There are two main parts to becoming an author: the writing and the publishing. Indeed, the publishing is no easy task, but without the finished product, there would be nothing to get published and to market. So here are some tips on how to write a book.
Writing a book takes more than just a desire to see your work in print. It takes a huge amount of discipline, sacrifices and effort. Being a creative person or having natural writing flair is only the start of a very long and often daunting process. Once you realise how difficult it is, you can realistically get started!
In content and voice, be original and have something unique to write about and sell. Be clear on your story and characters. Read lots of other books for inspiration when it comes to writing style, tense etc but do not copy them!
New writers can benefit hugely from the wisdom of other, more experienced, writers. There are also tools and techniques to learn from books, the Internet or writing clubs. Of course, writing a book needs freedom and creativity, as opposed to rigid rules, but a happy balance can exist to help you learn from others and avoid writer’s block. Having a ‘mentor’ or joining a writing club is an excellent way to receive feedback. The key to writing a good book is to learn to accept constructive criticism, learn from your mistakes early on and develop a thick skin to accept rejection and failure along the way.
The best way to approach book writing is to give yourself ‘milestones’ and be organised in your approach. Start small, with perhaps 300 words a day. Small steps all add up and this means you can fit it around other paid employment and still maintain a social life, while also achieving your book dreams. You will need to have a word count in mind, which could be approximately 5-10,000 for a decent sized nonfiction book and up to 100,000 for a typical novel length. Have an outline to follow and work in a way that suits your style to meet this word count – whether that is weekly deadlines (such as word count or a percentage of progress). This could mean a structured plan or a rough idea of the beginning, middle and end of your book.
As a book writer, you become your own boss. This means setting aside working hours and a working space. It also means giving yourself deadlines, holding yourself accountable and being tough on yourself in meeting them on time and to a high standard.
Even if writing comes easily to you, the process of writing a book can be difficult. Add that to the ‘selling’ process, and you need to be prepared to bounce back from the challenges you hit along the way. Often, a first book isn’t your finest piece of work, but the key is to keep writing and perfecting your craft.