This has been my topic for the last week, and so far I think most of you get why you should write a book. Be sure to check out my 7 Reasons if you are still confused, and listen to my recently aired podcast with Danette Moss. Some of you ask “what’s next?”. You’ve committed to writing a book, so let’s listen and then take a look at what you need to do to be successful.
When working on a non-fiction book it’s a good idea to have a full outline in place before you start. Your outline makes things easy for you and for your reader: it ensures that you include everything important (and leave out the tangents), and it lets you organize your information in the most logical order. To get to the outline, however, you must know what you are going to write about! To gain concept clarity you must:
- Specify your target audience (Examples: customers, employees, suppliers, partners, investors, personal networking contacts, business networking contacts, family, and friends)
- Specify what your topic is- What do readers need to learn? What ideas position you as a trendsetter in your field?
- Make a promise. What good will your book do, for whom?
Create Your Content Outline
Now that you have focused on a specific topic you can start your outline. What 3-5 things must your reader know? What are the learning goals to help them gain this knowledge? You will need to take these answers and put them into an outline format that works for you. You can always change the order and titles later, but you want to have at least three main concepts and go from there.
Creating Your Content
Now, this is the fun part! You can write whatever comes to mind for each chapter and learning goal you defined above. Experiencing writer’s block? Write the question you want to answer and move on! Can’t write? Say it out loud
This tool takes dictation as you speak, which will save time and energy re-visiting your content later. Simply speak your sections or chapter titles as you go along and you are set!
BONUS TIP: In addition to voice commands and the ability to import vocabulary lists, the tool also allows you to quickly and easily post to Facebook or Twitter at any time – no matter what application is currently active on the screen.
A note-taking and personal information management application for collecting, organizing and sharing digital notes, OneNote is a great tool for self recording and helping you stay organized while you’re at it.
Using the Insert tab, you can record audio and connect it to the Chapter you are speaking about.
- Start recording your audio
- Type the name of the chapter or subheading as you say the title
- Continue talking about this topic
- Once recorded, you can transcribe it yourself, use Fiverr.com or an editor to transcribe it for you
Evernote lets you capture photos, articles, and even music you like, storing it and organizing it for you so you can easily reference it later. You can record much the same as with MS OneNote, but with a greater ease of transferring the final output for a third party to transcribe. I also find that EverNote works better on my mobile so you can record on the go and add notes to go with your recording from anywhere.
BONUS TIP: As we start to own multiple devices, things like maintaining an orderly list of articles you want to read or maintaining an organized set of bookmarks or photos you want to keep, becomes a bit more of a challenge. It is easy to send it all directly to your Evernote account, tagged and categorized in its own notebook.
When emailing something to your Evernote account, in the subject line you put the notebook name in front of “@” (so @makeuseof for anything to go into the MakeUseOf notebook, for example) and all tags need to have the hashtag before it (so #makeuseof). Note that the notebook needs to already exist in your Evernote account. Evernote won’t create it for you automatically when the email arrives.
Editing your book is a very important part of the process. A well-researched book will go unappreciated for lack of editing. Terms you should know:
- Developmental editing- Deals with the overall organization of a manuscript.
- Copy editing- Checks grammar line by line, calls out lapses in logic or sequential slip-ups.
- Proofreading- Checks the finished product, like interior layout, to ensure that the final document is accurately re-created
Check out these resources for finding editors:
- eLance- a freelance website that allows you to post your job and find editors based on your genre and budget
- MediaBistro- the leading provider of jobs, news, education, events, and research for the media industry.
- Craigslist- The easiest way to get a plethora of applications! It may take more weeding out of junk, but it’s still the most used tool
Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?
Traditional publishing is on someone else’s time/ budget. Contracts may come with an advance, and your publisher covers production and pays you a royalty % per sale. Self-publishing requires investment. You set your own timing, earn 100% of net sales, and should have full control of your book. If you choose to self-publish, make sure you find the right team! At minimum you need:
- Cover designer
- Interior layout designer
You can also utilize self-publishing companies like EverFaith Press to help you form your required team. You should always retain your rights, and any final files should belong to you.