Are you ready to write a book, but don’t know where to start?
If you’re reading these words, you have already begun—just by setting out to learn what it is you need to do to turn your ideas into a book you can hold in your hands, you’ve demonstrated that you can seek out the information you need to turn your dream into a reality.
But what next? What’s involved in writing and selling a book when the whole task seems daunting and confusing? What’s involved are steps, and just by taking them one at a time, eventually you will get there. The important thing is to keep taking those steps, and they all begin with the first one.
The first step to writing a book is to be clear about what it is you want to write. Have your friends told you for years that you should write a book and now you’re finally ready to begin? Do you have a business that you would like to promote and you’d like a book to establish your expertise in your field? Or do you just have a story that you’d love to turn into a novel, an idea you’d love to turn into a narrative nonfiction book, or a collection of recipes, inspirational quotes, tips or tricks or twisted tweets you’d like to put together and plug as the next Chicken Soup for the Soul?
Whatever it is you have in mind for your book, you begin with your idea, and then you clarify it, determine what else is already out there that might compare to yours, and revise your concept so that it is original, intriguing, and something other people will want to read—and even better, something other people will need to read. And that means thinking like a publishing professional—someone with an expertise in writing, editing, and marketing books and understanding the process from conception to publication and beyond.
A writing coach can help you with each of these phases of book writing, and more. Here is what you can expect from a book coach:
· Help with clarifying your idea
· Explain the pros and cons of traditional publishing and independent publishing and the process each entails
· Tips on how to build your platform (your audience)
· Help with writing your book proposal and finding a literary agent if you opt for traditional publishing
· Help with conceptualizing the structure of your nonfiction book, or the narrative arc of fiction or memoir
· Guidance on how to find your narrative “voice”
· Tips on writing dialogue, creating memorable and believable characters, conjuring an evocative setting and building suspense—even in narrative nonfiction
· And providing you with accountability so that you are able to set and reach your writing goals each week, as you write each chapter one page at a time.
Whether you have never written anything before or you are a polished academic writer hoping to break into popular writing, an experienced book coach can guide you through the complex process, refine your writing, find your “voice,” and get started turning this year’s dream into next year’s book!
Why wait another day when you can get started right now on your path to becoming an author? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation today.
Not sure which is the right approach for you?
Here are some guidelines.
- A WRITING COACH will work with you on a regular basis, meeting with you in person, via Skype or by telephone to help you break down your project into manageable steps, teach you how to tackle the tricky terrain of finding your voice, crafting the narrative arc, staying focused and on theme, developing characters and writing dialogue. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, a writing coach will help you to clarify your message, develop the scope of the book, break it down into chapters, convey your material clearly and concisely, and infuse your writing with a voice and sense of enthusiasm that will capture the imagination of the reader. A writing coach will help you to see the areas that need more work or need to be taken out altogether (perhaps to use in another book). A writing coach will help you understand what revisions are necessary to tighten and polish the book so that it is not just a publishable book, but a good book. And a writing coach will help get through those times when the last thing you feel like doing is writing. If you have strong skills in grammar, have some experience expressing yourself in writing and are ready to make the commitment to writing the best book possible, even if it takes six months, a year, or even longer, then a writing coach will help you to become a more skilled and productive writer, a better story teller, and a more focused thinker.
- A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR or BOOK DOCTOR is someone who is skilled at writing and has written published books and knows how to assess a book draft, identify areas that need more work, and can turn a disorganized collection of scenes or chapters into a clear and compelling story. If you’ve already written a draft but it still doesn’t come together the way you’d like, it needs more focus, or the writing just isn’t conveying what you’d hope it would convey, a developmental editor or book doctor may be just what you need. They will cut and paste and chop and fix your writing until it is in publishable shape—or let you know if it needs a more experienced writer to rewrite it.
- A GHOSTWRITER is someone who does the writing for you. You may have a great story to tell or an expertise that you want to share with others, either to promote your business, gain professional stature, or just help others. But you might not have the time to put into it, the skills to write it as well as you’d like, or the desire to do the writing. If that’s the case, a ghostwriter can take any notes, journals, blogposts or drafts you have, interview you and others, and even do the research necessary to turn your story or ideas into a publishable book. You will be listed as the author of the book, and you will own the intellectual property rights. The ghostwriter is often credited on the cover as a cowriter or “with” the author, and may or may not have a small share of the royalties, but in most cases, the ghostwriter writes the book for a fixed fee over a course of time, usually ranging from six months to one year. In some cases, a shorter or longer time may be agreed upon, depending on the scope of the project. This is the most costly option, because the ghostwriter will have years of experience and education, will devote a good portion of the year or at least many months to working on your project, and will usually relinquish any rights to the work. But it will be your story, and your ideas, that are published. You will be credited as the author, and you will own the rights to your work.
Don’t let yourself fall for the hype that marketing the book is more important than writing the book. Marketing the book is indeed important, and there are many unique and innovative marketing ideas for authors, but if you put as much or more focus on the writing as the marketing, and if you take the time to produce a good book rather than a fast book, you will find that it is far easier to market and far easier to satisfy and engage your readers, than if you speed through the writing process and try to sell something that just isn’t ready for prime time.
Still doubtful? Are you still thinking that you can get your book out in thirty days because you’re so confident that you’ve got a good idea and you’re just the one to tell it—and to sell it—even if you’ve never tackled a book before? Then start reading what professional writers have to say about the writing process:
“By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”
— Roald Dahl
“I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”
— Vladimir Nabokov
“It takes me six months to do a story. I think it out and write it sentence by sentence — no first draft. I can’t write five words but that I can change seven.”
— Dorothy Parker
Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.
— Ernest Hemingway
“I don’t write easily or rapidly. My first draft usually has only a few elements worth keeping. I have to find what those are and build from them and throw out what doesn’t work, or what simply is not alive.”
— Susan Sontag
“The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.”
— Stephen King
In other words, good writers take their time, make multiple revisions, and learn as they do so. And you can, too. You can take your time to produce a good book, a book that readers will love, and a book that sells, and still have it in your hands a year from now.
Sound like too long? Just think how much time it’s going to take to market a book that reads like a first draft. Think about how long it’s going to take to rewrite the book once it’s published and doesn’t sell. Just think about how long it’s going to take to get over all those reader reviews that say, “This book needed to be edited,” “I was really excited about reading this book, but the writing was awful,” or “I had no idea what this book was about.” Because that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re so excited about selling your book that you don’t put enough time into creating it.
So take the one-year challenge. Don’t shortchange yourself with a book you write in thirty days. If it’s a nonfiction book you want to get out to promote your business, then you can write a decent one in half that time, or even less, with the help of a writing coach. If it’s a memoir you want to write, or a novel or narrative nonfiction, give yourself a year. With a writing coach and good work habits, you can certainly write it sooner, but give yourself the time to revise, polish and perfect it once your draft is done.
And if you just don’t want to put the time into it or don’t think you can do your story or ideas justice, then hire a ghostwriter to do the work for you.
But commit to producing not just a book, but a good book, the best possible book you have inside you.
If you’ve been dreaming of writing not just a book, but a good book, then take the one year challenge. Contact Dr. Harper now for a free consultation on how she can help you achieve your writing dreams.
COACHING & EDITING SERVICES
Dr. Harper provides complete editing services of academic, nonfiction, fiction and memoir, including developmental editing, content editing and proofreading.
ACADEMIC EDITING & COACHING
Academic editing services include content editing of Graduate papers, Admissions Essays, Theses, Dissertations, Grant Proposals and peer-reviewed Journal Articles.
FOLLOW Write Better Write Now on Twitter
A writer’s resource where the adjectives get pinched, the adverbs get plucked,the verbs start dancing and the nouns take care of themselves. My Twitter feed provides writing tips, grammatical rules, and suggestions for getting through writer’s blocks and getting your work done and at its best.