self-publishing, it is more important than ever for authors, artists, and creatives putting their work out there to ensure that it is fully protected.
When we borrow work from other authors, living or dead, we have to consider:
- What can I actually use?
- When is permission needed?
Here is the golden rule when it comes to copyright laws: Never assume that anything is free!
Everything out there, including on the internet, has been created by someone. Here are common questions authors have about protecting themselves, their works, and others they may have quoted in their books:
#1 – Do I have to register my book before it is copyrighted?
Your book is legally copyrighted as soon as it is written.
But, to scale up your legal rights and protect your material to the fullest extent, register your book with the Federal Copyright Office. On the chance someone does attempt to pirate your book or portions of it, registering with the US Copyright Office will give you greater leverage if it comes to action being taken.
#2 – How many words can I quote from another book or source?
Generally speaking, there are no set rules on how much you can actually “borrow” from existing works. But, it’s best to exercise common sense here and keep it short, as a general rule under 300 words.
Paul Rapp, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, says that, “if the quote drives your narrative, if you are using an author’s quote in your argument, or if you are giving an opinion on an author’s quote, then it is considered fair use.”
What is fair use? A legal concept that allows the reproduction of copyrighted material for certain purposes without obtaining permission and without paying a fee or royalty. Purposes permitting the application of fair use generally include review, news reporting, teaching, or scholarly research.
If you use something published by someone else with the sole purpose of monetary gain, this doesn’t constitute fair use.
#3 – Can I write about real people?
Especially in works of nonfiction, real people are often mentioned to express an opinion or as an example to clarify the writer’s fact or opinion. Generally, you can use the names of real people as long as the material isn’t damaging to their reputation or libelous.
Stick to the facts and write about what is true based on your research.
#4 – Can I borrow lyrics from songs?
Stephen King often used song lyrics for his books including Christine and The Stand. He obtained permission for these works. King says, “Lyrics quotes in this book [Christine] are assigned to the singer most commonly associated with them. This may offend the purist who feels that a song lyric belongs more to the writer than the singer.”
Basically, song lyrics fall under strict copyright even if it is just a single line used. Try to get permission if you use a song.
You can contact the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Once you find the rights owner, you have to ask for permission through writing.
#5 – Do I need permission to borrow material from a book that is over 100-years-old?
Once the copyright on a book or material has expired, or the author has been dead for seventy years, the work enters into the public domain and you can use it without permission or licensing.
BUT this does vary from country to country. You can check the copyright office in the US here.
#6 – Are authors liable for content used in a book?
Even with traditional publishing houses, the author is still responsible for the content written and used in the book.
In fact, traditionally published authors usually have to sign a waiver that removes the publisher from any liability pertaining to the material the author used if the writer included that material without proper permission.
And you already know, as a self-published author, you’re on your own.
#7 – If I use an inspirational quote from another writer or famous person, do I need permission?
You don’t need permission to use quotes in a book provided that you credit the person who created it and/or spoke the quote.
For example: “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream” – Edgar Allan Poe
#8 – What is the best way to protect my work from being stolen?
Your work is copyrighted as soon as it is written.
But you can register your work with the US copyright office. If you have a blog where you also post content, you need to have a Terms & Privacy disclaimer on your page. This would preferably be at the top where it is easy to see, although many writers and bloggers include this at the bottom of every page.
You should also include your Copyright on your blog that protects your content from being “copied and pasted” into another site without permission or recognition.
#9 – A royalty free stock photo means that I can use it for free and don’t have to get permission, right?
Most stock photos are copyrighted, even if they appear in search engines and we can easily download or copy them. If you grab a photo off the net and think you can slap it on a book cover or use it for free in your book, think again. It’s recommended you purchase photos through sites such as Shutterstock or Depositphotos.
What to do Next?
So now you’ve got all the information you really need when it comes to knowing how to copyright a book. But where do you go from here?
#1 – Finish your book
If it’s not already done, get on it! Writing a book can be difficult but we have a number of different resources available to make the process much easier –and faster.
Before you can really worry about knowing how to copyright a book, you have to actually have a book first. Get to work and put a schedule together so you can stay productive when writing your book.
#2 – Double check that you don’t violate any copyright laws
Depending on where you are in the book writing process, you have to check your work over to make sure you’re not using song lyrics without permission or violating any other copyright laws.
Do a once-over and, as always, make sure you work with an editor to ensure nothing is missed.
#3 – Keep learning!
There’s really no limit to the amount of knowledge you can have when it comes to getting a book written, marketed, and published.
Thankfully, Chandler Bolt has a wealth of information that he’s giving away FOR FREE!
If you’re ready to write now that you have all your safety precautions in check, join Chandler Bolt in his newest workshop! He’s sharing his process for going from blank page to published author in 90 days, as well as the strategies you need to know to leverage your book to grow your authority, income, and business. Save your spot and sign up here!
Do you have another question about copyrighting a book we didn’t answer above or any additional advice you’ve found helpful for you? Post it in the comments below!
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.
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.
Why Your Book Introduction Is Crucial
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.
Book Introduction, 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
An introduction differs from the previous two as:
- It’s written by the author
- It does talk about the subject matter.
An 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?
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:)
(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.)
- 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.)
(These are all optional.)
- Chronology (Or in the front matter.)
- Abbreviations (Or in the front matter.)
- List of contributors
- Illustration credits
- 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.
- Joel Friedlander’s Unabridged List of the Parts of a Book, a great resource on an amazing page of articles by The Book Designer
- What’s the Difference Between a Foreword, Preface, and Introduction? (Donald Bastian, BPS Books)
- Forewords, Prefaces, and Introductions: Where to Begin? (Carol Saller, Lingua Franca, The Chronicle of Higher Education 4-5-12)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
Download 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.
Want to write a compelling, dramatic story?
One that draws readers in, takes them on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and thrills, then leaves them hungry to devour your next book, and your next, and your next?
If so, then I have good news:
With the right understanding of story structure, I believe anyone is capable of writing an amazing story.
Yes, that includes you.
And the key to making this process as easy and natural as possible is to start every novel with a good story foundation.
This is where most new writers struggle. Either they have trouble getting their story off the ground, or they can get it off the ground, but it nosedives partway through the book.
Either way, the cause is the same: they didn’t start their book from a good story foundation.
In other words, they were missing one or more of the three critical elements that every novel needs to succeed. I call these foundational elements, “The Story Foundation Trifecta.”
Let’s talk about it…
The Story Foundation Trifecta
First off, what IS the Story Foundation Trifecta? It’s a combination of three things:
- An interesting premise
- A sympathetic hero
- A clear & compelling “A-story”
As you’re about to learn, these are the most critical and fundamental pieces to any successful story. As long as you have these three things in place, your story is bound to be engaging and entertaining.
In the rest of this post, I’ll explain what these things are and how you can improve these elements in your story idea. And to help you understand, I’ll be using examples from well-known stories such as The Hunger Games, The Matrix, and my own series GoneGod World.
Foundation #1: An Interesting Premise
Your premise is the foundation of your plot. The collection of situations or presuppositions that make up your story world.
That sounds complicated, so let’s put it in simpler terms:
Your premise consists of 2-3 seemingly unconnected ideas that have been meshed together to make something truly unique.
If you analyze really popular stories like The Hunger Games and The Matrix, you’ll realize they have great premises. And that’s a big part of the reason why they were so successful.
So how do you come up with an awesome premise of your own?
One common method is to use the “What If” technique. Here’s how that might look using The Hunger Games as an example:
The Hunger Games: What if, sometime in the future, there is a society which demands children must fight to the death once a year?
Immediately, the premise opens up a hundred other questions that your story may or may not answer.
- What happened to create this world and contest?
- Why children?
- What happens to the victors?
Your story may not answer all of these questions, and certainly Suzanne Collins – the author of The Hunger Games – doesn’t answer all of them. See how that works? You take a few different ideas and combine them. See how they might fit together.
In this case the premise is using the familiar idea of a gladiator story…but it’s mish-mashing that concept by having the gladiators be children.
Then when you throw in a couple extra elements, like…
- Setting the story in the future
- Including a love-triangle with the main character
- Having a power struggle behind the scenes only the audience knows about
…you end up with a really great premise for a story.
Here’s another example:
The Matrix: What if reality isn’t what we think it is, and in fact we’re all connected to computers as human batteries for the robot world?
Here we’re taking the idea “reality isn’t what you think it is” and mashing it together with “we’re human batteries connected to computers.”
These are cool ideas on their own. But when you put them together, they become something really fascinating. With a premise like this, is it any wonder why The Matrix was so successful?
And here’s one more example, from my series of books:
GoneGod World: What if all the gods are gone, and when they leave they force all their denizens to go to earth?
Here I’ve combined the ideas of “divine creatures” and “refugees” to create a unique story premise out of two familiar ideas.
In this story, every sort of magical creature you can think of—dragons, faeries, etc.—is forced to become a refugee on earth. As you can imagine, this opens up all kinds of possibilities for interesting storylines and conflicts.
So that’s foundation #1 of the Story Foundation Trifecta: create an interesting premise. Now it’s your turn:
- Exercise: Take a look at your favorite stories and identify their premise. Turn those premises into “What if” statements.
- Bonus: Among the premises that you have identified, see if you can alter them slightly to turn them into something completely unique.
- Challenge: Create 3 to 5 premise statements of your own, statements that ultimately create world, you’d love to write in.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly you start cranking out really unique story premises.
Foundation #2: A Sympathetic Hero
Foundation #1 focuses on your plot. It’s a big-picture statement of what happens in your story.
But remember, stories don’t just happen by themselves. They happen to characters—to people. To human beings. (And sometimes, to elves and aliens.)
At the heart of every story is a hero who strives to meet an important goal. And the more your audience can understand and identify with that hero, the more likely they are to become engrossed by your story.
Now when you’re creating your hero, the three most important things to figure out are your hero’s…
- Key traits
- Outer journey
- Inner journey
“Key traits” refer to your character’s distinguishing features. Is your hero…
- Strong as an ox?
Your character’s journey refers to the challenges they will be forced to overcome throughout the story. And we break that journey up into inner and outer journeys.
A few examples:
The Hunger Games: Katniss’s outer journey is to survive the games. Her inner journey is to mature as an individual, to let other people in, and to learn to accept help from others.
The Matrix: Neo’s outer journey is to defeat Agent Smith and the robot forces enslaving humanity inside the Matrix. His inner journey is to believe in himself and accept that he’s the only one capable of saving the human race.
Make sense? Great. Now go figure out who your hero is, give them a few key traits, and most importantly decide on their inner and outer journey. Then when you’ve completed that, you’re ready to move for…
Foundation #3: A Clear & Compelling “A-Story”
Once you know your story’s premise and have identified your hero, your next step is to use those 2 elements to create your “A-story.”
Loosely defined, your A-story is the main storyline in your novel. It’s the one story we need to see resolved in order for us to put down your book and feel satisfied at the end.
Your book can have multiple storylines—maybe you have a romance subplot, for example—but your A-story is the main story. The big problem that gets resolved at the end.
In most cases, your A-story is going to be the same as your hero’s outer journey. In The Hunger Games, for example, the A-story is Katniss’ trial to survive the games.
But your A-story can also tie into your hero’s inner journey. In The Matrix, the A-story deals in part with Neo’s struggle to believe in himself and become “the one.”
Here are some common A-stories for different genres:
- Sci-fi: Repel the alien invasion
- Action: Get revenge on the bad guys
- Romance: Finally succumb to the love of your life
It’s important to know your A-story. This is the storyline that you need to focus on, to keep coming back to. This is the major conflict of your story, so don’t lose sight of it.
Exercise: Identify two or three unique A-stories that fit could each premise. Spend a few minutes contemplating how the premise and the A-story work together. (And also relish is how your A-story is better than the original 😊.)
Bonus: Could you alter one of the premises to fit with your own unique A-story? If so, you very well may have the a kickass story on your hands!
Challenge: Now that you have defined your premise in step one, identify 2-3 A-stories that could work within that premise statement.
You Know Your A-Story…Now, What’s Next?
OK, so you’ve gone through the Story Foundation Trifecta and figured out your premise, hero, and A-story. What should you do next?
In a word, you need to start outlining.
Now this does NOT mean you have to go through every single part of your story and create a step-by-step outline of everything that will happen.
You can do that, but you don’t have to.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of writers out there:
- Plotters (like James Patterson)
- Pantzers (like Stephen King)
Plotters are people who like to plot their stories in advance, while pantzers are people who don’t—they “fly by the seat of their pants,” coming up with their story ideas on the fly.
You might think that outlining is only important for plotters…but actually, that’s not the case. EVERY writer needs to come up with at least a basic outline before they start writing.
Even Stephen King, the most well-known pantzer out there, has admitted that he writes his stories with an end in mind.
So whether you want to write an in-depth, blow-by-blow treatment, or just a general outline to help give some direction to your pantzing, there are 5 Key Milestones that you’ll need to include in your story outline.
These are the 5 Key Milestones that every story has to hit in order to reach a satisfying conclusion. Luckily, I’m hosting a new (free) workshop where I’ll teach you what the 5 story milestones are and how to work them into your story.
Once you know the 5 Key Milestones you need to include in your story, you’ll NEVER again feel lost while you’re writing. You’ll always know where to go next to keep your story moving in the right direction.
As a result, you’ll find it much easier to guide your readers through a story that feels complete and satisfying. So that when they finish reading the last page of your book, they’ll feel like they went on a meaningful journey with your hero—and that nothing was missing or incomplete.
Click here to learn more and register for the free webinar now, before you forget.
“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler
We’ve all been there: You finally squeeze in some writing time in between all your commitments. However, when you sit down to write, something odd happens. You thought that a torrent of words would flow out — after all, you have so much to say. Yet, each word that comes out of you is dragged out. Writing feels less like fun, and more like bleeding. At the end of the hour, you find you’ve only written 100 words, and not the 500 words you budgeted.
Any writer understands how frustrating it is to schedule time to write, but to have almost nothing to show for that time.
I have some good news: This doesn’t have to be the case. You can set up your writing process in such a way that it’s guaranteed you’ll find your writing flow and have words stream out of you faster than you can catch them. You can make sure that your writing session is as efficient and effective as possible so that not a single minute is wasted.
Writing faster will not only mean that you complete your book’s first draft, which can be a life-changing achievement, it’ll also mean that you’ll be quicker at anything you write. Your blog posts, emails, letters, and even your social media updates will be written faster.
Here are all the practical tips I’ve gathered over the years to help me and my students write book drafts in less than 30 days.
Write Every Day
I’m going to start with an essential tip: If you want to write faster, you have to write every day.
Writing, like any craft, gets better the more you do it. The more you practice your writing skills, the faster the words will come to your mind and your fingertips. You’ll get better and quicker at connecting different pieces of knowledge, forming new ideas and improving your natural storytelling abilities.
You’ll also get quicker at the mechanical process of writing. You’ll develop a muscle memory for your keyboard and your writing speed will go up. Soon you’ll wonder how you could have ever survived at your slower words-per-minute speed.
What to write? You could update your WordPress blog every day, or a chapter of your book every day. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re writing.
- Choose what you’re going to write about every day, whether it’s blog articles, chapters of your book or even a personal journal.
- Set your word count goal for each day.
- Track how many words you are writing per hour or day.
However, even writing everyday won’t stop you facing that feeling you get when you see a blank page. To avoid that and guarantee your words flow every time you see a new page you need to create an outline.
Create an Outline
Here’s the writing world’s worst-kept secret: outlines work! To achieve any goal, you need to plan first. The same can be said for writing. Even if you’re able to crank out 3000 words an hour, it won’t matter much if your content lacks direction, as readers will get confused and drop your book. A solid outline gives you the direction you need to keep your readers engaged.
Writing a book is a lot of work, but we can cut out a ton of obstacles with a well-written outline that builds passion and purpose into your writing.
Here’s how an outline can double or even triple your writing speed:
1. Outlines Eliminate Writer’s Block
One of the reasons writers experience writer’s block is by not having an outline, or having a poorly written outline. If your outline is well-organized and fleshed out with all the ideas, chapters and sections flowing in logical sequence, chances are writer’s block won’t be an issue.
When you have to stop to think about what comes next, you’re no longer in writing mode. Instead you fall into confusion and frustration and then default to research mode.
“I know I can get through this if I just it look up…” You start doing everything else but writing. The next time you hit a wall, check the flow of your outline. Revise what you need to and keep moving forward. Be sure to do as much research as you can before the initial writing begins.
2. Outlines Provide an Organized Framework for Your Book’s Structure
Your outline is the roadmap for your book. Without it, your writing time is slow and grueling, like running up a mountain with a ball and chain. Sounds tough, right? A well-organized outline boosts productivity throughout the writing phase.
The secret to completing any big project is to break it into small manageable chunks, and an outline breaks this marathon project into small manageable writing tasks. You’ll write much faster when the chapters flow from one to the next and ideas are combined and clustered. When your outline flows with a well-organized structure you don’t have to stop to think about what to write next. Your fingers can keep moving in flow with the plan you created.
3. Outlines Give You a Bird’s Eye View
When you can see your book in its entirety on the page, you feel compelled to write as much as possible. Think of it as a race. You’ll perform much better knowing the exact distance you have to run — especially as you near the finish line and you have the end in sight.
Behind every great post and book is a bulletproof outline. Here are some steps you can take today to get started with this process.
For your book:
- Spend some time today and go back and revise your book outline. If you don’t have one, make one.
- Look at areas that could be better researched. Review the chapters that have ideas that require deeper development.
- The aim is to make your outline the best it can be. Revise your outline as you go, but make sure your words keep hitting the paper.
For other writing:
Commit to this rule whenever you’re writing anything: Five minutes of outlining for every 500 words of content. Writing a 1,000-word article? Spend 10 minutes developing an outline. Writing a 100-word email? Spend a minute outlining your points. Every minute you spend outlining will save you a heap of time later.
“Write Drunk, Edit Sober”
Want to write better quality stuff? Then you’re going to have let go of your inner perfectionist.
Hemingway is often attributed with the quote, “write drunk, edit sober.” While I’m not advocating you become an alcoholic to produce content, you can adopt the figurative meaning of the quote.
The largest obstacle to entering that zen state where the words zip out of us effortlessly is our tendency to censor ourselves. We continuously correct what we’re about to say before we put the words on the page. Us writers tend to be perfectionists, yet this self-criticism gets in the way of our creativity.
A better strategy is to write a rough draft first. Think B- quality instead of A+. This is what Hemingway means when he says to write drunk. During the drafting phase you let go of caring about the quality of your work, but instead focus on the quantity. Aim to finish your daily writing goal, no matter how bad the draft is. The goal is not to have a perfect manuscript.
Once you’ve finished, then and only then, begin the “edit sober” phase. Here you can engage your inner critic. You can cut what doesn’t work and polish what does. It’s best to begin the editing phase with a fresh set of eyes, usually after you’ve taken a break. If it’s a short article, then sleep on your draft before editing. If it’s a book draft, then take at least a week off the project before looking back on it.
It’s hard to let go of that inner judge when drafting our work, but once you do, you’ll write significantly faster. Often when you look back on the draft that you thought was horrible, you’ll find it’s better than you thought. Not perfect, but better than you imagined. You’ll also see that there were some ideas you put in there that couldn’t have happened if you were writing as a perfectionist.
Also, if you’re still worried about the quality of your book draft, remember that you’ll hire an editor to polish your book to be the best it can be.
- When you begin writing a piece, throw perfection out of the window and aim for a rough draft. Think B- work and not A+.
- If you find it hard to lock up your inner perfectionist, set yourself a challenge to write a word count in a set time, like 500 words in 30-minute chunks.
- After you finish your draft, put it away for a bit of time before you begin editing.
Write First, Research Later
Here’s a piece of great advice many journalists receive: write first and research later. It might be counter-intuitive, but before you close this page and think I’m crazy, hear me out.
When you begin writing you have one mission: enter flow. This is the state where the words come out of you effortlessly and you lose awareness of time flowing by. This is the key for quality and effective writing.
Once you enter flow, your mission is to stay there.
A sure way to get thrown out of the zone is to stop mid-sentence to find the capital of that country you want to reference, and then get sucked down a Wikipedia rabbit hole.
Instead of interrupting your flow of writing, use a writer’s tip I’ve talked about before: TK your research point.
TK is short for “to come” and is a handy placeholder to use for research points you want to look up later. There are barely any words in the English language that have those two letters next to each other, making it easy to use the Command+F function to find these placeholders.
For example, let’s say you were writing about the Golden Gate bridge and couldn’t remember the date it opened and its length. You would write:
The Golden Gate Bridge was opened in TK and was the longest bridge with a main span of TK.
This takes 10 seconds to write, and you can stay in your flow and move on to the next sentence. If you had Googled each of those facts, the sentence would have taken you 60 seconds and taken you out of your flow. After you finish the draft, you can go back in and fill in the blanks:
The Golden Gate Bridge was opened in 1937 and was the longest bridge with a main span of 4,200 feet.
- When drafting, if you can’t remember a piece of detail, put TK as a placeholder, instead of going to Google.
- During your editing phase, use Control+F to search for “TK” and replace each result with the relevant piece of research.
Schedule Brief Typing Practice Sessions
Think of your typing speed as the bottleneck between your brain and your piece of content, like the narrowest part of the road that’s causing a traffic buildup. Your fingers simply can’t type as fast as your mind is working.
Unfortunately, technology hasn’t yet progressed to the point where we can think of the words and they magically appear on the page, but with the help of a few fun and simple online games we can improve our typing speed.
I’ll share a secret with you: I used to not be able to type very well. I was like someone from the early 20th century, using two fingers to pound out my content. My typing speed was barely above 30 words per minute. Yet, writing was important to me, like it is for you, so I worked at it.
Even now, for ten minutes a day I play online typing games to test my writing speed and provide feedback on how efficient I am a typist. It’s a great way to master the skill of getting your word count up. Check out 10FastFingers or Key Hero.
Use Proper Sitting Posture
The position of your body has a lot to do with typing speed and efficiency. If you slouch in your chair you’ll cramp up and find it hard to concentrate. Here is how you should position yourself:
- Make sure that you are sitting up straight — don’t lean or hunch over towards the