For most of us, “writing a book” doesn’t come to mind when we think of easy things to do. But it also doesn’t have to be as difficult as most of us imagine.
With advances in self-publishing over the last decade or so, it’s easier than ever for anyone to publish a professional book they can be proud of. But the first step is always going to be writing the manuscript.
So many people are daunted by the idea of writing a book that they never get past the idea phase. But I want to show you that writing a book doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as you might think.
First, download our Create Your Book Outline Worksheet — the perfect place to get started putting your ideas on paper — and then read on to find out how to write your business book in just three steps.
Know Your Goals
There are two types of goals you need to consider when you’re planning on writing a book to support your business:
- Type 1 is for your business: What goals for your business do you want your book to help you achieve?
- Type 2 is for the reader: What is your goal for the reader when they finish the book?
Understanding these two goals will help you write a book that is not only valuable to the reader, but also provides value to your business. For example, if you want to sell 10 spots in a high end coaching program in the next year, you can ensure that when you write the book, you’re writing it with the ideal customer for that program in mind.
Create Your Outline
Once you have your goals defined, you can start with the end in mind when it comes to deciding what content to include in your book.
First, identify where each of your reader goals fits within the overall structure of the book. Do they come in the beginning, the middle, or the end?
Second, identify the steps (or components) needed for your reader to reach your goals for them. These become your chapters.
Third, expand on each chapter by including anecdotes, examples, metaphors, stories, and case studies that will help bring the chapter to life and make it more helpful. Pro tip: This can also include worksheets, questions, or journal prompts that you may decide to include in the book or as a bonus for people who subscribe to your email list after buying the book.
Write Your Book
It may seem daunting to consider writing an entire book, but once you have your goals and outline created, it’s easier than you might think. Here are some tips:
- Set a daily word-count goal. This is a trick of many well known authors. If you can commit to writing 500–1,000 words per day, you can have your book written in just a few weeks. (Self-published non-fiction books tend to come in between 20,000 and 50,000 words in length.)
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Consider starting with content you’ve already created in the form of blog posts, emails, talks and presentations, podcasts, interviews, articles, even recorded coaching calls. Go through your outline and make a note of any topics you’ve already covered in existing content. Then plug that content into your draft and update or rewrite as necessary.
- Talk it out. If you’re more comfortable talking than writing, you can record yourself speaking your chapters and then have them transcribed. A service like Rev.com will transcribe audio files for about $1 per minute. You’ll certainly have some editing to do, but you won’t face the hurdle of staring at a blank page.
- Jump around. Don’t feel like you have to write the book in the order it will be read. It’s fine to write in whatever order inspires you; just be sure to keep your document(s) organized so you can easily put everything together at the end.
- Consider hiring help. If writing really isn’t your passion, you may consider hiring someone to write your book for you — a ghostwriter. Costs for this service vary wildly, so it’s a good idea to figure out what you can afford to pay (on a per-page or per-word basis) before you start looking. Then, hire a writer to write a test chapter for you before you commit to a contract. You likely will still have to do some editing and filling in the gaps, but this could be a more efficient way to get your thoughts into a book.
Once you have a working draft of your book, you should do several “self-edit” passes before asking a trusted friend or colleague to edit it for you, and finally hiring a professional editor to do the final pass. After that, it’s just about deciding where and how you will publish your book, which we go over in detail in our Write a Book To Sell Your Products and Services Destination Guide inside Business Class.
The key here is not to get too caught up in planning and get right down to doing. Start by downloading our Create Your Book Outline Worksheet to help you organize your thoughts, then commit to what one of my writer friends calls BICFOKTAM: butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, typing away madly.
Because that’s truly the only thing standing between you and publishing your book!