More people than ever are putting pen to paper these days. With the rise of the ebook, it gives authors a chance they might not have had ten or twenty years ago. Their book can get out there for everyone to read. Now, while writing is fun, and it’s the reason a lot of authors get into the business, what they also want is for their book to be great. And by great, they mean a success.
But how can it be done? It seems like an insurmountable task to write a good book, let alone a great one. There are so many potential authors out there who have the desire to write, and they’ve got ideas banging around in their heads, but they just don’t know how to get started. Seeing all the success of other authors in the field can be very intimidating, and it keeps a lot of good writers away from doing what they were meant to do.
However, with a few steps, you can start writing and make your book a great and successful one! We’ll cover how to:
- Find out what’s selling
- Read for info
- Build your idea
- Create a writing plan
- Edit/proofread effectively
- Start reaping the benefits!
Step one: Take a look at whats selling
That’s right. You need to know a little bit about the market to find out what people are purchasing. That way, you can cater your book to fit what’s working right now. Now that doesn’t mean it needs to stifle your creativity, but if you want your book to be a success, you need to “give the people what they want” as they say.
Check out the Kindle Bestsellers List to inspire you if you’re still searching for your topic or to help you mold your topic into something that will sell. Using what you know about what’s selling, figure out your intended audience and write the book for them!
Step two: Read, read, read!
The best writers are also good readers. They need to read a lot and from a variety of genres to help inspire them as well as help them find their own voice. Linking back to point one, pick a few books off the bestseller list in your field and give them a read! Not only can you get an idea of the subject matter that is selling but also the style, the tense, and so much more!
Step three: Develop your idea.
Now is the time to start thinking about your story (fiction) or your topic (nonfiction). Take some time to write everything out and start fleshing out your idea for the book. You might think you want to go one way when another (and a better one) presents itself!
Ask yourself: would your idea work for a full-length book? A lot of times people have an idea but it doesn’t really work for a whole book. To help give you an idea, fiction can be between 50,000-80,000 words, whereas nonfiction can be a little more flexible with length.
Step four: Create a plan.
Time to start getting into the nitty-gritty. This is where the faint of heart usually fall away.
You’ll find out in this stage whether you’re a plotter, a plantser, or a pantser. A plotter likes to plan every single detail of the book before they write. A pantser likes to go forward without much of a plan, and a plantser falls somewhere in the middle. But whatever writer you are, a plan of some kind helps!
Step five: Know the elements of a story.
Here is a great story structure template to help explain the structure of story and get you started on your own outline! K.M. Weiland’s template and website is a wonderful resource for authors, especially those just starting out!
Consider the important story elements.
- inciting incident
- pinch points
- turning point
- plot points
Think about your hook and your call to action!
For the hooks, you need to draw your reader in. It works the same way with fiction and nonfiction books. Find a way to get your readers interested and to keep them hanging on for more!
The inciting incident
The inciting incident draws your protagonist into the story. It’s the reason they’re involved in the story in the first place! For example, an adventure story might have the inciting incident be something like the protagonist has been sent on a dangerous mission.
The pinch points
Don’t forget the villain or the antagonist! The pinch points (two points in the book) are the places where the dark force in the book shows their power. It could be their victory in a battle of some sort, where the protagonist is slightly weakened.
The turning point
The turning point of the picture occurs around the center of the book. It’s the big change for the main character. There’s been some sort of shift, and they’re progressing forward now with their new perspective.
As for the plot points (also two points in the book), this is where a change happens as well. It’s a mini turning point for the protagonist and has them hurtling towards the next part of the story.
Don’t forget the climax! After the last plot point, the characters are racing toward the finish, building to that final, mind-blowing scene!
The resolution now picks up the pieces of the climax and rebuilds the story until everything is nicely tied up at the end. The villain is usually defeated, and things end tidily (not always, but mostly!).
For nonfiction, a call to action is you asking your audience to do something. It’s different for different kinds of nonfiction stories, but it’s exhorting your reader to go out and do something, achieve something, or buy something at the end of your book!
POV, tense, and style
Also in this stage you should also start thinking about your tense, POV, and style. For fiction, most books are written in past tense with a third-person POV, but present tense is gaining some popularity as well as first-person. Remember to consult the bestsellers list! Think of style if you’re writing nonfiction. Do you want more formal and academic? Or do you want something more personal and relatable?
Step six: Write!
This is where you can let your creative juices flow. Finally, you can get the words out on the page that you’ve been wanting to write for so long.
People like to work differently as they write, but sometimes it helps to break your book down into sections and focus on different sections to make them more manageable.
Create a schedule for yourself. Decide on the days and times that you will write and how much you will write per day to help keep you on track.
Step seven: Edit and proofread the whole shebang.
This is another stage of the process that a lot of writers hate. But you want your book to be great and a success, right? Then you need to spend time on editing and proofreading! Think of your favorite authors. Would you like to read them or respect them as much if their books were littered with silly errors? The same goes for you and your intended audience.
Editing is big picture stuff. You’re looking for plot holes, character flaws, major errors, and the like. You can do this yourself using tools such as Grammarly, or HemingwayApp. You could even hire an editor through Upwork or Fiverr if you’re looking for a more professional opinion.
Proofreading is to catch those little errors, those mistakes that people often miss. Proofreading is a tedious task, but it needs to be done. Again, Grammarly is a good choice as a proofreading tool. This is also something you can hire out for.
Think about using alpha and beta readers. Alpha readers take your rough manuscripts and give you feedback, but beta readers look at your somewhat-polished manuscript and give you feedback.
When you're done with the draft, there's still more!
Now, you’re ready to send your book off to wherever your platform is! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t feel like you’re up to the task of writing but you know you have a good idea! HotGhostWriter can help! Check out the website to learn a little bit more about what we do.
- Use all the help you can get. There are so many writers out there who have done the work and reaped the rewards. Check out these websites for some great tips!
Best of luck on your writing journey, and remember, it’s not just a select few who can write a great and successful book. You can too!