Like most established business professionals with a wealth of information in their heads, on more than one occasion a client has probably told you that you should write a book. For a while you may have considered doing just that. After all, according to Forbes, the best way to be known as an authority in your field is to be the author of a book. But, also like most business professions, you probably don’t have a clue as to how to go about it. What I am going to share with you here is the process to get your book out of your head and into print. The process for writing your book is not magic, and you can even outsource those parts which you would rather not bother with.
The first step in creating a book is to write a manuscript, which is the most time consuming and for many people the most difficult part of creating a book. Extracting the information from your head and transcribing it into a manuscript may seem like a daunting task. For many people who have thought about writing a book, this is probably the reason they haven’t done so.
The easiest way to get started is by making a list of the most common questions that your clients and potential customers ask you about, if it is a business book. If it is a personal book, then create a list of the anecdotes or salient points you plan to talk about. List up to 20 items.
Next, pull together everything you have written, and anything you are currently using to promote your brand. Go through these and copy down anything that pertains to the list you have made. Then all you do is take each item from your list and write out your answers/story in about 1,000 words for each question. Each one of these can become a chapter in your manuscript, although similar questions can easily be combined into a single chapter. When you’re finished you should end up with 12 – 15 chapters.
Keep in mind that your book should be focused around a single topic and does not have to be lengthy. If you have many subjects to write about, consider writing several books. Your manuscript should contain no more than 15,000-20,000 words, so with each page having around 200-250 words the goal for your finished book is to be from 50 to 100 pages long.
Having your manuscript written is exciting and it will be natural for you to want to rush to getting your book into print. But take a breath. It is very important to have any errors that you missed in your document corrected and to make sure that you have the text exactly the way you want it to be seen in print before you proceed. This is done in editing, a procedure which should not be skipped.
Editing is the process to check your manuscript for grammar and spelling errors, and, if necessary, to re-word for better flow. Since you wrote your manuscript you are too close to it to be an effective editor, so while it is entirely your choice whether or not to hire a professional editor, it is highly recommended that it be someone other than you who does your editing.
Formatting and Printing
The next step is to convert your manuscript into an actual book in order to get it published. Books nowadays come in two versions, print and electronic, but the formatting that works for a print copy will not work for an e-book and vice versa. The easiest and quickest way to accomplish either of these is to self-publish with Amazon KDP. Using KDP enables you to maintain creative control over your book, you will own the copyright, and the ability to print on demand means the print version of your book will never be out of stock. As the author, you an purchase author copies for a little over $2 each (plus tax and shipping), which enables you to use your book as an economical and very effective promotional giveaway.
If you are proficient with word processing programs like Microsoft Word you may be able to format your book yourself, but the easiest way to get it properly formatted before submitting it is to use a template. Templates are readily available for download, just do a search for ‘book templates’ on-line or look at the free resources provided by KDP.
As with the inside of your book, you can elect to design your own cover or use one of the many cover templates available online. KDP’s free program called Cover Creator offers several templates to select from.
If you prefer, any and all of the steps in the process of writing your book can be outsourced. If you have a finished manuscript and don’t want to bother with the technical aspects of formatting you can have someone else do that for you. You can even have the whole process done for you, where a ghostwriter interviews you for the source material, writes your book for you, and provides you with a finished product.
Being an author of a book establishes you as the authority in your field, and with such a low cost your printed book can be the ultimate business card for you to give to prospective clients.