Not long ago, you had to pound a book out on a typewriter. Good luck making changes, moving text around, deleting sections, changing a word or sentence – it was difficult and messy.
Research had to be done in a library or by interviewing people. Because there was no internet, you didn’t have the world’s knowledge and latest research at your fingertips.
And getting it published? You had to schlep your manuscript around from one publishing house to the next, hoping and praying someone would take pity on your book and agree to publish it.
Finally, if they did publish it, they took most of the money and only paid you a dollar or two per copy.
Frankly, before computers and the internet, I don’t know why anyone wrote books unless they were into causing themselves pain.
But these days you can not only use a computer to type, you can even use it to record your voice. Or have someone else transcribe your voice recordings. Or even get other experts to give you most of your book’s content.
And then you can publish it online and keep most of the profits, too, without getting the approval of a publishing house.
Really, there are no more excuses for why you can’t write a book.
Here I’ve put together some of my very best tips to help you get started.
60 days from now, your book could be finished.
And as always, if you have a question I didn’t answer here, then there’s always Google – yet another reason why book writing is easier today than ever before.
Why would you want to write a book?
There are three major reasons why people write books:
- To become rich
- To become famous
- To be known as an expert
It’s true that if you write a book that catches fire, and then you continue writing more books, you can become rich.
Famous happens when your book catches fire or when you promote yourself heavily with a message people are ready to hear.
Being known as an expert is a great way to get rich and become famous, at least in your own niche. In fact, if you want to be known as an expert, there is probably no better way to do it than to write the definitive book on your topic.
Why don’t people write their books?
Generally, there are three reasons:
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of a blueprint
If they’re a perfectionist, then they want to make everything perfect from the start.
But if you insist on having it perfect, then you’ll never get it finished.
Here’s a little trick to ‘make your book perfect’ and get others to help you in the process: Simply offer a reward for every mistake in the book. If a reader is the first to point out the mistake, they get money, or a free copy of your next book, or whatever you choose.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t do your own editing and proofreading before publishing. It just means that the more eyes you have on your book, the more likely you are to find all of the typos and errors and by the second or third edition.
There’s a second benefit to using this method: It increases the chance buyers will actually READ your book. Everyone loves to find someone else’s mistakes, especially if they get rewarded for it.
And if your customers are reading your book instead of putting it on the shelf, they are much more likely to buy something else from you.
Using this method, your second edition will be much better, and your third edition will be almost perfect.
What about a lack of motivation? If you just can’t seem to get started, it’s time to focus on the reason why you want this book written.
Picture what will happen when you’re finished and all the rewards it will bring. Then picture yourself taking the first step, and just do it.
Still can’t get started? Then break it down to the ridiculous. Tell yourself you’ll just open the program.
Then tell yourself you’ll just work on it for 10 minutes, and so forth. Little steps can lead to big results.
And the last reason people don’t write their books – lack of a blueprint – is a fairly simple one to fix. You simply need an outline to follow so that you know what you’ll be writing about for each chapter.
I’ll cover more on this in just a moment.
What should you write about?
You can write about what you know or what you want to know more about, that coincides with what people want to read.
Let’s say you know a lot about driving traffic through paid methods. This is a topic that marketers want to know about, and so it has the potential to reach a lot of people.
Or maybe you want to become an expert on driving traffic using free methods. You can do the research and your own testing to become an expert on the topic and write your book.
But what if you’re the world’s foremost expert on basket weaving? You’ll have to ask yourself if there is enough of a market to make this pay.
If not enough people are interested in your topic, even if you are the expert, then it might not be a good topic for a book.
You’ve got to ask yourself, ‘What is the purpose of your book?’ If it’s simply for self-satisfaction, then by all means write about anything you choose.
But if you want to become rich, or famous, or be perceived as an expert by people who will then buy more products or services from you, then you’ve got to choose topics that are in demand.
Everything in the previous section is all well and good, but it’s not enough for major success. Once you’ve got your topic, you’ve got to put your own spin or twist on that topic.
Take a look at this list of titles:
- How to Lose Weight Fast
- How to Lose 50 Pounds this Year
- How to Lose 2 Dress Sizes in 33 Days
- 28 Secrets to Weight Loss
- 12 Stupid Mistakes Dieters Make
- How to Eat Anything You Want and Lose Weight
- Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous!
Which one is different from all the others?
And which one was a New York Times bestseller despite getting mediocre reviews?
The Skinny Bitch, of course.
Weird but true: Your title and premise are just as important if not MORE important than your content.
Yes, you want to have outstanding content in your book, but it’s not going to matter if nobody buys your book in the first place.
Find your own unique twist that puts your book in a category of its own, gets noticed and sells like crazy.
It’s worth every gram of effort you put into it.
“I’ve got a topic, but I don’t want to write a book.”
Okay, then don’t.
Jump on Google and start researching your topic. Find out who the experts are, and not just the big names, either. Find the up and coming experts who know a lot but are still building their good name.
Make a list of those people and contact them. Offer to put them in your book. Let them know what your title is and the concept you have in mind.
They can write a chapter, or you can interview them and turn the interviews into chapters.
Voila, instant book.
They get their name out there, and their URL in your book.
Have a great title and then make your subtitle something like, “20 Top Experts Give their Very best Advice” or anything along those lines. It’s important to call your contributors ‘top experts’ right on the cover because they can then use this to build their own credibility.
Notice you’re saying, “Top Experts,” and not “THE Top Experts.” You don’t call them THE top experts unless they really are.
There are 4 ways to write your book
- Write it yourself
- Record it and have it transcribed
- Use speech recognition software and speak your book
- Get a professional to ghost-write your book for you
For most of us, writing the book is without a doubt the hard part, harder even than promoting the book.
If you’re doing the writing yourself, set yourself daily goals of the number of words or the number of pages you will write each day. For example, if you write 4 pages a day, you’ll have your book completed in less than 60 days.
If you’re going to record it and have someone transcribe it for you, expect to pay about $1 a minute. Yes, the cost adds up, but this is a crazy fast way to write your book, so it’s worth it.
Just type “transcription services” into Google and you’ll find an array of services, some of which will turn transcribe in 24 hours. Make sure you pick a service that uses real people, rather than software. You’ll have fewer errors this way.
Speech recognition software is in abundance these days, but they do have a learning curve. And I mean the software itself has to learn how you speak. Still, this is a great option if you don’t mind going back and correcting errors.
Getting a ghost-writer is the most expensive option, and also the easiest. If you have more money than time, you might consider doing this because it frees up your time to do something else, like researching your second book.
Creating your outline
To organize your book, you might want to use the 25 x 4 x 2 method.
- First, based on your research you choose 25 major headings for your book. These will become your chapter titles.
- Then select 4 sub-headings for each of the 25. These sub-headings will provide you with the content for each chapter.
- And now you write 2 pages on each of the sub-topics. Voila! You know have a 200-page book.
You can use this outline method to write the book yourself or record it and have someone transcribe it for you.
But maybe you’d like an outlining method that is even more simple than the 25 x 4 x 2 method. In that case, you might like to choose a title such as, “101 ways to do ___”.
You’ll have a major heading for each of the 101 items, and then write 2 pages on each. Simple.
Editing Your Book
If you are super strapped for cash, go ahead and edit your own book. Then hand it off to a friend who is willing to go over it for you and correct the things you missed.
Finally, tell your readers up front that there might be typos, and if there are, you will reward them for pointing them out.
Better still, hire a professional editor to go over your book. They will not only correct spelling and grammar, but they will also make any other changes needed for clarity and to make the book 100% readable.
If you can’t afford a professional editor, consider at least hiring a college English major. They’ll often work for a lot less.
Don’t skimp on the cover
Even if your book is only sold online as an ebook, Kindle book and so forth, be sure to use a cover that looks 100% professional. No matter how good your title is or the quality of your content, people are going to judge your book by its cover.
Spend time looking at all the best seller lists. Peruse Amazon and see which books stand out amongst all the others. Consult with graphic artists who are experienced in creating professional book covers.
Then get 3 covers made and run a test to see which one converts the best. You might do this test with your list, with social media or any way you choose. Find out what people think and what they like.
The cover is crucial, so don’t skim over this step.
One last thing, and this is important:
If you want all of the professional and personal advantages of having written your own book, then the first step is simple: Get started now.
You’ve put this off long enough. In fact, imagine if you had gotten started a few months ago – you could have a best seller by now, or at least an awesome lead magnet and money generator.
Write your book. Be seen as the expert you are. And put a feather in your cap, because you finally did what you’ve been wanted to do for years: