Have you thought about writing a book, but you don’t know where to start? Have you done an online search about how to write a book and it has left you more confused than ever? Do you have an idea inside you that has to get out, but when you sit down at your computer you stare at a blank screen?
Writing a book is a daunting experience. I would know, I’m writing one right now. Although I have published five books already, this is still a whole new ball game to me. Why? Because I’m writing my first full-length book.
However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have dreamed of being an author since I was nine years old and finally made my dream come true. Do you want to write your first book but don’t know where to start?
In this ultimate guide to writing a book, you will learn five steps to start writing your book, ten writing resources to use to make your job more comfortable, and a dose of encouragement before you even begin as well.
Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle
One of my favorite authors, Jon Acuff, made an excellent point in his book START.
He said, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
I love this quote and agree wholeheartedly with it.
On any journey, it is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other people.
Whether it’s your first job, starting your own business, writing your first book, or going to work for a huge company, it is easy to feel insignificant to others further along the journey than you.
You may feel like you’re not good enough because you work in a lower paying job.
Sometimes you feel like just because your friend got their business up and running full speed ahead in a year, you’re a failure because you are still struggling at six months.
You may feel like you will never learn all the things that go along with writing, publishing, and marketing your first book.
You may feel like a slave at the big company you just started with because everyone else is further along than you.
Don’t do this. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s’ middle. Why?
They have had much more time to learn and grow and work the kinks out. Your beginning is where you are supposed to be.
Take pride in your lower paying job; people need your service.
Hold your head up and enjoy the journey of building your business. Enjoy the process of writing, publishing, and marketing your book, step by step.
There is a lot to learn, but you’ve got this. Think of your entry-level position at this big company as a platform for you to grow, not that you are everyone else’s slave.
Embrace the journey and the road ahead, for you are where you need to be and on the way to your best life.
5 Steps To Starting Your First Book
1. Gather your ideas
Do you have several different ideas running around in your head and can’t decide where to start? Trust me; I’ve been there. It’s hard to make a decision when you have a lot of great ideas playing tag in your head.
The best thing to do is to sit down and write out your ideas. Write down the basic plot, character sketches, and other thoughts. Flesh out each idea as best you can.
2. Do some research
Research is critical before you even start writing your first book. The last thing I want you to do is to write a book that no one wants to read. How do you avoid this?
Go on the Amazon Bestseller list in your category and study the first ten books. What are they about? What kind of characters do they have?
This is important because you want to write something similar. I don’t mean that you can’t be yourself, but writing a new kind of story may cause you only to hear crickets.
The next thing you want to do is go down and look at the Amazon best selling rank. If the ranking is 35,000 or below, you have a viable idea. The lower the book ranking, the more popular it is. Also, look at the reviews and write down what people loved about the book and what they hated about it.
This way, you can incorporate the elements they loved and avoid the things they didn’t like in your story. Another essential thing to think about is can you see yourself writing twenty books on this topic or in this series. Why?
Series books often do better than stand-alone novels. The more books you write in a series, the more money you make.
3. Choose an idea
If you find you have two or three viable ideas, start with the one that speaks most to you. If you have a strong emotional response, that’s usually a good sign.
The most crucial thing to keep in mind when writing your book is to keep the end in mind. Know where you are going with your story. After doing your research, use the first batch of data you get to create your table of contents. The following outline you write should be an in-depth outline with subheadings and facts if you’re writing nonfiction, plot, and scenes if you’re writing fiction.
5. Start writing
Now that you have chosen an idea, done some research, and outlined your story in-depth, you are ready to start writing. For me, my first draft is probably the best part because it can be messy and full of grammar mistakes, and it doesn’t matter.
Once you’re done with your rough draft, run it through Grammarly or Hemingway for editing. This is the draft you should feel comfortable showing people. When you do a second round of editing, you should be filling in blanks, adding facts, fixing typos, etc.
Next, you write your second draft, and by now it should feel pretty solid after fixing errors and fleshing out the important things. Once your second draft is done, send out copies to your beta readers, friends, and family to review and give feedback.
The next draft is the final one, considering feedback and doing a final clean up of things. From there, you prepare your book for publication.
Always keep a paper and pen nearby to write down ideas, character names, conversational snippets, etc. This happens to me all the time. I am always paying attention to people’s names, and sometimes I have conversational pieces come at me out of nowhere in my brain.
Once home, I type them out on my computer and depending upon what book it’s for; I will tuck it into the appropriate folder.
Now, starting to write your first book doesn’t seem too daunting. By using this simple five-step process, you will be on your way to starting your first book in no time. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect right off the bat, it just has to be uniquely yours.
Twelve Resources To Make Writing Your Book Easier.
When the creative juices are flowing, and I can find the right resources, it’s fantastic. But what about when you are struggling to find the resources for not only your writing but your goals in general as a whole?
Here is a list of My Top 10 Writing Resources. Everything from books to courses to websites for authors and freelancers alike. You are bound to find something to get you ‘unstuck’ and on your way to reaching your writing goals.
1. Breaking Orbit by Jonathan Green– If you are an aspiring author or are a new author who needs a blueprint for writing your first successful book and launching it on Amazon; this is the book you need.
Jonathan Green is a multiple best selling Amazon author, and in this book, he breaks down his entire process in writing, publishing, and launching a book on Amazon. You will learn everything from finding a niche, research, outlining, writing, editing, choosing a cover, and much, much more.
Are you concerned because you don’t have a blog, mailing list, or social media following? No worries. You can still launch a successful book. This is a favorite in my Top 10 Writing Resources.
2. 20K A Day by Jonathan Green– If you are a seasoned author or someone who wants to learn how to write faster, pick up this book. It will teach you to use the power of ritual, which helps you get into “the zone” every time you sit down at your computer.
You will be able to complete your manuscript faster and be able to release more books this way. Imagine being able to finish books in weeks instead of months. You will learn everything from the writing process, how to stop internal procrastination, how to write a solid outline and more.
3. Kindlesniper-Kindlesniper is the course companion to Breaking Orbit. It goes a step further by showing you step by step how to set up your Amazon book business.
It teaches you how to outrank the competition, write and edit your book, and launch as well as gather reviews and make sure you stay at the top of your category for years to come.
4. Words to Profit Mastery-If you are looking to start a career ghostwriting books, articles, and blog posts for others; this is a great place to start. You will primarily learn how to write books for clients, but you will also learn about writing blog posts and articles as well. Also, you will learn how to build your business on a solid foundation and grow from there. I recently took this course and have had much success from what I have learned.
5. Coffitivity– Do you get distracted easily but still need to hear some background noise? Then you need coffitivity. This website features the hustle and bustle of your favorite coffee shop at home. I enjoy writing while listening to all kinds of music, but sometimes I turn this on so I can block things out and get into ‘the zone”.
6. Writer’s Digest Magazine– If you don’t have a subscription to this magazine, you need to get one. It’s the best way I know to keep up with current trends and issues in the writing world.
7. How To Write An Amazing Romance Novel by Pinar Tarhan-If you are looking to write a romance novel, this is a great place to start. This book covers everything from marketing and platform, how to find an idea, finding a viable idea, and so much more.
8. Writer’s Market– This is another excellent resource when looking for places to submit your work. A new edition comes out every year, but I usually update mine every two years or so. Also, I recommend getting the paperback version to make notes and highlight information.
9. Publisher Rocket-As, an author, have you ever wished you could spy on your competition and see how books were ranking in other categories, find stellar keywords, and research book ideas.
Well, now you can do that with Publisher Rocket. I have been using this tool for about a month, and I love it. I get the info I need in a snap and will never have to worry about writing a book that won’t sell again.
10. Grammarly-I’m sure you have seen commercials all over the place for this software but trust me, it’s worth it. I have used both the “free” and “pro” version and find both to be useful.
11. ProWritingAid-This is another editing software but it’s like Grammarly on steroids. I prefer this software because it finds more issues than Grammarly and it costs less for the paid version. I also like that they offer lifetime memberships.
12. Novel Factory-I recently found this novel writing software and I’m in love. The best part is that there is a roadmap to follow when writing your first book. This helps guide writers step by step and practically banishes overwhelm. I’ve been using it for about two months and am in the “First Draft” step. I have been hitting my word counts every day.
I love every resource in this list and use most of them daily. These tools bring great clarity and confidence in achieving my writing goals, and I hope if you read or try one or two of them that they will help you too. Here’s to your success and happy writing!