You may have heard various ‘quotes’ about writing a book. “It’s the best business card you could possibly have,” and “Everyone has a book in them,” are two that spring to mind. If you have aspirations to become an author, you’ll need to be prepared to do some homework before you put pen to paper.
Writing a non-fiction book is as much a process as it is creative. Yes, you need to have an idea of what your core subject is going to be, but you will also need to decide what your unique approach to it will be. There is very little that is unique in today’s world, but every author is a unique individual and it’s your ‘spin’ that will make your book different.
People who are interested in a particular subject will often buy several books on the same subject to get an in-depth understanding of it, so, just because someone has already written a book about the subject doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write another one. However, it is important to have a good knowledge of what has already be written about your specialist subject to ensure you are adding to the knowledge base, not just presenting the same material in a different form.
This step is essential and, if you are planning to try and get a contract from a conventional publisher, they’ll want to know what research you’ve done into other books in your field – don’t skim this stage!
If you’re in a crowded subject field, a good way to make your book unique is to use real life case studies from your own experience to illustrate your points.
As far as content is concerned you need to plot out your book in a reasonable level of detail before beginning the writing process. This means knowing the subject for each chapter and the order of the chapters in your book. Then having a clear plan (I call it a recipe) for the chapter structure so every chapter follows a similar structure. This means your readers don’t suddenly disengage when Chapter 2 starts in an unexpected way, when they’ve just got used to Chapter 1.
Fill out each chapter following your chapter plan with the subheadings, anecdotes, case studies, quotes, facts, etc. Then you’ll have a sound writing plan that will ensure you don’t get writer’s block as long as you follow the structure you’ve created.
If you’re an aspiring author look for more blogs about getting published, the editing process and marketing your book.
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