In the last episode, we talked about starting your book project by using your blog as a first draft. Writing with a clear goal in mind will help keep you on track. Now let’s talk about how you get started on a project of this scope.
There are a few practical things that you can do to get on the right track and keep the project focused:
- Content Audit. A full review of the content you already have. This will help you figure out where you are and where you stand. How much blog material do you have? Newsletters? Sales pieces? E-mails to customers? You may not be able to use everything, but it helps to know what have.
- Content Function. Going from blog-post-as-first-draft to an actual book will take some work. Expectations are going to be higher. Your book needs to provide a coherent path. What is its function? What will make it worth it for the reader?
- Book Structure. Non-fiction is generally meant to be instructive. That means you are a teacher. How do you lay out this topic to someone who doesn’t know as much as you do? Organization matters. Sequence matters. Start with at least a first draft of a table of contents, even if you veer from it as you go.
- Book Format. Setting daily or weekly word count milestones can help you stay on track. But don’t let the tail wag the dog. With ebooks, word count isn’t as important anymore. Especially if you intend to self-publish. Make the book whatever length it needs to be. There’s no reason to keep writing if the book has achieved its goals.
Every writer works a little differently, so you have to find the right formula for yourself. But in my experience working with hundreds of authors as a book editor, having a set of goals and a clear structure really does help. Your expectations will change and evolve as you go. The finished project won’t be exactly what you envisioned. But forward motion is a lot more powerful when it’s focused rather than aimless.