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Amazon Self-Publishing: Using Kindle Direct Publishing from Start to Finish

Amazon Self-Publishing: Using Kindle Direct Publishing from Start to Finish

You don’t want to mess up self-publishing.

After all, the self-publishing industry is pretty sensitive to those making mistakes.

But 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!

amazon self-publishing

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:

  1. Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  2. Crafting Your Book Title & Subtitle
  3. Writing Your Book Description
  4. Choosing the Right Keywords
  5. Selecting the Right Categories
  6. Uploading Your Manuscript
  7. Creating a Book Cover
  8. 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.

Why Amazon Self-Publishing is the Best Option
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.

self-publishing on amazon help quote

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 our 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.

  1. Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and register with either your Amazon account or with your email address.
  2. 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!
  3. Once your tax information is complete, click “Finished” and return to the main page.
  4. 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.

amazon self-publishing book title tips

#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:

  1. Title
  2. Cover
  3. 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. That, and great Amazon reviews.

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:

amazon self-publishing description example

You can find more amazing description examples with these books:

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?

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.

Keyword Examples
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
  • 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.

self-publishing on amazon categories example

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 not 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

To upload your manuscript, it first must be saved in a supported kindle format. Once that’s complete, you can upload your book very quickly by following these steps:

  1. In your Kindle Direct Publishing account, go to “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions” next to the title of your book.
  3. Locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. Click on “Upload eBook manuscript”.
  5. Upload your manuscript file on your computer.
  6. 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.

kindle direct publishing book pricing

#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.

Pricing Strategies
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.

amazon self-publishing training

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!

Traditional VS Self-Publishing 2019: Everything to Consider Before Deciding

Traditional VS Self-Publishing 2019: Everything to Consider Before Deciding

You might be about to make the wrong decision.

It’s scary. You want to or have already written a book and now it’s time to decide between traditional versus self-publishing.

Which can help your book see the light of day?

Traditional Versus Self-Publishing

You’ve finally made the decision. After years of saying “I should,” you’ve made the bold decision to finally sit down and write your book.

It’s a tough, yet brave decision. Sitting down to get your message out in the world will be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things you do.

But now that you’ve made this decision, you may be wondering: 

Should I approach a publisher and go down the traditional route? Or should I self-publish and become an indie author? Which is better, traditional publishing versus self-publishing?

Before the age of the internet, the only way a writer could get their book in front of millions was to send a book proposal and a query letter to a traditional publisher or agent. The writer hoped that day’s gatekeeper had drank their morning coffee, woken up on the right side of the bed and actually given your letter and proposal more than a 10-second glance.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening was slim to none.

This resulted in brilliant people like yourself being denied the opportunity to share their experiences, stories, and knowledge with the world.

traditional versus self publishing

Talk to an Expert About Traditional Publishing Versus Self-Publishing

If you want to skip right to the good stuff, give one of our experts a call, explain what you want out of publishing a book, and they can help you decide which avenue is right for you.

This is a FREE coaching call designed to help you understand what you want to get out of this process.

Don’t make the mistake of pursuing the wrong path and wasting too much time – and even money in some cases. Just click the button below in order to schedule a call and discover whether traditional publishing versus self-publishing is best for you.

 

The Publishing Industry Is Shifting

Thankfully, this industry is changing for the better – at least for those of us who are savvy in self-publishing.

With the development of online marketplaces like Amazon, the publishing process has changed. You can distribute your book to everyone, regardless of what some traditional publishing house thinks about your idea.

You have a book inside of you and the world needs to read it!

DifferencesSelf-PublishingTraditional Publishing
You need to spend excess time landing an agentX
You need to market the book yourself
You keep 100% creative controlX
You keep 100% of royaltiesX
You keep full rights to your work foreverX
Costs are coveredX
You have 100% control of the pace of productionX
You work at your own paceX
You control when your book stops "printing"X

Why Self-Publishing?

The publishing world has changed, and it’s time for you to reap the benefits. Here are seven reasons why self-publishing is the best route to take—and why you’ll think twice before dealing with a publishing company again.

#1 – You Don’t Have to Wait for Permission

With self-published books, you do not have to wait for anyone to give you the green light.

  • You decide when and how to publish a book.
  • You decide whose hands your book gets into.
  • You decide how successful you are.

In other words, you don’t have to convince any gatekeepers to allow your book to reach the global market.

“But, don’t traditional publishers have a good idea for what will sell or not? I mean, if they reject my book, they’re probably right that no one would want to buy it.”

Wrong.

Have you ever heard of Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek”? It has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller for over four years. It sold nearly 1.5 million copies and has been translated into 35 different languages.

Oh, and get this: It was rejected by the first 26 publishers it was presented to.

Maybe you’ve also heard of a certain children’s book, the one about a young boy with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead who discovers he is a wizard. The ”Harry Potter” franchise is a patent bestseller, with the last four books in the series being the fastest-selling books in history. 

Yet it was rejected by 12 publishers in a row, and was only picked up because the eight-year-old daughter of an editor demanded to read the rest of the book. Even then, after the editor agreed to publish, they advised J.K. Rowling to get a day job as she had little chance of making money in children’s books.

Little did they realize the publishing success they had stumbled onto.

Now, just imagine all the other authors out there who stopped after the first 10 or 20 doors slammed in their faces, believing the lie that they didn’t have a profitable idea.

You cannot allow other people to determine your success.

Self-publishing gives you the avenue to do that. You and your readers decide the worth of your words, rather than one person at a publishing firm who may not realize the potential publishing success in their hands. 

#2 – You Can Publish Your Work Quickly

If you were to take your book to a traditional publisher, it would take years to publish.

For example, it may take up to six months for you to even hear back about the book proposal. And assuming they accept your proposal, it will take at least another year before the book is actually published.

With self-publishing, you can produce your content as quickly as you want. And in the Amazon Kindle store, you can publish a new book whenever you want. That way, you can share your work as quickly as you create it!

#3 – Bring Home the (passive) Bacon

Traditionally-published authors are typically paid an amount of money up front. However, once the sales come rolling in, they only get a small cut of the earnings. 

Why? Because they have to pay the publishing house, the editor, the marketers, the designers, etc.

But when you self-publish, you take in most of the earnings (save for the money you actually choose to spend on marketing, book production and publishing). On Amazon, for example, self-published authors receive 70% of the royalties for an eBook priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Now that isn’t bad!

#4 – You Form Invaluable Connections

Self-publishers around the world have gathered online and in person to provide a community that supports one another in publishing their work.

These connections become priceless as you meet other up-and-coming influencers like yourself.

“Wait—so where would I meet these people?”

Because self-publishing requires that you find your own editor, cover designer, formatter and launch team members, you end up connecting with people throughout your whole writing experience.

Self-published authors also gather on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.

The camaraderie allows people to expand far beyond what they could have done on their own, or what they would have been limited to with a traditional publisher.

#5 – You Control Your Objective

So much of a book is influenced by the motive that fuels it.

  • Is your motive to make money?
  • It is to launch a new career?
  • Is it to share your story?
  • Is it to become a public speaker?
  • Or, is it simply something to cross off your bucket list?

Remember, writing a book is hard work. And nothing is worse than seeing your hard work be transformed into something you didn’t want. When you self-publish, you are able to preserve the dignity and genius of your objective. No one is pressuring you to sell more books, or to taint your message so that it will reach wider audiences.

You are not pigeonholed or made to become someone you’re not comfortable with.

You write as you, and for you. And that is liberating. That is self-publishing freedom!

#6 – You Control Your Creative Concept

There are horror stories about authors whose ideas and voice became unrecognizable after they went down the traditional route. 

When you work with a traditional publisher, you don’t just sell them your manuscript, you sell them your idea.

Your book may become something you are not comfortable with. Or, your dreams for a sequel or a revision may be completely squandered if it does not comply with the motives of the traditional publisher.

But as an independent author, you retain total creative control. 

You are free to be expressive with your work. You are free to be vulnerable and controversial. You are free to be you.

When you self-publish, you also control who you write for. If you sell via the Amazon Kindle store, you can choose, and then tweak, your categories and keywords. You determine your marketing efforts.

With 45 percent of e-book sales going to indie authors, audiences are showing that they respect and want to purchase the ideas of everyone—not just those endorsed by traditional publishers.

#7 – You Control Your Future

Most people looking to write a book want to earn more money, gain more freedom or have a platform to share their ideas.

When you self-publish and have complete ownership over your ideas, you also have complete ownership over your future.

There is no traditional publishing firm to stop you from selling a supplementary online course that includes material from your book, starting a speaking career, re-releasing your book with a hardcover or audiobook, or even releasing an updated version of your book.

You determine the trajectory of your book, your ideas, and your publishing career when you self-publish.

Even Big Names Choose Between Traditional Publishing VS Self-Publishing

Though there are some benefits to traditional publishing, even some well-established and successful authors admit that the joys of being an indie author outweigh a traditional publishing deal.

So much, in fact, that big name entrepreneurs who have large followings and could easily get a traditional publishing deal are opting to go the self-publishing route.

These people include Pat Flynn, Jeff Goins, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, Johnny B. Truant and James Altucher.

Why Go With Traditional Publishing?

As you can probably tell, we here at Self-Publishing School are huge advocates of being in control and ensuring you get all the money you deserve for the work you’ve put in.

That being said, sometimes traditional publishing will be the best option to fit your needs.

Here is why some people might opt to go with traditional publishing instead of reaping the rewards of self-publishing.

#1 – You have connections in the publishing industry

The chances of landing and agent and making it in traditional publishing is very low.

Because this market is very saturated and publishers really only publish certain types of books, those who have better luck with traditional publishing are those who have connections within the industry.

Bascially, if you know someone who is an agent or an editor at a publishing house, it might be beneficial for you to work with them in order to get published through that house.

#2 – You want the label

The best perk when it comes to traditional publishing is typically the fact that you can say you’re a traditionally published author.

Because you have to go through a number of different processes and rejections in order to “make it” with traditional publishing, it can be seen as a sign that you’re a better writer than others.

However, as much as it can sound impressive, it doesn’t always mean it is.

#3 – Distribution

Book distribution is much easier as a traditionally published author, mostly because you don’t have to deal with any of it.

Traditional publishing houses have very wide reaches and because of this, your book can reach a lot more stores in more places than if you traditionally publish.

#4 – Less responsibility on your part

If you’re the type of person who just wants to write the book but don’t want to worry about the title, cover, editing, or more, then traditional might be for you.

Keep in mind that traditional publishers do purchase the rights to your book when you get a book deal and therefore, can make you alter anything in it to meet their needs.

Meaning, your plot and characters can drastically change. If you’re okay with that, then traditional publishing works for you.

#5 – No upfront costs to you

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean traditional publishing is necessarily “free.”

Typically, those who get traditional book deals receive an upfront payment of varying amounts. From there, the rest of the expenses fall on the publisher.

However, those upfront payments aren’t often big enough to cover your living expenses for the length of time it takes to get your book finished and out into the world. And that means you’ll still have to continue to work another job while writing and meeting deadlines in order to get your book done.

#6 – A slow and steady process

This can be both a pro and a con. If you’re not in a rush to get your book out into the world, then the slow and lengthy traditional publishing process might be a good thing for you.

Ultimately, Self-Publishing Will Change Your Life

It may be that, like quite a few writers, you’ve dreamed about working with a big-name publishing house all your life, and nothing will satisfy you until you get that experience. There is nothing wrong with that.

If you’ve identified this need early on, then maybe it’s best for you to go down the traditional publishing route. 

But let’s say you win the book lottery and get published. There is still no guarantee that your publisher’s efforts will get your work in bookstores or into the hands of the editors of your favorite literary magazines and newspapers. There’s also no guarantee in sales volume. 

However, self-publishing gives you an alternative path. It gives you an assured chance of getting your book out there. You have a better chance of seeing success in your sales and making an impact if your message resonates with enough people. Not to mention, you get to stay true to the vision of your book.

Self-publishing allows you the freedom, money, community and control to shape your life into one that you adore.

So, start writing your own bestseller today.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish six bestselling books in a row…and use them to build a seven-figure business in less than two years. Click here to save your spot now!

Character Development: How to Write Lifelike and Intriguing Characters Easily

Character Development: How to Write Lifelike and Intriguing Characters Easily

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

Think about it.

Why do people continue to purchase books in a series? It’s not always because of the storyline.

In fact, more often than not, it’s because someone fell in love with the characters and care so much about them and their journey that they’re willing to follow them through the entirety of it.

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

character development

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

We’ll cover these main character development concepts in detail:

  1. Types of Character Development
  2. 12 Valuable Character Development Tips
  3. Character Development Exercises
  4. Character Arcs
  5. How to Create Strong Character Arcs

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

Talk to an Expert to Discuss Your Character Development

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

It’s true.

Just book a call for a FREE 20-minute coaching call and our experts can help you gain clarity

BOOK A FREE COACHING CALL! Talk with one of our experts by clicking the button below and scheduling your free coaching call.

What is Character Development?

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

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

What is a Well Developed Character?

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

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

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

Types of Character Development

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

These are the different types of characters to write:

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

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

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

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

Here’s a chart describing the types of character development you’ll have to execute on.

Character TypesCharacter Development
ProtagonistThis is your "hero" character, or the main character. Their main purpose is to solve a problem that affects them directly and push through against all odds. This is the character your readers want to root for.
AntagonistThis is your "villain." They're the bad guy who wants to stop your protagonist in order to fulfill their own agenda. Sometimes the antagonist can be an organization or group of people instead of a single character.
SecondaryThis is your "side" character/s. They get a decent amount of page time but are not the "stars" of your novel.
StaticThis is a character who remains the same throughout the story. They don't really change who they are or how they operate.
Foil/MirrorThis type of character is one that is the opposite of your protagonist. Their personality is different, their habits are opposite, and they often butt heads with the protagonist in non-lethal ways.
StockThis is much like "stock images" online. They're a character who is relatively flat and easily recognizable as a stereotype in fiction. An example would be the "bad boy" type or the "tough girl" or even the "comic relief" character.
Dynamic/RoundAll protagonists should be dynamic and round. These characters undergo physical, mental, or emotional changes throughout the story. They are complex, deep, and lifelike. All characters that are not stock or static should be this type.

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

12 Actionable Character Development Tips

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

#1 – Create a background for each character

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

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

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

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

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE:
Fill out a character development sheet so you can understand your characters as full-fleshed people instead of just two-dimensional beings you created.

Cover these main ideas when crafting your character’s background:

  • Their childhood (good, bad, poverty-stricken, spoiled, etc.)
  • Their parents (divorced, never married, one missing, both missing)
  • Their friendships
  • Their hobbies and interests as a kid versus now
  • Their motivations for feeling the way they do about any given situation
  • Their personality type and how it affects their actions

These are some basic elements you should understand about your character in order to shape their personality, opinions, and actions that appropriately fit their background.

#2 – Know your characters’ strengths and weaknesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 – Create nervous ticks or habits

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

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

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

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

#4 – No character can be perfect

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

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

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

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

character development tip

#5 – All characters need realistic motives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE:
When coming up with your antagonist’s motives, list at least 2 ways in which they’re valid. For Voldemort, it would be the fact that Harry can kill him and that he wants to rule the wizarding world.

Your bad character has to have at least 2 strong reasons for opposing your protagonist and they should make sense given their history.

#6 – Give each character a unique feature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep in mind that siblings can certainly look similar!

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

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

character development spreadsheet

#7 – Develop a wide variety of personality types

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#9 – Make secondary characters foil types

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

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

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

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE:
Pinpoint your secondary characters and development them in a way that makes them clash or oppose your main characters in certain ways.

Think about what could annoy your main character the most and give your secondary characters some of those habits or personality traits.

#10 – Give each character a distinct voice

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

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

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

Your characters should be developed in the same way.

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

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE:

These tips can ensure your characters speak differently:

  • Choose a slang word each character likes to use
  • Use different wording for the same meaning like “apologies” versus “I’m sorry” or “my bad”
  • Use unique sentence structures to give each character a unique speaking rhythm
  • Make sure your more educated characters speak like it and your less educated use simpler words and phrases
  • Create phrases similar to “knee-high to a grasshopper” with unique meanings for your characters’ specific regions
  • Read their dialogue out loud in the voice you image they have and make changes if necessary

The point of giving your characters unique voices is to ensure your readers imagine them as real people instead of two-dimensional beings living in paper.

#11 – Create a diverse cast in every way

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE:
Look through your characters and their appearances as well as their personalities. If there isn’t clear diversity amongst them, create it.

You want to make sure you are allowing diverse readers to feel included, heard, and represented.

#12 – Avoid stereotypes

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

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

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

What is a Character Arc?

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

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

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

How to Create a Character Arc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

character development arc explanation

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

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

That’s exactly what we can help with.

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

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

Join your FREE training and learn how you can go from developing characters to a full book – in as little as 90 days if you really focus.

Just click the button below to watch!

 

What is your favorite part about character development? Which characters of yours are you most proud of and why? Comment below!

Book Idea: How to Find Good Book Ideas Guaranteed to Stir Envy

Book Idea: How to Find Good Book Ideas Guaranteed to Stir Envy

A good book idea is rare.

As much as you think all of your book ideas are fantastic and anyone would love to read them…you might be completely wrong.

And I’ll explain why shortly but first, if you want to skip ahead and discover if your book idea is indeed a great one, take this intuitive quiz that will tell you exactly how it fares against the competition.

IS YOUR BOOK IDEA GOOD? TAKE THIS QUIZ TO FIND OUT!

What makes a good book?

A good book is a combination of high passion on your end, making your readers feel intensely along with a structure that toys with their emotions and an overall message worth sharing.

In order to come up with a good book idea, you have to understand what makes a book great and then work backward from there.

This might seem a little vague but in reality, this combination isn’t easy to come by.

A good book takes time, effort, and the right formula to get right. If you want to leave readers feeling stunned in the best way (and ready to give you those coveted 5-star reviews), it’s essential to first start with a great book idea.

Here are some of the top qualities that make a book good:

  • It invokes high levels of emotion in the reader
  • It has an overarching theme or message
  • A strong, pleasant voice
  • A structure that builds on itself
  • Quality writing that’s enjoyable to read and visualize
  • Originality

Once you know what your book needs, it’s time to figure out what you should write about.

What should I write my book about?

When determining what you should write your book about, start with figuring out if you want to write fiction or nonfiction.

If you want to write nonfiction:

Fiction and nonfiction are basically two different worlds when it comes to writing.

You have to determine if you’re someone who wants to write fiction or nonfiction. This decision is typically simple to make because if you don’t have an interest in creating new worlds, realities, or making up characters, fiction is not for you.

On the other hand, if you love to write guides and how-tos and maybe even self-help related books, nonfiction is going to be a better fit for you.

If you want to write fiction:

You have to start by determining what kind of fiction you want to write.

Which genre will be your battlefield?

These are just the more popular fiction genres:

  • Romance
  • Fantasy / Sci-fi
  • Contemporary
  • Mystery
  • Thriller / Horror
  • Satire
  • Young Adult

In order to choose, pick the genre you enjoy reading the most. That means if you love fantasy and typically read that more than anything else, this will be the genre you’ll enjoy writing the most.

Once you know what you want to write, you have to learn how to come up with a good book idea in it.

Coming Up With a Good Book Idea for Both Nonfiction and Fiction

We’re going to separate these two simply because the process is so different. Coming up with fiction book ideas differs greatly from nonfiction because they cover much different information, key elements, and reader intent.

— How do I come up with a fiction idea for a book?

Fiction is amazing because you can come up with pretty much anything and it can be formed into a good book idea.

Let us help you break it down.

#1 – Use writing prompts to spark your creativity

If you have a hard time coming up with book ideas, then what you really need is something to prompt your mind into thinking creatively and imaginatively.

And that something is a writing prompt.

Writing prompts are very short ideas or story concepts for you to use in order to get started. Think of them as the catalyst for your imagination.

We actually have a list of over 200 original fiction writing prompts created for this specific purpose.

You can fill out the form below to download them! These prompts might contain the beginning of your next book idea.

200+ FREE FICTION WRITING PROMPTS -Type in your information to get your download RIGHT NOW!

#2 – Do some people watching

Head to a park or airport and just sit down to watch people. This might seem a little odd (or even a tad bit creepy) to you but it’s often a great way to get real-life writing prompts.

You may overhear a snippet of conversation or witness someone doing something interesting.

Take a notebook and jot down notes in order to flesh it out into a full story later. Consider it more like research for your novel.

#3 – Bounce ideas around with a friend

If you have a creative friend you love to chat books and book ideas with, just sit down and bounce ideas around with them.

Two minds are greater than one is most cases – including coming up with book ideas.

You can ask them to come up with a character and their background, and then you can give their life a reality with problems and a main conflict.

This alone can get you started on a book idea!

#4 – Play the “What If” game

This is my favorite way to come up with book ideas and it’s based on the concept of saying “what if…” and thinking up a crazy situation in this world or one of your own making.

Not only does this open your mind to otherworldly possibilities, but it’s also great practice for your imagination.

Here are a couple examples of how to play the “What If” game and how it can yield interesting book ideas.

Start the QuestionDetailed Answer
What if......animals started going extinct and nobody knew why.
What if......crops were suddenly being produced at 5x their normal rate.
What if......someone actually found the cure to cancer.
What if......climate change started having DRASTIC effects.

#5 – Pick a different time period and think about issues that could arise

This specific technique is designed to free your mind from common problems in this time. Because it’s all you’ve known, your mind can try to come up with problems deserving of a book, but it’s a little difficult to make those seem interesting.

Instead, give your brain a shock by thinking of problems from another time period, whether that’s the past or the future.

You might have a book idea hiding in the past that you’ll never be able to see if you’re only looking in the present.

#6 – Use Pinterest to find interesting pictures

Then write a book about their reality.

One thing I like to do most often is type “character inspiration” into the Pinterest search bar.

book ideas on pinterest example

Then, once the images load, I pick someone who stands out to me.

book ideas on pinterest example

From there, I do some deep thinking about a world they could fit in, what it looks like, what the big problems are, and even go so far as to create a job and personality for that character.

You can do this very same thing with “fantasy world” or “sci-fi world” if you want to think up some books revolving around those ideas.

The results often give you images that can spark a small idea – which we can help you develop into a fully-fleshed story.

Book a call with one of our trained experts to get a detailed understanding of the next steps with your book idea.

#7 – Make up a character you’d like in real life

From here, you’ll craft a story about their life in their own reality.

This exercise is perfect for coming up with a good book idea because generally, you want your protagonist to be a character people like.

And when you create a character you genuinely like and would be friends with, other people will feel the same.

While the story and plot have to be intriguing, the character is sometimes the biggest selling point. A book with great characters will stand out.

— How do I come up with a nonfiction idea for a book?

You’ll have to unleash your inner child.

Yes, I’m serious. Coming up with good book ideas involves a lot of creative thinking and suspension of disbelief.

Here’s how you can come up with great book ideas many will love to read.

#1 – Determine your passion

Writing a book without passion is useless.

Your distaste or worse, your indifference, will bleed through the pages and be obvious to anybody reading it.

If you want to come up with a book idea that not only other people will love, but that you will also love, it has to be something you’re passionate about.

The process of writing a book can take some time and a lot of dedication, rereading, and editing to get right.

It will only do well and be met with praise if it’s something you put a lot of passion into.

#2 – Think about what you know a lot about

What are a few topics you seem to know more than the average person about?

The reason you have to figure this out is that it will help you determine the best book idea for you to write.

Here are some questions you can ask in order to uncover what you’re knowledgeable about:

  • What are people always asking you advice for?
  • What are key concepts you find yourself repeating a lot?
  • What do people tell you you have a lot of knowledge about?
  • What are your “specialties” both at work and at home?

These questions will help you determine the common theme within the answers. Once you know what you have a strong knowledge of, you can narrow down your book ideas.

#3 – Brainstorm many main concepts

You don’t just have to limit yourself to what you know a lot about. Instead, brainstorm a very large number of main ideas.

These can be anything from your hobbies to your work expertise to even your view of the world and how it works.

Anything that comes to your mind and sparks your interest is worth writing down.

When you do this, you’ll typically find that there’s a main topic or overarching theme that sticks out the most. Usually, this is what you should write a book about.

book idea method

#4 – List book concepts you’d want to read yourself

What are the nonfiction books you’re drawn to most? This will often give you insight into great book ideas for you to write yourself.

The reason for this is because if you wouldn’t read the book you’re writing, then you shouldn’t be writing it.

This technique works backward from your own interests in order to determine which book idea you should push forward.

#5 – Write down the things you daydream about

What do you most often find yourself spacing out about?

When your boss snaps to get your attention or when your partner has to wave a hand in front of your face to bring you back to reality, write down what you were just thinking about.

It can be anything.

Even if it’s just what you’re going to make for dinner, write it down because you want to get into this habit.

After a week, take a look at all those thoughts and you’ll usually find a pattern amongst them. That’s the book idea you should write about.

#6 – Start with a narrative about your day-to-day life

This is a very unique technique that can help you discover what’s important to you from a day-to-day perspective.

In order to do this, open a blank document and just start writing about your everyday life – but do this as if you were writing a story about yourself through narrative. Meaning, from a third person perspective.

Here’s an example of this book idea finding exercise:

BOOK IDEA EXERCISE EXAMPLE
She was perched at her desk, the monotonous tap-tap-tap of the keys a familiar comfort amidst the silence of her lonesome. Leaning in, her eyes flitted across the screen, following the lead of each word she typed.

Start writing yours and your mind might just come up with a book idea for you to take to publication.

Other Methods for Coming Up With Book Ideas

Everyone is different and all of our minds work differently. And that means if you want to come up with a good book idea, you’ll have to try a number of different methods to determine what works best for you.

Here are some alternative methods for coming up with a book idea that aren’t listed above.

#1 – The snowball method

This is a technique that helps your ideas build on one another – much like a snowball builds on itself when you start rolling it through the snow.

HOW IT'S DONE
How to do this book idea-generating exercise: This is done by writing down a broad concept first, like: Confidence.

From there, you will list more specific but still general terms related to this, like:

  • Gain more confidence
  • Confidence and your mood
  • Confidence in the workplace
  • What affects confidence?

After you have these ideas, pick a single one to narrow down even more until you have a niche-specific book idea.

#2 – Your own twist on a heavily-searched topic

This is for you nonfiction writers out there. In order to find topics that are searched a lot, hop on Amazon, choose “Books” from the search bar drop-down, then click the search icon or hit enter (yes, without typing anything in the search field).

This will bring you to the generic “home page” for books. Scroll down a little bit and locate the left sidebar with the different categories like “Popular in Books,” “More in Books,” and more.

From here, choose “Top 20 Lists in Books” as seen below.

book idea research example

You can easily scroll through the different sections in order to get an idea for what’s the most popular.

Now, most of these will be fiction, as it’s the top-selling genre.

If you want to find nonfiction-specific top sellers, repeat the first two steps in order to go back to the books “homepage.”

Then scroll down until you find the “Books” category with specific genres beneath. You can click on the genre you have the most interest in, like “Self-Help” in the example below.

book idea research example

From here, scroll down until you find the “Bestsellers” section in which you can discover the hottest titles and topics they cover so you can shape your book idea based on what will sell, like in the image below.

book idea research example

#4 – Write down any and all ideas

Even if they’re tiny and you think they could never make a great book, write them down.

You never know what could blossom into sometime incredible. Maybe JK Rowling never thought an idea about a wizard in school would be interesting – and look what happened there!

Next Steps – If You’re Serious!

If you have a book idea – or even if you don’t, we can help.

Book a call with one of our experts in order to discuss if your book idea is good and how you can dive deeper and uncover a final idea for your book.

Book a call with one of our trained experts to get a detailed understanding of the next steps with your book idea.

 

What is your book idea? Comment below and let us help you iron out the details!

Strong Verbs: Write Better by Using Power Verbs [FREE DOWNLOAD]

Strong Verbs: Write Better by Using Power Verbs [FREE DOWNLOAD]

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.

Nope.

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

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

DOWNLOAD HERE!

What is a strong verb?

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

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

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

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.what is a strong verb chart with examples

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 training

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.

strong verbs show the HOW of weak verb quote

#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!”

strong verbs list guide

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 ExampleStrong Verb Replacements 
LaughChuckle
Chortle
Giggle
Snort
Snicker
Hoot
Howl
GrabSnatch
Clasp
Nab
Pluck
StopHalt
Freeze
Cease
MakeCreate
Forge
Foster
Render

#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?

How to Start Writing a Book: 7 Steps to Become an Author Fast

How to Start Writing a Book: 7 Steps to Become an Author Fast

Writing a book is intimidating.

When you’re not sure where to start, it can paralyze you. 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 book 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:

Writing a book shouldn’t be this hard! But many get overwhelmed because they lack a writing process.

Start Writing a Book for Success with FREE Training

If you want to skip right ahead to what will really help you start writing, then you’ll want to check out this free training we put together for you.

With your FREE training, we can help you understand HOW to start a book and self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

How to Start Writing a Book Step-by-Step

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 to start writing a book as soon as possible:

  1. Set up a creative environment
  2. Develop a writing habit
  3. Create an outline
  4. Focus on only one project
  5. Maintain your focus
  6. Stay accountable with the “calendar” method
  7. Deal with resistance

We’ll cover what 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.

Ready to start your journey to becoming an author? Let’s go!

How to start writing a book

How to Start Writing a Book for Beginners

Believe it or not, writing a book isn’t as difficult as it’s made to seem. At least, getting started isn’t.

We have a complete guide that will cover best practices to start writing a book asap – even today if you sit down and put your pen to paper, so to speak.

#1 – Set Up Your Creative Environment

One of the most important things to remember if you want to start 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.
Start Writing a Book Action Step: Spend 30 minutes to create your ideal space for writing. You will feel more inspired to show up and write.

writing a book environment checklist

#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 publish. 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.

Start Writing a Book 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:

  1. Brainstorm: List every thought and story idea you want in your book by creating a mind map.
  2. Organize: Combine all related ideas together.
  3. Order: Arrange ideas into subsections from general to specific.
  4. Label: Create main and subheadings that will eventually be your chapters.
Start Writing a Book 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.
Start Writing a Book 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.
Start Writing a Book 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:

  1. Get yourself a calendar, and hang it on the wall.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Start Writing a Book 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.”

writing a book scheduling method

#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.
Start Writing a 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.

With your FREE training, we can help you understand HOW to start a book and self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

#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!

Writer’s Block: How to Beat Writer’s Block and Control The Flow of Words

Writer’s Block: How to Beat Writer’s Block and Control The Flow of Words

You probably don’t want to hear what I have to say about writer’s block.

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

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

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

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

And you don’t even really like that sentence.

What’s Causing Your Writer’s Block? QUIZ!

In order to cure an illness, you have to know what’s causing it first, right?

Before you take another step or scroll even an inch further, take this quiz because without knowing the why, you can’t possibly find a cure that’s best for your writer’s block.

TAKE THIS SHORT QUIZ TO FIND THE TRUTH BEHIND YOUR WRITER'S BLOCK

Being Informed is the Key to Beating Writer’s Block

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

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

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

With your FREE training, we can help you understand what it takes to write a book, avoid that self-doubt your writer’s block seems to feed on, and show you HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is a nasty hindrance where you just can’t think of what to write no matter how hard you try and how much you challenge your mind – and a blank document quickly becomes your worst enemy. Even the best authors out there still deal with this from time to time.

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

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

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

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

What causes writer’s block?

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

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

How to Overcome Writer’s Block by Prevention

Why do we wash our hands frequently during flu season?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reason for Writer's BlockHow to Cure Writer's Block
InsecurityLook up interviews with highly successful authors talking about when they first started writing.
No Plot/General DirectionStop, create an outline for your book, and discuss it with a writing friend.
Creative BlockGo out and do something creative that's not writing-related.

#1 – Outline Your Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

writer's block cure outline

#2 – Research Beforehand

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

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

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

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

#3 – Write More Often

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

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

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

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

writer's block solution example

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

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

How do you get over writer’s block?

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

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

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

#1 – Write Anyway

I know what you’re thinking:

“But I can’t! I’m blocked!”

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

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

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

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

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

#2 – Read

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

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

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

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

Never underestimate the power of a good book.

Writer’s Block Action Step: Grab your favorite book and spend 30 minutes reading it – or until you feel inspired and ready to write again. Trust us, it works!

#3 – Get Moving

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

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

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

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

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

#4 – Take a Walk or a Drive

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

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

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

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

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

#5 – Talk it Out

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

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

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

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

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

#6 – Find Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

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

#7 – Put Your Phone Away!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#8 – Reread Your Writing

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

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

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

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

#9 – Stop Comparing Your Writing

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writer’s Block Action Step: Write down 10 things you love about your writing. Get specific and mention why you love your dialogue or why your theme is so unique and special. Recognize your own strengths and then say them outloud to yourself.

#10 – Think of the Big Picture

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

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

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

  • Why did you want to write this story?
  • How will it benefit you?
  • How will it benefit others?
  • What message do you hope others receive?

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

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

How Long Does Writer’s Block Last?

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

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

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

Overcome Writer’s Block by Staying Informed

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

With your FREE training, we can help you understand what it takes to write a book, avoid that self-doubt your writer’s block seems to feed on, and show you HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

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

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

Book Marketing: How to Strategically Market Your Book for More Sales

Book Marketing: How to Strategically Market Your Book for More Sales

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.

Book Marketing for Self-Published Authors

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.

And if you want a quicker, easier way of understanding what’s in this blog post, check out your free training.

With your FREE training, we can help you take your marketing plan to the next level – and we even help you understand HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy your story.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

Book Marketing Strategies 

Having a quick overview of exactly what you can do and how much time and effort each will take can help you better plan for your book marketing plan.

Here are our recommended book marketing strategies and what you need for each.

Book Marketing StrategyWhat You NeedHow Long it TakesPrice
Launch Team- dedicated people
- fans of your book
- those with a following (preferred)
1 week - 1 month depending on your platform sizeFree
Email List Promo- an email list
- a deal or promotion
As little as a single day to put everything together and send the email.Free, unless you pay for email marketing services
Giveaway- something valuable
- somewhere to host it
1 week to get the word out and for people to enterAnywhere from $10-$100 depending on the giveaway prizes
Live Reading- just yourself
- a live streaming service like Youtube or Facebook
1 week to plan and get the word out, only 30 minute to executeFree
Book Trailer- video editing software
- video editor
- graphics for your book
Anywhere from 1 week to a few weeks depending on your own video editing skill levelFree - $100 if you hire someone to create the trailer
Speaking- a high-quality speaking gig
- transportation
- a wicked speech
1-3 weeks of preparation and 30 minutes - 1 hour of executionFree, unless you pay for your spot on stage
Reading Challenge on Social Media- a set of rules for the challenge
- a platform to host it
1 month or longer depending on the challenge itselfFree, plus the price of the books

Free Book Marketing Plan

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:

  1. Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
  2. Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
  3. Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

Let’s get started!

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.

What is a launch team?

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 – Launch Team 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 a Launch Team

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 Quality People for Your Launch Team

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 for your launch team, 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

book marketing communication guidelines

#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…

How to Price 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 with your own website, 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.

book marketing author platform example

#3 – Reach Out to Influencers

When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers through book endorsements.

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:

book marketing youtube page example

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:

Twitter

  • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
  • #writerslife
  • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
  • #writerprobs, #writerproblems

Instagram

  • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
  • #writerslife
  • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
  • #writerprobs, #writerproblems
  • #writersofig, #writersofinstagram, #writersofinsta

Facebook

  • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
  • #writerslife
  • #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?

Yes. Definitely.

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

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.

book marketing book club example

#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
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 with FREE Training

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].

With your FREE training, we can help you take your marketing plan to the next level – and we even help you understand HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy your story.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

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?

How to Write a Short Story: 7 Actionable Steps for Impactful Short Stories

How to Write a Short Story: 7 Actionable Steps for Impactful Short Stories

You probably don’t think short stories are very hard to write.

In fact, you might be the type who assumes short stories are even easier because, well…they’re short.

But that’s just not the case – and I’ll tell you why in just a minute.

If you want to learn how to write a short story, you’ll have to go through these main steps:

  1. Know your character
  2. Outline
  3. Start with something out of the ordinary
  4. Get your draft done as soon as possible
  5. Edit your short story
  6. Title your short story
  7. Get feedback about it

But before we dive into these exact methods for how to write a short story, let’s talk about why any and all writers should learn how to craft solid, captivating short stories, even if your end goal is to write full-length novels or even nonfiction.

how to write a short story

Why All Writers Should Learn How to Write a Short Story Well

There’s a lot more to writing short stories than you may think. Just because they’re shorter in length doesn’t mean it takes any less skill to execute a good one.

In fact, being able to tell a full story in such a short amount of time arguably takes more skill than writing a full-length novel or nonfiction book.

That being said, why is it beneficial for all writers to learn how to write a short story?

#1 – You learn the skill of showing

When you only have a few pages to hook readers, paint a clear picture of the character, and tell a story, you end up mastering the skill of showing instead of telling.

The reason for this is because, in order to accomplish a successful and good short story, showing is a major part of that.

It’s far too difficult to write a great short story without showing the details and using strong verbs to paint a clear image of your character’s life.

Those skills will transfer into anything you write, automatically making it that much better.

FREE STRONG VERBS LIST DOWNLOAD

Just enter your information for a list of over 200 strong verbs with the weak verbs they replace!

#2 – You’ll strengthen individual chapters

No matter if you’re a fiction writer or if you prefer nonfiction, the idea here is the same.

A chapter is basically a short story that’s a part of a bigger whole. The same skills you apply to write a great short story will also help you write stronger chapters.

Why is writing good chapters important if there’s a whole book available for someone to read?

Because it hooks readers and keeps them turning that page.

And when readers look back on an entire book filled with incredible chapters, the entire book as a whole will be seen as being that much better.

Hello, 5-star reviews!

#3 – It makes the story sections of your nonfiction book more captivating

Every nonfiction book has portions where stories must be told in order to get the point across.

This is what allows people to relate to you as an author, which pulls them in deeper and makes the core message of your book resonate with them more.

But if those stories are weak, not well-written, and lackluster, it’s unlikely someone will enjoy them as much.

It’s also likely that your message will get lost because the book doesn’t carry the same impact.

How long are short stories?

You already know that short stories are…shorter than your average novel but do they have any other difference?

Here’s a chart detailing the main differences between short stories, novels, novellas, and nonfiction works.

Writing TypeAverage Word CountMain Writing Focus
Short Storiesunder 7,500 words- Imagery
- Exposition
- Theme/Message
Novels40,000 +- Character development
- Plot
- Theme/Message
Novellas17,500 - 40,000- Character development
- Plots
- Theme/Message
Nonfiction 20,000 - 70,000 - Theme/Message
- Supporting stories
- Personal journey

As you can see, the main difference is length, but that’s not all. When you write a short story, you’re only writing a very impactful snippet of your character’s otherwise full life.

You don’t have to unpack your entire character’s life story in a few hundred words in order to write a great short story.

How to Write a Short Story

If you’re ready to tackle this avenue of creative writing or you just want to learn how to write a short story to strengthen the overall quality of your book, here’s how you can do that.

#1 – Know your character

In order for a short story to be impactful, you have to know your character well. You only have a certain amount of time to show your readers who that person is and you can’t do that if you don’t even know who they are.

Think about it.

If you write a short story about your best friend, whom you’ve known for many years, versus writing one about someone you just met yesterday, you’ll be able to craft a much stronger story about your best friend because you know them so well.

The same goes for your fictional characters.

You don’t have to spend a ton of time on this, but know their history, age, personality, family life, friend life, love life, and other details that shape the way someone sees the world.

#2 – Outline

Thankfully, the outlining process for a short story is much easier than a full novel, but I do still advise creating one in order to have a cohesive flow throughout the story.

This is definitely useful for those of you who prefer outlining versus just writing by the seat of your pants.

Here’s what your outline should encompass for a short story:

  • The point of view you’ll use
  • How you’ll start the story
  • How you’ll get from the beginning to the main issue
  • What happens at the “climax” (yes, even short stories have one!)
  • Resolution of the main issue
  • The very end

Keep in mind that your short story can end very abruptly or you can flesh it out until there’s a satisfying ending.

This is really up to you as an author to decide.

#3 – Start with something out of the ordinary

In order to hook readers with a short story, you should start with something that’ll catch someone’s attention right off the bat.

Take Hannah Lee Kidder’s example from the video above. One of the short stories in her anthology, Little Birds, opens with a woman collecting roadkill.

Odd? Yes. Attention grabbing? You bet!

Because we’re automatically intrigued by the fact that people don’t normally go around collecting roadkill.

Now, you don’t have to start your short story with something as strange as that but you do want to give your readers a sense of who your character is by depicting something different right away that also has to do with the core focus of your short story.

how to write a short story intro example

Take this short story called The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, for example. This author starts with a very low money amount and then hits you with the fact that it’s Christmas the very next day.

This is out of the ordinary because many readers understand that having such little money (scraped up money, at that) right before Christmas isn’t typical. It’s odd – and also hits their emotions right away.

#4 – Get the draft done ASAP

Done is better than perfect. We’ve all heard or read these words time and time again – and that’s because they’re important; they’re true.

This is especially the case when it comes to short stories. Once you have your outline and know how to start writing, drafting the short story in full comes next.

Don’t worry about editing or polishing the story up in any way right now. After all, you can’t possibly make good edits until you know what the story looks like in full.

That would be like matching your earrings to your pants without first having the full outfit put together. You don’t know if those earrings work well with it until you see what else you’ll be wearing.

It’s the same for writing. Focus on getting your draft done so you can move on to the next step.

how to write a book and finish quote

#5 – Edit your short story

Editing is where the real magic happens when it comes to writing. We all have this idea in our minds that we’ll get it perfect the first time and that’s just not how writing works.

Most of the time, your first draft is just the bare bones of what’s to come.

Think of the actual writing as the wooden structure of a house and the editing as the drywall, paint, windows, light fixtures, doors, and anything else that’ll make the house complete.

These are a few things to keep an eye out for when editing your short story:

  • Point of view consistency
  • Tense consistency
  • Weak verbs (replace them with our list of strong verbs found right here!)
  • Showing versus telling (readers need you to show more!)
  • Stronger imagery
  • Spelling/grammar/dialogue

The editing process for short stories is pretty much the same for novels. The only difference is that short stories tend to focus more on imagery and exposition than they do full character and plot development.

#6 – Title it!

This can be one of the most difficult things for any book, let alone a story that’s only a few hundred to a few thousand words.

The good news? Short story titles are a little less important than titles for novels. They can also be very abstract.

What you want to think of when titling your short story is this:

  • What’s the overarching theme?
  • What is something unique about the story?
  • What sounds intriguing but not explanatory?

These questions will help you develop a title that not only makes sense, but is also intriguing enough to pull readers in while staying true to what the story is about.

#7 – Get feedback

No matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you are as a writer, you need feedback.

In order to learn and improve and ensure your message is coming across as desired, you need someone else’s fresh eyes on it.

The simple fact is, we’re too close to our writing.

It’s impossible to read your story with a critical eye when you’re the one who came up with and wrote it in the first place.

Allowing others to read your work and offer feedback is one of the best ways to improve and make sure your story is exactly how you want it.

Short Story Ideas

Now that you know how to write a short story, it’s time to put these new skills to the test with some short story ideas guaranteed to produce something interesting and intriguing.

Here are some short story ideas to take your writing to the next level:

  1. Your character opens the mailbox to find their biggest fear inside.
  2. After a devastating fall, your character is learning the hardships of healing after an accident.
  3. Your character accidentally insults their company’s CEO – right before a big promotion.
  4. Your character lost a child years ago but lives as if it just happened the day before.
  5. Your character’s village wise woman tells the story of how magic was lost due to abuse.
  6. Your character lives in a space pod traveling space, and they’re also claustrophobic.
  7. Ash floated from the mountaintop and awoke your character from their night’s sleep.
  8. Your character hasn’t eaten in days and stumbles upon real berries, and so does a starving bear.
  9. When your character’s heart is broken, they must find a way to heal it – any way.
  10. Your character is an orphaned 7-year-old who hears voices.

Your Next Steps

Now you know how to write a short story! But how do you go from having all this knowledge in your brain to actually writing a short story worth reading?

We’ve got those next steps for you.

#1 – Free Training

Learning how to write a short story is only the first step toward becoming a published author – and we have the rest of them for you.

With your FREE training, we can help you understand what it takes to write a book, how to do it with intrigue, and show you HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

#2 – Download some writing prompts

Not everyone can come up with a story idea off the top of their head. And as you learn how to write a short story, you might come up with a few but if you don’t, we’ve got you covered.

We have a master list of over 200 fiction writing prompts just waiting for someone to bring them to life.

Download yours right here and get started on your short story!

#3 – Start the outline!

If you went ahead and got your list of prompts, or if you already have an idea of your own, start your outline!

Get that main idea down and start thinking creatively about how you can begin your short story in a way that sucks readers in.

Then you can focus on the main event that ties everything together before finalizing how you want the story to end.

 

Do you have any other tips for learning how to write a short story? What do you love most about this avenue of writing? Comment down below!

How to Write a Novel: 5 Key Methods That SELL Books Fast

How to Write a Novel: 5 Key Methods That SELL Books Fast

If you misunderstand how to write a novel with the proper structure, your book will never sell.

Harsh, but true. And that’s why we’re here to tell you the exact methods that skyrocketed the popularity of books like The Hunger Games and the Divergent series.

Learning how to write a novel requires 5 key milestones in your story:

  1. The Setup
  2. The Inciting Incident
  3. The First Slap
  4. The Second Slap
  5. The Climax

But before we dive right into those, we have to understand your unique writing method in order for you to understand how to write a novel in a way that’s best for you.

What is a Novel?

You probably already know this, but a novel is a work of fiction told through narrative prose focusing on characters with at least some degree of realism.

Essentially, a novel is a long story in which a message, theme, and plot are revealed slowly over the course of scenes and chapters that make up a bigger storyline.

how to write a novel milestones

How Many Words in a Novel?

The exact number of words that make up a novel varies greatly depending on the genre and personal taste, however, a book is considered a novel if it has more than 50,000 words.

Below is a table detailing how many words make up a novel in each respective genre, as some are typically longer than others.

GenreAverage Word Count
Fantasy90,000 - 115,000
Epic Fantasy115,000 - 180,000+
Sci-Fi70,000 - 115,000
Romance
50,000 - 80,000
Suspence/Horror70,000 - 100,000
Mystery70,000 - 100,000
Contemporary65,000 - 90,000
Middle Grade25,000 - 65,000

Keep in mind that these are a baseline. You want to make sure your novel is in the ballpark word count for your genre and target audience but just remember that you can easily go over or under depending on how well the story is crafted…

…and if it covers our 5 key milestones – it will be crafted well.

What’s the Difference Between Pantser Versus Plotter

A plotter is someone who plans out their novel with an outline before actually writing, whereas a pantser is someone who writes with seemingly no direction – they write by the seat of their pants.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Fiction authors tend to fall into one of two buckets when writing their books.

Pantsers

These are writers who basically only have a few vague elements about the story in mind when they start writing, but nothing else.

One of the most famous pantsers is Stephen King. In interviews, Stephen King has said that he often has an idea of the beginning, the premise, and a vague idea how it’s all going to end – and that’s all he needs to start writing his book.

Plotters

These are writers who need to know every piece of their story, down to the minute detail, before they will write a single word. They have full, complete outlines that serve as a guide for their writing.

They will know who each and every one of their characters are, what their motivations are, the chapters needed for the book, chapter sections, and in some cases, even paragraphs. Probably the most famous plotter out there is James Patterson.

Knowing if you’re a plotter or pantser will dictate your entire writing process.

Clearly, it’s possible to be successful whether you’re a plotter or pantser. But here’s the harsh reality: whereas Stephen King and James Patterson sit on opposite extremes of the ‘Outline Spectrum’, most of us fall somewhere in between.

But that still doesn’t answer the question: Are you a pantser or a plotter?

My best advice is to be something in between. Someone who looks beyond the “outline” of a novel, and identifies something much more important in their story…the 5 key milestones we’re about to reveal to you.

how to write a novel panster versus plotter

How to Write a Novel with 5 Key Milestones of Every Successful Novel

Most novels and movies have five key points that make up the core of their story – it’s a formula that’s been around for longer than books have.

What’s more, these milestones are something that readers have subconsciously been trained to look for when digesting a piece of fiction.

In other words, if you don’t have these five key moments, your reader is likely to turned off of your story because it didn’t meet expectations set by the hundreds (if not thousands) of stories they have already digested before yours.

Let’s get started.

#1 – The Setup

This is where you make your story promise and write an introduction that pulls readers in.

You tell your reader what kind of story it will be – a comedy drama, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi – and you give a few clues as to what they can expect. Whatever you said in these initial pages must be followed to the end of your story.

A stone-cold drama cannot turn into a slapstick comedy by the end of the story. That doesn’t mean a stone-cold drama can’t have humor in it, it just means that you can suddenly pivot and become an Adam Sandler movie.

Also, during the setup, we learn a little bit about:

  • The characters
  • Their everyday lives
  • Their challenges
  • The world they live in

We get a sense of where the story is heading.

One mistake made by first-time fiction authors is that they do not properly set up the story expectations and the reader goes in expecting one thing, only to get another.

Nothing annoys readers more, and so it is essential that during the setup phase of your novel, you set the expectations that you will meet during the book or you’ll lose those 5-star reviews that make such a difference.

The Setup Example:

In the Hunger Games, we meet Katniss. From her surroundings, it is obvious that she is poor, and as soon as she steps outside of her wooden shack we see hovering drones.

Within the first few pages of this book, we have learned three essential things:

  • This book is a drama
  • Katniss is our heroine and she has a miserable life
  • SURPRISE! There are drones and other technologies that indicate this to be a sci-fi
  • We are about to read a dystopia set sometime in the future
How to Write a Novel Action Step: Ask yourself these questions.

  • What does your story’s setup look like?
  • What happens?
  • What story promises do you make?

Create a list of everything your reader needs to learn in order to enter your story’s world before crafting your introduction.

#2 – The Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is the moment in your story when your hero’s life changes forever. It is the ‘no-going back’ moment, where nothing that happens afterwards will return your hero’s world back to normal.

Katniss volunteers, Neo takes the blue pill, Dorothy lands in OZ … the aliens are here!

As soon as your inciting incident happens, your story should be full throttle towards the climax.

The most common mistake first-time authors make is that their inciting incident is reversible. That means that something could happen that would return the hero’s life back to normal.

No, no, no!

Your inciting incident should as final as the severing of a limb or a death of a loved one. Nothing should be able to reverse the effects of your inciting incident has on your hero.how to write a novel inciting incident

Inciting Incident Example:

Katniss volunteers! In the Hunger Games, the inciting incident is irreversible because – quite literally – soldiers grab Katniss, whisk her away from her world, and into the world of the games.

There is no escape.

And even if she could get away, she would be hunted by the Capital for the rest of her life. With those two simple words, “I volunteer!” her life has changed forever.

Note: There is an exception to this rule when it comes to romances.

With romances, the inciting incident is almost always when the two lovebirds meet. (Not always, but for the vast majority of romances, this is the case.) With romances, try to create an inciting incident that simultaneously shows how perfect these two people are for each other while setting up the numerous reasons why they can’t be together.

How to Write a Novel Action Step: Answer these questions in full and complete the brainstorming activity.

  • What is your inciting incident?
  • Is it strong enough?
  • Are there ways you could up the stakes or shorten the timeline?
  • How can you make it your inciting incident as impactful and irreversible as possible?

Brainstorm several inciting incidents… Don’t settle for one. Take a look at your inciting incidents and ask yourself this: Which one of these is the harshest, deadliest inciting incident of the bunch. Then pick that one.

#3 – The First Slap

Now, we are away to the races!

Over the next few chapters, your character should be making a series of gains and losses, where the aggregate result is that their situation is slightly better than what it was at the moment of the inciting incident.

The reason why we need this upward trajectory is because we are setting up the reader for the first slap.

The first slap is the moment when everything that our hero has gained is lost in fell swoop. Your hero is brought down to zero. In other words, all gains are lost, and your hero’s situation has never been bleaker.

The greater the fall, the more engaged your reader will be.how to write a novel structure

First Slap Example:

In the Hunger Games, Katniss’s world is brought down to zero when she actually enters the Games.

Between the inciting incident on the first slap, Katniss has made several gains, garnering the attention of the Capital and making some friends along the way. But none of that matters the moment she enters the Games – and what a moment it is.

How to Write a Novel Action Step: Brainstorm what your first slap can be. Like with the inciting incident, try to come up with 3-5 scenarios and pick the one that is harshest.

Take a look at all the events that could potentially happen between the inciting incident and the first slap. This is a loose mind map as you are not committing to anything at this point, but do try to get a sense of whether or not your hero will be making gains and losses (with a net value of gains) and try to assess whether or not the first slap is harsh enough to truly wow your reader.

Remember, you want your readers to hate you for what you’ve done to the characters they love.

#4 -The Second Slap

Your hero has rose to the challenge! They have successfully thwarted the big evil that has been thrusted upon them by the first slap and she is doing well.

…Now it is time to bring her back to 0 again.

The second slap should be as harsh, if not harsher, than the first slap. This is the moment when the reader should be looking at your book and thinking, “Wow, this author is mean. Diabolical villain mean!”

But there are two essential differences between the second slap and the first:

In the second slap we are setting up for the climax, which means that the hero needs to have an out. In other words, there should be some semblance of hope.how to write a novel

Second Slap Example:

In the Hunger Games, the second slap is when the Game Masters announce that two tributes can survive the Games should they both be from the same district.

Katniss goes looking for Peeta, only to find him mortally wounded – he is bleeding to death and won’t survive the next few hours, let alone the rest of the Games. We know enough about Katniss to realize that Peeta dying is the worst thing that could happen to her (besides her own death).

But there is hope!

An announcement is made that there is something at the cornucopia that the Tributes need, and Katniss just knows that there is medicine there for Peeta.

How to Write a Novel Action Step: Brainstorm several seconds slaps and pick the harshest one.

Then ask yourself: where is the hope and how will it lead into the climax?

#5 – The Climax

The rollercoaster that you’ve put your reader on is almost over.

The reader has gone from an engaging setup where they get to learn about your characters and world to the inciting incident where everything is turned on its head.

Then they are subjected to the first and second slaps where you embrace your inner sadomasochist in order to punish your hero and give the readers the thrills they so richly deserve.

Now it is time to wrap it all up with the climax.

There is only one rule to the climax. A rule that must be adhered to, no matter what genre you are writing in:

Make it amazing! The climax should be the moment where your reader puts down the book and goes, “Holy S&*%! That was awesome!”

Novel Climax Example:

The climax in the Hunger Games is the final confrontation between Katniss and the remaining Tributes, as well as the monsters that the Game Masters send after her. It is wrought with danger and excitement.

But what makes the climax truly kickass is the poisonous berries at the end.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, pick up a copy of Hunger Games today and read it! You’ll immediately get why this scene is so amazing.

How to Write a Novel Action Step: Brainstorm your kickass climactic scene!

Show us how amazing, smart, resourceful, powerful your hero is when overcoming their final obstacles, but remember to make sure it’s realistic and makes sense for your character.

 

There you have it: how to write a book is made much easier with your 5 key milestones. This method is particularly effective for first-time authors who are still finding their writing feet (or should I say typing fingers) and is an awesome resource that experienced writers can rely on time and again when planning their stories.

The 5 Key Milestones combined with a spot-on Premise and A-Story will tell you where your story starts, where it is headed and how it will end.

In other words, if you do the novel writing exercises above, you should have everything you need to get your novel to the finish line.

how to write a novel

And if you need a bit of extra help, I’m going through these 5 Key Milestones in a lot more detail in an upcoming webinar I’m going to conduct with Chandler Bolt. Get the full scoop and register to join us (before we fill up!) here.

How to Write a Book Step by Step in 2019: Bestseller-Approved Methods

How to Write a Book Step by Step in 2019: Bestseller-Approved Methods

I bet you’re wrong about writing a book.

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 more than a helpful piece of grammar software.

It takes help from someone who’s done it before – like me.

And I’m ready to let you in on all my secrets with this free video training I put together!

With your FREE training, we can help you understand HOW to write a book that will SELL and self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying you thought it would be easy, but I think you’ll be surprised about what the process really entails.

Because 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? I haven’t even come up with a book idea yet!”

how to write a 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!

author dna quiz

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

Before you sit down and type a single word, it will pay off if you take some time to address a few attitude questions and adopt the right mindset.

This is one of the most frequently overlooked steps in becoming a published author, which is a big reason why so many people fail to finish their book.

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

Write with a Purpose — Find Your “Why”

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

Why do you want to write a book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your WHY will be unique to you.

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

how to write a book steps

Get Rid of Your Excuses

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

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

But you can overcome it.

It’s worthwhile to spend a little time addressing some common excuses many of us make to prevent us from writing.

Once you’ve cleared out the cobwebs and smashed those mental roadblocks, you’ll be better prepared for the writing process ahead. Getting your mind ready is one of the first steps to producing valuable work.

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

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

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

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

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

Today, we’re all busy. I get it.

But I have some good news: Writing a book takes less time than you think.

Find an hour a day you devote to something mindless—social media, video games, internet, or TV—and start writing instead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excuse #4 – You’re “not an expert.”

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

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

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

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

Excuse #5 – Your first draft must be flawless.

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

Even experienced professional writers produce first drafts that end up covered in the red pen of an editor or numerous red changes in a document, just like the one pictured below.

how to write a book editing example

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 and finish quote

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

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

Plan When You’ll Write

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

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

#1 – Plan writing sessions using your calendar.

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

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

how to write a book calendar example

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

how to write a book method chandler bolt

#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…

how to write a book in an author's office

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

perfect writing desk how to write a book

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

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

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

Equip Yourself with the Right Tools

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft Word

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

how to write a book track changes in word

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

Scrivener

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

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

how to write a book scrivener

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

Google Docs

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

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

using google docs to write a book example

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come Up With Your Book Idea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

how to write a book through writers block

Don’t Censor Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a Reader-Centric Perspective

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself questions like:

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

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

how to write a book encouragement

Figure Out Which Book You Should Write First

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

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

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

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

Come Up With a Title

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

Your book title.

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

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

For a nonfiction book, your title should…

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

And for a fiction book, your title should…

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

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

how to write a book example amazon

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

how to write a book amazon best sellers

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

Fill Out The BookMap

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

how to write a book outline template

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

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

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

Turn Your BookMap Into an Outline

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

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

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

Capture More Notes with The Sticky Note Method

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

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

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

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

how to write your book sticky note example

Now Write Your Book…One Chapter at a Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Speak Your Book

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

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.

how to write a book example quote

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.

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

how write a book webinar

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

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

So nothing could possibly go wrong…right?

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

How to Beat Writer’s Block

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

Most of the time, writer’s block is a symptom of a paralyzing fear of others’ opinions.

The harsh reality is, if you write, at some point you’ll be on a first-name basis with a bout of the block. The only way to deal with it is to beat it.

Here are 8 methods I’ve found personally useful when fighting writer’s block:

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

Don’t Edit While You Write

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You sit down to write and you bang out a page or two. Then you stop and reread what you just wrote. And instead of continuing, 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:

book formatting example how to write a book

Whereas fiction books use indentation instead:

Fiction book formatting example how to write a book

Here are a few more book formatting tips:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ve written a book.

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

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:

good book cover example how to write a book chandler

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

Here’s another:

good book cover example how to write a book chandler

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

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

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

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

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

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

how to write a book amazon example cover

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:

how to write a book amazon example review

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.

how to write a book tips quote

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.

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

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

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

Here’s what you’ll learn:

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

→ Get FREE behind-the-scenes access now »

Are you ready to write your book? What are some things that you’re still struggling with?

5 Simple Steps to Snag Book Endorsements from a Marketing MBA

5 Simple Steps to Snag Book Endorsements from a Marketing MBA

Growing you book sales isn’t easy. In fact, you’re probably doing it incorrectly already.

This post will show you how to market your book for growth.

But if you want to know all the ins-and-outs of self-publishing, including how to write, market, and publish your book within 90 days…we highly recommend watching your free training first.

With your FREE training, we can help you understand HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

How to get book endorsements

Endorsements are a very powerful form of social proof and trust-builder for potential readers of your book.

Endorsements alone might not make your book a bestseller, but they’ll give you an advantage over other books that don’t have them.

I was able to leverage my endorsement by a top influencer to promote my book on social media, on my website, and even on webinars and speaking engagements.

You could place endorsements or “blurbs” on the back cover of your book, the praise sheet, or even the front cover, as you can see from my endorsement example below.

book endorsment example

But, how do you get top influencers to support your book? Here are five simple steps to get endorsements for your book.

#1 – Find the right influencers

The most powerful endorsements are those given by people who are well-known in your field.

To select the right influencers, find out who your ideal readers admire. Post the question on targeted social media groups or ask them directly.

Also, ask yourself what top influencers you follow and respect. Add their names to the list.

Focus on quality over quantity, but if you don’t have enough names, search for bestselling books similar to yours and check out who endorsed them.

It’s important that the influencers have a style and values similar to yours. That way, your ideal reader will be likely to be attracted to them and be familiar with their work.

How do you figure out the style and values of potential endorsers? Start by visiting the “About Me” page on their website and pay attention to their branding and message.

Then, visit their social media pages and focus on the style of their posts and the content they share. You’ll get a good idea of whether the person’s values and style might be a good match for you or not.

#3 – Deliver value first

Because it’s much easier to get a yes from someone who has already received value from you, it’s important that you start planning your request for endorsements in advance.

For blurbs by top influencers, you might need to start the outreach process several months ahead of the publication of your book.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, there’s always a way for you to bring value to the influencers and start a relationship with them.

Something as simple as sending them a handwritten note about how much their message means to you, posting a video review of their book on Amazon, or recommending them on LinkedIn will help you stand out.

Here are other examples of powerful ways to stand out:

  • becoming an active member on the influencers’ social media groups
  • attending one of their conferences
  • joining one of their paid programs

You should do this because you truly enjoy their message and not just because you’re seeking endorsements. Your true intentions will come through in your communications and behaviors.

Avoid going straight to the ask without having taken the time to deliver value first.

book endorsement

#4 – Prepare to ask

Before you reach out to potential endorsers, do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

Prepare well in advance so you can find the best opportunities to ask for the endorsement, and give yourself enough time to get through gatekeepers.

For example, if the influencer will be speaking at an event in your town, you could grab a ticket and introduce yourself.

However, local events aren’t your only choice. One of my friends was interested in building a relationship with an influencer who would be speaking three thousand miles away. But that didn’t stop her.

By following the influencer on Instagram, she learned that this person loved brownies and would be attending the event with her husband.

My friend ordered a dozen brownies to be delivered to the event with a customized note that read, “Best wishes during your presentation. Hope you and your husband enjoy these treats!”

That was the start of their friendship.

As part of your preparation, write a sample endorsement for each influencer. Blurs usually hover around 50 words (never more than 100). If you know their work well, you will be able to create blurbs that closely match their writing voice.

#5 – Ask for the endorsement

It might feel nerve-wracking to ask, but never wrong. If you’re hesitant, it might be too soon in the relationship, especially when it comes to top influencers.

If you ask too soon, they will either ignore you or reject your proposal.

Rushing might mean that you’ll have to start the process all over again and find someone else to endorse your book.

Never send a mass request to a group of influencers. You’ll waste your time, and hurt your chances of ever building a relationship with them. Customization is key.

Send the influencers a copy of your book along with a well-crafted message asking for the endorsement.

Ideally, you’ll send them a physical copy. It doesn’t have to be the final version, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be a printed PDF.

That said, you must ensure that whatever you send to the influencer is professionally packaged.

If sending a physical version of your book is not possible, you can send them the PDF or ebook, but you’ll have to ask in a way that stands out. You could achieve this by customizing your message in a unique way, creating a video specifically designed for them, or preceding your email with a handwritten note.

Think outside the box! A video card or a note written on a balloon would be clever ways to stand out, too.

Be succinct. Remember that time is a high-price commodity for influencers (for everyone!) so you don’t want to make it a chore to understand what you’re asking.

Start by expressing why you feel they’re the right person to endorse the book and why you respect them so much. Be sure to mention that you’re eager to make your readers aware of their work.

Next, specify the length of the blurb you’re seeking as well as by when you need it done.  

Don’t make your deadline too far in the future so that it’s put in the back burner, but don’t make it so soon that the influencer will immediately say no. I personally chose 3-4 weeks to collect the blurbs.

Be prepared to negotiate an extended due date, and allow for extra time in your planning.

When you share the blurb that you wrote, explain that you’re just trying to make things easy for them.

Express how much you appreciate their time and attention, and close with the promise to follow up in a week or two.

why book endorsement

Following Up for Book Endorsements

If you don’t hear back from the influencers, it’s easy to assume they’re not interested in writing the endorsement and be tempted to give up. However, it’s important to realize that they might have not received your message yet. 

Emails go to spam folders. Gatekeepers delete emails and toss out mail. You never know!

When you follow up, try a different way to reach the person. If you used email first, follow up with a handwritten note or a message on social media.

If you find out the name of the influencers’ gatekeepers, reach out to them directly. Build a relationship with them as well, and you will have a great chance of success.

My rule of thumb is to follow up three times. If you don’t hear from them, it might be time to move on.

 

As you can see, with a well-written manuscript, proper planning, and a great dose of authenticity, it’s possible for you to get endorsements from top influencers in your field.

The most important step is to take action.

It’s easy to be sidelined by fear of rejection, but if you think about it, the worst thing that can happen is that they’ll say no. If you’re confident in the quality of your book, you have nothing to fear.

Take the first step today to gain powerful social proof and make your book a success!


This is a guest post by Cloris Kylie, marketing MBA, who shows you how to create a strong marketing foundation and connect with influencers to grow a magnificent business. The bestselling author of “Beyond Influencer Marketing” and the host of “Beyond Influencer Marketing Podcast,” she has been featured on network television, top-ranked podcasts, and YouTube shows and websites with millions of followers. Get her guide to connect with influencers at https://www.cloriskylie.com/influencer.

Follow Her:   Twitter  |  Facebook


 

How to Get an ISBN: Everything You Need to Know About ISBN Numbers

How to Get an ISBN: Everything You Need to Know About ISBN Numbers

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 in order to publish the right way and why you even need an ISBN number in the first place.

But you don’t have to even worry about an ISBN number if you don’t have a book ready to publish, right? And it won’t even matter if you don’t publish that book the right way.

Before you read another section, make sure to take advantage of this FREE training we offer that will teach you what you need to know about self-publishing your book.

An ISBN number will go to waste without the proper system in place.

 

With your FREE training, we can help you develop your book and messages that speak to readers on deep levels – and we even help you understand HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

What is an ISBN number used for?

Essentially, an ISBN number, or International Standard Book Number, is a regulated 10- or 13-digit identification number which allows libraries, publishers, and book dealers to locate and identify specific books.

But where did these ISBN numbers even start and why do we have them?

In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth and 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.

isbn

What is the purpose of an ISBN number?

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 number.

But the process can be really confusing for new authors. There are a number of questions you might be asking yourself about ISBN numbers:

  • How does this long string of numbers on the back of books work?
  • How do you get it?
  • If you’re a self-published author, do you need an ISBN?
  • Why would you need one?

These are all questions answered in this article.

Let’s unweave the intricate web of how to get an ISBN and how they work in the publishing industry.

how to get an ISBN example on book

How To Read an ISBN number with an ISBN Example

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.

ISBN example break down

Here is the ISBN for a particular book:

978-3-16-148410-0

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:

3-16-148410-0

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.

Where is the ISBN number on books?

The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book. However, they’re not the same.

The barcode is much different than the ISBN number.

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.

ISBN barcode example

(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 number 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.

how to get an isbn for authors

Reasons Self-Published Authors 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.

How do I purchase an ISBN Number?

You might not even have to buy your ISBN number because of services offered to self-published authors. You can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company that has now merged with 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, and even Lulu.

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.

isbn don't forget libraries

Libraries and ISBN Numbers

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 to get an ISBN

ISBNs are free in many countries, provided either by the government or a publicly administered branch. However, in the US and the UK, ISBN numbers 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 Number

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 ISBN Numbers 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:

Numbers of ISBN NumbersCost
1$125
10$295
100$575
1000$1500
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.ISBN number pricing guideline

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 ISBN numbers for your eBook and print versions.

Not to mention that you’ll need an ISBN number for any future books you publish, perhaps as sequels to your book.

We recommend that if you’re serious about making book sales, you should purchase at least a bulk of 10 ISBNs. That gives you 3 ISBN numbers 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.

How to Get an ISBN final steps

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 ISBN numbers.

Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.

For more information, you can find out anything you want to know by visiting the official Bowker page or at myidentifiers.com

Here’s a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.

To buy an ISBN for your next book, here is what you should do:

  1. Go to the website https://www.myidentifiers.com
  2. 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.
  3. Once you have your ISBN assigned, you can then use it everywhere that requires your ISBN number.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

https://www.isbn-international.org

ISBN.org by Bowker

https://www.isbn.org/faqs_general_questions

Bowkerlink Publisher Access System

https://commerce.bowker.com/corrections/common/home.asp

Bowker Identifier Services

https://www.myidentifiers.com

U.S. Copyright Office

https://www.copyright.gov

ISBN Set Up Guide

ISBN Guides: Basic Information

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!

11 Best Writing Blogs to Master the Craft of Creative Writing

11 Best Writing Blogs to Master the Craft of Creative Writing

You already know this:

Writing is hard.

It’s so difficult, in fact, that there are countless resources online dedicated to helping you better understand and improve the craft.

We here at Self-Publishing School are even committed to giving you the best advice out there.

But we wanted to offer you more.

best writing blogs

If You’re Ready to Get Started NOW – Watch This Right Away

Don’t waste any more time than you already have.

Before we get into the meat of which blog posts are the best and what unique qualities they have to offer, let’s set you down the path for success.

You’re here because you want to learn more about writing.

We get it. In fact, we already put together a free training guide for you with all the information you need to know.

Join Chandler Bolt as he explains his exact methods for writing and publishing a book to bestseller statusSIX times in a row! These methods have allowed him to scale his business to 7 figures in only a few short years.

Check it out by clicking the button below to start your journey as a published author!

11 of the Best Writing Blogs for Tips and Advice

If you’re not quite serious yet about getting your book published yet, we’ve put together a list of the best writing blogs to learn and grow from.

These are the top resources for you to use in order to expand your knowledge and improve your craft.

Here are the best writing blogs we’ll cover for you:

  1. The Write Life
  2. Writer’s Digest
  3. Write to Done
  4. The Write Practice
  5. Count Blogula by Jenna Moreci
  6. The Creative Penn
  7. Terribleminds by Chuck Wendig
  8. Daily Writing Tips
  9. Better Novel Project
  10. Well-Storied
  11. Shayla Raquel

Let’s dive into exactly what these blogs have to offer and why you should be paying close attention to them if you want to improve your writing, finish your book, and get it published!

#1 – The Write Life

If you’ve been searching through the writing community long enough, you’re probably already aware of all The Write Life has to offer.

This writing blog is a fantastic resource for writers of all kind.

best writing blogs: The Write Life

Whether you’re looking to write a book for the first time or jump into the freelance writing community, The Write Life has you covered.

They even have tips for blogging and marketing. All the bases are covered!

Make sure to check out their helpful blog posts and read the comments for extra help from their dedicated community.

Click here to check out this writing blog!

#2 – Writer’s Digest

If you love writing tips by writers, this is one of the top writing blogs to visit.

This writing blog is all about uncovering your potential through real, easy-to-follow blog posts that simplify more complicated issues in the writing community.

best writing blogs: writers digest

They even host competitions, feature blog posts by editors, and give you insights to events they host or even attend.

If you’re someone who loves to physically join a writing group, you’ll love this writing blog and all it has to offer.

Click here to check out this writing blog!

#3 – Write to Done

There are a lot of different avenues writers have to be aware of when it comes to building a successful career from their work.

And Write to Done gives you just that!

best writing blogs: Write to Done

Covering both fiction and nonfiction writing, Write to Done teaches you how to master a number of different techniques and habits geared toward helping you succeed in the literary world.

You don’t want to miss out on all the advice they have to offer along with motivational material to help you keep it up.

Click here to check out Write to Done.

#4 – The Write Practice

The Write Practice is a massive source of helpful information for writers everywhere. They cover blog posts touching on topics revolving around key writing practices, writing exercises, and even writing prompts to get your mind stirring.

Best writing blogs: The Write Practice

You won’t be without help with The Write Practice.

Not only do they offer free help through their blog posts, but they also have programs, writing contests, and help involving your author platform in general.

Click here to check out The Write Practice.

#5 – Count Blogula by Jenna Moreci

Jenna Moreci is an Award-Nominated Self-Published Author with two novels on Amazon, in libraries, and on shelves all over the country.

Count Blogula is where aspiring authors congregate to ask specific writing, marketing, and publishing questions to be answered by this wildly successful Youtuber and Self-Published Author.

best writing blogs: Jenna Moreci

Moreci is honest (sometimes brutally – in the best way), real, and lets all writers know what it truly takes to make a career out of writing.

Head on over to her blog if you want to scroll through pages and pages and pages of free writing advice by someone who has been through it all before.

Click here to check out Count Blogula by Jenna Moreci.

#6 – The Creative Penn

If your goal is to make a living from your writing, it’s worth giving The Creative Penn a read.

This website has blog posts covering topics from genre-specific writing advice to marketing to publishing tips.

best writing blogs: The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn is an Award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and she runs The Creative Penn to teach others how to reach her level of success with their books.

She has a number of writing-specific books available for purchase along with podcasts, courses, specific tools, and more.

Click here to check out The Creative Penn.

#7 – Terribleminds by Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig has a must-acquire-a-taste-for personality. He’s curt, brutal, and gives humor to his writing tips and advice for aspiring authors.

His blog covers topics ranging from his own personal work and the work of others to help you specifically ask for.

best writing blogs: Terribleminds

You’ll never be bored with Wendig’s unique delivery style and real advice.

Click here to check out Terribleminds by Chuck Wendig.

#8 – Daily Writing Tips

Daily Writing Tips is exactly as it sounds; they give writing tips for aspiring authors daily.

Their advice ranges from writing-specific to motivation to oddities, like words that Shakespeare invented.

best writing blogs: Daily Writing Tips

If you’re someone who wants to improve the craft of writing with very specific tips and tricks, this is the place to frequent. You’ll never want for more help with Daily Writing Tips.

Click here to check out Daily Writing Tips.

#9 – Better Novel Project

If you love doodles along with writing tips, this is the site for you.

Better Novel Project has a number of different blog posts centered around helping you become a better writer.

best writing blogs: Better Novel Project

From NaNoWriMo content to blog posts all about genres, writer life, and even writing scene-specific details.

It’s easy to get lost the abundance of content available for you on this writing blog – so be careful, but get your fill.

Click here to check out Better Novel Project.

#10 – Well-Storied

Kristen Kieffer is the author behind Well-Storied, as well as an author of fantasy and writing resources.

Not only does she offer great writing advice, but her dedication to helping writers uncover their true abilities is nearly unmatched.

Best Writing Blogs: Well-Storied

You can check out her free courses, listen to the podcast, and even participate in her community chats.

Well-Storied has an abundance of help in the writing-world and you’ll be better off by tuning in regularly!

Click here to check out Well-Storied.

#11 – Shayla Raquel

Shayla Raquel’s writing blog is filled to the brim will knowledge regarding all aspects of writing. From prepping to writing to marketing, she has you covered.

Best Writing Blogs: Shayla Raquel

As an editor and seasoned writer herself, Shayla works one-on-one with authors nearly every day. She has edited over 300 books and launched Amazon Bestsellers – making her experienced and competent!

Click here to check it out Shayla Raquel!

All of these writing blogs have something unique to offer that you won’t find any anywhere else. When it comes to learning any craft – especially writing – it’s important to broaden your search and learn as much as you can from as many talented minds as you can.

ARE YOU READY TO BECOME AN AUTHOR ON YOUR OWN?

Your writing blog and expertise could be up here one day with some of the best!

But you have to commit to taking action and writing your book first.

And we’re here to help you on your journey to write, market, and publish your book. But only if you’re serious about making this a reality.

With your FREE training, we can help you develop your writing with messages and themes that speak to readers on deep levels – and we even help you understand HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

Do you have any favorite writing blogs? Comment them down below!

Best Book Writing Software: 13 Top Writing Tools For Authors in 2018

Best Book Writing Software: 13 Top Writing Tools For Authors in 2018

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

Writing a book requires something major.

It requires the right attitude, a powerful book idea, some solid writing prompts, and the best writing software out there.

And we know which writing software is best for you – and more importantly, why it matters.

With the best writing tools, you can write faster and more effectively. You’ll be more focused, with fewer distractions, and you can actually learn a thing or two from some of them – like Grammarly.

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.best book writing software

These are 13 of the best book writing software programs – both free and those that’ll justifiably cost you – so you can up your author game:

  1. Microsoft Word – Word Processor, $79.99
  2. Scrivener – Word Processor, $45
  3. Pages – Word Processor, $28
  4. Freedom – Productivity Software, $2.42/month
  5. Google Docs – Online Word Processor, Free
  6. Evernote – Note-Taking Software, Free
  7. FocusWriter – Word Processor, Free
  8. FastPencil – Word Processor, Free
  9. yWriter – Word Processor, Free
  10. Hemingway App – Style & Grammar Checker, Free
  11. Dropbox – Document sharing platform, Free (more for additional storage)
  12. 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?
  • Is there distribution capabilities when it’s time to publish?

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.

best book writing software: microsoft wordToday, 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:

best book writing software: microsoft word

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

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further.

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

For starters, it doesn’t always play well with Macs. If you use a Mac, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting.

Thankfully, Apple offers a comparable program called Pages, that we reviewed below for you.

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

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

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

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:

Writers.

best book writing software: scrivener

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.”

Here are some of the top takeaways of this book writing software:

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

Because Scrivener was designed for writers, it’s super easy to lay out scenes, move content around, and outline your story, article, or manuscript.

Instead of keeping all your content in one big file, Scrivener allows you to create multiple sub-files to make it easier to organize and outline your project:

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

best book writing software: scrivener outline example

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.


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

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

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

Buy Scrivener 3 for macOS (Regular License)
Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular License)

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:

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

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

best book writing software benefits

Book Writing Software You Might Not Know About

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.

best book writing software: Pages

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

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:

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

When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:
best book writing software: Freedom

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

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

 

#3 – Ulysses

If you’re a Mac owner, this might be the best book writing software for you. While you do have to pay $39.99 per year to use it, the cost to use Ulysses is completely justified.

One of the best features has to be the distraction-free capabilities. As a writer who gets distracted easily, this is definitely a feature I look for in a good book writing software.

This one is also great for exporting. Meaning, you can do all your writing in-app and then export it in relatively any format you’d need in order to send it to your editor, critique partner, or even beta readers.

And if you’re someone who has a hard time keeping all of your notes and ideas organized for your book, this app also has a feature that helps you keep all of it straight!

Say goodbye to forgetting what you wanted to add in that obscure scene you wrote two months ago!

best book writing software: Ulysses

Overall, this is one of the best book writing software programs out there for Mac users. But if you’re not sure if it’s worth the price, you can actually try it for free for 14 days. What a deal!

Book Writing Software Cost: $39.99/year

 

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:

best book writing software: Fast Pencil

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.

best book writing software: Focus Writer

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

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

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:

best book writing software: Focus Writer

One thing that yWriter does differently than a lot of other writing programs is focus on scenes rather than on chapters. A lot of writers prefer this since scenes are usually fun chunks of story to work on.

And using yWriter, you can rearrange all those scenes to compose a compelling novel.

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

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.

best book writing software: EvernoteThe 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:

best book writing software: hemingway app

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

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

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

best book writing software for authors

#6 – Dropbox

Reading this, you may be wondering: Dropbox? How is that a writing tool?

Trust me—it is!

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

Here’s how it works:

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

Any files that you save in this folder will be automatically backed up to Dropbox’s servers in the cloud, 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:

best book writing software Dropbox

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

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:

book writing software: Open office example

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:

SoftwareKey FeaturesSoftware Cost
Microsoft Word- ease of use
- outlining
- fewer distractions
Free if already installed or $129.99
Scrivener- outlining
- progress tracking
- formatting
$45
Pages- ease of use
- Mac compatible
- Accessibility through iCloud syncing
$28
Freedom- distraction-free
- scheduling
$2.42/month or $129 for lifetime access
Google Docs- auto-saving
- voice to text
- accessibility across multiple devices
Free
Evernote- easy note taking
- easy to organize
Free or $5/month for additional premium upgrades
FocusWriter- distraction-free
- inspirational
- ease of use
Free
Fast Pencil- publishing
- distribution
- accessibility
Free or additional expenses for upgrades and extended features
yWriter- outlining
- novelist
- scene-specific structuring
Free
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
Free

What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?

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

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

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

the best book writing software

What to do Next

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

#1 Join your free training!

The process of learning never stops when it comes to writing and publishing a book. And just because you have a fancy piece of software doesn’t mean writing a book will come naturally.

In fact, it hardly ever does.

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

#2 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.

#3 Nail down your book information

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

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

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

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

400+ Writing Prompts: 100% Unique Fiction & Nonfiction Book Ideas

400+ Writing Prompts: 100% Unique Fiction & Nonfiction Book Ideas

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. You can even write a powerful short story with a small prompt!

And that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with. 

No matter if you write fiction or nonfiction, we have you covered:

CLICK HERE FOR FICTION WRITING PROMPTS

CLICK HERE FOR NONFICTION WRITING PROMPTS

Because real writers know that you can easily come up with bits and fragments of a story but the overarching plot can be tricky to drum up.

You know what you want to write about: life’s happenings, a tragedy in your life, a deep memoir, 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.

writing prompts

BUT FIRST…

While writing prompts are amazing for pushing your creative boundaries and filling you with new book ideas – along with a hope that you can actually write an incredible book – they’re only good for that.

They don’t help you write, market, or publish the book. Rude, I know!

But that’s why we’re here.

With your FREE training, we can help you take that writing prompt and develop it into a story with messages and themes that speak to readers on deep levels – and we even help you understand HOW to self-publish it so the maximum number of people can enjoy it.

Just click the button below to TAKE ACTION on your dream – and let’s do this together.

200+ CREATIVE WRITING PROMPTS FOR FICTION BOOK IDEAS

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.

Something to keep in mind that fiction writing is largely driven by voice, style, characters, and your plot.

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!

 

DOWNLOAD HERE!

But if you’re ready to start right now, here are a few to set the creative wheel of your imagination in motion so you can find your writing style and master your craft.

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 original writing prompts for you:

#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?

Tips for Writing with 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.

creative writing prompts science fiction prompt

#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.

Tips for Writing with 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)

creative writing prompts using slang example

“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.

Tips for Writing with 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.

creative writing prompts dystopian tips

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.

creative writing prompts contemporary

#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.

Tips for Writing with 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.

Here are a few tips to remember for writing contemporary from the very talented author of Little Birds and Writing Youtuber, Hannah Lee Kidder:

  • “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.

creative writing prompts romance

#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.

Tips for Writing with 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.

Tips for Writing with 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.

creative writing prompts thriller example

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.

Tips for Writing with 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

author dna quiz

NON-FICTION WRITING PROMPTS FOR BOOK IDEAS

I bet I know you.

You’re the type of person who has dreamt of writing a book for however many years, only held back by the lack of ideas – or good ideas, rather.

Or maybe you’re the type who has tons of ideas but aren’t sure if they’re worth pursuing.

It’s hard. I get it. A book is a big commitment and one you might actually want to go through with. But without having a clear idea of what to write about, that dream can seem too far out of reach.

But I’m telling you, it’s not.

In fact, using writing prompts can help you free your mind from its current constraints so you can explore ideas you might not have otherwise thought of yourself – in addition to a number of other benefits.

Writing prompts

If you know what you really want already, then this list of over 200 nonfiction writing prompts is ready for YOU!

DOWNLOAD HERE!

Nonfiction Writing Prompts for Good Book Ideas

It’s one thing to use a writing prompt, it’s another to ensure that idea is actually a good one. We put together a list of tried-and-true writing prompts that can help you understand what’s most important to you and what you should pursue.

While reading these, note which ones cause you to pause and think – if only for a moment longer than the rest.

Those are the ideas to ponder and create a mind map for.

Here are a few writing prompts for a number of different broader categories that have proven to be prosperous.

Writing Prompts about Morals and Values

This is one of the top book ideas right now. Writing about your personal beliefs, how you came to them, and how they steer your life is something almost everyone can relate to.

And in a time where morality is being questioned time and time again by the media, it’s the best time to write on this topic.

Here are some writing prompts to get you thinking about how you can take this idea a step further.

  1. Write about a time when you were wrong and didn’t realize it for maybe years.
  2. Write about morals and how one discovers what truly matters to them.
  3. Write about the biggest value in your life.
  4. Write about the biggest problems in the world and how it impacts us every day.
  5. Write about problems in the world nobody is paying attention to.
  6. Write about a time your morals were compromised and how it affected your life.
  7. Write about a time your values were challenged and you had to face it.
  8. Write about the difference between a value and a moral.
  9. Write about societal values that actually negatively impact our lives.
  10. Write about morals that have inadvertently negative impacts.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Be honest but don’t force your ideas on someone else
  • Use research and facts to back up your statements
  • Give real-life accounts of your experiences
  • Avoid adopting a “know-it-all” voice

Writing Prompts about Health and Wellness

This is another book topic that has seen a rise in sales and engagement over the past few years. Society is starting to focus on health and well-being more so than many other important life ventures and now is the time to write about it!

These are some great wellness writing prompts to get your mind moving in the right direction.

  1. Write about your struggle with an addiction of some kind and how you overcame it.
  2. Write about your journey to become healthy.
  3. Write about what being healthy inside and out means to you.
  4. Write about how others can overcome unhealthy habits.
  5. Write about the importance of mental health and wellness.
  6. Write about how to form healthy habits.
  7. Write about how to find the best exercise type for your needs.
  8. Write about the idea of self-care and what it means to you.
  9. Write about how to find health through personal reflection.
  10. Write about the technicalities of being “healthy.”

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Always use facts and research with something as sensitive as health
  • Talk about what has worked for you personally and why
  • Feature advice from experts in the field
  • Include actionable steps others can learn from

choosing a writing prompt

Writing Prompts about Love, Sex, and Relationships

This can be a tricky topic to write about because love is different for everyone.

Each relationship has different needs and trying to tell someone what their relationship needs can often cause issues if it’s not actually what their specific relationship can benefit from.

That being said, keeping your message broad enough to impact a lot of people while also hitting specific key points can make it easier.

Here are some writing prompts revolving around relationships.

  1. Tell a story about how you see love.
  2. Write about sex and its importance in a relationship.
  3. Write about how to enjoy sex in every phase of life.
  4. Write about your idea of a successful relationship.
  5. Write about what it really takes to have a successful relationship.
  6. Write about how your friendships play a part in your relationships.
  7. Write about how self-doubt can affect your search for love.
  8. Write about how to love someone else in a way they need.
  9. Write about how to find what you truly enjoy in bed.
  10. Write about becoming open-minded with sex.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Never assume every single person loves and wants love the same way
  • Tell personal, real-life stories to build relatability
  • Keep your advice open-ended and always encourage communication

Writing Prompts about Childhood and Family

We all had a childhood and we all have a family – even if we’ve decided to adopt friends to be a part of our family.

That means everyone can relate to being a child and having a family.

That being said, it’s hard to decide on which direction you can take when writing about your childhood or family.

These are some writing prompts to help you pinpoint an angle.

  1. Write to your parents about all they’ve taught you about life, love, and happiness.
  2. Write to your family about what they mean to you.
  3. Write about parenthood and how it’s changed you.
  4. Write about your parents and what they taught you.
  5. Write about what your parents didn’t teach you and how it affected your life.
  6. Write about how not having parents impacted your life.
  7. Write about your childhood and how it shaped you.
  8. Write about what the definition of family truly means to you.
  9. Write about finding family in the least expected places.
  10. Write about discovering who you are within your family.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Family can be a sensitive subject so avoid hard “facts” about “all” families
  • Make sure to include details about differences
  • Tell stories others can easily relate to at the beginning

books from writing prompts

Writing Prompts about Happiness

Happiness is very subjective. We all have very different ideas about what true happiness is and how it comes about.

What you have to remember, though, is that everybody wants to be happy.

That means you have a very large audience ready to absorb your expertise and these writing prompts can help you identify what to write about.

  1. Write about the idea of wants versus needs in life.
  2. Write about work and finding happiness in your career.
  3. Write about not being happy in your career and how to conquer it.
  4. Write about finding success in your career.
  5. Write about finding success in every aspect of your life.
  6. Write about building a successful love life, family life, and career.
  7. Write about balancing a career and family life.
  8. Write about being open-minded in life.
  9. Write about what rewards you can reap from being kind.
  10. Write about what you can gain from being open-minded in every aspect of life.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Remember that your happiness is not what makes everyone else happy
  • Focus on helping others find what makes them happy
  • Talk about times you were unhappy frequently to drive the point home

Writing Prompts about Self-Esteem and Confidence

No matter who you are, you’ll experience moments of self-doubt and a lack of confidence.

Yes, even Beyonce has felt down about herself occasionally (though probably not often!).

The point is, writing about a lack of self-esteem and how to gain it is something everyone has experienced and therefore, everyone can relate to.

These writing prompts will help you pinpoint a specific angle to take when helping others find confidence.

  1. Write about accepting who you truly are and how it can change your life.
  2. Write about how to ignore societal expectations when they clash with who you are.
  3. Write about how to change your overall outlook to be more positive.
  4. Write about what it’s like to go from disliking yourself to truly loving yourself.
  5. Write about what it truly means to have complete confidence in yourself.
  6. Write about how to conquer inner demons in order to love yourself.
  7. Write about your journey to accepting your flaws and seeing them as strengths.
  8. Write about daily habits that will lead to overall confidence.
  9. Write about how bettering your health can increase the way you view yourself.
  10. Write about how physical appearance actually has little to do with confidence.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Be honest, real, and raw when writing about your experiences
  • Offer different solutions even if they didn’t work for you personally
  • Interview a psychology expert in order to further the book’s credibility

Writing Prompts about Faith

Faith is a very personal journey for people. Whether you’ve been a lifelong believer or have recently stumbled into something that has changed your life, others have been there.

And they’ll want to read about it.

These are some of the topics you can focus on when writing about your faith.

  1. Write about your faith and how you discovered its meaning.
  2. Write about how your faith changed your life.
  3. Write about how you learned to love yourself through your faith.
  4. Write about your journey from not having any faith to where you are now.
  5. Write a message to anybody who doesn’t think they have something to believe in.
  6. Write a book to the person who helped you discover your faith.
  7. Write about how your faith shapes your family.
  8. Write about overcoming questioning your faith.
  9. Write about the unexpected realities of having strong faith.
  10. Write about how your faith can steer your career and life.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • This is a great time to be open and specific about your beliefs
  • Avoid shaming others in an attempt to get your message across
  • Tell deeply personal stories so others can relate

writing prompts books

Writing Prompts about Personal Journeys

Everyone has a personal journey. No matter what you’ve been through, there is a lesson hidden within it.

You can use these writing prompts to not only discover more about yourself, but perhaps light the way for others to see and understand as well.

  1. Write about a moment in your life that changed the way you saw the world.
  2. Don’t censor yourself and write about what you believe the meaning of life is.
  3. Write about the biggest struggle you’ve faced in life.
  4. Write about your journey to finding yourself and all you’ve learned.
  5. Write about life lessons you believe everyone should learn.
  6. Write about how you got to where you are in life and where you’ll go from here.
  7. Write about a tragedy you, unfortunately, lived through and how it has shaped you.
  8. Write about an internal struggle of yours and how you were able to solve it.
  9. Write about your pet/s and what they mean to you.
  10. Write about how you were able to accomplish so much by a young age.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Don’t censor yourself
  • Talk to a therapist or psychologist to better understand your own journey
  • Bring your real-life experiences into play

Use These Writing Prompts to Start Your Book!

WHAT TO DO NEXT IF YOU’RE SERIOUS

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

We have two lists for you. Each is a list of over 200 unique 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 or if you write fiction or nonfiction, 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.

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

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!

You’re ready to get to work on your mindmap, also known as a rough outline of what your plot will look like.

We have a great fiction mindmap template right here for you to download – for free!

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?

Book Outline: How to Write an Outline with 11 Major Steps for Success

Book Outline: How to Write an Outline with 11 Major Steps for Success

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 (and will!) be pain-free, especially with the right help.

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

Book Outlining & The Whole Process All in One

We understand you.

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

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

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

Click the button below to sign up and save your spot! Get started on your path to published author by learning from 6-time bestselling author, Chandler Bolt, and uncover his best-kept book writing secrets that have led him to grow 7 figure business.

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:

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!

book outline explanation

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.

book outline mindmap example

Mindmap by Sonia Weyers

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.

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Outline

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

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

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

#1 – Mindmap + Book Outline

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

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

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

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

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

book outline mindmap example

Mindmap by Camille Nelson

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.

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

nonfiction outline example

#4 – Sketch Your Book Outline

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

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

To create this type of book outline, hand-draw your book concept in sequential order. This may be as simple or as elaborate as you desire. Feel free to use a Bic pen and a spiral notebook, or take it to the next level with a color medium on canvas-sized paper.

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

#5 – Book Outline With Scrivener

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

Like many writing software programs, it does have a fairly extensive learning curve, which can be a major downside—especially if you tend to procrastinate and really want to get your book published quickly. However, some writers say it revolutionized their organizational process for longer works.

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

How to Outline a Novel in 6 Ways

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

Your novel outline will require a few different elements like:

  • character development
  • character arcs
  • the evolution of plot points
  • the climax
  • resolution of conflict

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

#1 – Basic Document

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

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

#2 – Post-It Wall

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

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

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

book outline: how to outline your book

#3 – The Snowflake Method

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

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

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

book outline snowflake method

#4 – The Skeletal Outline

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

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

#5 – Novel Outline Template

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

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

#6 – The Reverse Outline

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

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

Ready to become a published author?

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

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

 

 

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

 

Are you an outliner? What’s the best method you’ve used and how did it help you the most?

How to Survive NaNoWriMo in 2018: 17 Top Tips for Success

How to Survive NaNoWriMo in 2018: 17 Top Tips for Success

You might not like to hear this.

But NaNoWriMo can often take a toll on you mentally and even creatively.

It might not make sense to you now, but you’ll understand just how much NaNoWriMo can affect you in a little bit.

First, let’s talk about what makes NaNoWriMo unique and special.

nanowrimo calendar

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.

It’s an event that takes place over the course of November where writers from all over commit to writing 50,000 words during the month. That’s the main goal and if you accomplish this, that’s how you WIN NaNoWriMo.

So unfortunately, no, NaNoWriMo not some sort of nanobot that you can implant in your mind to write your book for you.

The entire point is to help writers have a month of very high productivity so they can get the first draft out of the way in order to pave the way for editing, rewriting, and overall polishing.

What can take writers months to accomplish (50,000 words) only needs to take one so the book gets finished faster.

Here are your daily, weekly, and total goals for NaNoWriMo. If you’re someone who likes to work on a weekly basis instead of a daily, this will help you.

Daily Word CountWeekly Word CountTotal Word Count Goal
166711,66950,000

How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

One of the best things you can do if you want to win NaNoWriMo is to prepare properly. There’s a reason those who participate dub October as Preptober.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready when NaNoWriMo comes to town.

#1 – Download your survival guide!

When it comes to making it through NaNoWriMo, you might need help. It’ll be a tough month and that’s why we put together this survival guide for you to follow.

It covers expanded preparation steps as well as resources to help you get through the month.

Make sure to download this if you want to win NaNoWriMo this year!

DOWNLOAD HERE!

nano cover photo

#2 – Pick a story

If you haven’t already, you have to decide which story you’re going to write. If you’re anything like me, you might have tons of book ideas bouncing around inside your head.

So how do you choose which to write and which to save for later?

Here are a few questions I like to ask myself when deciding which story to try first:

  • Which do you think about the most?
  • Which is developed the most?
  • Which one is a book you’d be most likely to pick up and read yourself?
  • Which one have you been thinking of as you read these questions?

Chances are, there’s one idea that stands out to you above all the rest. Even if the others are good, the story you’re most connected to and think about the most is the one you’ll actually enjoy writing the most.

And since you’ll be spending a great deal of time on this book over the next month, actually enjoying it is very important.

Pick the one that has your passion and run with it.

#3 – OUTLINE

I’m a personal advocate of outlining. My outlines are very detailed and I want to basically have an instruction manual for my book.

That being said, it’s understandable that not everyone works well with an outline. Maybe it’s not for you.

However, going into NaNoWriMo completely blind is a mistake.

You at least want to have an overview of the plot and the major plot points figured out so you have a direction in which to write.

For those of you who need outlining, make sure it’s done before November starts!

That clear, step-by-step overview of your book will be extremely helpful for saving time. You’ll be able to sit down and get to writing instead of spending so much time trying to figure out where your story is going.

book outline explanation

#4 – Join support groups

Going through something as arduous as NaNoWriMo requires some backup…preferably in the form of friends or just other people participating as well.

You all know that it’s going to be hard and therefore, you can count on support groups to help propel you through the tough times.

Support groups are your best bet to stay motivated throughout the entire month. Plus, anyone who’s a part of those groups is usually more than willing to help when you get stuck on your story, too.

So where do you find groups like these?

You can follow specific hashtags or accounts on Twitter, or you can join Facebook groups dedicated to NaNoWriMo.

Here are a few Facebook groups you can join right now to help you make it through:

#5 – Get in the right mindset

The reason NaNoWriMo is so difficult isn’t because of the fact that you’re writing a book; it’s because you’re writing so much of your book in such a short amount of time. It’s scary.

And that can be intimidating to a number of people – most of us, I’d wager to bet.

That means one of your biggest obstacles isn’t plotting your novel or making sure you’re physically prepared, it’s making sure you’re mentally ready to complete such a tough goal.

That means focusing on your inspiration, motivation, and staying positive!

You can find other methods of maintaining the right mindset in our NaNoWriMo survival guide.

#6 – Schedule your writing time

This is one of the absolute best ways to ensure you actually make it through NaNoWriMo in one piece – and even win!

It’s as simple as making a schedule for yourself and then sticking to it.

Anyone can mark their days to write on a calendar but it takes a special kind of writer to sit down daily and hit those word count goals.

We actually put together a progress tracking and planning spreadsheet that calculates your percentage completed in our NaNoWriMo survival guide! You can find what that looks like below.

nanowrimo word count tracking sheet

 

You can use this all year round, not just in November. Give it a download if you want to make some real progress this month.

NaNoWriMo-Winning Habits

Being able to win NaNoWriMo is the entire goal of entering. You want to complete 50,000 words in a single month. But that’s much easier said than done.

I decided to pull out the big guns and ask for some help from my personal Twitter followers since I know many of them participate in this yearly.

I tweeted out asking for help, and they did NOT disappoint.

Here are some of the tips I received on the thread of this tweet along with some extended tips to help you make the most of NaNoWriMo this month.

#1 – Pick a daily word count and focus on hitting that only

When you think about the overall goal of writing 50,000, you might begin to sweat, get anxious, and even feel discouraged.

Because it is a lot of words to write in a single month.

But one of the biggest tips experienced NaNoWriMo-ers have for anyone venturing to accomplish such an audacious goal is to only focus on hitting your daily goal.

So instead of thinking about it as 50,000 words a month, think of it as 1667 words a day.

This helps your mind process the amount better so you don’t get so overwhelmed.

#2 – Put together writing playlists

Inspiration doesn’t just exactly come around whenever you want it to. Sometimes it hides away like you might when winter comes around (just me?).

But the thing is, if every writer waited for inspiration to find them in order to write, hardly any of us would get our books done and we’d definitely not make it through NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words accomplished.

So instead, you might have to coax inspiration from the outskirts of your mind and one way many writers do this is through music.

Create a playlist that fits with the style of your story and turn it on whenever you sit down to write. It can serve as inspiration and a mental cue for your mind to get ready to work.

#3 – Have writing motivation and inspiration handy

Just like I mentioned above, you won’t always want to write but in order to hit your goal for November, you need to write daily (unless you want to sit and write huge chunks of words a couple days a week).

When you keep visuals, quotes, and even other novels that have inspired your own writing journey handy, it’s much easier to get in the mood to crank out some high-quality words.

how to write a book and finish quote

#4 – Commit to NOT editing at all

This is one of the hardest parts for many who’ve done NaNoWriMo before.

They can get the words down, but only if they don’t stop to edit as they go.

Your first draft is better done than perfect, which is the entire point of NaNoWriMo in the first place. So put the editor part of your mind on hold and let your writer-brain take full ownership over the next month.

#5 – Ask friends/family to leave you alone

I realize this might sound harsh but NaNoWriMo is a commitment. You can’t have friends and family bugging you when it’s your designated writing time.

In order to succeed with NaNoWriMo, it’s best to make it clear to everyone around you that you’ll be unreachable for a specific amount of time whenever you write.

If you set that expectation early on and be stern about it, it’ll be easier to avoid this type of distraction throughout the month.

#6 – Recruit a close accountability partner

If writing groups don’t work for you because your posts get lost in the mix, pairing up with someone for one-on-one accountability might be a better option for you.

You can check-in daily and give each other support and encouragement when it gets tough.

And trust me, by the second week, you’ll need someone there to push you along and remind you why you started this lofty task in the first place.

#7 – Use a distraction-free writing app

There are a ton of writing software and apps out there designed to help you write – and write faster.

One of the best to use is an app called Freedom.

What this app does is cut off access to certain websites or apps for a determined amount of time. Whenever you try to visit those sites (like Twitter) during the time you have scheduled to write, you’ll receive this message:

avoid distraction for nanowrimo

This prevents you from procrastinating or getting too distracted, which hinders your word count progress.

The idea here is that this app “frees” you from the addiction and distraction of sites you know you get sucked into easily.

#8 – Turn your notifications off

This is for your phone, social media, email, and any other notifications that might pop up during your writing time.

If you use the app mentioned above, this will be a little easier, but you also have to manually keep your phone far away from you so even text messages won’t break through your concentration.

Just me, those messages will still be there by the time you’re done with writing.

#9 – Never guilt-shame yourself

This will be very hard if, for whatever reason, you don’t end up hitting your word count goal daily. You’ll start to shame yourself, even if only internally.

This isn’t productive in any way, shape, or form and it’ll only slow you down further.

Instead, you should recognize when you’re behind, and then schedule the time to catch up if hitting that 50,000 words is truly important to you.

And if you need a little bit more to help you out with this one, just remember that no matter what, you’re making progress on your book and that alone is a major accomplishment.

#10 – Just write

NaNoWriMo is all about just making progress. That progress doesn’t have to be the best version of what you can do, it just has to be progress.

You can forget all about making your manuscript all shiny and perfect. Instead, just focus on pumping out those words.

Write to the best of your ability given the time you have to hit those words.

After all, the large majority of us tend to write best once we get into the groove of just writing anyway. And that means if you shut off the self-critical part of your brain for a while, you can make some major strides.

nanowrimo support

#11 – Go easy on yourself

Cut yourself some slack. You’re not perfect and writing can be very difficult.

If something comes up and you’re not able to write for a day, just forget about it and get back on track the next.

There’s no point in driving yourself crazy over missing a few thousand words because like I said above, you’re still making progress on your book and that’s the entire point of NaNoWriMo in the first place.

What to do Next – Only if You’re Serious

Writing a book isn’t for those who just choose to do it on a whim. Those people aren’t serious and therefore, these next steps won’t help them.

But if you are completely serious about writing and completing a book, we have a few next steps that will help you get there.

#1 – Your free training

If you haven’t taken advantage of this free training offered by Chandler Bolt, you’re making a mistake.

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

 

#2 – NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

Download your guide if you haven’t already. This is full of helpful advice and resources that will make this entire process much easier!

Plus, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing you’re doing all you can to succeed.

Click right here to download!

#3 – Follow us on Twitter for daily NaNoWriMo motivation!

That’s right. Every day during the month of November, we’ll be serving up quotes, videos, and general motivation and inspiration so you’ll feel ready and excited to start writing ASAP.

Make sure to give us a follow and tweet us what your book is about!

We’d love to hear what everyone’s tackling during this month and you might even meet an accountability partner in the mix.

NaNoWriMo is no easy feat. If it was, everyone would participate, but they don’t. You are, and because we admire that in you so much, we made these tips to help you succeed.

Good luck and let us know how your progress is going in the comments below!

 

Interview with Full Time Self-Published Author Jenna Moreci

Interview with Full Time Self-Published Author Jenna Moreci

We all know that self-publishing can sometimes have a less-than-desirable reputation.

It might seem like it’s impossible to make a career out of being a self-published author.

I even thought as much – until I started following Jenna Moreci on Youtube.

This author has not only given me countless pieces of advice via her Youtube channel, Tumblr blog, and even just chatting, but she has paved the way for self-published authors by proving that you can be successful and write books for a living – even if you self-publish!

 

For those of you unfamiliar, Jenna Moreci is a self-made full-time author and Youtuber. She currently has two novels published, each the first in their respective series.

EVE: The Awakening, a New Adult Sci-fi novel and The Savior’s Champion, an adult romantic dark fantasy – both of which are available on Amazon and a number of other book retailers.

(YES! Her books are even in bookstores and libraries across the country!)

When Jenna’s not pumping out incredible books, she’s over on Youtube giving out some of the best advice for writing and self-publishing out there. Her Youtube channel has amassed over 147,000 subscribers – and climbing rapidly.

Jenna Moreci Youtube Channel

 

This growth has granted her many opportunities – two of which are extremely high-quality marketing classes on Skillshare.

One is all about building a platform and fan base as a writer and the other details the process of having a successful book launch – something she did only a few short months ago in April when she released her second novel, The Savior’s Champion.

Let’s kick off this interview so you can learn how you can also create a living through your books!

Tell us a little bit about your career as an author – how did you get to where you are today?

Well, I wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. I basically decided when I was 6-years-old that this is what I wanted to be, and I guess I was a very tenacious kid because I just stuck with it.

But, you know, especially back in those days – back in the 90s – there was kind of a stigma around creatives and starving artists.

So, people weren’t super supportive. They were like, “Don’t you want to be a doctor, don’t you want to be a CEO?” Things like that.

And eventually, that kind of talk sort of wore me down and by the time I was in college, I sort of figured writing would be something I did on the side – something I did for fun.

So I went to college for business instead. And I entered the world of finance and when I graduated, I got a full-time job as a stockbroker. I figured that’s what I was going to do with my life and writing would just be some fun thing I did in my spare time.

As I started working in finance longer and longer, I sort of had this realization that like, “Wow…this is what I’m going to do..for the rest of my life…and I HATE it.”

I just could NOT stand my job. I would get there and be counting the hours until I got off so I could do something I actually enjoyed.

Jenna Moreci quote

So I realized, “You know what, I don’t think I can take this forever.” And I’ve always been passionate about writing so…I might as well just give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, I can at least say I tried. I can at least have that in the back of my mind, that closure that it’s not for me.

Then I started working on my first novel, EVE: The Awakening.

And I would go to work and right when I get home after work I immediately started my book. My thought was, “I just want it to be a lucrative part-time job, something that fulfills me, something I look forward to once I get off work.”

That lasted for a few years. Toward the end of the process, my then boyfriend and now fiance, he had a serious accident and he broke his spine.

I quit my job so that I could sign on to be his full-time caregiver. At that point, everything went on hold. It was all about his health.

Then as he got better, time started showing up in my schedule. So I was like “okay, I can finish my book and I can market it and I can try to get it out there and try to develop an audience.”

People had nagged me to start a Youtube channel for a long time so I thought, “I’m stuck at home…might as well give it a shot. I can say I tried!”

I started the Youtube channel.

And at first it was pretty slow but then I made a satirical video called the 9 Weird Habits of Writers and suddenly my channel just took off.

It got all these subscribers and it was getting all this attention and long story short, by the time I was able to release EVE: The Awakening, what with the growth of my platform and the growth of my channel, I was able to make writing my job.

And now I’m a full-time author and I have a Youtube channel and it’s crazy! I did not think that I would be here.

I feel very fortunate because my main goal, originally, was to just one day – not anytime soon – but one day be able to make a living off my writing. And I figured, maybe that’ll happen when I’m like 40.

But I was able to do it at 28 – and now I’m 31 and this is my job and I feel so fortunate that I’m able to do what I love and make money off of it, especially after hearing for so many years that it’s impossible.

But it’s not!

So did you immediately decide you wanted to self-publish? What made you decide to go with self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

Well originally, I was going to go traditional. For the same reasons most people initially decide traditional.

They’re like, “That’s the legitimate option. You’re a real writer if you go traditional and self-publishing, there’s no success there; it’s vanity press.”

The more I researched it, the more I realized how little I knew about the industry.

I basically spent years researching the different publishing options. I interviewed at least 20 different authors, both self-published and traditionally published authors.

A lot of people see the New York Times bestsellers, the JK Rowlings, John Greens, Stephen King – they see that and they think that’s the reflection of traditional publishing. And it is a reflection of a small percentage of traditional publishing and traditionally published authors.

But there are millions of authors out there who are traditionally published and they’re just not getting that kind of exposure. That’s the 99% of traditionally published authors.

You go into the process, you get maybe a $10,000 advance, and that’s not really enough to live off of. That’s just like a nice side gig.

And this was something I wanted to eventually make my full-time job.

Jenna Moreci quote

So once I learned that, and that traditional publishers weren’t going to market me the way I thought they were, I thought, “Okay, well this changes things a little bit. But let me interview the different authors.”

When I interviewed the traditionally published author, she said it took her 20 years and around 15 books to before she was able to make it a full-time job.

And that, for me, was really eye-opening because I had a self-published author who had sold one book and he was on his way to being a full-time author and a traditionally published author who spent 20 years trying to get her publisher to pay attention to her.

After that, doing more research, it became clear that the business control, more than anything, was the reason self-publishing seemed like the best fit for me.

No one was going to care more about the success of my novel and the success of my platform than I was.

I figured, I might as well just bet on myself because it looked like publishers were probably not going to give me the kind of attention I would need in order to make this a career, which is what I wanted to do.

Speaking of the business part, do you think that having that background in business and finance has helped you as a self-published author?

Oh definitely. It’s funny because I went into the degree very jaded because it’s not what I wanted to do; I wanted to be a writer.

I went into it like, “This is not what I want but it’s what my family expects of me.”

And now, if I were to go back, I wouldn’t change a thing because it was my knowledge of business, my background working in finance, that gave me the tools I needed in order to take the place of a publisher.

Because a lot of writers choose traditional publishing because they don’t understand business.

I understood the business parts, and when I saw the sort of things publishers do for writers, a lot of it was something I could do and knew how to do because I learned it in business school.

And the things that I didn’t know how to do were things that were easy to learn because of what I learned in school and when I worked as a stockbroker.

I’m really grateful for my business background because it filled in the blanks of being a writer and I basically was able to, very easily, translate that into acting as my own publishing house, pretty much.

So, going off of the business aspect being a huge misconception for self-published authors, what do you think are other major misconceptions of self-publishing?

I think one of the biggest misconceptions is a lot of people thinking, “I’m just going to throw my book online, and that’s it!”

That’s not it.

There are millions of books online. What are the odds someone’s randomly going to see yours and just decide, “I’ve never heard of this, but I’m going to buy it.”

You have to market it. You have to treat it like a business. You have to understand that your book is your art. Yes, you are an artist, but it is also a product that you’re selling to people.

So you have to be aware of how you package that product.

Which means it needs to be edited. There is no wiggle room. Just hire an editor – just do it.

Your book is not going to perform well without one. The same goes for formatting. It needs to be professionally formatted and needs to have a professional cover.

This is the packaging of your product.

You could write the most amazing novel. It could be the next great American novel and no one will buy it if the cover looks like crap. It’s just not going to happen.

Jenna Moreci quote

Are there any other misconceptions you see aside from that?

I think another misconception, especially recently, there’s been a misconception that you can’t do well in self-publishing, that it’s not legitimate.

That seems to be going away over time. I’ve only had maybe 2 people say anything to me about it not being legitimate.

So I think that misconception isn’t as big nowadays, especially with so many New York Times Bestselling authors who are self-published and authors getting movie deals.

But one thing that’s especially become popular recently is pumping and dumping.

That’s where an author will write as many books as they can in a year, like one book every two to six months and they just pump it out and pump it out.

And that’s become a model for self-published authors making a lot of money and being successful.

There is some weight to it and it is working for some people, but the point is that it significantly diminished the quality of the book and it’s not viable for a long-lasting platform because people become loyal to authors because they trust in the quality of their work.

So if you’re constantly pumping out of very low quality, no one’s really going to become loyal to you, they won’t become a loyal fan.

You’re just going to constantly “pump and dump” for the rest of your life in order to maintain an income because you’re not really going to develop a fan base or a legitimate audience.

And I think that’s what a lot of people think is the only way to make it in self-publishing nowadays.

But I’m living proof that you can take your time and spend a year or two on a book and you can still turn it into a full-time job if you take the time and invest in the quality of it.

So where do you see self-published authors making the biggest mistakes overall?

Honestly? The number one thing is the edit.

You know, self-published authors not getting their books edited. Now, the cover is something you can maybe overlook but the edit – you have to just edit the book!

Please, do it!

And that’s the thing. Anytime I see someone who is kind of apprehensive about self-published books, that’s always what they mention; that the books are not edited.

So just edit it, guys! That will end the stigma entirely!

Jenna Moreci Quote about self-publishing

Has self-publishing changed in any way since you published EVE: The Awakening in 2015?

Back then, like I said, I wasn’t receiving any flack or anything like that for self-publishing. In my whole career, I’ve only had two people say something about it.

So I think it was viable then, but it’s way more viable now.

There are way more options. When I published EVE: The Awakening, there was pretty much the option to have your book in ebook and paperback. That was pretty much it.

Now, you can do audiobooks, hardbacks and additionally, there’s much more expanded distribution.

For example, The Savior’s Champion is on Barnes and Noble’s shelves and in bookstores across the country.

Whereas with EVE: The Awakening, that wasn’t even something on my radar. I wasn’t even thinking about that because you never heard about self-published books being in bookstores.

So I’ve got the audiobook for The Savior’s Champion is in the publication process right now. We have the hardback available, it’s in bookstores, and the options for self-published authors is very similar to where they are for traditionally published authors.

There really aren’t that many limitations – except self-published writers typically have to price their books higher because they don’t get as many pricing discount opportunities that traditionally published authors do.

So I would say the biggest limitation is pricing but other than that, we have the same access to distribution channels that they do.

It’s crazy. The options are limitless!

You know a lot about the whole self-publishing world and the writing world. Pretty much your entire Tumblr blog is people asking you questions about the writing and publishing process. So what kind of advice do you have for people who decided to go with self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

My first piece of advice is to research the industry as much as possible.

What I see often is a lot of people see self-publishing and think that means, find a self-publishing group and publish directly through them where you pay an upfront fee and then you’re paying them to publish the book for you.

That’s not necessarily what self-publishing is. You can self-publish through Amazon and Ingramspark. There are lots of different opportunities available to you.

And if you don’t do the appropriate research, you may end up getting scammed. You may end up getting suckered.

So be sure to research the environment, research all the platforms, and make the decision that works best for you.

Additionally, start saving your money.

Because the biggest downfall for self-publishing is that it’s expensive. You’re paying for everything. Start saving and create a budget so when the time comes to hire an editor, you’re not sitting there going, “Oh I can’t afford it. I’m just going to publish it as-is.”

And that’s what I hear the most.

One of the last questions I have for you is, what would you say is your favorite part of being a self-published author?

I think it’s the power and freedom. It’s nice that I don’t have anyone giving me deadlines; I give myself deadlines.

I don’t have anyone telling me how I need to write my story for it to be marketable. I get to decide how I write my story. No one gets to have creative control over me.

That’s not to say that if my beta readers or editors give suggestions that I’m going to ignore them. But I don’t have a business person telling me, “No you can’t write about that because that’s not marketable, people aren’t going to buy it.”

I get to decide what I want to write. Everything is under my control.

I know a lot of traditionally published authors who have to get everything approved. It makes sense. This company is paying to put your book out and it makes total sense they have to get it approved.

But it’s nice that I don’t have to. I get to do whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want to do it.

And it’s awesome. It’s awesome being my own boss.

Jenna Moreci quote about self-publishing

Okay, for real last question. What are you currently working on? What’s your work in progress right now?

I am working on the companion novel to The Savior’s Champion, which is The Savior’s Sister.

I am SO excited!

The Savior’s Champion takes place in sort of a Grecian/Roman world called Thessen. It follows Tobias, one of 20 men competing in what is known as The Sovereign’s Tournament, which is a month-long gladiatorial event where 20 men compete in violent challenges to win the hand of their magical holy queen, The Savior.

So that story follows Tobias, and things get a little tricky when he falls in love with the wrong woman; he falls in love with Leila.

So The Savior’s Champion follows Tobias in the tournament and throughout it, you realize that Leila has got her own little story going on. She’s got something going on behind the scenes of the tournament and their stories become intertwined.

At the end of The Savior’s Champion, there are a lot of questions about what’s going on with Leila. The book I’m working on right now answers all of those questions.

It’s Leila’s story during the tournament, her whole battle she’s dealing with within the palace of Thessen, all the craziness. It’s been so fun to write! I cannot wait to release it!

Jenna Moreci is one of the most talented authors and businesswomen I know. Her books are as (if not better) than the advice she gives.

Make sure to check out the whole interview right here and follow this incredible self-published author.


Jenna MoreciJenna Moreci is a Silicon Valley native and Youtube sensation, dominating the authortube community with her straightforward and hilarious writing channel. A lifelong storyteller, Jenna specializes in crafting thrilling adventures with heaping doses of bloodshed and romance.

When she’s not writing or ‘tubing, Jenna enjoys angry music, potent wine, and laughing until her face hurts with her goofball fiancé.

Read the first 3 chapters of The Savior’s Champion and EVE: The Awakening for FREE.

FOLLOW HER: Twitter  Instagram  Facebook  Tumblr  Pinterest  Youtube


 

How to Write a Memoir: 13 Steps You CAN’T Skip if You Want Success

How to Write a Memoir: 13 Steps You CAN’T Skip if You Want Success

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?

Not many.

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.

how to write a memoir facebook

What is a memoir?

The memoir definition is: a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources.”

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!

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 you writing a book

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 – and sharing.

#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 answers.

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 in order to help you know how to write a memoir worth reading:

  • Childhood influenceshow to write a memoir memories checklist
  • Grade school
  • Teenage years
  • First job/s
  • First love/s
  • Parents
  • Siblings/family
  • Friends
  • College/post high school
  • Marriage
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Hopes and dreams
  • Aspirations
  • Failures
  • Successes
  • Regrets
  • Resentments

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.

Here’s a checklist of what your memoir should include in order to “complete” and at its best:

What a Good Memoir HasWhy
A Core MessageWithout a theme or message, a memoir is just a retelling of your life. Memoirs need to have an overarching message others can learn from.
Impactful MemoriesYour memories are what shape the message. They provide the structure of your theme - like the wood framing of a house being built.
Others' ExperiencesYour credibility is furthered if others have experienced and learned from what you did. It further solidifies your message and theme.
Honest WritingTelling the truth is what makes your memoir unique and intriguing. Filling it with lies and only bragging won't allow others to relate to you.
VulnerabilityYour readers need to connect with you on a deeper level in order to gain the most from your message. Getting vulnerable does this.
Theme ConnectionsYour memories and stories should connect to your main theme within each chapter.
Captivating WritingBeing able to use strong verbs and show (not tell) your memories creates vivid visuals that pull readers in and keep them hooked to the end.

#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.how to write a memoir with personality

#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!
  • Write your book by talk-to-text using Google Docs or other writing software

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!

how to write a memoir starter kit

#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 verbs that coincide 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.

how to write a memoir with show don't tell

#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.

NEXT STEPS – IF YOU’RE SERIOUS:

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 – Start TODAY!

It’s NEVER too early to start working toward your dreams and goals of becoming an author. In fact, you shouldn’t waste any time!

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

#2 – 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:

  • Free
  • Against society
  • Helping others
  • Self-gain
  • Unique
  • Nontraditional
  • 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?

#3 – 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!

→ FREE DOWNLOAD OF OUR MEMOIR MIND MAP TEMPLATE HERE

how to write a Memoir Mind Map template

 

 

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?

How to Publish a Book in 2018: Self-Publishing Tips From a Bestseller

How to Publish a Book in 2018: Self-Publishing Tips From a Bestseller

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.

how to publish a book

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.

What’s the Difference Between Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing?

It’s easy to look at these two publishing routes and get confused. Why would someone self-publishin when there are companies dedicated to doing it for you?

There are actually many reasons. Here’s a chart detailing what you receive through self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

DifferencesSelf-PublishingTraditional Publishing
You need to spend excess time landing an agentX
You need to market the book yourself
You keep 100% creative controlX
You keep 100% of royaltiesX
You keep full rights to your work foreverX
Costs are coveredX
You have 100% control of the pace of productionX
You work at your own paceX
You control when your book stops "printing"X

How to Publish a Book in 2018

Because many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, what it’ll cost, how to do it right, how to come up with a good book idea, 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.

In order to learn how to publish a book, we’ll cover:

  1. Deciding Why You Want to Write a Book
  2. Writing Your Book
  3. Getting Feedback on Your Book
  4. Choosing a Book Title
  5. Hiring a Great Book Editor
  6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts
  7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  8. Formatting and Uploading your Book
  9. Self-Publishing Your Book
  10. Pricing Your Book
  11. Forming a Launch Team
  12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
  13. Celebrate!

Let’s get started so you can get started!

author dna quiz

#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 fact, coming up with a book idea in general can be very tricky.

But 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.

You can also use a beneficial piece of writing software like Grammarly so you can learn as you write!

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.

how to self-publish a book title self publishing checklist

#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!

self-publishing a book editing tips

#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:

  1. Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
  2. Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
  3. 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.

how to self-publish a book nonfiction versus fiction formatting

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.

  1. On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
  3. Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. 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 teamself-publishing a book launch plan 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 Plan: 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 – 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 focus on learning more about the process.

Because without having the knowledge, moving toward success is very difficult – but that’s where we come in!

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

 

 

 

 ⇣

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

 

#2 – 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.

#3 – 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!

Fiction Mind Map Download                    NonFiction Mind Map Download

how to publish a book nonfiction templatehow to publish a book fiction template

 

 

 

Are you ready to learn how to publish a book? What’s holding you back from writing, publishing, and selling a life-changing book?

Grammarly Review 2018: Pros, Cons, and Best Features for Writing

Grammarly Review 2018: Pros, Cons, and Best Features for Writing

You need help.

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

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

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

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

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

What is Grammarly?

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

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

Sounds nice, right?

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

Grammarly Review: The Features with Each Version

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

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

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

FeaturesFreePremiumBusiness
For Who?Basic editing for you onlyAdvanced writing feedback for only youAll premium features for teams of 3 to 100
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors
Inconsistent writing styleX
Unclear sentence structureX
Overused wordsX
Ineffective vocabularyX
WordinessX
Hedging languageX
ImpolitenessX
Insensitive or non-inclusive languageX
Inappropriate tone or formality levelX
PlagiarismX

How Much Does Grammarly Cost?

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

With as many helpful features as it offers in addition to what you get for free, paying a pretty penny is totally worth it if you’re someone who needs more of those advanced capabilities.

Here’s how much Grammarly costs for each version:

VersionPrice
Free$0 - free lifetime access
Premium $11.99/month billed annually
Business$10/month for each user

Grammarly Review with Pros and Cons

As with anything, there are some pros and cons that come along with Grammarly.

Let’s dive into this Grammarly review and discuss each in detail and what you can expect if you choose to use it for all your writerly needs.

Grammarly Pros

There are many reasons Grammarly has exploded its growth in recent years. These are a few of many pros this writing software has to offer.

#1 – Real-time grammar correcting

This is fantastic and has changed the game when it comes to checking your work and editing faster.

Instead of writing everything out and then clicking the “check spelling and grammar” button, you’ll know right when you make a mistake that you have, in fact, made an error.

You might be wondering why this is so great when you can just check it after you’re done.

Have you ever forgotten to hit that button when you spent a ton of time drafting something very important? Because I have.

And let me tell you, if I could see the errors as they happen, I can change them right away, resulting in a cleaner final result.

Plus, it’s all automatic. You don’t have to click a button for Grammarly to do its job.

#2 – Highly accurate

This grammar software doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes. Occasionally, it can misunderstand what you’re trying to say or put a comma where you don’t necessarily need or want one, but overall, it has a high rate of accuracy.

And when you’re checking grammar, accuracy is always best. Just be aware of why it’s asking you to change something and only accept if it’s correct.

#3 – Easy to understand explanations

Grammarly doesn’t just tell you when something is wrong. While that would totally be okay, this program goes a step further with explanations so you can understand in order to learn and improve.

So not only are you getting the benefit of your writing being polished in real-time, but you’re also learning how to become a better writer.

Grammarly has 2 options when it comes to explanations. You can do a quick-view to make the change with little help like below:

grammarly review explanations example

Or you can click “See More in Grammarly” and view a full explanation like the image below:

grammarly review in-depth explanations example

The more you use Grammarly, the more you’ll understand where commas go, how to phrase certain sentences properly, and how you can strengthen your writing altogether.

By a simple explanation like the one featured above, you won’t even need Grammarly as much in the future.

#4 – Customization

Even if you’re using the free version of Grammarly, it’s pretty customizable given its limitation in features.

You’re able to select your preferred language, turn it off on certain websites, as well as add new words you use often to the dictionary.

This is perfect if you have any words you use regularly that aren’t necessarily “real” words, like brand names, slang, or abbreviations. There’s no need to fix each of these errors if you just click “add to dictionary” when Grammarly marks it as incorrect the first time.

Just hover over the word and click “Add to Dictionary” in the pop-up box, as you can see below:

grammarly review feature example

#5 – Very simple to use

You don’t have to be a computer whiz in order to figure out this piece of software.

Essentially, all you have to do is install the plugin or browser extension and you’re good to go!

Much like Microsoft Word and Google Doc’s spellcheck, Grammarly will underline incorrect words or grammar and show you what to replace it with and why if you simply hover over it.

This is perfect for those of you who need a bit of help in the grammar department but aren’t thrilled with the idea of a more complex piece of writing software.

Grammarly Cons

It can’t all be perfect, right? While there are some amazing features within Grammarly, there are certain aspects that could be improved.

#1 – It doesn’t work on everything

Most popularly, Grammarly doesn’t function on Google Docs, which can be a real bummer for those of you who use this writing software all the time.

But, they are currently beta testing Grammarly with Google Docs so you might not have to wait long before this feature is available for good!

Just take a look at the notification I received on my Grammarly Chrome extension when I was crafting this very blog post in Google Docs:Grammarly review Google Docs beta testing

It seems as though Grammarly is certainly breaking out and extending their services to more and more platforms – which is great if you use many for work, hobbies, or a combination of the two.

#2 – Its free version is very limited

As you can see from the table above, the free version of Grammarly is very limited. It really only has one function, and that’s to correct your spelling and grammar.

While this might seem like a major con to some, it’s perfectly acceptable to others.

Personally, I don’t need much more than just the free features.

Going for Grammarly Premium is certainly more useful for those looking to transform their writing for the better or those who need a bit more than just grammar help.

There’s a huge gap between the free version and the premium option that could be closed a little by offering more free features.

If you’re curious which writing software is best for you and if Grammarly is even a good fit, take this short, 2-minute quiz below to find out!

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

best writing software quiz

#3 – Aggressive advertising

This company wants you to upgrade – they really want you to upgrade.

While they’re completely justified to get you to spend more money to go premium, their spam-like ads and emails can be a bit much for people.

Thankfully, you can easily opt-out of their email list by unsubscribing and that virtually solves the problem on that end.

However, they still advertise to you through the Grammarly extension from time to time by notifying you to upgrade.

While it’s irritating, it’s still tolerable and not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Grammarly Alternatives

If you’re not quite sold on Grammarly, there are other programs out there that are very similar you might want to check out.

NameVersionsPrice
ProWriting AidFree / Premium$175 for lifetime access
GingerFree / Premium$6.24/month billed annually
PaperRaterFree / Premium$7.95/month billed annually
Hemingway EditorFreeFree for life (or until they add more features)

Your Next Steps

I hate to be the bearer of bad news…but Grammarly won’t actually get the writing done for you, nor does it teach you how to write a book.

And if that’s what you’re after, here’s what you can do next if you want true success:

#1 – Join your free training

No matter if you have a grammar editor sitting right next to you or a software that corrects it, they won’t show you the way to not only write a book, but become a bestseller.

That’s where we come in.

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

free training

 

#2 – Pick out a book idea

Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, we’ve got you covered.

It’s not always easy coming up with book ideas on your own. That’s why we put together a list of over 200 writing prompts for both fiction and nonfiction.

Meaning, if you’re the rare breed who writes both, we’ve got over 400 writing prompts to get those word-wheels in your mind turning.

Check out these posts below to get started on your idea:

Nonfiction writing prompts

Fiction writing prompts

#3 – Start that outline and get to writing!

Once you’ve watched your training and have an idea, it’s time to get started!

Yes, it’s really that simple. Head over to this blog post to read all about how to put your mindmap together so you can move on to the outlining stage.

This is the bare bones of your book. The light at the end of the tunnel will be visible once you take action with these next steps!

 

Have you used Grammarly before? Drop your own Grammarly review down below with your pros and cons!

200+ Free Writing Prompts: Nonfiction Book Ideas for Real Writers

200+ Free Writing Prompts: Nonfiction Book Ideas for Real Writers

I bet I know you.

You’re the type of person who has dreamt of writing a book for however many years, only held back by the lack of ideas – or good ideas, rather.

Or maybe you’re the type who has tons of ideas but aren’t sure if they’re worth pursuing.

It’s hard. I get it. A book is a big commitment and one you might actually want to go through with. But without having a clear idea of what to write about, that dream can seem too far out of reach.

But I’m telling you, it’s not.

In fact, using writing prompts can help you free your mind from its current constraints so you can explore ideas you might not have otherwise thought of yourself – in addition to a number of other benefits.

Writing prompts

Why Use Writing Prompts for Book Ideas

There are some writing snobs out there who say writing prompts are for people who aren’t “real” writers.

But the thing is: all books were prompted by something.

Whether it was a song or conversation had with a stranger or someone crossing the street late at night, an outside source prompted the idea in the first place.

Every book idea ever written is because something made a writer pause and think about it.

That’s exactly how prompts work.

All writing prompts do is reduce the amount of time it takes you to get that one idea that you want to take on in full.

That’s why we’ve created a list of over 200+ nonfiction writing prompts for you to use in order to spark something meaningful in you that you can download below!

DOWNLOAD HERE!

Nonfiction Writing Prompts for Good Book Ideas

It’s one thing to use a writing prompt, it’s another to ensure that idea is actually a good one. We put together a list of tried-and-true writing prompts that can help you understand what’s most important to you and what you should pursue.

While reading these, note which ones cause you to pause and think – if only for a moment longer than the rest.

Those are the ideas to ponder and create a mind map for.

Here are a few writing prompts for a number of different broader categories that have proven to be prosperous.

Writing Prompts about Morals and Values

This is one of the top book ideas right now. Writing about your personal beliefs, how you came to them, and how they steer your life is something almost everyone can relate to.

And in a time where morality is being questioned time and time again by the media, it’s the best time to write on this topic.

Here are some writing prompts to get you thinking about how you can take this idea a step further.

  1. Write about a time when you were wrong and didn’t realize it for maybe years.
  2. Write about morals and how one discovers what truly matters to them.
  3. Write about the biggest value in your life.
  4. Write about the biggest problems in the world and how it impacts us every day.
  5. Write about problems in the world nobody is paying attention to.
  6. Write about a time your morals were compromised and how it affected your life.
  7. Write about a time your values were challenged and you had to face it.
  8. Write about the difference between a value and a moral.
  9. Write about societal values that actually negatively impact our lives.
  10. Write about morals that have inadvertently negative impacts.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Be honest but don’t force your ideas on someone else
  • Use research and facts to back up your statements
  • Give real-life accounts of your experiences
  • Avoid adopting a “know-it-all” voice

Writing Prompts about Health and Wellness

This is another book topic that has seen a rise in sales and engagement over the past few years. Society is starting to focus on health and well-being more so than many other important life ventures and now is the time to write about it!

These are some great wellness writing prompts to get your mind moving in the right direction.

  1. Write about your struggle with an addiction of some kind and how you overcame it.
  2. Write about your journey to become healthy.
  3. Write about what being healthy inside and out means to you.
  4. Write about how others can overcome unhealthy habits.
  5. Write about the importance of mental health and wellness.
  6. Write about how to form healthy habits.
  7. Write about how to find the best exercise type for your needs.
  8. Write about the idea of self-care and what it means to you.
  9. Write about how to find health through personal reflection.
  10. Write about the technicalities of being “healthy.”

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Always use facts and research with something as sensitive as health
  • Talk about what has worked for you personally and why
  • Feature advice from experts in the field
  • Include actionable steps others can learn from

choosing a writing prompt

Writing Prompts about Love, Sex, and Relationships

This can be a tricky topic to write about because love is different for everyone.

Each relationship has different needs and trying to tell someone what their relationship needs can often cause issues if it’s not actually what their specific relationship can benefit from.

That being said, keeping your message broad enough to impact a lot of people while also hitting specific key points can make it easier.

Here are some writing prompts revolving around relationships.

  1. Tell a story about how you see love.
  2. Write about sex and its importance in a relationship.
  3. Write about how to enjoy sex in every phase of life.
  4. Write about your idea of a successful relationship.
  5. Write about what it really takes to have a successful relationship.
  6. Write about how your friendships play a part in your relationships.
  7. Write about how self-doubt can affect your search for love.
  8. Write about how to love someone else in a way they need.
  9. Write about how to find what you truly enjoy in bed.
  10. Write about becoming open-minded with sex.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Never assume every single person loves and wants love the same way
  • Tell personal, real-life stories to build relatability
  • Keep your advice open-ended and always encourage communication

Writing Prompts about Childhood and Family

We all had a childhood and we all have a family – even if we’ve decided to adopt friends to be a part of our family.

That means everyone can relate to being a child and having a family.

That being said, it’s hard to decide on which direction you can take when writing about your childhood or family.

These are some writing prompts to help you pinpoint an angle.

  1. Write to your parents about all they’ve taught you about life, love, and happiness.
  2. Write to your family about what they mean to you.
  3. Write about parenthood and how it’s changed you.
  4. Write about your parents and what they taught you.
  5. Write about what your parents didn’t teach you and how it affected your life.
  6. Write about how not having parents impacted your life.
  7. Write about your childhood and how it shaped you.
  8. Write about what the definition of family truly means to you.
  9. Write about finding family in the least expected places.
  10. Write about discovering who you are within your family.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Family can be a sensitive subject so avoid hard “facts” about “all” families
  • Make sure to include details about differences
  • Tell stories others can easily relate to at the beginning

books from writing prompts

Writing Prompts about Happiness

Happiness is very subjective. We all have very different ideas about what true happiness is and how it comes about.

What you have to remember, though, is that everybody wants to be happy.

That means you have a very large audience ready to absorb your expertise and these writing prompts can help you identify what to write about.

  1. Write about the idea of wants versus needs in life.
  2. Write about work and finding happiness in your career.
  3. Write about not being happy in your career and how to conquer it.
  4. Write about finding success in your career.
  5. Write about finding success in every aspect of your life.
  6. Write about building a successful love life, family life, and career.
  7. Write about balancing a career and family life.
  8. Write about being open-minded in life.
  9. Write about what rewards you can reap from being kind.
  10. Write about what you can gain from being open-minded in every aspect of life.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Remember that your happiness is not what makes everyone else happy
  • Focus on helping others find what makes them happy
  • Talk about times you were unhappy frequently to drive the point home

Writing Prompts about Self-Esteem and Confidence

No matter who you are, you’ll experience moments of self-doubt and a lack of confidence.

Yes, even Beyonce has felt down about herself occasionally (though probably not often!).

The point is, writing about a lack of self-esteem and how to gain it is something everyone has experienced and therefore, everyone can relate to.

These writing prompts will help you pinpoint a specific angle to take when helping others find confidence.

  1. Write about accepting who you truly are and how it can change your life.
  2. Write about how to ignore societal expectations when they clash with who you are.
  3. Write about how to change your overall outlook to be more positive.
  4. Write about what it’s like to go from disliking yourself to truly loving yourself.
  5. Write about what it truly means to have complete confidence in yourself.
  6. Write about how to conquer inner demons in order to love yourself.
  7. Write about your journey to accepting your flaws and seeing them as strengths.
  8. Write about daily habits that will lead to overall confidence.
  9. Write about how bettering your health can increase the way you view yourself.
  10. Write about how physical appearance actually has little to do with confidence.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Be honest, real, and raw when writing about your experiences
  • Offer different solutions even if they didn’t work for you personally
  • Interview a psychology expert in order to further the book’s credibility

Writing Prompts about Faith

Faith is a very personal journey for people. Whether you’ve been a lifelong believer or have recently stumbled into something that has changed your life, others have been there.

And they’ll want to read about it.

These are some of the topics you can focus on when writing about your faith.

  1. Write about your faith and how you discovered its meaning.
  2. Write about how your faith changed your life.
  3. Write about how you learned to love yourself through your faith.
  4. Write about your journey from not having any faith to where you are now.
  5. Write a message to anybody who doesn’t think they have something to believe in.
  6. Write a book to the person who helped you discover your faith.
  7. Write about how your faith shapes your family.
  8. Write about overcoming questioning your faith.
  9. Write about the unexpected realities of having strong faith.
  10. Write about how your faith can steer your career and life.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • This is a great time to be open and specific about your beliefs
  • Avoid shaming others in an attempt to get your message across
  • Tell deeply personal stories so others can relate

writing prompts books

Writing Prompts about Personal Journeys

Everyone has a personal journey. No matter what you’ve been through, there is a lesson hidden within it.

You can use these writing prompts to not only discover more about yourself, but perhaps light the way for others to see and understand as well.

  1. Write about a moment in your life that changed the way you saw the world.
  2. Don’t censor yourself and write about what you believe the meaning of life is.
  3. Write about the biggest struggle you’ve faced in life.
  4. Write about your journey to finding yourself and all you’ve learned.
  5. Write about life lessons you believe everyone should learn.
  6. Write about how you got to where you are in life and where you’ll go from here.
  7. Write about a tragedy you, unfortunately, lived through and how it has shaped you.
  8. Write about an internal struggle of yours and how you were able to solve it.
  9. Write about your pet/s and what they mean to you.
  10. Write about how you were able to accomplish so much by a young age.

Tips for Expanding on these Writing Prompts:

  • Don’t censor yourself
  • Talk to a therapist or psychologist to better understand your own journey
  • Bring your real-life experiences into play

Use These Writing Prompts to Start Your Book!

If any of these writing prompts caught your eye, you might just be ready to take the next step toward becoming an author!

But it’s not that simple.

There’s a lot that has to go down before the writing and publishing process and I’m here to help point you in the right direction.

If you’re truly serious about getting your book out there and sharing your knowledge and experience with the world, here’s what you can do next.

#1 – Choose a writing prompt

If you haven’t already, make sure to pick a prompt to expand on. If you didn’t find anything in the list above, make sure to download the full writing prompts list of over 200 unique ideas to get your mind rolling!

Click right here to download your prompts!

#2 – Watch your free training!

Once you have an idea you’re comfortable with expanding on, you have to learn how to take that idea and form it into an actual book.

For that, we created this 100% free, comprehensive guide detailing how you can write and publish a book all within 90 days.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity because without this training, you’ll waste time. And time, as you know, is very valuable.

Click right here to sign up and get started!

writing prompts training

#3 – Start your mindmap and outline

If you’ve committed to steps 1 and 2, you’re ready to start the process of turning your idea into an actual book.

Take a look at this blog post right here. It will show you how to create a book outline from your mindmap in order to have a template to work from when actually writing your book.

 

Have you written a book already? Comment below how you came up with your book idea or any other writing prompts you can think of!

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

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

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

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

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

amazon marketing services pinWould 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.

How?

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

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

#1 – Target a famous author in your genre

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

ams ads example

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

Happy days.

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

#2 – Target books published by Amazon

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

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

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

#3 – Target books that are featured on BookBub

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

Which of course means more eyeballs on the said book.

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

amazon marketing services ads bookbub example

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

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

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

#5 – Use Product Display Ads to target paperbacks

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

ams ads product display ad example

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).  

Amazon Marketing Services ads help

#10 – The Greatest Hits method

Start your ads by bidding low-ish on keywords and competing authors/book-titles. Once you have a good idea of what is actually performing well, take those successful phrases and compile them in a ‘Greatest Hits’ ad, with higher CPC bids and daily budget.

#11 – The Amazon Ad Puzzle

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

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

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

#12 – The Ad Stacker

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

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

#13 – Pre-populate with pre-orders!

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

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

amazon marketing services ads pre order example

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!

amazon marketing services ams ad feature example

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 r