write a book

How to Write a Book

I often have coaching clients ask me how to write a book. I’ve written 3 hard copy books and a number of ebooks, and here is my process.  It’s simple, straightforward as I like things to be.

  1. Begin by writing down the 5-15 topics you want to cover in your book. What does your target market want to know? What are the most important concepts you want to get across? What are the key messages you want to convey?  Brainstorm as many ideas as you can.
  2. These become your chapters. Start to flesh out each chapter. Create bullet points of each of the components that make up each of the concepts. Explore the subtopics that you want to cover. Know that you may not possess all the information that you need to know to write each chapter, do some research to fill in the blanks. At this point you should have a framework for your book, you haven’t actually started writing your book yet.
  3. Time to write the book. I would suggest that you dictate your book using a dictation software product like Dragon Dictate. You can speak your book and the software will translate it for you. Dragon takes a little training to better understand your voice, but it is highly effective and time saving. I have a friend who wrote his book in his car traveling from Oregon to Lake Tahoe, what a great use of time. If you aren’t comfortable using dictation software, then get to writing. Either way, you should be able to crank out your book in a short amount of time.
  4. It’s good enough. Many people take forever to publish their book because they want it to be perfect. Depending on what you are using your book for (we’ll explore that in a minute) perfect may or may not be necessary. Get your book written, hire a copywriter to edit the book and get it out there.
  5. Do I need a publisher? I’ve written 3 books, one with a publisher and a ghost writer (I spent $15,000), one with a small publisher (I spent $6,600) and one that I self published using Word and CreateSpace (I spent $0). The purpose of my books were to gain credibility, establish myself as the credible expert, an elaborate business card as it were. I did not plan on making a lot of money on the book, I wanted it to be a top of my funnel, free or low cost product that helped people get to know me and what I’m an expert in. To be honest I didn’t think either publisher did much of anything to promote my book. The marketing of my book was left completely up to me and if I was to do it again, I’d self publish and take my money and use it to market the book myself.
  6. Consider having someone design your cover. That can cost upward of $1500 unless you use something like Fiverr.com. You want your book to have an attractive and eye catching cover. Invest some money here.
  7. Load it up on CreateSpace, review and publish. You will probably want to publish a hard copy version and a Kindle version.
  8. Order some copies to sell, give away, etc. Depending on the number of pages in your book, the cost to purchase copies is very low. My last book, which was a little over 150 pages cost less than $4 to print. Add in the cost of shipping and it is still under $5. If your book includes a lot of images, the cost to print will increase depending on the number of images, black and white or color, etc.
  9. Decide how you want to fulfill. Do you want Amazon to fulfill your orders or do you want to? Some considerations, having Amazon fill the orders is much easier, although you will make less money and you won’t know who buys your books. Amazon does not share with you the contact info of people who buy your book. In order to overcome this, most authors include a bonus with the book that must be downloaded from their website in order to collect email addresses and contact info. Including such things as bonus chapters, list of resources, tips and tricks are great ways to get people to come to your website and give you their contact info.
  10. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. It always comes back to marketing, create a plan for how you want to market your book. Write that marketing plan down and execute on it.
  11. Pre-sell your book. There is no better way to get your book out the door than to pre-sell it. I have a lot of clients who resist pre-selling their books for various reasons, however I believe the benefits far out-weigh your excuses : )) for not. Selling copies of your book before it is published will give you great insight into whether there is even a market for your book and give you information regarding what people are looking for in a book on your topic. You generate CASH! That’s money that you can use to order your copies, hire a copywriter or cover designer, without any money coming out of your pocket.

See how easy it is to write a book?  Have fun with it.

Happy writing, publishing and building your business!


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