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How to Plan, Structure, Write, and Market Your Own Book while Dealing with Writer’s Block

    Last Updated on May 17, 2023

    How Can You Plan, Write, and Market a Book While Dealing with Writer’s Block? Perhaps I Should Make this a Rhetorical Question.

    This is not going to be the final word on the subject. More like a pre-penultimate teaser article. With revisions.

    I have just completed my twelfth book. You can find them all on Amazon as well as on my website. That’s the commercial out of the way. I have three articles still to write for clients and a few books sitting on the desk I want to read. To say I’m distracted would be treading lightly around the problem. I’m lacking inspiration, hence Writer’s Block there in the title. I hope writing this article helps.

    In this article I answer the following useful questions:

    Inspiration: Where Do I Get Good Book Ideas?
    How Do I Get Started Writing My Book?
    How to Get Started Writing Fiction
    How to Get Started Writing Nonfiction

    Planning: What Do I Do with My Book Ideas?
    Structure: How Do I Structure a Book?

    Writing: How Do I Write a Book?
    Writing a Book in 8 Steps
    I Can’t Write! How Can Writer’s Block be Cured?
    What are Some Good Tips to Help You Write?

    How Do I Publish My Book?
    How Do I Market My Book?
    How Much Will I Earn in Royalties from My Book?
    Frequently Asked Book Writing Questions

    Inspiration: Where Do I Get Good Book Ideas?

    You may think writers go on lonely walks in search of inspiration, and I sometimes do. However it isn’t in search of anything – ideas just come to me, and usually walking in the forest or along the seaside or in the shower – anywhere I don’t have a pen or a laptop or a phone to make notes. That’s what inspiration does. It waits in the wings until you come along all unsuspecting like.

    You may want to write as therapy, to tell a story, to create a book for your professional life. The simple act of writing is an amazing thing considering there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet. The Khmer (Cambodia) alphabet has 74 letters. Imagine having that to draw upon!

    Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.

    Orson Scott Card

    How Do I Get Started Writing My Book?

    I once sculpted quite a bit. In chocolate. You can see that, more or less, over here: or Google me. I’m the only Warren Laine-Naida in the book, or the world for that matter. It makes for great search engine optimisation.

    Chocolate sculpting doesn’t come naturally to everyone. I spent a lot of my time trying to create specific things in chocolate, but learned that the thing waiting to be created was laying dormant within the chocolate block. It was just up to me to find it, not decide what it was going to be.

    The “thing” never turned out to be a clown, or an elephant, and I was always happier with the end result if I didn’t try to make the chocolate bend to my will. Writing is like that for me.

    The best ideas are usually right under your nose. Write down all the topics that come to mind for your book in the middle of a sheet of paper and then use lines and words to make as many connections as possible. There are no wrong topics.

    Research, research, research. Remember: there is no such thing as too much information. You can always write a second book.

    Your first draft will certainly not be perfect, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s about free-form thinking. Books change as you write them, so don’t be too rigid. Words are organic – they change. Even the reader may not interpret what you write in the same way you intended it. Your words stem from your life experiences, thoughts, and feelings – and these are mostly unique to you alone.

    “Authorial Intent: A position that argues that the creator of a text possesses a privileged understanding of its meaning and that consequently any interpretation that contradicts this understanding must defer to the author’s intentions.”

    How to Get Started Writing Fiction

    Creating fiction is best left to the story. Here I mean you probably are best served to write your story and categorise it afterwards than set out to create a specific genre. Let the story tell itself without labelling it at the starting gate. Perhaps your Historical Romance doesn’t want to be a Spy Thriller.

    If a fictional story is waiting to be told it will rush out at me. It will keep me awake at night and not let me rest until it has been told. Almost as if I am following the characters around trying deperately to write down their words, movements, facial expresssions, background noises. It’s exhausting but exhilarating.

    When the story has been told, I feel melancholy and empty, like the party is over and I’m left to tidy up.

    How to Get Started Writing Nonfiction

    When I am writing my marketing books, the process is similiar in certain ways. However, instead of the characters talking there is a meeting room full of people waiting to have me make my pitch. The coffee is always cold and there are never enough donuts, but the exhilaration at publishing at the end is the same.

    Strangely enough, there is no feeling of melancholy after completing a nonfiction book.

    Structure and planning is more important in nonfiction because you are in effect teaching, informing, or advising. Less is left to the reader’s imagination. You need to put together arguments that reach a conclusion. Fiction is interpreted by the reader. It’s best to reverse those roles when writing nonfiction.

    Planning: What Do I Do with My Book Ideas?

    Writing a book can take a bit of time. You may find you have neither the energy nor the material you need. No worries. Your book ideas can be used in many other ways.

    • + White Paper
    • + Video
    • + Social Media posts
    • + Blog posts
    • + Articles
    • + Short Story
    • + Play
    • + Audio Book

    Some of the great books of our time started out as magazine articles or series. You could turn your book idea into a lesson too.

    Fun fact: If you publish your book over Amazon Kindle, the eBook can be read by the Alexa app, turning your book into an audio book!

    “The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Farewell To Arms, All Quiet On The Western Front, and hundreds of others were initially released in installments—some even as they were being written—then as the single-volume works you know today.”

    Structure: How Do I Structure a Book?

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Some people start their book with a structure. Others start writing and structure afterwards. It depends on the book. The plot, or purpose, can serve as an orientation guide.

    If you want to write your book first, then simply scroll down to Writing: How Do You Write a Book?

    If you prefer to work within a structure, then map out the process. Where do you want to end up, what do you want to cover on your way, how will you kick it off? It’s a lot like a road trip. Let the subject matter help decide the structure.

    One of my books is structured by season – spring, summer, autumn, and winter, with suitable content for each season.

    My novels are structured in different ways:

    • + one novel begins with the present, takes place in the past, and ends back at the present
    • + one novel runs in a normal timeline
    • + one novel contains 25% footnotes that in themselves are short stories
    • + one novel is structured into three sections, each section telling a six stories that carry on over each section

    My marketing books are structured in different ways:

    • + three marketing books is structured according to actual steps, like a process
    • + one marketing book is structured according to subject silos
    • + one marketing book is in two parts: theory followed by 7 steps of practice
    • + two marketing book have no structure whatsoever, being a collection of articles on various subjects

    Writing: How Do I Write a Book?

    How do you stay motivated writing until the end? Make writing a routine, especially if you do it part-time. You can set fixed times to write. You could get up half an hour earlier each day and spend 30 minutes writing. You can write on the train or the bus. You could also go to bed 30 minutes later.

    Writing a Book in 8 Steps

    Step 1: Create the idea for your book and your first notes
    Step 2: Plot your book (as I said, this is optional but might help you)
    Step 3: Make a first, rough draft (and initial marketing)
    Step 4: The first revision (and the cover idea – I find this a good way to show yourself results)
    Step 5: Find test readers and revise after input (not an entire revision, but you will change things)
    Step 6: Proofreading, fine-tuning and formatting
    Step 7: Publication, marketing, and sales
    Step 8: Start your next book (yes, you will want to do this!)

    Once the idea for writing a book is there, and the first structure has been developed with the help of brainstorming and mind maps. Very few writers just write away – but this doesn’t mean you can’t. This means that even before the actual writing begins, perhaps you have sketeched out topics, or characters and their backgrounds, and a plot.

    “Once you’ve started writing, you need a total word count for your book. Think in terms of 10-thousand work increments and break each chapter into roughly equal lengths.”

    I Can’t Write! How Can Writer’s Block be Cured?

    Have you heard this? Writer’s block is a myth. The real problem is often that you don’t take writing a book seriously enough. Maybe Writer’s Block isn’t a myth. What can you do?

    • + Writing problems are often related to difficulties in getting down exactly what you want to say in the right form. Take simple notes and come back to it.
    • + Sometimes the process seems daunting. How will you write an entire book? Your motivation might dies on the branch. Break down your task into smaller chunks.
    • + Write your book in pieces. No one said you had to write the introduction first. Maybe you write it at the end. Just write. You can put the pieces together later.
    • + Get away from your desk. You may find the missing piece somewhere completely unexpected. Often while cleaning the bathroom.

    What are Some Good Tips to Help You Write? Here are Five

    • + Write every day. Always carry something to capture ideas before they disappear.
    • + Be observant. Read, listen, be aware, and consume as much as you can. You can’t drive on empty.
    • + Join a writing group. Talk with other writers. Let yourself be inspired.
    • + Make a playlist for your book – music promotes ideas and feelings. I did this for my second novel, “Not Now Katrin” and the playlist appears in the book.
    • + Write from your heart. Write what you know.

    How Do I Publish My Book?

    Getting your book published as an independant author usually means Amazon Kindle, but another option is IngramSpark, Amazon is free, while IngramSpark has a minimal fee.

    Amazon provides you with an ISBN number. Actually an ASIN number. IngramSparks does not include one. You will need to purchase two ISBNs – one for print, and one for the ebook.

    How Do I Market My Book?

    Writing a book is not an easy undertaking. From the idea to the first word to the first rough draft is a long way. Now you’ve written your book the really hard work begins – you need to market it!

    You have a lot of alternatives when it comes to marketing your book. I marketed my book using all of these ideas:

    Free Book Marketing Ideas

    Paid Book Marketing Ideas

    “To spark inspiration and get those creative juices flowing, we put together 119 book marketing ideas.”

    How Much Will I Earn in Royalties from My Book?

    You probably won’t get rich writing a book. It could be the term itself. “Royalties”. You image an armoured car rolling up at the end of each month. Steven King may have this problem, but most writers do not.

    There are millions of books published each year. Approximately 3000 new books a day! You will have stiff competition. You can earn between 30% and 60% in royalties from the sale of your books, depending on the publisher. Stephen King earns about $30 million in royalties each year.

    ebook price: $1,99 | ebook royalty 30%: $0,70
    paperback price: $11,99 | paperback royalty 60%: $3,19
    (Amazon example)

    Based on this calculation of royalties, you would need to sell 333,334 copies to make just $1 million in royalties.

    “A total of 191 million ebooks were sold in the United States in 2020. In 2020, more than 71 thousand audiobook titles were published in the United States.”

    Frequently Asked Book Writing Questions

    I want to write a book – how/where do I start?

    People say, you decide on a suitable book genre. Don’t hem yourself in. You can find the genre after you have written the story. Ask yourself though, what suits you? Where is your motivation? If this a book for work or a novel for relaxation. You may just be writing a book as a form of therapy.

    Once you have a rough idea, you might need to do some research – or unpack all those files you’ve been saving! Then you can work out your concept. The biggest problem you will probably encounter is wanting to put everything in your book. Write it all first! Then edit it when you’re done.

    How do I manage to write my book at home?

    You need to write where you feel most comfortable. That may be at your desk, it may be on the train. I write everywhere – when the urge comes, you write. Distractions may be many at home, so be wary. On the other hand, writing at home means not spending a fortune on coffee as you will by writing in a cafe. You can also write in your shorts at home. Don’t be that person who goes to the cafe in their shorts.

    Which program is best for writing a book?

    There are several options available. Many authors use Word. Google Docs has the advantage of being available in the cloud wherever you are. I wrote my first book on scraps of paper and a typewriter. I took notes on napkins and in the backcovers of books. You can record notes to yourself on your phone. There are myriad possibilities.

    You can start your own blog and begin writing and sharing your work via social media. Medium is available if you don’t have your own blog.

    Grammarly is a super tool for spellchecking and style. The Hemingway App is also useful. Word has a built in editor as well.

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