Book writing is hard. It takes a toll on you. And when you start writing your book from researching, how some of the past books looked like - it becomes overwhelming.
And then you quit. For many reasons - your idea doesn’t span to make it a book, you see how many more words you need to write and get scared, OR you realize there is no ROI. There are many layers to writing a book. And writing the first draft literally is the first step.
There are 2 primary categories of the book - fiction and non-fiction. This essay deals with the non-fiction category because that’s what I have written till now. Usually, you take one idea or a collection of ideas and then write around it to make a point. Some writers make their point in the first 20 pages and then write fluff to make it look like a book. And others, write till they are satisfied. Hence, there is a great variance in the length of the books. Usually, I advise aiming for writing 25000 plus words. So that you have some deep, solid writing. And then, you can edit 5000 words from it to make it concise.
As such, there are many ways you can write your book - let’s consider the one way which isn’t conventional. But makes sure that you get a book at the end of it.
Some Roadblocks To Write Your Book
Before we dive into the process, there are some things that you need to understand, accept and then make peace with it.
- Your book will be thrash. It might take a lot of rewriting and edits to make it good enough. But there is no guarantee. It’s a process.
- You will probably earn enough compared to the time you put into writing your book. Most authors earn close to nothing - that’s a reality.
- Your book cover is probably the most important thing - second comes the title. Yes, your book is judged by its cover. Because it’s a book and it has to have a cover.
- Reviews help - try to get them by giving early copies to your friends, peers and family. But don’t tell them to leave positive reviews, just reviews. And that’s good enough.
- If you intend to publish digitally, then ideally, there is no length limit. You can literally publish one page as an e-book. So, focus on writing and stop when you think it’s enough. Physical books have some pages requirement.
- You might not like your first book. And that’s okay. The fun begins when you start writing your second, third and so on. The process is fun, revealing and helps you a lot. You now do it for yourself.
Writing Blog Posts
Start a blog online. Write around a topic - say productivity - ideally, something you want to write about, know enough or are curious enough.
Since it’s your blog - you can switch topics, write about related terms and keep on experimenting. Some days, write a 100-word rant on how people don’t feel motivated. And other days, write a 1000 word piece on a strategy to follow. And slowly, over the years - you will have a library of blog posts. And hopefully, most are on related terms. Find them - and copy all of them in one document. And you will find that you have written more than 20000 words on a topic and its related term.
If you don’t end up like this, you don’t have enough perspective on a particular topic. Keep writing and finding your drive for topics and ideas.
But if you do end up finding 50 articles on similar topics, now you can organize them into a book of your own.
The Benefit Of Writing Like A Blog Post
You are not forcing every day to write a part of a mega word count. Instead, you are writing what you feel like. And maybe it forms pages of a book; maybe it doesn’t. There is no pressure. And if it doesn’t become a book, you have a blog post that you have shared with the world.
And by writing, you have learned so much - especially that what you believed to know was abstract, and you had to dissect, research, and finally get clarity.
You can see your perspective shift over the years. You learn so much - hence writing your thoughts out is always worth it. And once you have enough written blog posts, you can compile, reorganize it into a book, and do just that. Make sure - you go and delete your posts so that it isn’t in the public domain. Most ebook sites don’t allow a book to be published if it’s in the public domain. Find a cover for your book, and then submit your book. That’s it - you have a book which got published. And you are officially an author.
The Things To Do
Now that you have a book - you realize some things. Either you are traditionally published or self-published, the marketing you do only moves the needle in most cases. So, your blogging journey helps because you would have email subscribers from over the years. And they would love to get a compilation of your blog posts and more. And they can drive the initial sales and reviews.
Writing a book is a tremendous process - either you sit down to write it like a book or as a series of blog posts. It’s a huge task and often a journey to rediscover yourself, your ideas and how you want to move ahead. Despite the success or failure, it pays off to write a second book. Guess, what if your second book or tenth book takes off, it promotes all your previous books. The best way to promote your book is to keep writing about it years before it is published. Generally, in a blog, by collecting email addresses.
And once it is published, go and write your second book - that’s the best thing you can do for your first book.
My Personal Success
I have sat down and written a book in Google docs. And jotted my journey on my blog. You can find the whole journey here -
I have also compiled blog posts and published them as a book. Some of them are below:
Everything You Need To Know About Swimming - initially I wrote about my swimming experience as blog posts. And then compiled them in a book.
Wasting Time - a book on productivity initially was a series of productivity articles. Now, it’s a book.
A Bend In Marketing - Seth Godin is my hero, mentor and guru. It’s his ideas from his podcast which I have compiled as a blog post and now available in a book.
Go, and write your own book - maybe as a series of a blog post.