With modern technology, you can write your book and get it into print within a month. Hard to believe? Yes, it is possible. Recently, I took a book from conception to completion (book in hand) in three weeks. I did this so I would have it available to sell at two live events that would be held in the 4th week. How did I do it? I’ll give you the steps:
Step 1: Catch the Vision
When you have a clear vision of your message, your audience and what you want to convey to them, writing a book flows. I’d been mulling on a book idea about my “Light the World” movement since 2009, but when I occasionally sat down to write something for it, what came out lacked the “wow factor.” Something was obviously missing.
Then in February and March of 2012, I read two books (Freedom Shift by Oliver DeMille and Seth Godin‘s Tribes) that snapped the final puzzle pieces into place for me. In fact, after gaining this big vision, I realized most of what I’d written on the book was useless. I decided to go in a completely different direction.
The excitement about my big vision fueled me forward, and I set to work writing immediately. I’ve learned from experience to strike while the iron is hot. If you’re passionate about something, dive right in and let your passion fuel your actions. If you delay or get sucked into endless “planning mode,” you’ll lose your momentum and nothing will get done.
Step 2: Set an Immovable Deadline
Because I’d planned to visit a client out west, I decided to maximize the trip and hold two live events around the theme of my book while I was there. The only problem was, the events were less than a month away and my book wasn’t even finished! I decided to move forward and commit to the events anyway. This commitment set me in motion. I don’t know about you, but commitments to other people always mean more than a commitment solely to myself.
Find a way to set an immovable deadline for your project!
Step 3: Create an Outline, But Write Flexibly
Outline the chapters of your book so you know where you’re going. Don’t be afraid to start somewhere in the middle. Write the pieces that are flowing for you. That may not be the introduction or chapter one. It might be chapter twelve. Trust your flow and write what’s coming.
Step 4: Re-purpose
While what I’d originally written on the book was of little help, many things I’d blogged about or recorded as audios and videos over the last three years were applicable. As I worked through my outline, I’d think, “Oh, I have a blog about that.” or “Oh, I have an article about this on my web site.” Or, “I can transcribe that audio or video I did a few months ago.”
If you’re consistent in documenting your journey, you’ll often see that everything that’s been happening to you, and the things you’ve been learning are taking you somewhere. If you’ve documented them, you’ll find that they fit perfectly into a book that summarizes your journey.
Step 5: Create a Tribe
One of the easiest ways to collaborate, promote, and garner market research on your book is to create a Facebook group specifically for your book’s typical readers. A few months before starting the book, I created a video that encapsulated my “big vision” and message; and then hand-picked individuals who I thought would resonate with that vision. I asked them to view the video. If they believed in my vision, I invited them to join a private Facebook group on the subject.
These people became the first readers and reviewers of my book. They helped by giving feedback on the cover, locating cover art, contributing their stories, offering critiques and promoting the book after its release. They even helped me find locations for my workshops and volunteered to assist at those events.
Step 6: Collaborate
Don’t be afraid to ask other people to contribute to your book. You might think, “This is my book and I’m the expert. I don’t want to share the limelight.” But, including other people’s stories to illustrate points adds a richness to your book. It also creates a group of individuals with a vested interest in the book’s success! Contributors have more motivation to share your book because they’re in it!
Consider having clients and colleagues share stories that illustrate key points in your book. Ask specifically. In my case, I asked for stories about “surrender” or the moment you felt “called to lead.”
Step 7: Line Up Technical Help from the Get-Go
As I started writing, I went ahead and discussed the project with my editor and book cover designer. I asked for price quotes and discovered how long each task would take. Because the editor knew my book was coming her way and when I needed the final edit, she was able to give me a deadline date for submitting the final document to her. This way I was on her calendar before the book was even completed. As for the cover design, my book designer began working on ideas while I was still writing.
Whether you’re ready to write a book now or not, remember to document your journey, your epiphanies, and the lessons you’re learning in your business and in life. This documentation makes putting a book together a hundred times simpler. Once you have the big vision for your book in place, create an outline and get to work.
I can give you tips all day, but if you don’t take action, you’ll get nothing. Ninety-nine percent of the time the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is that those who succeeded took consistent action over time. Write your book! Just do it!
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.