Everyone’s got a book inside of them, just waiting to get out. And some people have dozens of books that can each be earning them a monthly income… if only they could just get started.
Kindle books can mean true passive income. You write each book once and Amazon sells it for years. Completely unknown aspiring authors have gone on to write dozens of Kindle books and earn themselves a monthly income that rivals most people’s annual income. Those same people can then take months and even years off from writing and simply watch the money flow in.
Others write just one or two books, not because they’re after passive income, but to show their authority in their niche. For example, someone who runs his own agency helping local businesses with their marketing writes ‘the’ book on small business marketing.
He sends this book to each new business he would like to work with, much like sending a calling card. When he shows up for the meeting, the business owner is not only friendly, open and receptive to hear what the author has to say – the owner is also ready to say yes to getting help from this expert.
Or maybe you’d like to be a coach. I know of one aspiring personal life coach who struggled to get $100 a month clients. Then she wrote a book, and now clients come to her and gladly pay not $100 a month for her help, but $1,000 a month.
No matter what your business or area of expertise, odds are writing and publishing at least one Kindle book will help you tremendously.
And yet, if you’re like 99% of most people who want to write a book, you still haven’t done it.
Today all that changes because we’re going to overcome every excuse you have for not getting started with your Kindle publishing.
And in fact, I’m going to show you how to write your own Kindle book in just 30 days. Set aside an hour or two per day, follow these steps and in a month you’ll have a bare minimum of a first draft ready for the editor, or even a finished book ready to be published.
Choosing your topic
Even if you already have a topic in mind, it’s still a good idea to do some brainstorming using one of these methods to determine if you have the BEST topic.
Brain dumping – empty your mind of all your ideas by setting a timer and then writing non-stop until the timer goes off. Try doing this for three 10 minute intervals spaced out over the course of a day or two. Write down EVERYTHING you can think of, regardless of what it might be.
Topic grouping – look at what you’ve written in the brain dump, and then group like topics together to see what naturally fits. For example, group all of your weight loss ideas together, group your make money ideas together and so forth. If you find you have several groups, choose the five groups that resonate with you.
Rating each idea group – rate your idea groups based upon how much passion you have for each group, how much experience and knowledge you have on that topic and how much you would enjoy researching the topic further. Which idea group comes to the top?
Repurposing – the Ultimate Shortcut
Maybe you’d like a fast shortcut to this entire system, so here it is: If you already have a lot of content you’ve personally written on a subject, then that might be the best idea for your new book. For example, maybe you have a year’s worth of blogposts about dog training – you can repurpose those posts into your first book.
Places you can find content for repurposing might include:
- Your blog as well as guest blog posts you’ve made
- Your podcast transcripts
- Articles you’ve written for magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Power Point presentations, tele-seminar transcripts, webinar transcripts
- Interviews, including interviewing others as well as being interviewed yourself
- Emails you’ve written. Did you answer people’s question in depth? Did you provide instruction or other useful content via email? Some marketers can practically copy and paste the contents of their autoresponder into book form because they do a great job of sharing useful info with their subscribers.
- Blog and social media comments. These can sometimes be an outstanding jumping off point for a book, especially if they were highly engaging.
Series? Or Not?
The time to decide if you want to write a series rather than just one book is before you start on the first book. The advantages of writing a series are clear: You have more books to sell, thus creating more profit potential. Each book can act as a sales agent for your other books. And when someone reads one of your books and likes it, you’ll have more books they can buy.
Your series title is going to be different than your book title. Think of the series title as an umbrella, with all of the books falling underneath this umbrella.
For example, your series could be about maximizing health after the age of 50, and your individual books could be on nutrition, exercise, weight loss, stress, diabetes, heart health and so forth.
When choosing a series title, keep in mind that while you cannot copyright a series or book title, you can trademark the series title. That’s why you can’t write a book “For Dummies” or use “The Everything Guide”. If you see a trademark symbol next to a series name, then you know you can’t use it.
If you think your series could be super profitable, it might be worth it to get your own series name trademarked. Avoid anything that sounds too generic and choose something memorable or that speaks to your audience.
Keep your book title short. You want your book title to be readable when your cover is just a thumbnail. The same goes for sub-titles. If your subtitle is longer than 12 words, see if you can shorten it.
Use the title and subtitle to make it crystal clear what your book can do for the reader. This isn’t the time to be vague or mysterious.
Spend some time on the best seller lists looking at titles. At this point you want to have a working title, but you might find an even better option comes to light as you’re putting your book together.
Organizing Your Ideas
Mind mapping is a great tool for organizing ideas around your central topic. Write your topic or your title in the center of the page and then brainstorm ideas for the book’s content.
Ideally you want to have 5 to 10 chapters. Since this is a Kindle book, you don’t need to add filler to make it 200 pages. You do need, however, to provide great content that delivers on the promise of your title and subtitle.
Kindle’s minimum word count for a book is just 2500 words, which is the length of 5 short articles or one in-depth article. That’s right – you can publish a book with just 2500 words. Odds are once you get started you’ll realize your book will be longer than the minimum, but it’s good to know you don’t have to write an encyclopedia-length book to be published.
The sweet spot for Kindle books is 6,000 to 10,000 words. This is enough to give readers what they need and have them coming back for more… hence the idea of doing a series of books in your niche.
Once you have a rough idea of what your chapter topics will be, do a mind map for each topic for the content of each chapter.
Then organize your chapter titles and content of each chapter into an outline.
Be sure to write in the style your ideal reader is accustomed to. If you’re writing a book for mechanical engineers, it’s going to read differently than a book on how to bake the perfect flourless desserts or how to meditate like a master in only 5 minutes a day.
Creating Content Without Typing
Not everyone likes to sit at a keyboard and bang out their next book. Fortunately, you don’t have to.
You can record yourself talking your book, hire a transcription service and edit the transcription into your book.
You can also have someone interview you if you find that method to be easier, and again get it transcribed.
Or you can use software to type as you speak. Dragon Naturally Speaking software is perhaps the best option for this.
Perhaps you would like others to create your content for you. You might get 10 different experts to each write a chapter on one aspect of your topic, giving them full credit and a link back to their website so they can capture leads.
You can even ask bloggers if you can use one of their posts, again giving them credit. You compile these posts, making sure they are on target to your topic, and write an introduction. Using this method, you could easily produce a book per week if you’re motivated.
Regardless of which word processing program you’re using, you may find it easier to write and stay on track if you use one or more of the following productivity tools:
CalmlyWriter.com – this is an add-on for Google Chrome. It opens a new tab in your browser with a plain white background with no buttons or distractions.
FocusWriter.com – timers and alarms that force you to write during the allotted time, with optional daily word count goals. When you’re finished, copy and paste your text into your book writing program.
Ilys.com – this lets you set a word count goal for yourself each time you write to help propel you forward. You can also set it to ‘ninja mode’ which hides your words as you type, forcing you to move forward with your writing rather than going back to edit.
KeepWriting.boxjar.com – helps you to break the habit of editing as you write by not allowing you to delete or correct mistakes.
V2WriteOrDie.com – this software is pretty wild. It’s designed for people who overthink rather than write. You can set your own goals, and if you sit too long without typing the program will literally scream at you, drop spiders all over your page or do something else to interrupt your pattern and shock your brain back into writing.
WriteBoxApps.com – syncs all of your devices together so that you can seamlessly switch from working on your computer at home to working on your phone or device at the coffee shop or while waiting for appointments.
Tips for Writing More in Less Time
Turn off spell check. Editing while writing is a distraction that will only slow you down and make it more difficult to slog your way through your writing. If you can stop editing as you write, you’ll find your writing flows more easily and you get more done in less time with less effort.
Close your door and turn off your phone. Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Tell others you’re not to be disturbed during your writing time.
Schedule your writing time for when you’re at your best. For some people this is first thing in the morning, while others do their best writing in the afternoon or possibly the evening. Find the time when writing works for you, and then make that time a habit.
Change your work environment when possible. Sitting in the same place can put you in a rut. If possible, work outside when weather permits. Set up an outdoor office on your deck, use a picnic table in the park or find a coffee shop with outdoor seating. If the world is no longer in pandemic mode when you read this, restaurants and the inside of coffee shops can work well, too.
Use your outline but don’t marry it. Do you want to start with the second section of chapter 3? Go for it. There’s nothing that says you have to write your book in order. If you decide later that chapter 5 would work better as chapter 1, then make the change.
Place your outline on your wall where you can see it. Every day, write one section of a chapter. For example, if you have 7 chapters and each chapter has 3 sections, that’s 21 elements to write plus your introduction and conclusion, making 23. When you finish the first draft of a section, cross it off your outline. It can be incredibly motivating to see your progress in this way, plus it reminds you of what is left to write.
Before you go to bed, decide which section you will write tomorrow and then let it go. You might be surprised by what your subconscious does with this information overnight.
Every time you finish one section of the book, write a few paragraphs for the next section. This could be as little as 100 words. The idea here is to simply get a small start on it, but sometimes you will surprise yourself and finish that section as well.
Organizing Your Book
Here’s how you will typically organize your non-fiction Kindle book:
- Title page
- Copyright page
- Dedication (optional)
- Acknowledgements, but only if they boost your credibility. For example, if a well-known expert helped you in any way, here’s where you’ll thank them. Otherwise, place the acknowledgements at the back of the book.
- Table of contents
- Free opt-in. This is the invitation to readers to join your list and get your freebie. Yes, you should always be building your list through your books. Perhaps the best freebie to offer is a free copy of your next book before it’s published. This is also an awesome way to garner reviews.
- This shouldn’t be just any old introduction. When a potential buyer is using the ‘see inside’ feature on Amazon, they will see this introduction before the first chapter. This is an excellent opportunity to state the benefits of reading your book and make them salivate in anticipation of the contents.
- The main body of the book. The first pages of your first chapter should again grab their attention and make them want to keep reading more.
- Thank you page
- Resources list
- Glossary of terms
- Legalities and permissions
- About the author page. Don’t take yourself too seriously on this page. Feel free to talk about your credentials and experience, but also insert some humor and a personal glimpse of who you are.
- Other books by… This is where you remind them that you have other books for them to buy.
What To Include On Your Copyright Page:
- © Year and your name (© 2020 Jane Jones)
- Publishing company name, address, website and email. If you’re self-publishing, then this is your company. You must have an email address in case media wants to contact you to quote your book or interview you.
- Any disclaimers (especially for financial, medical or legal niches)
- Cover design credit, photo credits and illustration credits (if applicable). Don’t skip this. It is standard practice and copyright law to give credit to your graphic artist and illustrator.
- An ‘All Rights Reserved’ clause
Making Your Book Super ‘Sticky’
Think back to the last time you read something dry, dull and boring. What did you do? You stopped reading, of course. No one – NO ONE – wants be bored.
Some writers and would-be publishers might think, “So what? They’ve already purchased my book, so if they don’t like it, what does it matter?”
That’s short-sighted thinking and will ensure the author stays broke for a couple of reasons.
First, if your book is boring then you’re going to get poor reviews. Even if the content is good or great, your reviews will still be less than stellar because readers won’t be able to finish something that works better than a sleeping pill.
Second, your customers will not be back. They won’t be back to buy more books, or products and services, or even to read your blog or follow you on social media. You will have blown your one chance to make a great impression.
But take heart because keeping a reader engaged isn’t all the difficult.
Talk Over Coffee. Don’t write like you’re trying to impress your writing professor. Your goal isn’t to be a modern day Shakespeare; it’s to communicate in a friendly voice, much like how you talk to a good friend.
Do research. Read reviews of similar books. If they are less than 5 star, what are the reviews complaining about? Find the gaps and fill them.
Use stories. When possible, use case studies, examples, stories and so forth to engage and liven up your writing.
Keep it personal. You’re not talking to ‘them’, you’re speaking to one reader. Instead of writing, “When they do this, they find they are much more likely to…” go ahead and say, “When you do this, you’ll find you’re much more likely to…”
If possible, engage the senses. Talk about feel, touch, sounds, smells, sights and scents. Imagine how you’ll feel when you’ve got a steady 5 figure income just from your books. Can’t you just see the look on admirers’ faces when they realize you are a best-selling author? The sweet perfume of success will permeate everything you do, and so forth.
Make your book evergreen. It’s great to have a book that is a hot best seller today because it’s timely, but it really hurts when your fad is yesterday’s news and your book plummets to the bottom basement of Amazon. Not to mention the fact that by the time you get a faddish type of book on the market, the trend may have already passed you by.
The exception to this rule is if the trend is big enough and you can get your book written and published fast enough to make it pay. It’s a calculated risk but it does sometimes pay off in a big way.
However, the safest bet is to create content that will be as relevant in 5 years as it is today. You may need to occasionally update it to keep current with new trends and research, but that will be an excellent excuse to ‘relaunch’ the book with each update, thereby creating even more sales.
Keep your content concise. I once knew a guy who would restate the same point half a dozen different ways which is exactly why I started ducking his calls and avoiding him at every turn.
Make your chapter titles enticing. The worst thing you can do is get lazy and not name your chapters or name them in a dry manner. I’ve seen authors do this and it drives me crazy.
Your table of contents is prime real estate in the ‘search inside’ feature on Amazon. Each title should make the potential reader curious to know more. Do some research on Amazon by clicking on the “see inside” feature of books and reading the table of contents.
More short chapters are better than fewer long chapters. Short chapters are easier to read. They give the reader a greater sense of accomplishment because they can read the chapters faster.
It’s easier for your readers to master your topic when it’s broken up into bite sized pieces. It makes for a larger, more interesting table of contents, making your book look more comprehensive.
And since each chapter title is a teaser for the content to come, it does a better job of selling your book. And yes, it’s perfectly okay to have a table of contents that takes up more than one page.
Editing Your Book
This is the part where I will lose a lot of you.
Yes, editing can be pure drudgery. Many writers hate editing as much as they love writing, but it’s a necessary part of the process that must be done.
Here’s my number one suggestion for editing: Get someone else to do it for you.
If you can afford it, hire a professional editor to go over your book with a fine tooth comb. They can spot areas that need work, things that are out of order, places where you dropped the ball and forgot something and so forth. They can point these out to you for you to fix, or you can pay them to do it for you.
They can also fix your typos and your word choices.
But you might be thinking… why do you even need to edit? A few typos are no big deal, right?
First, it’s not just about typos. You live in your brain but your readers don’t. Just because you know what you intended to say doesn’t mean your readers understand it. Bad writing can kill your book faster than anything else.
And yes, typos are a problem, too. It’s jarring for the reader to suddenly be confronted with a typo, especially if it changes the meaning. Some readers become upset when they find typos and they aren’t afraid to give negative reviews for those typos, even when they liked the content.
Here’s a little trick I learned about typos when you’re not using a professional editor: In the beginning of your book before the first chapter, mention that you have tried your darndest to find every typo, but you may have missed a few. If someone is the first to email you and tell you exactly where they found a typo, you will gladly send them a thank you gift for their efforts.
This appeases the ‘typo police’ and puts them on your side. They find a typo, they tell you, you thank them for their good work and you fix the mistake. Now you’ve got your entire readership helping you with your editing. Please note, this is NOT a substitute for doing your own editing. Before you place your book on Kindle it needs to be as good as you can possibly make it without trying to achieve perfection.
Remember, your reputation is at stake. You want to put out the very best version of your book you can without spending the rest of your life trying to get it perfect. That’s why hiring someone to act as your editor can be so helpful. They can look at your work with fresh eyes and see the things you are blind to.
And while you might feel you are handing over total control to your editor, you are not. If they use MS Word’s Track Changes, you can easily see all of the changes they made. If you don’t like a change, you can simply change it back.
Here’s how to get your editing done for the lowest rate possible:
First, do your own editing. Refine your voice, double check your facts, make sure everything is readable, plausible and flows. Eliminate every typo you find.
Second, give your manuscript to a couple of beta testers and get their input. Use their feedback to improve it. Don’t get freaked out when they say a section is unclear or you forgot something. They aren’t attacking you, they are simply helping to make your book as good as possible.
Finally, hire an editor to check grammar, spelling and punctuation and to point out any areas that are lacking, repetitive or need work. Fix those areas yourself and then pass it back to the editor for one last read through.
It’s also possible to get a free editor. For example, college students will sometimes do book editing for resume experience. Or maybe you can barter a service of your own in exchange for editing, such as coaching. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who is qualified to help you edit your manuscript. A local high school teacher might have free time in the summer and want to support local talent.
Beta readers or book reviewers can be found on social media within your niche.
Local writers’ groups are a good place to find other writers who can act as editors. You might edit each other’s books, for example.
Whoever helps you in any manner with your editing, be sure to thank them by name inside your book.
If you want to hire a professional editor, you might go to any one these sites to find them:
Working with your editor will improve not just your current book, but also make you a better writer for your next book, too.
If you keep writing books, then by the time you get to book #5 or #6 your writing will have improved to the point where you might be a little horrified by the job you did in Book 1. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean that your first book was bad. It simply means you’ve improved greatly.
Writing Your Book in 30 Days
It’s time now to stop reading this and get busy. Put in the time each day and in a month or less you will have your very first book.
Next month we’ll cover publishing and marketing your first non-fiction book, so stay tuned!