Writing a book? 10 things I learnt
- Writing a book does not take long, once you start – I decided I would write my book last August, and except for taking a break to do a lucrative copywriting job later that month, that is pretty much what I did. I then returned to and completed it in September, and did the editing and proofreading, bit by it, over the following months.
- Write a book over a sustained period – I made most progress in August, when I avoided doing any other work at the same time. Beware: once I had stopped for a few weeks, I found it slightly hard to get back into it.
- Set writing targets – I tried to write my book a chapter each day, and in my case (the chapters are only 1,000–1,500 words each) I achieved it. It was great to have a slightly stretching but still achievable daily goal, and to know that by around 3–4pm each day I could say “job done”. There was still time to enjoy the summer as well.
- Timing matters – I could have written the book at any time over the last few years, but somehow the timing felt right for me, and it matched my business goals. Deciding 2014 would be the year for my book, and giving it a corresponding priority, gave me huge momentum.
- Don’t skimp on editing and proofreading – In order to write, we have to get close to our work, and to know it very well. But we know it too well to do effective editing and proofread. So, get someone else to cast an eye over your work; you will be surprised what typos and other errors you missed.
- Get a professionally designed book cover – I could have designed something myself, but it wouldn’t have been good. So instead I paid for pro. She cost me nearly £200, but part of that was because I went through a few iterations. If you want something even cheaper, use design students from your local college.
- Get others’ views BEFORE you publish – I asked family and friends to read one or two chapters each. They made some useful edits and comments. But be careful here, as, depending on their character, some may just tell you what they think you want to hear.
- Ask business contacts to help – I also invited some of these to comment on my draft chapters (especially chapters my family and friends knew little about). In most cases they were very willing – in fact, they were thrilled. Other contacts did the proofreading and gave me testimonials for my cover.
- Don’t underestimate the final stages – As you will have spotted, I wrote it mostly in August and September 2014, but am only publishing in February 2015, so what happened in between? Well, the final stages just takes time, especially when you are doing in part-time. Editing, adding new ideas and references, getting testimonials, doing the cover design and layout, etc. It all takes time. But it is still completed in only 6 months – not bad for a beginner.
- Writing a book will impress people – I wrote my book for a mixture of reasons, to help my training, to earn some cash, and to impress and win clients. I always knew that being a published author would impress people, but even telling people I was writing impress some.
NO regrets … ALL gains… NO looking back.
In fact, I plan book number two within 5 years.
….So, what are you waiting for?!