by Shelley Hitz
In this post, I am going to share five ways that I have used to write a book to help you get started in the right direction:
#1: Write the Book Yourself
I know, I know. This is the most obvious option available. But, it’s true.
You can simply sit down and write the book yourself.
However, it is often difficult to look at a blank screen or a blank piece of paper. That is why you may want to consider starting with a template.
I also like to conduct a brainstorming session where I write out an outline for my book. I really like using a mind map for my book outline because I can dump all my ideas into the mind map and then rearrange my outline until it is the way I want it to be.
However, I have also outlined books on scraps of paper while sitting in a restaurant with my husband. The important thing is to get your ideas onto paper (or a screen) so that you can start writing.
#2: Dictate the Book and Have it Transcribed
Another option for writing your book is to dictate the book and then have it transcribed.
This option works best for…
- Nonfiction books because fiction books tend to be more complex. However, fiction authors may want to try this method as well.
- Speakers who are more comfortable talking than typing. (Yep…this is me! I was a speaker before I was an author and am therefore very comfortable speaking.)
- Busy entrepreneurs, parents, etc. because you can record on the go with your mobile device.
If you use this method, I would still recommend starting with an outline before you speak your book. This will ensure that you have a solid plan for your book and that you stay on track as you speak.
I used this option for a couple chapters in my book, “Body Image Lies Women Believe.” I had an audio transcribed and then edited it for the book. To be completely honest, the transcribed text did require a lot of editing.
But I still found it to be helpful as it allowed me to write my section of the book much faster than starting from scratch.
There are so many ways to record audio. Here are just a few options to consider:
- On your computer using a microphone and the free software, Audacity.
- On your mobile device using a recording app.
- On a private teleseminar conference call where you call into via your phone and have it recorded.
- On your computer using dictation software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. I personally own this software and have used it to increase my productivity as well as decrease the strain on my hands and arms.
Transcription Service Sites
Over the years, I have researched transcription services and have listed several options below. Realize that prices are subject to change:
- Casting Words
$1.00/minute (budget) $1.50 (6 days) and $2.50/min (1 day)
- All Custom Content
$1.90 per audio minute* for Verbatim and Cleaned-Up Transcriptions.
$2.20 per audio minute* for Fully-Edited Transcriptions.
- Transcriptions Plus
$1.50/minute (3-4 days)
$2.50/minute (24 hours)
You can also find quality transcriptionist on Fiverr.com. Try them out for $5 and if you’re happy, give them more work. Here are a couple current Fiverr gigs that have high feedback, but these gigs could change at any time: $5 for 5 minutes or $5 for 10 minutes
#3: Use a PowerPoint Presentation
If you are a speaker, you could use one of your existing PowerPoint presentations as an outline for your book. This was how our book, “Forgiveness Formula” was written. My husband and I both had powerful presentations on the topic of forgiveness and decided to co-author a book on that topic.
One advantage to this option is that you can test your topic with a live audience to see if it is well received.
I won’t lie…it still took a lot of work to put the content into a book format. However, it was well worth our effort! Plus, once our book was published, we were able to offer it at a merchandise table at our live events to help diversify our income.
#4: Hire a Ghost Writer
You can also hire a professional writer to write your book for you. They call this person a ghost writer. You pay them a certain amount of money upfront to write the book for you. This way, you can put your name as the author, keep all the rights of the book, and keep all the future book royalties.
I have only used this option for one book and used someone I already knew. I was very familiar with their writing style which make me more confident in their ability to give me quality work.
If you do hire a ghost writer, make sure to get samples of their work and ask for references. You may also want to give them several writing tests to determine the quality of their work.
You can find ghost writers on Elance, writer’s forums, and I have even heard of publishers that find quality writers on Craigslist.
#5: Organize an Anthology
Another option for writing a book is to organize an anthology. An anthology is a collection of short stories from various authors. In this case, you would only need to write an introduction, conclusion and possibly one or more of the chapters.
At the time of writing this post, my husband and I have published six anthologies. One example is our book for authors titled, “Indie Author Book Marketing Success,” which includes 14 chapters from 14 different book marketing experts. Therefore, I only needed to write one chapter. However, there is still work involved. I would call the rest of the process – project management.
Here are a few steps required to publish an anthology:
- Decide on a topic.
- Create a page on your website that describes the project and include a form for authors to submit their work.
- Recruit specific authors that would be a good fit for your topic.
- Remind authors of the deadline.
- Work on the other aspects of publishing a book. (i.e. choosing a book title, book cover design, editing the work submitted, formatting the book, etc.)
- Communicate, communicate, communicate with your contributors.
- Publish the book and begin the marketing process.
If you are really good at project management and networking with other authors and/or experts in your field, publishing an anthology may be a great option for you.
If you want to write a book, there are many options available and I have shared five with you in this post.
If you are having difficulty making progress on writing your book, you might be interested in my post, “3 Keys to Writing Success and Overcoming Procrastination.”
Have you already written a book? If so, which option has worked best for you? Do you have any other writing tips? If so, share them in the comments below.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.