So, you think you’re ready to start writing a book?
Well congratulations on being ahead of the game, because many of us desire to write a book our whole lives but never quite feel ready.
So we don’t do it. We put it off, and think, “maybe next year.”
Before you know it, life gets in the way, and next year becomes never.
Having written and published numerous books (both traditionally published and self-published), I’ve learned a helluva lot along the way. There have been many highs, many lows, and so many steep learning curves to navigate.
But I’m here writing this which means I made it – and I promise so can you.
Everything you need to know before you start writing a book
There’s no need to rush into it. Doing this process so many times has taught me that the more you prepare before you start writing a book, the easier it will be. The easier it is, the higher the chance of you completing your book, and seeing it through to the end.
And trust me when I tell you there’s no greater feeling than holding a paperback copy of your book in your hands for the first time. Apart from seeing it in the hands of someone who’s just bought it of course!
So here’s a helpful list of everything you need to know and figure out, before you start writing a book.
You’ve got to love reading
The best way to become a better writer (aside from writing) is to read as much as you can. That means a mix of fiction, non-fiction and genres; but plenty of the specific genre you think you want to write in.
So if you already know you want to write a self-help book, then head to the self-help section on Amazon or in your local book store, and pick books that interest you.
If you don’t love reading, then you’ll find it difficult to read through your own book, which you’ll need to do multiple times.
The more you read, the more you’ll pick up on structure, plot settings, character development, winning titles, what a good cover design looks like etc.
You could always make it a social thing and join a local (or online) book club. This way you’ll feel a sense of community, and you might even make some like-minded friends.
You need a daily writing practice
The more you practice something, the more skilled you become at it, right?
So the more you write, the stronger you will become as a writer.
Not only that, but the more you do something, the easier it becomes to do it.
That doesn’t mean you won’t ever have creative blocks or moments of self-doubt, but it will help you navigate your way through challenging times like this.
If you’re serious about writing a book, then it’s important to design a daily writing practice that works for you, and prioritise it no matter what comes up.
For example, you might commit to writing 500 words every day, or writing for at least 30 minutes each day. What you write isn’t as important as the habit of showing up for yourself every day and following through on your commitment.
I’m an early bird, so I choose to write first thing in the morning after I’ve completed my morning ritual, which usually means I’m writing by 7AM. Figure out what time works best for you, and stick to it.
If you’re not sure where to begin, starting with a list of inspiring journal prompts could be really helpful in igniting your spark.
You’ve got to be all in
I’m sure you already know that writing a book is no easy task.
Is it within your capability? Of course.
But is it difficult? Yes. Otherwise everyone who dreams of writing a book would’ve already succeeded.
That means you have to be willing to say no to certain things without guilt, so that you can say fuck yes to your dream of writing a book.
I turned down drunken nights out with friends, weekend vacations in Europe, and the security of a monthly paycheck which would’ve (mostly) funded a tonne of new clothes; so that I could focus all my time and effort on writing and publishing my first three books.
There will inevitably be sacrifices you need to make in order to succeed. It all comes down to what you want most.
So before you start writing a book ask yourself, am I ready to see this project through to the end?
There will be times you feel like giving up – but keep going
Regardless of how motivated, disciplined, or hard working you are, there are bound to be times where you experience stress or doubt, and question, is this really worth it?
I’ve been here, too. I think anyone who has ever created something from nothing has been here.
But it’s in moments like these that you need a reminder of why you’re doing this, and why you need to keep going.
Remind yourself that if it was easy, it wouldn’t feel half as good when you finally achieve what you set out to.
It’s true what they say: it’s always darkest before the dawn. Keep going. The light is closer than you think it is.
Trust that you’ll get through this, and grow stronger in the process.
It’s easier if you have someone supporting you along the way
When I wrote my first book, I hadn’t yet made a network of writing friends, and so I did it alone.
It wasn’t as depressing as I’m making it sound! I had just quit my job, and was travelling Sri Lanka with my partner Sam, while completing the final chapters of Bloom.
So although it was incredibly exciting, there was no one to share how I was feeling with, or off-load during moments of stress. I was kind of just fumbling my way through it in the dark, figuring out everything as I went.
I didn’t have a support system, and felt quite isolated during the process. Plus, apart from Sam, there was no one to celebrate my wins with – and it’s so important to celebrate those moments.
Having just one person who you can share this journey with, and who will hold you accountable to what you say you’re going to do, will make it easier and so much more fun. This is why every woman who joins our Wild Women Writing program is paired with a soul sister from the start.
There are lots of book writing groups to be found online as well as in your local community. Do a little research, see what’s going on, and find yourself a soul sister to partner with before you start writing a book.
Get clear on your intentions
You know you want to write a book, but the more important question to ask yourself is why?
Why do you want to write a book?
It might be to establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry. Maybe it’s a passion project. Or maybe you want to use it as a lead magnet to up-sell your business’ products and/or services.
For me, writing a book had been a dream since I was little. And I’ve always loved writing, so much so I quit my job as a fashion designer when I was 26 to write full time and start my business.
I realised quickly that empowering women was my soul mission. So I decided to weave the two together and write empowering books that change women’s lives for the better.
So take the time to get clear on your intentions and motivations for writing a book. Write them down, and keep them somewhere you’ll see them every day during your writing journey.
Being a great writer doesn’t guarantee book sales
There’s a reason why the term “best-selling” book is used to describe the most successful books, instead of “best-written” book.
Being a great writer is important and helpful, yes. But it’s not everything. So if you believe your writing skills are less than impressive, don’t fret. You can quickly sharpen these up by committing to your daily writing practice.
I’m a much stronger writer than I was three years ago. And three years from now, I hope I’ll be saying the same thing.
Equally, if you pride yourself on your writing skills like I do, it’s important to know that a well written book is only half the challenge.
Unless you’re writing a book solely for you or your family, and you have no interest in reaching anyone else – once you’ve written it, you’ve actually got to sell it.
That means getting your marketing hat on, and coming up with a plan to birth your book out into the hands and hearts of as many people as possible.
If you’re serious about selling your book but you have no idea where to start, it’s worth thinking about hiring a marketing freelancer, or investing in a specific book marketing course to help you out.
Before you start writing a book, decide if you want to self-publish or get your book traditionally published
I’ve experienced both a traditional publisher as well as the self-publishing route, and as you’d expect there are pros and cons to both.
You’re responsible for taking care of every part of the process:
- writing the book,
- hiring an editor,
- hiring a cover designer,
- getting it formatted for Kindle & print,
- and marketing the book.
This is a great option for first timers who don’t have a sizeable audience to prove to a large publishing house that their book will sell.
It also gives you total control and freedom over what goes into your book, what the finished product looks like, as well as the price you sell it at. Plus, you get to keep one hundred percent of your profits.
Many writers, business owners and celebrities choose to have their book traditionally published for a few reasons.
- It gives them easier access to being stocked in bookstores,
- It usually comes with an advance,
- And means that a lot of the process will be handled by an in-house team.
The down side is, it’s difficult to get a publisher to take you on if you don’t have a large audience. It often gives you less control over editing, design, and pricing, plus you have to split your profits with your publisher.
For non-fiction books, you’ll usually need to submit a book proposal with the first couple of chapter of your book. For fiction, they’ll usually expect the whole book to be written.
If you’re interested in publishing your book with us at She Rose Revolution, click here to find out more.
Don’t panic if someone has already written a book on your chosen topic
This is actually a good sign, because it means there’s already a market for it. Being the first person to market is tough because who knows how it’s going to be received?
So whether you’re writing about something that has already been written about plenty of times, or you’ve got a totally unique idea – don’t panic.
Remember, you are a unique human being with your own experiences and viewpoints, which means that nobody can write a book the way you can.
Be ready to invest in yourself and your book
For my second book, I chose to invest a chunk of money into an online course. This walked me through the steps of going from blank page to self publishing my finished book on Amazon.
It would’ve taken me months of research to figure out everything on my own, which would’ve eaten into my precious time. Plus it wouldn’t have guaranteed I got things right anyway.
On top of that, I invested money in hiring a talented editor, cover designer, formatter, and a coach to help me along the way. And this was when I had just quit my job, was living with my parents, and was averaging an income of around $600 per month from freelancing.
Even though I didn’t have a huge surplus of money, investing in myself and my book was one of the best decisions I could’ve made. It made me a better writer, and it made my book the best it could be.
Why is it that so many of us don’t hesitate to splash out on cocktails, eating out, or new shoes. Yet we’re so damn tight when it comes to investing in our own growth?
And I promise you this is where your money is best spent. You can’t put a price on self-growth.