7 Steps to Writing and Publishing a Book: Part I

March 12, 2018

Have you ever thought about writing a book, about putting your unique knowledge and experiences to paper? Then have you ever thought about having that book published, about sharing those experiences and knowledge with the world? With the right amount of time and effort, you can turn those first thoughts of a book into the reality of being a published author and make your mark. I’ll show you how. These are the exact seven steps you’ll need for writing and publishing a book that is worth reading and worth sharing with the world.

Step 1: Clarify Your Goals and Intentions as an Author and Make Them a Priority

The first step to writing and publishing a book is the most important one. Be completely honest with yourself and complete this sentence: “I want to write a book because _______________.” Take the time to consider your goals and intentions for writing a book. After all, your motivation is what will guide you and sustain you throughout your writing and publishing journey. Are your reasons strong enough to do this? Now, consider how you will accomplish this. Are you prepared to devote the time and energy it will take to write and publish a book you’ll be proud of? Or to invest money if you don’t have enough time or interest in working out all of the more technical details? Writing and publishing a book needs to be a priority if you want to make it across the finish line.

Step 2: Identify Your Audience and How You Will Reach Them

Think about who you will be writing your book for and why they would read your book (and not others like it). Consider questions such as: How old will your readers be? Where do they spend their time? What do your readers value in their lives? What will they be looking for when they reach for your book? And so on. Write these thoughts down. Then take it a step further. Go from thinking in general audience terms to thinking about an audience of one – your most ideal reader. Who would this person be? What do you know about him or her? Write down as much as you can about this person. One Example Alan is the ideal reader for the book Build a Tiny House in Your Backyard. Alan was born in Washington state, is 55 years old and has been married to his wife Stacey for 30 years. Alan works in sales, but in his free time he enjoys working on his house, barbecuing, spending time with his family and drinking with his friends. Alan and Stacy live alone in a quiet Oregon suburb in the three-bedroom house with a sizeable backyard that they’ve lived in for nearly 25 years. They have two adult children who live elsewhere in Oregon and who will soon start their own families. Alan and Stacy are still a decade away from retirement, but they believe that they will continue living where they are. They hope to host many more holidays at their house. Alan and Stacy use one of their bedrooms for sleeping, another as an office and the third one as a guest room. Alan and Stacy would like to have more space available for when their friends and growing families come to visit. Alan has been thinking about building a tiny house in the backyard, which he thinks could be a fun project and that they could also rent out to short-term guests when their family and friends aren’t there. I could go on about Alan, but I think you get the idea. By creating your “Alan” – a portrait of your ideal reader – you can write your book directly to him (or her). You can easily create the dialogues in your head to help you know what questions Alan needs answered, what guidance he needs, what resources he’ll be looking for. “Alan” will make your book writing much easier and far more effective.

Step 3: Assess Your Competitive Position

Some writers may not care about how many books they end up selling, but if you’re like most writers and your goals depend on getting your book into the hands of others, then it’s time to get realistic about your chances of convincing actual strangers to buy your book. Think about why you’re qualified to write this book. How have you gained the knowledge and experiences that you will share? Write down those credentials. You’ll need them for marketing your book. Now think about your competition. Who are they? Why do people buy those books from them? Then turn your attention back to your own book. How will your book be different from their books? What will your book provide readers that the others won’t? Will your book have a unique angle, or do you have uniquely strong credentials? Let me be clear: you absolutely do not need to be a nuclear physicist, a Pulitzer Prize winner or a Hollywood star, but you do need a reason for people to listen to what you have to say on the subject of your book. Your competitive position is the credibility that will help get your book into more hands.

Your Book

Next week I’ll reveal the rest of the steps you’ll need for writing and publishing a book, so please stay tuned!